Dear Friends in Christ,

What a year this has been. On a personal note, I had gastric by-pass surgery in April. So far, I have lost 110 pounds, and have a lot more energy. I am back to golfing and working out, although according to my doctor I should still stay away from skiing. The surgery also had the pleasant side effect of keeping my diabetes under control. I no longer need medication. I can truly say the surgery has been a blessing for me so far. I also celebrated the 25th year of my ordination this year. Bethlehem and St. Paul held a special joint service on June 15. My brothers led the worship (John presided and Carl preached), and my whole family was there. It was a wonderful day and I would like to thank both congregations for the day.

It was also an exciting for our church. We suffered a fire in the fall of 2007, and began the year worshipping at St. Paul. After a great deal of effort by many people, we re-opened our doors on Wednesday, March 12 for our mid-week Lent service. It was very exciting to celebrate Easter in our own re-built church. The official re-dedication service was on Sunday, July 13, another special day for our church. I would like to thank so many people for their efforts in restoring and improving our church.

As we approach 2009, there are many challenges to all of us. We now have a beautiful and comfortable church building. But as an old camp song says, “the church is not a building, it‘s the people.” We have many wonderful people here at Bethlehem, who do so much for the church. But we need more. We need to reach out to our inactive members, and get them back to church. It will be a special emphasis of mine to contact these inactive members in 2009. I think we have a good thing going at Bethlehem, and I hope to get more involved. There is nothing better for our church than increasing our Sunday attendance.

May God be with all of you. Have a happy new year, and make our church a priority.

Your friend in Christ,

Pastor Ron