Pastor’s Corner

Staffing Update

Staffing Updates

A lot has been happening around here!  In addition to the celebration of a dead man coming back to life (that would be Easter!), we also voted to extend a Call to Mr. Robert Kellar.  Rob is currently the principal at Salem Lutheran in Afton, MO.  I am pleased to announce that this recommendation passed by a vote of 175-5.  He has received the Call papers for him and his wife, Karen, to pray over.  Karen is an active preschool teacher herself and may also be a great fit for our team.  Keep watching this newsletter for updates and keep praying for God to grant wisdom in this decision.

At Cross we have also been praying for a regular youth minister to serve our congregation.  We searched for over a year to find a part-time leader with no results.  It has been six months since Grant Riehle-Moeller stepped down as our interim youth leader.  Our last opportunity was to attempt to have an intern from Concordia University.  The intern is a full-time worker, but the expense is more in line with part-time pay since we are not required to offer health care.  Concordia only had one intern interested in High School ministry and that intern was not placed at Cross.

The Governance Board has approved the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget which begins on July 1.  In this budget we have made provisions for a full-time Youth Minister.  This is a leap of faith and will require us all to grow in faithfulness with our offerings.  This also allows us to expand the search for a Youth Minister.  We will start with a couple interviews of DCE (Director of Christian Education) candidates who will graduate from the Concordia University system this year and then expand our search if we do not find a match there.

In addition you may have heard Lisa Dickey, who served as the Executive Director of Loving Arms Childcare Center, resigned just before Easter.  We have named Lisa Winn as our Interim Director and are in the beginning stages of our search for the next Executive Director.  This will be only the second director in the 20 year history of Loving Arms.

In a ministry the size and reach of Cross we are bound to have staff vacancies and turnover.  These are to be expected and are a great opportunity to pause and pray and seek God’s direction for the future.  Change is never easy; it is always a challenge, but we know God is refining us through these challenges into the leaders He desires us to be.  May you seek and trust in God through every trial and allow Him to lead you in the direction you should go!

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world.  Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”  John 8:12

Pastor’s Corner

He Is Risen

Life from Death

The symbolic images of Easter all point to hope in the midst of trouble.  The Easter lily is about life springing forth in all its glory from the previously hard, frozen ground.  The darkness of Friday night is overcome by the light of Easter morning sunrise.  The death and betrayal of Jesus is conquered by the life and forgiveness that only Jesus himself can provide.

All around the world, and in our own neighborhoods, tragedies play out day after day.  It could be a horrific act of violence or an unavoidable accident, but the results are the same sorrow.  Where was God in the midst of it and what will He do now?  What are we supposed to do about this and how do we avoid it happening again?   Heartache, sorrow and death bring more questions than they do answers, but God has an answer for every horror.

Easter brings these daily challenges, large and small, and gives us the answers to the questions we are asking.  God is going to conquer whatever challenge is in front of you and give you the victory.  Jesus’ brutal torture and death is the greatest trouble we could ever face.  But, even this trouble was no match for God who rose to life again on Easter morning.  God has the power and the desire to conquer all adversaries, according to His will, not our own.

Remembering God’s triumphs is what has always brought hope to believers when they face new challenges.  The ancient Hebrews would point to the miraculous delivery from the floods in Noah’s Ark or the release from slavery through the parting of the Red Sea.  Now, once again God shows His power and promise as Jesus rises from death to life.

If God has done these things – if He has in fact been able to die in our place and rise to life again in three days, is there anything that can stop Him?  Is there any reason for us to fear or worry or wonder or doubt?  Paul writes so perfectly about this in Romans Chapter 8:32 “He (God) who did not spare his own son but sacrificed him for us all – how will he not also graciously give us everything we need?”

This Easter I invite you to bring whatever hurts you and give it to the God who has the power, the authority and has made a promise to conquer that hurt.  I invite you to give it to Him and trust He will take care of it.  This doesn’t mean the road won’t be difficult at times, we still live in a cursed and fallen world, but God is with us, God is for us and God loves us.  He conquered death and the devil and turned the darkest day into the brightest future.   Let Him do that for you too, this Easter.

Pastor’s Corner


Principal Call Meeting

It is with great excitement that I share with you that the Principal Call Committee is recommending a candidate to receive a Divine Call from the congregation.  Rob Kellar has been serving as Principal at Salem Lutheran School in Affton, MO since 2011.

After graduating from Concordia University Chicago with a degree in Elementary Education, Rob began teaching in 1990 at Mount Olive Lutheran in Perrine, FL.  In 1994 he became Assistant Principal of Advent Lutheran in Boca Raton, FL.  Mr. Kellar completed his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University in 1996 and continued his career as Lead Principal in 1998 at Hope Lutheran in Pompano Beach, FL.  Holy Cross in Collinsville, IL was finally able to lure him and his wife, Karen, out of the Sunshine State in 2001 where he served until accepting the Call to Salem in 2011.

Rob and Karen have been married since 1991 and have three grown children.  She has served the last 28 years as an early childhood teacher, the last 18 years at Holy Cross in Collinsville where Rob had been Principal.  Karen is not rostered with the Synod so she is not eligible for a Call, but we will be interviewing her for our fifth preschool teacher here at Cross.

Rob and Karen came to meet the staff and interview in person with the Principal Call Committee on Friday, March 29.  The two of them seemed to be right at home in the brief time they were here and genuinely excited about what God has been doing at Cross.  This will not be an easy decision for them as they currently have their only granddaughter living close to them and are both very satisfied in their current ministries.  They are not looking to move but do sense God is at work in all of this.

The process will continue with a special congregational meeting following worship services this Sunday, April 14 at 11:45 AM.  All members of Cross who have formally committed to discipleship in this place are eligible to vote.  All members of Cross are invited to share their thoughts and/or attend the meeting after services.  The vote will continue for one week and conclude after the last service on Easter morning, April 21.  If it is approved to issue him a Call, we will send him the paperwork and wait for his response.

We are asking for all of you to remain in prayer for all of this.  We pray for Cross, Salem and Holy Cross Schools.  We pray for Rob, Karen and their families.  We ask for God to lead and for us all to have the faith to follow.

If you have questions, feel free to contact the church office or one of the Principal Call Committee members.  They have all been volunteering a lot of time and are excited to have found such a great candidate for our congregation to consider.



Pastor’s Corner

Holy Week

Holy Week

Holy Week is one of the most influential weeks in the history of the world.  Sunday, April 14th is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week, which will conclude on Easter Sunday.  This week not only transformed the world, but it also transformed eternity as Christ completed His work on Earth and set in motion the end times.  We now look forward to His return and the resurrection of all flesh.

No one would have predicted on Palm Sunday that the week would end with a crucifixion.  The crowds had assembled to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem as King!  He rode on a donkey like any royal would have.  They waved palm branches and laid down their outer garments as if to roll out the red carpet.  The people shouted, “Hosanna!” and blessed Jesus who had “come in the name of the Lord!”

On Palm Sunday weekend we will remember this triumphal entry and celebrate with our own palms and praises.  Later in the week we will remember the journey of Jesus as He went to the upper room with His disciples.  Once there, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal and instituted what we now know as the Lord’s Supper.  In this very intimate setting Jesus taught and empowered His disciples to teach that the forgiveness of sins was for all who would trust in Jesus as their sacrifice.  This is an emotional night as it is also the same night when Jesus was betrayed by His disciples.

The next day, Good Friday, is one of the most impactful worship days of the year.  In services that day we will hear Jesus’ last words from the cross and honor His sacrifice for us.  While we remember the sacrifice He made, we will also be reminded about what it means to submit ourselves to God’s will.  When we follow God, every moment will not be happy, but every moment will be used in powerful ways to bring God’s Kingdom impact to Earth.

Easter Sunday is, of course, the highlight of Holy Week.  The joyous celebration is made all the more sweet when you participate in the other services during the week and join Jesus on that journey to the cross.  Come laugh, cry, praise and experience how God works through the most dire of circumstances to bring His glorious gifts to us, His children.

Holy Week Schedule

Palm Weekend, April 13-14

Normal worship times

Sun. 9:15 AM — Easter Egg Hunt (Meet in the west lobby.)

Maundy Thursday, April 18

7 PM — Traditional Worship Service with Communion

Good Friday, April 19

2 PM — Tenebrae Worship Service

7 PM — Tenebrae Worship Service

Easter Saturday, April 20

5 PM — Contemporary Easter Celebration with Communion (Large Gym)

Easter Sunday, April 21

6:30 AM — Traditional Easter Celebration with Communion (hosted by Lord of Life Lutheran Church)

7 to 11 AM — Breakfast (Youth Trip Fundraiser; Fellowship Hall)

8 AM — Traditional Easter Celebration with Communion

9:30 AM — Traditional Easter Celebration with Communion

9:30 AM — Contemporary Easter Celebration with Communion (Large Gym)

11 AM — Contemporary Easter Celebration with Communion (Large Gym)

All services are in the sanctuary except as noted.