This week at Mt. Carmel...
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Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church

1701 Fredericks Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
(805) 544-2133

Sunday Services:
8:45am Traditional 
11:00am Contemporary

Office Hours: 8:30am - 3:00pm weekdays

*February Office Closures:
Monday & Tuesday, Feb. 26-27
Bishop Erwin's Lenten Message, 2018

To the pastors, deacons, and people of the Southwest California Synod, and to all who read or hear this message: Grace and peace in Christ Jesus!

It is not hard for us to enter into the spirit of the penitential season of Lent this year, as the division, mutual recrimination, and underlying violence of our nation’s social life is laid bare each day in our public media, most immediately in another school shooting this week. I feel very strongly the weight of our national unhappiness and the disunity of our collective sense of right and purpose, and I imagine that many of you share this unhappiness. Our public institutions seem unable to wrestle with real human pain and suffering, preferring instead to create imaginary, theoretical threats that distract us and lure us into blaming others for collective ills. Rather than kindness, violence seems to underlie our discourse.

Lent calls us to prayer and self-examination, to charity and almsgiving, and to fasting from that which keeps us from God. None of these three things is easy, but I believe all three are necessary—and not just in Lent. These forty days, though, do give us a manageable opportunity to reassess our own spiritual situation, and time to make changes in our habits and thinking that will carry beyond Easter into our whole lives.

I invite you to observe with me a holy Lent: to me, this year, that means to adapt the ancient disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to our own time and place. Through these practices, I believe we not only prepare ourselves for the Easter mysteries of death and new life, but we also focus the lives we live right now on a higher engagement with the world around us.

Prayer: Christians pray without ceasing, bringing both their rejoicing and their despair before God. We do this, I hope, instinctively—at all times and in all places, living in a kind of dialogue with God each day. But we don’t do this to “get what we want” or to “save ourselves” but to help ourselves understand better how God loves the world—the whole world, not just us. Prayer helps give us—in our limited ways—a “God’s eye” view of the society around us, and teaches us that we, too, have a role to play in God’s world as exemplars of God’s love. Prayer teaches us to love, to stand up to evil, and to reach beyond ourselves to help our neighbors. If it doesn’t do this, it is empty and selfish. Lent helps us learn the difference.

Fasting: Fasting is the most misunderstood of the disciplines. Symbolic gestures like “giving something up” are not wrong, but at best they serve as reminders of the greater sacrifices God calls on us to make in life. Give up chocolate, or alcohol, or meat if you want—that’s a holy custom—but look deeper than that. What is it that benefits you that actually hurts someone else? Try, if you can, to fast from that. If you are part of the most privileged class in our society: white, male, a citizen, educated, middle-aged and fully employed; consider what it means not to have all—or any—of those advantages. Put yourself in another’s place. Advocate for another’s well-being. Promote justice and equality for all. Find, expose, and resist the ways society reinforces the privilege of some at the expense of others.

Almsgiving: There are a million ways to be charitable—by a kindness of spirit, by solidarity with others, by sharing your material resources—right down to writing a check or putting a dollar in the plate. And all of these are good. But this Lent, I’m going to try very hard to focus on a charity of intention—that is, looking at the people and the world around me in ways that see their value and honor their struggle. Each of us has value; each of us is challenged in some way by limitations within or around us. To live in love is to recognize this and act accordingly—draw out the good and have compassion on the challenge. Don’t just give—act. Act on others’ behalf—to the best of your abilities, with what you have to offer. None of us is so weak or so limited they can’t help someone else.

Lent is not an obstacle course or a wallowing in sorrow—it is a chance to take up your cross again, in a new, fresh way, and to recommit and refocus yourself on God and your neighbor. You need this—the world around you needs you—and God expects that each of us, in our own ways and with our own gifts, will offer love and service and care for each other and the earth on which we live. Embrace your life with joy, knowing that it is God’s gift, and that God gives it to you—but not just for you to enjoy—for your neighbor’s benefit as well.

Know that you are in my prayers every day—as pastors, deacons, and congregations—and that I accompany you on this forty-day journey through the wilderness. I ask for your prayers as well: for clarity, for patience, and for strength. Together we can defy evil and the world’s empty promises, make the sacrifices we must, and push forward in the sure hope of the life to come. For God’s promises are sure; Jesus’ resurrection is our proof. Amen.
Pastors' Contact Info:
Pastor Valerie
Office Hours: Tuesdays (11am-1pm) and Thursdays (12:30-3:00pm)

Pastor Dan
Council Minutes

A church directory and a list of updated birthdays and anniversaries was taken from a filing cabinet on the Parish Administrator's desk. If anyone knows where it was taken to or who borrowed it, please let me know and return it as soon as possible. It has important information that I need back. 
Thank You!
Alex or 805-544-2133
MUTUAL MINISTRY Prayer Challenge

“How hard can that be?” That is the Senter family motto. But the truth is, some things are just hard, aren’t they? And we have to ask ourselves if we are up for the challenge. PRAYER should not be one of those things, but sometimes it is. It is hard for me to pray for myself when I don’t want to be honest about my own needs. It is hard to pray for others when I am not feeling so loving toward them because of some argument or disagreement.
So here is the challenge.  It is a prayer based on 2Thes 2:16-17 and 3:5, 16. The first time through, insert yourself in the blanks and the second time through insert the name of someone with whom you are in disagreement.   “I come before you, Lord Jesus, in behalf of ____. I pray  that you will give ____ courage and confidence to honor and obey you in everything _____ says or does this day. I ask that you guide ____ into an even deeper understanding of your love and may ____ appreciate even more the reality of what Christ has accomplished on our behalf. May ____ experience your peace and joy in every circumstance this week. Be with ____ and bless ____ to your honor and glory.”  A-men
People’s Kitchen Schedule CORRECTION

A mistake was made on the dates on the new People’s Kitchen Schedules from October to February.  Prior year dates were listed for those months instead of current year dates.   When marking your calendars, please remember that we always serve on the 1st Friday of the month.  Contact Laura Krueger if you have any questions or would like a corrected schedule printed for you (call or text 805-458-6012 or email
Jean Hohenstein has a piano for sale. If interested, please contact her at 805-489-0747.
Notice from the Financial Secretary:
If you did not receive a statement of giving for 2017, and you made contributions to the church, please contact the Financial Secretary (805) 543-5691 or I would need the dates and amount of your contributions to add them to our data base. Some statements were given out after church last week and some have been mailed this week.
Carol Grosse, Financial Secretary
Volunteer Opportunities!
We are in need of some fresh faces to fill Sunday volunteer positions. If you would like to commit to once a month or as a back-up, please email or call the office at 805-544-2133 or Here are the duties that we need help with:
First Service Greeters
Second Service Greeters
Second Service Communion Assistants

We are also looking for more coffee servers to join on Sundays. Both services are open for more volunteers. Please contact Carol Harvey for more information at or 805-481-2418.
Lent Soup Suppers and Worship have begun. The Saturday Men’s group will be sponsoring the second supper on 2/28.  Soup, bread and beverages will be served at 6pm with Lenten service to follow at 7pm.  A sign up sheet for the Congregation Soup Supper on 3/14 will be in the Narthex on the Ushers cabinet starting this Sunday.
Friday, March 9, the Brown Bag Lunch Group will host a speaker who should not be missed!
Our very own, Bob Christenson, retired Naval Captain, will be giving a presentation on “The Evacuation of Saigon”. Bob is a graduate of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and earned a Master of Science degree from the Naval Postgraduate school in Monterey.
He served in a destroyer, diesel submarine and amphibious ships.
Captain Christenson  was at sea, as an executive officer in the USS Blue Ridge, a command ship, during the evacuation of Saigon, in April 1975. He will tell share these amazing experiences with us, and all the people he met, including the supporting Marine general, and ultimately our ambassador to Vietnam. In his words, “He witnessed it all”.
Bring your brown bag lunch, a friend, and questions and join us at noon, Friday, March 9, in Quist Hall. RSVP – Nancy Priddy – 459-9249
The CAT Task Force has completed their work and has written a report of their findings and recommendations.  You can access the full report at here.  Please submit your comments, questions, and concerns in writing to Alex Bell, our Parish Administrator at  Alex will forward them to the Task Force who will use them to plan an information session during a yet to be determined date.
Sunday School

Sunday February 25th- 10am Sunday school PreK- 5th grade, - Jackie will have a lesson ready.

Sunday, Feb 18Discussion will focus on Jesus’ statement “I am the Good Shepherd” from John 10. 
Next Sunday March 4, topic is “I am the Light of the World”.  The Adult Forums during Lent will use the devotion book “You Are The Way” as a basis but it not necessary to have read the book to participate in the discussions.

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Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church · 1701 Fredericks St. · San Luis Obispo, CA 93405 · USA

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