Dear Bishop Strobel,
I wanted to take a few minutes to commend the outstanding ministry of the Rev. Ginny Goodwin as she works with St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Easton, Pa., through this time of transition.
I also want to share with you the story about the generosity and witness of these faithful people in Easton.
I have had the pleasure of working with Pastor Goodwin and St. Peter's in the past few months as I serve as pastor at
Bridge of Peace Community Church, ELCA, in Camden, N.J. We are a newly organized church of the N.J. Synod, which recently came out of mission status and which serves in the second poorest and fifth most violent city in the country. We will benefit from the generosity and care of St. Peter's as they merge with St. John's.
In my weekly newsletter, which is sent around the world to 413 prayer partners and friends on four continents, I will share the following:
On Monday, Vicar Peggy Hayes and Pastor Giselle Coutinho traveled to St. Peter Lutheran Church in Easton, Pa. Pastor Ginny Goodwin is leading a faithful group of believers as they merge with St. John Lutheran Church, Easton. We also met with Pastor Susan Ruggles from St. John.
Through this time of prayerful discernment and by the power of the Holy Spirit, Bridge of Peace will be gifted with many things from St. Peter — everything from a computer, Sunday school curriculum and materials, children's tables and chairs, many shelving units for our education building, kitchen pots and some pans, dishes, silverware, chairs, tables, sofas, a pool table for our youth and men's ministry room, a one-year-old refrigerator that we can purchase with our Thrivent funds, nontoxic plastic Fisher Price toys for our new play room in church, and so much more. Tom, their sexton, even offered to drive the truck if necessary.
Now all we need is the truck itself to go pick up all these items.
The generosity of the people of St. Peter's was moving and all gathered felt that we were thankful for each other. All the churches are blessed beyond words with this partnership for the sake of the gospel and we hope the people of St. Peter's believe that their ministry is vital in Easton today and beyond to the wider world. We ask you all to keep this faithful part of the communion of saints in your prayers in the coming weeks, Pastors Goodwin and Ruggles through this time of transition, and all the people during their final service at St. Peters on November 18, 2007, at 3:00 p.m. Thank you!
In the course of our ministries, I believe it is essential that we take the time to share good news stories about those people who have exemplified the good news and who have born witness to it in word and deed. Thank you for leading these wonderful children of God. We hope that we will continue to develop binding and loving relationships in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the coming days, never forgetting that all new beginnings are possible through him. My children in church say, "Jesus is the Light of the World! There is no darkness even when we are scared and frightened by the sound of guns or new things. Jesus stands with us. We are never alone."
The Rev. Giselle C. Coutinho
Giselle C. Coutinho
Bridge of Peace Community Church
Yorkship and Tuckahoe Rds.
Camden, NJ 08104