God is growing a very special part of his family here at St. Mary of the Snows in Eagle River. I hope this letter will get us off on the right foot as I tell you a little about us, and that soon we'll be able to sit over coffee and speak face to face.
While we are surrounded by the richest of ancient traditions in our manner of worship and our history; St. Mary's works hard to provide real-life training, preaching, and contemporary tools that offer Godly meaning in a new and constantly changing world.
The thing we hear most often about this church is how overwhelmed our guests are when they first attend a service. There is a kind of peace and love which fills to overflowing the fellowship of this body. There truly are no strangers in God's family in Eagle River. You will immediately feel at home here.
Then, you're going to hear a Gospel message; that means the Good News about Jesus who is God. If you have not met Jesus, we want you to know how he died to pay a price for our sin and to purchase eternal life for us. That's an amazing thing, and we want everyone to know about it. We want you to be with all of God's children in Heaven when our time on earth is finished.
We are committed to allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us about our Lord each and every Sunday during the sermon and throughout our worship. Seeing the Gospel come to life as the Spirit breathes deeper meaning into those beautiful words is an important part of our time together each week.
Next, we will invite you to enjoy the blessings of being in a good relationship with our heavenly Father. Each week we join in a very special meal called the Eucharist or thanksgiving. In this meal we recall Jesus' last supper with his disciples and are reminded that Jesus is with us today. In this celebration we remember Jesus' sacrifice for us, proclaim his raising again from the dead, and enjoy his real presence with us.
In our approach to ministry, we are not a Program Church. That means that we do not implement programs for the sake of programs alone. For instance, we do not provide a women's or men's club here, but we do offer powerful fellowship and study opportunities for women, men, couples, and youth. That makes us a Ministry and Study Church I guess. As a church seeking to become closer and closer to God, we have surrounded ourselves with strong biblical teaching to help us as we undertake to be faithful to the church's most vital ministries.
What are they?
The proclamation of the Gospel to a hurting and lonely world.
The worship of God with all of our minds, hearts, bodies, and souls.
Physical and spiritual healing ministries.
The sacraments of the church, Baptism and Eucharist
Preparation for life through marriage counseling, confirmation training, and ministry discernment
The care of the poor, the dispossessed, those who are in hospitals, and who are dying.
While we have stood the test of time for nearly 50 years, we are always looking forward. We are a growing congregation. Almost every week a new opportunity for ministry pops over our horizon. A new chance to minister in our community, a new study, a new discussion group, and so many other powerful opportunities for you to be involved. Given everything that?s going on, I think we're a great place for new folks like you. I appreciate that it can be difficult to find and fit in to a new parish as a new member sometimes, but here, we have both new members and lifelong Eagle River residents, and we know what it feels like to be new. You'll feel welcomed and you can participate in as many or as few of our ministries as suits you.
Do we have everything? I suppose not. But it is very clear to us that God has blessed this family in ways in which few of us have ever been blessed before. And it is even clearer that if we will continue to walk in obedience and do what He asks, the blessings will continue for many years to come.
Perhaps you are looking for a blessing, a new vision of God, a closer look at the Bible, or want to be better equipped to live in today's world. Maybe you are feeling spent, broken, or confused about the direction your life is headed. We would like to stand with you to ensure that you receive every good thing that God has in store for you.
We are a church of old traditions and new ideas serving in a new time for our country and for our world. Why should you come be with us? Because God is here and working powerfully and it is a sight to see.
We hope to see in church,
Father Jim and Susan Fosdick