Friday, October 4, 2013


Poem written for Divinity's 65th Anniversary Celebration on September 8, 2013:

“Spiritual Energy”                                                                                           Pastor Doug

Meeting places on Pearl and in the school
No where long enough for spiritual energy to pool.
The first sanctuary, fellowship hall, and gym
A familiar space to gather, worship, and confess sin.

The intensity of baptisms, communions, weddings, and death
Confirmations, confessions, conniving, and all the rest.
Spiritual energy confounded and abounded
Moving to a new sanctuary rounded.

Spiritual energy filled the people that came
Some very gifted and yet quite insane.
A God who answers prayers who we cannot see?
A Mighty Fortress is Our God for the lonely me?

In spite of insanity, faith persisted
The Christ on wood could not be resisted.
Jesus filled us up with spiritual energy
To follow the Via de Cristo with communal synergy. 

Carrying the presence, serving a meal, Stephen ministry:
Spiritual energy blows through our 65 year history.
Joining hands with the ELCA the past 25 years
September 8th we let go of all of our fears.

Inside and outside, we will give thanks
As spiritual energy fills our ranks.
If you’re not feeling it because you’re not here
Come and experience a place made holy by our joys and tears.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fresh Fork

Divinity Lutheran Social Ministry committee members received a grant for $43,000 for Redeemer Crisis Center in Cleveland, OH which is one of the Hunger Network Centers.  In this grant $12,000 is available for fresh fruits and vegetables and baby formula.  Buying the baby formula is not a problem but the logistics of getting the best available garden produce to our clients became a bigger problem than one might imagine.  Lettuce for example does not weigh much and would be quite easy to transport to the center.  Then we thought about watermelons and our need for 500 of them and also fresh corn which would be a shipment of 3000 ears.  The center does not have a truck and rental is expensive seeing we would need shipment for 22 prime weeks of the growing season. 

Praying on the matter and talking to a friend was the next step in the process of solving the problem.  My friend introduced me to Fresh Fork Markets which began in 2007 by four Western Reserve Students in an Entrepreneurship Education Consortium.  They were challenged to come up with a business idea that was viable for northeast Ohio.  The president is Trevor Clutterbuck who originally planned on being a lawyer instead is managing a Community Supported Agricultural subscription program which has grown to over 1000 people receiving bags of locally grown food during the 22 week growing season.  Their mission is to provide locally grown food from 100 farmers in our area to the consumer when it is fresh, ripe, and of the highest quality.

Talking to Trevor he came up with a plan that Redeemer Crisis Center will for 22 weeks starting in June until November weekly receive the best of Ohio locally grown fruits and vegetables. Fresh Fork Market will also donate to the center if they have overages of food after filling their subscription baskets   It is really a miracle that we will be able to provide the poor in our area the first fruits of the harvest.  The food will be used to provide healthy lunches served at noon during the seven week program for children, take home fruits and vegetables for the 70 children who attend the Bible School, and as nutritious additions to the bags of food given to families on a monthly basis.  Instead of only boxes and cans will be the abundance of the harvest to enrich their diet and their lives.  In addition, Fresh Fork Market will partner with us on programs on cooking, recipe suggestions, and assist us in our efforts to continue this program when the grant money is no longer available. 

This is a win-win situation with the poor receiving nutritious food and our community benefiting by putting $12,000 into the local economy to support employment in our own geographic area.  Thanks to Concordia Lutheran Ministries Foundation for providing us the funds to make this dream a reality for us.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Festival of All Saints

Divinity Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We’re having a double celebration during our worship services on November 3rd and November 4th. It is the final Sunday of our annual stewardship emphasis when we bring our pledge cards forward during the offering. We also celebrate the Festival of All Saints when we commemorate those who have died by lighting a candle for each on our All Saints cross and by a bell choir member tolling a bell.

We remember our family members and friends not for themselves and in themselves, but because of what God has done through them. “When the church praises the saints, it praises God himself, who has tri-umphed through them. Those who are still in the church on earth are supported and encouraged by the fellowship of a throng of witnesses, who fought their way with effort and pain, and who now in the company of the redeemed are watching and supporting the church on earth in its present struggle.” (Philip Pfatteicher)

When I think about that quote, it’s a little scary that my two grandfathers are “watching and supporting” me as I serve “the church on earth in its present struggle.” Not to mention my great-grandfather who had me driving his big flat-bed truck loaded with alfalfa hay to the downtown mounted police and to Northfield and Thistledown when I was 15, before I had a full driver’s license. They would no doubt challenge me to work harder — time is short.

On All Saints Sunday we celebrate eternity where time is not short. Here at Divinity, we’ve had 22 Funer-als since last All Saints Sunday. As always, there will be tears, Kleenexes, and the candles that will be given to families at the conclusion of our worship services.

We join all the saints in praise of Christ, who has turned our graves into the doorway to eternal life. — Pastor Doug

We Remember: 

Marjorie E. Knodel 
Jewel Faieta 
Joseph Tish 
Edward Kurek 
Elizabeth Houk 
Carol Latimer 
Brian David Galgoczy 
Richard L. Stender 
Kathleen Hebebrand 
Dolores Grace Kettler 
Lois May Brugge 
Carol A. Murray 
Elizabeth Miess 
William E. Card, Jr. 
Edward Borkowski 
Dorothy M. Brodek 
Anetta Marie Filbin 
Margaret Campbell 
Kenneth Hebebrand 
Richard Kolp 
Elmira Lydia Tiedt 
Barbara C. Diver 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Joyfully Generous

Dear Divinity Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our Divinity Food Pantry, the room between our fellowship hall (gym) and Tricia’s office, has seen a lot of action in recent months. Our Parish Health Ministry (mostly volunteer nurses) keeps a freezer in our pantry. On a recent Friday night, two of our nurses were making homemade soup in our kitchen to put in our freezer in our pantry. They have done this before, so that when Divinity mem-bers come in for food from our shelves, I can also give them a frozen container of homemade soup, which is much appreciated. Our nurses have also cooked up containers of frozen lasagna, meatloaf, etc. in the past to be handed out to our brothers and sisters in need.

My family happened to arrive on that Friday night to get our directory picture taken just as they were ready to put their soup containers in the freezer. When Marti lifted up the freezer door, the bottom of the freezer was covered with six large foil trays of frozen chicken marked 9/9 — Redeemer. Obviously, the mother-daughter cooking team of Donna DeVault and Debbie Youngmann wouldn’t be available on the 9th and had prepared the main course early. Our Divinity servants have been preparing and serving the 2nd Sunday of the month Redeemer Crisis Center meal for longer than my 9 Divinity years. I advised Marti to stack their soup containers around and on top as we could dig out the large trays of chicken when the time came.

I get to experience the “sadness” when our members’ Social Security checks have run out with a week to go or a job has been lost and then the “abundant joy” of those who give to our pantry or Redeemer, and the joy from those who receive those gifts.

When Jan Jasko, who serves on the Redeemer Crisis Center’s board of directors, stopped by Divinity to pick up two computers that had been donated by one of us to the crisis center, I helped fill her trunk with backpacks, school supplies, clothing, and books that were all given out of our “overflowing generosity.”

It is my hope that as we bring our annual commitment cards to the baptismal font on November 4th, we will do so out of “overflowing generosity and abundant joy” as we continue to support and grow our Divinity ministry.

St. Paul describes the abundant joy and overflowing generosity of the first century church in 2 Corin-thians 8:1-7:
We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; 2for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave ac-cording to their means, and even beyond their means, 4begging us earnestly for the privilege of shar-ing in this ministry to the saints — 5and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, 6so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. 7Now as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you — so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

Join with me in being “joyfully generous.”

Pastor Doug

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Abundant Joy, Overflowing Generosity

For your own self-reflection and to help Pastor Doug prepare his sermons for this fall’s annual stewardship emphasis, you are encouraged to write a short “money autobiography” to be handed in to our Divinity office with or without your name on it. Putting your name on it gives Pastor Doug permission to quote you with your name in his sermons. 

A money autobiography is a rich tool that can provide profound insights into our understanding of abundance, generosity, and stewardship. While it can take many forms, a money autobiography is the reflective responses to a series of questions about the role of money in one’s life. 
In writing your money autobiography, use some or all of the following questions to help you re-member. Return your autobiography to our Di-vinity office A.S.A.P. as kick-off Sunday for our fall stewardship emphasis, “Abundant Joy, Overflowing Generosity” is October 14. 

$ What is your earliest recollection of money? 
$ What is your earliest recollection of earning money? 
$ What is the first thing you did to earn money? 
$ What is the first thing you remember buying with money you earned? 
$ What is your earliest recollection of money in church? 
$ What rituals surrounded money in your childhood home? 
$ What rituals surrounded money in your childhood church? 
$ What were you taught about money in your childhood home? 
$ What were you taught about money in your childhood church? 
$ What does the Bible teach about money? 
$ How does your Christian faith influence your attitude about money and its use? 

~~ Stewardship Committee 

Friday, June 22, 2012

At Ridgeville Corners on August 1, 1922
Born to Alfred and Matilda, a boy baby.
On August 20, 1922, baptized and made new
Destined to be a pastor, just maybe.

Confirmed on March 16, 1936
Then from the farm to the city and Capital University
Where a South Dakota girl was part of the mix,
Who would stand by him through all adversity.

A visit to Princeton Seminary was all it took
For Don to propose and Arlo said, “Yes!”
On June 26, 1948—Arlo took to becoming Don’s cook
And his partner in ministry would be the real test.

A first call to the far country of Montpelier, Ohio
On the yearly salary of 2,400 dollars
A son Peter born living in style
And learning what it means to wear those collars.

In 1954 to Parma Heights Pastor Don arrives
To stay three decades preaching and teaching
A building goes up as the community thrives.
A cross into the sky is reaching.

Rebecca, Rachel, and Nathan are a blessing
Giving always the gift of love
Especially when the children aren’t always meshing
Descending upon us, His dove.

In the 60’s and 70’s, baby boomers fill the pew.
Children growing in that 70’s show
Parents struggling, searching for a clue
Arriving at Divinity with children in tow.

Women now from the pulpit preach
Lutherans and Catholics marry everyday
To the sick and homeless outward to reach
Divinity is here to stay.

Grandchildren and retirement come all too soon
But grand-parenting, golfing, and walking
Keep the mind and body in tune,
Until that day when 90 comes stalking.

God bless Pastor Don and all who turn 90 this year
As we continue this journey from darkness to light
Through the valley we walk with no fear.
With wings like an eagle God lifts us in flight.

Note:  This poem was written by Pastor Doug in honor of Pastor Don and all who turn 90 this year.  We will be celebrating their birthdays on August 5.