If April showers bring May flowers, what comes in June? Well, for the spotlight behind the scenes, that would be to shine on our Financial Secretary Louis McClure! Community Lutheran has been very blessed during this difficult year and our finances have remained healthy. Thanks to Louis, our offerings have been counted and deposited all year so we can focus on our many ministries and keeping the congregation healthy.
Many of you know the McClure family and have seen Julie and Louis’ children grow. Now their youngest, Kyla, is just finishing her first year of Confirmation classes. Some of you may even remember when Louis was the Outreach Chair on the church council! If you’ve had a conversation with him, you would figure Outreach would be a perfect fit for him as he is intelligent, friendly and outgoing. Lucky for us, he is also skilled with numbers and uses his accounting background in his job with Orange County overseeing the financing for large government projects! Put those two positive personality traits together and you have Louis McClure. A real blessing to Community Lutheran! As Financial Secretary, Louis oversees the various teams of offering counters and makes sure it’s all running smoothly. He trains them in any new computer software, takes care of bank deposits for some of the teams and generally makes sure everything is checked and marked as it should be. He works with Tracy Cantin, our Treasurer, to set up good accounting practices. During this past year Louis has shouldered the counting duties himself as we’ve been mindful of social distance and staying close to home. He has been happy to do it and has been able to take a step back and enjoy more family time too. But now as we get back into the swing of things, he will be putting the call out to the counting teams. This is the perfect time for any of you to join in! The job is vital and yet easy: once a month for under an hour in teams of two. If Sunday isn’t convenient, you could even meet Monday or Tuesday to get it done. If you are looking for a way to give some time to church that will easily fit into your schedule, and perhaps meet a new friend, become an offering counter!
Anyone interested in becoming an offering counter may contact Louis at church, or call the church office.
It has been a long year of us not seeing much of each other. I began these Spotlight Behind the Scenes articles to help keep us all connected. But are you as amazed as I am to realize how many activities we are able to pursue thanks to so many wonderful members working behind the scenes? I admit I am impressed! “Awe inspired” is another word for it as I see God at work through so many and am just as heart warmed as ever to be a part of this wonderful church body at Community Lutheran!
It is with an especially big smile that I shine the spotlight on our High School Youth Leadership Team. They are: Tyler Kjar, Megan Hall, Andrew Hirschman, Hayley Hall and Marin Morgan. These dedicated high school students meet monthly to plan youth events and invite youth and friends to participate. You’ve seen them over the years assisting with things at church, like decorating the tables for Advent by Candlelight, serving up good food at the Easter breakfasts, working VBS and all sorts of other things. Some of you might remember their baptism or Confirmation. Well now they are in their own leadership role as they continue to spread God’s Word and help Community Lutheran grow in the community! As I introduce them, I’ll let them finish in their own words so you really can sense the connection and devotion of these delightful young members. Let’s all keep them in our prayers as they continue their faith journey!
Tyler is a Junior at Trabuco Hills and he's been at CLC for as long as he can remember: I really enjoy just being able to come together and talk about things everyone enjoys and being able to help be a part of making a fun time for everyone around. My favorite service opportunity that I did was when I was little and helped plant the fruit trees along the wall in the parking lot. Some of my hobbies are playing volleyball but I also enjoy just playing any kind of sport with my friends and I enjoy watching sports and just being able to hangout with my friends in general.
Megan is a 9th grader at San Juan Hills High School: I have been at CLC for around five years, and I love being on this team because I can grow friendships with my teammates and we can all help with making our little corner of the world better! My favorite service opportunity we have had here is VBS. I love to teach all of the kids about God, because I didn't know much when I was their age and I would have loved to be in VBS at their age. My favorite hobby is playing the drums and my bass guitar. I also love crocheting and golf.
Andrew goes to Santa Margarita Catholic High School: From what I remember I've been going to CLC for about 10 years, It's been great to get to know and create more friendships on our team, It's also a great way for me to get out of the house and spend time giving back to the community with friends, My favorite service opportunity would definitely have to be VBS it's always fun to get to know new kids and give them a really fun week of their summer, A few hobbies of mine are playing video games, running cross country, playing tennis, and making vinyl stickers. :)
Hayley is in 11th grade at San Juan Hills High School and the older sister of Megan : I've been at CLC for about 6 years I think. I love how sometimes the team talks about completely goofy things, but can talk about serious things right after. We can talk about whatever we are feeling. My favorite service opportunity is VBS because I love getting to know the kids and watching them grow and learn throughout the week! They always start off a little shy but most of them open up by the end and it's super fun! My favorite thing to do are go to the beach, make jewelry, and hang out with friends :)
Marin is a sophomore at Trabuco Hills: I've been at CLC for my whole life. I've been baptized here and also confirmed here! The thing I love the most about being on this team is we get to all communicate our opinions on what we think and what we want to take place for our senior high. We get to plan things that we all find joy in doing like hikes, devotions, and many fun games! Probably one of my favorite service opportunities I've done at CLC is definitely VBS. I love getting to interact with all the kids of our church and get to take pictures so that these kids can have these memories of VBS for a long time. I love to paint and create things like scrunchies and necklaces. I also very much enjoy theatre and acting and singing in shows.
Thanks Tyler, Megan, Andrew, Haley, and Marin!
Spring is officially here and for many that means Holy Week, Easter Joy, candy, coloring eggs, family and....Spring Cleaning! So it's only fitting that our April Newsletter shines the bright spotlight behind the scenes onto Kyle Kermoade, our Property Chair on the church council! God certainly did provide when he brought Kyle and his family to us in 2018! Kyle's business relocated him to Lake Forest from Colorado. They tranferred from their Lutheran church in Boulder and found a happy home here. Kyle's wife Danielle and the kids got involved with the children's activities and Danielle joined Heidi on many of the Parish Life events. Kyle jumped into the men's group as well and despite his busy work schedule and travel, he is able to make church and family a priority. They've been a wonderful addition to Community Lutheran!
Kyle has a gift of being able to fix most things himself and has a keen understanding of how things work even if he hadn't done the repair on his own before. So even though he works with high tech laser machinery, he is very adept at the small things too. Many of you with church keys have noticed the door locks are greatly improved! Kyle also has a great eye and sense of style which means that he notices the little things that need repair and refresh even before it's a big problem. Being a busy father of two children and a husband means that he doesn't have as much time to tackle all these things by himself. The good news for the rest of us is that we can all pitch in to help! Some of us may even learn something we can take home to our own abodes. April 10th is the date for the work party. Starting at 8:30am we're all going to spruce up our beautiful church home. Kyle has an easy list for us like grounds cleanup, minor repairs, and touch-up painting so that it's especially ready for all the guests coming to the Spring Boutique! Just a month after that will be the rummage sale so Kyle's effort are very timely.
Here in So Cal, March seems to be the time we all start noticing Spring colors and pretty flowers. So it makes perfect sense that our March Spotlight should focus on our altar flowers! You may have noticed that even during these difficult months we’ve always had a lovely bouquet to grace our altar and that is thanks to our very own administrative assistant Julie Mortensen! Several years ago we did have a florist, but she changed her business to another artistic venture, making soap and bath products. All along though, Julie had been involved in the flowers just by her care of the altar and directing the florist in color choices throughout the changing church seasons. On occasion back then she would need to get the arrangement from a local grocery store and she’d watch the florist build the arrangement. She thought to herself, “I can do that!” Some of you already know it really isn’t that easy. I’ve tried it and found that being creative in one area doesn’t mean I can make a good floral arrangement. We are very blessed that Julie has that talent.
Julie was born in Madison, Wisconsin and moved to California with her family in the early 1970s. They eventually settled in Mission Viejo. Julie returned to this area from the high desert over 23 years ago when her daughter Elizabeth Conner was four. They began attending Community Lutheran when they moved to RSM and Elizabeth was enrolled in Saddleback Children’s Center. Eventually, her job at an electronics company got eliminated and God opened another door for her with a part-time position as a lay assistant to Pastor Greg. When another position opened, it all evolved into her current job running the church office. Besides the administrative work, she lends her knack for DIY projects to anything that needs doing such as stepping up to take on the altar flowers ministry. She is also giving our metal patio furniture new life on the back patio!
If you have a special occasion on the calendar, you might like to sign up for the altar flowers that Sunday. Your offering of $40 helps keep that ministry throughout the year and you get to take home the lovely arrangement after the second service! Julie pays attention to the church seasons and colors so that the arrangement is complimentary to the banners. She keeps it dignified by avoiding bows or extra embellishments and knowing which flowers will hold up and avoiding those with delicate stems. She also has to think outside the box sometimes when certain holidays, like St. Valentine’s Day, take over the market with red roses! Members are welcome to provide an arrangement, should you have a something extra special in mind, but be sure to speak to Julie first to get some guidelines on height and size. She’ll be happy for the break, but it does lend itself to more coordinating to ensure they are on the altar by 8am Sunday morning. To sign up for altar flowers, see the large calendar on the table Sunday mornings, or call or email Julie.
I asked if she had any tips for us at home who might just want to make a little arrangement for ourselves. Her advice is: Trader Joes has great flowers, use the flower food packet that comes with a bouquet, refrigerate your bouquet to keep it fresh, and be sure to change out the water and add a new packet of crystals. I think I’ll just sign up for altar flowers and enjoy taking the bouquet home.
This month’s Behind the Scenes Spotlight shines on our sanctuary tech team! These folks have been working diligently to bring our live stream services out into the worldwide web. To start from scratch was quite a feat for Community Lutheran and we can all be proud of the fact that we didn’t just jump in buying expensive equipment. This project was done carefully so that we built a quality system with what we needed. These faithful members have been involved from the start so that soon, the team will be able to train and add new people to the group.
They are: Pete Mowery, Michelle Taylor, Andrew Hirschman, Owen Berg and Bruce Wolfson. Through their efforts, we have been able to provide services online to our members near and far. You may be fascinated to know that almost half of those who watched our Holden Evening Prayer Advent services were in the UK!
Pete Mowery has worn many hats at Community Lutheran, even a real chef’s hat when he’s been cooking in our Harvest Boutique Cafe, Our Daily Bread, Burgers & Dogs! Currently he is the church council president and is the founding member of the tech team. Pete will tell you that he isn’t really a tech person. He can operate his stereo, car electronics and cell phone, but getting involved in this level of technology was a new experience. He now feels very comfortable with the equipment and is looking forward to incorporating video and other things into the live stream. We are very lucky to have him as it’s his sense of artistry and design that has made this so effective. It was his idea to have transition slides on the screen while the camera is moving into place for the next shot. Not only does it allow for the person at home to get the sense of having the bulletin in their hands, it also keeps the service seamless!
Michelle Taylor is another member of many talents! Our younger members know her as she is Josiah’s right hand with the Confirmation group and the High School Youth. Our youth are very lucky to have someone as fun, dedicated and thoughtful about her faith as Michelle! She brings that same breath of fresh air and joy to the tech team. As a college admissions officer of 30 years, she had spent a lot of time with proprietary technology and software. Working for three different universities in her career gave her a lot of experience with software changes and updates. She says however, the YouTube Studio software is completely different and so one doesn’t need a background in computers to learn to use it. She says a sense of humor helps because just when you get something nailed down, something else goes wrong and keeps you on your toes. One time it was even a camera recall! Now they are really getting a handle on it though and she is excited to see this ministry continue even after worship resumes as normal. She loves the idea that we can reach people who live well beyond Orange County!
Andrew Hirschman is a junior at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. Some of you may even remember his baptism at CLC in 2004. He has been an active member at church leading VBS and also serving on the Baja Missions projects. At school his is on the Tennis and Cross Country teams. He has another passion and that is computers. He loves doing graphic design and creating vinyl stickers and playing video games with his friends. The tech team has been a great opportunity to learn new software and abilities of the computer and he even plans to study Computer Science in college!
Owen Berg is in eighth grade at RSM Intermediate. You may have met him and know him to be a delightful young man, polite and respectful and quick to smile. You may not have know that he has a passion for playing basketball! He also loves going to the beach and bodyboarding. He enjoys filming the services because it opens him up to learning more about filmmaking, while allowing him to take in the service from a whole new perspective. He’s got a great point with that! Being on the tech team is a whole new way to connect with the Word and be active in the service.
Bruce Wolfson is an electrical engineer with a passion for technology and he can tell you, it’s never straightforward when building a system! He has spent his career in Silicon Valley working first in the Electronic Design Automation industry and later moving to the more exciting Networking industry which involves the chips for cell phones and remotes for game systems and everything else you can imagine. Currently he is working with networking in the automotive industry and self driving cars. This combines two passions for him, cars and technology! When his three kids were younger and all in ballet, Bruce filmed, edited and produced the DVD’s of the productions for the Livermore Ballet and Jazz companies. Heidi has a picture of him asleep under 24 pounds of manuals including Final Cut Pro for Dummies! He is enjoying the advances in the equipment and the ease at which we can now produce a live service to be streamed instantaneously into people’s homes.
We are all lucky to have these dedicated members to get this ministry up and running.
Thanks again Pete, Michelle, Andrew, Owen and Bruce!
As we say "Goodbye" to 2020 and welcome the new year, I am excited to introduce you to our own Kathleen Smith! You may already know her as a wonderful addition to our children's ministries such as Vacation Bible School and Children's Church. Kathleen also serves on our Saddleback Children's Center preschool board. She's such a joyful presence in all that she does at Community Lutheran. But did you know that she is also an important addition to the RSM Food Pantry? Community Lutheran is able to help in many ways thanks to Kathleen! She first came to CLC 16 years ago when her daughter was 3 years old and attending the preschool. Kathleen had interviewed a few schools in the area and really liked the vision at Saddleback Children's Center. Soon she was connected at church and her daughter was baptized here!
Kathleen got involved at the RSM Food Pantry over 5 years ago with a few other members. She has seen the food pantry grow under the leadership of Chris O'Connor and now they have a foundation, RSM Cares. Their new location in the parking lot of Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church is fantastic. The pantry is open the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month and you will find Kathleen there to assist. She loves her fellow volunteers and finds this service a joy that she is happy to do. The founder, Chris, knows first-hand what it means to be hungry and worry about feeding your family. His experience led him to start the RSM Food Pantry. His motto is: "Come hungry and leave full!"
Distribution begins at 1 PM and all are welcome so don't be shy if you find yourself needing this assistance! Chris' other motto is "Times, Treasures and Talents." Thanks to Kathleen, we were awarded two ELCA Matthew 25 Grants for the food pantry. The Church of Latter Day Saints and St. John's Episcopal Church are also very involved making it truly a community effort. If you have any questions about volunteering for the RSM Cares Food Pantry, email us at the email@example.com or go to www.belltowerfoundation.org
As we end the calendar year and begin the church year, it is fitting that this month’s Spotlight falls on our Preschool Board President Randy Thompson. Did you even know we had a Saddleback Children's Center Board? You may know Randy better as an usher and father of those delightful boys Kai and Parker. Or you may be familiar with his mastery of the grill. He often tends the BBQ grill for CLC events like the Harvest Boutique and he had an award-winning chili at last year’s Chili Cook-off and Pie Contest!
If you have been a member of CLC long enough, you may remember the work party days where everyone would pitch in to get repairs done and Randy is one of those handy gentlemen. In fact, SCC staff still call on him to make facility repairs and you can imagine what an advantage that is to us all! I would like to get back to those work party days. Doesn’t that sound like a unique event for Parish Life?
Randy grew up in a Lutheran congregation in Minnesota that was very Scandinavian. They even had a service in Swedish. He and his wife Mary came to Community Lutheran and had both of their sons attend the preschool. He has been a board member for almost 8 years even at times when he didn’t have children at SCC. We are very lucky to have Randy on the board as he has a commitment and vision to see more of a connection between the church and school. Pastor Marty and Josiah are marvelous, but imagine how those 100 or so families could be connected if more of our congregation was involved! There are openings waiting to be filled! In normal times, this isn’t a big commitment with bi-monthly board meetings. If any of you would like more information, Randy is always happy to chat.
Have you noticed that the banners in the sanctuary as well as the paraments on the altar change every now and then? Have you wondered who does that? For this month’s Spotlight Behind the Scenes I’d like to introduce you to Scott Kensey. He is the one who maintains the visuals in our sanctuary for the seasons and certain festivals! You may have seen him read or assist with communion on a Sunday. If you come on a Saturday, you may see him ironing! He has a passion for art and architectural history and a love of keeping our sanctuary a reflection of the church seasons.
Before he moved here Scott was at a Lutheran church in the San Fernando Valley where he was head Sacristan and in charge of the banners. They were the ones who suggested he would be good at that! From then on he grew his love for keeping our Father’s House visually inspiring. We are lucky that he brought that passion to Community Lutheran as he has helped maintain our banners, add new ones to cover the whole church year, and expanded our decor for Reformation Sunday and Holy Week!
And thank you to Heidi Wolfson, our "Spotlight" contributor!