Fall Fest Is Coming! Sept 16, 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Join us on Sept 16, 2017 from 10m - 3 pm for Fun, Food, Games and Music!

Enjoy pumpkin decorating, photo corner, scarecrow contest, cake walk - Fun for All Ages! Bring your decorated trikes for a prize! Silent Auction ends at 2:00.

Make an Offer Rummage Sale! All funds go to the ILC Youth programs. Bring a friend - get a prize! All are welcome!.

Immanuel Lutheran Church
630 Adams Street
Wausau, WI  54403

Tell Congress: Freedom of speech must remain guaranteed

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Contact your legislators at the ELCA Action Center!

Congress is considering two dangerous bills that could undermine the work of advocates for a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (H.R. 1697 and S. 720)

and the Combating BDS Act of 2017 (S. 170) are part of a larger effort at the federal and state levels to curb freedom of speech in relation to Israeli government policies with respect to the Occupied Territories.

In July the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote to members of the Senate to urge them to oppose and refrain from co-sponsoring the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. The ACLU writes that “the impacts of the legislation would be antithetical to free speech protections enshrined in the First Amendment.”

As explained by Lara Friedman in the “Legislative Round-Up,” the Israel Anti-Boycott Act would, among other things, “amend core U.S. law regarding foreign boycotts … to make it illegal for U.S. companies to boycott or otherwise discriminate against settlements based on calls by the UN or the EU.” The Combating BDS Act is meant to support state-level anti-BDS legislation “by affirming the legal authority of state and local governments to take tangible actions to counter economic warfare against Israel,” as stated in the news release introducing the bill. The bills imply that opposition to Israel’s practices in the Occupied Territories is the same as being anti-Israel. The ELCA envisions “Israelis and Palestinians co-existing in justice and peace, as citizens of viable and secure Israeli and Palestinian states” and, therefore, rejects any attempt to portray criticism of Israel’s practices in the Occupied Territories as opposition to Israel’s existence. While the ELCA has a policy of not divesting in relation to Israel and Palestine, does not have a policy supporting boycotts of goods manufactured in the Occupied Territories or of Israeli goods and has not called for sanctions, freedom of speech is understood to be a fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Besides the serious problem of curtailing free expression, both bills also conflate Israel and the settlements, erasing the distinction between Israel and its illegal settlements in the West Bank, in contradiction of long-standing U.S. policy and international law.

These bills would put legal obstacles in the way of non-violent peaceful action meant to bring about social change and would legislate against the freedom to make choices in the stewardship of our financial resources.

Contact your members of Congress today. Let them know you oppose the Anti-Boycott Act and the Combating BDS Act that stifle free speech and stand in the way of exercising moral choices in using our financial resources.

Congress is currently on recess and so your members of Congress are more likely to be in their home state right now. We encourage you to reach out to them by email, phone, and/or in person.

For further information:

The Stealth Campaign to Support Settlements – In Congress

The Stealth Campaign to Support Settlements – In States

Israel Anti-Boycott Act Is Unconstitutional Infringement on Free Speech, Attempt to Legitimize Israeli Settlements

Justices Decide for N.A.A.C.P. in Boycott Case

Employing Economic Measures as Nonviolent Tools for Justice in the Israeli-Palestinian Context

Keep on Learning and Growing

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Human beings are learning and growing all of the time. Have you ever had a time in your life when you haven't learned anything new or re-learned anything you sort of knew before? To quit learning is to stagnate and to waste away. But the best human beings are those who find something new to learn or do their entire life.

I was thinking of the value of my Christian liberal arts education the other day as I heard a wonderful four-minute segment on Wisconsin Life on public radio. Jeff Snowbarger, a U-W Stevens Point English professor, was sharing the story of his grandfather, who went from his simple farm roots, to being a lifelong learner. The story was so much like my own life that I felt he had captured some universal truth. Late in life when his grandfather lost his wife to, Alzheimer's, he used poetry and song to deal with his loss. His grandson spoke of how his grandfather's being steeped in literature and poetry in his one-room rural Kansas schoolhouse had shaped his life and helped sustain him in his greatest time of need.

I certainly have found that my early education, both in public school and at church, gave me not only tools for coping in life, but a springboard for continual learning throughout my life. When I have suffered loss, such as that of the death of my parents and brother within two years, I have turned to those psalms and Bible verses and hymns I learned in Sunday School and confirmation. I have also found that journaling , as well as even dabbing into poetry, has offered strength for my soul. But in order to return to the well for sustenance I have had to keep up my learning.  I could not write a poem unless I referenced a source on rhyming and the essence of poetry. I probably first learned these basics in the class where I wrote my first poem on the Packers Ice Bowl in freshman English in 1967,. Still, because of my learning then, I could tap those resources and refresh and renew.

As children were sent to a new school year today, we adults who have long since left formal education may be envious. Just think of what life lessons in learning they will set out upon today and in the days to come. There is something about the beginning of everything, learning the basics, that is thrilling! Yet we who have been through many transitions know that there is just as much learning in the lessons we have learned in life. We also know that those teachers, those mentors in life and faith, still are with us, leading us to learn even more.

 As Christians we are never done learning and growing as well. Each week in worship we share a bit of Scripture cut out of the fabric of God's Word. Those readings and the words we share in a sermon can be a springboard for learning and growing throughout the week. Pick up a devotional book like Christ in Our Home and you can reflect on those texts throughout the week. Go to a study or  book or discussion group and fairly soon you will think you are back in school.  Reflect on the events of the week with your friends, and listen even more than you talk, and you will discover you are right back in school.

I was blessed with an education that began in a small town rural school but took me to two wonderful  liberal arts colleges-- St. Olaf and Marquette. But,regardless of your background, you have had  a lifetime of learning and growing yourself. What's your story? Who was important to you? How do you still drink at the wells of those who went before you, and showed you the way?

 "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18)

For the Good of God's Church

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

            During the last couple of decades there has been a decreasing amount of trust in clergy and the organized denominational church. This is due to lots of reasons. It begins with some substantial and well-publicized abuses by clergy of all kinds of religious groups. But it extends through polarized groups who support only progressive (or liberal) clergy or those who support only conservative clergy and religious groups. This kind of polarization has not been good for the Christian church as a whole, and has led to greater mistrust of clergy and the organized church.

            In reality we know the overwhelmingly vast majority of clergy, as well as the congregations they serve, are trustworthy. They take seriously Jesus’ call to be servants, following after Him.  We also know that polarization leads to taking advantage of the situation to push the agenda of a particular pastor or congregation, leading to “loss of face” of the whole religious establishment in the public eye. The result of this is that followers of Christ fall even farther away from realizing the goal of Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John’s gospel, “to be one as the Father and I are one.”

            What can be done about this growing phenomenon? First, I think that congregations and clergy must increasingly work together for the common good of all.  We must support one another and build each other up. Certainly the loser in the growing lack of trust in clergy and the organized church are people not hearing the Good News of Christ breaking down the walls between us.

            Second, pastors and congregations must work at deterring the polarization effort. Providing forums that reflect different points of view and allowing people to make choices based on information may do this. Education is always a way to defeat any conspiracy efforts aimed at lifting up the conspirators.

            Third, church leaders and training institutions must work harder at equipping clergy and other congregational leaders in faith and ethics. There needs to be spiritual growth to undergird the ethics of church leaders during the whole careers of pastors and lay professionals.

            Fourth, there needs to be stronger encouragement for pastors and other church leaders to be involved in collegial activities and events. The greatest way to defeat negativity leading to loss of trust and value is to keep all professionals involved in the social crossroads of leadership so that they do not isolate and become polarized.

            Fifth, greater effort must be taken to support pastors and lay professionals in their personal lives, as well as their own congregations. The family and other support systems keep clergy and lay professionals healthy and happy. It leads to a greater cementing of a relationship with any larger group.

            During my thirty-eight year career as parish pastor almost all clergy and lay professionals I have known have been trustworthy, dependable, loyal, and wanting what’s best for their congregations and synods and the larger church. It is too bad when some bad apples spoil it for everyone.  For the sake of the gospel and the larger church, we must take greater, preventive measures to polish up the apples. Those make up almost the entire bushel basket.  We must all stay connected to the Vine and to the branches so that we may produce more and better fruit.  The next generation of leaders, as well as the future of the church, is at stake. 


                                                                                                                                               Pastor Roger Black

Our Faith in God overcomes any Anxiety

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

We live in a world that makes us increasingly anxious. It has led us to regard violent acts as commonplace, uncivil rhetoric as speaking one's mind, and entitlement as a way of life. It leads us to respond in one of two ways: either we become angry with the loss of rationality in the world or we accept it as just the way it is today. Both ways effect us in traumatic ways. We are gradually moved from our identity as people who are seeking to live faithfully in response to God's grace. We react, instead of proactively seeking to live according to being a follower of Christ, as a servant of God.

How can we best function in today's environment? We can begin by acknowledging that as mature individuals anxiety does not have to overtake us. Jesus' words in Matthew 6 "do not be anxious about tomorrow" are words for us today. Putting our faith in God is the antidote to anxiety. However, blind trust will not exhibit our maturity. Rather, we should acknowledge, as Luther did, that "we have God, the mighty fortress" to defend us even when our enemies threaten us. There are difficult matters and situations in our world that we need to work to change. At the same time our ultimate destiny is secure, which qualms our anxiety.

Second, we can turn off or "turn the volume down" on the forces that fuel our anxiety. Communication media do want to "fuel the fire" because it leads us to follow their line of thinking with daily or hourly notice of them. We are free to decide what voices come into our environment at any time. We also need to be wary of following one way of thinking without giving some time to alternative ways of thinking. Freedom is both an American and a Scriptural principle.

Third, we can seek to find balance in our everyday living. What frees me from the anxiety thrust upon me is a daily mindfulness, a practice of seeking God's presence in the most helpful ways to me. For other people of faith it may be silence, prayer, meditation, reading Scripture, reading thoughtful books, or something else. I find that even daily (or at least regular) exercise begins to free me from being overwhelmed by any anxiety that comes from the outside.

Each of us needs to be intentional in our own way about seeking to grow in our faith. We can worship God in a more regular way, being strengthened by the community of faith. We can tap into those resources of faith that may be there in our lives since our early Sunday School or confirmation days-- memorized psalms, memorized verses, hymns, and spiritual growth books. We can find new ways of growing, such as popular Christian music or communication with friends and family through social media. We can take on a new habit of journaling our feelings and connecting our musings with our resources of faith. The important thing is to not feel out of control, but to know that we are safe and secure in our relationship to God.

Resetting our priorities of faith is the best antidote to any situation of increased anxiety. It is important that we put first things first, our faith in God and love of neighbor, and then everything else we encounter can be managed day by day.


""Day by day, your mercies, Lord, attend me, bringing comfort to my anxious soul. Day by day, the blessings, Lord, you send me draw me nearer to my heav'nly goal....Day by day, no matter what betide me, you will hold me ever in your hand. Savior, with your presence here to guide me, I will reach at last the promised land."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             (Carolina Sandell Berg) 


                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rev. Roger Black (8/10/2016)

Welcome to Our New Web Site!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Check Here for Everything going on at Immanuel Lutheran Church of Wausau

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