Bethlehem Lutheran Church

The Heart of Bay Ridge
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Sunday Service 10:30am
4th & Ovington Avenues
Brooklyn NY  11209
Dear Members and Friends,

​The apostle Paul certainly was a central figure in the early church. He brought Christianity to the Gentile world, starting churches wherever he journeyed. We know of many of these churches because of the letters that Paul wrote to them. He uplifted and admonished these Christian communities with his words. Paul did not work by himself, however. Most of his letters end with final greetings to people that don’t get much publicity at all. In his letter to the Colossians for example, Paul ends by greeting and thanking ten people for their assistance. Paul mentions Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark the cousin of Barnabus, Justus, Epaphras, Luke the beloved physician, Demas, Nympha, and Archippus. Quite possibly, Luke, the gospel writer is the only familiar name in this group.

The point I am making is that ministry is a group effort. It requires the dedication and service of beloved members of God’s family here in this world. At Bethlehem, we are blessed with so many people willing to give their time and attention to carrying out the good work that we do. At the end of this month, two extraordinary women will be stepping down from their critical roles here at Bethlehem. Joanne Creen has been our Administrative Professional (aka Church Secretary) for the last 17 years and Antonia Clemente has been the Executive Director of The Healing Center for its entire 22 year history.

Joanne has worked behind the scenes to handle both church work and school work. The Sunday bulletin and the monthly Beth Star only scratch the surface of the volume of work Joanne accomplishes in the office. Most of you are familiar with my comment that, “I just show up.” This is more true than you realize, because Joanne simply takes care of everything. We truly have been blessed to have Joanne with us all these years.

Antonia received a small grant to begin a ministry to assist abused women in 2000. She has grown this mission into a well respected agency throughout Brooklyn, that assists children, teens, women and older adults who are impacted by violence in their relationships. Stories of support and healing occur every day at The Healing Center and it all began with a strong woman of faith who wanted to make a difference in the lives of people suffering in silence. Antonia and The Healing Center came to Bethlehem in 2008, and we have been blessed by their partnership with us.

During this month, when you run into these wonderful women, please be sure to thank them for helping the ministry of Bethlehem Lutheran Church thrive over these last two decades. The apostle Paul ended his letters by offering his thanksgiving and love to those who helped him in service to the risen Lord. Let us do the same.

In the Lord's service,

Rev. Paul H. Knudsen
Pastor Paul's June Message
Bethlehem Lutheran Church ®  |  4th & Ovington Avenues, Brooklyn NY 11209  |  718.748.9502
A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)