Dear Augustana Lutheran Church Family,
My name is Michael Zumwalt, and as many of you already know, I will be serving as President of Council for the 2021 year. I am humbled to have been asked to do so, and I am excited at the opportunity to play a role in what should be an exciting year ahead of us. I am also honored to be doing so as part of a wonderful congregation family, all of whom care so deeply for the people and programs of this church. And as part of this process, I hope to hear from each of you, from time to time, as to what concerns, comments or suggestions you have to help this church in its continuing commitment to God to “Worship, Grow and Go.”
Even more so, I hope to fill the shoes of my predecessor, Lisa Boe-Sims, who has done a terrific job in helping lead us as president for the past two years. Her passion and commitment to Augustana have been exemplary, and by God’s grace, I will endeavor to carry the torch forward as best I can. Thank you, Lisa!
My daughter, Finley, and I have been members since the spring of 2017, and she was baptized at Augustana the following February. You can see her pictured with Pastor Caitlin on the front cover of our 2018 church directory. We have both fallen in love with our church and enjoy being involved in many of its programs. And we thank you all for helping make this possible.
Livestreaming and in-person worship in 2021
So, what can we expect this coming year? Well, at least over the first half, we will continue to be challenged with handling the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic on a local scale. To this end, I know that we as a church will also continue to be diligent in our efforts to put the safety and health of our members above all other concerns. With that in mind, I still expect that we will be able to worship together in person sometime before the year is out. However, in-person will not be the only connection for our members to participate as we will also have live streaming, which should become active early on. This will be a very nice feature of our worship program, helping members to feel more involved, no matter where they are. It will also be a nice way to introduce new people to our church.
Maintenance updates and oversight
This year will also see a cost-effective improvement to our HVAC system. A new system that will run much more efficiently than the current one we have in place, reducing our overall building costs. In this regard, we as a congregation voted to create a new property manager position, one that should be filled, hopefully by the end of the first half. This person will not only be responsible for managing our facility, and hopefully involved in the new HVAC project, but also responsible for the overseeing of day-to-day operations, building-use contracts, and Seki’s work as well. Such a position should be a cost savings to Augustana simply because of the more efficient management of our property it will provide. But increasing efficiency isn’t the only strategy we have for saving costs. We are aggressively looking at ways to bring more balance to our annual budget, and plan to start enacting these opportunities in 2021.
Hiring a choir director
Along with creating a new position we still have an old position to fill, which is Chancel Choir Director, last held by Dick Larsen until his retirement November 2019. We have had some very capable people step in temporarily to do their best in filling his shoes, but we need a long-term solution. We hope to have that role filled by mid-summer, in time for all of us to experience the choir leading us in worship in the fall. Daniel Romero, our talented new Minister of Music, will be leading the charge. And how blessed we are to have Angela Howard and Marcia Olson continue leading the high level of quality music we enjoy from our youth choirs.
Dakota land project
Last, but not least, is a project close to my heart, which is the building of townhomes on our Dakota property. I have been volunteering nearly two years now on Habitat for Humanity projects, and it has truly been a blessing with immediate rewards of accomplishment. We plan to have a couple of informational meetings coming up in January and February, prior to our Congregational Meeting on February 28, for you to find out more details about this project and ask any questions you might have. Please look for more information concerning dates and content on these meetings. Also, please plan to participate in our February Congregational Meeting when we will ask everyone to vote on moving forward with this initiative.
So, as we look at 2021, we have so much to be excited about, and so much for which we are thankful. I look forward to continuing this journey with you. And in so doing, may we be united in the words of Proverbs 3:5–6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”