Faith Weekly: walking on water

300px-Rembrandt_Christ_in_the_Storm_on_the_Lake_of_GalileeEver have a scary experience on the water?

I grew up around water in Michigan and learned to swim well at an early age. But two scary lake moments stand out.

Once, my brothers and I jumped off a pier in Lake Michigan. I was stunned – terrified, really — by how the cold water took my breath away and seized my arms and legs, making it impossible to begin swimming right away.

In the second instance, I was sailing a small boat on Higgins Lake when a violent thunderstorm rolled in quickly, making the boat impossible to handle. Again, I feared that I would at the least lose the boat and maybe more.

Those experiences came to mind in this week’s Gospel reading about Peter’s fear on the water and his cry of “Lord, save me!” Remember, Peter was a fisherman, well-acquainted with life on the water.

What or who quells your fears? In who or what do you trust when fear rolls in?

– Pastor Mark Rollenhagen

Vacation Bible School: July 14-18

zacchaeusMeet Zacchaeus, Jonah, Noah and a few other folks at Vacation Bible School July 14-18.

This year’s VBS, from 9:30 a.m. til noon, features stories, music, crafts, games, and, of course, snacks for kids 4 to 11.  The theme is “Peaceful Kingdom” and it is a collaborative effort of Calvary United Methodist, Faith Lutheran, and Grace Presbyterian Churches and will be held at Faith at the corner of Hilliard Road and Woodward Avenue.

Parents can register their children through any of the churches by using this registration form.


Faith Weekly: The Trinity is like …

Bad analogiesThis Sunday (June 15) we focus on the Holy Trinity.  It’s a difficult concept to grasp and perhaps impossible to hold intellectually.  And yet it is at the core of the Christian faith: the three-in-one, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This little piece of satire pokes fun at our struggle to comprehend and explain the Holy Trinity.  Enjoy it and take a few minutes to read the second reading and the Gospel for Sunday.  They’ll sound familiar: the first includes the words with which we usually begin our worship; the second includes another phrase that I have the joy of reciting each time I baptize someone and that we sometimes use as we begin confession.

This week we ponder, struggle and marvel at the mystery of God and what we mean when we talk about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

God’s peace,

Pastor Mark Rollenhagen

Summer reading

Interested in a good read that encourageBreath Spaces reflection on connections between life and scripture?  Consider Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx, a memoir by Heidi Neumark, an ELCA pastor in New York.

Join a summer conversation about Breathing Space either through Faith’s monthly women’s book group or a larger conversation that will unfold with two gatherings over a meal this summer.

Contact Pastor Rollenhagen for more information.


It’s cool for cats, too

trevorWhile most of the pets at Faith’s pet-friendly worship service are dogs, a few brave cats turn out, too.  All pets (and people) are welcome at the service at 2 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month, including this Sunday (May 4).

Stop in for familiar hymns, scripture, prayer and blessings for pets and their people.


Experience “The Three Days”


The Triduum — the Three Days that lead to Easter morning — opens with worship at 7:30 p.m. on Maundy Thursday.

We gather around a table in the chapel and remember the Last Supper and Jesus’ commandment to love one another before stripping the altar in the sanctuary in preparation for Good Friday.

That worshp service continues at 7:30 p.m. on Good Friday as we reflect on seven words from the cross and extinguish candles until we leave in darkness.  (No communion on Friday.)

On Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m., the Three Days conclude  with the altar surrounded in spring flowers in celebration of the risen Christ.


Be like Jack: Drop in on Sunday


Jack at PAWS - cropped

Jack and Kathy, the person Jack brought with him to church.

Be like Jack Benco and come by our monthly pet-friendly service this Sunday (April 6) at 2 p.m. You don’t have to be a dog or a cat — or even have a dog or a cat — to enjoy this worship opportunity, which includes Holy Communion, scripture and familiar hymns..

This Sunday we’ll particularly remember Max, our Music Director Kent Cicerchi’s longtime friend and companion who passed away a few weeks ago.  You don’t have to be a regular to show up Sunday as we give thanks for Max and all pets who bless our lives.

Please enter through the Hilliard Road door near the driveway.


Wow! What a weekend!!

What a cool weekend that was as we gathered (March 14-16) with our brothers and sisters in Christ in our neighborhood — the folks from Calvary United Methodist and Grace Presbyterian Churches!

My favorite images: the complete circle of people formed along the outside edges of Calvary’s sanctuary Friday evening, candles in hand, joined together in prayers; the buzz and excited conversations (and laughter and joy) in the groups at Faith on Saturday as we considered our future together in Christ; that full, joint choir packing the chancel at Grace on Sunday morning, a nearly even mix of voices from all three congregations.

Good things are sure to unfold as the new southwest Lakewood ecumenical steering group (with three representatives from each congregation) begins meeting shortly after Easter.  Stayed tuned.

Neighborhood ministry retreat

This weekend (March 14-16) we gather for worship, study and reflection with neighbors, Calvary United Methodist and Grace Presbyterian churches.ELCA Logo

The weekend retreat opens at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Calvary with dinner, a talk with the Rev. Faith Fowler, pastor of Cass United Methodist Church and executive director of Cass Community Social Services in Detroit, and evening prayer.

On Saturday, we gather at Faith from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to consider basic needs and issues in southwest Lakewood, Methodist Logohearing first from a panel of Lakewood civic leaders and then breaking into groups to consider how the three congregations might collaborate in responding to the identified needs.

On Sunday, at 10:45 a.m. we worship together at Grace, with Pastor Fowler preaching, and we conclude with a celebratory dinner.

PCUSA LogoRegistration was requested for most portions of the weekend, but all are welcome to worship — and if you’re interested in others portions, stop on by.  A brochure about the retreat can be found here.

God’s peace,

Pastor Mark Rollenhagen


Faith Weekly: Mountaintops

There’s a stretch of I-77 in Virginia that winds through the mountains and offers a spectacular view of the land stretched out below.  Unless the mountaintop is shrouded in a mountain-fog-lthick, cloud-like fog.  Then, traffic slows to a white-knuckle crawl as drivers carefully watch for S-curves and semi-trucks ahead.

Images of clouds and mountain tops come to mind easily in reading this Sunday’s scripture passages.  Moses enters the cloud in the Exodus story, and in the Matthew reading the voice of God emanates from a cloud over the mountaintop where Jesus has climbed with Peter, James and John.

Majestic, mysterious, awesome – and potentially disorienting — things happen on those mountaintops.  And yet they are not the climax or the end of these stories of encounters with God.

The Moses story marks the beginning of a new chapter in God’s relationship with his people.  The same is true as Jesus heads down the mountain to begin his journey to Jerusalem and to the cross.  A journey we all begin anew next week with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

-          Pastor Mark Rollenhagen