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It looks like a regular church but on Dec. 30 it will become a winter wonderland complete with 20 tons of SNOW! Imagine sledding down a snow-covered hill for 60 feet OR picture yourself skiing across a path of snow OR building a snowman! You can do all this and more at WINTERFEST, sponsored by the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection (LCR) in Palm Harbor.
This upcoming event provides many opportunities for both children and adults to experience a “bit of the North”: ice fishing, Florida “snow tires” (throwing snowballs through hanging tires), frozen turkey bowling, skiing, sledding. In addition, there will be crafts, raffles, “ugly sweater contest”, winter scene cake decorating contest, bounce house, snow king and queen, food vendor trucks, and the evening session includes an entirely additional experience: DJ music, dancing, wine/beer garden and much more.
Sessions for this event are 12:30-4:30PM and 6:00 – 10:00PM. Admission per session is $8 per individual (1 session) or $15 for both sessions. A discounted family rate (3 or more persons) is $22 per session or $40 for both sessions.
Proceeds from Winterfest will support the needs of the homeless population and the Youth Ministry so that a group of teens can travel to Houston for hurricane cleanup with 35,000 others from across the country. To volunteer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corporate sponsorships are also available at the silver ($100), bronze ($250), gold ($500) or platinum ($1,000) level: please contact email@example.com. Acknowledgement of all sponsorships will be included in the Winterfest Brochure. Gold and platinum sponsors will also be on the Winterfest tee shirts and large banners around the event.
Crowds are common at LCR. Over 120 groups/organizations from the community gather on the campus over the course of a year and call it home. Numerous scout groups, several HOA’s, 12 step groups, business groups use it as an education center, private parties, polling place. As LCR’s Wednesday Night Out dinner program has gained momentum, over 140 meals are served weekly. An easy and inexpensive way to pick up dinner on the way home (3:45-6:30) through their drive-thru and take out program the flow of cars seems to just keep going. Just call ahead and pick up dinner! (727-678-2898)
Adding to the crowds, the congregation has been growing since 2015 and is picking up speed. While most established mainline congregations are sliding on a declining plateau, LCR is demonstrating how ministry and faith can be fun, energizing, intelligent and inspiring as well as maintaining a sense of centering, seeking spiritual maturity, and wrestling with the challenging issues in the world as well as in people’s personal lives.
Laughter, camaraderie and a strong desire and sense of emotional, spiritual and psychological health is regularly a part of what goes on here and can be felt as groups gather whether for worship or the many church meetings that take place through the week. The music program is expansive with 2 praise bands, large choir, men’s choir, frequent special musicians. LCR’s annual Christmas Concert (free and open to the public) has 3 performances Dec. 2, 3 with a Prime Rib dinner ($15 in advance/$20 at the door) on Saturday. The church is also on the lookout for another school as Esther’s School recently closed its Palm Harbor location due to financial challenges. (LCR neither owned nor operated the school.)
After a significant repair project last year, the congregation will be repairing its Fellowship Hall next to evolve it into a Social Hall complete with catering kitchen. This continues the congregation’s strategy of orienting itself outward and positioning itself as a partner meeting community needs. Other visions the congregation has, including a separate building to be shared with the several hundred families that have scouts active on their campus. The community will also likely notice lighting, safety and security improvements that are planned.
LCR seems somewhat unique in another way, its approach to being and doing ‘church’ includes a strong emphasis on using all the resources God has given in order to find meaning, direction, reconciliation, peace, effectiveness and efficiency in the practice of one’s faith. For example, science, psychology, sociology and many other disciplines are seen as partners in the pursuit of understanding God’s creation and purposes not competitors with alternative answers. Mainline theology sees no conflict between evolution and the Creation stories in the bible since they answer differing questions: science addresses the ‘how and what’ while theology addresses ‘who and why.’ Add to this taking a team approach where the entire ministry does not revolve around the pastor but rather the people collectively engage with the mission God has placed within and in front of them. This creates a permission-giving environment where people are encouraged to pursue their mission/ministry as it fits their giftedness and the community’s need.