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Evalgelical Lutheran Church in America Northeastern Ohio Synod
Letters from Pastor Alan Smearsoll

April 2022

The weather is warming. The sun is setting later in the evening sky. The spring “peepers” are filling the evening time with their chorus. It is finally……dandelion season! J  For some, these are a weed that is quite a nuisance. For others, they are a beautiful yellow flower. For children, they are a flower filled with fun as they blow the seeds and watch them take off and then use the hollow stems to make dandelion chains. It is an edible plant for which there are many recipes, including tea and wine.

The persistence of this plant with its deep roots and far reaching seed is why it was chosen as the name for the church vitality and renewal project in which Emmanuel is participating – “The Dandelion Project.” The Dandelion Team consists of myself, George Spack Jr., Terri Fleming, Haley Hazelbaker, Ron Stanley and Janie Crowl. These were chosen and appointed by Council and commissioned by the church during worship for      service to this project.

The dandelion was chosen to represent this renewal process for a variety of reasons. The root of the dandelion goes deep. It represents discipleship and how God invites us into faith formation, putting down deep, strong spiritual roots. The flower represents storytelling and how we can     celebrate and extend the renewal God brings. The flower’s seed that blows in the wind represents missional theology, helping us to see what God is doing and how God calls the church to be a part of it. It also represents evangelism, the sharing of God’s good news. The leaves represent the community, within our church resides, and encourages us to engage with it.

By now, you have begun to experience some of the work of Emmanuel’s Dandelion Team as we have learned how to recognize and tell of God’s work around us by sharing “God stories” during announcement time. These little stories help all of us to grow in our experience of God with us and, I don’t know about you, but I have begun to be more aware of God’s presence in our daily lives through the telling of these stories.

During Lent, our focus has been on Baptism and the covenant we affirm when we affirm our    baptisms. This has helped us to understand Baptism as a life calling rather than a onetime event.  Baptized, we are active participants in God’s kingdom of justice, peace and mercy. We are Christ’s current day disciples. There is so much more to come as that dandelion seed takes root  in our lives and in our congregation.

The next time you see a dandelion in your front yard, before you cast it off as just a pesky weed, let it be God’s reminder to you that you are a baptized child of God with deep spiritual roots from which springs forth an active faith life that strengthens and vitalizes the church and impacts the people around you in your daily life as the good news of Jesus, by the Spirit’s breath, spreads forth from you in multiple ways.

Pastor Alan 

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To contact us:
Phone: 330-332-5042
Fax: 330-332-4405
Email: lutheran251@gmail.com
251 S. Broadway Avenue
Salem, OH 44460