Christian voices will resound in our worship services as the Bethel Choir premieres Suite Prayers for Our Earth, a new composition by our Minister of Liturgical Worship Zach Busch and Minneapolis songwriter Bret Hesla. The centerpiece of the November 13 services is the first live performance of that choral composition by our organist and choir director Zach Busch entitled “Suite Prayers for our Earth.” There will be an associated music video being produced for this occasion. Their text is the beautiful “Prayer for Our Earth” that concludes Pope Francis’s groundbreaking 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’. It’s a compelling call for all Christians to join in rescuing all creation – our damaged environment and “the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in [God’s] eyes.” Bethel’s Pastor Mike Brown’s sermon and the liturgy will echo and amplify these themes and point to the ways that Jesus shapes our response and care for the creation.
November 20 brings the wisdom of Pastor Joann Conroy, President of the ELCA American Indian/Alaska Native Lutheran Association:
A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, Pastor Joann was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota during a time of great unrest and transition nationally in reservation communities. Her grandmother gave her a Sioux name, Winyan Wakan, meaning Holy Woman, when she was only 13 years old, years before she followed a call to pastoral ministry. She earned a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, and is active in numerous faith-based organizations that seek to build bridges and connections within the faith and beyond. But perhaps most importantly she is the mother of two very successful children and an unabashedly proud grandmother. Pastor Joann believes that her people have much wisdom to share with the wider church for sustainable environmental practices and a spiritually based stewardship for our planet.
Supporting the theme, Bethel’s Fine Arts Committee will display the striking and unique artwork of the late Father John Giuliani during the months of November and December. His award-winning iconographic paintings, which have been exhibited around the world, interpret major figures from the Bible as Native Americans.
This is a Bethel first as the Music Department, Caring for Creation, our social-justice group ACTJAM (A Call to Justice and Mercy), and our Fine Arts Committee collaborate on these events.