The Gift of Green Space
Covered in dust on a dry day, drenched in mud on a wet one, the town of Ross is booming with oil trucks, pipe, trains, campers, and people. At the center of activity lies Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Though it is not large, the church has a patch of bright green grass to the west that stands out among the various shades of brown surrounding it. In an effort to share their gift of green with neighbors, new and old, last spring members placed picnic tables and two 12×4 foot raised garden beds in the yard. The community was invited to harvest the produce, for their own use, as it was ready. This summer a play set was added to the space. This provides a safe place to swing, climb, and slide for kids living in campers and temporary housing units. “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me.” Mark 9:37.
May Christ’s light continue to shine from Bethlehem Lutheran, like a beacon calling others to Him, through clouds of dust and rivers of mud.
Reaching out with Donuts
The last week of October, the Knife River ladies got together and made 15 dozen donuts and many ladies made cookies at home as well. We decided to take trays of these goodies to our neighbors, Whiting Oil Co. and Great Western Resources LC Trucking on Halloween, Oct. 31st, to welcome them to our community with an open invitation to our church as well. These two companies are within 6 miles of our congregation along Highway 8. We made a little standup invitation with the picture of our church and it was very familiar to them as most of them drive by our church every day. They were very appreciative of the goodies and our thoughtfulness of them.
~ Betty Harstad and Women of the Knife River ELCA
Opening the Doors
“Our congregation, Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Ross, ND, has been brainstorming for a long time now as to how to welcome and be of service to our rapidly growing community. Through our efforts of posting fliers with information concerning events and worship times, we have discovered our greatest response comes when we communicate one-to-one by looking each other in the eye.
Because of a personal invite, a gal who was new to our community joined us for Bible Study on Tuesday mornings. Through caring conversations in a group setting, we asked the question, “What is your greatest need… today?” What was craved most was a gathering place.
Many of those new to Ross have come to work in oil-related businesses and many are living in cramped living spaces. In the summer, they can get together outside, but in the cold and snowy months, their homes are too small for more than 6-8 people to gather. On Easter Sunday, we opened our church doors, so they would have a spot to cook a meal and socialize as a group.
A simple gesture on our part, but it meant the world. They were all very appreciative and blessed the local food pantry with a donation to say thanks. Our congregation has put the invite out for folks to come back anytime. To cook a meal, bake some cookies or bread, or for the kids to do homework projects. And, of course, to join us for worship! Easter is a beautiful time for new beginnings. BLC has been blessed to be a blessing. THANKS BE TO GOD!!”– Wayne and Diana Evans