Worship Sunday at 10:30

Bethany Evangelical
Lutheran Church

Ishpeming, Michigan † Est. 1870

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Pastor's Reflections

“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.” You perhaps recognize those words as part of the theme song from the old Cheers TV show that ran from 1982- 1993. I mentioned in the sermon a couple of weeks ago that the purchase of a “smart” TV in July has changed my life as, among other things, endless hours of viewing many old favorite TV shows is now available. In the case of “Cheers” that’s 275 episodes with no commercials! It was one of my favorite shows, set as it was in a Boston bar with, among other things, the same Larry Bird poster I had displayed in my middle school classroom also hanging on the wall in the back room of the bar. Plus, it had that great theme song with “You want to go where everybody knows your name” as the refrain.

After so many years of not seeing it, Cheers is still pretty funny, but it’s the refrain of the theme song that got my attention. While your friendly neighborhood tavern might be a place where everybody knows your name, and while there are other such places, church is that kind of place too. Obviously, church is about worship of God, learning about the faith and caring for the neighbor, but it’s also a place where a community is formed, something of an extended family where everybody knows your name and…they’re always glad you came.

I suppose we all also have those times when we would just as soon be anonymous, times when we want to be able to go where nobody knows our name. For some that desire for anonymity might even include church and if so there are plenty of large churches you can attend where that can be the case. But, there are also times when you want to go and, I would argue, when you need to go where everybody knows your name because you need support, because you need to know that people care. That’s the kind of support a church community can offer and it’s different; it’s different because it’s support that goes deeper because it represents the presence of God. I know that many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Those who are part of a church community know this and value it, but smaller or even non-existent Sunday Schools are evidence that there are many who don’t know and who don’t see the value. I’m thankful for those young people we do have in Sunday School and Confirmation and for the commitment of their families. They learn from us, but we also learn from them. As for the others, all we can do is extend an invitation and pray that the Holy Spirit moves them to see that when you want to go where everybody knows your name, there are lots of choices, but only the church offers Jesus.

We start Sunday School again on September 8th and with that I think about kids I have seen and continue to see grow up as part of this community we call Bethany Lutheran Church. It may not be that everybody knows their name, but especially for those who are in church fairly regularly, everybody recognizes them, enjoys seeing them and enjoys watching them grow up. For those kids, it gives them another place they can feel safe and welcome, another group of people around whom they can feel safe and welcome and that’s a good thing! Even more important, besides knowing that a lot of people know their name, they also learn that Jesus knows their name.

Pastor Geier


Bethany Lutheran Church
715 Mather Avenue
Ishpeming, MI 49849

Phone: 906-486-4351
Fax: 906-486-9640

Rev. Warren Geier, Pastor

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one such child in my name
welcomes me, and whoever
welcomes me welcomes
not me
but the
one who
sent me.”


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