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Dear Congregational Family,

I am presently in class, continuing my doctoral studies. This week is an intensive class on the Biblical books of Zechariah, Haggai and Ezra which is of immense delight to me as I have studied, taught and written on those portions of Scripture. It fits right next to the S.S. class I taught last fall on Nehemiah! The post-exilic period of time for God’s people continues to be very instructive for us again today, as we seek to live as God’s restored people, even as a minority, in a culture that is increasingly secularized, politicized, and economized. The good news is that in our fragmented world, where people “stumble in darkness”; the great LIGHT of God continues to shine as God is at work reuniting us to Himself and into the Community of the Body of Christ. That is also the message of the Epiphany Season of the church calendar, which we have now entered into.

Another benefit of this time, is the opportunity to enjoy fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world. Yesterday I was able to eat with the Anglican bishop of Tanzania and to hear of how the church is growing in Africa; as well as to hear of their concerns and challenges in the midst of poverty, the inroads of the false teaching of “prosperity theology,” and of the threat of Islam.

Thank you again for this opportunity of intense study! It is so refreshing to drink deeply of the well of Scripture under the teaching and direction of first class scholars! I look forward to sharing and utilizing much of what I have learned in the months/years to come.

God bless you as we continue,

“Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God”

Pastor Carlson

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