Zion Lutheran Church In Fairview To Host Christmas Concert This Sunday
December 8, 2021 | View PDF
God speaks through music and art according to Zion Lutheran Church pastor Tim O'Shields. Everyone has the opportunity to feel the season in all its glory this Sunday, Dec. 12 as the church presents its Christmas Concert at 4 p.m. MST. Enjoy music by Sunrise Brass, Allyson Schriver, Renana and youth singers; be uplifted by bible reading and congregational hymns; and soak up the Christmas spirit in the ceremonial 'Hanging of the Greens', a religious symbolism of the word made flesh and God's everlasting love. A bake sale and reception will follow.
Zion Lutheran Church is also the temporary home to an awe-inspiring collection of almost 100 nativity displays, some owned by Pastor Tim, others by congregants. Large and small, ornate and simple, quilts and banners, each item portrays the Christmas story and also has a personal story behind it. "We are joined in telling the Christmas story," Pastor Tim said. "It's the most important one to our faith. It's exciting and ultimately leads to Jesus dying for us, giving us everlasting life. I love the Christmas story!" He also said that different things speak to people in different ways and perhaps someone may grasp the story through the displays. The public is welcome to view the collection by attending Sunday service at 9 a.m., Wednesday evening service at 6 p.m., or Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Pastor Tim, who has been leading the flock at Zion since May 2021, had a bit of a circuitous route to his true calling. Born in South Carolina and raised with a very strong religious faith, he also loves music and studied piano and organ from when he was barely able to reach the pedals through college. However, he became a chemist for twenty years as a solid profession and one, which he enjoyed. After the company he worked for was bought out and he was let go, he found himself questioning what he really wanted to do with his life.
Having worked in various churches his entire life, it seemed like a natural fit for him to apply for the position as music director at First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea, MN. He was accepted and started his new career in 2014. With huge congregations and resources, he was able to use his musical abilities to help spread the word of God. While extremely busy with his music duties, Pastor Tim took the next, and maybe inevitable leap, to his current vocation by attending Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. He served as pastor in Albert Lea and in Spokane, WA and was ordained in April 2021.
Fortunately for Fairview, he answered the call to become pastor at Zion due in large part to a very creative and heartfelt video narrated by Ryan Kopp with the a cappela group Renana in the background extolling the beauty and character of the congregation and the community. It's been a huge adjustment to a small, very rural community but Pastor Tim says he loves it here. "The people are really kind. It's a good community," he said. He appreciates the fact that people are rallying around different ideas to fulfill the mission of spreading God's word with everyone contributing in whatever ways they can. A lover of music, he mentioned Renana and how you can feel the spirit when they sing. "We're fortunate to have them," he said.
The Church is a busy place with men's prayer group Tuesdays at 6:30 a.m. and women's prayer group Thursdays at 6:30 a.m. Warriors for Christ for K through 6th grade starts after school on Wednesdays and includes kids from all over. The school bus drops off the Eastside School kids right in front of the church, which Pastor Tim really appreciates. "We have a very diverse group, with the flavors of the community. It's really powerful," he stated. At the same time, 7th and 8th graders attend confirmation classes. Luther Lights for 9th grade and up are an active group currently fundraising to attend the ELCA National Youth Gathering in Minneapolis, MN in 2022.
A 30-minute worship service begins at 6 p.m. each Wednesday featuring music, prayer, readings, a short sermon and communion. While the weather cooperated, this service was held in the beautiful courtyard, but is now back indoors and offers a great option for anyone unable to attend Sunday services. "We've had a lot of presence on Wednesdays, lots of people of all ages," Pastor Tim said. "It's a whole different service," he explained. "We use the Narrative Lectionary service on Wednesdays, while the Revised Common Lectionary service is used on Sundays. It gives people the opportunity to choose depending on what's speaking to them."
Pastor Tim is happy to lead the congregation at Zion but is humble in his role. "They (the congregation) realize it's not me, it's God's mission. He leads and guides us. If we have the prayerful sense to follow God, He will lead us." He finds his mission challenging and gratifying. "God didn't make me a preacher, God worked to get me here," he explained. "This is holy ground, dealing with sick people and death as well as the joys of baptisms and weddings. You must be engaged and present 24/7 and I'm always available."