Ash Wednesday service will be on Wednesday, February 14 at 7:00pm with Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes.
Mid Nov. – Sunday, December 1
Every November First Lutheran has an opportunity to share blessings with children who are less fortunate than us. The Adopt-a-Family Christmas is coordinated through Le Sueur County Human Services. They identify families in our county who could use our help getting their children some new clothes. Each year, the number of children in need has grown. We expect this year to be no different. Organizations and churches "adopt" and shop for the chosen children. Our congregation will have 8 families to purchase gifts for.
Beginning mid November, you will be able to choose a gift tag from the Giving Tree in the Gathering space or the Sign-Up Genius online posted on our website. We’ll share the link by email, on our FLC homepage, and on our social media as well. Make note of the gift number as well as their wishes!
Then, start shopping! Don’t wrap your gifts, but do include a gift receipt with your purchases if possible. Each gift will be numbered, so when you drop off your gifts, please include the gift number! That way we’ll be sure to get your gift to the right family!
This year, we will once again be able to drop off gifts at church under the Giving Tree. The last day for dropping off gifts is December 1st. If for some reason you are unable to do your shopping by the deadline, please let us know
So here’s the process:
Cash donations are accepted as well; send or drop them off at church labeled for Adopt a Family or use an envelope with that label. FLC will shop for any wishes left on the Signup Genius with those donations.
Several children will give us their Christmas wishes for the basics: coats, hats, mittens, shoes, boots, socks and other clothing. Thanks, in advance, for helping to make their wishes come true!
The ELCA has just initiated the “Truth in Healing Movement.” The ELCA “Truth in Healing Movement” website states " Over the next months this page will provide opportunities to learn the true history and current realities of Indigenous people. It is these truths, truths that have been ignored by most for hundreds of years, that will bring healing for both Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people.” This website has many links to upcoming free webinars, articles, and resources to engage with.
The ELCA’s “Truth in Healing Movementment builds upon prior work including the 1993 church wide assembly adoption of a Social Statement: FREED IN CHRIST: RACE, ETHNICITY, AND CULTURE stating “Scripture tells of a diverse people reconciled to God through the blood of the cross, a people set free for the work of reconciliation. It heralds a new freedom and future in one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
The ELCA online article “For Such a Time as This” Pray. Fast. Act. SUPPORTING AND PROTECTING INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, states "We accept and understand our responsibility to all humanity—to care for, protect, advocate for all, and work to right the wrongs that have at times been inflicted on others even from our hands. We confess that the treatment of our indigenous brothers and sisters has a history of unfairness. Numerous treaties, statutes, and court decisions have created a fundamental contract between tribal nations and the United States: tribes ceded millions of acres of land that made the United States what it is today, and in return tribes have the right of continued self-government and the right to exist as distinct peoples on their own lands."
Feed My Starving Children Meal Packing
This year God’s Work Our Hands (GWOH) celebrates a 10th anniversary. Over the years we at First Lutheran have done a whole variety of projects in accordance with this day of service on the Sunday of GWOH. This year brings some slight changes: as part of the 10th anniversary Social Ministry Committee determined a large group project would be a great idea. So on Saturday, September 9th at 9am we have reserved 75 spaces for our congregation to gather and pack meals at the Chanhassen Feed My Starving Children Site! This is a multigenerational Volunteer Opportunity and youth as young as 5 years old can volunteer with an adult. Packing meals at Feed My Starving Children is a very rewarding way to serve others. The meals you packed will feed kids, feed spirits and empower communities around the world. The First Lutheran Youth (FLY) packed meals in April, they packed 57,456 meals that feeds 157 kids for a year! Imagine how many meals a large group like ours will be able to pack! Please join us mark your calendars for Saturday, Sept. 9th our food packing session begins at 9am. We can make arrangements to car pool or caravan to the Chanhassen location. You can sign up to join us in three ways:
· Visit the Feed My Starving Children webpage (http://www.fmsc.org ), clink on “Volunteer,” scroll down and use our Join Code: GWB9W3 in the box that says “Looking for a Specific Group,” it will ask you to create a login to complete your reservation to our group.
· Email Becky for a direct weblink to sign up.
· Sign up in the Gathering Area with the Social Ministry Committee.
New Born Kits
Social Ministry is collecting items to pack newborn kits for Global health Ministries. You can donate specific items, you can create full kits to donate and you can make monetary donations for the committee to fill in the gaps on items needed to complete kits. The produce exchange donations are also being used towards the New Born Kit project. Click here is the list of items needed.
July Ministry Focus: Mindfulness
Each Sunday Social Ministry Team will share some Mindfulness tips and resources for you to try during the week.
July 9th: Marsha shares a Breathing technique - 4-7-8 Breathing: Click here.
July 16th: Cathey shares a message about mindful eating, here are some tips:
July 23rd: Pr Sam shares a Mindful Message about Forest Bathing
June Ministry Focus: God’s Doors are Open to Everyone!
"This is Christ’s Church. There is a place for you here. We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as whole person - questions, complexities and all.” www.ELCA.org/lgbtqia
Social Ministry team has created (in accordance with the ELCA's Social Statements) and installed a temporary display for the month of June to intentionally welcome people who historically have been marginalized in the church — especially BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, & people of color), people with disabilities, and people who identify as LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual.) Be Loved.
Jesus calls each and everyone of us to love God and one another, to practice radical hospitality, and to serve all people without exception. We welcome everyone to join us, no matter race, culture, ethnicity, age, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation, physical and mental abilities, socioeconomic position, family status, background, or where you are in your faith journey. Each of us are a unique and beloved child of God. We want you to know each of us are accepted and affirmed just as we are - with all our differences and all our gifts. We commit ourselves to embracing the work of anti-racism, social and economic justice, and environmental care. We invite you to join with us, as through Christ, we joyfully and in-clusively love and serve our community.
An inviting and welcoming church is one of the stated goals for the ELCA, expressed in its strategic document Future Directions 2025. Through the stated priorities of this goal, the ELCA will address discrimination and oppression by equipping and supporting church members to understand, speak out and act against discrimination based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation and social status. The ELCA has many social statements, these are teaching documents that assist members in forming judgements on social issues. They also set policy for the ELCA and guide its advocacy and work as a public church. You can find more information on the ELCA’s website: www.elca.org
Please share in this prayer: Eternal Savior, we have formed cliques and identities that differentiate us from one another. But Living God, in Your eyes there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus. Lord, I pray that we see things like You do, I pray that we see past race, culture, ethnicity, age, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation, physical and men-tal abilities, socioeconomic position, family status, and past all of the labels which we use to divide ourself, one from another. Because our Lord taught us that such labels are unimportant in Your kingdom. Christ shows us that all are God's beloved children, and we declare inclusivity in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
One of the ways that First Lutheran shares God’s Love with the world is through the quilt ministry. It begins with donations of fabric and funds. Dedicated volunteers sew at home turning the donated fabric into multi-colored quilt tops and backs. The donated funds are used to pur-chase batting and other supplies. Once a month, starting at about 9:00 a.m. the church comes alive with the sound of scissors snipping, sewing machines humming and lively conversation. This is when quilt tops, batting and backs are sandwiched together, lovingly tied, then pinned for final sewing at church or at home. Once a year completed quilts are delivered to Lutheran World Relief. From there the quilts are sent somewhere in the world where there are people in need of a warm cover and a reminder of God’s love.
If you are interested in quilting or curious to see how the quilts are made, stop by the church when the quilters are there (fourth Tuesday of each month) and check it out. The quilters would love to show you what they are working on and tell you about the quilts and what they are used for.
Tied in Faith. Sent in Hope. Wrapped in Love.
Our tradition offers many glimpses of hope triumphant over despair… When Martin Luther was asked what he would do if the world were to end tomorrow, he reportedly answered, “I would plant an apple tree today.” When we face today’s crisis, we do not despair. We act. - ELCA Social Statement: Caring for Creation: Vision. Hope. and Justice
April 22nd is Earth Day – a day that many ELCA congregations and communities throughout the U.S. celebrate the gift of God’s Creation. This month, learn how you can make action and advocacy a part of your Earth Day celebration by reading the ELCA’s suggested activities below.
To celebrate the Social Ministry/Outreach Team will be handing out packets of pollinator seeds to everyone in worship on Sunday, April 17th. The seeds in these packets are all native MN plants curated specifically to attract and sustain native pollinators and will cover a 10 square feet plot of garden. Contains a mix of 18 species, perfect for accenting existing garden spaces or a new native planting. By planting native plants for pollinators you are doing your part to heal our earth!
Visit the ELCA.org webpage to learn more about the ELCA Advocacy work related to the environment. Navigate to these two recommended places on the ELCA website:
Surf to learn more about what these organizations associated or partnered with the ELCA are doing.
A prayer for the Earth: Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us fellow workers in your creation. Give us wisdom and reverence to use the resources of nature, so that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (LBW, p. 49)
The Social/Outreach Team has designated the First Lutheran Church Scholarship Program as its focus for the month of February. The purpose of the Scholarship Ministry of FLC is to provide financial support and opportunities to graduating high school seniors desiring to further their academic development by attending an institution of higher learning. As in previous years, the FLC Scholarship Team will coordinate the acceptance of donations and the selection of scholarship recipients. One of the selection criteria for the scholarships is that the student has been active at FLC during their high school years. Since 2009, students have been awarded FLC Scholarships. The team goal for the coming years is to be able to give scholarships of larger amounts to deserving students.
You will find an envelope enclosed with the newsletter specifically for your convenience in contributing. Envelopes will also be available in the media area at the entrance of the church. Donations can be placed in the offering plate, left in the church office or mailed to the church.
Every year generous donations have helped fund the First Lutheran Scholarship Program. In February, a former scholarship recipient will give a Temple Talk at both services to explain the benefits of the program. We thank members for their generous support in the past and ask for your prayers and support that God may continue to bless this program. The team also coordinates the application process for the Johnson Family Scholarship, generously established by the family of Wayne Johnson in honor of the late Donna Johnson.
Scholarship application information and materials for both scholarship opportunities will be mailed to all eligible high school seniors in March.
January - Bible Camp Campership Fund
A week at Bible Camp makes a life-long impression on the lives of girls and boys as they learn about God’s love in an outdoor context. At camp youth form new relationships with kids from other congregations under the guidance of trained college-age camp counselors, they learn new songs and engage in holy play in God’s creation.
We at First Lutheran are pleased that we have been able to provide financial assistance in the form of a "campership" to young people in our congregation who attend various summer Bible camps and other youth leadership events. Last year we had several youths attending.
The fund used for the "Campership" financial assistance has been almost depleted and the special giving in the month of January has been assigned to this need. Thank you for your investment in the faith formation of our youth at First Lutheran!
Poinsettias, Advent 2022—With the Christmas season around the corner, please consider a donation for poinsettia plants to help beautify the church. If you wish to donate towards the poinsettias in honor or in memory of a loved one, please fill out a Christmas Poinsettia envelope included in this newsletter, located in the entry way, or call the church office. A suggestion donation is $15.
This year once the sanctuary poinsettias are paid for the remaining donations will be directed to the ELCA’s AMMPARO. AMMPARO stands for: Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities. This ELCA Ministry was envisioned after witnessing the plight of children who are forced to flee their communities because of complex and interrelated reasons, including chronic violence, poverty, environmental displacement and lack of opportunities in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Due to the ELCA’s connection to companion churches in the region, including companion synod relationships, and existing ministries in the U.S., the ELCA is well-positioned to help ensure that these vulnerable children are protected.
Considered to be a symbol of purity by the ancient Aztecs, Poinsettias became a part of Christmas traditions with their red and green leaves when, in the mid 1830’s, the US Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett brought the plant to the United States.
There is an old Mexican legend about how Poinsettias and Christmas come together, it goes like this:
There was once a poor Mexican girl called Pepita who had no present to give the baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve Services. As Pepita walked to the chapel, sadly, her cousin Pedro tried to cheer her up.
'Pepita', he said "I'm sure that even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves him will make Jesus Happy."
Pepita didn't know what she could give, so she picked a small handful of weeds from the roadside and made them into a small bouquet. She felt embarrassed because she could only give this small present to Jesus. As she walked through the chapel to the altar, she remembered what Pedro had said. She began to feel better, knelt down and put the bouquet at the bottom of the nativity scene. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into bright red flowers, and everyone who saw them were sure they had seen a miracle. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the 'Flores de Noche Buena', or 'Flowers of the Holy Night'.
The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent his purity.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, the ELCA is called to bear witness to the conditions affecting so many communities and to work to find solutions that will acknowledge the humanity in all of God’s children. Join us in making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and families through the AMMPARO Ministry by donating to the First Lutheran Poinsettias.