Ponderings from Pastor Juli
Newsletter for May 2020
We’ve heard a lot of words used to describe the times we are living through in the midst of this pandemic which goes by the name Covid-19 or coronavirus. After more than two months of our
church being closed, with no clear re-open date yet determined, with restrictions on our movement and activities, with instructions to wear masks, wash our hands frequently and keep our distance from one another – we recognize that it may be several months yet before we can get back to
anything that may resemble “business as usual”. We have heard this time being described as being an “unprecedented”
“challenging”, “extraordinary”, “uncertain”, and “trying” to name a few of the commonly used adjectives. Those who are a little
more creative may use more descriptive terms like “bizarre”, “unparalleled”, “arduous”, “demanding”, “stressful”, “taxing” – and
just plain “hard.” And no matter how you speak of these days – we recognize them as days we are learning to live through –
just like others have lived through other difficult days – like the polio scare, like wars, like September 11, like the Great
Depression, to name just a few. Never in my lifetime have I seen such crushing unemployment, such devastating death, such
concern for the hungry, such grassroots responses to making masks and such creativity in finding ways to connect with one
another despite the barriers and hurdles we have to overcome.
This is an unusual time with its own peculiar vocabulary, of social distancing and flattening the curve, and “soft” re-openings.
But it occurs to me that there are other words for this time too – words that maybe don’t get spoken often enough – words that
are invaluable for this “unprecedented” time…words like benediction (to speak a good word), and companion (one who shares
bread with another), and peace.
Another word that comes to mind is “alleluia”! This is the Easter word that comes to life when we proclaim the good news that
Christ is Risen – He is Risen Indeed – Alleluia! We are familiar with that word, but maybe don’t really know what it means.
Alleluia means “God be praised!” I like to think of it as a word of highest praise – expressing the fullest gratitude we can
imagine. Like when my grandmother, who grew up speaking German, would get frustrated about something not going well –
and she would utter the words, “Ach, Himmel!” I always thought that was just some gibberish she used (instead of what she
might have wanted to say) to verbalize her frustration. I eventually came to learn that “Ach, Himmel!” literally means, “oh,
heavens!” When faced with a dilemma or a problem that wasn’t easy to solve – Grandma fell back on a different language
which expressed more fully her feelings, maybe even better than some other words in English.
Alleluia is that kind of word for me. Alleluia is the word that comes to mind when there is such great joy, like finding the tomb
to be empty and the possibility of life becoming the new reality. It is like a light shining in the darkness, hope springing from
despair, joy emerging from sorrow, and peace replacing chaos. I suppose there might we some who would argue that
“Alleluia” is a strange word to utter in this days of uncertainty, and fear and death. How can we proclaim, Alleluia -- “God be
praised”? But I would argue that Alelluia is exactly the word we need to proclaim because it expresses our most profound
adoration for all that God is able to do – even bringing life from death. Alleluia is a word of trust, that God is worthy of our p
praise, that God has done marvelous things, that God will never abandon us or leave us orphaned, that God is ever-present,
and ever-vigilant and ever-loving. I can’t think of a better word to share in this particular time.
Alleluia might not be the word we think of in this time, but it is the word we need – the word that holds us together in the
certainty of God’s love and mercy. Alleluia is our word of hope and comfort. Alleluia is the good news we have to share with a
word that is fractured, and afraid. Alleluia! Christ is Risen – He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia!
Some cancellations to note
· The celebration for Pastor Juli’s Ordination Anniversary which was scheduled for May 17 will be postponed until a later day (probably fall), but a specific date has not yet been chosen.
· The Blood Drive scheduled for June 4 has been cancelled.
· The memorial service for Terry Purington which was scheduled for May 5 will be rescheduled for a later date. Notification of that new date will be provided for the congregation when it has been confirmed.
· Garrison Seniors are not currently meeting at the church until further notice.
LWR Challenge: 25 Personal Care Kits
During Lent, our entire congregation was invited to provide items to create 25 personal care kits. With the shortened Lenten
season we may have come up a little short on our goal. We’ll reassess when we get back together again, but in the meantime,
please feel free to continue to bring in items for the kits. Here’s what’s included:
· bath towel (lightweight bath size towel between 20” x 40” & “52’ x 27”, dark color)
· soap 2 bath size bars of soap, any brand, in original wrapping
· toothbrush 1 adult size in its original packaging
(toothbrush multipacks may be used by sealing an individual toothbrush in a business-size envelope; no plastic bags or wrap)
· sturdy comb - remove packaging
· nail clipper - metal, attached file optional, remove packaging
Monetary gifts are also appreciated. Your gifts will be used to purchase additional items for the completion of the kits, for
mailing expenses, or as a general gift to Lutheran World Relief: “Seasons of Hope”. Thank you!
Crow Wing County Landfill Schedule
Maybe you’ve had a little time on your hands to tackle a clean-up project around your home. The Crow Wing County Landfill
can help you get rid of items you not longer want to keep. The Landfill is located at 15728 State Highway 210, Brainerd. If you
need more info contact 218-824-1290 or check out the web at www.crowwing.us and search “Landfill”.
All loads entering the landfill must be covered or a fee will be applied.
$5 for residential
$10 for commercial
Hours of operation
April through October
Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 pm.
ZOOM meetings provide Community Connection
The following Zoom meetings take place each week. For each event, an invitation is sent out and you are invited to join the
meeting. You can attend via phone, tablet or computer. If you need help getting connected to Zoom, give Pastor Juli a call.
Sunday worship at 9 a.m. every Sunday
“Lutheran Coffee” at 9:30 a.m. every Tuesday
Wednesday worship at 12 noon every Wednesday
Friday Prayer Group at 9 a.m. every Friday (this meeting is hosted by Pat Whitney, but let Pastor Juli know you would like to
attend this meeting.
We also meet daily at 10 a.m. (not on Zoom) for prayer. Take a few moments each day to connect through a shared time of
Other ways you’d like to meet? Let Pastor Juli know and we’ll see if we can make it happen!
· for your continued strong financial support for our congregations! Your gifts are greatly appreciated.
· for all who are able to sew masks.
· for all who helped with the roadside clean-up and for the treats which were a wonderful surprise.
· for the lawn mowing crews.
· for all the ways that you are taking care of each other – never has it been more evident that we are the hands and feet of Jesus, bringing hope and peace to the worl
CALLING ALL MASK MAKERS
The song, “Matchmaker” from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” has (strangely) lodged in my head but with slightly altered
Mask Maker, Mask Maker, make me a mask
Find me a find, Catch me a catch,
I need a mask to go out of my home --
So make me a mask of my own.
(I know – might be a touch of cabin fever!) We’re looking for mask makers to prepare a supply of masks for when we are able
to return to church. Can you make 10? We can supply patterns, fabric, and elastic if needed. If you can help out in any of the
following ways – please let me know and I am happy to coordinate this effort.
** I can supply fabric, bias tape or elastic
** I can sew
** I need a pattern
** I need fabric, bias tape or elastic
Light of the Cross April 2020 Newsletter
Ponderings from Pastor Juli
Because I have been managing the Office Coordinator duties until we hire a new person for that position, I was working ahead a couple of weeks ago and prepared the April calendar with all the scheduled activities. It was ready to be printed, just waiting for the rest of the
newsletter to be put together. That was a couple of weeks ago – before the world changed so dramatically. Now
that calendar is useless because we aren’t able to meet together. The coronavirus pandemic gripping our nation
and indeed, the world, has made us re-think everything! This newsletter maybe even seems pointless because you
are used to checking here for details about upcoming events,for committee meetings, or worship, or your date for
serving coffee or soup, and now there are no activities to highlight. You don’t need a calendar for planning
anything. (Hopefully you still want the newsletter for my Ponderings, so that’s why I’m preparing it for you -- but
that’s beside the point).
So much of our world has changed – and nowhere is that more starkly visible than on an empty calendar.
Businesses are closed and no employees are scheduled to work. Orders have been given to stay home, so there
are no appointments (to the salon, or out to lunch with friends, or to one another’s homes for an evening of
fellowship) to put on your personal calendars. Family gatherings are put on hold. There are no concerts or plays
or baseball games or other social activities to put on the calendar. In a way, these empty calendars reflect our
new practice of “social distancing”. What fills the void of those empty blocks is a sense of uncertainty, fear, and
despair. How long will our calendars remain unfilled? When will we get back to “normal”?
I turn to the Psalms when my own life is difficult and my path is unclear, when my spirit is low and I am feeling
lost. Psalm 31 speaks to my spirit in this time, especially verses 14-16: “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You
are my God.” My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. Let your face
shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.” (Verse 21 is also appropriate during this time: “Blessed
be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as a city under siege”).
Our times are in God’s hands. This is a powerful word to us that God is present, that God is active and watchful,
that God’s unwavering love is still protecting us, shielding us, guiding us and holding us. We see so many signs of
God’s love if we are looking for them – in the dedicated and sacrificial work of medical personnel providing care
for the sick, in the meals prepared and delivered to children who are unable to receive their meals now at school,
in the phone calls and emails that keep people connected, in words of encouragement and prayers of hope, in the
sewing of masks, and the expressions of appreciation for all making extra efforts to be helpful. The calendar may
bempty – but our time is in God’s hand and GOD is filling those empty boxes with hope, with gratitude, with light
and with love…and now, maybe because those calendar boxes are empty, we have time to appreciate God’s
activity with new eyes and ears and hearts.
Some cancellations to note
The celebration for Pastor Juli’s Ordination Anniversary which was scheduled for May 17 will be postponed until a later day (probably fall), but a specific date has not yet been chosen.
The last of the “Together Here” Workshops scheduled for April 28 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Brainerd.
The memorial service for Terry Purington which was scheduled for May 5 will be rescheduled for a later date. Notification of that new date will be provided for the congregation when it has been confirmed.
The Synod Assembly for the Northeastern Minnesota Synod which was scheduled for May 1,2,3 in Duluth will be postponed until the fall. Because this year’s assembly included the election of a bishop, this business will need to be completed at the assembly, but an abbreviated agenda is anticipated. Another location is also being considered.
LWR Challenge: 25 Personal Care Kits
During Lent, our entire congregation was invited to provide items to create 25 personal care kits. With the
shortened Lenten season we may have come up a little short on our goal. We’ll reassess when we get back
together again, but in the meantime, please feel free to continue to bring in items for the kits. Here’s what’s
bath towel (lightweight bath size towel between 20” x 40” & “52’ x 27”, dark color)
soap 2 bath size bars of soap, any brand, in original wrapping
toothbrush 1 adult size in its original packaging
(toothbrush multipacks may be used by sealing an individual toothbrush in a business-size envelope; no plastic
bags or wrap)
sturdy comb - remove packaging
nail clipper - metal, attached file optional, remove packaging
Monetary gifts are also appreciated. Your gifts will be used to purchase additional items for the completion of the
kits, for mailing expenses, or as a general gift to Lutheran World Relief: “Seasons of Hope”. Thank you!
Thank you Office Volunteers
Thank you to the following people who have helped to cover the office responsibilities during February: Bobbie
Germanson, Linda Augustson, Jan Gatz, Ruth Krautbauer, Judi Sebeck and Mary Ramaley. Your assistance is
June 2019 Newsletter
Ponderings from Pastor Juli
(parts excerpted from the Together Here report for the 2019 Synod Assembly)
One of the significant aspects of our synod’s work is in the area of restoring and developing relationships with the Indigenous communities, especially those within our synod. I felt it was important to share parts of their report presented to the recent synod assembly.
At the synod assembly in 2017, our synod passed a resolution to repudiate the doctrine of discovery and host a service of repentance and reconciliation. Out of that resolution the Together Here team was created, with the purpose of engaging in the ministry of mutual accompaniment through a process of learning, listening and relationship building between our communities of faith and the Indigenous communities within our synod.
The ongoing and evolving goals of Together Here are:
· To walk with our faith communities as we form a shared historical perspective with our Indigenous neighbors,
· To guide our faith communities as God stirs our hearts into authentic repentance of the divisions caused by systematic oppression of which the doctrine of discovery was a piece
· To work with our faith communities to build authentic relationships with our Indigenous neighbors,
· To engage our faith communities in deep listening of Indigenous peoples through a process of truth telling and healing, and
· To prepare our faith communities to participate in ceremonies of healing led by Indigenous people within their own traditions as they deem appropriate then invite Indigenous communities to participate in an appropriate ECLA synodical ceremony of repentance and reconciliation.
Together Here is planning a number of workshops over the course of the next 11 months with the goal of providing space where people throughout our synod can get to know the stories of those living in our communities. The series creates opportunities to learn and discuss experiences and shared histories in order for us to see each other with the hearts of neighbors rather than through the eyes of strangers.
Trinity Lutheran in Brainerd will host these workshops in our area on the 4th Tuesday of each month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. A schedule of topics will be posted on the bulletin board and I will try to include each monthly topic in the newsletter.
The first event will take place on June 26 and will be a “Blanket Exercise”. This is an interactive experience that raises awareness of the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous and no-Indigenous peoples in the United States. The experience is designed to increase knowledge about the laws, policies, and programs used during nation building that have impacted Indigenous people’s rights and self-governance by literally walking participants through our shared history with a different perspective. During the experience, participants are provided the opportunity to form a common memory and begin conversation about how we can build intercultural bridges together
I am planning to attend these workshops and would welcome any other interested individuals to join me. I am proud of the work of our synod in this area, and I encourage your prayers for the work of the Together Here team.
Last summer we tried out a new event called “Campfire Conversations” which met on Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. Part faith discussion, part Bible study, part worship, this mid-week gathering met at the campfire (or inside if the weather didn’t cooperate) for about an hour on Wednesday evenings. This informal time together was well-received as we enjoyed being outside in nature and sharing with one another how God has been active in our lives. Those gatherings will continue this summer and we invite you to return, or to try it out for the first time. The Campfire Conversations will return this summer, but they will not occur every week. Please note the schedule below with some possible themes:
June 12 Resentment (The elder brother in Luke’s prodigal son parable)
June 19 Humility
July 3 Doormat versus Servant
July 10 Wealth – what makes someone rich?
July 17 Accompaniment – how do we we “walk with” others?
August 14 Regret
August 21 Saints
August 28 Perseverance
Sincere thanks to everyone for your prayers and concern for our grandson, Cameron (Linders). We truly are thankful for your love shown to our family. Cameron, age 14, is a miracle child – he’s back in school with a good prognosis. Thank You!
Denny & Sharon Linders
5th Annual Mille Lacs Lake Area Operation Community Connect (OCC)
Mille Lacs Area Health Foundation and Mille Lacs Health System along with area businesses, organizations, county agencies, and churches are hosting this one-day event which is designed to connect families and individuals of all ages to local resources, jobs, information, housing and other services.
Last year over 100 community members attended. This event s free and open to everyone. Included are free hygiene packages, children’s tennis shoes, and a meal. Also provided are free dental services for children and pregnant women, a car seat clinic, and a discount for Ruby’s Pantry. Volunteers are also needed. Here’s the specific information you need to attend or encourage someone else to attend:
Mille Lacs Lake Area Operation Community Connct
Monday, June 3, 2019
Onamia Elementary School
35465 125th Ave
Onamia, MN 56359
For more information, please contact Diane Seefeld 320-532-2604 or email her at email@example.com
Lakes Area Unlimited Learning
Need to boost those brain cells? Lakes Area Unlimited Learning can help. With monthly programs on a variety of topics you can join your friends for a little educational stimuli. Lakes Area Unlimited Learning is a non-profit with a mission of fulfilling the need for social connection and learning opportunities for inquiring minds. Briefly, the details on the summer programs are listed below. The sessions run for 2 hours, and the cost for non-members is $5. All programs take place in the Conference Center at Heartwood Senior Living in Crosby.
June 11: The Most Magical Bird in the World: The Common Loon (1:30-3:30)
July 9: “The Search for Economic Justice: Radicalism on the Cuyuna Iron Range” by
Pamela Brundfelt (historian and retired instructor at Vermilion Community
College. (time not known)
August 13: Recent developments in International Politics by Tom Hanson (currently a
Diplomat in residence at the Alworth Institute for International Affairs at the
University of Minnesota – Duluth) (time not known)
For more detailed information talk to Margaret or Tom Lunacek or take a look at the brochure on the kiosk. Website: www.UnlimitedLearning.net
Helpers are needed for all our church’s activities during play days!
· There is interest in having the rummage sale and a sign up sheet is available at the Volunteer Table so you ca indicate your willingness to help.
· We will provide a float for the parade – helpers needed to decorate and undecorate the float as well as to walk in the parade.
· On Sunday, we will share the Tent Service with Community Alliance church. We
are responsible for providing special music – for a couple of places within the
service – let Pastor Juli know you’d be willing to do this.
Synod Assembly Highlights
Bob and Kay Rocheford, along with Pastor Juli, attended the Northeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly in Duluth on May 3-5. Here are some of the highlights:
Did you know…
· Our theme this year was Just Peace Accompaniment: Doing God’s Mission Together
· We enjoyed ELCA Glocal (yes, spelled correctly) musicians and educators shared music in worship and workshops
· We heard presentations from guests from our Companion Synod in India (South Andhra Lutheran Church)
· In his sermon, Bishop Tom Aitken highlighted the gift of accompaniment we have in our companion synods in India, Honduras and Russia
· Catherine Anderson, our synod’s Coordinator for Youth Ministry stressed the importance of faith communities being places of unconditional love, grace and mercy – announcing a new mental health initiative and providing resource kits for every congregation, encouraging them to begin important conversations with youth about anxiety, depression and suicide.
· Our congregation received recognition (among other congregations) for giving just over $12 per confirmed member to World Hunger
· A Bishop Election Committee has been formed and they have already begun preparations for the election of a new bishop at next year’s synod assembly. (Bishop Tom will complete his second term and cannot be re-elected)
· Major items of business included the passing of resolutions on Migrants at the United States-Mexican Border, Companion Synod Support, Opposing Conversion Therapy and a Commitment toward Gender Justice: Call to Repentance as well as approving the 2020 Compensation and Benefits Guidelines and the 2020 Budget
· that $4,647.50 was raised through the Marketplace for ELCA World Hunger
· and that $9,545.00 was raised from the Quilt Auction for ELCA World Hunger (thanks to Ruth Krautbauer for donating the baby quilt that raised $75).
· Next year’s assembly will be held at the DECC in Duluth on May 1-3 and will include the election of a bishop, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the ordination of women, and Pastor Juli’s 35th anniversary of ordination. You might want to be the Voting Member for this extraordinary event next year!
We are in need of someone who has an interest in preserving our congregation’s history by taking pictures of significant events here. This does not have to be just one person, but we are seeking to have a more coordinated effort in this area. If this sparks your creativity or interest, talk to Pastor Juli and we’ll see what kinds of resources you need.
Salem WEST & The Mustard Seed in Deerwood
Summer is often a time for unloading usable items you no longer want or need. Salem WEST and The Mustard Seed in Deerwood are great places to make a donation. Salem WEST works in partnership with local Social Services and non-profit agencies to assist individuals and families in our communities. Here’s a handy reference about what they can and cannot use.
All items must be from a smoke-free home.
Items not accepted
· hide-a-beds, recliner couches
· particle/pressboard items – microwave carts, entertainment centers, bookcases
· electronics such as TV, VCR, computers, printers, copy machines
· Mini blinds, vertical blinds, curtain rods
· Car seats/booster seats
· Beds: queen, full, twin mattresses/boxes/frames, toddler beds, Pack n Plays
· Furniture: couches, loveseats, futons, living room chairs, recliners, end tables, coffee tables, lamps, bookshelves, small desks/computer desks, desk chairs, kitchen/dining room tables and chairs, night stands, TV stands, dressers
· Linens: all sizes of bedding (comforters, sheets, blankets, mattress protectors) including toddler/crib; kitchen towels, dish rags, pot holders, bath towels, wash cloths, hand towels, shower curtains, throw rugs, area rugs throw blankets, curtain panels, pillows (No feather)
· Household: dish sets, glasses, silverware, pots and pans, bakeware, kitchen utensils, toasters, coffee makers, blenders, crock pots, microwaves, mixers, dish drainers, storage containers, vacuums, NEW mops/brooms, dustpans, trash cans
· Baby items: High chairs, strollers, bouncers, booster seats, baby swings, diapers, wipes
· Clothing: Clothing and shoes be free of rips, holes, and stains and in good condition.
They also accept books, toys, craft supplies, jewelry, tools, home décor items, seasonal and holiday decorations.