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December 2013- Pat Humphrey

Are you an "Adventophile?"   Reverend Dr. Mark D. Roberts of San Antonio, Texas is.  He is a self-described lover of Advent.  He demonstrates this by setting up an Advent tree in his office and even wearing purple ties during the season to match the Advent wreath candles.       Roberts says he has such a zealous love of Advent for two main reasons.  First, he feels observing Advent enriches his celebration of Christmas.  "Taking time to focus on the hope of Christ's coming made me much more joyful when I finally got to celebrate it."  Secondly Advent seemed to him a good solution to the age-old problem of secular Christmas vs. spiritual Christmas.

Roberts has recommendations on how to become an "Adventophile."  He makes these suggestions: 1. enjoy Advent music 2. let your Nativity scene function as an Advent calendar (adding one piece each) 3. dress for Advent (wear purple!) 4. focus personal devotions on Advent themes 5. do acts of kindness and justice 6. use waiting (in traffic, in check-out lines, etc) as moments of grace We here at Calvary have opportunities to do all of the suggestions above through numerous seasonal activities: the Calvary Family Christmas Festival, the Advent Festival, decorating the sanctuary, the ethnic brunch, the Sunday School Christmas program, Sunday and Wednesday services, etc.

 

You could combine suggestions 1 and 6 above if you would consider this as an invitation to Wednesday Advent Services.  The Senior Choir has been working on a composition by Derric Johnson called A Song, A Star, A Son. The work will be divided into three parts - one for each Wednesday in Advent.  Pastor Oelfke's messages will also revolve around each of those three topics on those evenings.  As an introduction to his composition, Johnson says:

 

"On that first Christmas, God surprised the world with a simple song, a single star, and a special Son; and what a song: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  Just 14 words; simple enough for a child to understand, yet complex enough to keep theologians pondering for centuries.  And only God could have thought of a star - a light from above, untouched by earth.  Just one star, because one is enough for those who look.  God's perfect gift:  His only special Son.  He Himself was the song and the star.  As we gather, we are in one sense all the same: charmed by the good news of the Savior's birth.   What makes us different is our heart's response to the song...and the star...and the Son!"

Remember Reverend Roberts said slowing down and waiting a bit can give you moments of grace.  How about setting aside three hours - just one hour each Wednesday of Advent - to prepare for Christ?  Come and listen to A Son, A Star, A Son.  How about finding some time for the other church activities, too?  Perhaps you could even become an "Adventophile!"

  Pat Humphrey

NOVEMBER COUNCIL CORNER -ART SANBECK

It's November, a month of changes.  Trees aren't covered in red & yellow leaves, but are now bare-branched.  The temperatures start to fall below 

freezing & ice starts forming. It's the end of fall - the harvest season - & the beginning of winter.

Daylight savings time ends & the evenings get longer.  When we have elections, election day falls in November, & our governmental representa-tion might change.  At the end of the month the church season changes as Advent begins.

I recently read a quote by philosopher/theologian Soren Kierkegaard that seemed to fit this theme.   "The function of prayer is not to influence 

God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays."  So, whatever changes this month brings, remember to keep God s the 

constant in your life. 


 Council Corner by Dean Sand  

                                       ABOUT ICE CREAM AND A CHILD'S PRAYER                                        Author Unknown                                                                                                                   Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would thank you even more if Mom gets us Ice Cream for dessert. And liberty and justice for all! Amen!"

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for Ice Cream! Why, I never!"

Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?"

As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."

"Really?" my son asked.

"Cross my heart." Then in theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), "too bad she never asks God for Ice Cream. A little Ice Cream is good for the soul sometimes."

Naturally, I bought my kid Ice Cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life. He picked up his Sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, "Here, this is for you. Ice Cream is good for the soul sometimes and my soul is good already!

Now give your face a chance to relax and smile about this one.

The Sunday School Teacher asks, "Now, Johnny, tell me frankly do you say prayers before eating?" 
"No sir," little Johnny replies, "I don't have to.  My Mom is a good cook."

 

 COUNCIL CORNER SEPTEMBER 2013  

     Time.  Time and again; don't be late, the early bird catches the worm, in due time, time heals, time honored, time tested, in a timely fashion...you get the idea.  We are always talking about time.

    When we are children, time seems to move so slowly (are we there yet?).  As we grow older, it appears to fly by.  Time is a gift from God.  How would He wish us to use it?  By doing His work, of course.

    The recent passing of my mother-in-law got me really thinking about time: how I use it, how I waste it, how much time is left for me?  Am I spending time helping others or caring for God's creation?

    With church activities beginning soon, it's time (that word again) to re-evaluate how our days are spent.  Now is the time to commit our gifts and talents to His work and His people.  Cherish relationships and listen to God's  call to you to get involved.  Continue to be active in areas you have enjoyed over the years or  try something new.  Be willing to stretch your abilities and challenge yourself: sing, teach, run for council, cook, study, pray.  Whatever interests you.  God will be there to guide you.  Give time back to God.- BJ Dalsveen


 COUNCIL CORNER AUGUST 2013  

August - it's nearly the last gasp of summer. Back-to-school sales are being advertised, kids are thinking about the new 

teachers they'll soon see, and families are trying to squeeze a few more trips to the lake and backyard barbecues into the wa ning 

time. All the things that make summer so special are coming to a close and we are eyeing the upcoming fall season. 

Well, believe it or not, as the director of the Senior Choir, I've been thinking about fall music and even Christmas already.

I'm writing this just after meeting with Pastor Dean about Advent and Christmas music. I've been listening to demos sent from 

Christian music publishers, plunking out tunes on the piano, and cleaning out music from the choir files since early July!

Some may say it's a little too obsessive to be think about that music now. As I told Pastor though, that's my personal medi-tative time, too. I read lyrics and learn from their messages, I 

look for melodies that will touch singers and listeners ali ke, and I pray.

As I'm sure you know, there's a statement that says, "He who sings, prays twice." For me that is so true. I'd like to share

with you times that singing your prayers is worthwhile and meaningful.

HAPPY MOMENTS--PRAISE GOD

"The Doxology" or "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" (#858 LBW)     

DIFFICULT MOMENTS--SEEK GOD

"There is a Balm" (#614) or "Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart (#800)   

QUIET MOMENTS--WORSHIP GOD

"Jesus Loves Me" or "In the Cross of Christ I Glory" (#324)       

PAINFUL MOMENTS--TRUST GOD

"Blessed Assurance (#638) or "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" (#697)

So, whether summer is ending, Christmas preparation is looming, or you're just quietly spending time alone  - sing your 

prayers. You're praying twice that way!

Pat Humphrey 



   COUNCIL CORNER  JULY 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Calvary will be doing a refreshment stand at the Kanabec County Fair July 25th -28th again this year selling pop and water.  Last year we raised over $1500, which went to the general fund to help us meet our annual budget.  This year by getting more of the pop and water donated, we are hoping to increase our profit, which will also go in the general fund.  Our goal is to have 2000 items to sell during the fair.  At this time we are far short of this goal but there is still time!  Donations of canned pop or bottled water can be dropped off at the church and left in the Narthex and we will keep them in a secure location until fair time.  If you prefer to make a monetary donation which we would use to purchase pop or water, those can be put in the envelopes found in the pews and please mark them with “Fair Donation.” Also, we will be asking for volunteers to work in the stand during the fair, July 25-28th.  A clipboard will be in the Narthex with three-hour work shifts to sign up for.  Like to people watch?  Well, working in the stand at the fair is a good place to do that!!! God bless you with a safe and fun rest of the summer!

Yours in Christ,

Diane Giese



     COUNCIL CORNER June 2013- Dakota Helmbrecht 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Spring is finally here!!! The snow is gone, the grass is green and the school year is soon coming to an end.

But during this time of year some of us tend to take a lot of time for ourselves and not much time for church. During 

this time we should be doing more church-going and keeping our faith strong.

Now to end on a happy note. The softball team is also playing again!! I haven't been able to make the first few games 

but I hear we are doing somewhat ok. I encourage you to bring your family out to a game and have some great fun!!   

Yours in Christ - Dakota Helmbrecht 

                                          COUNCIL CORNER May 2013- 

BJ Dalsveen                                                                                                                                  

 As I sit here writing this article, the snow is snowing, the wind is blowing and the temperature is lowering to 30 degrees!  Where is spring?  I'm thankful for the moisture but I am ready to see some green in the landscape; especially since I'd like to write about some warm weather events that are coming up.  It's time to think softball and the county fair.                                                                                                                                                                                         Softball will be starting in just a few weeks.  Everyone who played last year had a great time  It's not a big time commitment so come one and all to play or cheer out team on.  Call Dean Sand for more information.                     July seems a long way off, but to have the beverage booth at the Kanabec county fair again this year, we need to start collection bottled water and canned pop NOW.  We will need about 2000 units donated and available to sell.  We also need a way to keep everything cold (fridge, freezer, coolers and perhaps a source of free ice?)  If you have ideas or resources please tell Pastor Dean or a council member.  Also, think about volunteering a couple of hours of your time to work in the booth.  We all had a lot of fun last year.  Most of all, come share fun experiences with other Calvary folks and meet new people as well.                                                                                                                                                  Have a great Christ centered spring and summer!     -BJ Dalsveen

                             

    COUNCIL CORNER April  2013- Dean Sand                                                                                                                                                                                

   Spring is finally in the air.  Soon it will be time to dust off your garden and farm equipment and get close to soil again. Perhaps you have been dreaming of what seeds you will plant in your garden or field during those long winter months.  A seed is powerful.  As a seed begins to grow, it will push up dirt, rocks, etc.  Remember to nurture the seeds God shared with us in the bible as well.  Whatever the obstacles are, God’s word planted in your heart will push them out of the way.

 Spring also brings with it a new Church League Softball Season.  This year will be the second season for us here at Calvary.  We ended last season with a win and hopefully we can build on that this year.  Anyone 12 years of age and older are eligible to play.  This includes men, women, boys and girls.  Last season we enjoyed great involvement and were blessed with many different players each night.  You don’t have to be particularly gifted at athletics to participate. Just be open to a fun evening sharing in some good outdoor fun and fellowship.  If you aren't able to play, come out and watch, cheer, tease and laugh along with us.  Games are typically every Friday evening starting sometime in May and into August.  Look for more details in the bulletin as we get closer to May.  We are even considering a new concept this year….practice.  That might create a whole new opportunity for even more fellowship. Luke 8:11  ….The seed 

COUNCIL CORNER March 2013- Patty Thompson 

Romans 12:6-8 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us….If it is serving, let us serve; if it is teach-ing, let us teach; If it is encouraging, let us encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let us give generous ly;

if it is leadership, let us govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let us do it cheerfully.”

Leadership:  This brings to mind our church council. Thanks to Allen Helmbrecht, Ryan Jacobson, and Jake Peter-son, for serving on the council for the past three years. Serving on the council is truly a commitment; a commitment of 

time, of courage to make the best decisions, and a commitment of leadership to our congregation. Welcome to the new 

members of the council, Willie Jones, Pat Humphrey, Art Sanbeck and youth member Dakota Helmbrecht. Their com-mitment in the role of leadership in the congregation is just beginning, and we pray God will lead them in this role.

Teaching and Leading:  The congregation called Susan Williams to be an Associate in Ministry for our congregation, 

at our Annual meeting. We had made the decision to hire her as our Youth and Family Lay Minister this past summer. 

Our Youth programs are already thriving under Susan’s leadership. What a joy it is on Wednesday afternoons and 

evenings, to see kids of all ages filling our church. What a joy to listen to the many levels of children and teens sing-ing and playing musical instruments for our worship services. And how wonderful to see so many kids in Sunday 

school on Sunday morning and teens in Confirmation on Wednesday evening. It takes many people to teach, lead, and 

serve, to make these programs successful. Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he 

will not turn from it.”

Serve, encourage, contributing to the needs of others, and showing mercy.  On the way home from Ash Wednes-day service, I began thinking of the Lenten seasons of my youth. When I was in confirmation, I had several friends 

that were Catholic. They always talked about what they were giving up for Lent. Before hearing them talk about 

“what they were giving up”, I had not thought about giving up something for Lent. So I asked our pastor what he 

thought about giving up something for Lent. While he thought this was fine if I chose to do that, he said another way 

of doing something special for the Lenten season was to begin something new; perhaps serving God in a special way 

during Lent. Serving, encouraging, contributing to the needs of others, and showing mercy, are ways that we can do 

something special during the Lenten season. May the Holy Spirit lead us to that special way to serve God, during this 

Lenten season. 

COUNCIL CORNER JANUARY 2013- DEAN SAND

Well, it seems we are in the heart of winter with these daytime high temperatures low enough to count on our fingers.  Luckily we have nice warm homes and offices to keep us comfortable and content to wait for warmer days.  It’s a good time to stop and think about all those who don’t have a home to go back to and stay warm.  Perhaps you pass them on the street without knowing that they may be sleeping under an evergreen tree tonight?  The percentage of homelessness is on the rise and a reality right here in Kanabec and surrounding counties.  You might be thinking…...someone needs to do something about this!  Well, someone has.  There is a newly established shelter for those dealing with homelessness in Pine City called A Place For You.  They just opened their doors in November 2012 and are full.  They are in need of help though and that’s where you can come in.  Buy a ticket for the progressive dinner that will be held in Mora on February 24, 2012.  Calvary will even be one of the host sights for the dessert.  All the proceeds go to A Place For You.  If you can’t make it or…if it’s sold out…you can still make a monetary donation to help them operate.  Jesus shows us how we should serve others when he washed the feet of his disciples.  Have you washed anyone’s feet lately?

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also

should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you

should do as I have done for you. - John 13:14-15 (NIV)

 



Council Corner January 2013 -Lisa Holcomb

“I think I can…I think I can” – The Little Engine that Could

 

We all make a New Year’s Resolution or two and this made me think of The Little Engine that Could and the power of positive thinking. 

 

In the church, as in many homes there is concern about being able to pay our bills and stay within budget.  After spending much of the fall in the red, our checkbook is once again in the black because members of this congregation said, “I think I can”. God tells us to have faith that he will take care of us.

 

Our Pastor, choir leaders, Sunday School and Confirmation teachers and youth leaders all said to themselves, “I think I can” and they have all contributed to creating a wonderful, caring, educational environment. 

 

The committee members have said “I think I can” and kept the various activities of the church going.  Everything from Altar to Worship was taken care of by these positive thinkers.

 

As we look at our commitment to the church for the new year, I encourage each of you to tell yourself “I think I can. . .give more offering. . .give more of my talents…serve in many ways.”  If we start using the power of positive thinking and applying ourselves faithfully, by this time next year we will be saying, “I thought I could and I did!”

 

Have a blessed New Year

Lisa Holcomb

 December 2012-

Ryan Jacobson

             ’Tis the season for giving. ’Tis also the season for staying warm. You can do the first to help Calvary with the econd. Yes, it would seem that Calvary’s furnaces are failing us, just in time for Christmas. They’ve passed the point of repair. Duct tape won’t do it. Even Santa and his elves couldn’t fix these old things. So let the fundraising begin.

The furnaces have served Calvary well for 30 years. (They were put in when the addition was new.) But time has taken its toll. The furnaces have begun to show cracking in the heat exchange unit. If nothing is done, Calvary will soon be blowing carbon monoxide into the sanctuary and fellowship hall. Not good.

The solution, of course, is to replace them. Fortunately, council member Jake Peterson is coming to our rescue. He is giving us a great deal on each furnace (five furnaces for $1,000 each). Plus, he’s donating some of his labor for installing them.

Even with Jake’s help, the price tag isn’t small. All together, we need to raise $9,000 to replace the furnaces. If you are able to dig a little deeper and find a way to contribute to this pressing need, the council encourages you to do so. Please also look for “furnace fundraisers” in the weeks and months to come.

As always, we appreciate your prayers, your support, and everything you do for Calvary Lutheran Church. God’s blessings to you and yours during this most wonderful time of the year.

 NOVEMBER 2012

  BJ Dalsveen

 

November brings a lot of things; beautiful fall colors, bountiful harvests, elections and Calvary's Har-vest Dinner, to name a few. It is also a time to think about the blessings, rights and privileges we have in this country. 

Election day is on November 6. Please exercise your right to vote! Also on November 6 we are privi-leged to host the Harvest Dinner here at Calvary. So, after casting your ballot, come enjoy a wonderful meal. Join old friends and meet some new ones too. Invite someone to come with you. They won't be disappointed. 

A lot of planning and preparation goes into this bountiful meal. A big, heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who makes this a great community event every year. 

Blessings to all,

BJ Dalsveen 


OCTOBER 2012

    Jake Peterson

 

 It was great to see all the youth at Rally Sunday events. Seeing all those bright faces is what life is about and its so nice that our Church can provide a place for them to grow spiritually and socially.  A special thanks to everyone involved in the past, present and future who have been a part of building up these special people.

 

It is looking like the coffee house service will be a fun, new adventure. 

A bit less traditional with the same message and focus.. We can come from all ages with the goal of growing our relationship with God and our church family and this service will be a chance to do this in a little different way.

 

We also have some new music happening. Youth praise band and some contemporary music that is being put together. Such a great opportunity for kids who are interested in making music and for the rest of us to be able to enjoy more music!  This is very appealing and close to me because I love music and enjoy playing when I can.  So this is where I wrap it up!!

 

Take care and God Bless

 

Jake

SEPTEMBER 2012 

   PATTY THOMPSON

 

             “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”       Ecclesiastes 3:1

             I am glad I live in a part of the country that has great seasonal changes.  Although it is still Summer, there is a cool, crispness in the air, and we all know Fall is very near.   To many people in our part of the country, Fall is their favorite season.  We have had our time to plant and now it is our time to harvest.  We have had the more relaxed season of Summer.  Summer is a time to play, to vacation, to travel, to read, to relax, to play baseball.  Here at church we don’t have as many meetings to attend.  Sunday school and confirmation are on vacation.  We have only one service in the Summer.  Perhaps your Bible Study takes time off in the summer.  Things are different here at Calvary, during the Summer.

  But “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” To me Fall is exciting.  It has been years since I sent a child off to school, but there is an excitement in the air with school beginning.  There is excitement of Rally Day ( September 9th)  here at Calvary.  Getting back to the regular schedule of our lives and our Church is something to look forward to.  Everything will not be the same as in the past. We will be once again trying something new for our second service.  We want to appeal to new people; perhaps people that feel uncomfortable with the more formal liturgical service.    Perhaps you want to try something new, volunteer for an activity that is new to you.  Fall is invigorating, a time to get busy again.  Maybe you would like to try a new Bible Study, join a Koinonia group, participate in CLCW, join shop talk, help with Sunday School, Wednesday night activities, join our new Social Ministry Group, become a caregiver,  participate in our Basket ministry, join one of our many choirs, or  try reading on Sunday morning, greeting, being an usher, serving for fellowship……..the opportunities  are many.  And this Fall is a great time to begin a new activity under heaven. 

  May this new season bring you closer to God, through “Commitment to Christ – Compassion for Others and being involved in our Community of Faith.

 August

Ryan Jacobson

I’m halfway through my third year on the Church Council, and I must say things are quite exciting right now. This year’s new crop of council members—Dean Sand, Diane Giese and Patti Thompson—are just a few months in, and they’ve already helped to make quite an impact. (They certainly deserve to be recognized for it!)

The softball team is a great example. At least a couple of us Calvary members have been saying for years, “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a softball team?” And I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I never did anything about it. But this year, our new council members helped to make it happen—and it has proven to be enriching for our active members and a great outreach tool too. Every week, a few new faces show up to enjoy a game, and some of those new faces have found their way into the sanctuary on Sunday.

Of course, while we were participating in softball, we couldn’t help but notice that many of the other churches had their own T-shirts. What a great idea! Our new council members helped spearhead a project to get Calvary our own T-shirts. The shirts are now available for $15—a great way to support Calvary’s general fund and to promote our church within the community.

Speaking of supporting Calvary’s general fund, our new council members also played a big part in getting Calvary’s first ever booth at the Kanabec County Fair. We were a popular “Buck Stop,” as fairgoers could get apple slices, pop or water for $1. Plus, brochures were available to introduce customers to more information about Calvary.

The church has also become affiliated with a wonderful program called the Crunch Time Meal Service. Free boxed lunches were served at the Kid’s Kingdom park on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in an effort to help ensure that children were getting the nutrition they need during the off-school months. This, too, has proven to be an excellent outreach program, bringing several visitors to our church.

Of course, every year brings a few new members to church council, and the council is always growing and evolving. Current members mix with new, and the result is always amazing. I can’t wait to see what the coming months will bring for the ministry and outreach of our church!


December

What’s the hardest thing about Christmas? Finding time to enjoy it. Every year I tell myself, “This time it’s going to be different.” And every year it passes in a blur. It’s
coming one day, and it’s gone the next. (Luckily, I have pictures to prove that we DID
celebrate.)

It’s easy to fall into that trap. Christmas is the most blessed and sacred (and commercial!) of holidays, and it’s also when we’re at our busiest. We rack our brains to think of the perfect gifts for our loved ones. We’re forced to make our own wish lists. We battle crowds, plan meals, make travel plans—trying our hardest not to exclude any family members (well, except maybe for that weird uncle). What day can we all get together? What should we bring? Are we having turkey again? Are the in-laws bringing their dogs? Should we plan on spending the night? Etc. Etc. Etc. We deal with all of this and more. And, oh yeah, by the way, isn’t it supposed to be Jesus’ birthday or something?

Yes, it’s easy to “miss” Christmas—but it’s even easier to forget why we celebrate in the first place. It’s not about Santa Claus or getting presents. It isn’t travel plans and
family feasts. Christmas is our special day in which we honor God for giving us our
Savior—and we honor Him with a little extra kindness to one another.

So how do we remember this? How do we keep Christ at the forefront of our thoughts when we have enough trouble taking time to enjoy the holiday? For my family, the answer is “tradition.” Christmas as a whole can feel like a flash, but there are several little
moments that I cherish and remember every year: watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, singing Silent Night by candlelight, a cake that says “Happy Birthday Jesus” and more.

Of course, we all have plenty of secular Christmas traditions, from decorating the tree to visits from Santa. Hopefully, you have at least a few traditions that celebrate the reason for the season. If not, this is a great year to start.

Merry Christmas and God’s blessings to you and your family!                      Ryan Jacobson, Council President

 

November

“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up.  So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.”  Galatians 6:9-10

Greetings,

This time of the year, more so than the rest of the year, we tend to be thankful for everything we have in our lives – family, friends, “stuff”.   While it is good to thank God for the blessings he has given us, we also need to be thankful for the opportunities that God gives us to share our blessings with others.

Most of us view sharing as giving of money, which is needed, but we should also consider sharing our time and talents.  Some of the opportunities for
sharing during November are the Harvest Dinner (Nov. 8), Thanksgiving Ecumenical Service (Nov.23), decorating for Advent (Nov. 26) and helping with Advent services starting Nov. 30.  There are a myriad of ways to share your time and talents for these opportunities, such as cooking, serving,
cleaning, reading, singing, ushering, decorating . . . .

Sharing your time will come back to you with boundless blessings.  Have a “thank-filled” holiday season.          -Lisa Holcomb

 

October 

I have learned a lot about how a Church functions after being on Church Council for a couple years now.  I really appreciate getting to know other Council members, our Church Staff and especially Pastor Dean !!  Council meetings can be a great time to:  learn, experience committee format, devotions that teach members how God works with us, record the history of the church, and have a fun time laughing with each other.  Especially it is good to know that God's Spirit is with us as we do His work within our Church, within our community and our world. 

So my thoughts are: by taking time to be on Council or other committees, I want to promote that using our time, our talent and our finances within our Church benefits YOU and EVERYONE!!!  Yes, I am promoting STEWARDSHIP!!!  Stewardship is giving of yourself to the benefits for others.  God wants us to give from our 'heart' or our inner desires to care for God's work.  I hope Church members will reach out by volunteering at worship services as: Greeters, Ushers, provide Fellowship treats, and Readers.  Help serve at funerals, provide cake, belong to committees like Evangelism, Altar Guild, or even be on Council.  The talents of singing and providing music benefit our worship experiences.  You will be blessed by your time spent on
serving others.   

Financial resources benefit even more of God's work in our Church and the benevolence gifting to mission work.  Helping the mission of our NE Minnesota Synod, Lutheran Social Services, Simpson House in Minneapolis, and international mission of Honduras and Russia.   Continue to be a good steward.  Our churches mission statement is: 

Commitment to Christ-Compassion for Others-Community of Faith.  

May God bless you for your service!!   Karen Larson

September

Leave those excuses at the door.

 When you’ve thought about getting involved at church, or been asked by someone to do something, have you had a ready excuse for not getting
involved?  Well, I plead guilty.  I’m too old, I don’t have enough experience, I’m too busy, I’m gone so often, my family needs me etc. are just a few of the excuses I come up with.

     Yes, we’re all busy.  Life today is like that, but the truth is that we make time for the things that are important to us – things we are passionate about.  God wants us to be impassioned about spreading His Word and caring for His people and creation by using our God-given talents and passion.  Passion always trumps excuses!  He wants us to be creative, to try new things.  We must not fall into the trap of complacency: “we already tried that, it’s always been done that way, there’s not enough money or people to do that, that’s a
ridiculous idea” are just some of the reasons given for keeping the status quo.   Where is our faith?  Are we a bold church, or in a rut?  Churches that get too complacent and static do not grow.

     As we re-start the Fall activities, think about your passions and talents.  Listen to God’s call to you to get involved.  Support a new program, encourage new ideas, join a new group, be willing to pursue that “ridiculous” idea.  Then God can work His miracles.  Remember, without U there is no CH_RCH, so leave those excuses at the door.  - BJ Dalsveen, Church Council

 August

    Hope everyone is having a great summer.  It's the start of a busy time for travel,
vacations, special  projects, and all kinds of get-togethers, our time gets filled with many commitments. 

     As  members of the church council we spend some time in our meetings looking over the church's financial reports, reviewing balance sheets and comparing with times past.  It's part of the councils responsibility.  During these summer months giving tends to be leaner and church attendance becomes less.  I'm one of those church members who is gone in the winter and half of the summer, but my commitment to Calvary is always here at my home church. 

     My first visit at the church I attended in Arizona was a surprise when it came time for the pastor to announce the taking of the offering, everyone started clapping as though the choir had just sung a beautiful song. After the clapping and celebration the pastor got up and explained to visitors that they weren't crazy but they had added a new attitude to
giving back to God, an attitude of celebration and gratefulness for the blessings we have been given. 

     As we serve and support Calvary with a serious committed attitude, let us add a joyous celebration.  2 Corinthians 8:11-14.  Have a great summer! 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        John Mattson

 July

     I recently watched a TV interview with one of my favorite actors, Tom Hanks, and he said something that really struck me. He said 80% of people are good, and 20% aren’t. That’s a scary thought. It means one out of every five people is more than willing to hurt/deceive/damage/destroy others for their own selfish reasons.

Now, I hope the percentage isn’t nearly that high. But none of us can dispute the notion that some
people are willing to do us harm to benefit themselves. In fact, the Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office
recently issued an announcement warning against “Financial Crimes Targeting Seniors.” I will briefly outline the most common of these scams, but the bottom line is this:

Think long and hard before sending anyone money for any reason.

Scam artists appeal to our emotions. They want us to act impulsively and/or in secret. They tell
us all sorts of lies (sometimes pretending to be people we know) to get us to do just that. If we pause for a moment to think, if we consult with others who might know better, the scam artists generally lose.  With that said, here are some common scams that you should avoid:

1. Congratulations, you’ve won a prize! They want you to send money to cover taxes, shipping and processing fees, and then the prize will be shipped to you immediately. (Yeah, right!)
Remember: You cannot win a prize if you did not enter.

2. Grandma, I’m in jail! Those sneaky scam artists know your relatives’ names and can even sound like them. But when they tell you not to tell anyone else, you can be 99.9% sure that you’re being conned. Call a few of your loved ones before falling for this scam.

 May

Hi! Do I know you?  I think I do!? Is that what you wonder in church sometimes?  Well, it happened to me too.  It's hard to know everyone in the congregation!  It is important work to leave our comfort zones and introduce ourselves, even if we have already done so, this small gesture allows us to be stewards of Gods love!!

There are a few things going on at the church right now.  Expenses are up and funds are down.  We have had to go into some reserve funds to meet our obligations.  Our council meetings have involved discussion around how to trim the budget, and these measures have helped but have not solved the shortfalls.  Any giving would be greatly appreciated. 

Jumping into the 21st Century and using the internet for the newsletter on line for those who have access is one way to save on paper, printing costs and postage.  Thank you for your willingness to give this a try.  This month everyone will receive a copy of the newsletter in their church mailbox as well as email to those we have email addresses for.  Any that are not pick up after a few weeks will be delivered.  Next month those with email access, who have stated the desire to receive the newsletter this way, will not receive a hard copy in their mailbox at church .  Council members  look forward to input from you on how this process is going. 

The sun has finally arrived!! ENJOY!   Jake Peterson, Council Vice President

 April
Financial update

At our Annual Meeting, the budget for the coming year was approved at $212,218.00.  Monthly giving for the General fund needs to average $17,409.25 to meet this budget. The General fund expenses are for the general operations of the church such as: benevolence, salaries for all staff, committee expenses, utilities (electric, water, telephone, garbage), insurance and office supplies (copier, office paper and equipment, and postage). There was a lot of hard work and discussion on the budget this year to bring it to a “bare bones/ necessities only” budget.

Congregation giving, to date, is approximately $4,500 behind budget.

In a month such as this March, when there are 3 payroll periods in a month, there is a need for extra support to keep the check book funded. More expenses than congregation giving, means reserve funds in the checking account are depleted from the checkbook.  If funds are not available, monies are transferred from the Reserve CD Account, to the General fund, for the operations of the church.  Since the accounting policy was put into effect four years ago, February 2011was the first time we have had to transfer monies from the Reserve CD account to the checkbook. $5,000.00 has been transferred and $17,171.26 is left in the Reserve Fund.

If you have any questions about the finances of Calvary, please contact our treasurer, Janet Martens. 

We are proud of the support that this Congregation has shown, over the years, to the ministries here at Calvary, and to the larger ministries of our Community and our World. We asked for your continued financial support, so the mission we are called to do, through Calvary Lutheran Church, for Christ Jesus, may continue and grow. Thank your for your support to the general fund and the mission of our Church.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ: Janet Johnson and Janet Martens

February
Hello! I am Jake Peterson and I have never served on a board before Calvary Church Council, needless to say I was a little intimidated, but have found the other members of Council and Calvary members have made this an enjoyable experience. Learning the ins and outs of how the church works not only spiritually, but financially has been given me a new perspective into our church.

Improvements to the facility have gone well. With the basement project completed another area that will need attention is the North Entrance and input and assistance will be sought after. Hopefully spring will be “just around the corner” and it will be time to look at clean-up and help with summer yard work!!

It has come up that the Library is not regularly being utilized, so just a reminder that it is full of books for all ages and is open for all to use!!

Financially, the economic climate has been difficult for many and it is my hope that you give where you can and continue to think outside the box as we reach out to our community and new members and families. I am happy to have my family in this congregation and am enjoying my time on council. Lets not be strangers to new people and each other during times of worship and fellowship!!

January
This is the season of Epiphany, the time that the Magi followed the star to find the Messiah.  All of us have traveled some where, whether near or far.  Some times it was to new places and we were excited but also a little apprehensive.  Imagine the trip the magi made to find our Lord.  The magi had faith at they were going to find what they were looking for.  We are called to have faith like them and pursue our dreams, trusting in God’s guidance and present our gifts to the Lord.

There are many ways to give our gifts to the church and to others in the community.  One way would be to serve on the council; another way would be to volunteer for a committee of interest.
We all have gifts to give!

The annual meeting will be held on Sunday, February 6th at 9:45 a.m.  We will have one worship service at 8:30 a.m.  This is another place you can give to the church by attending our annual meeting.  See the article “Be a Voting Member” in this newsletter.  This article tells you how quorum is determined.

The Lord has blessed Calvary and we strive to be a blessing to others!                                                 - Karen Schafer