Beloved siblings in Christ,
I love wrapping presents. Wrapping presents is one of those places where I can zone into the task at hand and make sure that it gets done beautifully with a bow on top. I was known as the present wrapper in my family. I wrapped the presents from me, the ones from my parents, and the presents from my grandparents to everyone. With Christmas movies or music in the background my present wrapping skills were unmatched. If I had to guess, I would say it wasn’t only the end product of the pretty gift that made me love wrapping presents; no, I would say it tied into the time spent with the people I was wrapping presents for.
To wrap my grandparents presents, I always got to go spend hours upon hours at their house listening to those bluegrass and gospel Christmas albums while taking the time to slowly wrap all the presents while getting to talk and just be with them. Those long days of sitting on their floor and wrapping gifts, especially when I would come home from college are lodged in my memory forever. They were perfect, peaceful, and filled with so much joy. Now, we live far away and I think my grandma likes bags more than wrapping paper, but we still reminisce on those hours spent finding the best wrapping paper among plenty of visiting.
There is something so beautiful about the holiday season. Whether the charm comes from the lights, the movies, the stories, the gatherings, or a mixture of these things, it is a time that fills us with joy and light. On the other side of that joy and light, this time of year is also the days with the shortest days and the longest nights. Sometimes we notice more this time of year the things or people that are no longer with us. No matter what, the cold makes it feel a little more real, a little more barren than during the rest of the year. I always feel that and I am sure you do too. The joy of the holidays, but also the sorrow tucked into them.
The space to welcome both is hard, but it is really what we are asked to see in Advent and the Christmas season. I hope for you this year that you find a balance lovingly between joy or happiness and sadness or loss. We were made both creatures of the shining lights, but also of the dead of night. Gently, though, we are comforted with the stories of mothers welcoming their children who would change the world for the better for all of us.
I hope this month that you have a blessed Advent and Christmas season. I hope that we will see you at some of our events or worship for this month. I hope that the light of Christ and the guiding star of Bethlehem find you looking up and following on.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
With God’s Peace,
Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church – Council Minutes, November 9, 2021
The meeting was called to order by president, Rony Magnuson. Members in attendance included; Rony, Gary, Diana, Julie, Joyce, Tom, Pastor Leandra, and Cathy. Pastor Leandra led opening prayer.
No corrections from lasts months meeting notes. Report approved by all present.
Snow blower has been looked over and prepped for winter just needs electric start fixed yet. Carpeting quote good for 30 days. Tom will call and confirm still good for quoted price and get ordered. Tom will work on snow removal schedule to discuss for next meeting.
Reported issue with oven downstairs not working properly, Tom said he would take a look at it. Have meeting coming up this Thursday.
GIFT this month had 5 kids present.
Pastor came home early from Faith Formation Theological Conference due to pastoral duties for members in our church with end of life needs. All Saints Sunday went well and youth received their Bibles as well as a successful Confirmation Sunday. Will be going to Prairie Manor tomorrow to hold service for first time since before Covid shutdown.
Approved yearly donations as follows: Synod $2,500; ELCA $2,000 ($1,000 from WELCA); Good Earth Village $300. Monthly money statement reviewed and approved as is by all present.
1. Charity Check will be used to purchase books for 93 first grade students again this year, this should roughly use about $500 of the $750 we received. Will hold extra $250 to be used in some way this Spring once books are finalized and paid for.
2. Katie was given the custodial job description to review and will be having a sit down meeting with Council members to discuss further and where to move next.
3. Rony left message for copier company with questions on our bill and is waiting for call back. 4. Constitution changes were tabled to discuss at December meeting.
1. Plan for upcoming Holiday service schedule from Pastor Leandra is as follows:
- Thanksgiving Service November 21, 7:00 p.m. at First Lutheran in BP (Pastor will be assisting in some way) December 24 hold 2 services 11:00 a.m. & 5 or 6 p.m., still working on times, (later service live stream) both with communion. No Christmas Day service. December 26 at 9:00 a.m. Hymn Service.
2. Council will hold regular meeting on December 14th and bring treats to share.
3. Date will be in bulletin soon on members browsing items from Church clean out to have what they like. 4. Good discussion and many fundraiser ideas to help pay for flooring project in the near future. Council will move forward with a Gift wrapping service in the month of December for donation towards flooring project. Details will be posted in Log and hung at church.
4. Frontier voicemail not working currently, Rony will check into this issue.
5. Discussion on supporting Grant M. on his upcoming trip for the Youth Gathering. Council approved paying for the rest of his registration fees to attend from the Youth Fund.
Motion from Cathy and seconded by Julie to adjourn and closed with the Lord’s Prayer. Respectfully submitted, Diana Horan, Council Secretary
The November 11, 2021 WELCA meeting was called to order by Joyce Peterson at 2 p.m. She opened the meeting in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Those present had shared Bible Study with Pastor Leandra at 1 p.m. and continued into meeting by sharing the reading of the purpose. Linda gave opening devotions with reading “What is a Prayer”. Secretary Report from October 21st was read. Ardell gave Treasurer’s Report. Checking has $4,915.02. Both reports were approved and placed on file.
Quilting – We gave to Rachel’s Hope, Austin, 5 adult, 5 boy and 5 girl quilts. Austin Medical Center 5 baby boy and 5 baby girl quilts. We have received a $250 Thrivent card and it was used to purchase batting. Thank you sent to Anita Kruger. A total of 66 quilts were completed in the Spring and Fall seasons. A total of 54 quilts were given out in 2021. Nice job ladies. Thanks for your mission work. No correspondence.
New Business – Ron Magnuson was at the meeting and thanked WELCA for all it has done to help with the projects completed. Discussion of fundraising ideas discussed. Need to do something to help offset carpet in Fellowship, Kitchenette, office and hall. Suggested lefsa making and selling. Not in favor by ladies. It is an option but difficult for some to complete. A Hy-Vee catered dinner and use Thrivent money. Making a progress chart to show money earned so far. Do a “for sale” items on Facebook. A letter mailed to all members explaining the flooring project, costs and ideas for fund raising suggestions. Some discussion of re organization of the 3 circles. Need more discussion among the group. A new book is needed since we did not do one in 2020 for 2021. The officers will handle that.
The Board put together our annual list of donations as follows: Pastor $100, Lutheran Campus Ministry $100, Austin Public School $100, Good Earth Village $50, Marie Sandvik $50, Lutheran Social Service $100, BP Youth Club $100, Peace and Power $125, ARC Austin $100, WELCA Chicago $100, Rachel’s Hope $50, Katie Zipse $50, Marilyn Blume $50 for a total of $1,075.00.
Thank offering was taken. Judy Wambeam gave offering meditation. Sent Connie Benson birthday card – 99 next birthday. Celebration – Pat Hanson and Lavonne Smith in November. Up-coming events – Sunday, November 21st at 7 p.m. Ecumenical Service at First Lutheran in Blooming Prairie. Also Christmas service as per pastor will be December 24th at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Our next meeting will be Thursday, December 16th for a noon luncheon followed by Bible Study and WELCA. Closed with the Lord’s Prayer.
Linda Christianson, Secretary
Ladies – WELCA will meet Thursday, December 16th with a potluck at noon. Bible Study & meeting will follow.
The sign-up sheet is in the narthex for ordering poinsettias. The cost is $10 and they must be ordered by December 12th. Checks (made out to WELCA) or money can be given to Ardell Swenson.
On Saturday, December 4 at 2 p.m. there will be a Red Oak Grove Family Christmas called “Cookies and Christmas”. Everyone is invited to bake cookies, play games and enjoy hot chocolate.
Christmas Services at Red Oak Grove
December 24th – Worship with Communion at 2:30 p.m. Candlelight Service with Communion at 5 p.m. December 25th – No worship service