A message from Pastor Amy
Over the past four weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of hosting on online Advent class. Each Monday session we watched a (very) short film and discussed various aspects of this special season. One recurring theme was light and darkness.
We often characterize darkness as bad and spooky. But Advent coincides with the longest periods of darkness each year. Advent is, we know, a sacred experience. In these early days of winter, the darkness accentuates the candlelight of the season. For many, Advent is a season of anonymous generosity. Many of you give to those who need it while being totally in the dark about who exactly they are.
Martin Luther experienced what he called, “The dark night of the soul.” This experience came not during the hard first steps of reformation but years into it after he had experienced God’s grace. The spiritual dry season Luther underwent drove him to cling to God’s grace all the more. He was able to cling to what he knew to be true even during a time when he did not feel it. Luther awaited the advent of a renewed spiritual life. His faith told him it would come.
In Advent darkness, our faith tells us that Christ will come. In a season of abundant darkness, we share this Good News. Darkness isn’t dangerous. It’s a necessary place that holds wonders all its own, like Jesus being born in Bethlehem. May you see the blessing of darkness this season.
Thank you to those who volunteered to sing Christmas carols for drive-thru communion on Christmas Eve!
Thank you to those who have helped with the online services this year in any way: technical, musical, and logistical. Your service is very much appreciated!
Thank you Stephanie Beran and Nancy Boos, who helped prepare the kitchen for the remodel that is resuming next week.
Thank you to those who have donated food or money to the Little Free Pantry!
Notice about Spectrum Channel 987
Members who have been viewing Trinity’s worship services on Spectrum Channel 987, please note that we have been informed that the public service channel (987) is currently down. We have been told that it will be repaired. It is our hope that it will be up and running soon.
I will soon be serving Trinity in a new way. When Pastor Dan Dibbert’s retirement became official, Trinity’s Personnel Group met (through Zoom) to discuss the staffing needs at Trinity.
The Personnel Group presented me with the opportunity of stepping into the Visitation Ministry. I was surprised, but intrigued by this. Following time in prayer and further discussion, I accepted the position.
I joined the staff at Trinity in 1999 as the Director of Sunday School. Serving Trinity in that capacity has been a joy-filled blessing. During this time of transition, a team of four Sunday school teachers will be overseeing the Sunday school programming.
I look forward to this new opportunity. Working with the Visitation Ministry will open up new joys and relationships. It is an honor to continue to serve Trinity.
Join us online Dec. 27 to hear Bishop Joy preach
The Gospel of Mark Study
Starting on Jan. 11, there will be a book study on the Gospel of Mark. Books are $8. You will be notified once the books are in. The study can be done on your own, or you can join an online class. Classes will meet on Mondays at noon and 6:30 p.m. This is an especially great book study to do if you’ve never done one before, but all are welcome! There are book scholarships available if needed. Contact the office to sign up!
House Blessing Kits
Epiphany is the season after Christmas that begins when the Wise Men arrive to see baby Jesus 12 days after Christmas. That’s Jan. 6, if you’re looking at your calendar. Because we’ve all been home so much and because 2021 is a new year (thanks be to God!), we’re going to continue in the European tradition of blessing our homes with a visual blessing inscribed with white chalk above the main door of our houses.
The house blessing kits will include instructions, chalk, and a blessing.
Come to drive thru communion on Jan. 7 and Jan. 10 to get your home blessing kit. Or, call the office to make arrangements.
Joseph and Mary traveled a long way before Jesus was born. As your family enjoys holiday adventures together,bring your flat Nativity along on your travels and take pictures of family members holding it. You can post pictures on the church’s social media sites using #FlatNativity.
Where will you go with #FlatNativity? Here are some ideas for pictures:
- on the dashboard of your car
- under your Christmas tree
- next to another nativity set
- by a plate of cookies
- by your bible
Use the link below for a digital copy of the flat Nativity or pick one up at drive-thru communion.
This year, money collected for Operation Christmas will benefit the Fort Atkinson Food Pantry. Money will be collected at drive-thru communion for the rest of December starting on Dec. 13.
Any questions can go to Stephanie Beran at (920) 563-2156 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Christmas Day Free Dinner
Sponsored by Fort Atkinson Community Dinner Committee and hosted by St. Joseph’s Church in Fort.
This is a FREE dinner for anyone in the community who may be alone on Christmas Day or who can’t prepare a meal.
Reservations: Please call St. Joe’s office at 563-3029. Carside pickup and carry-outs ONLY. Pickup is from 11:30 a.m. -1 p.m. For home delivery, call Tom at 920-988-1280.
Anyone interested in volunteering call Don & Olive at 920-563-4773. Donated cash for pies are needed for the dinner. No homemade pies will be accepted.
The pastor presided at a funeral for Harley Blasing, a non-member, on Dec. 15.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, offering envelopes for 2021 will not be available until mid-January. We appreciate your patience as we navigate the end of the year and the start of the new year.
A Note from the Treasurer
This year has been challenging in many ways, but Trinity Lutheran church has been able to help serve our community, contributing to the food pantry, our little free pantry, and the Good Samaritan fund. Looking ahead to 2021, we are working to budget for serving our local church body as well as the greater church.
If you have submitted your 2021 pledge, thank you. If you haven’t, prayerfully consider your gift for God’s work.
Keep your eye out for a pledge form and letter in the mail with further directions.
On behalf of the Finance Committee, God’s peace and rich blessings to you and yours.
Schools are returning. Now what?
The Fort Atkinson School District voted to return students to school in a modified format. (Hybrid for older students and in-person for younger ones.) Trinity’s Council will discuss our return to in-person worship at our next council meeting on Jan. 26.
Following the School District of Fort Atkinson Board decision last week to go back to a mirrored learning format, BASE will be transitioning back to its after-school program operations. The last day at Trinity will be on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
Here is a note from Alicia Norris, the executive director of BASE:
“I cannot thank you enough for the hospitality. In a time when we would have had to shut our doors, you allowed us to carry out our mission of helping kids that need us most. For that, we are forever grateful. I hope we can continue our partnership in the future when the time is right.”
ELCA World Hunger Drive
Now through Dec. 31, every donation to ELCA World Hunger will be matched dollar for dollar until they reach $265,000. Your offering must be post marked by Dec. 31. Give today and your offering will be doubled!
Send a check to the church and your donation will be given by Trinity Lutheran Church.
As the world copes with the COVID-19 pandemic, your gifts to ELCA World Hunger are even more urgently needed. Our partners and companions around the globe are working urgently to adapt their programs to ensure that people can stay healthy, feed themselves and their families, and make it through the economic challenges brought on by the pandemic.
Today, the ELCA asks you to answer Christ’s call to walk alongside our neighbors around the world as they work through this difficult time.
Prayers Requested For . . .
Delight Albrecht, Marsha Anderson, Sandy Anderson, Sharon Armstrong, Terry Badura, Wayne Behselich, Ken Brandt, Linda Doerr, Chris Griffin, Naomi, Bob Kyle, Phyllis Lang, Diane Luebke, Barb Manwaring, Dan Morrow, Carol Mueller, Pam Nicholas, Joanne Nordeen, Duke Otto, Debbie Pierce, Tom Pomraning, Violet Prust, Paul Reed, Harold Rumppe, Shelley Scheurm, Verne Sell, Ruth Smithback, Roger Strege, Donald Zuehlke.
Do you have a prayer concern? Email the prayer force at email@example.com. People will gladly pray for you or your loved one with their whole hearts!