I am writing to update you on the COVID situation in South Africa. Use the information in any way you see fit. Could I ask you to remember the Umngeni Circuit in your prayers? The long awaited election for a new bishop is scheduled to take place on August 24th. That is an important first step in healing and regaining stability in their church. The COVID virus has been really difficult for them as well. The following note contains excerpts from an email I received from Dean Myaka a few weeks ago. He reports their infection rate is dropping now. There are striking similarities and marked differences in our situations and reactions to the serious problem. (The dates are written with the month before the date.)
In Christ - Peg Hatlestad, Chairperson Crow River Conference Companion Committee
“It has been three months since South Africa’s patient zero was diagnosed coronavirus positive on 05.03.2020 in Hilton near Pietermaritzburg, KwazuluNatal. The local municipality of this area is Umngeni, sharing a name and location with our Circuit. This has since sent shock waves in our area which is regarded as the global epicenter of the HIV pandemic and many chronic illnesses.…..The affected are not just numbers and statistics but members of our families, our church, our communities, friends and colleagues. It is scary! As a church we are also allowed to go back to church services under strict regulations e.g. maximum of 50 attendees intense screening etc. We haven't reopened in our Circuit. We are sanitizing churches and getting back to basics before we can think of reopening. We last had service with communion before 20.03.20202. All conferences were postponed. Our churches are deserted and becoming soft targets for criminals. We are trying to hold the fort through family services and sending video, voice and short sms messages. Virtual live streaming is possible but for few. Crime and domestic violence has increased. We are scared. We have never thought we could face such challenge in our life time. It is by God's grace that we are still alive. Despite all this many are holding on to faith. But we are scared!
We prepared for a sprint whereas we are in for a marathon. We await the “new normal” with mixed feelings of anxiety and hope. Government is doing its best and we support all measures painful as they are. However, government cannot win this battle on its own. We need all hands on deck…….
Services are still going to be conducted in the confines of family setting and other residential places for quite some time. This challenges our concept of “church” as we are used to it. There is need for mutual support in all areas and we need to learn to cut on wasteful and fruitless expenditure in order to focus on essentials and to unlearn a lot in a short space of time. Now is the time to practice Christian neighborliness and Ubuntu.
Through the coronavirus, God is teaching us some lessons about our faith and about each other, although this is not to say that coronavirus is God sent. We would appreciate to hear and learn from you our partners in this regard.
Sorry for such a long message. I'm pouring out my thoughts. May God richly bless and protect you.”
From Dean NM Myaka 10.06.2020
Trinity’s council has decided on the next phase for our worship together.
Beginning Sunday June 28, 2020 worship in the sanctuary will be available.
The following guidelines will serve to help minimize the risk of transmitting the virus in worship.
Thank you for your attention to these modifications. We cannot eliminate the risks associated with in-person worship, but we can refrain from certain practices in order to reduce the risks. Be well.
Much has changed over the last few months and we will continue to creatively adapt and attend to spiritual needs in a responsible way. Your congregational leadership has been praying, discerning, discussing, dreaming, researching, and doing the hard work of decision making. I’m very grateful for the honest and thoughtful collaboration.
Beginning Sunday, June 7th, 2020 Trinity will hold a Drive-in & Outdoor worship service at 10:00 am.
Worship on KLFD Radio, Cable Access TV, and Facebook will continue on Sundays and Wednesdays.
The building is open for small group gatherings of 10 people or less. Please use good judgement and be diligent with hand washing and wiping down surfaces.
Remember that electronic giving is available for your regular financial gifts. Information can be found at www.trinitygrovecity.org under the giving tab. To give by text message, simply text the amount you want to donate to (320)345-3538. Don't worry! If you still prefer paper checks, we can accept them by mail. Thank you for your generous support!
My prayers continue to be with you all for peace, joy, courage, and endurance.
Let us pray:
Forgive us the things we do but shouldn’t,
and the things we don’t do but should.
Please free and deliver us from our wrongs.
(pause for silent reflection)
God’s great mercy forgives the sins of the world.
In the name of Christ, you are forgiven and raised to new life again.
We read First Corinthians 11: 23-26;
"For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."
(Holding the loaf of bread)
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’
(Holding the cup of wine)
In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
Distribute the elements with the words:
The body of Christ given for you.
The blood of Christ shed for you.
Receive this blessing:
May the body and blood of Jesus, strengthen us, preserve us, and unite us in Love.
Jesus with Butter
Last night in our isolation
We broke and shared the bread of life
And took up the cup of salvation
Around our supper table.
The kids puckered at the sourness
Of the dry red wine
But ate heartily
Of bread fresh from the oven.
A loaf or fresh baked bread
and a bottle of local wine
A prayer of preparation
And Paul’s words of institution
Written on parchment paper.
All this in order to discern the Body of Christ
A body impervious to isolation
A body no locked door can obstruct
A body no tomb, temple, or church can contain.
Read through eyes of scarcity 1 Corinthians 11
Makes the Lord’s supper
A stingy crumb of stale bread
And a thimble of cheap wine.
When we read it through eyes of abundance
We bake whole fragrant loaves
And make robust wine
With twelve baskets to spare and share.
Instead of rushing to bury
the left-overs in the back yard
We will wait ‘til breakfast
To greet Jesus with butter and marmalade.
Rev. Christian Muellerleile
Good Friday 2020
Minnesota Stay at Home orders have been extended through the middle of May.
Trinity’s building will remain closed and all in person worship and activities will be cancelled or postponed through Wednesday, May 13, 2020.
Again, I want to say thank you to the Trinity Community, which is expanding everyday, for all the ways you have been ministering to each other in this time. I’ve seen you be creative, I’ve heard how you are checking in on each other, I’ve felt your care and support too. Well done good and faithful servants! And keep up the good work. We are not out of the woods yet. I pray that you have endurance and good courage to face what lies ahead of us. We do this work together. You are not alone.
Worship continues online, on KLFD Radio, and local access TV [Nuvera Chanel 13, Mediacom Chanel 7]. Help others connect!
Trinity’s phone and e-mail are being monitored. We will update you with the latest news as best we can.
Pastor Megan will continue pastoral care by telephone, e-mail, and mail, and in times of emergency.
Electronic giving is available for your regular financial gifts. Information can be found at www.trinitygrovecity.org under the giving tab. To give by text message, simply text the amount you want to donate to (320)345-3538. Don't worry! If you still prefer paper checks, we can accept them by mail. Thank you for your generous support!
Trinity will continue our physical distancing through April 30, 2020. All in-person worship and activities will be cancelled or postponed to a later date. Pastor Megan will continue to provide worship, faith enrichment, and pastoral care in safe and creative ways. The office phone and e-mail will continue to be monitored as well. We will continue to communicate with you as best we can. Be well. Be good to one another.
Governor Tim Walz has issued a stay at home order from March 27, 2020 – April 10, 2020.
Trinity’s building will remain closed and all in person worship and activities will be cancelled or postponed through Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020.
Please know that electronic giving is an option for your regular financial gifts. Information can be found on our website under the giving tab. To give by text message, simply text the amount you want to donate to (320)345-3538. Don't worry! If you still prefer paper checks, we can accept them by mail.
In times of distress, it can be hard to trust. When everything feels upended, it can be hard to find our center. When we feel afraid, it can be hard to see beyond our own needs. Remember – the God who spoke you into existence – the God who walked this earth – the God who died and rose again – the God who conquered sin and death – that God dwells with you, claims you, loves you – always.
Thank you, Trinity community, for extending so much grace this week. I’m proud of the ways you all have been working hard to make good choices and reach out and care for each other. You are the body of Christ – living your faith – trusting God’s promises even in the midst of hardship. Well done, good and faithful servants.
I wish I could say that our physical and social distancing can end. Unfortunately, we will need to continue taking steps to prevent the spread of the virus.
We have decided to cancel all worship and activities through March 31, 2020.
Here is the good news – we will find creative ways to gather virtually, be fed, communicate, hear God’s word, and share life together.
Pastor Megan will continue to provide worship and devotional opportunities through Facebook.
-Wednesdays at 6:30 pm & Sundays at 10:00 am.
The Litchfield area ELCA churches have teamed up to provide worship on KLFD radio and local access cable.
-KLDF (1410 am/95.9 fm) - Wednesdays at 6:30 pm & Sundays at 8:30 am.
-Local Access cable – Sundays at 11:00 am
Please know that electronic giving is an option for your regular financial gifts. Information can be found at www.trinitygrovecity.org under the giving tab. Mailing your checks is also an option.
My prayers to you all - God’s peace, courage, and endurance for the days ahead.
During this season I invite you to join me on a sabbath journey. Could you use a little less frantic and a little more peace? Could you use a little less noise and a little more harmony? Could you use a little less busy and a little more savoring? This lent, my soul is craving sabbath. Pick up a copy of our Lent devotional and Wendell Berry’s This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems and rediscover the gift of Sabbath. Enjoy this sneak peek poem:
“What if, in the high, restful sanctuary
That keeps the memory of Paradise,
We’re followed by the drone of history
And greed’s poisonous fumes still burn our eyes?
Disharmony recalls us to our work.
From Heavenly work of light and wind and leaf
We must turn back into the peopled dark
Of our unraveling century, the grief
Of waste, the agony of haste and noise.
It is a hard return from Sabbath rest
To lifework of the field, yet we rejoice,
Returning, less condemned in being blessed
By vision of what work can make:
A harmony between forest and field,
The world as it was given for love’s sake,
The world by love and loving work revealed
As given to our children and our Maker.
In that healed harmony the world is used
But not destroyed, the Giver and the taker
Joined, the taker blessed, in the unabused
Gift that nurtures and protects. Then workday
And Sabbath live together in one place.
Though mortal, incomplete, that harmony
Is our one possibility of peace.
When field and woods agree, they make a rhyme
That Stirs in distant memory the whole
First Sabbath’s song that no largess of time
Or hope or sorrow wholly can recall.
But Harmony of earth is Heaven-made,
Heaven-making, is promise and is prayer,
A little song to keep us unafraid,
An earthly music magnified in air.”
Hello lovely Trinity people!
Are you a roller coaster kind of person? As a kid I HATED roller coasters. Spinning was not so bad, but any ride that involved loosely strapping myself to a seat that was soon to fall out of the sky . . . No thanks! I’m not sure what I found worse, the slow ascent . . . click, click, clicking away our last seconds before certain death, or the actual dropping part . . . stomach in my throat, butt floating freely, hands gripped to anything within reach.
Even though I was not a huge fan of roller coasters, I found myself at amusement parks quite often growing up. Eventually I got tired of politely tagging along and watching everyone else have fun so I would swallow my fear, grit my teeth, and take deep breaths as we inched along in line. I vividly remember one sunny day at Six flags. My group wanted to ride the coaster that had the highest drop in the park. After hours in line and lots of positive self-talk, I finally stepped into my seat and pulled the lap bar toward my waist. With ample space to spare between my body and the bar, I pushed harder to make it more secure. It didn’t budge. PANICKED, I looked up at the young attendant on the platform and shouted, “this won’t move down any further!” He looked at me and shrugged. SHRUGGED! And then he stepped back as the cars started to move. EVEN MORE PANICKED, I looked at my friend and said, “I’m literally going to fall out of this seat!” She didn’t know what to say.
Click . . . click . . . click . . . I’m feeling faint . . . (probably because I was no longer breathing deep) . . .
Click . . . click . . . click . . . I’m clenching every muscle in my body. . . (maybe my rigidity will save me?) . . . Click . . . click . . . click . . . and we drop . . .
Surprise! I didn’t die . . . physics and that coaster were friends and I lived to ride another day.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a roller coaster, but as I look forward to another year on this planet, I’m strangely feeling drawn to the amusement park. I’ve decided on two goals for my year:
Here’s to a roller coaster of a year. Yee-Haw! (I already feel a little sick 😊)
Pastor Megan finds that she rarely has all the right answers, but tries to help her community ask better questions.