- Opening Devotions
- 2019 Annual Meeting Minutes
- Financial Report
- Nomination and Vote
- 2021 Budget
- Old Business
- New Business
Sunday, January 17, 2021
2020 Annual Meeting Agenda
Table Of Contents
Messages from the Staff 5-8
President’s Report 9
2019 Annual Meeting Minutes 10
Statistics & Annual Meeting Ballot Information 11
Ministry Team Reports
Discipleship /Children Youth & Family Team 12-13
Personnel Committee 13
Worship Team 14
Service Team 15
Fellowship Team / Open Door Ministry 16
Outreach Ministry Team 16
Grace Missions Report 17
St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center 18
Grace Lutheran Church Financial Reports
Grace & Growth Fund 19
Endowment Fund 19
Missions Financial Report 20
General Fund Balance Sheet for 2020 23
Profit/Loss (Cash receipts & disbursements) 24-26
Trust Account 27-29
Proposed Budget for 2021 30-31
Synod Ministry Report 32
What a year it’s been for Grace. Last winter we looked ahead to an interim pastor. I hoped she would come and help lead a congregation wide conversation about Grace’s future ministry. In March most everything we do as a congregation was flipped sideways by Covid 19. Grace, and the rest of the world, has been dealing the pandemic ever since.
So, if you asked me, “how’s it going?” I would say, "surprisingly, good". This year has brought challenges and disagreements about how to best move forward. 2020 brought out real creativity in response to our changing situation. The surveys we took about worship and confirmation this year have helped me to understand that not everyone who is part of Grace has the same opinion about the pandemic or how we should function together at this time.
Through it all I keep my dad’s advice in mind. He turned 80 in October. He says it’s important to remember that Covid19 is unlike anything anyone alive today can remember. We are all in new territory. It’s important to admit it. I believe people need time and space to understand and even change their response.
When our interim, Pastor Nancy Toensing, resigned in September, the council accepted her resignation. We never started a congregational conversation about the future, but honestly, I think that’s ok. In 2020 I saw real creativity among Grace’s people and staff. We tried many new things—online worship, virtual Bible-School, drive-in worship, small group only confirmation,wearing masks and keeping distance are just a few ways we responded to 2020’s challenges.
As 2020 ends I believe the heart of Grace’s ministry has gotten clearer. We join with the whole church a calling straight from Jesus. He told his friends to make disciples.
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20 NRSV
Jesus called his friends to go into the world promising to be with us all the way. This promise has been key for us in 2020 and will be vital for all of us in 2021 as well.
Thanks for your partnership, Pastor John Heille
2020 Ministry Report of Pastor John Heille
To my Sisters and Brothers at Grace Lutheran Church,
I chuckled when I read my report from 2019 and I commented on how much change we saw last year when our senior pastor left. When we compare 2019 with the year 2020, there has been so many more changes in 2020! We had staff changes that were emotionally difficult to manage. Then of course, we have had to deal with the changes that the Coronavirus has thrust upon us. I looked at my calendar for 2020 and, I can clearly see we have had to dial down our activities and dial up again to keep pace with the needs of our congregation and with the requirements our government made to help keep people safe.
During this year of great change, our staff has met regularly to discuss how to navigate these unprecedented days. I have been proud of our staff and how they continue their work in different ministries of the church body – despite the shutdowns and the ramping back up again of our varied programming here.
Last year I referred to a hymn that somewhat described 2019. The hymn I choose this year is “The Church’s One Foundation”. Verse 5 begins –
Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war, she waits the consummation of peace forevermore;
This has been a year of toil, tribulation and tumult. Yet the church has continued to carry on her work. Grace Lutheran has found ways to be the church, even during the tumultuous days we are living through. We continue to worship here, we continue to serve here, and we continue to look to God for grace and guidance each day.
Areas of ministry that I focus on:
The visitation team- Due to the virus, the visitation team has gone into hibernation. It has not been safe to send visitors out and visit with our home bound members. I miss this part of our ministry, but I have great hopes of that team reviving to resume its important work that will continue once this pandemic is under control.
The bereavement program – I have continued to send out helpful grief mailings to the grieving members of our congregation for up to a year after their loss of a loved one. These mailings seem to be well received. It is important for us to acknowledge their pain and provide aid for healing.
I have continued to visit our home bound members during the dialed up times of our pandemic and have contented myself to make phone calls during the dialed down times. Over the course of this year, I have made many phone calls to folks I would normally visit.
I feel blessed to be part of the ministry of this church. Through all the tumult and toil, may God give us the strength and grace to find creative ways to be the church that Jesus calls us to be.
In God’s love,
2020 Ministry Report of Visitation Minister
2020 Ministry Report of Worship & Music Director
My third year here at Grace Lutheran Church has had many ups and downs and frustrations and joys. This year, 2020, has been a challenge for me, for this church, for you, and for the world. I know I am not the only person who would say, I wish this year had gone differently.
I am excited to say that worship here at Grace continues to reach and inspire people where they are during this pandemic. As soon as the pandemic started and we were locked down, I stepped up to learn video editing so that the church could continue to worship safely from their homes. Since creating worship videos has been added to my job, I have done 2 videos a week (Sundays and Wednesdays) plus extras for Holy Week, graduation recognition, and a Christmas program. Starting in late November, Grace church added live-streaming of the Sunday drive-in service, and now I create 1 video a week. I have also enjoyed helping Pr John make the drive-in service a reality because it has met the needs of many people during this pandemic. This year I attended a virtual music conference as part of my continuing education which also included various webinars.While my job this year has seen changes and also has had things stay the same, the core of what I do has stayed the same…“magnify the greatness of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit by skillfully combining God’s word with music, thereby motivating the gathered church to proclaim the gospel, to cherish God’s presence and to live for God’s glory.”
As we begin to move out of this pandemic, I hope that you join me in reviewing worship past and present to see what we can do to meet the needs of this changing church and its people, to help worship be accessible and inspiring to many people, and to grow our participation in worship here at Grace and out in our community and world.
I have worked hard this year to face the challenges of this pandemic and the effects that it has had on worship. I have faced needing to have safety as a top concern, people with differing opinions on the pandemic and worship, and major changes to staffing. Through all the challenges and joys, I know God is at work in me and in Grace Lutheran Church. Thank you to my coworkers for your support and help during this pandemic. Thank you to the worship teams who helped make decisions and recommendations. Thank you to the volunteer musicians, singers, tech people, ushers, and other worship assistants who helped keep worship running smoothly and provided inspiration during this pandemic. This has been quite the year.
I pray the words to this song resonate and inspire you this year and, in the year, to come.
The church of Christ, in ev’ry age
Beset by change, but Spirit led,
Must claim and test its heritage
And keep on rising from the dead.
We have no mission but to serve
In full obedience to our Lord;
To care for all, without reserve,
And spread his liberating word.
(The Church of Christ, in Every Age; One License #A-732301)
Amy Engel-Duong,Worship and Music Director
2020 Ministry Report of Christian Education Director
2020 Maintenance Report
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
What an unbelievable year it has been at Grace! There have been so many new experiences, some good and some not so good, along with some of the regular day to day activates. This verse from Matthew reminds me that I need to focus on today and not worry about tomorrow, today has enough to worry about. This has been so powerful for 2020.
There have been many changes for 2020, CHAOS was suspended, Sunday School went to At Home Sunday School, Vacation Bible School went virtual, and Confirmation has been on-line for most of the fall. Though if you are wondering what has kept me busy? I have been stepping out of my comfort zone along with many of the staff at Grace. Never in a hundred years did I ever think that I would need to research how to put together video clips for online Sunday School, zoom meetings, stepping into a bigger role with the confirmation program and just trying to adapt to the constant changing schedule.
The year 2020 has made it a little hectic to plan, we are just rolling with life as it is happening. Though the Wednesday Confirmation classes were able to meet in person five times, they adapted well to watching on-line services, small group teaching and doing service projects from home. Weekly, grade level confirmation small groups rotate to participate in worship, small group teaching and service projects. Projects have included filling At Home Sunday School bags, prepping stars for The Star Tree, writing cards to home bound members, college students, power hour families, teachers, and the 2020 Confirmation Class. Our confirmation mentors also had to do a little adapting this year, confirmation students and their mentors watched the services on-line and would face time or call each other to discuss the questions for the week. On Wednesday evenings you will find me checking in with the confirmation small groups, answering questions for our online curriculum or being an extra adult if there are behavior issues that need attention.
Being part of the Confirmation Service, this year was something I will never forget. Who could have imagined having the Confirmation Service at the high school parking lot, surrounded by friends and family? To top off everything else, God blessed us with a beautiful snowy morning for the young adults to share their confirmation verses with the congregation. Beautiful memories were made!
On Thursday mornings you will find me at a MERGE group meeting, planning community youth activities with youth directors and organizations that work with youth in Martin County. There have been many hours spent planning and prepping for these opportunities for our youth at grace and our community. Some of these events have been picture scavenger hunt, drive-in movies, and Friendsgiving just to name a few.
As this year is coming to an end and a new one is beginning, I am excited to see what God has in store for myself and the children, youth and families here at Grace for 2021.
This was a very busy year in the Maintenance, Grounds/ Building area. Projects completed:
parking lot, jungle gym, extended irrigation
repaired all exterior doors
replaced 19 year old light/ light fixtures in the Fellowship Hall and stairways
stripped and waxed floors
riding snowblowers up and running again
I begin every day by reading and absorbing two messages. The first reads: “Faith is the bridge between where I am and where God is taking me.” The second is Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God”. I have needed those two messages every day in 2020, and a whole lot more.
Beginning with the first message, it has been so important to have faith that God in taking me to a good place in this trying year. It is worth reading this as a congregation as well as an individual, so let me make a change and write it this way: “Faith is the bridge between where we (Grace Lutheran Church) are and where God is taking us.” We all need to have and maintain faith that attending church with a mask on, or behind the windshield of a car, or with a cup of coffee while looking at the computer is part of where God is taking us.
At Grace we are still in need of assessing who we are as a congregation and calling a pastor to meet our needs now and in the future. Our current struggles are part of where God is taking us towards that end; I have to have faith in that. As you feel the changes in worship for this short period and the need to keep yourself and others safe and healthy, remember that this is not the end product of God’s journey for us, it is a tiny step along the way.
The Philippians quote is important to me as well because it reminds me that God wants to hear my prayers. This is part of having a relationship with a living God who cares about me, who cares about us, and who cares about our future. To that end, I ask you to continue to pray for our church, church leaders and staff, and for our church council. We need all of the prayer that you can muster. When you pray, do so with thanks and confidence that you believe in a living God who hears your prayers and is caring in that listening.
My frank assessment of 2020 is that it has been a terrifically hard year to be in church leadership. It has been painful, frustrating, bewildering and sad. Every council meeting was long and filled with difficult decisions regarding the pandemic and Grace’s adaptation to it, some of which had to be altered or reversed shortly after they were made as new information and regulations came to light. We had to put many of the plans made at the February council retreat on hold in order to concentrate on finding new safe ways to worship, deliver our ministries and keep our staff healthy.
We can also reflect in a positive way, as a congregation, on the year that has been. We have shown remarkable resiliency, flexibility and creativity in meeting the challenges of government orders (do any of you remember a time when the church had to talk about government orders in planning Christmas services?!?). In the face of the pandemic we have adapted our technical abilities to deliver God’s word to our congregation in a variety of ways that once seemed overwhelming. I am heartened whenever I watch a service on-line and people send out a “peace” message or emojis pop up as people respond to the message or song at hand. Maybe the neighbors don’t like it, and it doesn’t seem totally Lutheran, but it is wonderful to hear the honking of horns and see peace signs at our drive-in services. We had 2 wonderful improvements to our “backyard”: our new parking lot was completed this summer with only minor inconvenience to our staff and congregation, and thanks to generous donors and volunteers a new playground was installed, much to the delight of the children of the congregation and the neighborhood. And our faithful congregation was steadfast in their giving this year, enabling Grace to meet its commitments and continue to address building and technology needs.
The flexibility, resiliency and creativity that I mentioned has been critical in meeting the needs of not just a changing world, but a changed world. I give thanks in my prayers for the staff and volunteers who have ensured that worship services, children and youth education, visitation, missions, building care, church administration and many other ministries continued on this year in whatever way they could. Our staff has responded to so many changes and worked incredibly hard to get their jobs done and I am grateful and proud of them. We have also had council members, ministry team members and other congregational volunteers that poured many hours into our in-person, online and drive-in services. Thanks to the sound and video crews, ushers, musicians, greeters, cleaners and more.
So, as I write this, the page has not yet turned on 2020; but as you read it the page has turned. We as a congregation have changed in this past year. And you have stood by the essential mission of our Church: God’s work, our hands. Our Faith has kept us going to where God is taking us, and through prayer God hears us on that journey.
Council President's Report
Grace Lutheran Church
2019 Annual Meeting Minutes
Meeting Date: Sunday, January 19, 2020
Call to Order: by Jennifer Nielsen, Council President at 9:45 a.m. with a quorum present.
Opening Litany: led by Pastor John Heille
Secretary’s Report: Reviewed. Motion by Dee-Ann Helfritz and seconded by Jack Gerhardt to approve and accept the minutes from the 2019 annual meeting. Motion carried.
Financial Report: Finance Director Jane Reiman provided an outline of our 2019 finances. All obligations were paid, and we ended the year with a positive balance of $13,694. There was a discussion about our Synod contribution (detailed below) prior to a motion by Brian Roggow and a second by Harry Brumbaugh to approve and accept the financial report. Motion carried
Synod Contribution Discussion:
Ernie Nuss noted that statistics show that our weekly worship attendance has declined, but our contribution to the South East Minnesota Synod has not changed in at least four years. He questioned how our annual contribution is determined.
Ernie made a motion, seconded by Ross Sheperd that the council should conduct a survey to get and accurate membership list, which could be used to determine our actual Synod contribution. This survey would be paid for using some of the funds currently budgeted for the synod.
Jane Reiman and Jennifer Nielsen clarified that there is not a formula for this contribution, and that it is approved by the Service Team and the council as part of the budgeting process each year. It was also noted that this is the last budget item paid so if there is a shortage, it would not affect other budget items.
Lyn Johnson shared that she has done research and found that there is a wide variety in the amounts that other congregations are contributing. She also said that these types of questions might be part of the self-study that will be led by our interim pastor as part of our search for the next senior pastor.
Patti Mathews suggested that the line item in our budget might actually be better identified as “synod support,” since these funds are what are used for operational expenses at the synod level, as well as mission work.
Carolyn Bird commented on our calling to support the church here in our community and worldwide.
Pastor John commented that membership is a complex topic. He cited examples of families who have moved away, but have requested to stay on our membership roll, even though they no longer worship here. There are also questions about the best way to count--worship attendance, giving, etc.
Tari Riley noted that the decline in worship attendance is not unique to Grace Lutheran Church, but is being noticed in churches throughout the country.
After discussion, Ernie amended his motion, which was seconded by Ross to “authorize the council to determine a meaningful membership list, which can be used as part of determining Grace’s synod contribution. Council is also given the discretion to spend an amount they feel is necessary to complete this task.” Motion carried: 63 yes, 14 no.
Motion by Brian Heubert and seconded by Deb Roggow to approve and accept a unanimous ballot. Motion carried. Congratulations to all those elected to serve.
2020 Budget: Finance Director, Jane Reiman reviewed information covered at the budget forum on January 12, 2020, noting that the overall budget shows an increase of only $900. This is in spite of an increase from $3,000 to $8,000 budgeted for snow removal. With no further discussion, a motion was made by Joice Forster and seconded by Vicki Gerhardt to accept and approve the 2020 budget.
Old Business: None
New Business: Ernie Nuss commented on the search for our interim and our new senior pastor. He encouraged the council to do whatever is in their power to help support the wishes of Pastor John as we move forward with the process and as Pastor John continues his ministry.
Adjournment: Motion was made by Mark Vogelsang and seconded by Nick Cress. Motion carried.
Respectfully submitted by Mark Hernes, Council Secretary
3 year term:
1 year term:
Members (term continuing):
Departing Council Members (term over):
Annual Meeting Ballot Information
2020 Statistical Summary
Youth Baptisms: 17
Youth Confirmations: 26
By Baptisms: 17
By Transfer: 0
By Death: 21
By Transfer: 19
Grace Lutheran Church Membership as of 12/31/2019: 2305
Grace Lutheran Church Membership as of 12/31/2020: verification in process
Special Worship Services Held : 9
(Lent, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Blue Christmas, Christmas Eve, Baccalaureate, Confirmation)
January 1 - March 15
Weekly Average: 154
Saturday Average: 30
8:30 am- 93
10:45 am- 124
Wednesday Average: 124
Special Services Average: 138
March 18 - December 31
Sunday In Person Average: 32
Sunday Drive-In Worship Average: 99
Sunday Online Average: 244
Wednesday Online Average: 133
Special Services Online Average: 74
3 year terms - Pete Odgren, Ilene Reiter, Ben Jordan
1 year term - Lyn Johnson
Council Terms Completed - Tom Larson, Nona Larson, Jennifer Nielsen
Council Terms Continuing - Mark Brown, Deb Roggow, Carisa Andersen, Kendra Pomerenke, Jolene Rosol, Eric Tonder
Audit Committee Nominees
1 year term- David Johnson, Randy Lubenow, Jody Saxton
“Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.” Psalm 127:3
Wow what a year it has been at Grace, we are very blessed to have a wonderful children’s and youth ministry...
From January- the first part of March the 3-year-old preschool class through sixth grade children enjoyed the curriculum, Dig In! They dug into the epic teachings of the bible. Then in March Covid hit! Grace’s Power hour turned to an online curriculum that reached families on Facebook. When Sunday School returned in the fall a new curriculum called Whirl was chosen, this curriculum is lectionary based. In November At Home Sunday School started, families picked up bags that included curriculum, crafts and any needed items families would need to complete their projects. Weekly an email was sent to families with a link to that week's Sunday School prerecorded lesson.
During the mid-winter rally in January, children came to power hour in their pajamas,watched a fun movie and ate popcorn while their parents were attending the annual meeting.
Power Hour offering continues to support a variety of hands-on service projects.This year the children, tied blankets and donated craft items to nursing homes. Offering has not been collected since March.
CHAOS (Christ Hands Around Our Students)was put on hold due to Covid.
The TLC Ministry welcomed the children entering Power Hour in the fall and their parents for a special time at Grace on the south lawn.They enjoyed fun activities; each child was given their own prayer book to take home.
During the week of June 22nd-26th, over 150 children rode a virtual Rocky Railway; where they discovered how “Jesus’ Power Pulls Us Through” what a great message for children this year. Families picked up supply bags the week before VBS, each bag included a cd, talking with Jesus bible book (1st-6th grade), Preschool bible pack (pk & K), bible buddies for each child and your craft supplies for the week.The children tuned in each day to watch the crazy and fun antics for the week. The children’s offering went to Heaven’s Table, over $2500 was donated!
On Wednesday afternoons in July and August children entering 4th-7th grade gathered at Grace for an afternoon of bible lesson craft and fellowship.
Confirmation is an especially important part of the youth at Grace, we have over 90 kids participating in confirmation on Wednesday evenings. The youth have been very adaptable to our changing weeks of confirmation, though they were only able to meet in the building for 5 weeks this fall. The small groups have persevered through. They meet in class rooms and they rotate through a 3-week schedule week one they watch the worship service, week two they watch the small group teaching and week three the small group does a service project. The service projects have included filling At Home Sunday School Bags, prepping stars for the star tree,writing cards to home bound members, college students, Sunday School families and the confirmation class of 2020. There is also a small group of distant learning students who participate in every thing their small group is doing but from home.
Youth in 7th grade and up have had opportunities to participate in many MERGE activities. MERGE is an ecumenical gathering of area youth leaders working together to further God’s kingdom on earth through support of youth and each other. There have been many activities offered for the youth including picture scavenger hunt, drive in movie nights and Friendsgiving.
In May graduating seniors and their families were treated to a rainy and cold parade, in recognition of their achievements, where they were presented a gift bag with a blanket with the word “Grace” and a cross printed on it, a cloth mask made by Grace members and cookies from the Madelia bakery. Later that evening a graduation recognition service was aired on Facebook for families to enjoy. They had special memories from many Grace members near and far.
The confirmation Class of 2020 had a memorable confirmation service this year... they were confirmed at the high school parking lot surrounded by family and friends in the snow.The class reaffirmed their baptism with the frozen water from Heaven.
Children, Youth and Family Ministry Team; Andrea Miller, Grace Miller, Carisa Andersen, Deb Roggow, Kristin Miller, Nicki Kueker, and Pastor John Heille. We are always looking for fresh faces and ideas on this team!
God has truly rewarded Grace with the gift of flexible and adapting children!
Christen Education Director
2020 was an eventful and challenging year for our church and the personnel committee. In January, we welcomed a new member from the church council, Jolene Rosol and two at-large members, Dawn Becker and Leigha Johnson. Beth Senf and Mark Brown completed their time on the committee, and we would like to thank them for their hard work.
At the beginning of the year, the updated Employee Handbook was presented to and approved by the church council. The team from the previous year did a great job updating policies and benefits. This was a big undertaking and is much appreciated by current committee members and staff.
Over the summer, we faced the task of replacing our long time Office Manager, Sue Ruen, as well as her co-worker, Erin Maidl. Sue was very flexible with us in regards to training her replacement.We were happy to recommend Amanda Richison to the Church Council and bring her on board. Amanda has been with us since the middle of August. It was a challenging time to start a new position like this one. Please introduce yourself to Amanda if you get the opportunity – she is new to the community and our church. With the resignation of our Ways of Grace Editor, Lori Haugen, Amanda was excited to take on that challenge. We are considering hiring an Office Assistant to help Amanda since she took on these new duties.
Wayne and Marlene Olson decided to step down as Kitchen Managers/Open Door Coordinators. They will stay involved until a replacement has been trained.We recommended to the council that we hire Laura Cole-Huebert as the new Kitchen Manager/Open Door Coordinator. She will assume her duties when we can resume in person activities.
This fall, we conducted annual employee discussions with our salaried and part-time staff. We heard about how flexible everyone has been during this pandemic.Things are constantly changing and we are amazed by the flexibility and creativity they have exhibited.They have also seen the coming and going of an interim pastor and have not skipped a beat.
We also recommended staff compensation changes to the Service Team and Church Council. As well as offering paid vacation for our part-time staff on a pro-rated basis.
We look forward to 2021 and getting back to normal operations.We appreciate the opportunity to serve Grace Lutheran.
2020 Personnel Committee Members
Dawn Becker, Jim Head, Leigha Johnson, Lyn Johnson and Jolene Rosol
Ministry Team Reports
2020 Discipleship/ Children Youth & Family Team Report
2020 Personnel Committee Report
The Worship Team has begun meeting monthly to try to meet the safety demands of the pandemic and the challenges of meeting the needs of the worshippers of Grace Lutheran Church.
Beginning in mid-March the pandemic forced Grace to change the way it worshiped. For the first few months Worship and Music Director, Amy Engel-Duong, created worship videos with video parts supplied by pastors, readers, musicians, singers, and more. She shared the videos online for people to watch at weekly worship times on Sunday and Wednesday. Grace’s online worship services have been reaching people all over this country and in our community and has allowed church members to be a part of Grace Lutheran Church worship from their homes. During those months the Worship Team, staff, and church council, looked at a variety of ways to worship in-person, and with the church council’s approval and direction on all Covid-19 related decisions, the church moved forward with a couple of in person worship options.
The team started inperson worship in the summer by following Pr John’s recommendation to do drive-in worship as it was a safe and manageable worship set-up. Drive-in started in the Fairmont high school parking lot (due to Grace’s parking lot being under construction) and in the fall moved to the Grace Lutheran Church parking lot. In the months that we have been having drive-in worship we have never had to cancel due to weather, and we are planning 2 drive-in Christmas services on December 24 and 25. A memorable drive-in service was the Confirmation service on October 25 where we confirmed the confirmation class of 2020 in the snow. For the first time Grace did a Blessing of the Animals on November 8 at the drive-in service.
Also during the summer, we cautiously started indoor worship doing our best to lessen the possibility of spreading Covid-19 at worship through masking, distancing, and shorter services.We are continuing indoor worship as of the writing of this report and have 4 indoor Christmas services planned.
Broadcasting of worship on cable channel 12 has continued along with an additional time on Friday.
The addition of live streaming to Boxcast, our website, YouTube, and Facebook in November has allowed our congregation members to interact and engage with each other and with worship in a live online setting where they can greet each other, share the peace, and provide support for each other.
Looking ahead the Worship Team has started to think about what worship will look like after this pandemic, and we will be needing your input as well. We as a church will want to think about a variety of worship questions like worship times, online worship, what people do we need to help with worship, what do we like from the past and present, what may need to change for the future of worship, and much more. Please be thinking about worship at Grace and be ready to provide some input when that time comes.
The Worship Ministry Team was represented on Council by Eric Tonder and Jolene Rosol.
Anyone interested in joining the Worship Ministry Team, please contact Amy Engel-Duong.
2020 Worship Team Report
·Received/monitored the monthly general and trust account financial reports.
·Reviewed the annual audit presented by the Audit committee.
·Reviewed our commercial building insurance policy and made appropriate changes.
·Received bids for the west parking lot renovation. Contact was signed with WW Blacktopping in February. Construction started in June and was completed in September. A successful fund raising campaign was held and the parking lot is paid in full.
·New employee handbook was approved as presented by the Personnel Committee which included PTO time for part-time hourly employees.
·Fairmont Glass worked on the exterior doors making several updates.
·Updated quote was received from Fairmont Glass for east side window replacement project because area design of the windows was needed for the purpose of air conditioning. Quotes are being obtained for the air conditioning.
·PPP loan was applied for and received.
·Became the fiscal agent for MERGE.
·The main floor, basement classrooms, halls and Fellowship Hall floors were stripped and waxed.
·A temporary ramp was purchased for access to the Church through the parking lot project.
·Accepted the resignation of Erin Maidl, Co-Office Manager.
·Claudia Bleess was hired as a summer intern through the MVAC program and worked on the web site/branding.
·An extension was done for our irrigation system to cover the new area created by the parking lot project.
·10 TV’s and mounting brackets were purchased for the classrooms.
·Accepted the resignation of Sue Ruen as Co-Office Manager.
·Contracted with Lawn Solutions for snow removal of the parking lot for the upcoming season.
·A memorial donation was received to purchase a playground system. This was installed with many volunteers and donations.
·Accepted the resignation of Lori Haugen, Ways of Grace Editor.
·Hired Amanda Richison as Office Manager/ Ways of Grace Editor.
·Wayne and Marlene Olson seek to resign as Kitchen Managers/ Open Door Coordinators.
·Hired Laura Cole-Huebert to assume the role as Kitchen Manager /Open Door Coordinator, when fellowship activities resume.
·Purchased new computer for the Office Manager and Christian Education Director.
·Replaced radiator controls in the 1st and 3rd floor rooms.
·Brad Anderson was employed as a temporary part time maintenance person, and he was changed to permanent part time.
·Worked with the Financial Director to prepare the 2021 budget.
Council Representatives: Jennifer Nielsen, Lyn Johnson
Members: Dave Johnson, Tim Miller, Jane Reiman, Brad Anderson
2020 Service Team Report
2020 Outreach Ministry Team Report
“Use every part of your body to give glory back to God” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
“Support and Empowering Servants” is our mission.The purpose of the Outreach Team is to support ministries within the church with support from others. We invite individuals active in these missions to attend our meetings giving us insight and knowledge of what they do. Outreach brings awareness to the congregation of what each mission does to get others involved.
Outreach was more challenging for the team due to the Pandemic.We had our first meeting for 2020 in March via Zoom. March was an appropriate time for our Team to help with reaching out to others through the web with more creative ways to bring younger people into our church family making it more appealing for all ages.
We have dedicated volunteers helping at our area food shelves. Heaven’s Table organized a food distribution in May at the High School with food provided by Second Harvest with help from volunteers. Hot Meals on Wheels continued to be delivered by volunteers from Grace to those in our community who are shut-ins or are not able to prepare a meal.
Grace Lutheran has always received new members twice a year, but due to the Pandemic Outreach Team has tabled this for a later date.
Our Visiting Team brings encouragement and friendship to individuals in need of comforting and friendship. The number of aging members of Grace living in nursing homes or alone is increasing significantly. We are always in need of volunteers who are willing to be a friend to listen and to pray with them.
The Star Tree is a rewarding mission to people who normally would not receive a Christmas gift. Special thanks to Connie Gustafson and Nicki Kueker for their time and effort coordinating this ministry.
Outreach ministries include dedicated work from our Missions Team, planning strategically this year with the Christmas tree sales and snowmen sales.
Outreach Team members are Pastor John Heille, Mary Kotewa, Connie Gustafson, Mark Brown, Kendra Pomerenke, Connie and John Anthony representing Missions. We want to thank Jan Nielsen for her many dedicated years of service to Outreach.
2020 Fellowship Team/ Open Door Ministry Report
When 2020 started we had big plans for the new year.
There was so much to look forward to in 2020.
Our Wednesday night Open Door Meals were going to be part of growing our ministry on Wednesday nights. We were hoping to see continued growth in Wednesday worship and our Confirmation ministry. And then in March everything we know to do as a congregation was flipped on its side by Covid 19.
In response to the pandemic, we have put so much on hold. That included fellowship events, funeral meals, and open-door suppers.
There is some good news to share. We were looking for a new kitchen coordinator, and Laura Huebert has stepped up to take on the role. Wayne and Marlene Olson are ready to help get her ready to take on leadership.
It’s not clear when we will be ready to host meals and fellowship activities again—but no doubt, we will be ready when the time comes.
Submitted by Pastor John Heille on behalf of the Fellowship Team and the Open Door Meal Teams.
2020 Grace Missions Report
“I am the vine, you are the branches.Whoever remains in me and I in him, will bear much fruit,
for you can do nothing without me. “John 15:5
The Missions Team would like to thank everyone for their support during a very challenging year. This past year we lost a founding member of our team, Donna Torgerson. She was a blessing to many as can be noted by the many memorials given to the Mission’s team in her honor.With limited fundraisers, memorials, and a few very generous individual donations, we were able to donate $48,900 to Mission Projects.
Fundraisers were limited and different this year. In addition to the Phantom Tea Fundraiser, we also had to do a Phantom Apple Pie bake due to COVID limitations. We also didn’t hold the silent auction and rummage sale originally planned. With the uncertainties, we only ordered half the normal amount of Christmas tree. Fortunately, they sold out very quickly. We are hoping that 2021 will allow for more normal activities as the year progresses.
The Missions Team meets approximately 4-6 times per year and would welcome new members to help keep missions strong at Grace!
Our goal is to follow the teachings of our Lord by serving as His branches, working to provide hope for the hopeless, food for the hungry, and help for those in need.
Co-Chairs: John & Connie Anthony
Secretary: Louise Hendricks
Treasurer: John Anthony
Members: Carol Cress, Mark Hernes, Keith Hertzke, Todd Mathews, Karen Munsch, Carol Nasby, Pete & Laura Odgren, Ross Sheppard, Arnie Swenson, Joel Teskey, Carol Voss & Pastor John Heille
Despite many difficult challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to long term care facilities this past year, St. Luke's staff members have remained dedicated to providing high quality care and services to our residents and tenants.
Starting in March, when entrance doors were locked and signs for visitor restrictions were posted, the following measures have been implemented as our facility follows state and federal guidance to minimize exposure to COVID-19 infection:
• Entrance screening of staff and visitors for COVID symptoms
• Twice daily screening of residents and Friendship Court tenants for COVID symptoms
• Medical procedure masks required for staff and visitors
• Personal Protective Equipment training for all staff and infection control audits
• Hand sanitizing options throughout the building
• Enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures
• Alterations in dining, activities, chapel services and beauty shop/barber services to accommodate social distancing
• Options for maintaining contact with family members and friends through a variety of visit opportunities including virtual, window, outdoor, and indoor compassionate care
• Testing and isolation precautions for symptomatic residents
• Exclusion from work for symptomatic staff
• Conversion of Station 3 (Sunrise) to a special isolation unit with dedicated staffing for COVID positive residents
• Facility-wide outbreak testing of residents and staff every 3 to 7 days in response to a positive COVID case in a resident or staff until 14 days have passed without an additional positive case.
• Routine testing of staff with frequency determined by Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) County Test Positivity Rate
In addition to these measures, every department has been required to complete multiple reports per state and federal guidelines.
MN Department of Health has suspended annual surveys but has been conducting Infection Control Focus surveys instead. We received one deficiency in our first infection control survey last spring and have had 2 additional surveys this fall that were deficiency free.
To date, we have had 8 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19; currently we do not have any active cases.
While our Adult Day program remains on hold due to potential for COVID exposure concerns, occupancy rates remain high for Southview Estates and New Life Manor.
We have received multiple sources of funding to help offset extra costs and revenue losses. The SBA offered the Paycheck Protection Program; this is a forgivable loan to assist with payroll expenses. In addition, the Department of Health & Human Services has distributed multiple stimulus payments to help cover personal protective equipment (masks, gowns, face shields) and Covid-19 testing. The Department of Human Service's offered Elderly Waiver Add-on payments for Friendship Court.
Margaret Brandt, Administrator
Dennis Madsen, Grace Lutheran Representative
St. Luke's Lutheran Care Center Report
Grace & Growth Fund
Grace & Growth Balance 212,365.71
2020 made/not distributed balance (18,516.33)
2019 Interest (gain/loss) 3,901.28
3% interest inflation reinvented 117.04
Payout 2019 Interest:
$1,892.12 50% Missions
$946.06 25% Capital Equipment
$378.42 10% Worship
$378.42 10% Education
$189.21 5% Library/Christian Promotion 3,784.24
Fund Balance as of 12-31-20 193,849.38
Grace Lutheran Endowment Fund (St. Paul/MN Foundation)
10-1-18 through 9-30-19
Beginning Balance as of 10-1-18 158,879
Interest & Dividends 2,648
Investment Gain/Loss 706
Administrative Fees (1,354)
Grants Paid (6,084)
Investment Expenses (724)
Ending Balance as of 9-30-19 154,071
Grace Lutheran Mission Financials 2020
1/01/2020 - 12/31/2020
Direct Deposit 2,685.00
Envelopes & Misc. 24,027.47
Fund Raiser 14,918.00
Memorials Gifts 2,390.00
Missions Interest 5.25
TOTAL INCOME 44,025.72
Fund Raiser Expense 5,730.98
Misc. Expense 100.00
Mission Project Donation 48,900.00
TOTAL EXPENSES 54,730.98
OVERALL TOTAL -10,705.26