Upcoming Worship Schedule
 
November & December bring some schedule changes in our worship services and
faith formation classes. Please mark your calendar!
 
Wednesday, Nov. 24 – No Worship or Faith Formation
 
Early Family Christmas Wednesday, Dec. 15
Meal @ 5 pm
Worship @ 6 pm (in-person & livestreamed on HTLC YouTube channel)
 
Blue Christmas – Wednesday, Dec. 22, 6 pm (No Faith Formation)
 
Christmas Eve Services
2 pm, 4 pm, 10 pm (in-person only)
6 pm – Online only
 
Sunday, Dec. 26 & Wednesday, Dec. 29 – Online worship only (No Faith Formation)
 
 
 
Advent Magazine
 
Download the HTLC Advent Magazine for inspirational hymns, daily devotionals and weekly prayers.
 
Advent Logs
 
We’re gearing up for the biggest birthday party of the year! Advent logs and tea lights are available:
  • Welcome Center before/after worship
  • HTLC Office during the office hours
  • Outside Door 5 during non-office hours.
 
Sharing Tree
 
Thank you, Holy Trinity, for your support of the Le Sueur County Santa Anonymous program through the HTLC Sharing Tree. All of the tags  have been claimed!
 
If you took a tag from the tree, please return your gifts by December 5th.
We’re Hiring!
Individuals with experience in leading children, youth or family ministries are invited to apply. Please email cover letter and resume to Jamie
 
Calling all Amazon shoppers! Here’s a great way to give back to HTLC.

Click “Start Here” button below, click “Get Started,” and type “Holy Trinity Lutheran Church New Prague” in the search bar.

Follow the directions and voila! Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to HTLC!
 

HTLChronicles

 

More Than A Tree

The six-foot artificial evergreen tree in the Fellowship Hall holds more than paper tags. It’s a symbol of hope for families in need to receive Christmas gifts for their children and an opportunity for families to volunteer and discover “the reason for the season”. Now in its 29th year, the Holy Trinity Sharing Tree is a mission with a strong history that continues today, thanks to an army of Christmas Angels.
 
In the Beginning
 
Deep in the Holy Trinity archives, Office Manager Jamie Bisek discovered the Sharing Tree began in 1992 under the direction of the Christian Life & Growth Team, led by Sue Harris. When Mary Hanson-Busch joined Holy Trinity in 1993, she was drawn to the generosity of the group. “Seeing so many people coming together to sponsor local families is gratifying.” Busch recalls the Sunday School offering being used to purchase winter gear and the Sharing Tree tags had toy ideas for the Santa Anonymous program. “Sue would bring in all of the snowsuits for the Sunday School to see what was bought.”
 
Busch eventually took over the Sharing Tree Coordinator position after Harris moved, a job that took many volunteers and hours. Initially working with both Scott and Le Sueur county agencies to find families in need, Holy Trinity’s Sharing Tree was sponsoring over 300 families. Busch remembers, “We would pile all of the items over the collection [period] and spend one full day, with many helpers, matching and sorting gifts. Volunteers got the [gift] bags to the sites each county had.” Shortly after that season, Holy Trinity worked solely with the Le Sueur County Adopt-a-Family and Santa Anonymous agencies.
 
LuAnn Leach’s involvement with Le Sueur County Santa Anonymous stems back to its inception in 1977 where they served 165 elementary aged children. At its height in the late 1980’s, Santa Anonymous provided gifts for almost 1000 children a year. Leech reports, “Since 2012, we have worked closely with Adopt-A-Family to avoid duplication of gifts; they focus on clothing and Santa Anonymous on toys. We now serve about 240 families with about 580 children. Typically, 85-90 families per year are ‘new’, so we know Le Sueur county residents continue to struggle economically.”
 
In recent years, Holy Trinity supported Le Sueur County families through the Santa Anonymous program, led by Leach and the Sharing Tree, coordinated by Busch and Julie Popple. The Sharing Tree evolved to meet the needs of the county, and narrowed its focus to the Adopt-a-Family program to collect clothing and winter gear.
 
This year, the efforts of all three women are combining and Holy Trinity is partnering with Le Sueur County Santa Anonymous to provide toys for families.
 

Christmas Angels

Lydia & Ellen Popple ~ 2004

 
The Sharing Tree’s volunteer-driven mission runs like a well-oiled machine, thanks to angels (in human form) Busch, Popple and Leach. Popple’s connection goes back to 2004 as she was looking for ways to get more involved at church with her two young children. She recalls, “From the time our daughters were 3 and 1, they helped me pack the bags with clothes and toys and eventually became old enough to actually be helpful. Our project time together was a perfect opportunity to share with the girls that everyone experiences times of need and opportunities for generous giving. The Sharing Tree project serves as our annual reminder to respond with faith in scarcity and abundance. It continues to be one of our favorite parts of the Christmas season.”
 
Leach also has fond memories of her children helping her shop for Santa Anonymous gifts. “My 2nd daughter was 3-weeks-old, in an infant seat, with me at the first [Santa Anonymous] shop. My three kids grew up helping [me] shop and now I have grandchildren [helping me]. Understanding the true meaning of Christmas, as well as experiencing gratitude and humility, are lifelong behaviors I hope for in my family.”
 
The Empty Tree
 

2018

2019

When the Sharing Tree pops up in mid-November, the tags are often gone by Thanksgiving (as was the case in 2018 and 2019). The empty tree not only signifies the generosity that is woven into the fabric of Holy Trinity, but also and more importantly, families in need will have Christmas presents for their children. Leach consistently hears the phrase “without these gifts, we would not have Christmas” as she delivers Santa Anonymous gifts. After taking a hiatus in 2020*, the Sharing Tree returned with 35 tags. Each tag has two gift ideas for one child. One tag remains with a week to go before Thanksgiving.
 
Let all that you do be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:14). Thank you, Holy Trinity, for your continued support of the Sharing Tree!
 
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of the church building, the Sharing Tree team set up an outdoor, drop-off collection site in 2020 for winter coats for the Le Sueur County Adopt-a-Family program.
 
Written by Karen A. Taylor, HTLC Web Manager
November 18, 2021

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All are Welcome

Holy Trinity to Continue Annual Thanksgiving Meal

 
The car turns into the parking lot, slowing as the driver spies the line of vehicles winding around the perimeter, groups of people dropping bags into trunks. It is unusually busy for a Sunday afternoon and, not wanting to disturb, they edge along the side. They are hopeful the Little Free Pantry has a few items left so they angle in that direction. Suddenly a blonde woman with a friendly smile and a wave approaches them. “Would you like a free Thanksgiving dinner?” she calls out. 
 
“They were so surprised!” says Donna Galvin, HTLC Hospitality Coordinator. “And we had a few meals to spare.” 
 
A variation on our annual tradition of a community Thanksgiving Dinner (started by Audre Johnson in 2010), Holy Trinity is again hosting a free Thanksgiving Meal-in-a-Bag Giveaway on Sunday, November 21, 1-3 pm. Anyone interested in a meal is invited to call Donna Galvin (952-486-3242) to reserve one. Each bag will feed four to six people and include turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, dinner rolls, a vegetable, and a pie. 
 
 

Unflappable Donna

Galvin knows her life’s vocation. “Feeding other people is what makes me happy!” she says, laughing. “And to be able to give back to the community, it makes it all worthwhile.”
 
With her passion for food, it’s no surprise that Galvin and the Hospitality Team were able to adjust in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. They altered the format from a traditional meal served in Fellowship Hall to a sign-up/drive-through. But Galvin was not phased. “I thought it went fabulous! I think it went really well,” she says of the pandemic-friendly twist. 
 
This same group of alternately feisty (you know who you are), and helpful people weathered many challenges with the pandemic. They served Sunday morning coffee and even hosted Wednesday night dinners in the parking lot, hauling meals and beverages outside in chilly, windy, or stiflingly hot days. This also did not bother Galvin.
 
“I rather enjoyed being outside. I told the pastors, ‘30 below is my limit,’” says our stalwart Galvin. “But yes, I am looking forward to being back inside.” (Wednesday night dinners and Sunday morning coffee will be indoors beginning Wed., Nov. 17.)
 

Legacy of the Endowment Fund

The Thanksgiving meal is funded by the Holy Trinity Endowment Fund and a Thrivent Action Grant. “It is the elected Endowment Team’s joy to encourage, receive, and administer gifts to this fund (invested with the Saint Paul Foundation) in a way that honors God and aligns with the vision,” says Pastor Alicia Hilding, a member of the Endowment Team. “[We] enthusiastically supported Donna and the Hospitality Team’s application, believing HTLC’s Thanksgiving Meal is a great example of the ministry this fund was designed to support.”
 
Every year, the Endowment Team invites new groups to apply for funding generated by the investment. Their mission is evident in their bylaws. “The purpose of this fund is to enhance the outreach of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Past recipients include the School Supply Drive; Hope House; Faith, Recovery, and Music; and His Haven Ranch. 
 
“The beauty of the Endowment Fund is that it creates a legacy of giving through Holy Trinity Church, year after year, generation after generation, long after the original donation was made,” says Jed Trachte, Endowment Team Chair. 
 
So who is invited to sign up for a Thanksgiving Meal-in-a-Bag? “Anyone in the community [and surrounding communities],” says Galvin. “We welcome everybody. It’s my job to be with people, to feed people.”
 
Written by Rose M. Fife, HTLC Communications Specialist
November 11, 2021

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The Garden and the Town

Once upon a time, a community worked together to plant a garden so their neighbors in need could have fresh vegetables.

In New Prague this is not a fairy tale. This is becoming a reality.

The idea occurred to Matt Goldade while on a bike ride. How could he help the Peace Center, the local food shelf, to offer more fresh fruits and vegetables?

“I had just read an article about food shelves needing fresh foods,” he says. “And I thought, ‘Why can’t we do something to provide healthier food? Why should they have to eat canned food all the time?’”

Goldade had just joined Holy Trinity with his wife and daughters and thought of the unused land around the church building. Aware of the Small Town Grant from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), and a member of the Rotary Club of New Prague, he wanted to do something.
 
“Everything in my head kept snowballing. I knew about the grant and I thought, ‘What can New Prague do?’”
 
After calling the pastors to see if they could secure space for a garden, he contacted Rita Goggins, Volunteer Services Coordinator at the Peace Center, to verify they had the room for more produce. Then he presented his idea and the SMIF grant to the New Prague Rotary Club.
 
 

The Idea of Community

 
Jessica Dohm, President of the Rotary Club, was excited from the beginning. “Things move forward because of communities,” she says. “If it were one person trying to do this one big project on their own, it would probably be doomed to failure. But if a bunch of people just come together and give a little bit of time, you can do really great, impactful things. To me, that’s the whole idea of community.” 
 
Dohm called Praha Village Senior Living and asked if the residents would be interested in planting or maintaining the garden. The answer was a resounding “Yes!”

Last summer, Rotary was awarded the full grant of $10,000 for a Peace Garden from SMIF. Along with Rotary’s $2500 donation, they have a sizable head start on raising money for the plants and lumber. The Peace Garden, named after the Peace Center, will be built and maintained by members of the community to help those in need have better access to healthier options.

“This is small-town living at its best,” says HTLC Pastor Ben Hilding, also in the Rotary Club. “The Rotary principle motto is ‘Service above Self.’”

Pastor Ben is also impressed with the different organizations getting involved. The Boy Scouts offered service hours to help. The City of New Prague gave advice, support, and feedback on the location. The Green Team at New Prague High School expressed interest in collaborating. And local businessman Nick Slavik agreed to help with the build and coordination of the project.

 

The Peace Center

 

“In a sentence? I can’t wait!” says Rita Goggins, Volunteer Services Coordinator of the Peace Center. “I’m excited the community has come together to think of us. It’s so helpful when they are behind us.”

Goggins and the volunteers at the Peace Center, supported by the Mayo Clinic, strive to provide their clients with the healthiest food possible. “We want to provide year-round the best possible food,” she says. “Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a need and a want. This will make it easier to provide the best food possible. And I love the community piece, the relationships.”

The Peace Center recently restructured their space to allow for more produce. In the past, they relied solely on grocery store donations, some of which are understandably a few days old. The additional carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes will be appreciated by those in need.
 
 

God is in the Details

The Peace Garden will be planted in Spring 2022, in the southeast corner of the parking lot in front of the trees. (For those directionally-challenged like me, that’s to the right of the Prayer Garden.) The beds will be elevated to make it easier on volunteers, especially those at Praha Village. All food grown will go to providing the clients of the Peace Center with healthier options.

The Rotary Club of New Prague will be driving the project, but anyone can get involved. You do not have to be a member of New Prague Rotary, Holy Trinity, Praha Village, or the Boy Scouts to get involved.
 
 
 

How Can I Help?

“If people are interested in participating on any level, the planning of the garden, the building, the planting, maintaining, harvesting… all of that we need help with,” says Dohm. “But I don’t want to solicit people’s assistance and make them feel it’s long-term. You can even help for an hour.” Email Dohm (admin@newpraguerotary.com) to offer your services, sign up for the Garden Committee, or to ask questions.

The price of lumber rose significantly last year so donations are also appreciated. “Donations will go towards making it more accessible for those at Praha Village, making it a more personal space.” says Goldade. The New Prague Rotary Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), so all donations are tax deductible. Checks can be made to the New Prague Rotary Foundation and mailed to PO Box 92, New Prague, MN 56071. “We’re even working on getting Venmo!” says Dohm.

 
 

The End

“We are so grateful to HTLC for the gift of the land usage in order to initiate this project,” says Dohm. “Otherwise, it wouldn’t even have been a remote possibility.”

Goldade is now on the board of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, but he does not participate in the grant committees. It is his job, along with many others, to make people aware of these available grants. He remains passionate about helping his neighbors, his community.

“Just because you don’t have a lot of money in your pockets doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the same ability to eat healthy,” says Matt.
 
Written by Rose M. Fife, HTLC Communications Specialist
October 21, 2021

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