We reached our goal to fully fund the new digital church sign! Hallelujah!! THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to raise $85,800 over the past month!
 
Now we get to share this message with everyone who drives by our church, Every.Single.Day.
 
Click the button for a special thank you!
 
Spread the word! Our next New Member Class is online.

Sunday, November 7
10:30 am – Noon


Participants will spend time getting to know one another, learn what makes us Lutheran and what it means to be a member of Holy Trinity. Zoom link will be sent once registration is complete.  Sign up below!
 
Join us for the 7th Annual
HTLC Trunk or Treat! 

Sign up below to reserve your spot in the HTLC parking lot. Dress up, decorate your trunk and hand out candy to the kids. Make this a memorable event!

This event is open to kids of all ages in the community. Spread the word!
 
 
Le Sueur Co. Santa Anonymous volunteer and HTLC member LuAnn Leach is collecting donations of toys and clothing for Le Sueur Co. children. Please email LuAnn or call 507-357-4850 for items needed. Deadline for donations is November 10.

If you or anyone you know are in need of assistance this Christmas, please fill out this Adopt-a-Family and Santa Anonymous Wish List. 
 
 
To honor Native American Heritage Month, the HTLC Racial Justice Task Force has arranged a guided group tour of the exhibit, Mdewakanton: Dwellers of the Spirit Lake.

Sat. November 6
1 – 2:30 pm
Hocokata Ti


Transportation is on your own but if you’d like to carpool, please meet in the church parking lot at 12:15 pm. Tickets will be purchased upon arrival.
 
Volunteers are needed to help with meal preparation and delivery of meals to 4 Hope House families the week of October 31 – November 6. All meals will be prepared in the St. Wenceslaus kitchen.  

Sign up below to help or contact Kathy Giesen (952-465-2799) or Mary Higgins (952-240-1604.)
 
Carrying out our Mission, Vision & Values, our doors are open to various support groups in New Prague.
Click the button to learn more.
 
Holy Trinity was blessed to receive a custom painting by Sharon Blomquist. The artist, who happens to be Pastor Alicia’s aunt, drove this piece all the way from California to keep it intact. Read more about this remarkable work.

HTLChronicles

 
Written by Rose Fife, HTLC Communication Specialist.
 

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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From Dolls to Meals

HTLC Member Honors Parents With Gifts for Children

 
 
Every year, 3.1 million children die from malnutrition.
Every day, 66 million children go to school hungry.
Around the world, 99 million children under five years old were considered underweight as of 2013.

These staggering facts led HTLC member Sande Schoenecker to make a memorial gift in honor of her parents for the continued purchase of cuddle+kind dolls.

Schoenecker and her four siblings grew up in Jackson, MN, and learned early to donate to charitable causes. “It was important to our parents that we always tithe,” she says. “I still remember them telling us about budgeting. The very first thing they did was write a check to the church and other charitable organizations. They gave. That came first.”
 
Schoenecker’s father, a former high school Language Arts teacher and coach, passed away in March 2020 after heart surgery. Her mother was a secretary for an insurance company and now suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. She entered a Good Samaritan home in Sioux Falls, SD, in October 2019. “My dad went every day to visit her.”
 
 
 

The Joy of Giving

“My father was able to leave money for his five children,” Schoenecker says. “When we received it, I encouraged my siblings to follow our parents’ example and tithe the money. It was a really fun thing to do! I got to think about where I wanted this money to go.”

Schoenecker, a retired special education then elementary teacher, is devoted to the care of children and made the gift intentionally. “This is a way of communicating to the family and child the meaning behind the doll as part of our response is to serve the poor, the needy, and the hungry.”
 
 

Why Do We Give Dolls?

HTLC began giving the dolls to children at baptism, along with a prayer shawl, several years ago. For every doll purchased, cuddle+kind provides 10 meals to children in need through partnerships with multiple humanitarian agencies around the world. The agencies are sensitive to the needs of the community and provide aid in a manner they feel is best.

Jen and Derek Woodgate founded cuddle+kind in September 2015 after watching a documentary about the impact of hunger on developing children around the world. To date, they have given over 7.5 million meals to kids in need in 66 countries. Their goal is to provide 1 million meals each year. The Woodgates are particularly interested in helping female children.

According to their website,“Empowering girls is the key to healthier communities. Girls with more education have fewer children, have them later in life and are better prepared to care for and educate them. Studies have shown that a woman’s education contributed to 43% of the reduction in child malnutrition over time.”

The handmade dolls themselves also provide income for women in Peru. “We are proud to support over 750 artisans with sustainable, equitable, fair trade employment. We ensure that rural working mothers have access to flexible hours and are paid fairly for their work. This allows our knitters to care for their families, plan for their futures and for many, it brings meaningful change to their lives.”

For Schoenecker, choosing to give through the church was a simple decision. “This is why I love the ELCA church. The ELCA church is one of service to others. It’s important that you are Christian. But it goes way beyond being Christian. It’s the service, the faith, and how you treat others.”
 
 
Written by Rose M. Fife, HTLC Communications Specialist
October 14, 2021

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What’s a Huddle?

We are a congregation intent on welcoming the stranger.
We want to lighten burdens through inspiring worship.
We want to help those who cannot buy bread for their children.
We want to provide a safe haven for groups to meet and share their struggles.
And we want to teach the next generation (and everyone), that God loves them.
 
How do we achieve this? We huddle.
 
“Does everyone know a huddle is a congregational dinner?” Pat Remfert asked me. “Dinner and a meeting! That’s how we do huddles,” he says. Remfert is the Chair of the new Strategic Plan 2.0 and the MC for Sunday’s event.
 
Holy Trinity is hosting a congregational dinner and meeting (“It’s a Huddle!”) on Sunday, October 3, 4-6 pm, to announce the details of the Strategic Plan 2.0. (Click here to RSVP. All are welcome!)
 
The last congregational huddle was March 2020, a week before COVID arrived in Minnesota and forced us to close our doors for 15 months. This time, the dinner will be held outside (look for the big tent) to follow CDC guidelines, and will include keynote speaker Pastor Blair Anderson. (Yep, the same Pastor Blair who facilitated our first Strategic Plan.) And, like the past Huddles, there will be entertainment. (Cheers for the choir singing again!)
 
Earlier this year, five teams with respective team leads were formed to cover crucial areas of the church. They are:
 
Welcome: Jamie Sticha
Worship: Christa Smith
Respond: Matthew Goldade
Children, Youth, and Family (CYF): Jay Schoenebeck
Facilities: Jackie Lee

These teams will meet every two to four weeks to learn from various speakers and brainstorm ideas for the future. They will also meet monthly with the pastors to update them. Their final recommendations will be presented to the congregation in April/May 2022.

Remfert enjoys seeing new sides of people. “I’m always amazed to see the hidden skill sets that people have. We just have to let them use them. I hear people and think, ‘I didn’t know you knew how to do that!’ That’s how we make progress.”

Strat Plan 2.0 a close cousin to 1.0

CYF Team Lead Jay Schoenebeck feels the Strategic Plan 2.0 is strongly connected to the first. “I don’t consider them separate. A lot of those stakeholders who were involved in the 1.0 Plan came up with successful initiatives we are currently using,” he says. “We have to look at the good things that came from this Digital Reformation. All the changes that came like remote learning, Zooming for meetings. Outside factors influence how we do things. This is a natural time to look at ministries and make sure they align.”

Facilities Team Lead Jackie Lee feels it will be crucial to work with the other teams. “It’s not only the building [that is our focus] but I think that it’ll be important for us to listen to the other Strategic 2.0 teams, such as the Worship and CYF teams. They may have ideas that will require us to circle back on our thoughts.”

Lee is interested in determining how the Facilities Team can support the mission of the church. “I’m most excited how we as a facilities team can go back to the Vision, Mission and Values statement that was completed for the Vision 2020 and see exactly how facilities lie in helping live out that vision. Because if you read the Vision, Mission and Values statement there is no direct mention of facilities, but it is intertwined in all of them.”

“Being a welcoming church to ALL, no matter what, is very important to me,” says Welcome Team Lead Jamie Sticha. Her process: “We will meet to ground ourselves in the Mission / Vision / Values, honor the Strategic Plan 1.0, interview people who represent what it means to be welcoming and come up with a few recommendations for the church to consider.”

Chair Pat Remfert is excited about this process. “This is fun work! This is not figuring out how to close the church! This is figuring out how to do the Vision 2020. If we skip a generation, we’re done. It’s up to us to make sure we have the energy to ‘share God’s love to all people from one generation to the next.’”

Here are a few questions we’ve been getting:

How are we funding this?

In July, we announced we received the reKindle Congregational Development Program grant of $15,000 from Columbia Theological Seminary.

Will I be asked to volunteer?

Only if you want to. “We really try to work hard at being open, transparent. We’re trying to engage as many people in the congregation as we could to understand their skill sets. Get their ideas.” says Remfert. But volunteering will be voluntary, not “voluntold.”

Why should I come to the Huddle?

“Information helps us make informed decisions,” says Remfert. And Donna, Hospitality Coordinator, will be cooking.

See you on Sunday!
 
Written by Rose M. Fife, Communications Specialist
September 30, 2021

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