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

 

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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The Gift of Welcome

Holy Trinity now sports a pair of stylish chairs, a small conference table, and a safe railing in front of the new office wing thanks to a memorial gift from Ron Soheim and family.

Ron and his late wife Linda Solheim were married for 47 and a half years. “From the time we said ‘I do,’ we were married for 17,397 days.”

He remembers seeing her and wanting to know her name, if she was single. He bought her a coffee and asked her to dinner. “The first time we went out was August 12. Our first date was at Barnacle Bar at Frontier Dinner Theater (now Chanhassen Dinner Theatre) on August 12. We were engaged by August 24. Twelve days later. My pastor met her and said ‘You two are truly soulmates. You are meant to be together.’”

Ron and Linda moved from Chanhassen to New Prague on June 2, 2021 to be closer to family. But they also moved so Ron would have help with Linda’s care.

“Linda went into hospice care on March 1, 2021. I was her primary caregiver. I assured her she would never have to leave home, that I would always be with her.” When their sons and daughters-in-law, Jeff and Shari Solheim, Brad and Andrea Solheim, became concerned the role was becoming too much for their father, they suggested moving to Praha Village. “Linda loved it here [at Praha]. She said ‘We should have done this sooner.’”
 

An Amazing Memory

The couple made plans to attend and join Holy Trinity. “Both of us were looking forward to being members of HTLC. She just didn’t make it. She passed away at least six months before we thought she would.”

Linda passed away the day after Father’s Day. “The morning of June 21, the most beautiful person left this life with me to become my most amazing memory.”

Ron treasures his life with his wife. “Our life together of 47.5 years was amazing. Linda had Lupus for 38 years. She was struggling with that all the time. Most of the time she had it under control, but for the last 15 years, she also had one of the rarest forms of cancer. She was a fighter.”

Despite being new to the community, Ron chose to have Linda’s funeral at Holy Trinity thanks to a phone call of sympathy. “The night that Linda passed, Jeff got a phone call from Pastor Alicia. She was extending her sympathies on Mother’s passing. She wanted us to know that if we wanted to have a service at Holy Trinity, we were more than welcome to.” Two days later, the family met with the pastors and Office Manager Jamie Bisek to plan the service.
 

Someone Else in Control

“When we were planning the service, we didn’t have to do much,” says Ron. “Things just fell into place. Someone else was in control.” Partway through the meeting, Jamie showed the Solheim family into the sanctuary. Ron looked up at the screen in amazement. “I wanted the hymn ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ for the funeral. Jamie was showing us some options and there on the screen were the words for the hymn ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’” The hymn was scheduled for the upcoming Sunday service, but happened to be on the screen at the time of their meeting.

As many churches are limiting the number of attendees, the Solheims were grateful to find a church that would allow a funeral big enough for their family. “Holy Trinity was so welcoming to both myself and my family that I proceeded to join the church. They were so welcoming to us having a service there.”
 

A Memorial For Linda

After a few weeks after Linda’s passing, Ron began to spend more time at Holy Trinity and noticed a few details. “I just saw some needs. So I asked Pastor Ben and Jamie where there might be a need, a memorial fitting of Linda.” Eventually an outside railing, stained glass-style chairs, and a small conference table were purchased as a memorial to Linda from her family.

“Linda would have liked that, having railings for me, especially,” Ron says. I can hear the smile in his voice. “And she would have loved those chairs. She liked bright colors, and pretty things like those chairs.”

Now, thanks to a loving gift from a family, the entrance is safer. The lobby is bright and welcoming with the new chairs. And there is a small, intimate room with comfortable seating to meet, potentially with another grieving family.

Ron knows his wife will always be with him. “All 17,397 days that we were married, I believe every day we told each other ‘I love you.’ Love never dies. Love is for always.”
 
Written by Rose M. Fife, HTLC Communications Specialist
September 2, 2021

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