Sharing God’s love with all people from one generation to the next. In gratitude to God’s grace, we cannot help but courageously and generously respond to the evolving needs of our greater community. 
Annual Summit Celebration
 
Help us celebrate THIS SUNDAY!
 
Sunday, Jan. 23, 10 am
Sanctuary & Online (Zoom)
2021 Review with recap video and Annual Meeting.
 
If you’re joining the meeting online, please use the “Join Zoom Meeting” button.
 
 
Congregational Survey
 
To aid us in our Strategic Plan 2.0 process, we are utilizing same the survey that was a part of our 2015 Strategic Plan. All answers are anonymous so tell us the good, the bad and the ugly – we want to hear it! Deadline is January 23.
 
Radio Sponsors
 
Thank you for considering this important gift of ministry to our radio listeners! We have openings for Radio Ministry sponsors at a cost of $60 per week.

If you’d like to help support this ministry, please contact Jamie in the church office or call 952-758-3513.
 HTLChronicles

402 Days

People gather for first in-person worship service at Holy Trinity in 402 days.

 
It has been 402 days since the congregation of Holy Trinity has worshiped together in person. That’s 57 weeks of online worship. Not that we’re counting. (Actually I’m not. It’s an app.)

Last Wednesday, April 14, we began our Wednesday Night Outdoor Worship Services. From our estimates, 143 people joined us from inside their cars, seated on folding chairs outside their cars, or within one of the 50 circles chalked into the parking lot. The weather was a balmy 42 degrees and the rain managed to wait until the electrical equipment was put away.

Council member Mary Hanson Busch was happy with the outcome. “This was a great idea. People came! They embraced the weather and the parking rules. We had a few technical difficulties, but each week it’s going to improve.

Michael Busch nodded and smiled. “I was so buoyed by this! It was great! It’s been fun to recognize faces through the masks. It’s just so good to see these faces again!”

Sue Gilles articulated what so many felt. “I’m so excited to be here,” she said. “It’s easy to get out of the habit of ‘attending church’ when it’s online. It can feel like watching a YouTube video at times. So I’m happy to be back, especially for my kids.”   

The service also provided an opportunity for the church to welcome in person our Youth Director Casey Fremstad, who started last summer. An abundance of honking and clapping followed Pastor Alicia’s recognition of Casey who began in May 2020. Casey also joined vocalist Toby Thietje and guitarist Tim Price for the closing song,“The Blessing.”

“It was so wonderful to see everyone and respond in worship together,” said Fremstad. “It was good to be back with people and singing live again,” said Thietje. Price agreed. “It was a great night!” Other hymns included “Precious Lord,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Graves into Gardens.” 

HTLC was happy to welcome 17 new families who joined during the past year. Derrick Hongerholt and his family joined last November. I asked him how it feels to worship in person after viewing the services online. “It was odd to join while online,” he said. “We visited Holy Trinity several times before the pandemic, so I’m glad to be back. I like that we’re trying to do this. It’s that sense of community we all need.”

Katie Holets and her family also joined last year. “It’s so nice to hear the singing and to see the actual feedback of people… Even if someone is smiling through the mask, their eyes light up. We need that. We need to see each other to acknowledge we’re all in this together. There’s a sense of camaraderie that we’ve been missing.”

Wednesday Night Outdoor services will continue weekly at 6 pm in the church parking lot. Follow this link to register each week. Masks, sanitizer, communion bread/juice, uplifting music, and messages of hope will be provided.
 
 
 

Written by Rose M. Fife, HTLC Communications Specialist   

Photos by Gina Fadden, HTLC Graphic Designer

April 15, 2021

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New Faces Join Online Easter Service

Several missed and beloved faces will be joining our online Easter service this year!

In an effort to include those we haven’t seen for a while, Visitation Pastor Diane Goulson recorded a few of our members who live in senior living facilities. Elaine Blomquist, Arlene Hilding, Jane Hines, and Mary Lou Most are able to participate this year, another benefit of online worship. (Lorraine Clemmer and another member attempted, but were not up to it on the day of visitation.)

Each member will read a verse or two of the Easter Gospel, and these recordings will be interspersed with readings from Confirmation students. 

“One person got choked up reading her verse because of the power of what she heard and the power of what was in it,” says Pastor Diane. 

Each member stressed how grateful they felt to be included. “Everyone said ‘Thank you for letting me be a part of this.’ And these are not people who are used to being recorded. God Bless them for doing this!” she says laughing.

The pandemic has been difficult for those in senior living homes. When most locations were forced to close their doors to outside visitors in March 2020, Pastor Diane resorted to making phone calls and writing cards to stay connected. However, some members have difficulty with sight or hearing, so each person requires different forms of communication. 

A year later, everyone in senior living on the visitation list has had vaccines and Pastor Diane is able to see them at least once a month for an hour. “We talk, pray together, have communion together, laugh and cry. I’ve gotten to know many of them well so I can ask about their families, what keeps them going.” 

Diane Goulson became HTLC’s Visitation Pastor in September 2019. In that role, she visits our members who are homebound, sick, dealing with cancer, struggling with grief, and anyone with health issues. She is also the staff support for the Grief Support Group and a member of the Amazing Grays, HTLC’s close-knit group of retirees. 

A cancer survivor herself, Pastor Diane was diagnosed in October 2018 with Pancreatic Cancer, Stage 1. As of August 2019, she is officially in remission.

“My visits are supposed to be for their benefit,” she says. “But I have to admit, sometimes I walk out of there and think ‘That was all for me.’ I get to hear such wonderful stories that humble me and keep me in awe of people that our society sees as vulnerable and weak. But I hear stories of strength and hope and trust that they have in their faith. It’s such a gift.”

Thank you to Elaine Blomquist, Arlene Hilding, Jane Hines, and Mary Lou Most and Lorraine Clemmer for being a part of our Easter service and Pastor Diane for facilitating this! 
 
 
Written by Rose M. Fife, HTLC Communications Specialist
April 2, 2021

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Luther Learning Initiative

HTLC Invited to Luther Seminary Learning Initiative

This winter, Holy Trinity was one of 12 Christian churches chosen to participate in a three-year learning process led by Luther Seminary. The program, titled “Congregations in a Secular Age,” is funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment and seeks to “discover how congregations can accompany people in narrating, interpreting, and integrating their direct encounters with the living Christ.”

“We want to teach people how to see God in their everyday lives,” says Dr. Michael Binder, Associate Director of the program, on a Zoom call with the HTLC team. The program is based on the book “The Congregation in a Secular Age,” by Dr. Andrew Root, Director. Root writes in the book he feels there are fewer sacred elements in our modern churches due to the constant push for innovation. He challenges congregations to redefine change and how they can continue to enrich lives.

Each congregation is represented by a group of three to five people. The team representing Holy Trinity includes leader Luke Friendshuh, Pastor Ben Hilding, Children Youth and Family Director Casey Fremstad, and Communications Specialist Rose Fife.

“While we have a team of people representing Holy Trinity, this will be a project where the whole congregation will be invited to participate,” says Pastor Ben. “We look forward to the learning and discerning we get to do together!”

Team leader Luke Friendshuh is optimistic for this process. I hope that we can increase people’s awareness of God’s presence in our lives and in the world. Open their eyes to see the joy, love, goodness, beauty, peace that comes with this increased awareness. GOD is here. The church isn’t just a community or a way to help those in need. It helps us connect with God–which helps us align our wills with God and allows the love of God to flow through us. This the gift that Jesus gave us – the ability to connect with God through the Holy Spirit. It is given to us, but we only fully benefit when we actually OPEN the gift.”

The group will meet bi-monthly and complete assignments such as interviewing people about their faith. (Get ready, everyone! You know I love to hear your stories.) With access to training and webinars, they will also meet with the teams from the other congregations every few months through a video call. Originally set up as an in-person event, the program had to be reimaged due to COVID-19. But additional Zoom time on a Saturday morning does not seem to have deterred this group.

I am very excited to be a part of this learning process and experience to better understand the church in the secular age,” says HTLC representative Casey Fremstad. “I think that this is an important conversation that all congregations will need to be engaging in at some point in the very near future. In our current context, people not only have the option to ignore the existence of God, but for many, the presence of God simply never even crosses their mind. In secular settings, people are finding meaning in experiences that are not religious and therefore do not even consider God. Especially in a world of digital ministry how do we reclaim the sacred and recognize holy transformation in our lives today? I look forward to embarking on this journey with this highly intelligent and gifted team!”

A three-year process, the first year will focus on learning from the Luther Seminary directors. Experience and Reflection are the themes of the second and third years, respectively.

Pastor Ben looks forward to this time and how we can grow as a congregation. “We are honored to have been asked to participate in this Lilly Grant-funded initiative, and I’m excited to learn from these other selected congregations and colleges, as well as the seminary faculty throughout this process.”
 
Written by Rose M. Fife, HTLC Communications Specialist
March 2, 2021

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