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.
 

Meet Gina Fadden

16 questions with Holy Trinity’s new Graphic Designer

Gina Fadden joined the Holy Trinity staff this week as our new Graphic Designer. But her creativity has been all over HTLC for awhile. She sat down for a Zoom interview with me this week.

1.  Welcome, Gina! I know you’ve been helping with our graphic design for a while. What are some of the projects you worked on or created? I was the Vision Huddle communication coordinator, I did the 2019 Christmas ornament card design, designed the logo for “@Home with Jesus,” ran the Family Front Porch Project with 8 volunteers, collaborated with Karen Taylor and Pastor Ben on HTLC 2020 Logo design, created the HTLC clothing sale with Karen, Jamie Bisek, and Pastor Ben and collaborated with Pastor Ben on the final Vision Magazine.

Beautiful work! I especially like the new logo. Honestly, it was Pastor Ben and Karen just as much as me. I just put all their ideas together. We wanted to keep the cross and Karen thought of [incorporating] the stained glass windows.

2. When did you join Holy Trinity? We moved to New Prague in 2014 and a friend told us to try each church for four weeks. We tried Holy Trinity and we loved it, but we wanted to try others. When we came back, Pastor Ben and Alicia were there. We joined officially in November 2017.

3. What drew you to Holy Trinity? You know… “All Are Welcome.” There was no judgement. There were so many different kinds of people. The music was more upbeat and fun, so it was a very welcoming place to be.

4. What did you like to do in school? I loved basketball! I’m very outspoken and basketball can get very aggressive, so that was really my niche. I was in cross country, track, and basketball growing up. I made the high school varsity team in the 7th grade for track and cross country. My dad was a big advocate for that with my older sister, so she paved the way for younger kids to get into the programs if you are able to. I played AAU for the Minnesota Jaguars with [current University of Minnesota women’s basketball coach] Lindsey Whalen and we played nationals the last 3 years of my high school career.

5. Do you have siblings? I have a sister who is 7 years older and a brother who is 3 years older.       6. As the baby of the family, do you think you fit that stereotype? Yes, I’m creative. I was the most rebellious of all the kids. I wasn’t a bad kid, but I pushed the boundaries. I was the kid who had the door taken off the bedroom, my mouth was washed out with soap. We couldn’t say naughty words. “Stupid” was a word we couldn’t say, which I bring home now.

7. Are you close to your family? We are both VERY close to our families. Both sides are very involved. It’s a good thing!

8. Where did you go to college and what did you study? I went to UND (University of North Dakota) and played basketball, full ride scholarship. My freshman year we were National Championship Runner-ups, Division 2. I have a major in Parks and Rec with minors in Exercise Science and Sign Language.

9. That’s an interesting combination. Did it lead to some memorable career choices? I was a personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness. I worked for the Shakopee school system as a para, helping kids with math and spelling. I coached basketball and adaptive soccer for special needs kids. Then I got recruited from the high school to work with special needs kids. I worked with one student who was blind. He was a fun character! He learned who people were by songs, (he gave everyone a song). So if I saw him now and sang the song, he would get all giddy and know who I was. That was really cool! And now I am the National Production Manager for MVP Fundraising Cards.

10. How did you meet your husband? I met Joel at his [deployment] going away party on September 11, 2009, before his first tour to Afghanistan. I was picking up [a friend at the party] and Joel asked to meet me. We got a picture of one of the first moments we met. And ever since that night, we were together always. We met and we both knew within a few weeks. We knew each other for 2 months and then he was deployed for 7 months. He was on a deployment where he didn’t have access to computers, we couldn’t FaceTime, so we wrote–I have a ton of letters we wrote to each other. He could call, but they were random, so if I missed him, I wouldn’t hear from him for a month. I had to be on high alert. If I missed that phone call, I missed it for the month.

11. And you have Kids? Animals? We have three kids. Taylor is 9, Mattis is 3, and Andi is 7 months. We also have 2 dogs and a cat.

       

12. What is one hobby that no one knows about you? I like to be creative, so I do stained glass.

13. You have a long history in sports. What sports do you follow now? I don’t like to watch sports. It’s not interesting to me unless I can play it. I like to be hands-on, so I like to be in the game or know someone who is in the game. But I would watch college over NBA.

14. What do you love? I love traditions. I love antiques. I love bringing in and decorating with memories instead of new stuff. I try to incorporate things my kids can take and know it was in Great-Grandma’s house, and then Grandma’s house, and now it’s yours. I love recipes. I collected my family’s favorite recipes and made a book for everyone in my family. I love tomatoes…old-fashioned peppermint bonbon ice cream. Foxes are my favorite animal. Shutterfly, bonfires, cool fall days. But God and family are the most important parts of my life.

15. What do you dislike? I hate snapping turtles and I don’t like water where you can’t see the bottom.

16. Where did you find your faith? I’ve always had a very closer relationship with God, I’ve just never found the right home. Holy Trinity felt like the right place. I told Pastor Ben and Pastor Alicia, “You saw something in me and you let me roll with it, and now it’s turned into something I can continue doing.” Now I wouldn’t be anywhere else. Holy Trinity just feels like home.
 
Written by Rose M. Fife, Communications Specialist
September 24, 2020

Read more...

Cristo Obrero and HTLC’s Jacob Lee Team Up for Kids

In the middle of May Cristo Obrero, one of our ministry partners, posted on their Facebook page, “Volunteers needed to teach soccer.”

Jacob Lee, a junior at New Prague Area Schools and a captain of the school’s soccer team, volunteered because he thought it sounded like fun. He answered my questions over emails.

What made you volunteer? “I thought it was perfect for me because I enjoy playing soccer. It didn’t feel like a job to me.”

 

 

 

 

How did you make it work with COVID-19 precautions in place? “Initially, due to COVID, we were unable to meet so I made videos of me teaching a soccer drill that Pastor Jorge would send to the youth families. For the first month, this is what I did. Then in July we started Monday and Tuesday each week. Tuesdays were the older kids but due to low numbers we ended up only meeting on Mondays with the younger kids.”

What was the highlight of the experience? “For me, the highlight was to just play soccer with the kids. I enjoy working with young players.”

How did the coaching go? “It was a good experience. We had about 4 boys and 8 girls in the Monday group, ages 3rd-5th grade. All the kids listened and wanted to be there to have fun. Going back each week was an easy decision because I was having fun, and I gave them my word that I would come each week.”

How did this strengthen your faith? “Overall, this was out of my comfort zone. Going somewhere I’ve never been and helping with people I’ve never met.” Jacob studies Spanish at the high school but, despite his classes, he found the language barrier a challenge. “If I had to say one hard thing, it was understanding Pastor Jorge when he spoke Spanish during practice. But this experience was a great example of ‘it doesn’t matter where we come from or who we are, we all just love the game of soccer and come together to play.’”

We Are a Better Church Together

“So…why soccer?” I ask Pastor Stephanie Espinosa over the phone. She is married to Pastor Jorge Espinosa, Cristo Obrero’s mission developer, and their English-speaking representative.

“We chose it because it is very well-loved in the Latino community, so we knew if we offered it, we could get to know the community better. One of the ministry goals of Cristo Obrero is providing an opportunity for our ELCA congregations to reach out with us to our Latino neighbors. We are a better church together!”

Pastor Ben agrees with her. “In a time of divisive polarization, there is an organization that seeks to bring reconciliation, healing, and unity: that’s the church. Here is an example of two churches setting aside cultural, socioeconomic, and language barriers in order to do something profoundly inclusive: play soccer together. As I listen to the negativity pervasive in our world….if Jesus were walking among us today, I believe he’d leave the bickering and belittling behind and join Pastor Jorge, Jacob, and these kids out on the soccer field.”

Woodworkers and Tutors Needed

Soccer may be over, but there are other ways to help the Christo Obrero ministry. “We really need woodworkers right now!” Pastor Stephanie says. “We’re creating a ‘Snowman Project’ this fall. The plan is to have the mobile home park covered in wooden snowmen just after Thanksgiving.” For more information, go to their Facebook Page (see August 4th) or sign up on the SignUp Genius.

Tutors will also be needed soon. “As soon as the schools allow us, we need tutors for the kids.” A few years ago the Chaska and Shakopee school districts asked them to help the kids struggling with their homework. That information will be on the Cristo Obrero Facebook Page as soon as they are cleared to continue.

“Teachers told us that when COVID hit, a third of the kids [from that area] did not or could not log on [to virtual school]. They are going to need help. One woman came to us exhausted and crying. She was a single mother with four kids, working six days a week. She did not have time or the support to make sure her kids were doing well in school.”

Cristo Obrero is a Mission Development of the Minneapolis area synod. What does that mean exactly?

“Good question!” Pastor Stephanie laughs. “Cristo Obrero’s mission is to show that God’s love and grace is for all. We are going to a group that is not usually part of the Lutheran Church. And the Lutheran Church, especially in this area, is not very diverse, so we want to get to know them and bring members of other communities together. The church is stronger together.” 
 
Written by Rose M. Fife, HTLC Communications Specialist
September 17, 2020

Read more...

This COVID Thing is Changing Us

“This time I only cried for an hour,” admitted my friend to the Facebook world. At the beginning of the summer, she assumed (as so many of us did), that school would be “back to normal” in the fall. The struggle of balancing her daughter’s education and running her business would no longer be an issue because “this COVID thing will be all over.”

“When the schools closed in March, I was a wreck for two week trying to figure out how we were going to get it all done. This time, I cried for an hour….and then I made a plan.”

This “COVID thing” is changing us.

The World War II Generation, often called “The Greatest Generation,” (Brokaw, 1998), is heralded for their selflessness, strong work ethic, and humility. They were forced to grow up quickly and acquire an emotional intelligence more common in those older. Struggle has its benefits.

What if this is true of Right Now?

COVID-19 is described as (hopefully), one of the most difficult times in our lives. In the United States, we are more than six months into the pandemic.

I have a theory we are more resilient.

I think we might be more adaptable.

I wonder if this has changed our faith in God.

Chime in if you’d like and let us know in the comments below.

Have the last 6 months made you stronger? Have they deepened your faith?
 
Written by Rose M. Fife, HTLC Communications Specialist
September 8, 2020

Read more...