December 2022

Voice of Peace

Peace Lutheran Church's

Monthly Newsletter

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Welcome to the season of many moods about our God of all seasons!


“The race is on!” I said in my DIGITAL ADVENT CALENDAR reflection, and I am well aware that there are race enthusiasts and there are race protesters. And one of the rallying cries of the race protesters is “Put Christ back into Christmas!” and “Remember the reason for the season!” All good thoughts to keep in mind over the course of our journey to the manger. That said, I know for a fact that there are also race enthusiasts who DO find Jesus within all the fuss and bother...the shopping, the baking, within the lights and the gift giving and even the long lines to see Santa. As Ann Weems writes in her poem, “O Lord, You Were Born!”

...I nod when they say put Christ back into Christmas

I say yes, yes, when they shout ‘Commercial’ and ‘Hectic, hectic, hectic!’

But somehow a fa-la-la keeps creeping out, so I’ll say it:

I love Christmas tinsel and all the wrappings and festivities

I rejoice for the carnival of Christmas

O Lord, you were born and I want to dance in the streets of Bethlehem…


I guess it’s all about one’s frame of mind, which brings us to those whose frame of mind is NOT about celebration these days, but rather grief or anxiety...the distractions of life not going so well. And in the midst of this nutsy race with so many distractions, we are reminded that Jesus was born in less than ideal conditions to a teenage mother who had to be scared to death. No tinsel that Christmas! No festivities. No Santa. And yet, in the midst of such darkness, God was born into our world as one among us.


God is with us in our joys and celebration. God is with us in our darkness and loneliness. GOD IS WITH US...our God of all seasons of our lives. However you journey to the manger this year, whatever your frame of mind, may you find the Christ child who is absolutely there... in the midst of it all.


Shine on!

Pastor Todd


Advent Vespers & Soup Suppers

Soup at 5:30pm | Vespers at 6:30 pm

Wednesdays beginning November 30th

Sign-in for Grades 4 - 9 will be in the Gathering Space

Open up a short Christmas reflection EACH DAY leading up to Christmas, offered by various members of Peace. Beginning November 28th, these will be available on our Peace FACEBOOK page and on the Digital Advent Calendar playlist on our Peace YouTube Channel.

Poinsettia Order Forms are Due December 11th!

These will be used to decorate our sanctuary for Christmas and can be purchased "in honor of" or "in memory of" a loved one, which will be listed in the Christmas Eve Bulletin.

Peacing Together Update:

A CAPITAL CAMPAIGN for Peace Lutheran Church


We are so thankful for the support of our Peacing Together capital campaign! Many turned in their commitment cards on Celebration Sunday, shared some fun photos in the groovy photo booth, and celebrated with an egg bake brunch! It was a great Celebration!!

We currently have commitments totaling of $676,000 toward our goal of $750,000! This is GREAT news! Thank you to all who have given above and beyond their regular giving to support Peacing Together!

It's not to late to be a part of this important effort and HELP US MAKE OUR CAMPAIGN GOAL! TOGETHER, WE CAN DO IT!!! Simply bring your commitment card (available in the office or print one here) to the office, place it in the offering plate during worship, or mail it to PO BOX 286, New London.

Have you visited our website? This is a great place to learn more about this campaign:

A few recent snapshots






9:00 a.m. Worship at Peace

This Service will be available live-streamed

10:00 a.m. Faith Formation Hour


During the Season of Advent:

5:30 p.m. Soup Suppers

6:30 p.m. Advent Wednesday Vespers

begins November 30


We will have the nursery staffed Sunday mornings from 8:45 - 11:15 a.m. This is best suited for children up to 4 years old. Children must be signed-in by a parent/grandparent each Sunday.

We Are Peace

Currently seeking volunteers





Check out our new and easy way to sign up to help! This will help office staff save valuable time recruiting volunteers! Click the link below to see where the needs are, and sign up online (You do not need to set up an account) or call the office and we'll be sure to plug you in! 

See the Needs & Sign Up for open slots here!




Rehearsal Saturday, December 17 from 9:30 - 11am


(3 y/o - 3rd Grade)

All students and teachers meet in the Theater after Worship.

10:10 - 11:00 am

Pick up in the Classrooms


(Grades 4 & up)

Every Sunday following worship - 11am  

Meet upstairs in the Youth Room!


(Kindergarten - 3rd Grade) 

Afterschool - 5 p.m.  

See Kids Club Schedule by clicking Here



(Grades 4 - 9) 

Seasonal Schedule Change:

Reach out to your mentors & join us for soup at 5:30p

There will be a discussion guide provided!

(see suggested schedule below)

Advent Vespers at 6:30p - be sure to sign-in!!

See Wednesday Night Youth Schedule by clicking here

Mentor Event:



7th - Mentor Night for grades 8 & 9

11th - 4pm Christmas Caroling Event

14th - Mentor Night for grades 6 & 7

18th - Children's Christmas Program at 9am Worship!

21st - Mentor Night for grades 4 & 5

21st - 7:39pm LYF (Grades 9 -12) Christmas Party

L.Y.F. "Live Your Faith":

(9th - 12th Grade) 

Our LYF High School Group meets most Wednesday evenings at 7:39 p.m., alternating between Faith & Peace. If you are interested in more information about our meetings, Contact Quentin!


LYF Christmas Party- All students in grades 9-12 are invited to the LYF Christmas Party at Peace Lutheran on December 21st at 7:39pm. We'll have festive food, a Christmas devotion, and a white Elephant gift exchange. For the White Elephant Gift Exchange, students are invited to find something not needed around home or spend no more than $5-$10, and bring it wrapped to the Christmas Party.



Table Talks are held at 10:15am Sundays

You are welcome to grab your cup of coffee and cookie from the Fellowship Hall and join us in the Chapel.

Peace Book Club:

Book Club Selection for


Cilka's Journey

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

by Heather Morris



Jan 5th 10:00 a.m.

Fireside Room

All are welcome!

Books will be available in the office beginning Tuesday, December 6th!

Mission Committee:

The Food for Kidz event was a great success! Together with Norway Lake Parish, we packaged 42,312 meals of oatmeal to be sent to Haiti as well as our local food shelf. THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!



Christian Service Day of Quilting

Meets the first Thursday of each month at 9am in the Fellowship Hall.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21st at 1:00 p.m.

(Meets the 3rd Wednesday of every month)

In the Fireside Room


Individuals and families will be invited to receive a special blessing for the new year!


Here is my November Council Report to you the congregation of Peace Lutheran Church. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

FINANCES: I do have good news of our finances. After reviewing the October Financial Report it appears that our summer slump has ended and we are back in the Black. Also, the gym floor is now totally paid for. Thank you for your financial gifts to Peace Lutheran; they are greatly appreciated.

CHURCH START TIME: For the last three council meetings we have debated the Sunday 9:00 church start as some members have asked for a later start time. Start times of church events are a difficult thing to do as we have a large congregation and members have differences of opinion. Here is an experimental plan we will be trying starting in February 2023. We know starting church at 9:00 is popular with many of our members so we will leave it as is. On February 8, March 5, April 2, and May 7 we will add an additional church service starting at 11 am. We’ll then be able to judge how this time is accepted and used by the congregation. Next September, after completion of summer outdoor worship, the council will make a final decision on the 11:00 service.

CHRISTMAS EVE WORSHIP OPTIONS: On Christmas Eve day you will have four worship options. There will be two barn services at 1pm & 5pm at Carl Holstad’s farm and by two candlelight worship services at the church at 3pm & 9pm.

STAFFING: As you know our Faith Formation Director position is presently unfilled. One solution suggested by the Personnel Committee is to fold that position in with another full time pastor position. The council passed a motion to explore this suggestion.

DAY CARE: Day care is moving forward. Recently a productive meeting was held with Vinje Lutheran of Willmar and hopefully we’ll see day care in our church starting the fall of 2023. Presently we are checking on grants that might be available to help with start up costs.

ANNUAL MEETING. Our required annual meeting will be held on January 29, 2023.

NEW COUNCIL MEMBERS: Ever thought of joining the church council? Now is your chance as four council position are open of election at the annual meeting. If interested, leave your name with the church office or contact one of the present council members.

EMERGENCY USE AGREEMENT: Peace Lutheran will continue to allow the New London-Spicer School District to use our church to house students if an emergency situation should arise in one of the districts buildings. We have agreed to this in the past.

DECEMBER COUNCIL MEETING CHANGE: Our December council meeting with be held on December 13th instead of the regular meeting date of December 20th. Executive Committee at 4:45 and full council at 5:00. We are doing this because both the council president and vice president will not be available on the 20th.

NO COUNCIL REPORT: I will not be writing a council report for the January VOP due to a scheduled hip replacement surgery.

This concludes my report. Thanks for taking the time to read the report.

Cliff Gesellchen, Council President

2022 Church Council                                                                                     
Cliff Gesellchen, President -
Kevin Acquard -
Jon Austvold -
David Feist -
Margaret Knisley -
Melanie Netland -
Gail Olson -
Carol Roverud -
Mary Semmler -
Jennifer Stone -
Melissa Straus -
Raelin Van Meter -


Thank You to those who played a part in creating a beautiful fall backdrop in our sanctuary!


Connie Mattke, Yo Johnson, Toots Van De Riet, Mary Semmler, Doug & Deb Wessling


Phil Westby

Yo & Chuck Johnson

Al & Claudia Balay

Jeremy & Kristin Pierce


to the Christmas Decorators!!

Cheryl Danielson, Brent & Reid Holmquist, Yo & Chuck Johnson, Wendy Kriese, Trudie Lieser, Cindy & Charlie Lundberg, & Pat Oss.

THANK YOU to Charlie & Cindy Lundberg for donating the Christmas tree and branches!


On Sunday November 20th, we officially welcomed several families to Peace as new members!

The Damhof Family

Andrew & Hailey

Asher & Kinsley

The Gehant Family

Dave & Margie

The Johansen Family

Kent & Donna

The Neu Family

Mark & Brenda

The Williamson Family

Jared & Rikka

Camrik & Casen

American Red Cross Blood Drive

December 9

10 am - 4 pm

Schedule a donation online by searching by the zip code 56273

Click on the links below for the Birthdays and Anniversaries for this month!


Tuesday - Thursday 9am - 2:30pm

Friday 9am - 12pm

Please note: the Peace Staff Meetings will be on

Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.

Other Important Dates Coming Up!

  • 1st - 9:00am Peace Quilters Christian Day of Service
  • 2nd - 10:00am Divine Drama - Act 3
  • 4th - 9am Worship | 10am Education Hour
  • 4th - 11am Bell Choir Rehearsal
  • 7th - 5:30 Mentor Night Grades 8 & 9
  • 7th - 5:30pm Soup Supper | 6:30pm Advent Vespers Service
  • 9th - American Red Cross Blood Drive
  • 10th - 7pm West Central Singers Concert at Peace
  • 11th - 9am Worship | 10am Education Hour
  • 11th - 11am Bell Choir Rehearsal
  • 11th - 4pm Caroling & Hot Cocoa Event
  • 13th - 4:45pm Executive Committee Team Meeting
  • 13th - 5pm Church Council
  • 13th - 6pm Capital Campaign Team Meeting
  • 14th - 5:30 Mentor Night Grades 6 & 7
  • 14th - 5:30pm Soup Supper | 6:30pm Advent Vespers Service
  • 17th - 9:30-11am Children's Christmas Program Rehearsal
  • 18th - 9am Children's Christmas Program
  • 21st - 5:30 Mentor Night Grades 4 & 5
  • 21st - 5:30pm Soup Supper | 6:30pm Advent Vespers Service
  • 21st - 7:30pm Peace Choir Rehearsal
  • 21st - 7:39pm LYF Christmas Party
  • 24th - 1pm Christmas Eve Barn Service at 18565 99th St NE, New London
  • 24th - 3pm Christmas Candlelight Service with Choir
  • 24th - 5pm Christmas Eve Barn Service at 18565 99th St NE, New London
  • 24th - 9pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
  • 25th - 9am Worship

Staff Email addresses:

Pastor Todd:

Pastor Linda:

Quentin Markfort

Lindsay Freeland

Gail Olson

Mike Lagergren

Contact Us:
100 Fourth Avenue SW, P.O. Box 286
New London, MN 56273
Phone: (320) 354-2774