• Love - The fourth Sunday in Advent, by Pastor Ed
  • Advent and Christmas music by Rob Reid
  • A Mostly Swedish Christmas by Bloomington Bird Lady
  • Solstice, Saturnalia and The Mass of Christ, by Pastor Al
  • NEW Young Adult Game Night this January 11
  • Special Events & Soul Food on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend
  • Remembering Joyce Ekegren and Mark Krey
  • Sheet-Pan Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Stir-Fry
Gathering in Grace • Growing in Faith • Going Forth to Serve
Fourth Sunday in Advent
December 22, 2019
8:30am & 10:00am Worship at TLC
Tuesday, December 24
Christmas Eve Candlelight Services
All Services Live-Streamed at

  • 2:00pm - TLC Woodwinds, Youth Bell Choir & Family Choir

  • 3:30pm - TLC Brass Choir and Vocal Soloists

  • 5:00pm - TLC Brass Choir, TLC Handbells, Chancel Choir

  • 11:00pm - Chancel Choir and Soloists

Christmas Week - TLC Office Hours

  • Monday 12/23: Open 8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Tuesday 12/24: Closed. ELC open until noon.
  • Wednesday 12/25 thru Friday 12/27: TLC Office Closed
  • ELC open Thursday 12/26 & Friday 12/27.

Accommodations throughout the church for those with disabilities.
Wireless hearing assist devices available for worship services.
Closed Captioning available with on-demand playback (not live) of worship services.
Nursery available at both services.
Parent/children's Pray-Ground available in the Sanctuary during worship.

Hospitality & Social Activities from 9-11:30am in the Narthex and Fellowship Hall

Click on the live-stream logo below or visit at
the time of the service to watch it on your media device.
Text Magnifiers
Now Available
Need a little help in reading during worship? Now available at the usher's table, these flexible plastic magnifying sheets (4.5"x7") to aid in reading small print. They're lightweight and have a 3X magnifying power. Pick one up for use during the service. Please return to the usher's table when done.
Co-Pastor Ed Treat
The fourth candle in Advent is considered the candle of “Love.”

I remember sitting at a volleyball game one time watching my daughter play and couldn’t help but notice a young mother caring for her child. It was a boy born with cerebral palsy who was helpless. I was struck by how much work he seemed to require as he sat there in his wheel chair wrecked by disease unable to do anything for himself.

His mother sat right next to him. I kept glancing at them wondering what it must be like to face such a challenge. She was a proud mother and it was evident by the way she stroked his hair and wiped his mouth, smiling all the while. It was clear that she adored him.

That little family had a deep impact on me. It gave me a glimpse of the love God has for us. Despite all our failures and ongoing rebellion, God loves us like that. This is the love we celebrate, the love that is born at Christmas, a love worthy of our highest devotion.

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice for our sins."  -- John 4:10
Rob Reid
Director of Music
Sunday, December 22 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
8:30am – The Chancel Choir will share a delightful Caribbean Carol, “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy” and we will have a Blessing for the Liberia Mission Trip Participants.

10:00am – The Praise and Worship Team will lead us in our 4 th Sunday of Advent Hymns, and a few “Early Christmas” pieces as well! We will also have a Blessing for the Liberia Mission Trip Participants.
Tuesday, December 24 Christmas Eve Candlelight Services
Bring Joyous Jingle Bells to ring during the Hymns
at our 2:00 and 3:30pm services!
2:00pm – The TLC Woodwinds will play pieces throughout the service, including Amy Grant’s beloved “Breath of Heaven,”
and the Bronze Bells will play Handbells on their solo “When Christmas Morn Is Dawning,” and Chimes on “Silent Night.” We will also have our Family Choir sing, so everyone is invited to join us: come to the Music Room at 1:30pm to practice Michael W. Smith’s “Shine on Us,” which we will sing near the beginning of the service. Pastor Arthur will share a Children’s Message as the sermon.

3:30pm – The TLC Brass Choir makes this service shine! Come early to hear their wonderful prelude pieces. We will also hear special music from soloists and small groups. This service will have a Time for Children and a Sermon from Pastor Ed.

5:00pm – This service features the Brass Choir AND TLC Handbells for the Prelude, the Chancel Choir on two special anthems, as well as a heartfelt solo and a duet. We will also hear “Silent Night” played in a new, beautiful way. Pastor Arthur will be preaching at this service.

11:00pm – The Chancel Choir will lead us in this meditative, reflective service, which also includes piano solos and a special rendition of “Silent Night.” Pastor Ed will preach at this service.
A Mostly Swedish Christmas

When I told my grandma I'd be attending St. Olaf College back in 1950, the first thing she said was, “Oh my, it'll be like going to a foreign country.” Well, in a way she was right, but almost all my high school teachers had gone there... Seems our superintendent was an alumnus and always looked for Oles if possible. We'd quickly become friends and those friendships lasted, even though they'd move on to a better salary after a year's experience.

I am mostly Swedish, being that my grandma and her sister came to this country from Sweden in the early 1900s. So many Minnesota people are from relatives who came here with high hopes, anxious to learn English, and did really well. The grandma who had teachers as roomers for so many years, told me that the very first word she ever learned was “beautiful.” She'd walk around repeating it many times, so proud to be able to say something in English.
As I grew up with her next door, we got used to a Swedish-style Christmas. Did you ever hear of “julotta?” (“jul” means Christmas, and “otta' signifies the early hour). It's a very early worship service on Christmas Day, usually at 7 a.m. Since my mom was the organist, my grandma and I would walk the two blocks to the Swedish Lutheran church ---still dark out, and with no time for breakfast. It felt special to be with her; the service done in Swedish, but the melodies of the hymns were familiar.... tempos were slow, and not too many people there singing at that hour.
Grandma and her sister had a few different habits from the “old country.” If they were drinking coffee, they'd place a sugar cube between their lips and suck the coffee through the sweetness. If they wanted to talk without little me listening, they'd speak in Swedish. With English as their second language, it must have felt good to speak in their native tongue. We learned to like lutefisk, potato sausage, cream gravy and allspice to bring out the proper flavor. Limpa bread....(rye bread) got to be a treat, and I now make my own version.

I know many more folks with Norwegian heritage these days. Can't say why that is exactly, but here at TLC we have some pretty wonderful Norskies, and I am glad they are here. If you know any Swedes, please let me know. Maybe they just don't want to admit it?

It's Christmas this next week... Hardly seems possible that it could sneak up so fast. I pray that we all, Swedes or Norwegians or whatever, can appreciate God's love for us and feel the joy!

-Bird Lady
-a continuing series-
By Pastor Al Dungan
Solstice, Saturnalia and The Mass of Christ
The Hebrews were different from all of the nations that surrounded them. And, for that matter, most other people in their world. Their concept of creation was that of a God who created everything out of nothing using only God’s spoken word.

Other ancient people looked at the world around them and gave great credence to how the “powers” of the heavens, sun, moon, and especially the stars, ruled their lives and fortunes. Check out Genesis 1:14-17 for how the writers tried to counteract sun, moon and star worship.

So it was that the Winter Solstice (literally the standing still of the sun) was celebrated—partly out of the fear that the sun, especially in northern climes, would never come back—and partly out of an attempt to encourage it to return. Huge bonfires were lit, evergreen trees were covered in candles (the first Christmas tree lights), and huge celebrations were held to remind the sun that if it didn’t come back, the people who worshipped it would experience famine and die of starvation because crops couldn’t grow in the extreme cold.

Theologians call this “sympathetic magic” or an attempt to encourage the forces of nature to remember what they needed to do for human survival. Another example of this was religious prostitution at the temples of Baal and Astarte. But that discussion is for another time.

It just so happens (or is it that?) that in our calendar it occurs on December 21/22.

In the Roman world, of which the followers of Jesus were a part, that festival was expressed in Saturnalia—basically an empire-wide orgy of food, drink, sex and gift giving. It was an “everything goes” kind of celebration came which focused on “whatever happens in Saturnalia, stays in Saturnalia”.

Because all early Christians were citizens of the Roman Empire and, literally, only one step removed from the pagan worship of Rome, it was only natural that they would join into the “Saturnalia experience”.

The Christian leaders couldn’t have that since they maintained that to be a Christian meant that a very different kind of life must be lived—one that no longer followed the debauchery of the Saturnalia festival.

And so came into existence “the Mass of Christ” which focused on the gift of God to the world in the infant Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary who was born in “the little town of Bethlehem”.

It may come as a surprise to many of you that Jesus was not born on December 25 th . This day was arbitrarily chosen by early Christian leaders to fall right in the middle of Saturnalia to counteract its effect on the Christians who lived in the Roman Empire. Isn’t it interesting how tradition can become part of the central core of belief?

I also find it interesting to observe that some of the remnants of the winter solstice and Saturnalia continue in our Christian traditions: holiday parties, excessive eating, sometimes excessive drinking, Christmas lights and trees and huge amounts of money spent to satisfy the gods of our cultural economy.

It might benefit us to take another look at the “Mass of Christ” and how we celebrate it. “Christmas” is not all that it appears to be.
On Holiday - Will Resume January 8, 2020
Coffee and Conversation invites you to a steaming cup of coffee with good friends and conversation. The session this coming Wednesday, January 8 will encourage a discussion on (tba).

Sunday Jan. 19: Transfiguration’s guest preacher at both services (8:30 and 10:00) will be Pastor Danny Givens. A Soul Food lunch by Raye’s Catering and a conversation with Pastor Givens will follow at 11:15am. Pastor Danny will speak on the 18” Pilgrimage: a message addressing the challenges of justice-work with impacted communities from the perspective of a front line faith-based activist. He will address the movement toward collective liberation and the pitfalls that exist for those who jump into the fight for racial justice ill-equipped. Please RSVP here (or at 952-884-2364) if you plan to eat lunch. $10 suggested donation for lunch.

Please Click Here for the online RSVP to the free speaking engagement with Pastor Givens in Fellowship Hall and the optional Soul Food Luncheon ($10 suggested donation). The soul food menu is displayed on the RSVP page.
Tuesday, January 21: Bloomington congregations join together in a discussion of ELCA pastor Lenny Duncan’s new book: “Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S.” Please order and read in advance through . Atonement Lutheran will host this conversation. 6:30-8:30pm.
Danny Givens is a heartfelt activist and orator who received a life changing gift of forgiveness from an off-duty police officer he shot during a botched robbery in 1996. Propelled by forgiveness, Danny began his journey toward reconciliation and resiliency prior to his release from incarceration in 2008. He later went on to receive his B.A. in Christian Ministry from Bethel University in 2011, accompanied by a three-year residency as an Interfaith Minister at Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2016.
Lenny Duncan is the unlikeliest of pastors. Formerly incarcerated and homeless, he is now a black preacher in the whitest denomination in the United States: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Part manifesto, part confession, and all love letter, Dear Church offers a bold new vision for the future of his denomination and the broader mainline Christian community of faith. Dear Church rejects the narrative of ‘church decline’ and calls everyone—leaders and laity alike—to the front lines of the church’s renewal through racial equality and justice. Duncan gives a blueprint for the way forward and urges us to follow in the revolutionary path of Jesus.

Friends and family celebrated the life of Joyce Evangeline Ekegren, 94, this past Friday, December 13 at TLC.
Please click here to visit her tribute page on TLC's Memorial Garden website. There you can view her video memorial photo montage, the live-stream archive of the entire service, the bulletin, homily, photo gallery, and a spot to enter your own words of comfort and care.

Friends and family celebrated the life of Mark David Krey, 56, this past Monday, December 16 at TLC.
Please click here to visit his tribute page on TLC's Memorial Garden website.There you can view his video memorial photo montage, the live-stream archive of the entire service, the bulletin, homily, photo gallery, and a spot to enter your own words of comfort and care.
Sheet-Pan Teriyaki
Chicken and Pineapple
Stir -Fry
¼ cup Teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
3 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 ½ cups 1-inch cubes fresh pineapple
2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into ½ inch slices
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tsp sesame seed
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Heat oven to 500°F. Spray 18x13-inch rimmed sheet pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat teriyaki sauce, honey and Sriracha sauce with whisk. Add chicken, pineapple, carrots and bell pepper; gently toss to coat. Arrange in single layer on sheet pan.

Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center (at least 165°F). Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seed and green onions.
Back Issues of the TLC Weekly
including this issue (Today!)
[CLICK HERE] to visit the TLC web page where you can choose to read from the past 16 months of weekly E-newsletters from Transfiguration Lutheran Church. This is also a great way to share TLC Weekly with those that don't receive it in email. Tell them to visit
Also, there are a limited number of TLC Weekly's in hard copy at the TLC Welcome desk next to the Chapel.
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Picture for illustration purpose only.
FOR 2020
See the chart online or stop in
at the church office to order.

The TLC website has an online form to order Chancel/Altar Flowers for any Sunday in 2020. Click Here to access the form now , or visit later and look for the "Purchase Altar Flowers" button at the bottom of any page.
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