JANUARY | 2021
Perhaps more than most years in recent past most of us are happy to have left 2020 behind and have welcomed 2021 with open arms. Of course, we know that the realities of our world are not likely to immediately shift just because Thursday (December 31) became Friday (January 1). And yet, there is hope in something new, a clean slate, a fresh start. Having the opportunity to start over is something many of us feel we need right now, and so a new year is just the opportunity we have been looking for. Scripture speaks not only to our need to have these new beginnings, but also God’s promise to provide us with a new beginning and all the hope that comes with it. Here are a few of my favorite passages...
Pastor Justin
2 Corinthians 5:17 - So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 
Saint Paul promises the people of Corinth, and us as well, that Christ offers us a new start, and a new identity. The things that used to define us do not need to define us in the future. The forgiveness that we have from God means that we can let go of guilt and other things that weigh us down to live freely into our future. The best part of this is we don’t need to wait for a date on the calendar, Jesus offers us a new beginning every day. 
 Revelation 21:5 - And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” 
God’s promise for something new is more than just for us, but for all creation. Here at the end of scripture we hear a promise that God is not satisfied with the status quo of creation. God has been working and is still working at restoring creation to the way it was when God created it, before the whole "apple eating thing" in the Garden of Eden. God still desires all of us to dwell in perfect relationship with God, each other, and the world that God created. 
Psalm 98:1 - O sing to the Lord a new song, for God has done marvelous things. 
What do we have to do to get this new start? Nothing. It is out of love for us that God offers a new beginning each day. We don’t always deserve it, yet God’s promise of new life remains. For all the marvelous promises we have from God and for the many ways that God is making all things new, we can say “thank you” and sing a new song of praise. 
What new beginnings are you looking for this year? Hopefully you are dreaming of many new things and trusting that God is up to something new in your world. Whatever you are hoping that 2021 will bring you, rest assured that God's love, mercy, and presence is with you. And remember, you don't have to wait for the calendar to change to have a new beginning. God's love and mercy is new every morning. 
Vinje receives money from Thrivent members who choose to dedicate their Choice Dollars to Vinje. These funds are available for various causes and events via application from the church office. Then a committee (composed of Pastor Mary Hovland, Dianne Peterson and Dee Rosenbrook) reviews the application and decides whether or not we are able to approve the request. 
Another source of funding through Thrivent, are the $250 Action Grants. Individual Thrivent members can apply online for dollars for an activity that will involve other people to procure funds for various causes such as the youth mission trips, Bible camp, etc. These grants have been very beneficial to Vinje in past years! If you are a Thrivent member, please reach out to a pastor each year and they will be happy to help you apply for these grants on Vinje’s behalf.
Pastor Andrés is digging into Vinje’s unique history. This month, he asked Andy Engan to share his memories of growing up at Vinje.
My memories of vinje as a young child all revolved around Sunday school and vacation Bible school and the different choir groups that we had growing up in church as well as the special services we had around the holidays. These were all times that I was able to spend time with my Vinje family and classmates. And little did I know that these would be some of the same people that I would grow up with and who are still a part of my village raising and teaching my kids. The music programs were always fun to be apart of, especially during the holiday season! By the time we got to high school, we would almost need to attend all three services so everyone in the family could sing with their respective choirs. As a kid, I would look forward to going to the late service with my mom and family. As the years go by I am thinking the 4 pm service seems like a much more civilized time to go to church as a family.
a little
New Year’s Resolution: 
We will remember to recycle all we are asked to!
You may dispose of your live and undecorated (only) Christmas trees at the city Public Works garage at 801 Industrial Drive SW. Deposit them South of the sand and salt shed.
What are you recycling? Don’t forget to include junk mail, paper, toilet rolls, and any sized boxes.
Happy New Year from your Creation Care Committee!
We were so glad to hear from so many of you about the fun you children had with their Advent projects! 
For the month of January, we'll be looking forward to trying a few new things. We are hoping to deliver another take home devotional packet, along with a few fun family activities for you to do. We also are hoping to have a couple other opportunities to connect with each other either via Zoom, or maybe even an outdoors, socially-distanced children's ministry event! Stay tuned for more information in your email.
If your family’s photo is in the Vinje directory, updated copies have arrived. Call the church office to make arrangements to pick up your directory.
Thank you to all the musicians who continue to share music with us in our online worship services. We have been blessed by the talents of so many people in our congregation. In the online Christmas Eve worship service alone, over 20 musicians were involved!
As we celebrate the ending of 2020 and the beginning of a new year, we all are eager for a return to meeting in person, giving hugs and handshakes, and most definitely, singing together at church. Consider singing this song for the new year, to the tune of “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear:”
Another year is dawning, dear Father let it be
In working or in waiting another year with Thee
Another year of progress another year of praise
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days
Another year of mercies of faithfulness and grace
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast
Another year of trusting of quiet happy rest
Another year of service of witness for Thy love
Another year of training for holier work above
Another year is dawning dear Father let it be
On earth or else in heaven another year for Thee
~ by Frances Ridley Havergal
Another year for Jesus! Amen. Happy New Year!
Loving Arms Childcare Center is currently seeking a part time kitchen manager. Monday through Friday from 9 am—1 pm with the potential for additional hours. If you or someone you know might be the right person for this position, call or email Chris Cortez at 320.235.7271 or [email protected].
Your generous gifts to this year’s Light of Christmas fund have provided the following gifts to members of our Vinje family and community this year:
  • 27 adult gifts plus a gift card for groceries, gas, etc.
  • 35 children’s gifts (one toy item & one clothing item for each child)
  • 20 gift cards for Safe Avenues clients
  • Domestic Abuse Emergency Help (1 adult, 2 children): Sheets, Pillows, Blankets, Towels, Clothing, Socks, Gift Certificates for gas, food, essentials. Pastor Andres assisted in helping them receive two brand new beds from Slumberland
  • Essential Paper Products – Toilet paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels for every family

Thank you so very much for your gifts! In these trying times, you have truly brought the light of Christmas into the lives of your neighbors.
We know that it takes many faithful servants to do the work that God has called us to in our community. Knowing how important the work of caring for others is, the Vinje Council was excited to share a gift on behalf of the congregation with local organizations. We are so grateful for the wonderful ministry they do in our community and the ways in which we partner with them in caring for others. 
Vinje made contributions to: Bethesda, Family Promise, Green Lake Lutheran Ministries, Kandiyohi County Food Shelf, Paz y Esperanza, Safe Avenues, United Community Action Partnership, and Willmar Interfaith Network.
Gifts were also sent to three of the organizations that our youth worked with on our 2019 trip to Denver (A Little Help, Lutheran Family Services, Metro Caring).
The annual meeting of Vinje Lutheran Church will be on February 7th at 11:00am. All confirmed members of the congregation will have voice and vote at this meeting. We will vote on new council members and a budget proposal for 2021. We are currently planning that this meeting will likely be over Zoom and not in-person but we will keep you posted on how you can join us for this important meeting. 
Make a one-time contribution or set up reoccurring giving here. Need help? Call the church office!
RADIO Listen on Sundays at 9:30 am on KWLM, 1340 AM.
INTERNET Watch anytime! (go to YouTube and search Vinje Willmar). 
TV Watch local access channel, WRAC 8/180, Sundays at 2:30 pm and 8:30 pm, Tuesdays at 8 am and 5 pm or Saturdays at 6 pm.