JANUARY | 2023
Are you ready for a new beginning? Are you ready to try something new, add something to your list that will surely make you feel better, look better, and be a better and happier person? Or… maybe you aren’t feeling so optimistic that you can do all that. This is the time of year when we set all those goals and make our best plans to do lots of good things. We plan to eat better and exercise more and do lots of “New Year’s Resolutions!”
But what if God wants more for us than just one more thing? And what if God wants more for us than to add new items to our to-do list? What if God wants us to make time to pause and remember who we are and whose we are?

At the start of a New Year, it is good to reflect on the last year and to think about our hopes for this coming year. It’s good to think about what we want to do differently. But, maybe, just maybe, our “different” doesn’t have to be adding more to our plate (you know, like we always do).

What if your new thing is to schedule some more time in your life to do the things you love? What if your new thing is to put on your calendar a lunch date with your kids or grandkids, or a date night with your spouse? What if your new thing is to find some time to bundle up and go outside and enjoy nature, or to schedule a cup of coffee and conversation with God?

One of the things that I’m convinced that God wants for us is to unplug from all the humdrum of everyday life and to make time, to create space, to just breathe and do the things that make our hearts sing. Because when we do that, we can be more in tune to how God is present in our lives everyday. And one of the beautiful things that happens when we take this time to unplug, we end up being more productive people, ready to do the work that matters to us and to God as well.

This January, I invite you to take some time to pause, to reflect, and do some of those things that make your heart sing. And maybe doing that will help all of us experience a bit more of the life God wants for you and me.

Pastor Dane
In our culture, we are obsessed and addicted to more. We overwork, we multitask, we look for more things to do. But God designed us with limits. Unplugged is a series for those of you who never felt you’ve done enough. Those who never feel you’ve reached that point in life where it’s ok to say “ok”. It’s a series for those who never feel they can say “I am enough.” God says you are enough. Come and listen, we’ll help you hear it. 
a poem by Pastor Dane
Sometimes it's important to just sit down
and let time pass
Or just sit on the grass,
or in a chair, or in a treehouse high up in the air
Yes, sometimes it's good to stop and hear
The noises that reach up there so clear
To feel the cool, gentle breeze
Or hear the soft sound of rustling leaves
To smell the scent of dew on the air
To watch the squirrels playing over there
When life seems always to "go, go, go,"
It's important to pause and take things slow
To watch and notice and adore
All the things you might've missed before.
Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out
Have a taste of what life's about
Breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in
Feel the breath of life fill your lungs again
And now you've fully filled your cup
Now you can go and get back up
But this time you can encourage others, too
To breathe in, breathe out with you,
The breath of life and breathe ane
Kindergarteners through 5th graders are all invited for four days of day camp fun July 17-20th! Save the dates...more information coming soon!

Registration for Green Lake Lutheran Ministry opened is open and we want all Vinje kids to have the chance to go! Early bird registration discount is available until February 16. We encourage campers to register now and if cost is any issue, we don't want that to be a barrier for anyone. As every year, Vinje will continue to provide scholarship money to help with the cost so that everyone has a chance to go!
Our high school youth are all invited to join us for a mission trip to Nashville, Tennessee! This trip will take place June 23-July 2! We’ll have an informational meeting on this for parents and youth in late January. Stay tuned for more details!
Plans are in the works for this one...details coming soon!
Hey, are you new to Vinje in the last few years? Do you want to learn more about the church? Would you like a chance to get to know your pastors better? Or maybe you would be willing to tolerate some time with your pastors as long as there is a free lunch to get you through it? On January 8 Pastors Justin and Dane will be hanging out in room 102 after worship and welcome anyone who would like to learn more about Vinje, hear about opportunities to get involved, or wants to know about becoming a member. Did we mention there will be pizza? There will be pizza! Please join us for some laid back conversation, fun, and food after worship.
By Director of Music, Karen Wojahn
Over the course of the past month, over 100 different Vinje members have shared their musical gifts with the congregation ranging in ages from 3 to 80 something..?! What a treat! It is amazing to have so many talented and generous musicians amongst us. Thank you to each and every one of you for sharing your gifts with us!
Vinje Quilters will not meet in January or February. Stay tuned for dates. See you in March. 
The annual meeting of Vinje Lutheran Church will be on February 5 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 2022. See you all there!
We’ve been enjoying all things Christmas this month! We’ve made lots of fun projects, we’ve learned lots about baby Jesus’ journey to Bethlehem during Chapel time and we had a wonderful time working on and performing our Christmas songs for Wednesday worship! It really is the most wonderful time of the year!
With the city of Willmar raising its water rates by 30% this year, you might find it interesting to use this water footprint calculator, 52 ways to care for creation, click the link on #32-calculate your water footprint. It asks a series of questions and then gives you a total and a graph. There are also hints on how to reduce water use.
This month pastor Andrés asked Ann Trochlil to share the story of Worth Saving.

Worth Saving started singing together in 2005 at Vinje. Our group has led both Wednesday evening and Sunday morning services for the past 17 years at Vinje. Current group members include Tracy and Scott Lundy, Jon Marchand, Travis Michelson, Steve and Ann Trochlil, Lyle Hovland and Sara Bos.

The original group members were Tim Johnson, Lyle Hovland, Steve Trochlil, Ann Trochlil, Kina Knudson, Anders Nordstrom, John Lecy and Jeremy Werner. Initially our group did not have a name. Over time there was a request from church music staff for our group to have a name. One evening as we gathered to rehearse at our house, the high school musicians were cleaning out their backpacks, taking out worksheet after worksheet deciding if it should be thrown away or if it was worth saving. Steve heard them talking and said “I think we have our name!” And that is the story of how we named our group Worth Saving.

When we first started to sing as a group and assist with the planning of the music, we would meet with Pastor Steve Knutson and Phil Holzman to do a bible study of the upcoming scripture readings. This was especially helpful as none of us had experience in planning music for services. We held big group rehearsals at church on Thursday nights with all worship musicians and also held rehearsals specifically for our group at our house.
We have always tried to include high school students. Some of the youth members over the years include Anders Nordstrom, John Lecy, Jeremy Werner, Kina Knudson, Ali Unger, Bailey Hovland, Cayle Hovland, and Meghan Weiss. The energy and excitement they bring always makes it fun.

Over the years we have been fortunate to work with Vinje music staff members including Phil Holzman, John Jahr and Karen Wojahn. Collaboration with these musicians made a great impact on our ability to continue to lead music at Vinje.
For every service we are leading, I read the scripture readings from both the Old and New Testaments, consider the church year, and consult with the pastors or Karen about the sermon series before choosing songs. I spend a lot of time listening to new music and searching for songs that I think connect with who we are as Lutherans. I also search high and low for hymns that have been recorded in a new and interesting way! I love when we find a song with a connection to a hymn that we all know and love.

We are hopeful that we will have a new staff member on board soon to help lead the modern worship!
At their meeting on December 20, the Vinje Council…
  • Reviewed and recommended a 2023 budget to be presented to the congregation at the annual meeting.
  • Approved 2023 budgets for Loving Arms, Praise & Play, and Discover Hill childcare centers.
  • Approved an Operating Agreement for the new Loving Arms LLC.
  • Approved 2023 housing allowances pastors.
  • Listened to updates on health insurance coverage for employees, the columbarium, and upcoming worship schedule.
  • Distributed $6,000 from the endowment for local outreach ministries.

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, 180 Sundays at 2:30 pm and 8:30 pm and Tuesdays at 8 am and 5 pm.