Staying Connected
Greetings all.

I hope you all enjoyed this past holiday weekend and all had a Merry Christmas. I enjoyed a quiet Christmas at home with Betsy, the girls and the puppy. It was a day spend relaxing having a nice dinner and a couple video calls with family. Christmas Eve we got the chance along with the Yunkers family to serve a dinner at Connections Shelter. It was a great opportunity to show our kids a way to serve others during this holiday season and provide for those in need of a good meal. It is so easy for us to know where our next meal is coming from. I am hoping it helped my kids realize what a privilege it is for us to know these things in our home.
 
We were also thankful that we were able to video chat with loved ones this year and still open some gifts together. We of course would have preferred to spend part of the holiday with family but decided for us to spend apart was the thing we wanted to do this year. I know it will make us appreciate the time we spend together more in the future. I spent time this past weekend thinking a lot about my family.
 
I got a Christmas card from my Grandma and it made me think back to when I was a kid traveling to Perry and Fort Dodge, Iowa where my parents were from and spending Christmas' with my extended family. We have not done that for many years as all the cousins have gotten older and everyone's extended family have extended themselves. This weekend I thought about those that have passed away through the years and how this time year can be so tough for many while remembering those that cannot celebrate with us anymore.
 
You all know I like to include some music videos at the end of this newsletter and I had some in mind that I wanted to include this week and when I opened up YouTube this morning to find them a different one popped up that I decided to click on. The video was from the Piano Guys that that they did with Christian artist Craig Aven. It was a song about those remembering those who are not with us this year called The Sweetest Gift. I wanted to include the video at the top of this email. Whether you're missing those that have passed this last year or just missing those you would normally have gathered with this year and did I hope this song can bring you some comfort this year.

Merry Christmas

Director of Spiritual Growth
Ben Geer
Sunday's Worship
This past Sunday we had a some technical difficulties when it came to the worship service to stream on Facebook. Wanted to make sure this was available for everyone. Most of the worship service was provided by the SEMN Synod. It includes a message from Emily Carson and some great music. If you missed it I encourage you to check it out.
Christmas Eve Service
If you haven't had a chance to view the Christmas Eve service you can access that below.
Feeding Connections
We had a another great time serving at Connections shelter again Sunday December 27th. Thank you Pam and Del Vulcan and Dianne Osborne for provided a really good meal. The guest at the shelter were feed chili and cornbread. It was a nice hot meal for a chilly evening. If you would like to sign up to help out for any of the next times we're serving you can find a sign up below. You can also reach out to Ben through the church office or at DSG@gracemankato.org.
There are other opportunities to be able to serve at Connections. Below is a link to their sign up to be able to be greeters at the shelter. If your family would also like to take on a meal on your own to make and serve there are opportunities to sign up and do that.
Amazon Smile
Many of us has been spending more time shopping online. When shopping with amazon there is an easy way to help raise a donation go to Grace. When shopping through a web browser you can follow the link below and it's easy to set up. It's also super easy to get set up on a mobile device through the Amazon App. When signed into your account in the app in settings there is a section called "Programs and Features" in that sections you can click on AmazonSmile. I that section you can select your charity. You can search Grace Lutheran Church Mankato or type 41-6006451.

When you #StartWithaSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Grace Lutheran Church. Bookmark the link   http://smile.amazon.com/ch/41-6006451  and support us every time you shop.

You still get the same prices and you can still use your Prime account, but when you start by using this link above, Amazon will donate a portion of the price back to Grace.

Thanks for supporting Grace.
2021 Adult Boundary Waters Trip
Now that we're getting through the holidays it's time to start thinking about the summer of 2021. Some of us have probably been thinking about next summer for a while now. We are planning a fun opportunity for adults next summer whom what to have a bit of adventure as part of it. Last year the youth got their turn and this next year it is time for the adults to take a trip into the Boundary Waters (BWCA). I wanted to be get this announcement out early so people could have a bit of a chance to think about it. I would like to have a good idea of numbers thought by the end of January so we can secure permits for the trip. If you sign up early, I'd love some help looking into where to paddle in at. We're looking at going in on the Grand Marais side of the BWCA.
 
Dates for the trip are Friday July 9th through Wednesday July 14th. The plan would be to leave around mid-day on the 9th drive all the way to Grand Marais and stay there before paddling in to the BWCA Saturday. We spend four days and three nights paddling, fishing, having devotional time and anything else you may want to do up there. Tuesday the 13th we would paddle out of the BWCA sometime that day and then stay another night in Grand Marais before heading home.
 
We are excited about the possibilities of this trip and know it will be a great time. Even if I cannot guarantee no rain. Once we have, groups of folks interested we'll have a meeting to discuss more details about the trip. Even if you are just interested, click the link below to sign up. No commitment needed at this time and cost for trip is yet to be determined but will be very affordable.

Need Help w/ Zoom?
If you have been waiting to try to use Zoom because it can be a bit confusing at time we invite you to get a hold of Ben here at Grace. Ben is far from an expert with all that zoom can do but can defiantly help enough to get things set up on your device and test things out to see how they work. You can call the office to get a hold of Ben or send an email at DSG@gracemankato.org to set up a time.
Children
While we are not yet meeting in person for children PreK - 6th Grade we do want to make weekly lessons available online. You can access the weekly lessons we would be doing by clicking the links below. There are great activities that can be done as a family together.
Confirmation
Right now as schools have moved to distance learning we have decided that the safest and most effective way to continue to meet with our confirmation students will be to temporarily move the the program virtual. We will be using zoom to connect with the students just as we did last spring. As soon as it is safe to once again meet in person, we'll be excited to have the youth back here at Grace Wednesday nights.

For more details about events or would like to get involved please reach out to Ben or Pastor John and we will be sure to get you in the loop on everything you need to know.

December/January Confirmation Schedule
  • December 30th - No Confirmation Winter Break
  • January 6th - Confirmation over Zoom 6:00 - 7:00
  • January 13th - Confirmation over Zoom 6:00 - 7:00
  • January 20th - Confirmation over Zoom 6:00 - 7:00
  • January 27th - Confirmation over Zoom 6:00 - 7:00
High School
High School Youth Group will be taking a quick pause while schools have moved to distance learning. Keep watch for information for when we resume meeting on a regular basis.
If anybody has questions about youth and family ministry opportunities or would like to help leading any activities please reach out to Ben. You can call directly any time at 507-524-3254 or send an email to DSG@gracemankato.org
Zoom Thursday Night
Bible Study
Parables
"The Greatest Stories Ever Told"


We will be resuming Bible Study
Thursday January 7th

All Are Welcome!
As a community of Christ, we share in each other's joys and pains. Before we dive into the word each week we share our joys and pains with each other using the Rose Analogy.

  • We look for the Rose in our lives - A highlight, success, small win or something positive that is happening.

  • We look for a Thorn in our lives - A challenge you are experiencing or something you can use more support with.

  • And we look for the Bud in our lives - A new Idea that has bloomed or something you are looking forward to knowing more about or experiencing

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Thursday Bible Study

Zoom Meeting ID 857 5766 8823

Time 8:00 pm Thursday
Every week will have the same meeting ID
Mark your Calendars
December 31, 2020-No Bible Study
January 7, 2020-The Wise & Foolish Virgins Matthew 24: 36 -25: 13
January 14, 2020-Parable of the Talents Matthew 24: 14-30
January 21st-The Pharisee & the Tax Collector Luke 18: 9-14
January 28, 2020-Parable of the Rich Fool Luke 12: 13-21
February 4 2020-No Bible Study
February 11, 2020-The Rich Man & Lazarus Luke 16: 19-31
In-Person Bible Study
If you are still interested in join in for this study, we could have a virtual options to still be able to meet in the group. Space is limited in the church. This study will be starting at the start of 2021.
Worshiping Together Virtually
We hope since March you have been able to continue to find a way to worship with us all at Grace. With the many platforms out there we hope you have been able to find one or a few that has been able to bring you comfort during these tough times.

Our Facebook live stream is now up and running and we believe we have worked out all the kinks with it.

If you do not have Facebook the worships will still be available on KTOE Sunday mornings at 10:00 and the rebroadcast on KTV. We will also continue to share the link to where they can be found on YouTube. Our goal is that everyone will still have an opportunity to worship with Grace.
Christ in our Home
Devotional
Many of you may be unable to get a copy of Christ In Our Home from the church as you normally would.

During this time we are making it available to you digitally, paper copies are still available at Grace and can be picked up. If you stop to pick one up please do wear a mask while in the church building.
Serving the Community

Echo Food Shelf - Echo is still looking for volunteers to commit to one 2-4 hour shift/week. You can email echofoodshelf@yahoo.com to get involved.

CADA House - Committee Against Domestic Abuse, Inc. (CADA) is a nonprofit victim advocacy and emergency shelter organization based in Mankato, Minnesota. CADA’s mission is to provide safety and support to victims of domestic and sexual violence through education, advocacy, and shelter.
You can check out the latest Newsletter for CADA by Clicking HERE
Fair Trade Coffee
Missing fellowship after service and the delicious fair trade coffee? All fair trade/organic coffee is now $7 a bag, including our fellowship blend. It's a course ground blend perfect for French press!  

Your choice of Sisters' Blend, Love Buzz, Breakfast Blend, Mind Body and Soul, And Fellowship Blend now only $7 a bag.  

Stop by the church office to get yours today!
Did you Fair Trade is so much more than Coffee??? There's tea, chocolate and even olive oil all available here at the church. Next time you're at Grace check it out!
Find more information about Mankato Fair Trade Products and their Mission by clicking the link below

Pray Together
Lord God,

We pray for those hurting and missing loved ones this Christmas season. We pray for peace for those. Surround them with love and support
Amen
Check out these Video!
Mary, Did You Know? by Danny Gokey
Noel by Chris Tomlin Ft. Lauren Daigle
Contact Us
Pastor
Rev. John Odegard - pastor@gracemankato.org

Director of Spiritual Growth

Parish Administrator
Rich Krause - parish@gracemankato.org

Office Specialist
Joan Hertel - office@gracemankato.org

Interim Organist and Music Director
Chuck Hoogland - music@gracemankato.org

Worship and Media Technology Coordinator

Maintenance and Grounds
Jordin Johnson - grounds@gracemankato.org
Is there news you're wanting to have included in future staying connected newsletters? Reach out to Ben with the details and he'll be sure to included in an upcoming newsletter. New newsletters are emailed out every Monday and can also be found on Facebook or the Webpage under the At Home Resources tab.