Staying Connected
Have you every truly just unplugged from everything around you? Just said to the world I hear ya... but I'm not listening? A couple weeks ago Pastor John had the chance to get out of town with his family and stay in the woods right on a lake. Pastor John told me about his time there and I was instantly jealous. He told me for most of the the long weekend his phone sat on the night stand never touched. It got me thinking about how nice that would be. I've had some great time with family getting away this summer and had an awesome time in the boundary waters this year too with the youth, but I've never felt I've really completely unplugged from everything around. Every time I've gotten away I fall into some of the same old habits. I take my computer along and end up doing some work or I end up on my Ipad or phone scrolling through some news site, Facebook or other social media site.

This last weekend it was MEA break. The past 10 years or so I've spent MEA or some part of the end of October in one of my favorite places to visit the north shore of Minnesota. I've talked before about my love of getting up there. Spending time at one of the awesome state parks and visiting Grand Marais. The weather becomes cool and the winter jackets come out. A couple times Betsy and I have tent camped at Tettegouche State Park and once woke up with quite a bit of white stuff gathered around us. It's still to early to say what it was even though as I right this I can see specks of it flying through the air. When the kids were younger they'd stay with grandma and grandpa and we'd get away since our anniversary always falls around MEA break. As the kids have gotten older we've taking them along and stayed in Airbnb's rather than subjecting them to sleeping in a tent all weekend.

This weekend we weren't able to get away for an extended time but did get away for a couple nights with friends. We spent a couple days together at a condo eating way to many snacks and having a great time with each other playing games and hanging out with their 3 year old and 5 month old. I told myself, "Ben you're going to leave your phone sitting in the other room and not going to look at it at all." I did pretty good for the first night but then found myself checking things out the next morning as we were all getting up and moving. I was in the same cycle as before. I had left the computer and Ipad at home so I did a good job avoiding that, but the phone was still there. I got sucked into Facebook seeing the drama of the world and then of course I make the mistake of deciding to check out the comment section of some news post. October of an election year is not the best time to click on the comment section on Facebook. Reading comments from people back and forth is a great way to depress your mood. I was able to still disconnect quite a bit but not completely. The lesson I took a way from that is it's hard but I have to try harder. Even when at home I should try and find ways to disconnect, and next time I take a weekend away remember the lesson I learned from this time.


In-Person Worship at Grace
It was great once again to host in-person worship here at Grace this past Sunday. We hope to see you all again in the future. Below are a reminder of the guidelines put in place to allow us to be able to have worship together at Grace.

  • Masks are requited in the building for everyone participating.
  • We have blocked off rows to ensure that there is at least 6 feet between households and we will have ushers to help people find open seats. If you would like to help usher, please contact the church office.
  • The congregation will not be singing for now, but we will have some music preformed as part of worship in as safe a way as possible.
  • Communion will be distributed to each pew rather than people getting up during worship.

These and other changes will help us worship together as safely as possible, and we will review these policies as time moves on and new best practices are discovered.

For those who do not yet feel comfortable attending in person, we will continue to have worship posted online as it has been since March. We will have that option available for the foreseeable future so that everyone knows they have a place with us. We were able to get our in-house worship live-streamed on Facebook this last week we're hoping this will all all to participate together in the same worship service wherever we worship from. We will also be continuing to have worship live on KTOE and rebroadcasted on KTV weekly.
All Saint' Day Luminaries November 1st 2020
We are doing something a little different this year for All Saints Day on November 1st for the Sunday worship. Instead of being able to light a candle at the front of the sanctuary in honor of a passed loved one you are invited to make a luminary. You can pick up a bag from the the narthex at Grace any time. On the bag you can write the name or games of passed loved ones. It could be someone who passed away this year, or someone who passed a long time ago. After you write their name include a small prayer on how these people have impacted your faith. You can also have you kids decorate the bag. Please try and return the bag to the church by Thursday October 29th.
John Edwin Shoemaker
John Edwin Shoemaker, age 81, passed away at home unexpectedly, from heart failure, on Wednesday evening, October 14, 2020.

Public visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, October 19, 2020 at the Mankato Mortuary, 1001 N. Riverfront Drive, Mankato. A private family service will be held at Grace Lutheran Church in Mankato. A public interment will be held at 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Mankato.

John, the son of Fredric Joseph and Evelyn Hope (Babcock) Shoemaker, was born on September 2, 1939, in St. Paul. He enjoyed his youth there, where his family lived between Como Park and the State Fair. He fondly remembered many days exploring those areas with his sister and friends. Afterwards, he spent his teens in Mitchell, SD, and Albert Lea, where he graduated from high school. He went to college at Mankato State, earning a BA and BS in math, with minors in biology, chemistry, and physics. While at college, he met his future wife, Dianne, the younger sister of his roommate. Early in his career, he taught math at MSU while taking graduate classes and later taught high school math. He then went on to work in the computer divisions of Hubbard Milling and Hickory Tech until his retirement. 

John loved baseball, following the MN Twins and all the teams avidly. Every year he had new "500 Home Run Club" t-shirts and sweatshirts printed. He also enjoyed yearly week-long family vacations to Lake Superior, as well as vacations in the eastern and western U.S. John was an active member of Grace Lutheran Church, serving over the years on the church council and the choir. He also enjoyed his Saturday noon lunches at River Hills food court, his activities with the Mankato German Stammtisch Club, and visiting the Mankato Pow-Wow and Minnesota Renaissance Festival each year.

John is survived by his wife of 54 years, Dianne, and by his daughter, Rebecca Patton (husband Charles) of Ashburn, VA, and son, James of Brooklyn Park, MN. He is also survived by his sister, Sara Paulson of Bend, OR, and by brother- and sister-in-law, Earl and Elfriede Gildemeister of North Mankato and by brother-in-law, Morris Gildemeister of Hastings, MN, as well as one cousin and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, uncle Maltbie Babcock, and aunt Joy Babcock.

Drive-Thru Chili Lunch
to support
Habitat for Humanity
Normally in October every year Grace would be opening their doors to the community for hour Chili Luncheon to support Habitat for Humanity. This year we had to rethink things to make it safer but still able to raise funds.

We are instead doing a drive-thru chili lunch. On Sunday October 25th starting at 11:00 you will be able to drive through the alley on the west side of Grace and purchase prepackaged chili. Along with the chili you'll get crackers and fruit. You can preorder your chili so you are sure to get some by clicking the link below letting us know your name and how many lunches you'd like prepacked. You can also go to A suggested freewill donation is $5.00 a meal. We're sad we won't be able to gather in person together with all the fixings but still very excited we'll still be able to provide a yummy lunch and support Habitat for Humanity.

Thank you GLCW for being able to put on this event. We appreciate all the hard work you put into this event and all that you do for Grace and the Community of Mankato.
We are looking to add some goodies to our chili lunches and are asking for some Halloween candy donations. We would like to include a little pack of Halloween treats with each lunch. If you interested in helping with that you can bring in bags of candy to the church office give to Ben. He promises not to eat any. If donation can be brought in by the 21st that would be great.

Thank You
Pumpkin Carving Fellowship and Devotional Event
Sunday October 25th
1:30 PM
Do you and your family love carving pumpkins but hate the mess? Are you looking for a chance to get out and see some other Grace families that you have been missing? Then you'll want to consider this opportunity.

This event families will gather together with other families and carve pumpkins here at Grace. Along with being able to carve pumpkins we'll have a family devotional we can all do together as well. Stations will be set up throughout the fellowship hall so families can keep their physical distancing from each other. Space is limited in sanctuary so if there is a lot of interest in event will possibly have to have a second time for it.

Date: Sunday October 25th, 2020
Time: 1:30pm
Fee: Free will donation, Suggested Donation $4.00 per pumpkin requested.
All ages are welcome. Come with kids or without. We'd love to see anybody that wants to join us.

Please sign up by Sunday October 22nd so we know how many pumpkins to have ready for event.

You can find information about this event by going to our website

Reach out to Ben with any question.
Can't make the event and still want to be a part of it? We would gladly take pumpkin donation. Let Ben know if you'd like to donate a pumpkin and he can work with you on getting it. Thank You.
Family Ministries/Education
Every week while we can't have regular Sunday School or Wednesday night faith night we'd like to make the Sunday School lessons available for families to use on their own at home.
Confirmation starts this week as we come together for a campfire hosted by the Yunkers family. The weather looks great for a campfire. We're looking forward to this year of Confirmation. Our hope is that we can build a lot of fellowship as we find creative ways to safely gather. We're excited also be able to have youth here at Grace in a few weeks as we work on some clean up outside around church along with doing some work in the Garden too. If you have not been contacted by Ben yet for more details about events or would like to get involved please reach out and we'll be sure to get you in the loop on everything you need to know.

October Confirmation Schedule
  • October 21 – Service night @ Grace. 5:30 –7:30
Fall Clean up
  • October 28 – Campfire hosted by the Geer’s 6:00 - 7:30
  • November 4  – Confirmation @ Grace 6:00 - 7:00
  • November 11  – Confirmation @ Grace 6:00 - 7:00
  • November 18  – Service Night @ Grace 6:00 - 7:00
High School
As high schoolers are now back in school and adjusting to a very different looking school year I invite them to join me at Grace for some middle of the week refocus Wednesday nights. As the year starts we invite them to join the confirmation kids at the campfires and service night in October. Going into November we'll continue to have the opportunity to meet and more communication will come out then.
  • October 21 – Service night @ Grace. 5:30 –7:30
Fall Clean up
  • October 28 – Campfire hosted by the Geer’s 6:00 - 7:30
  • November 4  – Youth Group@ Grace 6:00 - 7:30
  • November 11  – Youth Group @ Grace 6:00 - 7:30
  • November 18  – Service Night @ Grace 6:00 - 7:00
If anybody has questions about youth and family ministry opportunities or would like to help out leading any activities please reach out to Ben. You can call directly any time at 507-524-3254 or send an email to
Red Cross Blood Drive
Thank you to everybody that has signed up for the Red Cross Blood Drive. As of right now all available slots have been filled.
Zoom Bible Study
Bible Study this Thursday

Join us Thursday October 22nd 8:00pm

All Are Welcome!
As a community of Christ we share in each others joys and pains. Before we dive into the word each week we share 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's 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


This Thursday we continue to move forward in Acts.
We'll be looking at Acts 27-28

"Paul in Rome!"

One question to be thinking about coming into the bible study is:
What do you think in means to be free?


Thursday Bible Study

Zoom Meeting ID 857 5766 8823

Time 8:00 pm Thursday
Every week will have the same meeting ID
New Bible Study
Starts Thursday October 29th
"The Greatest Stories Ever Told"

We'd love to have anyone join us for our next bible study topic starting October 29th. Whether you've been with us on zoom since the start or just want to start no that is OK. I'm excited to explore some parables in the bible with whoever wants to join.

We will be using "LifeGuide Bible Studies" below is a little bit about the study.

"Everyone loves a good story. But the parables of Jesus are a special kind of story. They sneak up on us, catching us off guard. The familiar suddenly takes an unexpected twist, and we find our secret thoughts exposed in the healing light of Jesus. In this guide John White, author of the bestselling book The Fight, helps us explore twelve of the greatest stories ever told."

This will be a 12 week study over 16 weeks(we'll have a couple weeks off during it) come to one a few or them all.

Mark your Calendars
October 29, 2020 - Parable of the Sower Matthew 13: 1-23
November 5, 2020 - The "Lost" Parables Luke 15: 1-32
November 12, 2020 - The Good Samaritan Luke 10: 25-37
November 19, 2020 - The Unforgiving Servant Matthew 18: 21-35
November 26, 2020 - No Bible Study
December 3, 2020 - Th Widow & the Judge Luke 18: 1-8
December 10, 2020 - The Wheat & the Weeds Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43
December 17, 2020 - Parables of Money & Self-Worth Matthew 19:16 - 20:16
December 24, 2020 - No Bible Study
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 Couples Bible Study

If you are interested in being a part of an in person couples bible study at Grace click the link below to let us know or sign up.

For this Couples Bible study we would be doing a nine week study on Couples in the Old testament. Some of the Couples will be well known couples like Adan and Eve or Abraham and Sarah and some of the lesser known couples like Elkanah and Hannah or Hosea and Gomer.

We'd be looking at doing this study here at Grace every Sunday evenings spread out in the fellowship hall. Depending on size of group location could be changed.
Start date would be determined once group has been formed.
Worshiping Together Virtually
We hope since March you've been able to continue to find a way to worship with us all at Grace. With the many platforms out there we hope you've been able to find one or a few that has been able to bring you comfort during these tough times. We acknowledge that all may not feel comfortable going for in-person worship here at Grace(and that's alright) so we want to continue to provide opportunities to worship virtually. As we've been working on ways to be able to stream and record worship live we'll have them posted through this newsletter weekly so if you can't watch live you can watch when the time is best for you.

If you don't 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.
October 18th, 2020 Worship
Communion Available
You can now bring communion home with you. Pre-consecrated elements are available at the church. You can stop in to pick it up and bring home to have during service on Sunday morning. If you can't make it in let us know and we can bring it to you and drop off during the week.

If you'd like also you can make your own communion bread at home. Check out the link below for a great recipe.

Christ in our Home
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
A few years ago Grace was able to host Connections Shelter in the building here at Grace. The shelter now has a permanent home at First Presbyterian Church. Although we will not be hosting folks here at Grace we can still help in a big way. We've had interest in continuing to provide meals to them. They're open to us providing meals for them once a week, once every two weeks or once a month. They'd be happy with whatever we can provide to help feed the folks out that are staying there. We're looking to form a team or even a few teams that would be willing to help prepare and serve meals for the shelter. We have a few people interested in helping lead these efforts but anybody interested please contact Ben and we can get everybody connected.

Due to Covid meals will be plated individually for the rooms rather than how they have been done in the past as family/buffet style. They have enough beds at the shelter for 35 people so meals will be for no more than that.

There are many ways to help out the shelter besides proving meals for them. You can sign up to help as Morning and Evening Greeters, Hospitality and meal team. Connections team will doing background checks on all volunteers that sign up. You can sign up by clicking the link below.

MY Place. Mankato Youth Place. - We will be looking at ways to get more involved with My Place. Be on the look out here to find more information in the future.

Echo Food Shelf - Echo is currently looking for volunteers to commit to one 2-4 hour shift/week. You can email to get involved.
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,

You are amazing. There are so many things in this world that we turn to that don't compare to you. We look for strength to turn from those things and put more of a focus on you.
Check out this Video!
Only Jesus by Casting Crowns
Contact Us
Rev. John Odegard -

Director of Spiritual Growth

Parish Administrator
Rich Krause -

Office Specialist
Joan Hertel -

Interim Organist and Music Director
Chuck Hoogland -

Worship and Media Technology Coordinator

Maintenance and Grounds
Jordin Johnson -

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.