Staying Connected
Advent is here. It has arrived. There was a small group of folks from Grace that spent some time last Tuesday getting decorations up around around the church building. I always love this time of year with everything feeling so festive. It can really get you in the holiday mood. This year more than ever I think people are loving decorating more and earlier. Just driving around town I feel like there's been more and more lighting displays popping up. The gift if a bit nicer weather lately I'm sure has helped that also. I was able to get some garland with lights wrapped around our lamppost in our front flower bed this weekend. I've scaled back a bit but still kicking around the idea of a giant inflatable Santa in the front yard. If my wife askes I'm kidding of course(wink wink). With not hosting in-person worship right now, we wanted to make sure you were able to see the decorations around. Below you'll find pictures of most of it around.

Advent is one of my favorite times within the church. Not only the decorations that go with it but the music. I'm pretty sure we were playing some Christmas music in October at our house. Chances are I started it on the echo as a joke but an hour into listening to it we were just enjoying it too much. I love thinking about the advent themes each week. Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Just how each of them go together as we get closer to celebrating the birth of Jesus.

This year we had plans to have some in-person events each Sunday of advent where families would have the chance to get together discuss the deeper meaning behind each weekly theme. While thinking of the safety of our members, friends and neighbors we decided to hold these events virtually. Kits were made and delivered to many families at Grace. If you missed out on getting a kit we have all the supplies listed online for what would be needed for the crafts and activities. Online too is where you can find all the weekly videos and documents that go with the theme for each week. If you go to you can fine all that is going on this month for activities that you can do at home. I think these activities would be fun to do even if you don't have kids in the house. As their being done I'd love to see pictures along the way. I've also included below some easy links for everything for week one about Hope. I'm really excited about the craft this week. It combines making an advent calendar with ways to do service for others.

KEYC stopped in to do a story about the virtual advent event as well. You can view that HERE. They got some great shots of the decorating done inside the church building as well.
Thanksgiving Eve Devotional
If you have not had a chance to watch our Christmas Eve Devotional with a short message about Gratefulness from Pastor John and some special music you can view it below.
Christmas Eve at Grace
We are planning and putting together a very special Christmas Eve service featuring various types of Music. This will be put out on Facebook and YouTube a week ahead of Christmas so families get plenty of time to enjoy it together as a family. Along with pre-releasing the video we will also host Facebook Watch Parties on Christmas Eve so we can gather to watch with our Grace Family and Friends.
Amazon Smile
Many of us will be spending quite a bit more with online shopping this year. Amazon Smile is a great program that is run through Amazon that offer a way to give while also spending the money you were already going to anyways.

When not supporting and of the great local businesses (that also have online shopping options or curbside pickup) and you happen to be shopping on Amazon we encourage folks to check this out. 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  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 in this new and easy way!
Quarter Drive for Connections Shelter
We are collecting Quarters to donate to the Connections Shelter so they can use them to clean linens at the laundromat. You can bring any extra quarters you have and put them in a jar in the office. For more ways to help the connections shelter, reach out to Ben. ( 
Feeding Connections
Along with collecting quarters to help out the Shelter We are looking to build two teams (to start with) that could assist in providing dinner to the people staying at the Connections Shelter. Details are still being finalized for when the meals would be served but we are looking at starting with preparing and serving meals twice a month. Please consider if you would like to be a part of a team to help get this done. If we get enough interest, we could add more weeks in the future. This is a great way to stay connected with Connections now that they have found their permanent home just around the corner from us at First Presbyterian Church. Thank you too to Barb Heller and Penny Banwart for your assistance and leadership in getting this off the ground. If interested in being a part of a group to prepare meals or serve you can contact Ben (

We will be starting to serve meals at Connections Shelter the 2nd and 4th Sunday's of every month starting in December. We have people lined up to prepare, deliver and serve meals for the 13th and the 27th. There will be an opportunity to sign up to help coming up in the near future. Be sure to watch this newsletter along with our Facebook page to be able to sign up to help.
Need Help w/ Zoom?
With Covid numbers going up we know many families are probably going to be looking at getting together differently for the holidays. Not being able to see family could be a tough thing. We would like to try and make that a bit easier on you if you're thinking about using Zoom to see each other.

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 to set up a time.
Snack Drive for MY Place
MY Place (formally known as the Boys and Girls Club of Mankato) will now be hosting around 40 kids all day while schools are moving to distanced learning. They will be providing these youths (Kindergarten – 9th Graders) with three meals a day. Many of the kids that will be going to MY Place are at risk youth, so having a place where they can get these meals is so important. Another thing they will provide the kids with are snacks throughout the day. That is where Grace can come in and help. We will be holding a snack drive for a few weeks here at Grace. You can bring in boxes of snacks and place them in the Nursery during the day. 

Let's pack the nursery with snacks to help feed these kids!!!
Elaine (Olson) Bindig
1931 - 2020

Elaine R. (Olson) Bindig, age 89, passed-away on Thursday, November 26, 2020 at the Mapleton Community Home, Mapleton.

A Private Family service will be held at Northview-North Mankato Mortuary. Interment will be in Memorial Park Cemetery, Good Thunder. Memorials may be given to Grace Lutheran Church, 110 N. 4th Street, Mankato, MN 56001 or the Mapleton Community Home Chapel Fund, 301 Troendle St SW, Mapleton, MN 56065.

Elaine was born August 29, 1931 to George W. Olson and Ruth V. Olson (Peterson) and grew up in the Mankato area. As her parent's first child, she was baptized on September 20, 1931 and confirmed June 10, 1945 at Grace Lutheran Church where she remained a life-long member. Growing up also included: living and working on their family farms, helping elderly relatives, and enjoying her cousins, siblings and friends. Elaine attended school in rural Belgrade Township, at North Mankato's Public School and in 1949 graduated from Mankato High School.

She married Marvin Bindig of Good Thunder, MN on November 24, 1950. In their years to follow; she helped build the family home in North Mankato, raise five children, worked at Mankato Paper Box Co., helped her husband with several illnesses, while recovering from her own. Some favorite things to do in her younger years were: going to State Fairs, playing antique Church pump organs after refinishing, watching Twin's games, camping and fishing, growing flowers, hosting get-togethers, going to Zoo's, meeting her Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren and most recently making acquaintances at Mapleton's Community Home. She enjoyed trips to California, Hawaii, Colorado, Texas, Northern Minnesota, its surrounding States, and going to family gatherings out in the country near Mapleton. A special 'Thank you' to Mapleton's Community Home staff who assisted her with her health needs, provided fun activities at the Home, fellowship and friendship, and also to Freedom Home care who helped her with her appointments and provided additional friendship.

Elaine is survived by: Marcia Dahle (Daniel), Beverly Bindig, Barbara Jans, Bradley Bindig (Theresa), Karl Bindig III; ten grandchildren: Molly Jans (Jonathan), Nissa Dahle, Andrew Dahle (Lindsay), John Jans II, (Alicia), Kristen Curry (Robert), Mattye Kopischke, Karen Bindig (Brent Jobe), Estee Rippel (Tory), Kathleen Maurer (Rudolph III) and Bradley Bindig II; eleven great-grandchildren: Kaija Howard, Myleen Maurer, Ashley Maurer, Aria Jobe, Addison Curry, Morgan Curry, Kohen Terwey, Kashton Terwey, Leslie Curry, Rowan Dahle and Teagan Rippel, two brothers: John Olson (Elisabeth) and George Olson II, one sister: Carol Larsen; one cousin: Arline Gillson and several nieces, nephews and friends.

Elaine was preceded in death by Marvin in 2012 and her parents Ruth and George in 1995 and 1960.
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.
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.

November/December Confirmation Schedule
  • December 2  – Confirmation over Zoom 6:00 - 7:00
  • December 9 - Confirmation over Zoom 6:00 - 7:00
  • December 16th - Confirmation over Zoom 6:00 - 7:00
  • December 23 and 30th - No Confirmation Winter Break
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
Zoom Thursday night
Bible Study
"The Greatest Stories Ever Told"

Join us Thursday December 3rd 8:00pm

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


This Week

We'll be looking at Luke 18: 1-8
"The Widow & the Judge"

One thing to be thinking about coming into the bible study is:
What wild and crazy schemes have you put your hope in?
(try thinking back to childhood days.)


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 3, 2020-The 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 Bible Study

An email has gone out to the folks that have signed up that have had interest in our bible study Couples of the Old Testament. Thanks for those that have had interest in it. Be on the lookout for more opportunities and all are always welcome to join us Thursday nights over zoom for our current bible study on Parables.

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.
November 29, 2020 Worship
This week we have a special guest preacher from Gustavus College and the Continuous Growth Pathway, Rev. Laura Aase
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 not make it in let us know and we can bring it to you and drop off during the week.

If you would like to 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 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.

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

10,000 Villages Kiosk
2020 presents us with a challenging holiday shopping season. Due to the pandemic, 10,000 Villages Mountain Lake will not have the kiosk in the River Hills Mall. However, you can still support the store in Mountain Lake by ordering at and selecting the store when you view your shopping cart. 

For detailed instructions, please download this PDF
You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
Please click the link to join the webinar:
Webinar ID: 938 5793 5187
Pray Together
Lord God,

Continue to be with us this Advent season. My we find ways to help share the hope of the season to others as we serve them. We pray also for those struggling to see the hope around then that they may feel your presence and have it give them hope.
Check out this Video!
I always love including music videos at the end of these newsletters. I think it is a great way to hear something new and tell part of the story each week. I love it when folks send me some to check out too. The first one below was sent to me last week and thought it would be a great one to share with everyone as we are starting the Advent season. I've included a second one too because there is just so much good Christmas music out there that I think needs to be shared and listened to.

If you see a great video out there be sure to send it my way and I can include it in future newsletters.

Hallelujah by Carrie Underwood and John Legend
Little Drummer Boy by For King and Country
Current Finances
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.