Staying Connected


We all at Grace hope everyone had a very blessed Easter. In case you missed any of the Holy Week or Easter Services they all can be viewed below.
Maundy Thursday
Good Friday
Easter Sunday Sunrise Service
Easter Sunday Festival Service
Easter Letter from the Bishop of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod
Regina Hassanally
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
(Matthew 28:5-10)
Dear Church,
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!
We have wound our way through the travails of another year to the resurrection joy of Easter morning. Who could have fathomed just what the journey between last Easter and this would hold?
Yet, here we are again. Another proclamation of resurrection hope in the midst of layers of pandemic life.
As we see signs that the end might be in sight, it is tempting to spend too much time looking back. I do not mean reflecting on the past year (it would serve us well to do so). I mean looking back further still, all the way back to the way things were before pandemic life began. It is tempting to look back and search for ways to reconstruct the lives we once lived. We long, perhaps, to be a people restored.
There is a difference, though, between restoration and resurrection.[1]
As followers of Jesus, we, dear friends, are a people not of restoration but resurrection. We are a people, not of rebuilding a life that once was but invited into the abundance of the new life Christ has claimed.
We seek not restoration but resurrection.
There are, indeed, pieces of our past, recent and ancient, that continue to do God’s good work in the world. But what if, instead of allowing our present and future to be shaped by the realities of life that once was, we allow the expanse of holy imagination to push wide the bounds of life as we knew it and invite us into what will yet be?
I am reminded of the women’s encounter with Jesus just after the resurrection. They fall down before him and cling to his feet as Jesus tells them to get up and go.
I’m fairly confident I would cling to Jesus’s feet, too. I would want to hold on to the one I had thought I had lost and never let go. But for the resurrection story to be told, the women must let go of reclaiming what they had known and run to tell the others of an impossible truth: Jesus is alive, and a whole new way of life has just begun.
Dear church, Jesus is alive and, in his living, a whole new way of life has just begun!
When Jesus broke free from the tomb, he was not simply restored to what he had been; he was resurrected! His new life was not just a reconstruction of the old. It was new.
What if the Spirit’s invitation in this season is not to restore us to what once was but to invite us into a new way of life? A way we might call resurrection living.
In this new life, it seems wise to take our cue from the women who were the first to encounter Jesus’s resurrection. To get up and go and tell everyone we can about what Christ has done.
This has been a long year. We are weary. Our neighbors are weary. For so many reasons, we are tired.
Into this weary exhaustion and season of prolonged grief comes the resurrection of Jesus. As followers of Jesus, we are first-hand witnesses, people who have seen and are invited to get up, go, and tell the good news. This good news is the story of a God who came into a weary world, among a broken and weary people, and offered us new life. “I have come that they may have life,” Jesus said, “and have it to the full.”[2]
It is new life offered to us, but not only us. It is resurrection life offered to God’s whole beloved world.
What miraculous joy Easter morning holds, that we would not only join in witnessing the resurrection but also in the invitation to share this good news far and wide; that we would be welcomed into resurrection living.
It is tempting to hold onto what once was, to cling to what we once knew. But the resurrected Christ longs not to simply restore us but show us the way of abundant life. “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” [3]
In the midst of our exhaustion, our weariness, our grief, what joy this Easter morning brings! We, the followers of Jesus, just like the women all those years ago, have been invited to witness the abundance of resurrection living, and in that living to get up, to go, and to tell the world Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!

With Easter joy,
Bishop Regina Hassanally
Southeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA

[1] Many thanks to Bishop Leila Ortiz, who sparked this notion within me.
[2] John 10:10 NIV
[3] Revelation 21:5 NRSV

Photos of Easter
No More Trash Bags
The Reach Drop in Center in partnership with Lutheran Social Services are seeking donations of new or very gently used suitcases or duffle bags of all sizes for children transitioning in and out of foster care. The goal is to eliminate the use of trash bags as an acceptable form of luggage.

Last month we had a great food drive for ECHO food shelf and in the past we've also had a lot of success collecting quarters for Connections shelter. We continue to want to bring month opportunities for members and friends of Grace to make donations to make a difference for those in our community.

We'll collect suitcases and duffle bags through the month of April. Donations can be dropped off in the narthex and we're excited to see the pile grow all month.
Thursday Night Zoom
Bible Study
No Bible Study This Week
We will be back Thursday April 15th

All Are Welcome!
We are starting a new Thursday night Bible study starting April 15th. It is a new time and new study so this is a great time to join in if you've been waiting. We will meet every Thursday evening at 7:00 over zoom. Most weeks will be lead by Ben but other weeks the study will be lead by another Grace member. The study is on Daily Faith Practices and the Bible Study material is provided by the ELCA. Each week we'll spend some time chatting and sharing some highlights and lowlights from our week as we fellowship. Following that we will spend time diving into a study each week. All the studies can be viewed ahead of time and can be found by clicking HERE. We will also have a few weeks of the studies shared in this weekly newsletter. So you can look ahead to help guide discussion. Each week we'll gather over zoom for about an hour.

We hope you will consider joining us for this time of bible study and fellowship. All are Welcome whether you've joined us in the past or not.

We hope yo see you soon
Upcoming Studies

Clicking on the Study will take you to a PDF copy

Thursday Bible Study

Zoom Meeting ID 857 5766 8823
Meeting Passcode: grace

Time 7:00 pm Thursday
Every week will have the same meeting ID and Passcode
Adopt a Highway
Join us Saturday April 17th at 1:00pm for our Spring 2021 highway clean up. We'll meet in the Grace parking lot before heading out to our two mile stretch on highway 83 between Mankato and St Clair. Thank you Sam Anderson for leading these efforts once again and you would like to join us you can reach out to Sam by phone at 507-382-9107 or by email at Afterwards there will be Pie, Rootbeer Floats and Ice Cream available.

A back up date is scheduled for Sunday April 18th in case of weather.
2021 Vacation Bible School
"King of Me"
June 7th - 11th
We are planning an in-person Vacation Bible School (VBS) this summer. We will be holding here at Grace the week after schools get out the week of June 9th. The theme for the week is "King of Me." We will explore some of the characters from the Old Testament and how God is bigger than some of the obstacles that were put in their way and how God is the kind of all those things. When we feel alone God is with us. This week will be full of fun worship, crafts and activities as well. This will be fully run by Grace so we will be looking for volunteers to help during the week. If you have time available or an older child at home that you want to get out of the house to help please let Ben know ( and he'd love to have some help. He will take help during the days with programing, food, childcare before and after or even planning the VBS if you are feel very adventurous.

All kids are welcomed to attend. They don't have to be a member of Grace
Children ages Kindergarten - 6th Grade are invited.
Programing will run from 8:30 - 3:00 Monday - Thursday and 8:30 - noon on Friday. Early drop off and late pick up will be available to families that need it.
Meals will be provided Monday - Thursday
Suggested Donation of $35 to cover cost of food and craft supplies

Click below to sign up.
2021 Youth Summer Service Trip
North Shore MN
June 13th - 18th
The summer of 2021 was supposed to be the next ELCA National Youth Gathering that happens every three year. That has been postponed to July of 2022 and will be in Minneapolis as planned. That means we will be doing a youth service trip this summer instead. With still some uncertainty of what that can look like we are planning this ourselves and will be traveling to the north shore based around Duluth. Service opportunities are still being worked out along with lodging but we are confident we will be able to offer a safe and fun trip for youth that have completed 7th - 12th Grade. You can register by clicking the link below. If you have any questions about this trip you can reach out to Ben at
Carlson's Pillow Cleaning Service
Grace Lutheran Church Women are Sponsoring a Pillow Cleaning

Monday May 10th
Drop-off from

Tuesday May 11th
7:30am - 3:00pm

*Cleaned *Deodorized

*Sanitized *Fluffed

Custom Made New Pillows & Down Comforters for Sale

New Ticking of your choice added. On the spot cleaning - returned same day

Crushed foam pillows can be cleaned

Polyester pillows can be recovered

You can learn more about Carlson's Pillow Cleaning Service by visiting their website
Feeding Connections
Grace is serving dinner at Connections Shelter the second and forth Sunday of every month. 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
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.
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.
March Confirmation Schedule
  • April 7th - Confirmation @ Grace 6:00
  • April 14th - Confirmation @ Grace 6:00
  • April 21st - Confirmation @ Grace 6:00
  • April 28th - Confirmation @ Grace 6:00
  • May 5th - Confirmation @ Grace 6:00
  • May 12th - Last week of Confirmation @ Grace 6:00

Locations may change
High School
Keep a look out for more opportunities for fellowship and faith opportunities for High School youth. If you have ideas for events reach out to Ben at or by phone at 507.524.3254
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
Worshiping Together Virtually
Our Facebook live stream is a great way to gather with others(although virtually)as we are all part of this assembly as we gather as the one body of Christ to chat, share a greeting of peace and worship together. A live stream of our worship is broadcasted every Sunday morning at 10:00 and is 50-60 minutes long.

If you do not have Facebook worship is will still be available on KTOE Sunday mornings at 10:00 and the rebroadcast on KTV Tuesday at 1:00 pm and again Wednesday at 7:15 pm. Past worships can also be found on YouTube and our Website. Our goal is that everyone will still have an opportunity to worship with us at Grace.

All the past worship services can be found by going to

In-Person Worship
We acknowledge that the risks of this pandemic are not over, and if you are unsure about being in the building, we encourage you to stay home and worship with us from a distance. If you enjoy worshipping from home, we encourage you to continue to do just that. We are opening our doors again but we encourage people to do what is best for your family right now. We want to offer the opportunity for everyone to connect with their faith in ways that are meaningful and meet you where you are. For now, we are glad you can be here with us, whether you are watching live on Facebook, listening on KTOE radio, following along on YouTube or KTV in Mankato. Even after we return to holding worship in our building, we will continue to provide these means of participating with us from a distance including a livestream on Facebook. 

However you participate, now and in the future, we believe you are a part of this assembly, gathered as the one body of Christ to worship and celebrate our life of faith together.
Christ in our Home
Christ In Our Home are still available here at Grace. You can stop in and pick on up anytime during church office hours.

You can access a digital copy by clicking HERE
Fair Trade Coffee
Fair Trade coffee and other items are for sale here at Grace. Current selection of products on hand here at Grace are pictured below. Items available are Coffee, Tea, Hot Cocoa Powder, Chocolate bars, backing cocoa and olive oil. Items are located near the narthex and can be bought during church office hours and Sunday mornings.
All Fair Trade/Organic Coffee - $7.00/Bag

Individual Coffee packets - 60¢ each
Makes 10-12 cups

All Tea - $3.00

Hot Cocoa - $6.00

Large Chocolate Bars - $2.50

Baking Cocoa - $6.00

Olive Oil - $13.50
Find more information about Mankato Fair Trade Products and their Mission by clicking the link below

Serving the Community

Echo Food Shelf - Echo is still 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.
Pray Together
Lord God

We Thank you for the risen Lord and the hope that Jesus can bring to the whole world has he concurred death. Not because we deserved it but he died for our sins and we thank you for that Grace.
Check out these Videos!
Because He Lives by Crowder, Johnnyswim and Tori Kelly
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  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.
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 -
Grace Lutheran Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 10:00a.m - 5:00p.m
Friday 10:00a.m - noon
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.