Staying Connected
Hi Folks!
Well who is sick of talking about how cold it is? I know I am... Well I am going to talk about it one more time. Then hopefully we will be starting a new trend of it getting warmer and we can start really thinking about the things we want to do when it is warm out.
This morning was much like most mornings. 5:15 wakeup call from the dog. I knew it was going to be a cold one but that shock of cold air rushing in when sliding the patio door open to let the dog out is never the most pleasant thing. Even the dog knows it's unpleasant judging by the speed of her trip out and back in. Watching the weather report on the news this morning I saw by the end of the week the temperatures will be climbing. My wife Betsy is always early going to work. She is like me she likes to get up and get going... unless she gets the chance to sleep in. When she was leaving, she asked if I thought we should start the other car just to make sure things are working good. I was not going to leave for another 45 minutes and thought "ahhh it should be fine." Well 35 minutes later I went out to warm it up and sure enough it did not start. Waiting until the sun came up more tried it again. Nothing. One more time and I was going to have to see if Betsy would run home quick and help me out. Still nothing. Betsy ran home and after a few times googling to find where to hook up the jumper cables from the Prius to help get my car started we finally got it going. Hurrah. I came into church, Betsy went back to work but the business was not done. Later this morning I ran back home picked up my youngest and ran her to Monroe than back to the house to pick the next kid. Waited for her for a little bit and then up the hill to Dakota Meadows but was too early there. Ran to Kwik Trip for a coffee and ran to Walgreens but still to early to drop her off so I sat in the parking lot contemplating the best way to try to embarrass her while there. I did not do anything I decided to be nice to the almost 14 year old. Then back to church where I am trying to get this written up and out yet this morning.
I tell you all this for two reasons. 1) When your wife suggests we make sure the car is going to start before she leaves for work you should do that. Saves having to tell everyone that she was right and you were wrong. 2) It really made me thing how lucky I am. Lucky that I do have a car that can get me from point a to b and then to c and d and e and f. When it is this cold, it helps you to forget about so much of that discomfort. Many people do not have that privilege. That do not have a warm way to get from point a to b. They do not have access to a car that is going to start or if not able to start to be able to find a way to get it started easily. Many people do not have the ability to just pop into the gas station for a warm cup of coffee. I remembered helping serve last night at connections shelter as the guest there came in from the cold where they may have spent much of the day. So often we complain about things or at least I do and there are far worse things happening that we should be praying for and trying to do something about.
Warmer weather is on the way but my prayer today is that I continue to accept the ways God is warming my heart and that through that's warmth and love I'm able to share that with others around me.
Have a great week and stay warm.


Minnesota Doxology

Thought this was pretty good and had to share
Ash Wednesday &
Lent at Grace
This week it is already time for our Ash Wednesday Service. We are planning to hold service in person here at Grace and will be available live through Facebook and YouTube. We are still working though what this service will look like but it will kick off our season of lent. We will also be holding lent worships the following five Wednesdays here at Grace. A theme is being worked out now and we will have more information about that coming out soon. Unfortunately, this year we will not be able to gather around the table for our great potluck dinners.
Lenten worships will be 6:00 Wednesday Evenings in person and livestreamed on Facebook. Worships will also be available on YouTube and be available on your website for viewing later.
As we begin our Lenten journey this week we can take time to really focus on the world around us. Below is a great activity for families to do together. Print out the picture below and hang it on your fridge. Each day during lent there is something you can do as a family. This map has a focus on times of fasting, prayer and giving as we follow our way together to the cross.
Toilet Paper Needed
For Connections

Our stack is growing. Continue to bring some toilet paper. We've got dreams of building a toilet paper igloo out of the packages.
Connections is in need of another donation item that I think our Grace family will be able to help them out. In talking with Jason Glaser, they could use toilet paper donations. We have started a pile of it in the narthex here at Grace and we would love to see how large we could make it. With the great success, we had with the quarter drive and the continued commitment with service meals at connection I know we can gather a lot of toilet paper to donate. Stop in any time and add to the pile started in the narthex. After some time we will get it delivered to the shelter.
Looking Ahead in 2021
Start marking your calendar. We're moving full speed ahead with things and we're excited to announce some opportunities for fellowship, leaning and service this next year. We are optimistic that life will return to a more normal form and these events will be able to move forward how we hope.
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
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.
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.

February/March Confirmation Schedule
  • February 17th - No Confirmation/Ash Wednesday
  • February 24th - Meet with Mentors
  • March 3rd - Meet with Mentors
  • March 10th - Meet with Mentors
  • March 17th - Meet with Mentors
  • March 24th - Meet with Mentors
  • March 31st - No Confirmation. Holy Week.
High School
We are still evaluating the best way to meet together with High School youth group. We continue to suspend any in person gatherings with the youth looking out for the wellbeing of them and others. We are anxious for the time we can gather together once again. Notifications will be sent out as soon as we can start meeting again.
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
Thursday February 18th, 2021

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 are trying something a little different this week. We will be doing a study based off of a teaching video by Mike Donehey. We be looking at control and asking the questions does God need us or does God just wants us. We'll be reading 2 Corinthians Chapter 4 and having some discussion on how that relates. I'm excited to have some discussion with folks as we also look into a new study to do as a group going forward.


Thursday Bible Study

Zoom Meeting ID 857 5766 8823

Time 8:00 pm Thursday
Every week will have the same meeting ID
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

February 14th 2021 Worship
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
We still have Fair Trade coffee and other items 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.
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.
You can check out the latest Newsletter for CADA by Clicking HERE
Pray Together
Lord God,

We pray for those that are cold they they may find physical warmth during the frigid days. That that they can find safety. We also pray that you continue to warm the hearts of all those world that they my find joy in You.
Check out this Video!
Control by Tenth Avenue North
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.
Need Help w/ Zoom?
Zoom is a great tool for connecting with family or our Thursday night bible study here with Grace. 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.
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.