We don't change the message. The message changes us.
The Gifts of Strangers
Co-Pastor Arthur Murray
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, Magi from the East came to Jerusalem….11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1,11)

From our earliest moments of consciousness, we are trained not to accept the gifts of strangers. You don’t know them. They aren’t to be trusted. They may have ulterior motives.

Yet, in these Christmas days leading up to Epiphany, our tradition invites us to reflect on the beauty of gifts offered by powerful strangers to a vulnerable baby. How risky was it for Mary and Joseph to allow these strangers access to their nuclear family? How unexpected must it have been to welcome these Wise Ones who had traveled a great distance “from the East?”

There is a vulnerability that is inherent and necessary in allowing Christ to come to us through the unexpected gifts of others. Our culture places high value on self-sufficiency and self-defense, so the message of the gospel that Christ comes to us through others, including through strangers, can be difficult to accept at times. Often, we fall back on the cliché “better the evil (or the good) we know” than open ourselves up to a new message, or a new messenger.

As we live through significant transition in our church, as well as in our world, my prayer for us this Epiphany is that we may be open individually and collectively to the gifts of strangers. God is doing a new thing. There is more to our reality than we can see. Travelers are already on their way to us. How will we receive them?

My prayers are with you as the light of Christ shines ever more brightly in and through the Transfiguration community of faith.

Pastor Arthur

Epiphany Star
Epiphany at TLC
Join your community at TLC during the season of Epiphany to experience the transforming love that is REVEALED in the light and life of Jesus.
 
The LIGHT REVEALS the promise of God in the most unlikely places. 
The LIGHT REVEALS a world in need of people living in response to God’s promise. 
The LIGHT REVEALS the dark corners where inequity is hidden.
The LIGHT REVEALS the divine nature of Christ born within us.
Here are many opportunities to live in the light in the new year:
 
Worship Highlights: 
 
Sunday, January 3
“Epiphany Sunday” and the Second Sunday of Christmas
Even though the Day of Epiphany is January 6, at TLC we often celebrate the coming of the Magi on the Sunday nearest that date, so enjoy this thematically mixed service! TLC Youth will lead parts of the service, and Pete Erickson will share the Message.
 
Sunday, January 10
The Baptism of Our Lord: The LIGHT REVEALS the divinely, fleshly nature of Christ born within us – animating our spirit to live out our baptismal promises.
 
Sunday, January 17
Racial Justice Sunday and Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembrance: The LIGHT REVEALS the dark corners where racial inequity hides. We will hear a special solo by Agnes Nushann and a Spoken Word by Stephen Nushann. Pastor Janice Gonoe from Liberia will share the message.
 
Sunday, January 24
Welcome Pastor Eva Sunday: The LIGHT REVEALS the promise of God in the most unlikely of places. Our Interim Co-Pastor, Eva Jensen, will preach the word for us for the first time. 
 
Sunday, January 30 
Annual Meeting Sunday: The LIGHT REVEALS a world in need of people living in response to God’s promise. Co-Pastor Arthur will preach and preside at this service that precedes our TLC Annual Meeting at 11:00am on Zoom.
Live-Stream Viewer Data
Last Sunday, December 27, 2020
290+ total YouTube Viewers
145 Media Devices Linked
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December 24
TLC CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES

106    2:00pm Family Nativity Program
 
186    3:30pm Candlelight Service
 
238    5:00pm Candlelight Service
 
68       7:00pm Family Nativity Program
 
158    9:00pm Candlelight Service
 
104    11:00pm Candlelight Service
Epiphany Party – January 6th from 6:00-7:00pm
We invite you to celebrate the end of the 12 Days of (Covid) Christmas!
Here’s a link to the fun! Bring your star cookies/treats and join us for an Epiphany Party as we head into the church’s next season. There will be stories, songs, and Epiphany Bingo!

ZOOM.com
Meeting ID: 814 1881 2863
We're playing Epiphany BINGO!
Please print your Bingo cards before the party so you’re all ready to play.
TLC is collecting VEAP Birthday Bags in Epiphany.
Drop off at TLC by this coming Friday, January 8th!
One mission expression during Epiphany that goes with our Epiphany Party Celebration (above) is the collecting of “Birthday Bags” for families in need. Download the pdf of the Birthday Bag Program details here. It includes the list of celebration stuff that goes in a Birthday Bag. You need to drop off your bags at TLC by this coming Friday, January 8
Back Issues of the TLC Weekly
including this issue (Today!)
[CLICK HERE] to visit the TLC web page where you can select and view over 36 months of the TLC Weekly e-newsletter. This is also a great way to share TLC Weekly with those that don't receive it in email. Tell them to visit tlcmn.com/tlcweekly
Minnesota Seniors is an amazing, FREE resource service for seniors as well as family caregivers who have questions and need answers. There is a wealth of information and help -- too numerous to list. [Click Here] and see for yourself.
It's something to do and you don't need to wear a mask while browsing.
A NAME THAT STILL SOUNDS GOOD!
When the year 2020 arrived and no one had any idea how it would pan out, I said,  '20-20; doesn't that indicate good eyesight?' It just seemed like good omen. Everyone needs to see well, hopefully going one step further to say 'We need to know what's going on when we see trouble ahead.'

Did we see trouble ahead? Sometimes we don't want to know how bad a virus or something can be, and so the “good omen” turned into finally asking scientists what we should do.... Did we do as they asked? You'd have thought we'd been asked to do something illegal, not just wear a mask in public places and avoid large crowds of even family members.  It turned into a political “no no” to wear a mask. We watched, horrified, to see theaters close, schools shut down, athletic teams which had almost half their players test positive for the virus, parents trying to teach their little ones at home using methods they didn't understand. Restaurants did not have outdoor seating and finally some of the best ones decided to close instead of moving all the indoor tables and booths around. There are way too many examples to list them all. I know that little kids probably don't listen to Mom as much as they would their beloved teacher, so there go the good grades.

This Friday is New Year's Day. 2020 is gone; let's gather up some mistletoe to kiss it goodbye! If those who have lost businesses, live concerts, movies in a theater, church services in beautiful sanctuaries, and jobs can't be found to pay the rent, we hope the stimulus money from the government will help. There is so much depression from all the negatives---Did the Nashville bomber decide he'd had enough? The paper this morning showed a sweet older couple who both got the virus and died within hours of each other, holding hands.

Our only real help may be the vaccine, but some places are not receiving the amount they should. Being a very old Bird Lady, I can relate to being in the age level that's not safe at all. Nursing homes are prime fodder for illnesses like this, and lots of hospitals don't have enough beds or nurses, or whatever may be needed.  In New York we watched neighborhoods applauding the nurses who had been working so hard every day with not much rest.  People recognize how important it is to have enough help at times like these.

I see that Dr. Fauci will be part of the Biden administration. He was always so good to explain what was going on and what everyone needed to do, so this is a wise move. We even saw him getting his vaccination!  If ever we needed to do the right thing, now is the time. Let 2020 go and pray that 2021 will give us the stamina to social distance always, wear our mask if we go out in public, wash hands even when you don't think you need to, help your young children to finally get back into the classrooms with their teachers, and try ordering take-out to give the restaurants a boost.  We recently had our family Christmas... only four of us this time, and ordered take-out, which was really so easy.  We did the same for Thanksgiving --- no one had to go to any trouble, except for one thing...Where are the left-overs?

Stay well now, and be aware that this virus has weird symptoms that can come back when you aren't looking.  We want to start the New Year right!   Jesus came when we were not quite ready, but He didn't care if we were ready or not... Always happens!

-Bloomington Bird Lady
Pastor Al Dungan
Why was the Bible Written?
People from every culture in every time have their creation stories. The Hebrews, who lived in ancient Israel, were no exception. Like many ancient cultures that had no written capability, they told stories about who they were and where they came from; and these stories were passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. It was called “oral tradition”.

Probably in the 5th or 6th century before the birth of Jesus, a group of men who now had a written language saw the importance of drawing these origin stories together so that the stories wouldn’t be lost.

 That group who pulled together this group of stories from the Hebrew tradition, made a radical and incredible statement at the very outset of this writing when they exclaimed: “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth had no form or shape and was shrouded in the darkness that ruled the primordial waters which were a bottomless and swirling maelstrom.”

“Then God said, ‘Let there be light…and God said…and God said…” until all of creation had come to pass.

This God did something that none of the other gods of the Near East, as well as, all other cultures of the world were not able to do with their creation stories. This God simply “said the word” and it happened. This God didn’t need any “stuff” to create the world and all that lived in it. This God had power that none of the other gods had. And that power was “The Word.”

At the same time, and you must remember that Israel was a tiny nation but who had a BIG GOD, was also making a profound political statement to the nations around them.

“You may be bigger than us with more powerful armies than we have. And you may be able to overrun us and conquer us and place us in subjection, but our God will ultimately come out as the victor in the end.”

And you know what? That’s just exactly what happened!

And further, our God is a God who brings order out of chaos unlike your gods who operate out of a chaotic format.

That, in a nutshell, is why those who wrote the first book in the Bible that we call Genesis did what they did.

Unfortunately, we who live in Western civilizations took those stories and tried to turn them into factual evidence of how the world was created, thus setting up a false dichotomy between “faith and science”.

Much too much has been said about that so I won’t go into it here.

Just know that those early oral traditionists (to coin a word) gave no thought at all to later interpretations. They were telling their story about how it all came into being and that was all that they were doing.
Hope Lives!
TLC's
Addiction Awareness Team
Update
Mission: “This ministry exists to provide a safe environment for those seeking hope and restoration from addiction and codependency.”
When gathering with family and friends for the holidays and special occasions (yes, the day will come when we gather again!) consider offering a non-alcoholic drink option. This holiday punch is especially festive because it’s loaded with fresh, colorful cranberries, pomegranate seeds and orange slices. Enjoy!
Holiday Punch
1 orange, sliced thin
1 cup fresh cranberries
½ cup pomegranate seeds
2 cups cranberry juice
2 cups orange juice
1 cup pomegranate juice (or cherry juice)
2 cups Sprite, 7-up or ginger ale
Fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish
Chill all ingredients well, combine in a large pitcher or punch bowl, add the soda just before serving, and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs. Enjoy!
Co-Pastor Eva Jensen
Interim Pastor News from the Council
The TLC Church Council is happy to announce Bishop Ann Svennungsen’s appointment of Pastor Eva Jensen as TLC’s interim co-pastor. The synod provided two great candidates for us to interview. Pastor Eva stood out as a great fit for our congregation. Her experience and talents will help to guide this congregation through a discernment process to determine our best path forward. Pastor Eva will join us starting January 16th, 2021. We expect that she will be with us through the 2021 calendar year at a minimum. Click here to read her letter to TLC.
Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) was founded in 1987 and is a Christian non-profit that provides nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children in over 70 countries throughout the world.
 
TLC has supported FMSC efforts over the last several years through benevolence giving and volunteering. FMSC offers volunteers a one-of-a-kind experience. You’ll hand-pack rice, soy, dried vegetables and a nutritionally complete blend of vitamins and minerals into bags which are then sealed, boxed, placed on pallets and shipped to our incredible partners, working hard to reach the neediest children around the world.
 
Want to get involved? Come pack with us! Watch for sign-up dates in the TLC bulletin insert, Life@TLC and the website, www.tlcmn.com in 2021 as COVID allows us to again do group packing.
 
While packing is possible, it should only be done as a family group due to the close proximity of the packers. Click here to contact the FMSC and schedule your family.
 
We pack at the Eagan site (990 Lone Oak Rd #136, Eagan, MN 55121).
Meet in TLC’s West Parking Lot a half-hour prior to start time if you want to carpool. 
 
Contact Bob Riley for more info patriley50@aol.com
January 18, 2021
Bloomington Area MLK Day Virtual Scavenger Hunt

What: Hybrid Virtual/Live Martin Luther King Day, Jr. Event
Date: January 18, 2021 (time to be determined)
Where: Around Bloomington
What: Families, Individuals, and small groups are invited to participate in a virtual scavenger hunt around the city of Bloomington to learn about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to learn how they can continue his legacy by engaging in social justice and peacemaking work. Groups will use a mobile app to engage in the scavenger hunt, and will be sent to locations, both indoor and out, where they will find clues, solve puzzles, and learn together, as well as receive the occasional warm drink and bathroom break!
THE THING ABOUT DONATING FOOD TO VEAP IS: 
it's never done!

There are always men, women and children going hungry in our neighborhood!
Please add some of these most needed items to your grocery list if you are able and deliver to VEAP:

Diapers, size 5 and 6, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, laundry detergent, shaving cream, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins. Gluten free whole grains: brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, corn meal, nuts, flours, rice crackers, (whole grain) cereals: Chex, Shredded Wheat, Kashi, etc. And-paper grocery bags.

VEAP
9600 Aldrich Avenue South, Bloomington 
Drive through, Mon-Fri 9:00am-4:30pm
952.888.9616
A great gift Pastor Grace shared with TLC was her “Hope for the Day” devotional. I for one found it very enlightening and healing during this Pandemic. I found myself looking forward to receiving and reading it daily. I so enjoyed the different writings penned by different TLC family members!
I have been asked by Pastor Arthur to keep a form of this devotional going. We have agreed to make it a weekly [e-mailed] publication called “Hope for the Week”.  If you would be willing to share an inspired devotional(s) going forward with your TLC family, please contact me at weeyin57@aol.com. I’d love to hear from you!
Blessings,
Norma R. Macdonald-Ockwig
Hello fellow TLC members! Allow me to introduce “Pathways to Justice,” a new weekly short article e-mailed every Thursday morning. Pastor Arthur has asked me to take the lead with members from the Racial Justice and RIC teams assisting with writing. We will tackle and explore -in small chunks- ideas that may be new to some of us. In doing so, we will be allowed opportunities to ask ourselves and each other how we really actively can, as Micah 6:8 states, “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.” Please feel free to let me know if there are any topics that you would like addressed and please do consider contributing your own thoughts on what it means to be on a Pathway to Justice. I look forward to hearing from you!

Shelley Smith
The Church office is staffed with Marilyn Erickson and Michelle Reber available Monday through Thursday, 9:00am - 4:00pm. You need to call ahead for an appointment, wear masks, use hand sanitizer (available at the entrance to the office) and practice social distancing during your visit.
Please call: (952) 884-2364
Committees - Ministries - Small Groups
WRITE YOUR OWN ARTICLE
FOR THE TLC WEEKLY
Thanks to the Faith, Fact and Fiction Book Club, the K3P3 group, Stephen Ministry, Welcome Diversity Team, Global Health Ministry, Coffee and Conversation, and the Nutty Knotters (TLC Quilters) for submitting photos and stories to the TLC Weekly.
Other committees, groups and ministries, we want to hear from you! Share your stories with the TLC community.

Are you meeting?
How have you adapted your meetings to keep everyone safe?
What projects are you working on?
Send a story and some photos to tlcmedia@tlcmn.com and we will share your news in the TLC Weekly. Be sure to provide names of people in your photos.
Do you ever need an extra prayer for yourself, a loved one, a world situation or a dear friend? TLC has a prayer team that is waiting to pray with and for you. Your prayer needs are sent on to the Prayer Team and kept confidential – just between you, the pray-ers, and God. If you have a prayer request, or if you would like to join the prayer team, please contact Marilyn Erickson at merickson@tlcmn.com or on the TLC website here.
ONLINE GIVING HELPS SUPPORT TLC
It’s important to know that we can depend on financial support from TLC members. Online giving is fast, secure, and reduces administrative costs, allowing more of every dollar to support the important work we are called to do. You can give anytime, anywhere to specific funds with our GivePlus Mobile app (free from the app store). You can also schedule and manage recurring donations by visiting our website and clicking on TLC ONLINE GIVING icon at the top of any page, or [Click Here] to start the process, or contact the church office.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY!
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A Reconciling in Christ Congregation
A Culture of Diversity and Inclusion
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