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The Ambassador

The Newsletter of 
St. Matthias' 
Episcopal Church 

Minocqua, Wisconsin

Whoever you are, wherever you find yourself on the journey
of faith, we welcome you.

Mark Your


Jan. 19 - 6:00 PM

3rd Thursday

Evensong & Potluck




Please remember to check the server list on the bulletin board at church (or click here to see the latest monthly schedule online).


Also, if you are going to switch dates with someone, please inform both Bill Kane and Michael Tautges at the Church Office.  Thank you!


Ambassador Archives


Want to read a recent issue of the Ambassador?  Just click on the links below.  (older archives can be found on our website)
October Ambassador
November Ambassador
December Ambassador
From the Rector

Welcome to deep winter, St. Matthias' community. As I write this we are having a nice January warm spell, the temperatures have climbed out of the negative numbers into the high 20's, snow is falling, and that lovely snowfall quiet has begun outside. Inside we are a bustle of activity. Laughter and conversation are filling the Narthex, since it's Tuesday, and visitors to the Winter Farmer's Market are popping in and out of the Parish Hall. One of my favorite vendors is here, selling handmade soaps, so the whole church smells wonderful! As one of my seminary professors used to say, "people who only know about churches from a Sunday morning perspective, are always pleasantly surprised to discover what busy places churches are during the week!"
Enough of my ramblings, on to the news of the month! I am pleased to announce that we have hired our new Music Director, ending our search with God's blessing. Please welcome George Ackerman-Behr to St. Matthias'. George will be working with us as organist and choir director, as well as chairing our special events music committee. He has a bachelor's degree in Church Music with a concentration in voice, from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and a master's degree in Liturgical Music from St. John's University, Collegeville, MN. At the same time, we celebrate a well-deserved respite for Bob and Marcia, whose sixteen years of service as our parish organists was capped by holding both organist and choir director positions this past year, while managing their tremendously busy lives. Please join me in bountiful accolades for this dynamic couple. Bob and Marcia are joyfully planning opportunities for adventure travel and looking forward to joining their combined vocal talents as members of our wonderful St. Matthias' choir. Watch for an announcement about a party we are planning for them after church in the next few weeks.
Erin +
We Always Have Lots to Celebrate at St. Matthias'

Did you know...
  • Over 200 people enjoyed our meaningful Christmas liturgies, beautiful music, and lovely decorated church.

  • Thanks to the amazing facilitating skills of Barb Kane, and the dedication and enthusiasm of all of our Vestry members, we experienced a new energy, sense of renewal, and a strong positive spirit as a result of our December retreat.

  • The Community Table continues to flourish, serving sometimes up to 120 people! Our community has found this to be a great way to socialize while enjoying a great meal ... and sometimes there are left-overs to take home!

  • We have a new choir director! Welcome, George! Read more about George in this issue of The Ambassador.
  • Many thanks to Kathy Knobel for chairing our Finance Team for the past 6+ years. Kathy is stepping down as chair ... we are so pleased she is continuing to serve on the team, as her experience, background, and energy is valued so very much!
  • Thank you Marcia and Bob! For many years, Bob and Marcia have made sure we have had an excellent organist and choir director for all of our services! Sometimes, those of us who are non-musicians can take our beautiful music, amazing choir, accomplished pianist/organist, and talented director for granted, not realizing the hours of preparation and rehearsal that is necessary for each Sunday. We are very fortunate -- and very grateful!
Watch for more reasons to celebrate next month.
If you have something to add, please let us know!
Meet St. Matthias':  George Ackerman-Behr 

George Behr was born and raised in a German family in Freeport, New York, Long Island. His mother Margarete was a nurse and his father Henry Behr a chef. They immigrated to America in 1949 to seek a better life.
George had a fondness for the pipe organ at an early age. He studied organ building under the direction a curator, at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, in Manhattan during the 80s. George went to Germany to study as an apprentice in an organ building firm, but they decided after a year that he was too old, and so he came back to the states and studied organ performance at Manhattan School of Music. After discovering that a life dedicated only to organ performance was not for him, he ventured to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and subsequently received a bachelor's degree in Church Music. Following completion of his degree, he briefly attended Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, then finished at St. John's University School of Theology and Seminary, in Collegeville, Minnesota, receiving a master's in Liturgical Music.
In 2015, George and his partner of 16 years, Glen Ackerman, were able to be married when the marriage bill was passed. In the same year, they moved to Michigan, where Glen's family resides, after living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, for seven years. Their three children, Eric, Gabbi, and Heidi, have decided to stay in Canada where they have established lives for themselves as young adults. George and Glen Ackerman-Behr currently reside in Ironwood, Michigan, where Glen works as the Director of Operations at Burton Industries. George teaches at Gogebic Community College as an adjunct professor of Music History, substitutes in the surrounding area schools, and is now happy to return to his vocation in Liturgical Music as the Music Director at St. Matthias'.
  • Color:  Sky Blue
  • Plant:  Pussy Willow, Lilacs, Edible plants
  • Food:  Homemade Vegetarian Lasagna paired with a Red Bordeaux
  • Sport to Watch:  Rugby (only because it's entertaining)
  • Sport to Play:  Kayaking
  • Game:  Various computer games
  • Play or Musical:  Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera
  • TV Show:  Anything Sci-Fi, Walking Dead, Comedy, History
  • Book:  The Mystical City of God, Organ History, Bromance novels, Dante' Inferno
  • Hobby:  Vegetable Gardening, Gathering wild edibles, Soap/Candle Making, Canning, Distillery
Would You Rather...

Be behind the scenes  |  Be front and center
Find the perfect job  |  Win the lottery
Never speak again  |  Always speak your mind
Visit 100 years in the past  |  Visit 100 years in the future
Thank You, Tom & Betty!  

In Ecclesiastes, we learn that everything in life has its time and season ... it is now time to thank Tom and Betty Nilsson for their many contributions over the past several years.
Did you know that... 
  • For many years, they grilled (outside, and often in below-zero temps!) all the steaks and chicken for our Winter Survivors Parties.
  • They initiated our annual Veterans Breakfast, and shopped, prepared, served, and cleaned up ... giving the veterans time to reminisce and share their stories.

  • Tom and Betty were the first to help with the Community Table, and have taken part in almost every one since its inception. You could always find them setting up the Parish Hall, cooking, visiting with our guests ... and of course, cleaning up afterwards!

  • They have gone to Rhinelander on several Sunday afternoons to serve the residents at Frederick Place, to include providing a picnic of grilled hamburgers, brats, hot dogs and all that goes with it.

  • They organized and found community volunteers to make the fun day possible at Winter Park for the entire Providence St. Mel Choir ... a most memorable experience for all the kids!

  • And ... in their spare time, they have also found the energy to usher, greet, take part in the Altar Guild, sing in the choir, act as scribe for our Pastoral Care Team ... and be wonderful friends to all of us.
Many, many thanks to you both!
Parish Updates

Departed this Life
We are saddened to pass along the news of the recent death of Nancy Hackworthy, a long-time parishioner, supporter, and true friend of St. Matthias'. Although Bob and Nancy haven't lived here in several years, we always looked forward to seeing their family at the early Christmas service. In her later years, Nancy was always interested in St. Matthias' and kept current on our news. A memorial service will be held for Nancy at St. Matthias' on Saturday, February 4, at 11:00 AM. 
Winter Safety:  Tips for Slip and Fall Prevention 

Each year we post this reminder regarding winter safety. At St. Matthias' we don't have full time staff to shovel and salt on a 24-hour basis. If you see a problem, we have a bucket of salt and a shovel by each door at church. Please help when you can! (We all need to look out for each other.)

The following suggestions may help keep you safe from falls.
  • Walk slowly and carefully on icy or snowy walkways. Take short, deliberate steps in which the midfoot strikes the ground first, not the heel.
  • Be aware that black ice can look like wet pavement.
  • Be especially cautious when new snow may have hidden icy patches beneath it.
  • Make sure footwear has good treads and is appropriate for cold or wet weather. (Plastic, leather, and rubber shoes are not safe.)
  • Avoid walking with your hands in your pockets; keep hands free for balance.
  • When possible, avoid carrying large amounts of materials.
  • Place your full attention on walking. Digging in your pocketbook or backpack or using cell phones or other devices while walking is dangerous.
  • Be aware of changes in friction on walking surfaces (for example walking from snow to ice, from curb to road, or from inside to outside).
  • Test potentially slick areas by tapping your foot on them. Watch out for slippery parking lots, roadways, or sidewalks when stepping out of a vehicle.
  • When getting out of your vehicle, look down at the surface. If it's coated with ice you might want to park in a different place.
  • When entering buildings or homes, be aware that immediate entrances and stairs may be slippery from melted ice or snow.
  • Remove the snow from the soles of your footwear as you enter a building or vehicle.
  • If you have to walk through an icy car park or driveway, try to find a firm arm to lean on. Nearly everyone is happy to help a person move along a slippery walkway. All you have to do is ask.
  • Bring a mobile phone when you go out of the house. If you fall, it could sometimes be hard to get up.
  • If you have railings going up to your front door, make sure that they are sturdy. They should be able to support you in case you slip.
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