Pastor's Periodic Pondering  
by Pastor Josh Nelson

Whew!  What a challenging week of winter weather we've endured.  The commutes, the cold, the ice underneath the new-fallen snow, the shoveling, the wind chill.  I fell recently, my feet slipping right out from under me due to ice on my front sidewalk, but like the Bumble, I bounced back up surprisingly uninjured, and just went right on shoveling.  I think having fourteen layers on cushioned my fall nicely.  But I know others have not been quite so fortunate, as emergency rooms across the state have seen an uptick in breaks and sprains.  We Minnesotans have been hunkering down since that polar vortex came down from Canada to sting our cheeks and numb our fingers.  Aside from one warmer Sunday afternoon, we've all been dealing with a lot of winter's toughest days.  Plus we've all been jostling calendars to deal with cancellations, school closings, rescheduled meetings and missed rehearsals; not to mention having cabin fever with little ones stuck in the house!    
Photo by Nicole K_hn on Unsplash  
So let me share a little bit of happy news - if the sun won't shine and give us our vitamin D, then maybe some happy news can help.  We took a special noisy offering around the children's sermon time over the last two Sundays.  The Sunday School children added their offerings in, but many folks in the pews stepped forward to generously add to the pot.  We raised approximately $525 through this special offering, and we shared some of that right away with some family's in our wider church connections.  These are folks who, during the government shut down, were either out-of-work, or working with no salary.  We've blessed them with food and gas cards, and if another shut down happens, we'll be ready to help them some more.
That is a picture of what church can be.  As a write this pondering, I am taking a break from typing up some notes for speaking to our 9th Grade Confirmation class tonight (Wednesday) on the topic of "why belong to church?"  What good does it do; why is it important; what are the benefits of belonging to a faith group such as a church?   
Well, this special offering event can highlight one of the interesting ways a church can indeed make a difference.  Our small act of identifying some people who were hurting, then coming up with an idea to help, inviting others to participate, then seeing many children, youth, and adults pool their resources, all so we could make a difference.  A small difference, yes, but a loving, grace-filled act of kindness all the same, done in Jesus' name. Isn't that a great picture of what a healthy, active church family can do together?
By the way, the word, 'church,' is born out of the Greek term: ecclesia, which simply means, 'a gathering.'    But we don't just gather, do we?  We gather with purpose.  We gather to seek meaning together.  We gather to worship, to learn, to serve, to enjoy life and fellowship together.  And to make a difference.  I hope this pondering is a tiny shot of Vitamin D for you as we all need a little good news in between our snow-blowin' ice-scraping slush-driving toe-freezing icicle-dodging wintry days.  That last sentence actually sounds like the chorus of a great country-western song.  I'll get to work on that as soon as I finish my Confirmation lesson.
Stay safe and warm out there!  See you in church.

 ~ Pastor Josh

Tickets are on sale now for our 12th annual all-church musical,  "The Little Mermaid" . Tickets are $12 each and will be available to purchase online   . We will also have people available in the narthex each Sunday to assist with making ticket purchases.  Proceeds from the show go to support FoC summer mission trips. Contact   Leann Thompson  with questions.   
Save a life this Lenten Season! Because of the recent cold weather Memorial Blood Centers had to cancel a lot of drives - they are very low on blood! They will be here Sunday, March 17 from 8:00 - 11:30. Sign up for a time via this link and use code 4049. Or, if it's easier for you, call or email Kim to schedule (952-934-5659 ext. 11).    Let's meet our goal of at least 20 people donating! We can do it!
  Us too! Our youth are selling both to raise funds for Summer Trips! We have partnered with Heggie's Pizza and Driven Coffee (Chaska) to offer some delicious options. Stop by the table in the Narthex this Sunday and again on Feb. 17. Coffee available immediately; pizza will be delivered March 1-3. Can't make it to church but would still like more information, contact Andie Rydberg. Thank you for  supporting youth ministry trips!
Read the latest issue of the FoC  Family News  for upcoming 
events & announcements.