Bishop’s Annual Report for 2021 - Ann Svennungsen

God’s grace, peace, and hope be with you through our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

I begin by sharing my profound gratitude to you ‚Äď for your faithfulness, perseverance, and compassion revealed in countless ways during this global pandemic, now nearing the start of its third year.

As I reflect on the ministry of our synod in 2021, I am surprised to discover a number of ‚Äúfirsts‚ÄĚ ‚Äď something I did not expect in a pandemic year. In 2021:

  • We received an unprecedented $285,000 gift to provide educational debt relief to synod rostered leaders who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Currently, 12 percent of rostered leaders serving synod congregations are BIPOC, a sign of growth which will be strengthened by this gift.
  • With our first ever million-dollar grant from the Lilly Endowment, we called Nick Tangen and Maya Bryant to lead our Faith and Neighboring Practices program, currently working with 13 congregations.
  • In October, we set a goal to raise $500,000 in three months to partner with our global companion synod in launching the first ever Lutheran University in Nigeria. As of this writing, we have $298,000 in gifts, $56,000 in pledges, and are awaiting word about a significant gift from the ELCA World Hunger Program!
  • We rejoiced with Alleluia! Lutheran Church in St. Michael as they dedicated their brand-new church building. We have celebrated many remodeling projects in our synod, this was the first completely new structure built in more than ten years.
  • We welcomed Holy Cross Lutheran Church, originally a Missouri Synod congregation, into the synod.
  • Led by VP Felecia Boone and Eric Howard, a task force has been working to apply a racial equity lens to the way our synod distributes funds and utilizes resources.
  • We helped launch the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement (CLNE) led by Rev. Kelly Chatman. CLNE convened a virtual prayer tent for 77 straight days during the trial of Derek Chauvin. Now, they host ‚ÄúCome Together,‚ÄĚ a virtual conversation on the third Thursday evening of each month.
  • We held our first Zoom Synod Assembly with speakers Dr. Drew Hart and Michael Osterholm; offered our first online Tool Kit (to be expanded in 2022); and provided four online worship services to provide respite and build unity across the synod.
  • Listening to the weariness of our rostered leaders, we cancelled Bishop‚Äôs Theological Conference for the first time and organized the whole staff in a caring process for our leaders, ‚ÄúTending Weary Souls.‚ÄĚ
  • We are preparing to host the ELCA Youth Gathering ‚Äď the first ever held in Minneapolis, July 21-28, 2022.

Though a list of ‚Äúfirsts‚ÄĚ can make for an interesting annual report, the ministries that continue day-in and day-out are the work that sustains. We are blessed with over 675 rostered leaders, 307 serving in calls and 370 retired or without call. In 2021, we supported 57 persons preparing to become deacons or pastors.¬†We work hard so the church has the loving, faithful, and theologically well-formed ministers it needs.

Our monthly conference meetings and other synod gatherings continue to reveal a real hunger for leaders to stay connected and discern best practices for ministry in these times. We are honored and humbled by our calling to serve as convener of such holy conversations.  

It is the generosity of congregations like yours that make the synod’s work possible. Thank you! We seek to be careful stewards of every gift.

A year of firsts. More importantly, we gather around the unique, first-ever, Word made flesh ‚Äď the Christmas miracle of God becoming human for us and our salvation. And even more, this Word made flesh abides with us ‚Äď through all our firsts and lasts and everything in between.

With a grateful heart,

Bishop Ann Svennungsen

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While¬†we had¬†hoped that in¬†2021¬†that¬†we would fully¬†emerge from the pandemic, this year we learned how COVID-19 will¬†be a part of our¬†new¬†reality.¬†There is deep pain in the hearts of many in our community, as well as anxiety, discouragement, and sometimes even despair. All of this is understandable given the stressors of daily life.¬†The deaths of loved ones, ongoing¬†personal struggles,¬†worry about how our church will¬†fair¬†in the long haul,¬†anxiety about how our children will cope‚ÄĒall these are concerns¬†we have heard from the congregation. We honor¬†these concerns,¬†and¬†we¬†hope to¬†help one another be present and open to these¬†heartaches.¬†

Still,¬†while hold the depth of the hurt,¬†we¬†also¬†give thanks¬†for the ways the gospel was shared¬†through¬†the mutual conversation and consolation of the saints‚ÄĒSunday worship in person and online,¬†House Churches, the Racial Justice Journey,¬†an outdoor Advent festival with barn animals,¬†a successful annual giving campaign,¬†and more.¬†Even¬†amid the upheaval and disruption of this year, we have seen signs of God‚Äôs faithfulness.

Here is¬†a sampling of entries from our calendars to give you a sense¬†of¬†how¬†ministry¬†unfolded in these unprecedented times‚ÄĒboth in our personal lives and in the life of this congregation.

Anna -- Wednesday, January 18-20: Cabinets are painted

My family stayed at my parents’ townhome for a few days while the cabinets were painted for our kitchen renovation. This made for some interesting work environments, including my parents’ closet where I worked to hide from my preschooler Berney.

Jeff -- Sunday, February 28: Guest Preach in Empty Church

Served as guest preacher at Transfiguration Lutheran Church in Bloomington to an empty sanctuary for a special Reconciling in Christ worship that was shared online. 

Anna -- Wednesday, March 31: Record with Anders

Met by Zoom with Anders Dolmar to record jokes for our first ‚ÄúHoly Hilarity Sunday‚ÄĚ on the Sunday after Easter. This service included a blooper reel of our best and most memorable¬†outtakes from our pandemic recordings.

Jeff and Anna¬†‚ÄstFriday, April 2: Good Friday Service on Zoom by Illustrated Ministries

Both pastors receive several emails from members who loved the interactive Good Friday service on Zoom. 

Jeff and Anna -- Monday, May 10: Pastor Anna’s parental leave begins

A summer preaching series helped¬†ease the load.¬†‚ÄúECLC Past, Present, and Future,‚Ä̬†brought back former pastors, current clergy members, and our two seminarians.¬†

Jeff -- Sundays in June and July brought baptisms in backyards, parking lot, and finally, the Sanctuary! 

Brooks Ruff, Amelia Maydole, Frances Helgen, and Ruby Joy Atkinson’s baptisms were held outside at their homes, in the church parking lot, and with a small group in the sanctuary! 

Jeff -- Sunday, August 28, 30th Ordination Anniversary!

What a joy to celebrate a special day with a worshipping community in the upper west parking lot with a lovely reception following with beautiful cake. A visit from the bishop and thoughtful words with gifts from the congregation made this day a bright spot in a difficult year. 

Anna and Jeff -- Sunday, September 5: Season of Creation begins 

Our first outdoor season of creation begins. Children wave rainbow wands and all the sounds of creation join in praising God!

Jeff ‚ÄstSaturday, November 5: WALGREENS 10:30 A.M.

Time to get boosted against COVID19

Anna and Jeff -- Wednesdays in December and January; Holden Evening prayer in the Parking Lot.

Who would have dreamed we would be gathering outdoors for worship in December and January? 

Throughout the Annual Report you will see signs that our church is surviving the pandemic, and our community is continuing to make our way. Still, we invite your heartfelt prayers that we will continue to thrive in doing justice, in worshipping faithfully (online and in person) and we will find strength and comfort as we give witness to love and justice at God’s welcome table and in the world. 

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Viktor Frankl (Holocaust survivor and author) learned and taught that even in the most horrendous of circumstances, people possess the ability to choose how they will respond to what is happening to them. Frankl never suggests that this is easy, but he does state that being fully human requires us to choose that which preserves, honors, and expresses the essence of our humanity.

Members and staff of Edina Community Lutheran Church faced several hard choices during this past year. The choices we have made as a community reveal the faith, hope and trust underlying our choices. We have leaned on each other to make choices together. I will name five such instances.

  • It would have been easy to view the logistics of regathering during the ever-changing pandemic landscape as an ‚Äúimpossible to please everyone‚ÄĚ situation. You could have chosen‚ÄĒcynically and/or simplistically‚ÄĒto throw caution to the wind or, conversely, to embrace avoidance of any risk. Instead, you chose to carefully and methodically discuss, assess, plot, plan, review, and revise options for gathering that you discerned had the best chance of being inclusive, safe, and welcoming. This choice was fraught with challenging and sometimes heated conversations, and required patience, trust and respect for every voice and opinion. Yet, this was your choice, and our variety of gatherings and gathering options is the result. I also think this has increased our capacity to have and work our way through hard conversations with one another.
     
  • You could have chosen to feel like victims of the confinement and limitations imposed by the pandemic. (When Catherine and I do this (as we all do sometimes), we call it ‚Äúhaving a pity-party.‚ÄĚ)¬† Instead, you chose to dedicate yourselves to a 5-month Racial Justice Journey and its ongoing commitments. In so doing, you chose to contemplate who might truly be victims in/of our society. This choice demanded soul searching, honesty and a willingness to be vulnerable with one another. Yet, this was your choice, and our greater justice awareness and commitments are the result.
     
  • You could have chosen to believe that reimagining our church‚Äôs future during a pandemic was surely something no one had the energy to do. Instead, you chose to participate in ‚ÄúListening Posts‚ÄĚ and engage in thoughtful conversation aimed at naming our church‚Äôs top priorities for ministry in the next 3-5 years. This choice required you to articulate your dreams for ECLC and wonder how to balance the nurture of our community with the nurture of those beyond it. Yet, this was your choice, and our Strategic Plan is the result.
     
  • Similarly, you could have viewed the partnership with the Lake Harriet Christian Childcare Center (LHCCC) as a wonderful thing to do, but too complicated and inconvenient. Instead, you chose to work diligently with the LHCCC staff, provide nuanced feedback about logistics, and give support to this group which meets a vital need in our community/world. As a result of your choice, this daycare will soon begin serving families in our building.¬†
     
  • Lastly, you could easily have received news of our church‚Äôs financial concerns with apathy or boredom. For many, financial matters do NOT generate excitement or enthusiasm. Instead, you dug down into the details, looked at our financial health (short and long-term), discerned best options to address these concerns, and began to act on these options. As a result, ECLC‚Äôs mortgage debt has been restructured, a Legacy Investment Fund is being created, and a Capital Campaign is being seriously explored.

Wise Professor Dumbledore was once asked by Harry Potter, ‚ÄúWhat makes me different from Lord Voldemort?‚Ä̬† Dumbledore replies, ‚ÄúThe difference, Harry, is in the choices you make.‚Ä̬† We at ECLC primarily locate ourselves within the Christian story of Jesus‚Äô love for us and for ‚Äúthe least of these.‚Ä̬† Yet, many stories call us to be mindful of the choices we make and the impact they might have‚ÄĒimmediately and into the future.¬†

The choices you have made this year speak to the years of nurture that God, pastors, and individuals have given to our community. They speak to the fruits of this nurture: courage, respect, trust, humor, generosity, and faith. These are the qualities of ECLC members, of our staff and of our faith community that I cherish and value. It has been an honor serving as your President this past year and I am most grateful for your support and participation in our church’s ministries. 

I also offer my praise and thanks to our wonderfully caring and skilled staff. It has been a joy collaborating with them in imagining and doing the ministry that God has called us to do. May God continue to bless our community as richly as God has done during this past year. 

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Secretary - Kathy Krypel

The council continued to meet virtually through 2021 and, as secretary, I was privileged to record the Council of Ministers decisions and actions throughout the year.

So much of our work as a council touched on the pandemic and I am grateful for the ongoing and tireless work of ECLC staff and their continued creative thinking about how to gather safely as a beloved community.

Thank you to my colleagues on the council, it continues to be an honor to serve with you.

Here are some notable discussion and decision points from the 2021 ECLC Council of Ministers:

  • Accepted the strategic plan as what we will use to guide our mission and ministry over the next three years.

Under the strategic plan pillar Post Covid Return:

  • Empowered a Pandemic task force to evaluate the pandemic environment and to provide advice/counsel and decision-making related to pandemic
  • Empowered a strategic planning group to collaborate with staff to put together a plan for summer programming and for shifting to an in person worship this Fall

Under the strategic plan pillar Justice:

  • Endorsed the Position Paper of the Minnesota State Sanctuary State Coalition and became a Coalition member
  • The racial justice team hired two consultants who led the congregation through two phases of anti-racism curriculum

Under the strategic pillar Capacity and Financial Vitality:

  • Began the process of seeking congregational approval for a capital campaign and appointed Kathy Magnus and Loren Hansen as co-chairs
  • Formed a committee for the Legacy Investment Fund

Under the strategic pillar Relationships: 

  • Completed building improvements to include a Smart Room to allow for meetings that can have both in person and online participants
  • Began live streaming services
  • Implemented Church Unite 360 as a new way to access the congregational directory, calendar, etc.
  • Collaborated with congregation to endorse beginning a relationship with Lake Harriet Christian Child Care

Under the strategic pillar Spirituality: 

  • Continued scatter garden design and purchased construction documents
  • Completed highly successful first year of ‚ÄėHouse Church‚Äô and started anew

Treasurer - Larissa Nelson

Thank you for all your generous gifts this year! 2021 was another challenging year with many changes in our church and worship options, but we maintained new ways to be in outdoor, in-person, and live stream worship.

We continue to have robust pledge fulfillment of about 98%. This commitment allows us to continue our mission giving and support our staff, even during the challenges of this pandemic.

Kienan applied for ERC (employee retention credits) which is another Federal government COVID stimulus program. To date, ECLC has received about $35,000, and we expect to receive another $92,000 this year. The ERC is in addition to the stimulus we received in 2020, when we received a PPP loan (Paycheck Protection Program) of $129,100 that was fully forgiven in November of 2020. This money has been greatly appreciated to maintain salaries and has contributed towards surpluses we realized in 2020 and 2021. The surpluses have been instrumental in balancing the budget for 2022 with roughly $50k used, and the projected budget for 2023 with roughly $40k used. Without it, we would have a cumulative $90k operating deficit for 2022-2023.

Our mission giving continues to be robust, as we continue with our commitment of 10% of our contributed income given to our partners.

As we enter 2022, we are discussing a third capital campaign to address our mortgage payments, which total about $190,000 each year. In January 2022 we have been approved to re-amortize both loans to ease our monthly payments and to help with cash flow. We are excited about the opportunities we will have to support our current mission partners and expand our ministry and programming when the mortgages are paid off. 

I continue to be amazed by the generosity of our members, even amid a worldwide pandemic. 

I am wrapping up my term in February 2022. Thank you for allowing me to be part of the ECLC Executive committee and church council. My knowledge around church functions has increased dramatically during this time, and I am even more grateful to our financial leaders, including Kienan, the finance committee, and our pastors. 

Kienan Mick

Greetings! As disruptive as the COVID pandemic has been to daily lives and work, I have been continually blessed to be a part of the ECLC congregation and witness the love and care that we show to each other and share with our community. 2021 was my first full year on staff and I believe extremely productive and exciting, with new relationships and possibilities on the horizon.

Here is a summary of highlight events for the year:

Operations 

  • LED bulbs installed in Fellowship Hall. They will use ~10% of the energy used by the old bulbs.
  • New lounge area in the lower concourse that provides a comfortable gathering space for small to medium sized groups. Thanks, Zach, for helping with this!
  • Our kitchen was inspected and licensed to serve as a MOW meal re-heating site. We are so happy to help with hunger needs in this manner.
  • The Creekside Room has been outfitted as technology room designed to facilitate hybrid meetings via Zoom. We have state of the art equipment with new screens, microphones, and a camera.
  • The Sanctuary was outfitted with live-stream equipment. Now members can be a part of worship remotely even as it takes place in real time. A big thanks to Todd and Claire Harper for identifying the equipment and installing it!

Administrative

  • One of the biggest events is the partnership we are forming with Lake Harriet Child Care Center (LHCCC). We are still working through some building modifications that are required by code but anticipate a mid-spring move-in date. If the pandemic allows, we hope to have some events for our two unique communities to meet.
  • We introduced the new website, directory, and online calendar over the summer. If you have not signed up for an account yet, reach out to me to find out how. Thanks to Paul for all of his help setting up the new website and his ongoing volunteer efforts towards its maintenance!
  • I revamped the general ledger, streamlining account codes, cleaning up unused accounts, and overall making it more compatible for reporting.
  • I found time for some professional development and became a certified non-profit accounting professional (CNAP) and attended a leadership seminar through the Church Network.

Finance 

  • We are in the process of developing a legacy gift program. Thanks to John Byom and Eileen Supple for chairing the committee. In addition, we formed an Investment Committee to oversee the legacy gift portfolio.
  • We reapplied for a line of credit with North American Banking Company and were approved for $50k.
  • We asked Thrivent Financial to reamoritize our existing mortgage debt in an effort to reduce our mortgage expense and ease pressure on the operating budget. They agreed to this, and our new payment starts February of 2022. The annual impact will be about $40k.
  • In March of 2021 I learned that we could also apply for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) even if we had previously applied for and received a PPP loan. We worked with our audit firm, CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) to calculate our expected refund and applied for approximately $127k in total. To date, $35k has been received and we expect the balance in 2022.
  • I conducted a series of finance forums with the intention of sharing the current state of church finances with the congregation. Thank you to all who attended and for your great questions and conversation!
  • As many of you know, we are in the process of exploring a capital campaign to complete our building project and pay off existing debt. Throughout the year I have been involved with eh process with numerous meetings, RFPs and hiring a great consultant for the project.

We finished 2021 on a high note with a surplus driven by a planned $10k surplus (adopted in the budget at last year’s Annual Meeting), a non-member giver who gave almost $50k, and the unbudgeted ERC credit of $35k. In total, this surplus will help pay for the 2022 deficit budget and go significantly towards the projected 2023 deficit budget. I continue to be grateful for the support and generosity of this congregation and look forward to new highlights in 2022!


Lauren Morse-Wendt

021 continued to be a year of creativity, pivoting, and innovation.  As we imagined and reimagined again how to be Church together in a pandemic, we sought to nourish our spirituality, while building relationships and living out God’s call for justice for all. I am proud of the myriad of ways we have creatively done that together, including: 

  • House Churches continuing for a second year with over 50 households gathering¬† monthly
  • Outdoor justice connections, such as: cleaning up our adopted Wooddale Park, health kits for LWR, letter writing and winter outerwear drive for MN Freedom Fund, climate justice drawings with MNIPL, collecting CES‚Äô most-needed items at our Holy Week Table.
  • Honoring our loved ones who have died through our Remembrance Tree this Christmas
  • Monthly anti-racism vigils and selling Black Lives Matter signs weekly, bearing witness in our immediate neighborhood
  • Training Livestream volunteers to help ECLCers fully worship from home or wherever they are
  • Parking lot connections including worship, an ice cream social, and LGBT & Friends gatherings
  • Protesting alongside indigenous leaders and marching to the creek in solidarity to Stop Line 3
  • Creating the new Indigenous Rights Committee, committing to ECLC‚Äôs learning and solidarity
  • Young Adults gathering monthly to connect and laugh over¬† Zoom Trivia
  • Creating a new Reconciling In Christ Welcome Statement to reflect our 2022 commitments as a faith community striving to be fully LGBTQIA+ affirming.

Through it all, our Mission Committee and 21 Mission Partner Liaisons have remained committed to deep, transformative relationships through service, learning, prayer, advocacy, and giving with each of our 21 Mission Partners. 

While our commitment to anti-racism is ongoing, new this year was our deep investment in our Racial Justice Journey through trainer Joanne Reeck and coach Julica Hermann de la Fuente, who are helping ECLCers both on their individual anti-racist journeys, but also transforming ECLC’s systems to embed anti-racism in our organizational structure.  Supporting the on-going work of our Racial Justice Vision Committee, Racial Justice Action and Advocacy Committee, and Northside Strategy Team, this journey seeks to ensure anti-racism remains structurally embedded as a core value of ECLC. 

Our Immigration Action and Advocacy Committee helped found the ACT-TC coalition of faith communities, welcoming a Russian partner family seeking asylum here in Edina, and helping them enroll in school, receive medical care, engage in the legal process, and make Minnesota their home.

As we continue to pivot, we also continue to seek to nourish one another and the world.  In this time of creativity, I look forward to accompanying you on new journeys, wherever our faith and the Spirit may lead us.  

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Stewardship - Sarah Martin

The generosity of the ECLC community continues to be inspiring and fuels our mission within our church walls and beyond. Thank you for your commitment to expressing your faith through your giving. Together, we can continue to ensure we have a solid foundation to grow as a community and invest in our mission partners. As we celebrate our theme, Grateful in All Things, the stewardship committee wants to say a big THANK YOU to all who made annual commitments and to those who make ongoing gifts throughout the year. Gifts of all sizes make an impact when we give collectively and give with grateful hearts.

With your support we head into 2022 with optimism and hope! While we are projecting a deficit budget of approximately $50k, we have the means to pay for this deficit using surplus funds from 2021. Our committee members are Joe Lindell, Catherine Malotky, Dick Magus, Kienan Mick, and Pastor Jeff Sartain. Again, we thank you for your support!

 

Mission Committee - Carla Carlson

Following discussions of the values of ECLC as it walks hand in hand with its mission partners, the eight-member Mission Committee set in place several processes to formalize planning and decision-making steps that can serve mission committees over time.  Strategies and documents were updated specifically to integrate ECLC’s racial justice journey and the five strategic planning priorities into the Committee’s work.  

Updates included revising the mission partner profile form and enhancing the Committee’s mission and vision statement, which was developed in August 2020 and enhanced in January 2021.  A micro-site on the new ECLC website was developed to enhance Committee discussion and archive key documents and actions.

The Committee welcomed 16 new ECLCers as Mission Partner Liaisons to the group of 21 liaisons and began inviting two liaisons to brief the Committee at each meeting.  In 2021, ECLC began to host a Russian family seeking asylum, support availability of COVID vaccines globally, march with water protectors, and heat meals for homebound neighbors in our kitchen.  See mission partner details at https://www.eclc.org/mission-partners.

Through funding support and the actions of ECLC members, we have journeyed with our three sibling congregations ‚Äď as Redeemer Lutheran Church and St. Paul‚Äôs Lutheran Church have undergone significant leadership transitions and as the Cristo de Paz community faced food shortages.

A total of $111,277 was distributed to mission partners, with each receiving at least $2,500, based on critical need, special requests, opportunities to deepen partner relationships, and alignment with the ECLC mission and vision statements. This amount included $56,028 that was contributed by ECLC members through special offerings throughout the year. Special support was provided to the Asylum Coalition for Transition-Twin Cities to assist the newly located asylum-seeking family of four, and we pledged and paid $34,000 to the Synod in support of its mission.

This year, we give thanks for the mission committee, Sarah Broich, Carla Carlson, George Edmonson, Adele Mehta, Karl Olson, Doris Pagelkopf, Chad Reding, Sara Schwiebert, and each of our 21 Mission Partner Liaisons.  And, we give thanks that the ECLC community, even while distancing, was able to continue to learn via Zoom, advocate via email, serve throughout our community, and ultimately walk with our siblings here and in far-away lands.


EcoFaith 

 

 

 

Climate Justice Plan for 2021

Practical climate action and lowering carbon emissions in our congregation

  • Support 20 ECLC households in becoming Climate Justice Households
  • Eco-focus on ECLC property: organize care of pollinator garden and native plantings; researched alternate, natural buckthorn control (goats), investigated adding electric vehicle charging stations at ECLC
  • Improved composting at ECLC ‚Äď new bins in place and signage up
  • Placed various eco-tips and EcoFaith announcements in the E-news letter

Relational/Spiritual commitment for climate justice

  • Drafted ECLC‚Äôs Line 3 Statement of Solidarity
  • Continued Green Worship Services
  • Adopted Woodale Park and held a family clean up event on May 16 ‚Äď 9 adults and youth helped out.
  • Member of the West Metro Climate Hub- participated in meetings, organized a presentation by J Drake Hamilton, Fresh Energy Director on COP26
  • Attend MNIPL and Lutheran Synod sponsored EcoFaith summits and events ‚Äď Attended ‚ÄúThe MN Synod Climate Summit: Now The Green Blade Rises‚ÄĚ
  • Helped draft the Minneapolis Area Synod Climate Justice Resolution
  • Season of Creation Liturgy ‚Äď had informational tables to correspond to the weekly theme in September: Reducing plastic, ECLC composting plan, solar/EV charging stations, zero waste

Systemic Change

  • Support Stop Line 3 by being present for protest¬† (Chase Bank defund fossil fuels, Palisade/Mississippi House visits (Feb, April), Rise by the River to Stop Line 3, Water Walker Rally at the Capitol
  • EcoFaith Service Project with MNIPL, Line 3: Discussion, letter writing, art creation, sun flower planting family friendly event to send letters to our U.S. senators and congressional representatives, event was well-attended
  • Support opposing the Polymet copper mine and support the Prove It First bill ‚Äď letter writing and signed petitions
  • Support Treaty People walk for water by having a water-themed service after which congregants walked to the Minnehaha Creek to honor and pray for the Water Walkers and the Mississippi River; Many ECLC members attended the Treaty People Gathering at the Capitol

Climate Justice Plan for 2022 - possibilities

  • Practical Action: promote Climate Justice Households, hold an EV event at ECLC? , Terracycle bin
  • Spiritual/Relational Action:¬† Continue Green Worship; Adopt a Park (Edina)
  • Systemic Advocacy:¬† Hold Caucus for Climate event

Immigration Action & Advocacy Committee Summary - Terrie Thompson

LIRS CEO Krish Vignarajah speaking in front of the ‚ÄúAngels Unaware‚ÄĚ sculpture

We continued our immigration advocacy work during this second year of the pandemic without skipping a beat! We employed hybrid gatherings of Zoom and limited, socially-distanced in-person sessions.

We embraced the new White House Administration’s more humane immigration policy promises and redoubled our efforts to keep immigration issues in people’s minds throughout the year.

In March the Council of Ministers accepted our proposal and ECLC joined the Minnesota Sanctuary State Coalition as they advocate for immigration justice in our communities.

We proudly attended monthly vigils in front of the Whipple Federal Immigration Courthouse and through Zoom connections. In August we stood in front of the Minneapolis Basilica as Krish Vignarajah, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) CEO, was a keynote presenter at the traveling bronze statue ‚ÄúAngels Unaware‚ÄĚ which honored the global history of immigration.

Monthly vigil in front of the Whipple Federal Immigration Courthouse.

In October, as a member of the Asylum Coalition for Transition-Twin Cities (ACT-TC) we welcomed our Russian Partner Family into the re-purposed parsonage at Shepherd of The Hills Lutheran Church. This work continues, both as a committee and congregation, as we walk with the family on their new journey. The congregation dedicated the Thanksgiving offering of almost $3,000 to this cause. What a year, thank you all!

Our Russian Partner Family!


Northside Strategy and Action Team (NSAT)

As a partner with Redeemer Center for Life (RCFL), NSAT is committed to advancing racial and economic justice issues. NSAT members (and many others in the ECLC community) were proud to support another successful RCFL Gala this fall, raising funds for youth leadership, workforce development, and attainable housing in the Harrison and other near Northside neighborhoods. However, the Alpha and Delta Covid-19 variant surges prevented RCFL from performing the community engagement survey for which NSAT had secured Endowment funds. As a result, those funds were rededicated to ongoing RCFL program needs. An additional short-term challenge to collaboration has been the complete turnover of the executive staff at RCFL. Hopefully, NSAT can develop strong relationships with the new executive team and find exciting ways to jointly promote racial and economic justice in the Northside in the year ahead. 


Racial Justice Vision Committee

2021 was an important year in our racial justice efforts.¬† The Racial Justice Vision Committee (Carol Bungert, Kirsten Horstman, Katie Kaul, Lisa Novotny, Susan Weaver and Mark Woell) ‚ÄúRJVC‚ÄĚ continued to meet with Council Members to understand how critical elements of our operations and ministry might challenge the status quo.¬† Our partnership with representatives from the Northside Strategy team (Anne Lindell) and Racial Justice Action and Advocacy team (Nancy Burns & Karen Boyum) continued as we rolled out our Racial Justice Journey.¬† Part 1 took place in the first half of 2021.¬† The combined team delivered a virtual learning experience, led by Joanne Reeck and her organization, United For Change.¬† Over 250 ECLC members participated in this 5-part interactive learning series, creating a shared learning experience on racial justice issues and concepts.¬† From this foundation, we began examining the many dimensions of our church organization and how we interact with ourselves and others.¬† Julica Hermann de la Fuente has assisted in this discovery and change process by providing a learning tool and facilitating an assessment of ECLC‚Äôs many organizational functions across 15 key areas.¬† More than 100 ECLC members contributed either in-person or virtually.¬† This process has resulted in the selection of two key areas to focus our efforts on in 2022.¬† We are excited to deepen our racial justice work through Adult Faith Formation and Public Witness and Prophetic Voice, with Julica as our guide and coach.¬† It is the hope of the RJVC and our other racial justice groups that we can provide both enriching learning experiences and the opportunity to publicly demonstrate our commitment to a more racially equitable and inclusive society.¬† Please stay tuned for more on this front in 2022.¬† We look forward to welcoming both new and familiar faces to this important work ECLC has committed to.¬†


Racial Justice Action & Advocacy - Carrie Henning-Smith and Leslie Swiggum

This year has been one of continuing movement toward ECLC becoming an anti-racist community.  The RJAA Committee has studied together to help move us to a better understanding of whiteness and how to help the congregation to move to becoming anti-racist. Below are the topics and initiatives that we embarked on.

We, as a committee read ‚ÄúWhite Fragility‚ÄĚ and discussed a chapter at each of our meetings.

We began reading and studying the ‚ÄúRacial Healing Handbook‚ÄĚ but have more to go with this study.

We took the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and worked with experts from the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement (CLNE) to help us use our results to continue on our Justice Journey. Other members of the congregation participated as well.

We continued to support our relationships with Redeemer and St. Paul’s.

A subgroup focused on the issue of cash bail, which is an ongoing effort. As part of this, we have been encouraging the congregation to learn more about this issue with the goal of more advocacy. (Terrie Thompson is the chair of this committee.)

We partnered with the Ecofaith group to identify ways we can help with the Line 3 resistance. 

We stayed in contact with MNIPL to understand the relationship between Environmental Justice and Racial Justice. (Karen Boyum is our liaison)

We organized and facilitated monthly Anti-Racism Vigils. These were coordinated with a different Mission Partner each month.

We coordinated our efforts with the Racial Justice Vision Committee.

We worked to educate the congregation on the intersection of racism and housing via our contacts with Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative.

We sponsored the play ‚ÄúWhite Privilege‚ÄĚ that was presented at ECLC.

We began a conversation with the Edina Anti-Racism Collective about coordinating some of our efforts in the immediate neighborhood. (Steve Obaid is the liaison.) 

We sponsored a three-part virtual series for the congregation on the Doctrine of Discovery to help the congregation understand the significance of this Doctrine and learn about the ELCA Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to American Indian and Alaska Native People. Dick Magnus was a significant resource for this study. 

Worship, Art & Music - Erica Dolmar

God has accompanied us through what has been an exceptionally long and hard year for many. We worshiped in the sanctuary, the parking lot(s), the streets, our living rooms, the lake, the river, the headwaters and too many other special places to list.

Some highlights from this year:

  • The addition of the livestream (with the help of many volunteers) so that people can worship online from wherever they are
  • The virtual choir video singing the Hallelujah Chorus for Easter
  • While we all know that our indoor space offers many benefits to our community, this year we discovered the rich gifts of our outdoor spaces for worship - our backyard is an incredibly beautiful space in which to worship
  • The gift of having a place to ground us in nature, especially as we celebrated the season of creation
  • The trees, the creek, the breeze, our neighbors walking, running, and biking by
  • The return of an in-person choir and additional musicians under Paul and Melissa‚Äôs leadership
  • The rainbow streamers in worship (a personal favorite of mine)
  • Such great weather (overall) to enjoy worshiping outside for a good portion of the year
  • As the weather turned colder, worshipers and worship leaders returned to the sanctuary after nearly 18 months away from it
  • Youth Band leading worship in November
  • Holden Evening Prayer around the campfire at the start of Advent
  • The chime choir at the advent festival

I leave you with this question. How did you experience God’s presence in worship this year at ECLC?


Adult Faith Formation - Mary Breen

Through Bible studies, conversation circles and book discussions, adults at ECLC took part in a variety of opportunities designed to deepen our faith as we connect with one another. 

Participation in Bible studies ranged from 5 to 20, depending on the week. Bible studies are held on Thursday mornings from 10-11 a.m. on zoom and everyone is welcome!

Adult Forum was held in the evenings this year, which we intend to continue because it allows us more time to explore topics. Our focus this year was to reach out to members in the congregation to lift up their work and invite others to join in thoughtful conversations. Carla Calson (Bright Stars of Bethlehem) led two different conversations on Palestine using ‚ÄėAperigon‚Äô as a guide. Debbie C√īt√© and Nancy Burns (Beacon) led a 3-part series on the book ‚ÄėEvicted‚Äô and the housing crisis. This fall Mark Swiggum and Racial Justice Action and Advocacy led a 3-part series on the Doctrine of Discovery. I thank all these members for their time and leadership in conversation circles this past year.

Pastor Jeff and I are working on more opportunities for the 2022 including a 3-part series from the Indian Land Tenure Foundation. I am hopeful that we can be together in person soon. In the meantime, I am grateful to connect over zoom.


Shepherding - Rich Weaver

It was two years ago that I began my term in Shepherding. I like to spend time in the kitchen, and Shepherding involves being in the kitchen ‚Äď I thought it was a good fit. A month later, we were shut down by COVID. So how do you have gatherings, lunches, celebrations when you are sheltering in place? It has been a trying year or two. COVID has prevented the close relations that are commonplace at ECLC, so we needed to try new methods. Here are a few: a Christmas ornament exchange by hanging ornaments on the bushes in front of ECLC, a picture puzzle swap library, a Lenten soup recipe exchange (thanks Kay Larsen). an Easter egg hunt with eggs filled with garden seeds (thanks Erika LaDousa and Rynda Carlis), sidewalk chalking (thanks to Jen Fung Barrett), a ZOOM baby shower for Pastor Anna (thanks to the whole shepherding team), a July outdoor Ice Cream Social (thanks to Jen Barrett Fung, Tim Nordberg, Erika LaDousa), and a Remembrance Tree for remembering loved ones with an ornament in their memory. It has been a strange year for Shepherding, and I could not have done it without the ideas and help of Erika LaDousa, Jen Fung Barrett, Rynda Carlis, Kay Larsen, Tim Norberg, and our ECLC kitchen angel Karen Boyum. If anyone has ideas on ways the Shepherding Ministry can bring people of all ages together, please let us know. Better yet, consider joining the Shepherding team.


Children, Families, & Youth - Steph Rollag Yoon
 

The children and youth of ECLC continue to be sources of light and hope for our community. During 2021, they showed up outside, masked up, and online to grow in their faith. The ongoing pandemic continued to require flexibility in scheduling children and youth activities. 

 Programming included:

  • Sunday school via zoom in the winter and spring of 2021
  • Both outdoor and indoor sunday school in the fall of 2021
  • Outdoor confirmation and youth group activities
  • A celebration of confirmation
  • Parenting Forward book discussion
  • A live nativity and advent celebration
  • The formation of a Children, Youth, and Families Ministry Team, which is meeting quarterly to hear feedback and build capacity to grow our programming
  • A survey for families sent out during the summer of 2021

As we look to the future, we are excited about the ways our children and youth will continue to lead our community. We are excited to look ahead to summer experiences, including a Wilderness canoe trip, the Justice, Art, and Music (JAM) camp, and the ELCA Youth Gathering. 


Property Report - Kienan Mick, Director of Finance & Administration

As we continue to navigate the pandemic together, the tool for our ministry, and the place that facilitates our gatherings ‚Äď be it on-line, in the parking lot, or in the sanctuary ‚Äď remains. Our building. Our church. Our home. It is a reminder of community and the care we show for each other. And like in any given year, a lot happened in 2021!¬†

  • Thanks to generous member donations we outfitted a new technology room in the Creekside Room to facilitate online meetings, workshops, bible study, and anything else where people can gather safely from near or far.
  • Live stream equipment was installed and allows for viewers to be participants in worship in real time.
  • We standardized our trash, recycling, and compost bins throughout the building. Green = compost, blue = recycle, black = trash. Trash containers are now the smallest in most spaces as we try to be thoughtful in the choices we make when we dispose of something.
  • The property fund, memorial fund, and member donations were used to furnish the lower concourse space with comfortable seating and a great table for games. We look forward to the day when we can see smiling faces and hear laughter from that space!
  • We are now fully licensed to help MOW re-heat and deliver meals. Thanks to all the volunteers this year who have helped to make this happen!
  • Perhaps the biggest news, is our partnership with Lake Harriet Child Care Center. We are incredibly excited about this relationship and are happy that so many members enthusiastically voiced their support! Initially we were hoping this would begin in January however, some necessary building modifications will necessitate a shift to a mid-spring launch. Stay tuned for more!

We anticipate more activity and small projects in 2022, as well as living into our new partnership with LHCCC. We will also be planning a workday in the spring, so please watch for announcements in the e-news.

Finally, thanks to all of the members of the committee and their efforts in making 2021 so productive: Chris Strom, Marilyn David, Karen Boyum, Tom Dokken, Bernie Beaver, Claire Harper, Rolf Anderson, Pat Larson and Peter O’Malia.


Personnel Committee - Michele Vig

This year, Jodie Crist, John Martinson, Bill Davis (partial year), Rolf Fiebiger and Liz Peterson joined me on the committee. We met monthly via Zoom and Pastor Anna, Pastor Jeff and Kienan Mick attended most meetings.

Our committee exists to focus on our people, both pastors and staff. The ECLC Personnel Committee has three primary responsibilities: (i) maintaining the Employee Handbook; (ii) ensuring personnel processes are in place and followed; and (iii) identifying opportunities to recognize, support and appreciate staff members. Our committee continued positive progress in select areas and made new progress in others.

Last year, the committee collaborated with our pastors to develop and implement a new framework for employee recognition and milestone anniversary celebration. This year, the church leaders and staff continued to embrace the new framework celebrating in various ways all year long to continue to build on the progress from last year.

This year, our committee’s primary focus was to create a performance review and compensation process. This work was done in partnership with both pastors as well as Kienan. The work was focused to create a clear review structure for all staff and broadened the feedback loop. 

2022 will be a year to build on the foundation that the committee has built and continue to grow and support our church leaders.

Quilting Report - Rynda Carlis

The traditional work of ECLC‚Äôs quilting ministry continued in spite of Covid-related restrictions on face-to-face meetings. Individual quilters made quilt tops in their homes during the months we sustained our friendships and managed our communications with meetings on Zoom. From January through April, we met nine times on Zoom. From March through May, quilters met outdoors at Edlund‚Äôs home or in the church parking lot to layer quilt tops with batting and quilt backs. Quilts prepared in this way were taken home to tie by solo efforts ‚Äď a definite change from our past practice of having four or five quilters sitting around Fellowship Hall tables to tie together. In June we came back to ECLC to meet in-person, inside the building wearing masks and skipping or limiting our lunch times. We had fourteen of these quilting sessions from then until the end of the year.

How well did these arrangements work? Quite well. On September 19, 139 finished quilts were blessed during worship services. The quilts were distributed in this way: 

108 quilts were sent to Lutheran World Relief
25 quilts were given to the Minneapolis Council of Churches
5 quilts were given to Minnesota Freedom Fund
1 (full-size) quilt was given to a family who had their triplets baptized by Pastor Anna

In addition to quilts, members of the group made masks starting in the spring of 2020 and continuing through the spring of 2021. In total 5658 masks were made, about 700 of those in 2021. They were given to local organizations such as Recovery Church and Loaves and Fishes as well as to Lutheran World Relief.

Looking at the work of the quilting ministry through the lens of ECLC’s strategic plan goals, we find solid support for the goal of building of relationships within the congregational community. Actions paired with this goal include to lovingly encircle all who seek our community as well as to welcome, converse, and include. These activities are basic to how the ECLC quilting ministry works. 

Focusing justice work on racial, LGBTQIA+, and eco-justice issues, at home and beyond is also an ECLC strategic plan goal. Lutheran World Relief is one of ECLC’s mission partners. The quilting ministry’s donation of quilts to this organization helps to deepen our relationship to LWR. In turn, LWR donated quilts to people in these troubled countries in 2021: Armenia, Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Honduras, Jordan, Lebanon, South Sudan, Syria, and Tanzania. Quilters support eco-justice by using primarily donated fabric or that purchased at thrift-shops.

Rynda N Carlis

December 31, 2021

 

 

Click on the links below to access each document:

2021 Income & Expense Sheet

2022 Proposed Budget

2021/2022 Balance Sheet - Comparison of ending '21 vs. starting '22

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Baptisms 

Harriet Patricia Doran April 17, 2021
Luke Robert Doran April 17, 2021
Henry Benjamin Doran April 17, 2021
Brooks David Ruff June 26, 2021
Colter Frank Moore July 11, 2021
Amelia Grace Maydole August 1, 2021
Frances Frisby Jean Helgen August 2, 2021
Ruby Joy Atkinson August 22, 2021

Confirmed October 31, 2021

Zachary Patrick Amare Danielson
William David Irwin   
Reece Kyran Joshi 
Juliette Vita Larson             
Luke Madsen     
Svea Irene Rundman
Ollie Schenk
Jasper Perkins Strom   
Beatrix Claire Wood  

Received into membership 
Sarah Brock & Andrew Iverson
Donell & Kristian Clauser
Megan & Mike Daman (Walter and Harry)
Sue Fleegel
Leonard & Morgan Lange
Darren Lawson 
Alli & Nate Maydole (Amelia*) 
* Received by baptism in 2021

Deaths  

Darold Beekmann January 13, 2021
Peter Stathopoulos April 10, 2021
Lori Lehman April 17, 2021
Jim Klobuchar May 12, 2021
Jan Duquette June 2, 2021
John Oren December 13, 2021

Membership  (Active & Inactive)  

Year        Baptized         Confirmed

2021        847                  613   

2020        869                  621

2019        832                  613

2018        792                  576

2017**     770                  556

2016       905                   637

2015       879                   623

2014       823                   590

2013       789                   565

2012       755                   564

**Adjustment from periodic review of Inactive Rolls.

Transferred Out

Rich Banyard
Jan Merck

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Attendance

For 2021 the average is estimated based on in-person and viewings of streamed services (which is a difficult number to capture).

For 2020 the average is based on attendance from services January 5 ‚Äď March 8 held at ECLC and March 15-Dec 27 services held online-Facebook & YouTube views.

For 2013-2019 the average is based on attendance at Sunday, Holy Week and Christmas services.

For 2012 the average is based on attendance at Sunday, Christmas and mid-week services.  Bonfire services were reduced to 1x per month.

Year     Average attendance

2021       200

2020       282

2019       293

2018       279

2017**    272

2016*      257

2015       252

2014       266

2013       255

2012       261

* Christmas = Sunday
** Christmas Eve = Sunday

President:
Liz Peterson

Vice President: 
Peter Horstman

Treasurer: 
Whitney Hansen

Worship, Art & Music:
 Luis Martinez

Synod Assembly: 
April, Darren, Gen & Viv Larson

Nominating Committee: 
Eileen Supple & Dave Irwin

Personnel: 
Jen Skavnak & Stephanie Moscetti 
(3 year terms)
Dana Easley (1 year term)

Children, Youth & Families: 
Sarah Irwin

Properties: 
Jonathan Flak
 (2 yrs - finishing Chris Strom's term)

Mission:

Carla Carlson (1 year term)


We've weathered 2021 and we're still
"One With Each Other"

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