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Grateful in all things…..

October 20, 2021

Our gifts can be an offering of gratitude as we join with one another and give thanks for our ECLC community and the joy of living out our faith with one another.
As we continue to meet the needs of our congregation and support our mission partners, it will take our collective efforts to continue this impactful work. Last year, 239 households or about 75% of the congregation, made commitments to support the mission and ministry of the church. That is incredible!
The work of our congregation requires dedicated staff members, welcoming worship and gathering spaces, and a commitment to supporting our partners. These three critical areas make up 85% of the budget and ensure the activities and outreach we experience here can continue and grow.
We’ll need each person engaged so we can see our community and mission partners continue to thrive. How might mission and ministry be able to expand if 100% of households are able to participate this year? This is where your commitment of any amount can make a difference. It’s what we can do together that is powerful. We’re excited to share that 100% of our Council of Ministers have made their commitments and invite you to join them in giving and gratitude this year.
As we each make our annual commitments, please consider what a meaningful gift would look like for you right now. We recognize each person is in a different giving position. We invite you to reflect on where you’re at and participate in a way that makes sense for you. You may make a commitment directly to Kienan Mick, Director of Finance & Administration.
To build a solid financial foundation for ECLC, we’ll need an increase in financial commitments of 3.5% for 2022. We’ve set an ambitious goal of $1 Million in commitments. This number is big, but what we want you to focus on is how you can participate alongside others in our community.  It’s our collective efforts that honor God as we seek to live out our mission as a congregation.
Please prayerfully consider how you can participate this year and see how your gift unites with others to make an impact! 
Sarah Martin, ECLC Minister of Stewardship

Sign up to discuss ECLC’s new strategic plan!

October 13, 2021

We give witness to love and justice at God’s welcome table and in the world.

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. –Amos 5:24

Last week, we sent by email ECLC’s new strategic plan. In it we shared these priorities for ECLC in 2021-2024:

  • Post-COVID Return: Create an inclusive, safe, welcoming re-entry to our life together as we emerge from COVID separation.
  • Relationships: Build relationships within the ECLC community.
  • Capacity and Financial Vitality: Strengthen our capacity and financial vitality to best serve our ministries and fulfill our purpose.
  • Justice: Focus our justice work on racial, LGBTQIA+, and eco-justice issues, at home and beyond.
  • Spirituality: Develop deep spiritualty in all aspects of our ministries and our life together.

This plan has been approved by the Council of Ministers. Now it’s your time to discuss! We will talk about our hoped-for future at one-hour Zoom meetings on October 18 at 8 pm, and on the 20th at 5 pm. Please sign up for one of those conversations through the church office. It’s your turn now, and we want to hear your thoughts, dreams, and hopes as we live into the future! Thank you for your participation! 

House Churches: Relationship Building in a Spiritual Setting   

October 6, 2021

As we continue to navigate how to build relationship and remain grounded in our faith during an ever-changing pandemic, we are pleased to begin this year’s House Churches. 

Last year’s House Church members referred to their House Church as the best way to stay connected to ECLC, as a way to meet people they never otherwise would have met, and as a deeply important spiritual practice.  What will it mean for you?

House Churches meet just once per month for one hour during the 2nd week of the month through the spring. In person and Zoom options are available. They begin October 9-13, so email Deacon Lauren to sign up or ask questions.  

Each month, you’ll have a simple theme and spiritual practice to follow and ample time for connection as each group build its own culture and practices together.  This month, when it’s easy to be bogged down in hard things, we’ll focus on gratitude and life one another up.  We hope you find House Churches a meaningful part of your faith community this year!

God’s peace,
Deacon Lauren

Already signed up? Look for an email from Lauren in the coming days with your log-in and group info! 

News from the Transition Team

September 30, 2021

Dear ECLC Community,

Blessings to you these fall days. As the weather changes and as the pandemic continues, we are pleased to announce the following worship plans for the month of October. Plans for November will be announced soon. Things will largely continue as they have been in September, but you will see an in-person indoors option starting on October 17 at 11 a.m. in our sanctuary. 

Worship and Sunday School plans for the month of October are:

A worship service each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. will be held outdoors. Masks are requested for worship for those who are not vaccinated and are age two and up.

Sunday School at 10:30 will also be outdoors. Masks are required for Sunday School children who are age two and over, teachers, and leaders.

The 11:00 a.m. service will be live streamed on October 3rd and 10th with only the worship leaders in the sanctuary, and all worshippers participating online.

Beginning on October 17 the 11 a.m. service will open to worshippers in the sanctuary. This service will continue to be live streamed for worshipping at home as well.

Risk mitigation plans for indoor worship are:

  • In-person worshipers will be required to register by calling the church office by Friday at noon, or by signing up online here any time before worship.
  • A capacity limit of 90, approximately 50 percent of our usual capacity, will allow for distancing.
  • Added air filtration and air circulation is in place. (Air circulates through the sanctuary approximately every 12 minutes.)
  • Masks will be required for all worshippers, age two and up.
  • There will be no group singing, but we will have a full liturgy with communion.

Plans for November will be announced soon. 

How are these decisions made?

The Task Force has developed the following values to guide them in their work:

  • Worship is central to who we are as a community. Gathering around the table is essential to being the church.
  • We are called to care for our most vulnerable, and in this case especially our children and all those who cannot yet be vaccinated.
  • We respect each person’s agency to make their own choices and value a diversity of risk tolerance. We will offer a variety of ministry options to meet peoples' needs.
  • Informed by current science, we will strive to mitigate health risks with simple and practical measures.
  • We understand that it is our responsibility to provide our staff a safe work environment.
  • We bear a responsibility to make our space available for weddings and funerals and other pastoral occasions keeping in mind reasonable constraints due to the pandemic.

The Pandemic Task Force meets frequently to guide plans for re-opening the church. This Task Force was appointed by the Council of Ministers. The members are listed below. Their recommendations go to our Pastors, Deacon, Staff, and Executive Committee for endorsement and implementation.

Pandemic Task Force: Judy Andersen, Carol Bros (chair), Trephaena Dehnel, Dave Engelstad, Bryan and Suzi Hinck, Karl Olson, and Elaine Strom.

Please direct any questions and comments to Dave Engelstad, president of the congregation (, or the pastors.

Living Out Our Faith Through Our Mission Partners! 

September 29, 2021

This month, ECLC welcomes 21 Mission Partner Liaisons to serve as champions for each one of our Mission Partners.  God is in transformational relationship with us, and so we strive to be in transformational relationships with each of our mission partner communities by serving with, learning about, advocating for, giving to, and praying on each one of our 21 partners.  We give thanks for the 21 members listed here who are committing to a year of leadership as Mission Partner Liaisons, engaging ECLCers in their partner ministry and sharing updates from that partner. 

While the pandemic has changed how we connect with our partners, our liaisons have ensured that our partnerships have remained strong. Whether it’s through zoom educational forums, masked in-person volunteering, Mission Partners of the Month prayed for in worship, or outdoor advocacy events, our connections are deep.  Look for opportunities to support our partners each week in e-news, email the liaison listed here, or email Deacon Lauren to stay up to date on opportunities with a specific mission partner.

Mission Partner Liaisons, thank you for using your God-given gifts to live out your faith through our mission partnerships---the fruits of your labor are multiplied by the whole congregation of ECLC!

In Gratitude,
Deacon Lauren & the Mission Committee              

Racial Justice Activity Needs You

September 22, 2021

For our next steps on ECLC’s Racial Justice Journey, we must look…at ourselves. How do ECLC’s structures reflect our values? Does our ministry echo our goals?    

All ECLCers are encouraged to participate in our Congregational Self-Assessment. For the next two Sundays following 9:30 worship in the parking lot, spend 30 minutes outside reflecting on ECLC through the lens of racial justice…and where we currently are. Does worship include our anti-racism commitments? What about children’s programming…or adult faith formation? Let’s ask these good questions together.

There’s no need to RSVP, just stay after worship this Sunday, September 26 or Sunday, October 3 from 10:30-11:00 in the parking lot.

Not gathering in person right now? While we cannot replicate the full experience, we want as many voices as possible. Look for an abbreviated online option later this fall.  

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses!

God’s peace,
Deacon Lauren & the Racial Justice Journey Team 

Greetings from Bishop Ann and Shari Prestemon, UCC Conference Minister

August 25, 2021

Congratulations to Pastor Jeff Sartain on your 30th Anniversary of ordination! Though the path to ordination is often challenging, Pastor Jeff’s path was uniquely so. And, his courage and perseverance to follow the twists and turns of that path are remarkable. Further, his ordination in the UCC – nineteen years before the ELCA changed its policies – was one of many building blocks that helped moved the ELCA to become a more inclusive church. Along with Pastor Jeff, we thank the UCC for its courage and faithfulness in leading the way. 

We also celebrate our full communion with the UCC – and the way Pastor Jeff exemplifies the goodness and importance of that communion.  To paraphrase Pastor Eugene Peterson, I believe the calling of pastor is certainly not an easy one. But, if God has called you to pastoral ministry, it is an incredible way to spend a life! Pastor Jeff – we are so glad and grateful you have accepted God’s call. We praise God for your 30 years of ordained ministry – and look for many more!

Rev. Ann M. Svennungsen


Grace and peace to all of you at Edina Community Lutheran Church!  

As you acknowledge the 30th anniversary of Rev. Sartain’s ordination, it’s my pleasure to celebrate that milestone with you and to give thanks for the ministry of Jeff, my friend of over 20 years and my pastoral colleague.  The United Church of Christ was blessed to have Jeff’s leadership in our congregations for many wonderful years and we are grateful for that.  It’s a testament to the beauty of the ecumenical agreements between our two denominations that both the ELCA and the UCC have benefitted from Jeff’s ministry of faithfulness and care.

Congratulations, Rev. Sartain!  May your ministry at ECLC and in our Twin Cities community be a blessing to you and to all with whom you minister.

Reverend Shari Prestemon, Conference Minister
Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ

Teachers, Families with Kids & Youth, and Ministry Partners- Registration is Open!

August 18, 2021

Thank you for taking the time to register and for your ongoing commitment to growing love and justice at God's welcome table and in the world, with ECLC children youth & families. Your registration is a sign of hope and helps inform ministry. Especially important this year! Please CLICK HERE to register.  

Hope is leading us to offer in-person ministry options for children youth & families, following current COVID guidelines which we realize may change. We will begin the ministry year with a Blessing of the Backpacks during worship, and a NEW Faith Milestone Fair between worship services, on September 12. Come, find out how faith is formed for all-ages out of shared baptismal promises!

Sunday School (through 5th grade), Parenting Forward (adults), and Youth Group (middle-school and high-school youth) begin September 19 with Outdoor Children’s Time for Families before and after Sunday School. Sunday School Orientation for new or seasoned ECLC families and teachers will take place the evening of September 22. Wednesday Night Live! (Monthly for middle-school Confirmation youth, with weekly learning and small groups) begins September 29. Weather permitting, we will begin the year meeting outdoors.  

As people of faith, we believe in faith formation through a variety of church forms and learning formats. Even if you are uncertain what faith formation looks like this year, please register all children & youth, birth through grade 12. A full-year calendar will be sent to everyone who registers. If you are a parent, teacher or other partner in ministry, thank you! Please use the registration link to select all of your preferences at this time. We’ve planned a really wonderful year for children, youth & families. Most of which can be shared in multiple formats: in-person and online, in peer groups and family groups, indoors and outdoors, at home and at church! 

Contact Kelly Rowley, Director of Children, Youth & Family Ministries at with questions.