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A Day in the Life of a Greeter

July 17, 2024

This week we are lifting up the role of greeter. This is a trained position open to all people–children, youth, and adults. If you’re interested in serving in this role, please reach out to Deacon Lauren to be added to the volunteer list and she will set up a one-on-one training with you. Read on to learn more from two of our greeters, Kathy and Margot.

What are your responsibilities as a greeter?

  • I love being a greeter! My responsibility is to greet warmly, introduce myself, and provide any assistance that might be needed. A greeter's goal is to make EVERYONE feel welcome. A greeter meets people prior to as well as following the service. (Margot)
  • Be near the front door about 20 minutes prior to the start of worship wearing your 'Usher pin' from the basket that's on a shelf by the ushers. Be ready to greet kids and adults alike with a smile. I usually say, “Welcome to ECLC!” even if I know they have been members for 30 years. I reach out for a hand- shake if that seems comfortable. Sometimes I add, “We're glad you're here this morning!" (Kathy)

What do you like best? 

  • It feels like an important 'first impression' of ECLC for all to be warmly welcomed into the community. There is no preparation, no cleanup - just walk in and start welcoming. (Kathy)
  • It is a wonderful opportunity to welcome old friends and make some new friends! (Margot)

What has surprised you?

  •  I am continually surprised at how many new folks join us each Sunday. That is a gift! (Margot)
  • The smiles that appear when folks are greeted. The opportunity for quick updates from friends. Children love to be greeted too. Sometimes needing to gently move folks along. While I shouldn't be surprised, it’s that ECLC thing of lots of people coming through the door 4 minutes after the service has started! (Kathy)

A Day in the Life of…Fellowship and Hospitality!

July 10, 2024

This week we are lifting up the many roles of fellowship and hospitality. This role encompasses many smaller roles—making coffee, bringing treats, and cleaning up. These are all monthly group roles. During the summer when Monthly Groups are on vacation, we encourage all ECLCers to try two roles during the summer. Deacon Lauren is happy to walk through a role if you’re doing it for the first time or need a refresher. Read on to learn more from two of our hospitality volunteers, DeeDee and Bev.

What are your responsibilities as a hospitality volunteer?

  • There are several opportunities for participating during Sunday morning Fellowship Hospitality. You can make coffee ( and keep track that enough is available throughout fellowship time); provide 6-8 dozen “treats” of some sort, that includes placing what you have brought on the serving table ready for the “ great exodus”  from the sanctuary following the service! Or you might like the kitchen cleanup opportunity; washing coffee cups, glasses, cleaning up the tables following fellowship time. (DeeDee)
  • The responsibilities vary according to different events. It can be anything from serving in the kitchen, providing treats, or helping plan a gathering. (Bev)

What do you like best? 

  • Social events are happy times. The fellowship opportunities to work with people, and get to know others is invaluable. We become a team. (Bev)
  • It puts you in the thick of folks on Sunday mornings. Often includes an opportunity to meet and assist visitors as they are looking for cream for their coffee or maybe tea. I also enjoy working with newer volunteers on what happens behind the scenes in the kitchen. (DeeDee)

What has surprised you?

  • It is really one of the easiest and rewarding ways to do service within our church building. Have you ever seen what happens when no one signs up to bring treats? (DeeDee)

A Day in the life of a Livestream Volunteer!

July 3, 2024

This week we are lifting up the role of livestream volunteer. This is a trained position open to all people–children, youth, and adults. If you’re interested in serving in this role, please reach out to Deacon Lauren to be added to the volunteer list and she will set up a one-on-one training with you. Read on to learn more from one of our livestream volunteers, Luke.

What are your responsibilities as a livestream volunteer?

  • To screen to the people at home and provide them with the live stream so they can be a part of the church when they are not at church. 

What do you like best? 

  • I get to be on a screen at church while still helping the community.  My favorite part of the service is when we have back and forth parts, like “Christ is Risen, Alleluia!” because that requires lots of switching of the shots.

What has surprised you?

  • I’m surprised by how few people do the livestream; hopefully that encourages people who read the newsletter to be a volunteer!

A Day in the Life of an Assisting Minister     

June 26, 2024                  

This week we are lifting up the role of assisting minister. We train all confirmation students to serve as assisting ministers, but anyone can be an assisting minister. Talk with Pastor Anna if you’re interested. Read on to learn more from two of our assisting ministers, Lydia and Anita. 

What are your responsibilities as an assisting minister?

  • My responsibilities as an assisting minister are primarily to read the prayers during the service I am assisting with. Besides that, I help set up for the beginning of the service and help with other tasks that need to be done, like setting up communion. (Lydia)
  • Some of the responsibilities of being an assisting minister are reading the prayers, serving communion, and greeting people on their way out. (Anita)

What do you like best about this role?

  • My favorite part about being an assisting minister in worship is serving communion. (Anita)
  • My favorite thing about this role is that I am able to help and contribute to the service in a way that is not stressful or nerve wracking. I enjoy reading and helping everyone make sure that everything is in place for the service, and I never get nervous about it because there are such nice people around. (Lydia)

What has surprised you? 

  • Something that has surprised me is how appreciative everyone was of my help and how encouraging people were after the service; Everyone had nice things to say and it was really sweet. (Lydia)
  • Something that surprised me about this role is that I haven’t spilled wine on anybody. (Anita)

Racial Justice Quarterly Forums Continue

June 12, 2024

Recognizing the value of all of God’s abundant and diverse creation, ECLC strives to live into anti-racist values through our own ministries, systems and structures.  Quarterly, leaders from all of ECLC’s committees are invited to gather to share ideas, learn together, and reflect on their work through the lens of anti-racism in order to take action.  This May, over 25 ECLCers representing over 15 ECLC ministries and committees gathered at our Racial Justice Quarterly Forum.

We invite you to consider your ministry within ECLC, as well as your personal or professional lives, through this same anti-racist lens.  Here are some of the ways we reflected together: 

  • This year’s forums expanded to include all ECLC ministries, from Finance to Personnel, to Worship, not only those under a “Mission umbrella.”  In what aspects of our lives do you tend to think about anti-racism? Are there aspects in which you tend to ignore it? 
  • The Forum began with a devotion reflecting on how God accompanies people and all creation. How have you experienced God accompanying you? 
  • Participants reviewed the Anti-Racism Rubric our entire congregation was invited to use as a tool in 2021.  How do you think ECLC changed since then? How have you changed?  
  • Ministry Partner Liaison Lynda Thompson shared how our relationship with Redeemer Lutheran Church is built on a relationship of accompaniment that listens and learns, rather than assuming we know what is best for one another.  Sometimes, showing up is the greatest act we can do for one another; can you show up for our siblings Redeemer or St. Paul’s-San Pablo this summer? 

Finally, each Quarterly Forum includes a meal from a local BIPOC owned restaurant or small catering business. This month, we all enjoyed a meal from Muddy Tigger right here in Edina.  What local restaurant might you try next?  Have a nearby option to recommend? Email Deacon Lauren! 

Deacon Lauren on behalf of the Racial Justice Vision Committee

Learn about the Mdewakanton Dakota people

June 5, 2024

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has invited ECLC members to be their guests for a guided tour of their public exhibit Mdwewakanton: Dwellers of the Spirit Lake. We will have an opportunity to learn more about and better understand the Mdewakanton Dakota people and their history.

The Mdewakanton (pronounced “Med-ah-wah-kah-ton”) people migrated south two centuries ago from home territory around Mille Lacs (Spirit Lake) as the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) and other Great Lakes bands filled in from the north and east. The Mdewakanton were nomadic inhabitants of much of Central Minnesota and  what is now considered the greater Twin Cities area when U.S. treaties turned over their land to European newcomers. The Mdewakanton Dakota were and are among the nations of the Seven Council Fires (Oceti Ŝakowiŋ), which Europeans came to call the Sioux Nation. 

Join us for this inspiring opportunity! The public exhibit is housed in beautiful Hoċokata Ṫi, the recently built Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Center. We have two Saturday options, June 15 and June 29, because guided tours are limited to 20 people. The tours begin at 11 a.m. and are suitable for upper-elementary ages and up. You can sign up using this form.  

This opportunity is brought to you by ECLC’s Indigenous Rights group as response to our commitment to “truth telling that leads to healing” (per the ECLC Land Acknowledgement). Please contact Catherine with questions.

CYF Happenings

May 22, 2024

The 2023-24 program year has come to an end, but we are gearing up for all things summer! Over the past few weeks, we celebrated the end of the year with multiple groups - Sunday School kids, Confirmation youth, CYF volunteers, and more! 

Confirmation wrapped up on Wednesday, May 8th with dinner as a group followed by various rounds of Kahoot! Confirmation students tested their knowledge and what they learned from the confirmation year in the form of trivia - competition was hot and prizes were awarded! We were so impressed with how much the youth retained this year - from questions on youth forum to worship practices, to the Bible and Prophets, these youth knew it all!

Sunday School finished the year on Sunday, May 12th with a large group activity while celebrating the teachers and enjoying cookies from Cookie Cart. We gathered outside near the front doors to play with chalk and bubbles and engage in conversation with each other. The art that came from the kids was so fun to see! Many of them worked together to create masterpieces on the sidewalk - seeing friendships being built between all ages at ECLC is definitely a highlight of this community.

On Saturday, May 18th, CYF volunteers and staff gathered at the Irwin’s for a volunteer picnic to celebrate the end of the program year. We give great thanks to the Irwins for hosting this event - it was a wonderful night enjoying each others’ company in the beautiful weather! 

The third annual JAM Camp starts on Monday, June 24th and will be the kickoff to CYF summer activities at ECLC! Camp will run through Thursday, June 27th and will conclude at our partner congregation, St. Paul/San Pablo’s in Minneapolis. 

Close to 25 kids and youth will head off to various overnight camps this summer - in July, our middle and high schoolers will venture to Wilderness Canoe Base in the Boundary Waters and meet our intergenerational campers at the end of their week. In August, our elementary and middle schoolers will spend time at Camp Wapo in Amery, WI for a time of faith, learning, and fun! 

Mark your calendars for family fun nights this summer! We’ll gather together on July 10th and July 31st for intergenerational fun - stay tuned for further details regarding activities and sign ups. We are grateful for such a fabulous year with all of ECLC’s kids and youth and their families, and we look forward to all that is to come in the next few months as we continue to build relationships in this amazing community!

Farewell and Hello! 

May 15, 2024

Farewell John! John Anthony was celebrated in worship last Sunday, and with coffee and donuts Wednesday morning at church. He is embarking on retirement, and we give thanks for his service as our Business Administrator! We say farewell but not goodbye! John and Connie will continue as active members at ECLC. 

Hello Anne! Anne Gustafson will begin her position as Director of Finance and Administration on Monday morning, May 20th! We look forward to getting to know her as she steps into this important and multi-faceted role. Please take a moment to greet her! Her email is: agustafson@eclc.org.

Synod Assembly

May 8, 2024

This past weekend, the 137 congregations of the Minneapolis Area Synod gathered for our annual assembly. At these gatherings, we are reminded we are part of the larger Lutheran Church and inspired by the breadth of the church as we worship together, make funding decisions, learn about the larger ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, lean into Bible Study together, vote on resolutions to further our synod’s ministry, and more! This year, we also celebrated Bishop Ann Svennungsen’s 12 years of service and participated in the discernment of a new Bishop, electing Bishop-elect Jen Nagel to serve a six-year term. You can read more here about Bishop-elect Nagel and the business of the synod assembly. 

ECLC is deeply committed to our participation as part of the wider Church. Thank you to all of ECLC’s voting members for their commitment to be present; here are reflections of the experience from each of them: 

One thing we did at Synod Assembly was: 

  • We did a lot of singing! It is very fun to sing with 400+ other Lutherans (Pastor Anna) 
  • Have amazing Bible studies with The Rev. Dr. Barbara Lundblad and Dr. Michael Chan (Mark V.)

One thing I learned at Synod Assembly is:

  • That there are many congregations who are so diverse and unique from ours within our synod! I thought that all of the local ELCA churches were just like ECLC. (Madelyn W) 
  • Our synod received a $1.25 million grant to establish “Family Faith: Deepening Roots, Strengthening Families” focused on how faith & culture intertwine in immigrant and non-dominant homes (Deacon Lauren) 

At Synod Assembly, I experienced God:

  • Through community. It was wonderful to be surrounded by hundreds of others who cared deeply about the process and about doing what's best for our ECLA community and the wider world. (Carrie H) 
  • In the relationships and connections that people share across the synod. Even more than usual, there were so many warm greetings, hugs, caring connections, and much laughter.  (Pastor Jeff) 

After Synod Assembly, I feel:

  • I feel proud that I could be part of the Assembly, and excited to see the future of our synod! (Adin L)
  • More informed about where our Synod is headed, more trusting in our leadership, and more faithful that this community is creating change in our world every day. (Naomi W)

Community Enrichment- May 5:

May 1, 2024

Public Art Design Presentation
Join us this Sunday when Angela Two Stars, our 75th Anniversary commissioned artist, returns to share her final design for the public art that will be installed this summer/fall in ECLC's creekside backyard. Angela is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and was born and raised on the Lake Traverse reservation in South Dakota. All are encouraged to join the conversation!

Creation Care is Sacred Work

April 17, 2024

Happy Earth Day! ECLC’s commitment to care for all God’s creation is year-round…but we have a meaningful weekend of eco-justice opportunities ahead this weekend.

ELECTRONICS & SMALL APPLIANCE RECYCLING: Stop by ECLC’s parking lot between 10am-2pm this Saturday, April 20th to recycle your hard-to-dispose electronics and small appliances. See what’s accepted at https://ecyclemn.com/items-accepted-for-recycling/. Share this event organized by ECLC’s EcoFaith team with your neighbors and friends via email and Facebook.

SUNDAY WORSHIP—WEAR GREEN: You’re invited to wear green as we give thanks to God for all creation and recognize the struggling of the Earth in worship using ECLC’s Green Liturgy this Sunday at 9am and 11am. 

SUNDAY RESOURCE TABLE: Grab resources following worship from ECLC’s EcoFaith team including information on native plants, community support agriculture boxes, and details on recycling with a purpose.  

SUNDAY COMMUNITY ENRICHMENT: Between worship services, join ECLC’s EcoFaith team and ECLC member Briana S. in conversation about Not “Fast Fashion.” How we can make fashion choices that are enjoyable, but also repurpose, reuse, and care for the Earth.   

SUNDAY KIDS’ STUFF FREE SWAP: Gather up kids’ books, toys, clothes, and gear and bring it to ECLC on Sunday morning before 10am. Put items on the designated tables upstairs in the library and conference room. After 10am, all are invited to “shop” for free and take any items they can use! ECLC will donate the remaining items at the end of the day. Help kids’ items be re-used and re-loved by another kiddo.    

THE ECOFAITH TEAM would like to recognize the incredible work our mission partner Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light does in fighting for climate justice. They have three climate actions we can take to honor Earth Day at: https://www.mnipl.org/take-action/earth-day-2024/  Let's celebrate Earth Day everyday and recognize MNIPL for their amazing work! 

Special Guests - April 14

April 10, 2024

ECLC welcomes guest preacher Pastor Margaret Kelly! Pastor Margaret is a clinical social worker with particular expertise working with folks on the margins of our communities. She has worked in mental health crisis stabilization, adult and children’s mental health case management, and housing support for people with mental illness. Pastor Margaret was a mission developer (church planter) in the ELCA. She received significant recognition for developing Shobi’s Table into a community run food truck that brought worship to the streets of St Paul. Pastor Margaret thrives at the intersection of social service implementation and faith-based communities. She serves as the Executive Director of the Dignity Center, a ministry of Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church. She resides in South Minneapolis with her 2 kids, a calico cat, and two black kittens.

Guest Community Enrichment Speaker on Sunday morning at 10am in Fellowship Hall. We will welcome Chris LaTondresse, President & CEO of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative. A recent Hennepin County Commissioner, Chris’ experience at the intersection of housing, advocacy, and faith is now being put to work to advance Beacon’s commitment to ensuring that all people have a home.  

Join Us for Holy Week

March 20, 2024

As we’ve journeyed through the Lenten season, we’re reminded of the profound significance of Holy Week and the joyous celebration of Easter that awaits us. With hearts full of anticipation, we invite you to join us for a transformative week of reflection, prayer, and worship at ECLC. 

Palm Sunday worship on March 24 at 8:50am (with livestream) and 10:50am on the front steps. Note early start! 

Journey to the Cross Join us on Wednesday, March 27 for a new intergenerational Holy Week event. We will journey to the cross together through interactive stations and activities while hearing of Jesus' final days before his death. This is a drop-in event - please come anytime between 5:30-6:30pm to ensure enough time to get through each station. Light refreshments will be served!

Maundy Thursday worship on Thursday, March 28 at 7pm (with livestream) includes the ritual foot washing and Holy Communion. As Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, so are we called to give and receive love in humble service to one another. 

On Good Friday worship on Friday, March 29 at 7pm (with livestream), we will lament the pains of this world. As we stand with the disciples at the foot of the cross, we will pray for the whole world with an ancient bidding prayer, as Christ’s death offers life for all.  
The Easter Vigil on Saturday, March 30 at 6pm (with livestream) reenacts the ancient stories of God’s saving power and we rejoice in the gift of baptism.  
On Easter Sunday on March 31, we discover once again the joy of proclaiming “Alleluia!" with worship services at 8:00, 9:30 (with livestream) and 11:00 am.

ECLC is busy advocating at the Capitol…and at home! 

March 13, 2024

Lutherans believe that loving our neighbor includes advocacy for just systems and government policies. This legislative session, ECLCers have been busy advocating! See what we’ve been up to with our Mission & Ministry Partners—and how to quickly and effectively engage your faith through advocacy from home.

IMMIGRATION: ECLC is a supporting congregation of the North Star Alliance, seeking just immigration policies. ECLCers joined Interfaith Coalition on Immigration and our siblings from St. Paul’s-San Pablo Lutheran for a rally. 

PRE-TRIAL SYSTEM: ECLC’s Pre-Trial Fairness Team joined Minnesota Freedom Fund to advocate for clearer and more just pre-trial judicial practices, including the end of cash bail. 

ECO-JUSTICE & INDIGENOUS RIGHTS: ECLCers attended the Rise & Repair rally co-organized by Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light and Indigenous leaders to discuss e-waste recycling, climate justice curriculum in schools, land transfer, and more.  

HOUSING:  ECLCers joined Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative for two housing lobby days.  Contact your legislator to pass $500 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds, reform zoning, and pass the Family Supportive Housing bill. 

Not everyone can make it to the Capitol during the week. Find your legislators’ contact information here and write or call from home about the issues that matter to you and your faith. And, join ECLCers and Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative at ECLC on the evening of Wednesday, April 3rd for an advocacy conversation about housing with Representative Heather Edelson from Edina. All are invited.  

For questions about advocacy opportunities, contact Deacon Lauren.

Lenten Labyrinth: Embark on a Spiritual Journey!

March 6, 2024

We welcome Shari Speer to ECLC on Sunday, March 10 for our Community Enrichment in fellowship hall. Shari Speer is currently professor of voice at St. Olaf College. As a project during the pandemic, she designed, constructed, and painted a 36-foot canvas Labyrinth for the chapel space at Concordia University Saint Paul. Shari will share background on the meaning of a labyrinth, the process she used, and prepare us to walk this sacred path. The Labyrinth provides an opportunity for self-reflection, prayer, and centering. We will have the beautiful labyrinth filling much of our sanctuary with opportunities for members to experience its spiritual impact, March 10-14. Instructions will be available, as well as resources for meditation and clean stockings to wear. The labyrinth is on loan to ECLC; please do not walk on the labyrinth in street shoes or step on it unless walking in meditation. Please contact the church office if you are interested in walking the labyrinth.

Celebrating ECLC CYF Ministries

February 28, 2024

Although we've already had the chance to enjoy warmer weather and sunshine this winter, we are gearing up for another summer of fun at ECLC! Through the summer months, children, youth, and families will have the opportunity to participate in JAM Camp, Wilderness Canoe Base trips, Camp Wapo, and other family fun night events! 

This fun does not happen by itself - with lots of planning, many volunteers, and youth of all ages, we are able to provide fun and safe opportunities for kids and youth to come together in community with each other and with our sibling congregations. We could not make these opportunities possible without a generous and supportive congregation like ECLC. 

This Sunday, March 3rd, will be an opportunity to provide further support to this programming. While we do have some funding budgeted for these opportunities, we are collecting monetary donations which will make it possible for us to offer transformative opportunities for kids and youth, including but not limited to funding additional expenses like transportation and meals for JAM Camp as well as covering the cost of adult advisors for Wilderness Canoe Base. We are especially excited to be hosting our 3rd JAM Camp and growing this partnership with our sibling congregations. 

We invite you to stop by the table in the concourse after worship on Sunday. You can turn in your M&M tubes, make a donation, and sign up to be a prayer partner with one of the 20 kids who are going to Camp Wapo and Wilderness Canoe Base this summer. Donations can also be made online and noted with "CYF Summer." We are so grateful for your continued support of the kids and youth at ECLC and beyond! 

ECLC & the Minneapolis Area Synod:  Bishop’s Election Update

February 21, 2024

Everybody knows that 2024 is an election year; but not just for the President of the United States, but also for the Bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod. Edina Community Lutheran Church is one of 137 congregations plus 3 other authorized worshipping communities that make up our synod which extends from Braham in the north; Norwood Young America to the West, Henderson and New Prague to the South and St. Anthony to the East. Bishop Anne Svennungsen, former ECLC pastor (1989-1994), concludes her 12th year as bishop; so our synod began nominating pastors at Conference Assembly on February 10th to be our next bishop for a 6 year term.  

There will be two opportunities to meet candidates at Bishop Nominee Forums on April 7 and 10.  The election will take place at the annual Synod Assembly, May 2-4.  Additionally, the first ballot at the Synod Assembly will be what is called an ecclesiastical ballot which allows for any ordained pastor in our church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (the ELCA) to be eligible for nomination. Once all nominees accept or decline their nomination, the election proceeds with every ballot requiring over 50 percent for election.  Successive ballots begin the process of eliminating candidates with the least votes until finally one of the candidates remaining receives over 50 percent of the votes.  

The Minneapolis Area Synod is one of 65 synods in the ECLA which cover the entire USA plus the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.  Our synod is the largest synod of the ELCA in terms of total church members (150,000+). The ELCA is also divided into 9 regions. We are part of Region 3 (Minnesota, North and South Dakota).  We are also part of the Crosstown Conference, one of 12 conferences in our synod.  While we are responsible to pursue the mission God has laid out for our congregation we are also partners with other congregations far beyond ourselves to be the Church and the hands and feet of Christ for the sake of the world.  

Keep up to date on the work of our synod at Mpls-Synod.org and of the ELCA at ELCA.org.  Continue to pray not only for our own church staff but also the staff of the synod and the ELCA churchwide headquarters in Chicago. 

Mark Vinge, ECLC Liaison to the Minneapolis Area Synod

Lent 2024: Come and Find the Quiet Center

February 14, 2024

In response to the loud, persistent, and divisive voices bombarding us, we’ll step aside from the noise to reflect on the ways we find rest, renewal, and comfort, and remember God’s promise of love and grace that anchors us through life and death.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent and our remembering of the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert wilderness, with mid-week worship services at 7pm through March 20th. Join us for Ash Wednesday worship tonight 7pm in the sanctuary and live-streamed. 

Soup Suppers: Join us on Wednesdays (Feb. 21 – Mar. 20) in Lent for a soup supper at 6pm followed by worship at 7pm. Volunteers are needed to heat soup, bring bread, serve and clean-up. Please sign up to help with our soup suppers at the sign-up center.

Sunday Worship:  Worship on Sundays at 9am (also live-streamed) or 11am. Throughout Lent, bring local food shelf, VEAP’s, most needed items to worship:  baking essentials, cereals, laundry and dishwashing detergent, and whole grains like ride, cornmeal, and gluten free snacks.  Our goal is 500 pounds of donations! 

Lenten Offering: Did you know Bimosedaa was created through a Beacon partnership with the sovereign Red Lake nation and Avivo, a nonprofit that provides services that are safe, inclusive and culturally relevant.  Support the costs of moving residents into Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative’s newest building, Bimosedaa, through this year’s Lenten Offering. Donate via ECLC’s website here under “Lenten Offering” or via check made out to ECLC with Lenten Offering in the memo line. Thank you!

ECLC Indigenous Art Project: Give, Transform, Inspire

February 7, 2024

As part of our 75th anniversary observances, ECLC has commissioned an original sculpture installation by local Indigenous artist, Angela Two Stars. Plans are taking form! Three panels with a dragonfly theme will be created and installed along the railing of the new outdoor gathering space and scatter garden. The entire project is scheduled to be completed this summer. 

The origins of this exciting initiative began with the 75th Anniversary Committee, which sought an artist who could engage our congregation in the creation of a piece of art that would: 

  • Honor the land and its original people.
  • Bear witness to the importance of this land for the Dakota people and the importance of our own journey of repentance and healing. 
  • Create an enduring opportunity for exploration, reflection, relationship-building, and growth as we [ECLC] continue our racial justice journey together.

Many of you have had a change to meet the artist in her visits to ECLC. She has worshipped with us and engaged with our community. Angela is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and was born and raised on the Lake Traverse reservation in South Dakota. She recently returned to her ancestral homelands of Mni Sota. Her work addresses healing through culture reconnection, specifically utilizing the Dakota language. 

The cost of this process of engagement, as well as the art itself, will be approximately $25,000. Of this amount, $20,000 has been pledged, and more than $13,000 has been received.  This is funding above and beyond our capital campaign efforts. 

Please watch as this project develops, and if you have questions reach out to Pastor Jeff, Pastor Anna, or Bernie B. who is chairing the Creekside Task Force.

The 2024 ECLC Annual Congregational Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the congregation will be held on Sunday, February 4, 2024. We will have an alternative schedule that day as follows:

  9:00 AM: Sunday School, Youth Forum, and Community Enrichment
10:00 AM: Worship
11:15 AM: Annual Meeting

Members are encouraged to attend as we elect officers, council members, delegates, and adopt a budget. For those unable to attend, proxy forms (available here and at the Sign-Up Center) must be submitted to the office by noon on Friday, February 2. The annual report, meeting agenda, and budget pdf is available here.  Printed copies will be available at ECLC.

ECLC's treasurer, Whitney Hanson will have a preview of our budget and lead a discussion of church finances on January 28 between services.

ECLC's Racial Justice Vision:  2023 Actions

January 24, 2024

Striving to become an anti-racist congregation is challenging work – and ECLCers have moved forward to achieve many goals and actions in 2023 through the Racial Justice Vision Committee (RJVC) and its RJVC Quarterly Forums.

The RJVC was formed in July 2019.  The Quarterly Forums, launched in February 2023, are an innovation that provides a safe space for frank and high-energy discussion across ECLC’s committees and teams that can lead to greater awareness and engagement.  Groups share ideas and collaborative actions around racism, whiteness, anti-racism, and social justice issues.

Four forums in 2023 engaged representatives from more than 10 ECLC teams and committees:  Adult Faith Formation; Children, Youth and Families; EcoFaith; Immigration Reform; Indigenous Rights; Mission Committee; Pre-Trial Fairness; Vigil Task Force; and others.

The capstone action, determined at the December 2023 Quarterly Forum, is the Lutheran Social Service (LSS) Advocacy Training on Thursday, January 25.  The EcoFaith, Indigenous Rights, Pre-Trial Fairness, and Racial Justice Vision committees worked together to bring advocacy approaches to members of our congregation.  They also coordinated with co-organizers Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church.  Among the 40-plus actions this past year are immigration vigils at Immigration Court, sacred sites tours, updating the Sunday School curriculum to reflect diversity, adoption of a new LGBTQIA+ welcome statement that includes anti-racist values, packing culturally appropriate food with Community Emergency Service, and inviting BIPOC preachers to lead worship. As you consider these positive steps, ask yourself, “In what ways did I experience the racial justice journey with ECLC this year?”  “What steps have I taken in my own life?”

The RJVC strives to inspire our congregation through its racial justice journey. The ECLC Racial Justice statement, adopted by the congregation at the Annual Meeting on February 5, 2017, states:

Racial injustice continues to thrive in our country and communities.  Our Christian response is to walk in solidarity with people of color, because standing silent sanctions continued violence. We recognize that those who are white are intertwined in a network of unearned privilege. We, as a congregation, are compelled to advocate for racial justice. We invite other congregations to join together in expressing their commitments to live out our shared faith—active in love—in the struggle for equity and justice.

Please contact Deacon Lauren  with questions.  

Respectfully from ECLC’s 2023 Racial Justice Vision Committee,
Carla Carlson, Sarah Danielson, Adam Dehnel, Kirsten Horstman, Meggie Trenda, Mark Woell (Chair) 

ECLC Hosts Lutheran Social Service Advocacy Training

January 17, 2024

Did you know it’s a Lutheran value that advocating for fair and just government policies is one way we can serve and love our neighbor? ECLC strives to engage our members not only in volunteerism and financial gifts, but also in advocacy to change laws to reflect those inclusive values.

But, we know advocacy can be intimidating. So, ECLC’s EcoFaith, Indigenous Rights, Pre-Trial Fairness, and Racial Justice Vision committees are working together to help you feel more empowered to show up and advocate.

You are invited to a free Lutheran Social Service (LSS) Advocacy Training on Thursday, January 25th from 6:30-8:30pm. Hosted in ECLC’s fellowship hall, we are co-organizing this event with Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. 

LSS’ Advocacy Team will NOT be addressing particular justice issues, but rather will focus on how to effectively advocate at the local, state, and federal levels, offer tips for meeting with your legislator, reflect on advocacy through the lens of racial equity, and offer time to role play a legislator meeting. 

This is a community event, so invite your friends to join you for a meaningful night to empower us all as faithful advocates. RSVPs are required to Deacon Lauren.

Summer 2024 with ECLC 

January 10, 2024

Just as we all flipped our calendars to 2024 and continue to get acclimated to this winter’s weather, we are beginning to prepare summer plans here at ECLC. There are a variety of opportunities for all ages to participate in this summer - check out the details below!  Reach out to Katie with any questions!

JAM Camp - Entering Grades K-5
JAM Camp is a four-day experience that attracts children and youth from across the Minneapolis metro area to engage in learning with art, music, and social justice topics.
Dates: June 24-27          Cost: $75/camper
Registration: March 1; link coming soon!

Lake Wapogasset Lutheran Bible Camps includes three campsites across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Camp Wapo is situated on Lake Wapogasset in Amery, Wisconsin and Wilderness Canoe Base sits in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. Spots for camp fill fast, so do not wait to register! If there are no remaining spots, complete your registration to join the waitlist. Remaining spots will open to the waitlist on February 16.

Wilderness Canoe Base Youth Trip - Finishing Grades 6-12
Organized groups of up to 9 people total will spend a week experiencing a transformative canoe journey through the Boundary Waters with an experienced guide and a complete set of all necessary supplies.
Dates: July 15-21           Cost: $550/camper
Registration: $100 non-refundable deposit due to ECLC by February 26; $450 due to ECLC by June 3

Camp Wapo Seeds Weekend - Finishing Grades 1-3
The perfect introduction to summer camp for our youngest campers, Seeds camp is filled with fun and safe opportunities to learn and grow.
Dates: August 2-4          Cost: $260/camper
Registration: Opens January 15 via lakewapo.org

Camp Wapo Weeklong - Finishing Grades 4-9
An action-packed week of fun activities and new friendships that will stretch campers to new heights of joy and growth.
Dates: August 4-9          Cost: $650/camper
Registration: Opens January 15 via lakewapo.org

Camp Wapo Roots Weeklong - Finishing Grades 10-12
Grow in faith and leadership through a weeklong camp experience where you will work with younger campers and learn leadership skills.
Dates: August 4-9          Cost: $650/camper
Registration: Opens January 15 via lakewapo.org

Blessing of the Quilts

January 3, 2024

This week we will be blessing 45 quilts to be sent to Lutheran World Relief as a tangible expression of our love for neighbors in need. LWR distributed its first quilts in 1945 to families in war-torn Europe following the Second World War. Today, an average of 300,000 quilts are given worldwide each year.  No matter where the quilts go, people use them for warmth as bedding, simple tents or floor coverings. 

Where do the quilts go? 
In 2022 LWR quilts were distributed to:

  • Africa – 45%
  • Europe and Middle East – 41% 
  • Central and South America – 14% 

It costs $2.25 to ship each quilt from the LWR warehouse to their final destination.  You’ll have an opportunity Sunday to help cover that cost to speed these quilts on their way.

Where do the quilts come from?
Every other Friday a group of 12-18 ECLC volunteers come together to pool their time and talents to create quilts.  This group has been meeting for 20 years - see the ECLC quilter book in the library for more history. In addition to the LWR quilts, we also produce quilts for 66 West so each young person has a quilt for their bed that they can keep when they leave the program. We also make quilts for babies and children who are being baptized at ECLC. All kids are invited to bring a baptism quilt to worship Sunday for a photo with the quilters as we remember how God’s love in baptism holds us daily.

How are the quilts made?
Volunteers (AKA textile artists) in the group select fabrics that complement one another and create the beautifully patterned tops of the quilts, sewing them in their homes.  The larger group adds the backing and fill and pins them together. We then tie the knots to bind the surfaces of the quilt together before another volunteer takes it home to secure the edges and give each quilt a “quality check”. 

Where do the fabric and other materials come from?
Most fabric is donated while some materials are purchased to ensure consistency and a quality final product.  Some fabric is second hand, including sheets used for quilt backings, etc. 

Interested in quilting?
All are welcome!  If you can operate a safety pin or tie a knot you can join the quilters!

--Ronna V., ECLC Mission Partner Liaison for Lutheran World Relief

ECLC’s Pre-Trial Fairness Team 

December 27, 2023

Our cash bail system in Minnesota results in thousands of people held in jail for weeks and months while still presumed innocent. The judge sets bail for them and if they can’t pay, they sit in jail before trial. They risk losing jobs, housing, even custody of their children. 

As people of God we are called to advocate for justice. We, the ECLC Pre-Trial Fairness Team, work with our mission partner, Minnesota Freedom Fund, which believes that wealth should never determine who is kept in jail before trial. Together we work to reform a system in which the price of freedom is unjust, often for our black and brown siblings. 

Join us between services on Sunday, Jan. 7, to hear ECLC members’ first-hand accounts of court-watching in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties. Bail hearings and first court appearances can provide a glimpse into the justice issues associated with pre-trial detention. 

For more information from ECLC’s  Pre-Trial Fairness team, head to https://www.eclc.org/pretrial-fairness 

SAVE THE DATE!  Special Guest Sunday, January 21 

December 6, 2023

Please mark your calendar for a very special ECLC Community Enrichment experience with Angela Two Stars, the artist we have commissioned to create and install a public art piece behind the church building near Minnehaha Creek. Angela is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and was born and raised on the Lake Traverse reservation in South Dakota. During Community Enrichment and again after the 11:00 service, Angela will invite us into interactive activities to help develop the themes for her public art piece. Please join us in this creative process!  Here are the dragonfly illustrations shared on January 21st. 

75th Anniversary Events

November 15, 2023

Join us for a service of Holy Communion on Wednesday, November 15 at 7PM. During this evening liturgy, we will offer space to name the pain and harm of our life together into the sacred space of confession. We will also open our hearts to the power of God’s unconditional forgiveness. We will open our hands to receive the gift of Christ’s acceptance, and our mouths to sing praise for God’s eternal gift of new life.

Join with other ECLC members in the Creekside room or on Zoom to learn about the ELCA Indian Boarding School Initiative: Truth Seeking and Truth Telling on Thursday, November 16 at 7PM. 

Then please join us on Sunday, November 19 at 9 or 11 AM for our festive worship service. Rev. Ann Svennungsen, Bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod and former ECLC pastor, will be our guest preacher. We will have a simple reception between services.  While this is the culmination of our Sacred Ground 75th anniversary season, it is the beginning of another 75 years of witness to love and justice at God's welcome table and in the world.

Faith Milestones 

October 25, 2023

Each year at ECLC, children and youth participate in various faith milestones that encourage the strengthening of their faith through education and building community with one another. On Reformation Sunday, October 29, students in 3rd grade and older will participate in their Bible faith milestone. Students will receive a Spark Bible from ECLC during the children’s message at the 9am and 11am worship services. 

Typically on Reformation Sunday, 9th grade students would participate in the Affirmation of Baptism faith milestone, otherwise known as the Rite of Confirmation. Because of the lingering impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and small class sizes, our current 9th grade students will affirm their baptism in October 2024. 

During this year of waiting, the 9th graders will engage in community building events, youth forum, and service-learning opportunities. It is a wonderful opportunity for our confirmation students to continue building relationships with one another.

We are thrilled to recognize our elementary students as they receive their Bibles on Sunday and look forward to continuing celebrating our 9th grade students as they await their time to affirm their baptismal promises. We hope you’ll join us in commemorating these faith milestones for so many children and youth at ECLC!

Service for Truth and Healing - Nov. 15

October 18, 2023

Join us for a service of Holy Communion on Wednesday, November 15 at 7 p.m. During this evening liturgy, we will offer space to name the pain and harm of our life together into the sacred space of confession. We will also open our hearts to the power of God’s unconditional forgiveness. We will open our hands to receive the gift of Christ’s acceptance, and our mouths to sing praise for God’s eternal gift of new life. 

As we prepare for the culminating worship services (9 a.m. and 11 a.m.) to observe the congregation’s 75th Anniversary on Sunday, November 19, we are aware that life in community requires more than celebration. A truthful look at our history reveals pain as well as causes for rejoicing; this is true of any community and it is true of ECLC. Some of that pain has been personal. Feelings have been hurt, harm done, voices silenced, gifts unrecognized, and more. Other pain has been caused by our participation in a culture and systems of oppression through the years and still today. For example, research done as part of our observance this fall revealed that the land the church is on originally had a racial covenant attached forbidding it to be sold to anyone other than a person of the Caucasian race. This is just one example, and certainly there are others as well.  

Just as we observe a season of reflection and repentance in Lent before the great joy of Easter, this special service added to our 75th Anniversary calendar of events is intended to help us prepare to worship in great joy on the Sunday morning following.  

With gratitude for our life together,
Pastor Jeff and Pastor Anna

Introducing This Year’s Mission & Ministry Partner Liaisons 

October 11, 2023

As a congregation, we seek love and justice at God’s welcome table and in the world, often through our Mission and Ministry Partners! This Sunday, 21 Liaisons will be blessed in worship for their year of service committed to connecting ECLC and a Mission & Ministry Partner. Please offer prayers of thanksgiving for these ECLCers serving in this leadership role! 


Avenues for Youth; Cate S.

Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative; Lois O.

Bright Stars of Bethlehem; Gary G.

Community Emergency Service; Linda S.

Every Meal; Erika L.

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries; Eric P.

Household and Outside Maintenance for Elders; Jim O.

Interfaith Coalition on Immigration; Ginny G.

Loaves & Fishes; Tom D.

Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service; Connie A.

Lutheran World Relief; Ronna V.

Meals on Wheels Edina; Jen S.

Minnesota Freedom Fund; Rita L.

Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light; Diann C.

National Alliance on Mental Illness MN; Fern P.

ReconcilingWorks; Teresa T. 


Cristo de Paz; Eileen S.

Redeemer Lutheran Church; Lynda T.

St. Paul’s Lutheran; Deb & Steve J.

This year, the Minneapolis Area Synod will also have an official Liaison, Mark V. As a congregation committed to raising awareness of our role within the larger Church, including as part of the Minneapolis Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we hope this new role will elevate our congregation’s commitment to the broader Church.

Also this year, our relationship with both Protect Minnesota and VEAP will operate outside of the Mission Partner structure. While we continue to believe deeply in their ministry and will continue to lift up occasional opportunities of support including Birthday Bags for VEAP this month, the Mission Committee determined our current level of relationship did not fit well within this structure.  

As we continue to evolve as a congregation committed to justice, the Mission Committee is also evolving in how we talk about these connections. We recognized the difference in relationship with our sibling congregations and synod office from our non-profit partners. We felt a distinct name would help honor that difference. This year, instead of Mission Partners, we have Mission & Ministry Partners! Mission Partners are non-profit partners; Ministry Partners are sibling congregations and the Minneapolis Area Synod. 

We give thanks for the evolving of faith and justice within ECLC and the world and pray God’s blessing upon the year ahead. If you have questions or would like to consider joining the Mission Committee, contact Deacon Lauren. 

Special Guest Sunday 

October 4, 2023

Sunday's Guest Preacher Brenda Blackhawk (Hocak) is the Director of Communications at Central Lutheran Church and the former Racial Justice Organizer of the Minneapolis Area Synod. She grew up in both the Native American Church and the Lutheran Church. She is currently on the ELCA’s Doctrine of Discovery Task Force, the MN Council of Churches’ Reparations team, and the Human Rights Commission of the City of Brooklyn Park. Brenda enjoys spending time with her family, singing, beading, and dancing at powwow. 

Community Enrichment Time:  Brenda Blackhawk will also lead Community Enrichment with her presentation: “From Indigenous History to Indigenous Future” Often times, when people think about Indigenous Americans, they think about the past. In contrast, for many Indigenous people, we are praying for the future of our peoples. Let’s spend time talking about what a just and equitable future looks like for Indigenous Americans (and all U.S. Americans).

Adult Faith Formation – Fall 2023

September 27, 2023

The Adult Faith Formation Team has collaborated with the Anniversary Study and Story Team to plan a varied and engaging program for the fall. The center of this planning is our Community Enrichment time on Sunday morning between services. Other mid-week offerings will be highlighted in upcoming editions of the E-news. 

October 1: A panel of members will speak about their unique family histories with the land and the personal choices they're making as they live out their baptismal promises to "serve all people" and "strive for justice and peace in all the earth" in the shadow of the profound injustices that mark the story of our relationship with Indigenous Nations. 

October 8: Indigenous leader, Brenda Blackhawk, will be with us to preach and lead Community Enrichment. Read this article by Brenda from the January 3 edition of Living Lutheran: A journey to reparation - Living Lutheran

October 15:  Rostered staff will provide an introduction to the ELCA’s Truth and Healing Movement, in Fellowship Hall. 

October 22: All members and ages will gather to decorate and assemble Children’s Birthday bags for VEAP in Fellowship Hall.

October 29: Reformation Day. Pastor Jeff will lead reflections on baptismal promises and personal statements of faith, in the Sanctuary. 

November 5: ECLC Member Stories and Reflections with video clips, in Fellowship Hall.

November 12: Guest indigenous leader, Noya Woodrich, Minnesota Department of Health Child and Family Health Division Director will be here to speak to the health and well-being of Minnesota’s children, particularly Indigenous children, in the Sanctuary.

November 19: No Community Enrichment as we celebrate the 75th Anniversary in special worship services.

House Churches

September 20, 2023

In a world where community can be elusive, I am so grateful to get to witness the many ways ECLC builds community with one another. One experiment that surprised us all with the deep relationships that have formed?  House Churches!

House Churches are ECLC small groups formed for community building in a spiritual setting.  Meeting just one hour per month from October-June, HCs follow a simple conversation template and explore new topics, build connections, and support one another.  Low commitment, high impact.  You can see this year’s options here.

Most HCs are open to all, but we've also noticed that some HCs have organically and meaningfully formed around a particular interest or demographic (such as Parents of Teens or Anti-Racism)...so we're offering those this year, too.  

See your weekly enews for the link to sign up. Because HCs start the week of October 8th, groups without interest will be eliminated after this Sunday…so don’t hesitate to sign up now.

Whether you’re new to ECLC and hoping to connect more deeply, want to explore your faith in a new way, or are hoping to expand your ECLC circle, I wonder might God have in store for you through a House Church?  

Deacon Lauren

ECLC’S 75th Anniversary

September 13, 2023

Our 75th Anniversary worship will be seasoned by the Sacred Ground theme. We will begin with a baptism in worship on Sunday, September 17th, remembering together that baptism is our public welcome into the household of God. In the midst of Beloved Community, we tell the stories that impact our lives and our world. We'll reflect in a litany each week on some of those stories--ones we know, but also ones that have waited in the margins to be told, particularly of our Indigenous neighbors and predecessors. Beginning at Reformation, we'll remind ourselves of the promises made on our behalf at baptism and, in our concluding service November 19, we'll all affirm our baptisms together, a spiritually sacred ground for our next 75 years!

During the start of the anniversary season, we look forward to offering a prayer of thanksgiving for a variety of leaders within the congregation. If you are a former or current rostered leader, congregational president, member of the Council of Ministers, or have volunteered with children, youth, and family ministries at any time, please see the schedule below so you’ll know when we will give thanks for your ministry to ECLC.

  • September 17: Rostered Leaders
  • September 24: Congregational Presidents
  • October 1: Council of Ministers Members
  • October 8: Sunday School Teachers, Confirmation Mentors and Leaders

Watch your email for exciting announcements for our rich fall schedule and our grateful thanksgiving for your generous gifts surpassing our goal of $7500.

Children, Youth, and Family Ministries

September 6, 2023

Children, Youth, and Family Ministries will be in full swing in just a few weeks. We can’t wait to be back with our friends each week and look forward to hearing about their summer and new school year. Check out what’s happening and how to get involved! 

September 10:  Join us in worship at 10am for a special backpack blessing during the children’s message. Kindergarteners will also receive a special shout out to recognize their newest adventure of starting school! Special backpack tags will be available from Katie after worship.

September 20: Confirmation kicks off with orientation at 6:30pm. Students in grades 6-9 are invited to bring a parent to hear about the newly formatted schedule and opportunities to learn, volunteer, and grow in faith and relationships. Confirmation will meet Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30pm during the program year. 

September 24:  Our first day of Sunday School and Youth Forum begin at 10am on the lower level. Students aged 3 years old through 5th grade should meet in Room 4/5 for a large group gathering before heading to their classrooms. Youth Forum is a time for grades 6-12 to join together in community to share devotions, volunteer, and learn about ECLC’s mission partners.  Gather between worship services in the youth room (which is currently undergoing a refresh!!). Pop in when you can! 

October 1: Our youngest friends (ages 0-3) are invited to join our Lambs class! This group meets on the first and third Sundays of each month in the nursery for a time of stories, songs, and meeting new friends. 

Volunteers are still needed in a variety of ways - from Sunday School and leading music, joining our confirmation students and youth each week, and even helping prepare crafts and other materials from week to week. Interested in learning more? Contact Katie with questions! 

We hope to see you soon! 
Katie and Pastor Anna

ECLC Fall Happenings

August 30, 2023

ECLC moves into a special fall with a series of events and opportunities to observe our 75th Anniversary. To accommodate special programming including our free community meal on September 17, we will continue having one service at 10 a.m. on September 10 and 17. We are preparing for overflow seating, and please be prepared for those two Sundays to park further away from the building than you might normally, especially if you don’t have any trouble walking; leave the spots closer to the building for others. Our usual fall schedule will begin on September 24 with services at 9 and 11, with the 9 a.m. service being livestreamed. We are eager to celebrate the journey of faith and justice.

ECLC’s Bible Study meets on Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. in the Creekside Room and via Zoom throughout the program year. The conversation draws up themes from the Gospel readings for the coming Sunday, making connections to our lives in meaningful ways that create community and widen our perspectives. If you want to be on the list to receive updates, news, reminders, and cancellations pertaining to the Bible Study, please contact Pastor Jeff. (Signing up for updates isn’t an obligation to attend.) Our first Bible Study after our summer break will be Thursday, September 7 at 10 a.m. 

A Day in the Life of the Children, Youth, and Family Ministry Team

August 23, 2023

The CYF (Children, Youth, and Family) Ministry Team are a group of adults and youth of all ages, with the common mission of making ECLC a welcoming place of learning and love for all of our young people! Volunteering with the children and youth of ECLC can mean many things: planning curriculum and activities behind-the-scenes, teaching and leading small groups of kids, creating art and playing games, or even going on trips. 

Mostly, a CYF volunteer at ECLC is someone who is deliberate about showing up for the young people of our congregation - learning their names, asking them about themselves, and making it clear to them they are loved unconditionally both by their Creator and by the people in this building! There are so many ways to show up for our children and youth - serving on our committee (we meet quarterly), volunteering with Sunday School or Confirmation, assisting at JAM Camp, being a Lenten Mentor to a youth, or just attending an all-ages event at ECLC! 

We give witness to love and justice for our young people, and they give witness to love and justice for us. This relationship can be incredibly rewarding and make a profound difference - in both directions! The CYF Ministry Team welcomes you to join us and find a way to plug into the energy of our young people! 

Submitted by Sarah I.

A Day in the Life of House Church 

August 16, 2023

Do you ever feel as though you’d like to get to know others in our congregation better? Maybe you are newer and would love a way to spend time with other members. Or you’ve been a member for a while but would like to get to know other members better.

Being in community is one of my favorite things but it’s more challenging with our busy lives. I decided that committing an hour a month was a good way to start. I signed up for an online House Church group and found a peace-filled and spiritually fulfilling way to spend time with others in our church community.

I love how we begin with a prayer and lighting a candle, if we have one handy. I also love how Pastor Anna, Pastor Jeff, and Deacon Lauren make it so easy by providing us content to read, digest and use as a launching point. If we choose to use it. Sometimes we become so involved in sharing our stories that the content is left to the end of our time. 

You can even choose to be a facilitator. As the facilitator it is my pleasure to ensure that everyone has a chance to share and to keep things moving. Mostly I have the honor of listening to and sharing with some great people that I have come to know much better than I could have imagined.

Sometimes I approached House Church day exhausted but found myself renewed and spiritually fed by my community. I’m looking forward to meeting with my House Church again this fall because of the peace and love I receive. If you are looking to build spiritual community within our congregation, I highly recommend joining a House Church. It’s a small time commitment but offers great rewards!

Submitted by Julie C.


This year, ECLC will offer general House Churches for community gathering as well as House Churches based on common affinities, interests, or life-stages. We seek your ideas!  If you’d like to connect with other ECLCers based on a common affinity (such as LGBT, retirees, parents of teens, anti-racism commitments, and more) email Deacon Lauren to share your idea so we can include it and schedule it according to your schedule.  All House Churches begin in October, so help us create the schedule now. 

A Day in the Life of ECLC’s Bible Study 

August 9, 2023

ECLC’s Bible Study meets September-May at 10am on Thursday mornings. It is open to anyone curious about exploring scripture and faith together.

Bible study at ECLC combines small group contact, study, prayer, and information. It is flexible depending on leaders and people in attendance. The focus is usually on the texts that are appointed for the Sunday service, but there is lots of variety. As a participant, I don’t know what the Pastors are going to show up with, I don't know if I will read the text beforehand (probably not). I don’t know who is on my heart...I just decide to come.

The thing that rings my chimes is knowing people and their stories. Bible Study offers that to me. 

Submitted by Ammie G.

A Day in the Life of the ECLC Band

 August 2, 2023

I’ve heard it said that “music is what feelings sound like.”  The ECLC band is the heartbeat of the congregation, moving the Word from head to heart, bringing the liturgy to life and people together.  

Being in the ECLC band is a blast (pun intended)!  I am lucky to have been a member for many years, playing flute and more recently, bass guitar.  Paul Andress gives members opportunities to hone old skills and develop new ones in a supportive and accepting space with mentorship and guidance.

There are so many talented musicians, I learn something new each time I play.  You might catch a music theory lesson from Paul, learn a cool new bassline from Matt, get an education about equipment as you marvel at someone’s new instrument or expand your repertoire when you hear a colleague’s musical offering.

We practice an hour before church starts.  There is a lot of laughter, levity and camaraderie.  Paul really keeps us on our toes!  He has been known to write new music for me during rehearsal or an early part of the service to play on the spot.  A few weeks ago, we needed more music to round out a section of the service so he signaled that we should follow him and we did, playing without charts or even knowing what key we were in!  Now that’s faith!  

It is an honor, a pleasure, a joy and an exciting and welcome challenge to serve ECLC in this way.  I am so grateful! 

Submitted by Sara M.

A Day in the Life of the Adult Choir 

July 26, 2023

A day in the life of a choir member always starts with an invitation from our fearless director, Melissa Bergstrom, usually accompanied by the song list and a funny choir-themed rewrite of a popular song, such as this one from this last choir season: 

Said Melissa to the singers dear:
Do you hear what I hear? (Do you hear what I hear?)
A song, a song, at church on Christmas night
Join in all this goodness and light!

With our mission to “make a joyful noise”, the laugh you experience when reading this week’s choir invitation is characteristic of this fun group. Practices, usually on Wednesdays at 7pm during choir season, are equal parts music and camaraderie. Each of us has different ranges and experience levels, but Melissa fits us together like a beautiful patchwork quilt of voices. She makes the music accessible for everyone no matter how difficult a musical score might be. And take it from someone who doesn’t read sheet music well—you don’t have to read music to sing. 

Choir sings on assigned Sundays during choir season and sometimes randomly during the off season; it’s easy to participate because it’s not a year-long commitment, just a few weeks at a time. We don’t wear choir robes, but we do make sure to coordinate our outfits (such as floral prints on Easter or that random Sunday we all wore plaid). While the outfits and the laughter are fun, the best part of choir at ECLC is the music. As Elton John said, singing in harmony with a choir is “the most life-affirming experience”. I have rarely felt closer to God than when I join my voice with others in choir. And this is one of the best choirs I’ve ever been a part of. Contact Melissa to get on the mailing list. I look forward to singing with you!

Submitted by Jennie S.

A Day in the Life of ECLC’s Finance Committee

July 19, 2023

ECLC’s Finance Committee aims to be thoughtful stewards of the funds that are contributed to our church each year.  We’re a group of ECLC members – with and without backgrounds in accounting or finance – who work with the Treasurer and the Finance Director/Business Administrator to monitor the financial health of our congregation.

Since the pandemic began, our meetings have occurred every month or two via Zoom. We review the annual budget and pay close attention to trends in funds contributed and funds spent.  We work to ensure that ECLC can continue to fulfill our commitments to our church staff, our mission partners, our congregation’s faith journey, and our community.  As we’ve run into budget crunches along the way, our committee has made recommendations to the Council that are financially responsible while maintaining the best interests of our community as a whole.  We also love to dream big about what we can do as a congregation once our beautiful building’s mortgage is paid off!

One of the most important things I’ve learned in my time on the Finance Committee is just how important every dollar contributed is to the congregation.  Our church’s annual budget is carefully built each year, and every dollar we each pledge as members is thoughtfully allocated to live out ECLC’s mission. 

Every member of the Finance Committee desires to communicate valuable information about our congregation’s financial health to all ECLC members. We know that financial reporting can be confusing and it’s not always the most exciting side of church community.  But we’d love for every member of ECLC to embrace the finances so we can grow our impact of our congregation’s commitment to love and justice for years to come.
Submitted by Anna R.

A Day in the Life of the Nominating Committee

July 12, 2023

The work of the Nominating Committee is most visible at ECLC’s Annual Meeting. A slate of candidates for congregational officers, ministers of various committees, and membership in various committees is presented to the congregation for a vote.

For several months beforehand, the Nominating Committee meets to discuss what gifts and skills are needed for each vacant position, and who among our congregational members exhibits such gifts. It is really a sense of calling people into leadership roles in which their gifts can be used effectively within this congregation. Suggestions for possible candidates are solicited from members, the Council, committee leadership, and the staff. We also consider other aspects that will make our leadership diverse. Those we contact are asked to prayerfully consider taking on the role. The Ministers have dual functions: oversight of their area of ministry and membership on the Council of Ministers.

We know the decisions we make impact the future of ECLC and the direction the congregation heads. We also know that the lives of the persons nominated will be changed by the work they will do. This feels like a sacred challenge for both the Nominating Committee and those who accept a nomination.

The congregational president chairs this committee with four at-large members elected by the congregation. Ultimately, the congregation makes the final decisions about electing leadership. We hope that the thoughtfulness of our work helps this process along. 

Submitted by Janet T.

A Day in the Life of the ECLC Gardeners

July 5, 2023 

The Garden Team gathers to care for the ECLC gardens. Behind the scenes, we enjoy learning about native plants and how to encourage pollinators to stop by ECLC. You might see us gathering on a Sunday after worship, coffee cups in hand, to see how the plants are coming along, and to enjoy the pollinators. Right now, there are eggs (likely American Lady butterfly) wrapped in a webby blanket on the pearly everlasting. When we swap out our coffee cups for garden tools to nurture the garden, we also nurture our own relationships, sharing our joys and challenges, and supporting each other along our own journey.

The ECLC garden is a place of abundance! The bountiful seed harvest from last fall (columbine and big-leaved aster) was gathered and used for winter sowing. This summer, seedlings were transplanted in a public area of habitat improvement. ECLC’s pollinator habitat is being spread far and wide! The plant labels we’ve added to the garden help share the ministry of Care for Creation message with neighbors.

On a more personal note, gardening for me is a calming renewal activity that helps me not only slow down, but also feel more connected to the Earth and Creation. Through the actions of digging, planting with purpose, watering, and observing garden critters, I feel as though I am continuing a process of nurturing:  as God nurtures me through the Creation, I give back and express love through gardening. Please join the garden team on the journey of wonder and rejoicing in all of God’s creation!   

Barb P.

A Day in the Life of the Writer’s Group

June 28, 2023

The purpose of our group is to bring the various creative minds of ECLC together to collaborate on creative projects and learn about new subjects. 

Most members of our group would not consider themselves writers, but just curious about writing. So if you’re curious about writing too, you don’t need to do anything else to join us!

Behind the scenes, some of us meet every month to decide what subject our next gathering should be about. We choose one or two members who are experts in the subject and work together to develop lessons and activities for everyone to participate in!

My favorite thing about this group is how after every meeting, people share how they’ve tried out the new ideas we talked about. As soon as we’ve finished our lessons on different types of writing, everyone jumps at the chance to show off that they can now do it to!  To learn more, contact Jim or Madelyn.

A Day in the Life of the Altar Committee: A Ministry of Preparation

June 21, 2023

Have you ever noticed that the sanctuary is clean and ready for worship every week?  Do you wonder who arranges all the spring plants for Easter and the poinsettias for Christmas services?

This is the responsibility of the volunteers of the Altar Committee.  Each week one of the volunteers faithfully serves in the peace and quiet of the sanctuary to prepare for that week’s service.  It is sacred work serving our entire congregation.

The Altar Committee is a ministry of preparation.  Furniture is dusted, candles are replaced in the candle screen, water is refreshed in the baptismal font, communion napkins are laundered, and, if necessary, the paraments are changed all to prepare for worship each Sunday.  The holy days and special services such as baptisms and funerals require additional responsibilities.  Yet there is great satisfaction and joy in tending to every detail of preparation to ensure a seamless worship service.  It is no wonder that the three current volunteers, Vicki Holm, Sara Severson, and Donna Beatty, have a combined 46 years of service with this ministry!

Our congregation witnesses to love and justice at God’s welcome table and the volunteers of the altar committee have the privilege of preparing our worship space including the welcome table.  If you enjoy service that is behind the scenes and fulfilling, we invite you to join us in this sacred work.

A Day in the Life of the Personnel Committee

June 14, 2023

ECLC’s Personnel Committee is made up of six members – five at large and the Congregation’s Vice President – and its main charge is to support the church staff. We live this out by providing support, recognition, and appreciation for the church staff members. The Committee provides recognition and thank yous for staff members at important milestones such as their anniversary date with ECLC. In addition, the committee maintains the church’s employee handbook and grievance procedures. We are also the first line of review for compensation and benefits for our staff each year.

In effect, the Committee is charged with balancing two principles: making sure the employees of ECLC are treated like the beloved brothers and sisters in Christ that they are, and also maintaining policies that allow for growth, fairness, and accountability in the day-to-day operations of the church as a workplace. 

The values of the church and the committee are borne out when we meet to discuss issues like staff compensation, benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and the like. It is heartening to see the committee members working to be both good stewards of the money available to the church while also making sure we are taking care of our staff members as well as possible – putting ourselves in their shoes and considering how our decisions will impact our staff. And now that the pandemic is over, we plan to spend more time focusing on recognition and appreciation of our staff that provides so much for our community.

Thank you to our staff and thank you to the ECLC community for your support of the Personnel Committee and the work we do!

Behind the Scenes (or “Seams”) of the ECLC Quilters!

June 7, 2023

The ECLC quilters meet every two weeks in the fellowship hall at church from 12 to 3pm. All are welcome — we can teach you how to tie knots and layer and pin quilts! We gather for a bag lunch from 12-1pm (with plenty of delicious treats to share), then we pin, layer and tie quilts for two hours with a break at 2:00 for our business meeting. We are a fun, supportive and friendly group and enjoy meeting new people, whether they attend regularly or stop by occasionally. 

We make quilts for babies to celebrate baptism, quilts for each resident of 66 West, quilts for immigrants to Minnesota, and quilts for Lutheran World Relief for refugees around the globe. Refugees may use quilts for warmth, to carry possessions, as room dividers or as floor mats. We sew our quilts with compassion and loving concern for the recipients, hoping that our creations provide a beacon of hope as well as warmth to those in need. Though we rarely meet the recipients of our quilts, we pray for the well-being of refugees and that they feel God’s abiding love. We recently learned that many of our quilts made in 2021 arrived in Haiti following the earthquake in August of that year. Quilt tops are usually sewn at home, then we layer and tie them at church before finishing the edges at home. We will get together this Friday, June 9 for our regular meeting and to display our finished quilts for a blessing this Sunday. Please visit if you are able!

Update:  ECLC’s Racial Justice Journey

May 24, 2023

Striving to be an anti-racist congregation is challenging work – and ECLCers are working hard to meet the challenge in bold new ways.

Several ECLC committees and teams are independently discussing goals for justice and inclusivity in their work. Now these groups are coming together to share ideas and opportunities for collaboration around racism, whiteness, anti-racism, and social justice issues through the new Racial Justice Vision Committee’s (RJVC) Quarterly Forums. 

The RJVC was formed in July 2019. The Quarterly Forums, launched in February 2023, are an innovation that provide a safe space for frank and high-energy discussions that can lead to greater awareness and engagement focused on ECLC’s commitment to racial justice both at church and in the broader community. We work collectively -- and step forward to find ways to commit to anti-racism as individuals in our daily lives.

Imagine the potential in merging EcoFaith justice work with our Children, Youth, and Families programs! The Mission Committee’s priorities with Adult Faith Formation! Cash Bail, Immigration Reform, Indigenous Rights, Vigil Task Force, and others! Envision the potential! These were just some of the topics discussed at our May gathering. ECLC’s committees and groups work on behalf of all ECLCers. But, consider how you can connect to anti-racism as an individual as you go about your week. Enjoy BIPOC-owned restaurants and shops. Write elected officials on issues of affordable housing, childcare, health care access, and the range of barriers that must be dismantled to help achieve quality of life for all, especially for our black and brown siblings.

The RJVC can strive to inspire our congregation through its racial justice journey.  And, what a multiplier effect we achieve when we add our individual efforts!

For more information, contact Mark W., RJVC Chair, or Deacon Lauren. 

ECLC’s CYF Volunteers Go Above and Beyond!

May 17, 2023

As a community of faith, we are called to live out the promises we make at baptism, and one of the ways we do that together is by serving in a variety of roles that help teach, support, and equip ECLC’s children and youth as they grow in relationship with God and with one another and live out their faith in the world. This Sunday, we will give thanks and celebrate all the people who have accompanied our children, youth, and families in Sunday School and Confirmation this year—serving as teachers, small group leaders, mentors, and more. 

We were reminded last Sunday the importance of all these volunteers when the first and second grade class discovered two baby bunnies that were trapped in the window well. Katie found another parent to help and they quickly rescued the bunnies and released them into the woods. Alleluia!  

Join us between services on Sunday for cookies and help us say THANK YOU to the fabulous volunteers at ECLC! 

Sacred Ground: ECLC's 75th Anniversary

May 10, 2023

(On) the evening of September 23, (1948) a group of people met in the basement hall of the new Edina parsonage and organized the Edina Community Lutheran Church. Thus was launched a new congregation in our district. May it grow in strength and in grace, and may it assist souls into the Kingdom of our God. The district as well as synod is helping in the venture. (from the 53rd Annual Convention of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church Yearbook, June 21-26, 1949).

With both celebration and humility, this fall ECLC will recognize the 75th anniversary of the founding of our congregation. 

Save these dates! First, enjoy an outdoor meal on Sunday, September 17 after worship. Then, on Sunday, November 19 there will be a festive worship service.  There will be many opportunities to be involved between those two dates as well—from learning our history, to sharing stories, to intergenerational activities. 

The theme, Sacred Ground, refers to a history that began long before the formation of our congregation. We can think back to Moses in the book of Exodus when God appeared to him in the burning bush, saying, “You are standing on holy ground.” This was when God gave Moses a vision for people free from oppression and called him to be a leader in their liberation. How are we likewise called to be leaders of liberation? 

The theme also invites our reflection on the people who originally stewarded the land on which our church building stands, learning about their history and the history of colonization more broadly. How can we begin to heal and restore right relationships as we look to the future? 

If you’d like to be involved in planning these events, please reach out to Karen B. or Dick P. through the church office.

Update from Council of Ministers’ President, Peter Horstman

May 3, 2023

Great things are happening at ECLC right now! Here are some things our community has accomplished recently.  

We are: 

  • Welcoming many new visitors to Sunday services
  • Preparing for another summer JAM camp 
  • Clearing our property of buckthorn and seeding with wildflowers. 
  • Starting construction on a retaining wall at the back of the church that will allow us to build a scatter garden. 
  • Supporting the child care center as they prepare to build a small playground. 
  • Planning to celebrate ECLC 75th anniversary in the fall. 
  • Working to increase the hours of the Children Youth and Family Staff position from 3/4th to full-time to deepen our commitment to the younger members of our community. 

All of our mission and justice work, as well as ministry to each other, is only possible through the many volunteer hours and financial support from all of you.

  • Our ongoing capital campaign “See What Yes Can Do” has over $1.1 million pledged. 
  • Our “Deep Roots” stewardship drive set a record of over one million dollars pledged, and that allowed us to bring a balanced budget forward at the annual meeting in February.

We continue to have challenges in front of us. 

  • Our budget is balanced for the year, but giving tends to decrease in the summer months, while monthly expenses like staff salaries stay the same.  As a result, we are anticipating that cash reserves will run low by the end of the summer. 
  • Additionally, our giving over the past couple of months has been lower than expected. Being just one year into the capital campaign means that we have realized only a portion of the benefit of the money that has been pledged to reduce our mortgage expense. We will see more of that benefit in future years, but this year is still a challenging one. 
  • As reported last week, we do not have easy choices for reducing our expenses and will be deferring our contribution to the Synod until later in the year, and borrowing a portion of our mortgage expense from available the capital campaign funds.  

Our community has a 75-year tradition of doing great things. I have faith that we can meet our challenges. If we can meet or exceed our giving targets in the summer months, then these management measures will no longer be needed. 

I humbly ask you to be intentional about your giving as we approach this summer. If you have the means to do so, this may mean increasing your giving and/or paying pledges early.