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
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!
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:
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 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.
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)
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.
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
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:
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
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 .
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
MISSION PARTNER LIAISONS:
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.
MINISTRY PARTNER LIAISONS FOR OUR SIBLING CONGREGRATIONS:
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.
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).
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.
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?
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.
Watch your email for exciting announcements for our rich fall schedule and our grateful thanksgiving for your generous gifts surpassing our goal of $7500.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
May 3, 2023
Great things are happening at ECLC right now! Here are some things our community has accomplished recently.
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.
We continue to have challenges in front of us.
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.
April 26, 2023
God’s transformational relationship with us is exemplified in the promise of Easter. We seek to reflect this transformational relationship year-round with ECLC’s 21 Mission Partners. Led by our 21 Mission Partner Liaisons, ECLCers engage in serving with, learning about, advocating for, praying on, and giving to our 21 partners and their justice work.
Here’s just one way each of our Mission Partners and ECLC have engaged so far in the 22-23 program year.
Avenues for Youth: Collected donations to purchase items from Holiday wish lists for youth
Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative: ECLC folks rallied at the MN capitol, so every Minnesotan has a home
Bright Stars of Bethlehem: University textbooks purchased by donations delivered to University in Palestine
Community Emergency Service: ECLC volunteers pack grocery bags for homebound neighbors once a month
Cristo de Paz: About 100 ECLC households funded 75 K-12 scholarships and 9 university scholarships
Every Meal: ECLC delivers meals once a week to students and families who are experiencing food insecurity
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries: Sharing LGBTQIA+ Lutheran pastors’ and deacons’ stories through social media
Housing and Outside Maintenance for Elders: Shared the Christmas Offering and added to our volunteer numbers
Interfaith Coalition on Immigration: Hosted ICOM in our building for anti-racism workshop series
Loaves and Fishes: Served approximately 200 meals every other month at Holy Rosary Church
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service: Wrote dozens of cards for immigrants in detention over the holidays
Lutheran World Relief: Hosted a learning session for ECLC’s quilters with local LWR staff
Meals on Wheels: ECLC’s team engages hands-on 3 times a week to help bring nutritious meals to people needing assistance.
Minnesota Freedom Fund: Hosted the January ECLC Anti-Racism vigil and marched to France Ave to honor the 9 minutes of George Floyd’s murder.
Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light: Attended Rise and Repair Rally and legislative visits at the Capitol.
National Alliance on Mental Illness MN: Raised over $2000 walking as a team in NAMI Walks
Protect Minnesota: Organized a program about what this organization does - working with the MN legislators, etc
ReconcilingWorks: Publicized ECLC’s updated RIC Welcome Statement via new prominently displayed poster and on website
Redeemer Lutheran Church & Redeemer Center for Life: Raised $ for Xmas store, provide 2 carloads monthly of diapers and wipes for Northside
St. Paul’s/San Pablo Lutheran Church: Participated in their Candlemas service that included the traditional meal of Tamales that ECLC supported
VEAP: Assembled 101 Birthday Party Bags for VEAP food shelf at an intergenerational event
April 19, 2023
This week, we gather to say goodbye and thank you to our departing Director of Finance & Administration, Kienan Mick, with a coffee and treat celebration for all this Thursday at 11am in ECLC’s Fellowship Hall. Please join us as we wish him well!
As he departs, we will carry on the thoughtful and intentional purchasing decisions Kienan has led our congregation through. These decisions are both a reflection of ECLC’s anti-racist and justice-focused values and a powerful model for the decisions we make in our own, personal purchasing lives.
Throughout his time, Kienan has sought out BIPOC owned businesses for ECLC’s various needs. ECLC recently hired a Hispanic-owned small business to deep-clean ECLC’s kitchen every two weeks. ECLC contracted with Chef Jeff, a Black-owned business, for catering for the capital campaign event.
At times, the struggle to find a BIPOC owned business to contract with reflected the systemic racism prevalent in our community. Despite significant research, a BIPOC owned business for the outdoor project was unable to be found and there were a disproportionately low number of BIPOC capital appeal consultants. Those we contacted declined to participate.
Other times, ECLC considered a variety of values when making purchasing decisions. When seeking out new bids for snow removal, ECLC intentionally sought a BIPOC-owned company. However, they were unable to remove trace amounts of snow or guarantee removal before worship, endangering our low-mobility worshippers. Meanwhile, our long-time vendor became salt-safe certified to meet our Ecofaith values.
As we continue to make intentional purchasing decisions as a faith community, we invite you to ask these questions in your personal purchasing. What values guide who you buy from? Who is impacted by your purchasing decisions?