TLC 2021 – Pastor’s Report

19 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)

The verse from Isaiah 43 is my annual report thread. The structure for the report is our church council’s goals for 2021. I hope to give an overview of how God continues to do something new through and with the congregation of Trinity Lutheran, Nampa.

Plan for a Safe Return: Our Covid Task Force and Church Council have continued to balance our physical, mental, and spiritual health in their discussions and decision making. The work has felt both heavy and holy. It has been a gift to share this work. In the end, return may not have been the best word. We have not so much returned to what we had but started writing a brand-new chapter together.

Worship Weekly: Our leadership is grateful for the congregation’s flexibility and openness. We started with small groups in the sanctuary, moved to occasional worship on the patio, then came inside when it got too hot and covid numbers went down. You adapted at every step, and we continued to hear the Word of God and offer prayers and praises. We streamed the whole time and now both our streaming and sound system are vastly improved. I want to again thank Bryce Quarve for leading those improvements and for training our tech team. I also want to thank our Worship Altar Guild and Music Team for their ideas, guidance, and work. One silver-lining of the pandemic, evidenced at Ashes on the Go, Pet Blessing, and Longest Night, is that we like worshiping outdoors, at least for special occasions. 

Financial Stability: Thank you for continuing to give financially. I am grateful that we were able to take away barriers to giving and for the way our congregation responded. This year we also undertook some important transitions in personnel. After many years as Treasurer, Lloyd Kellar began passing the baton to Karissa Armbrust. Peggy Miller was our Financial Secretary for several years and when she stepped down, the position was filled by Kristina Radke. Thanks to all four of these individuals for their service: past, present, and future.

Communication and Connectedness: When I consider how we remained connected in this unusual year, I remember the work of our Gospel and Growth Team (connecting us to one another), Church in Community Team (connecting us to our community), and Office Administrator Bob Cola (keeping communication flowing between the office, congregation, and larger community). I also think of the countless phone calls made and cards sent by all of you. These will never be recorded, but they made a huge difference in people’s lives and in our collective spirit. Thank you.

What’s Next: I am a little shy about making grand predictions after the last two years. And yet, I am personally looking forward to taking the tape off the pews, taking seven youth to the ELCA Youth Gathering in Minneapolis in July, continuing to teach and preach, welcoming new guests and members, welcoming new colleagues to serve in our cluster congregations, and discovering with you what the Holy Spirit is calling us into next.

Pastor Meggan Manlove

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TLC 2021 – Stewardship

STEWARDSHIP  

 In 2021 we welcomed Brandon Ziemer as a new member to the team and Sarah Henthorn as Church Council liaison. While Stewardship is so much more than just the period each fall when a church asks its members to make financial commitments, we did, of course, conduct a “fall financial campaign”. We created a six-minute video presentation which was posted to the church website, with links emailed to members. It was also shown in the Koinonia Room after church on several Sundays, allowing those without internet to view it. Here is a link to this video:  https://bit.ly/TLCFall21   We are so grateful to the 38 households which, in these uncertain times, committed to give $101,020.00 in 2022. We also appreciate the households which do not pledge but always give faithfully. As a follow up on giving, we are grateful to Tammy Torrey for asking us to share something Bob had written in 2005; this inspiring story about Trinity member Effie Richmond was the December 18th entry in the Advent Daily Devotional booklet. You can re-read this in your booklet or watch it on YouTube.  

https://bit.ly/BobEffieDevo

Yet “stewardship” is much bigger than the pledge drive. The broader perspective is this: Christians acknowledge that all we are and have are gifts from God. This concept permeates our daily decisions about how we use our time, what we do with our stuff, how we care for our bodies and our world, and how we share our giftedness (both within our church and in the world beyond the narthex doors.) “Year-Round-Stewardship” is how Trinity addresses stewardship in daily life. For example, living with uncertainty is hard on our bodies and on our minds; this ripples into our relationships at home and in the community. Realizing this, we spent several months encouraging people to take breaks from the stress of uncertainty. We asked people, by engaging their five senses, to transport themselves to places of calm, if only for a few moments at a time. We encouraged using physical activity or meditation (or whatever made sense to the individual) to return to what is positive and life-giving. 

We also celebrated the generosity of our member, supporting fundraisers such as God’s Global Barnyard (ELCA World Hunger) and Idaho Gives (Trinity Community Gardens, Learning Peace: A Camp for Kids, and Luther Heights Bible Camp) in the spring, the yard sale (National Youth Gathering in Minneapolis) in the summer, and Avenues for Hope (Trinity New Hope housing) in the winter. 

With in-person worship resuming in June, the need for volunteers was immediate. We asked people to complete “time and talent sheets”, and 52 people responded, providing us with names of those willing to help in a variety of ways. 

Advent Conspiracy was highlighted twice in 2021. In April, we encouraged people to start working on Christmas projects early. In November, the tenets of Give More, Spend Less, Worship Fully and Love All were incorporated into Zoom chats with Pastor and Adult Forum. August was all about our stewardship of youth. We highlighted the school supplies collected for Duck Valley students, our Sunday School, Luther Heights Bible Camp, and the upcoming ELCA National Youth Gathering.

We continue to encourage people to give in a variety of ways, including through practices we found helpful while not worshiping in person and “dropping an envelope in the offering plate” was not possible. These other ways included online giving, using your bank’s bill-pay system, mailing checks to the church, and qualified charitable donations from IRAs. At present, we have about 30 households using one of these methods.    

Phil Cronk, Sarah Henthorn, Penelope Smith, Brandon Ziemer

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TLC 2021 – Covid Task Force

The Task Force [Sharon Jones, Kim Mills, Steve Ward, Jeff Henderson, Randy Miller and Pastor Meggan] have met monthly during 2021 to review and discuss developments in the Corona virus pandemic.  After each review, the task force has provided information & recommendations to the Council on how Trinity might respond to safeguard the members and staff.

The Covid Task Force hopes that we will, during the Season after Epiphany 2022, reduce more of our Covid protocols. First up, we will be taking down the tape in the pews and returning to our normal Holy Communion practice around the altar. We are looking for the Positive Test Rate in Canyon County to get to 5% and stay there or drop further. The final step will be taking off masks during worship. As we have said before, we are guided by neighbor love and the desire to be any small part of keeping the curve flat so as not to overwhelm our healthcare systems.

CDC *             7-day Metrics І 7-day Percent Change                as of January 5, 2022

Community Transmission   • High

                                                                                    Canyon                      Ada

Cases                                                                         653 І 74.13%            1453 І 41.62%

Case Rate per 100,000                                           284.10 І NA               301.71 І NA

% Positivity                                                                22.46 % І 7.84%       23.06 % І 7.15%

Deaths                                                                       < 10 І -25%               < 10 І -37.5%

New Hospital Admissions                                       15 І -6.25%               62 І 40.91%

Guidance from Wisconsin Council of Churches

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view?list_select_state=Idaho&data-type=Risk&list_select_county=16027

Jeff Henderson

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TLC 2021 – Mutual Ministry & Property

MUTUAL MINISTRY

The Mutual Ministry committee met regularly during 2021 to review the ministries within the congregation, evaluate goals, and address concerns.  This happens in a safe and confidential environment.  The committee also discusses Pastor’s plans for continuing education for the coming year as well as the needs of the congregation. Committee members for 2021 were Jerry Armbrust (congregational vice president), Sharon Jones, Tammy Torrey, and Steve Ward.

Tammy Torrey

PROPERTY COMMITTEE

New Roof complete. Hall ceiling fix, one square just need to be replaced.  South door locks changed and fixed. New speaker system and video installed. Thanks to Bryce Quarve and David Sheriff.     The Hansons, they planted a Sensation Maple by the Garden in Klayton Hanson’s name. We planted a Spring Snow Crabapple (non-fruit bearing) by the S. East corner of the lawn. The heating and cooling system is a work in progress. Lloyd has found a great tech that has been servicing them for us.   

I want to apologize no being around this past year.  Between the farm and helping take care of my mom.  That is all I got done this year.  After mom passed.  I have been sick. Therefore, I have been staying away. I am so appreciative to Darrell and Peggy Miller, Jerry Armburst, Lloyd and Judy Keller.  Pastor and Bob for support.   Of course the congregation for making everything possible.  Borrowing from Sharon Jones.  “I LOVE THIS CHURCH!” 

Tom Friddle

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TLC 2021 – Christian Ed and Youth

CHRISTIAN ED AND YOUTH

Sunday School for you youth remained cancelled due to the pandemic for winter and spring 2021. We did have a wonderful Tuesday evening (Holy Week) with families decorating Easter Eggs and then delivering baskets to members. We had Games and Crafts on the Lawn for families in early June. Sunday School in person did resume this fall. Thanks to Amanda, Tammy, and Larry for teaching our kids/youth. Kick-off Sunday School was intergenerational, and we plan to use that model two more times this schoolyear. 

Sunday Adult Forum met online for a few months early in the year and then took an extended break due worship logistics. In the fall we read Bill White’s In Over Our Heads: Meditations on Grace and then we spent a few weeks on the Advent Conspiracy. 

Monday Morning Study Group read/studied the following: Mark’s Gospel, Rozella White’s Love Big: The Power of Revolutionary Relationships to Heal the World, 1st and 2nd Samuel, Bishop Michael Curry’s Love is the Way, and Richard Rohr’s The Universal Christ.

Confirmation Co-op utilized Zoom meeting and Google Classroom for winter and spring 2021. We had one in-person event at Hope in early May to finish the year. This fall Confirmation Co-op has included Trinity, Hope, Immanuel, Redeemer, and King of Glory Lutheran Churches. We were excited to attend the fall retreat at Luther Heights, but it was cancelled due to the Jakes Gulch Fire. We have been able to meet monthly in person. Diane Irunkunda affirmed her baptism Reformation Sunday.

Luther Heights Bible Camp

Seven youth attended summer camp, including the new Leader in Training program. Cathy Winwood served on staff and Pastor Meggan helped with staff training and served one week as a resource pastor. A few more members enjoyed retreats in the fall before the camp was evacuated. 

Learning Peace: A Camp for Kids

A number of volunteers from Trinity helped staff Learning Peace: A Camp for Kids July 19-22 at the Hispanic Cultural Center (ages 6-13). We had around 80 campers. Next year’s camp will be a bit earlier in the summer: June 27-30.

Senior High Youth

We are getting ready for the ELCA Youth Gathering in Minneapolis, MN July 24-28. Last spring and this summer we had information sessions and we held a garage sale fundraiser. We had Getting Ready sessions at Pastor Meggan’s home in October and December, with three more scheduled for 2022.

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TLC 202 – Audit & Communications

AUDIT

Audit Committee:  Julie Ward (21), Emily Bentley (22), Tami Robinson (23)

The audit committee met several times from April to September and submitted their report to the council at the regular meeting in September. Overall, the books were in order and no major issues were found.  The data entry errors that were found were corrected and procedures were put in place to provide confirmation for each transaction. 

The committee recommended that the QuickBooks program should be updated regularly, starting now, so the Treasurer has the latest version to work with. As our Treasurer (Lloyd Kellar) is retiring from his position, we also recommended that the council review the Standard Operating Procedures for the financial officers and update them as needed for the current responsibilities for those who are taking on the treasurer’s duties.

The committee also recommended that an audit be conducted annually so the function of the committee becomes routine. It will help simplify the process for both the financial officers and the audit committee.

Tami Robinson

12-30-2021

COMMUNICATIONS

During the past two years, relevant communication has never been more important for our congregation.  Between our monthly newsletters, bulletins, emails, monthly congregational mailings, Zoom, and YouTube, we have tried to cover all of our bases in keeping everyone apprised of the goings-on at Trinity.  Sometimes it seems that we are inundated with information and that it may seem repetitive, but more information is always better than less during times like these. Maintaining the free flow of information is the primary objective of the Communications team.

Robert Cola

Office Manager 

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Jan. 16, 2022

Prayer of the Day

Lord God, source of every blessing, you showed forth your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son, who brought gladness and salvation to his people. Transform us by the Spirit of his love, that we may find our life together in him, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-5

1For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
  and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
 until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
  and her salvation like a burning torch.
2The nations shall see your vindication,
  and all the kings your glory;
 and you shall be called by a new name
  that the mouth of the Lord will give.
3You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
  and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
  and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
 but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
  and your land Married;
 for the Lord delights in you,
  and your land shall be married.
5For as a young man marries a young woman,
  so shall your builder marry you,
 and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
  so shall your God rejoice over you.

Psalm 36:5-10

5Your love, O Lord, reaches | to the heavens,
  and your faithfulness | to the clouds.
6Your righteousness is like the strong mountains, your justice like | the great deep;
  you save humankind and ani- | mals, O Lord. R
7How priceless is your | love, O God!
  All people take refuge under the shadow | of your wings.
8They feast upon the abundance | of your house;
  you give them drink from the river of | your delights.
9For with you is the | well of life,
  and in your light | we see light.
10Continue your lovingkindness to | those who know you,
  and your favor to those who are | true of heart.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
  4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

Wedding at Cana, Father Georges Sager, Keur Moussa Abbey, Keur Moussa, Senegal

John 2:1-11

1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

The Marriage in Cana, Anders Ericsson, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden

Sermon – Pastor Meggan Manlove

Christmas decorations have come down. Maybe people are always sad about how that changes the mood of a house, but I seem to have heard about the sadness more this year. Of course, we cannot have a festival like Christmas every day of every month of the year. Or we could but then we would have to call them something else. The joy around Christmas can in fact be part of our daily lives. That is clear in our text today. I love that Jesus’ first sign is not a healing, not an exorcism. There’s a problem with wedding festivities–an event already full of joy and celebration. What’s more, Jesus uses what was quite commonplace in first century Palestine-wine.

One scholar reminds us that the image of wine at a feast echoes “Wisdom’s Feast in the Old Testament. Jewish prophetic literature uses the marriage metaphor for God’s covenant with Israel, and the abundance of wine figures as an image of restoration in the culmination of all things. The abundance of wine and saving the good wine for last draws upon this imagery of hope for the end of time that is paired with hopes for a messiah.”

When the prophet Isaiah speaks of God’s promise to bring justice to all in the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel, he issues the invitation to enjoy wine without price. The invitation is accompanied by a declaration from God. God says that the word that goes out from Gods’ mouth will not return empty but will accomplish God’s purposes. 

In today’s text, wine continues to provide an epiphany. “Epiphany,” from the Greek word epiphaneia, means to manifest, show forth, or make clear. Epiphanies have a consistent role in the Judean-Christian tradition. God has revealed God’s self in a wide array of ways throughout the centuries. God wants us to know God because God loves us and wants to be in relationship with us. To recognize and know God through Jesus Christ is central to today’s gospel text.

God’s people have consistently needed to see God manifested in order to believe. So it is with today’s story. The wine has run out at a wedding banquet. The celebration could turn dry just like the wine did. What better way to show our own state of affairs than the image of wine running out? Watching the news and scrolling headlines for a week is enough to make one’s faith waver. Then there are all the ways our individual daily lives tire us. We cannot see God in ourselves or the people we interact with or even the natural world. Weariness blurs our senses and God does not seem to be present any how or anywhere. And yet God does keep showing up, made manifest.

God’s glory has manifested itself in many media and miracles from the natural world. In today’s story, God is revealed through wine—gallons of it. Jesus told the servants to fill six stone jars to the brim with water. The servants then took some of the wine to the chief steward who, after tasting it, called the bridegroom and said “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” The miracle revealed God’s glory.

The chief steward does not recognize Jesus as the source of the good wine. Or did he? We do not know what he thought. In the end, it is the servants who get a glimpse of Jesus’ glory. This first sign of Jesus’ glory is revealed to just a few. And it is not who we would expect. We might expect the groom or the bride to play a key role here, noticing how Jesus has saved their family from present and future shame. We might expect important guests to have inside information about where this good and abundant wine came from. But instead, it is the servants who get a peek at Jesus’ glory.

For those of us who have the canon of scripture, who might be familiar with the rest of the story, this is actually in God’s character. Again and again, God reveals Godself to the ordinary and the lowly and the marginalized–shepherds in the field, tax collectors, pharisees who come to him at night, a thief on the cross. God comes through the common and unexpected. 

That is partially what the Apostle Paul addresses in his letter to the Corinthians, our marvelous second lesson this morning. It is helpful to remember that Paul’s letter to Corinth is primarily about the common needs of the Christian community. Here is one criticism Paul lodges against the Corinthian congregation: their inability to live out the essential claim of a community founded in the Gospel of Jesus. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus unite every congregation of followers. Unity is for the sake of God’s mission in the world and for the building up of that particular community.

For Paul, spirituality involves the ongoing reality and work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Jesus’ followers. The problem in Corinth is that some spiritual elitists have really messed this up. They have regarded their gifts of the Spirit as making them superior to other members of the Community. Paul presents the proper and improper use of spiritual gifts. He emphasizes unified divine action. This empowers diverse human activity for the common good—the benefit of everyone. 

For me, the pairing of the Wedding of Cana text and the Corinthian passage on Spiritual Gifts is a brilliant one. God’s abundance of delicious wine, the vision of the festive wedding banquet, becomes accessible to all communities. God has also given us an abundance of spiritual gifts, enough to build life-giving communities wherever we are. 

Paul tells us that “there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.” He emphasizes both gifts and their origin, which is the Spirit. While there are many gifts, there is the same Spirit. The Spirit does not give only one kind of gift to all. The world needs diverse gifts and related works: “The utterance of wisdom,” “The utterance of knowledge,” “Faith,” “gifts of healing,” “the working of miracles,” “prophecy,” “the discernment of spirits.” But all these varieties of gifts come from the same Spirit, however diverse and different they may be. 

Paul would contend that the Spirit does not promote excessive individualism or elitism because those do not benefit the common good. In other words, they do not build up the whole community—whether that community be Trinity Lutheran, Nampa, or the United States. Gifts are not meant to be used for self-promotion or selfish reasons. Spiritual gifts must be used for strengthening the community by taking care of the weak and the despised in society. 

One pastor wrote, “Spiritual gifts are not for us, and therefore it is essential that we discern them and use them. Spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit, they are a way that the Holy Spirit flows through us into the world that God loves. By exercising our gifts, we put ourselves at the disposal of the Great Almighty to be used as God wishes. Nothing could be more humble. And God will use you. In fact, this is how God has designed us, with the capacity to know and love God and with unique gifts that God uses to bless the world and build up the church.” 

What this means is that all of us have to recognize other kinds of gifts in ourselves and one other. Then we are called to cooperate with one another for the common good. Martin Luther King Jr Weekend always makes me think of the great cloud of witnesses who all worked for the common good in their own way, people like Gandhi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Salvadoran Jesuit Bishop Oscar Romero, Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day, and yes Martin Luther King Jr. himself.

As we remember the contributions of these individuals, we do well to remember that none of them existed in vacuum. Each of the people I named had other people in their lives who supported, balanced, and strengthened them. I take great comfort in this, in knowing that my gifts are paired with your gifts for this big kingdom work we are called into as followers of Jesus Christ. 

It is simply too overwhelming on my own and yet the call is too important to dismiss. That the God of abundance, who turned water into wine and fed the multitude of 5,0000, has given us an abundance of gifts, can give us great hope. It also might give us courage and even a little tenacity, that in the face of so much brokenness, we can put one foot in front of the other, arm in arm, and actually bring some healing and wholeness to the world.

Today we give thanks for God in flesh made manifest, manifested by a star to magi in the east, manifest in the Jordan River at his baptism, turning water into wine at Cana in Galilee, giving us the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, helping us discern our own spiritual gifts for life today, using ordinary things like bread and wine still to nourish and sustain us.

Prayers of Intercession

The prayers are prepared locally for each occasion. The following examples may be adapted or used as appropriate.

The Spirit of the Lord is poured out upon us in abundance; so we are bold to pray for the church, the world, and all that God has made.

A brief silence.By your Spirit, activate within your church gifts of faith, healing, and prophecy. Unite those who profess your name across congregations, denominations, and geographic boundaries. Open our hearts to recognize and celebrate surprising miracles. God of grace,hear our prayer.

Your creation reflects your generosity. Bless farmers, migrant farmworkers, orchard-keepers, ranchers, and all who tend the abundance of the land. Protect food and water sources from destruction, that all can eat and drink and be satisfied. God of grace,hear our prayer.

By your Spirit, grant wisdom, knowledge, and discernment to those who hold leadership positions at any level. Direct policymakers toward compassionate decisions that build up safe and just communities. Lead all authorities in seeking and serving the common good. God of grace,hear our prayer.

As Jesus provided generously in a moment of need, provide generous gifts of healing for those in need this day (especially). Provide abundantly for all who are hungry or thirsty, all seeking shelter, and all who seek peace. God of grace,hear our prayer.

You see us for who we are and you delight in us. Embrace those struggling with self-worth, wrestling with self-identity, or facing significant life transition. Remind us that nothing can separate us from your love. God of grace,hear our prayer.

Here other intercessions may be offered.You bless us through the spiritual gifts of the saints who have gone before us. We give thanks for the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and all who have modeled the way of courageous faith (especially). God of grace,hear our prayer.

Since we have such great hope in your promises, O God, we lift these and all of our prayers to you in confidence and faith; through Jesus Christ our Savior.Amen.

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TLC 2021 – Worship and Music/Altar Guild

Worship and Music and Altar Guild work together throughout the liturgical year planning ways to integrate our worship services and worship space to allow members to fully experience God’s word.  

What a blessing.  As I sit down to reflect on the past year, we have just finished celebrating the second Sunday of Christmas.  Members of altar guild met today and took down the Christmas tree and other decorations to transition to Epiphany.  As I left the sanctuary, the Wise Men had traveled across the room to join Joseph, Mary and Jesus.  To think, one year ago, we couldn’t meet in person and the sanctuary was empty.  

Thank you to the Covid task force that assisted Council and all of our committees to find safe ways to continue to worship and learn safe protocols to slowly move our services back indoors.  We are still providing space with empty pew rows and requiring masks during worship.  We have also added all the liturgical components back into service as well as singing.  Candles, offering and communion may look a little different, but these important parts of our service are treasured after not having them for so long.  

In the midst of traditions, we always look for ways to include and acknowledge other special events.  Ashes on the Go brought visiting neighbors from the community and continues to grow each year.  A mix of indoor and outdoor worship carried us into summer where we returned to the sanctuary full time just in time for the heat of summer.  Gospel and Growth committee hosted a special service “Remember and Grieve” which was recorded and watched over 40 times after it premiered.  Our Pet Blessing included visiting members of the community, both 2 and 4 legged.  Expanded Advent brought glimpses of blue into the sanctuary and the return of midweek Advent soup suppers.  This all led up to our first “Longest Night” service with hot cider and firepits out on our patio. 

A special thank you to the AV team (and Bryce Quarve) for all of the time, training, and expertise learning to use our new sound system.  This has allowed us to continue to live stream worship services including our Mid Week Advent Holden Evening Prayer so friends both near and far can join us in spirit, if not in person.  It has also allowed us to record and stream outdoor worship services.  Last but not least, thank you to Di Seba who serves as our online greeter for these services.  

Here is hoping we continue to move forward towards our previous traditions.  Even if not quite as quickly as many of us would like.  This may mean finding a new normal or trying some new things . . . but for Trinity, this is what we do best.   

Kim Mills

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TLC 2021 – Church in Community

Community Garden:  Submitted by Sarah Henthorn

The Community Garden has experienced some problems this year with fungus/blight, interference with a large tree obstructing sunlight and poor turnout of workers.  They harvested 990 pounds and are looking at some reorganization items.

CROP Walk:  Submitted by Steve VanAtter

The Canyon County Crop Walk was an actual event this year.  It raised $7,019 which went to the Wilder Food Bank, Nampa Seventh Day Adventist and to the Caldwell Salvation Army Food Bank.  Thanks for your on-going contributions and participation.

Equal Exchange Coffee & Chocolate Sales:  Submitted by Renee VanAtter

Over the past Covid year, a few members took advantage of  ‘home delivery’ of Equal Exchange products.  Selling coffee after church services started up in June.  Christmas sales were slow.  Thanks for supporting farmers so they can make a living wage for their families and support people to get loans to start their own businesses.  Thanks for your purchases.

Food Pantry:  Submitted by Joyce Becht

We have a very well stocked pantry despite the fact we did not do any monthly food collections which we paired with Bible verses the previous year.  The pandemic has not slowed our collections.  We are so grateful for any in-kind donations as well as guidance from the Kellars and VanAtters who shop for the pantry for needed items, keep monthly inventory, and check expiration dates on all our supplies.  Pastor Meggan uses these resources to help low-income families.  Many thanks for helping to feed others in these desperate times.

Food Preservation Classes:  Submitted by Sarah Henthorn

No classes were offered due to the pandemic.  There was no way to properly provide social distancing.

Noisy Offerings:  Submitted by Joyce Becht

Thank you so very much for your ASTOUNDING contributions during the pandemic!  We had our third largest total since we started doing Noisy Offerings in 2015.  We had a tremendous total of $2,759.20!  Such gracious, giving hearts you have.  Thanks so much for your phenomenal support.  We always welcome your input as we continue to explore new programs along with our old favorites for the new year.

Service Projects:  Submitted by Joyce Becht

Souper Bowl of Caring.  February 7th you filled our baskets with cans of soup and other food which was added to our Food Pantry.  Thanks for thinking of others…”Feed my sheep”.

God’s Work, Our Hands.  September 12th we honored the hard-working staff at West Middle School by supplying treats for the staff.  Our Sunday School children as well as members of the congregation wrote thank you notes to all the individual staff.  The staff was so appreciative and consider us their neighborhood ally.  We continue to keep them and the students in our thoughts and prayers.  

Gloves/Hats/Mittens/Socks.  On November 28th were collected for the women and children at the Valley Women and Children’s Shelter and for the men at The Lighthouse Mission for Men which was restarted again late in the fall.  They all appreciate your very loving and warm donations.

Thanksgiving Food Boxes.  x 6 November 21st and Christmas Food Boxes x 6 December 19th. Again your donations of gift cards were superb!  Thanks for plucking the items from the turkey feathers and picking ornaments from the Christmas trees to donate items for the food boxes.  Steve and Renee VanAtter and Tim McHugh shopped for needed items.  Thanks to all the volunteers who participated in filling the boxes after services and helped deliver them.  We are so thankful for these willing volunteers.

Thrivent Project for Trinity New Hope. Totes x 16 December 12th.  The VanAtters applied for a Thrivent money card which they used to purchase fruit and granola bars which filled our totes along with Advent Devotionals and Christmas cards ad information about Trinity’s Advent and Christmas services.  Church in Community purchased the totes which were embroidered by Elizabeth Schnabel.  She volunteered her time and did beautiful designs.  We posted them on the walls for all to see.  We so appreciate her handiwork.  Our great volunteers helped assemble and deliver the goodie bags after church services.  We are so blessed with our volunteers and their gift of time and talents..

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TLC 2021 – Gospel and Growth

Sharing the Trinity Lutheran Church Annual Report online bit by bit was so well received last year, that we thought we would try it again. Between now and our Annual Meeting Jan. 30, I will post a number of reports here on my blog. We hope you enjoy learning about the life and ministry of Trinity Lutheran, Nampa.

GOSPEL AND GROWTH  

Gospel and Growth team’s role is to facilitate a focus on the gospel and to encourage growth at Trinity Lutheran.  Our thanks to all who participated in our four major projects in 2021.

God’s Global Barnyard spanned Ash Wednesday (2/17) to Pentecost (5/23). This was a fundraiser plus much, much more. We invited people into solidarity with those in need across the globe, into greater awareness of care for creation and local agriculture, and into joyfully gathering together in person. Cardboard collection boxes were distributed. We held “events” highlighting the different farm animals ELCA World Hunger provides through gifts like ours. March was Bee Month, with an informational station at the St Patrick’s Day open sanctuary. At outdoor worship on 3/28, Beth Rasgorshek spoke about pollinators, and we gave away bee-themed door prizes. April was Pig Month, with an outdoor social event called S’wine Swap. People brought Idaho agricultural products to the swap table, leaving with items that other people had brought. We played Barnyard Bingo trivia, gave door prizes, and everyone took home bee-friendly plant starts. May was Goat Month, with the finale outdoors on Pentecost Sunday; the collection boxes were turned in. Our thanks to the Kelly family for bringing 3 baby goats for us to enjoy, plus homemade caramels made from goat milk. Prizes were given to those bringing the heaviest boxes, the most artistically decorated boxes, plus some random door prizes. Over the several months we collected checks, paper money, PayPal donations, and 35# of coins (which went rogue in Lloyd Kellar’s car on the way to the bank!) for a grand total of $1,893.51 – this despite having no indoor worship services!!!  That’s nearly double what we collected in 2015 when the cause was hyped each Sunday during worship inside the sanctuary. As a way to visualize what our gifts have done, you could say that we gave 3 cows, 1 fish farm, 2 goats, 1 pig, & 13 chickens OR 1013 chicks & 44 honeybee colonies OR 63 pigs & 3 chicks. Such generosity!

Church CampOut was held July 30 – August 1 at the Ward property in Donnelley. It was attended by 29 campers of all ages from 11 households, plus 4 human guests and a doe who joined our Saturday night worship around the campfire. This worship was recorded and posted to YouTube, and watched by nearly 60 people.   https://bit.ly/TLCCampout21

Remember and Grieve Together on September 29th was a time to acknowledge and grieve the people and pets who have died, and to note other losses that bring us sorrow. People brought photographs and “reminder objects”; these were displayed on tables in the loft area. There was also a basket to collect our hand-written lists of other things we grieve. The sanctuary was open to “drop ins” before and after the brief service of readings and prayers. That service was later posted to YouTube https://bit.ly/RemGrieve21    If you have not yet watched it, please set aside some quiet time to do so.

Advent Daily Devotional Booklet has been an annual Trinity project for nearly a decade, with church members and friends writing in their own unique voices, sharing thoughts about Christmas and Advent. This year we had 28 entries. We printed 116 regular-sized hard copies of the booklet, 3 large print, and posted it to the church website so people could read it on their devices, including those living in other states. Thanks to Mary Braudrick for the lovely cover art, and to Pastor Meggan for reading the devotion for each day on Facebook. One reader (who is not a member) commented, “I love hearing the people’s stories……..it is people that seem to be just writing from their heart. So for me it is really comforting to read, because it helps hearing about what other people are going through, too.” 

Mary Braudrick, Tami Robinson, Penelope Smith

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