April 2011 Newsletter Feed My Starving Children – Grand Marais and Cook County Congratulations to everyone who has been contributing to the Feed My Starving Children mission for Grand Marais. Last fall we announced that we were seeking to raise $19,000.00 in order to pack 100,000 meals and that seemed to such a high goal. Now we have gone over the monetary goal and the day of packing is getting close. Way to go Bethlehem and Evangelical Free Church youth! You have inspired the community to get behind this project. And along the way we have enjoyed wonderful opportunities to share this project through pancake breakfasts, chili cook-offs, meals, youth gatherings, games, and Bible studies. We have come together for a great project in raising the money, next we will come together to actually pack the meals. Recently Mark Crea, executive director of FMSC sent out a request to all packing sites to increase our packing goals by one pallet of meals equaling 7,128 meals, at an additional cost of $1,710.00. They are asking this because they committed 600,000 meals to Japan to help in the aftermath of their earthquake disaster. Many people have wondered how can we help – here is the opportunity. We have already topped our money goal, we certainly will accomplish our increased packing goal with ease. Throughout the project I believe we have all been blessed and we have learned much. I want to just share one of the experiences that felt like a great learning experience as well as a fund raising exercise. We held a Feed My Starving Children dinner on March 2. Most of the attendees were the middle schoolers of Bethlehem and St. John’s as well as their adult mentors. It was a great collaboration. We wanted to offer a meal that would replicate the meals we will pack on May 21 for the Feed My Starving Children project. We spent $49.96 for the rice, vegetable protein, and dried vegetables at the Co-Op and we received $447.00 in donations. I personally and publicly want to thank Bev Wolke and Virginia Palmer for a tremendous effort. Because of them we got the meal ready on time. There are many more to thank - you are all such a blessing. One thing many participants at the dinner said is how impressed they were that the meal recipe is actually a very good tasting meal. Sometimes we think of packages of dried foods being sent overseas as somehow being a tasteless bulk enterprise. This process helped us experience the meal we will be sending, appreciate the love and care the FMSC organization has put into this, and even take pride in providing good food. Now it is time for us to encourage one another to volunteer on the Feed My Starving Children Packing Day – May 21. Perhaps your circle or Bible study, maybe your scout group of book group, how about lions and lionesses, consider a baseball team and a softball team, how about co-workers or friends, there are so many ways you could sign up with friends to make the packing day not only worthwhile but also enjoyable. Remember to plan for the day of packing on May 21. Reserve your time. You only need to volunteer for two hours that day, but you can give more. Right now you could be thinking of inspiring your group to take on a shift. Talk it up at school and at work. The shifts are 10:00 – 12:00; 12:30 – 2:30; 3:00 – 5:00; 5:30 – 7:30. You can sign up with Pastor Mark, Caleb White, or Pastor Kris Garey any time, just call. At Bethlehem we will have the laptop available for online registering each Sunday. Or you can go online yourself at: http://volunteer.fmsc.org/Register/mobilepack/event.aspx?event=1105-36 Blessings to you all. Pastor Mark Lay School of Theology Webcasts The Next Lay School of Theology class will be held on Tuesday evenings, March 29 – April 26, at 7:00 p.m. “Paul: Pastor at Large” taught by Dr. Sarah Henrich, Professor of New Testament. You will remember Dr. Henrich from the Women’s Retreat at North House last year. She was very well received by all. Do join us in the fellowship hall as we get to know Paul, the pastor at large to the Mediterranean world. Paul’s letters are the earliest documents we have about how faith in Jesus renews and changes the lives of real people. First Communion Classes will be offered Wednesdays in Lent. The classes began on March 16 and are offered each Wednesday at 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. This class is for our fifth graders and any other children whose parents feel it is the right time for them to begin receiving Holy Communion. Please talk with Pastor Mark about your child entering this class. We will plan on celebrating First Communion on Maundy Thursday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. Webpage News Our webpage has two addresses. Last month we directed you to www.blc4christ.org. Now you may access our site with www.sharingchrist.org. You will notice that the site is building and already includes many things. This newsletter itself can be accessed through our website. You will find information about our regular services, and special programs. If you want to submit news to our website please use the contact information you will find there. Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. That will get your information to Jim Ringquist, who is managing our website. Lenten Worship Services will continue in April on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. We will be using the Holden Evening Prayer liturgy. Thanks to Mark Abrahamson for being our cantor at the Wednesday services and Karina Roth as our pianist and cantor. A soup supper will be offered for the entire congregation at 5:30 p.m. Confirmation students come at the regular time to have supper at 5:00 p.m. and get into classes by 5:30 p.m. We still need meal providers for April 6 and 13. Maundy Thursday, (Holy Thursday) service will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 21. Our first communion students for this year are invited to make this holy day a special celebration as they take the Sacrament of Holy Communion for the first time. Good Friday at Bethlehem will be observed with the traditional service of Tenebrae at 3:30 p.m. The Community Cross Walk on Good Friday at 6:00 p.m. will follow the traditional route through town. Join us on this holy week tradition. The Community Good Friday service will be held at Cornerstone Community Church at 7:00 p.m. The Rev. Mary Ellen Ashcroft will be preaching. Easter Festival Services will be offered at 6:30 a.m. and at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, April 24. There will be an Easter Breakfast offered as a fundraiser for youth ministry programming. All youth are invited to help on Saturday, April 23rd at 10:00 a.m. to set up. Senior High Ministry Pizza lunch on the first Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. Pizza provided by Sven and Ole’s. Join us for a time to connect, share schedules, and a brief devotion. In April because of Spring break we will actually have this pizza lunch on April 13. Senior High Bible Study on Wednesdays at 5:30 after the 5:00 p.m. supper. In April we will watch and discuss a DVD presentation of Paul in Rome: Ancient Truth for Today’s Culture. Sunday Evening Worship on the Fourth Sunday On March 27th at 5:00 p.m. we held a service to launch a new outreach and worship mission. The youth worship band, Stalemate, with Maria Nickolay, Katrina Axtell, Daniel Ditmanson, Alex Ditmanson, Bjorn Johnson, Abby Sutton, and Jamie Ryan led the worshippers in great music. Joey Chmelik handled the power-point media with photos by Nathan Kristenson, Mark Youngdahl led in the liturgy, which Stacey Hawkins put together, and Duane Ege managed the sound board, and said he wants to train in one or more of the youth to become regular techs on hand. It was a great collaboration in Jesus name! The music was inspiring and we all caught a vision of what this service will become as we add more participants and welcome a broader contribution of ideas, and offerings of time and talent. Praise God for the energy we saw that night. Now, we want to invite you all to the next Fourth Sunday Evening worship service. This will be announced in our website, on Facebook, by e-mail and regular mail in our newsletter and in bulletins. Come and bring your friends. Peer Ministry Camp June 12-15, 2011 at Camp Onamia for grades 9-12. This is a great opportunity to get trained in a ministry that helps youth become helping and healing ministers for each other. Space is limited to 50 participants from around the Northeast Minnesota Synod. The cost is $125.00 if registration is postmarked on or before April 15. Let Pastor Mark know as soon as you can. Starting this month we need to begin laying the foundation for a successful National E.L.C.A. Youth Gathering. The next gathering will be in New Orleans, LA with a service project in Biloxi, MS, July 13-23, 2012. We need adults who will commit to take the journey with the youth, attend an informational meeting May 15 in Duluth, and participate in 7 on-line trainings. Please consider being one of the adult volunteers and then talk to Pastor Mark and sign up. Strikepoint, directed by Bill Alexander returns for a concert Thursday, June 16 at 7:00 p.m. A $10.00 donation is suggested. Proceeds will help Strikepoint cover traveling expenses for their New England tour. Strikepoint is a church-based handbell ensemble. Strikepoint rings 76 bells, 85 chimes, 25 silver melody bells, 36 Petit and Fritzen handbells, and other instruments including percussion, trumpet, clarinet, viola, snare drum, flute, horn, pennywhistle and a gong. This will be a fantastic concert you won’t want to miss. A Strikepoint concert is a fast paced, high energy, rollicking good time. Palm Sunday Evening Concert The first ever Spring Concert of the Borealis Chorale (a.k.a. The Community Christmas Choir) will be held on Palm Sunday, April 17, at 7:00 p.m. Music of Holy Week and Easter will feature the "Requiem" of John Rutter--a large work for choir and orchestra that has become the most popular Requiem setting performed today. Also in the program will be some of the Easter portions of Handel's "Messiah," and several anthems with Lent/Easter themes. Joining us will be Jannell Lemire (Harp) of the Duluth Symphony, along with two other D.S.S.O players. A free-will offering will be taken to help defray expenses. Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to celebrate the Easter season!