Advent Begins This Sunday!

November 22, 2023

Advent Festival: Join us this Sunday, November 26, for our annual Advent Festival. Between services, all are invited to different stations that will be set up throughout the church. There will be activities for all ages—service projects with mission partners, seasonal crafts, and more!

Midweek Worship: This Advent we will meet weekly on Wednesdays, November 29, December 6, 13, and 20 at 7pm for worship. In this season of preparation, we will explore how our waiting makes way for sacred ground, inviting members to share reflections on times of waiting in their own lives.

Soup Suppers: Before worship, join us for a soup supper beginning at 6pm. There will be time for conversation with one another and a few rounds of ECLC trivia as we continue to grow in community with one another. 

Thanksgiving Offering: As a community, we combine to make a gift in this season of gratitude.  This year’s Thanksgiving Offering will go to MIGIZI, a Minneapolis Native-led non-profit, to organize canoe trips in the Boundary Waters for urban American Indian youth. The youth will get to have a wilderness experience, just like ECLC youth.

75th Anniversary Events

November 15, 2023

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

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

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

6 Years of 66 West 

November 8, 2023

It feels like just yesterday that ECLC and neighboring congregations accompanied Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative at zoning meetings, neighborhood information nights, City Council meetings, and legislative lobby days in order to build the first supportive housing for homeless youth and young adults in Edina.  But, 66 West is currently celebrating 6 years of housing 39 formerly homeless 16-24 year olds and creating a community to find healing, shift from the survival mentality of homelessness, and to build self-reliance as adults.  

66 West offers a rich array of supportive services and daily community programming run by several long-term staff to help residents meet their goals, including equine therapy, an on-site music studio, cooking classes, and birthday and holiday meals. Beacon writes, “Data cannot fully capture the variety of strengths, skills, and interests that youth bring to the community as artists, poets, and leaders.”  Still, these updates provide a snapshot  from the past year: 

  • Most residents are referred by Oasis for Youth in Bloomington or MoveFwd in Hopkins and have ties to Edina and immediately surrounding suburbs
  • 100% of residents surveyed say they “always” feel safe in their home and that they would recommend 66 West to their friends.
  • 76% of residents have held a job, 74% have a high school diploma or GED, and 10% are enrolled in post-secondary education.
  • 87% of residents take advantage of services by a primary mental and/or physical health care provider.
  • 66 West identifies as a black and brown space; 92% of residents are youth of color, and all staff identify as Black or bi-racial, mirroring the resident population.
  • 24% of youth at 66 West self-identify as being part of LGBTQ+ communities.
  • 45% of youth are ages 18-19; and 52% are ages 20-24; the remainder are minors.
  • 55% have a disability, either apparent or not and represent a great diversity of abilities.
  • 39% are survivors of domestic/intimate partner violence.

Despite the asset-based community that 66 West has developed, the need across the metro remains largely unmet:  Rising rents have made it more challenging for residents to exit to stable housing Average length of stay has increased to nearly 3 years, and studies indicate at least 250-300 youth and young adults in Hennepin County remain homeless.  We continue to partner with Beacon to build supportive housing and advocate for justice housing policies and thank you for your continued support of residents through Rewards Closet and holiday gifts!   

All Saints Sunday

November 1, 2023

This Sunday we will observe the feast day of All Saints. Just prior to worship, during the prelude, you are invited to light a candle in memory of loved ones who have died. (If you worship online, you may want to have a candle nearby to light so you can participate this way as well.) We will recall God’s promises of eternal life and the hope of resurrection as we name those who have been baptized and those who have died in our community in the last year. We will call to mind and heart our own place in the community of saints, and give thanks for a faith that embraces all time and space. 

Faith Milestones 

October 25, 2023

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

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

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

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

Service for Truth and Healing - Nov. 15

October 18, 2023

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

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

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

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

Introducing This Year’s Mission & Ministry Partner Liaisons 

October 11, 2023

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


Avenues for Youth; Cate S.

Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative; Lois O.

Bright Stars of Bethlehem; Gary G.

Community Emergency Service; Linda S.

Every Meal; Erika L.

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries; Eric P.

Household and Outside Maintenance for Elders; Jim O.

Interfaith Coalition on Immigration; Ginny G.

Loaves & Fishes; Tom D.

Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service; Connie A.

Lutheran World Relief; Ronna V.

Meals on Wheels Edina; Jen S.

Minnesota Freedom Fund; Rita L.

Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light; Diann C.

National Alliance on Mental Illness MN; Fern P.

ReconcilingWorks; Teresa T. 


Cristo de Paz; Eileen S.

Redeemer Lutheran Church; Lynda T.

St. Paul’s Lutheran; Deb & Steve J.

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

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

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

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

Special Guest Sunday 

October 4, 2023

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

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

Adult Faith Formation – Fall 2023

September 27, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

House Churches

September 20, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

Deacon Lauren

ECLC’S 75th Anniversary

September 13, 2023

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

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

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

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

Children, Youth, and Family Ministries

September 6, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

We hope to see you soon! 
Katie and Pastor Anna

ECLC Fall Happenings

August 30, 2023

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

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

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

August 23, 2023

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

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

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

Submitted by Sarah I.

A Day in the Life of House Church 

August 16, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Julie C.


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

A Day in the Life of ECLC’s Bible Study 

August 9, 2023

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

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

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

Submitted by Ammie G.

A Day in the Life of the ECLC Band

 August 2, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Sara M.

A Day in the Life of the Adult Choir 

July 26, 2023

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Jennie S.

A Day in the Life of ECLC’s Finance Committee

July 19, 2023

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

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

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

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

A Day in the Life of the Nominating Committee

July 12, 2023

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Janet T.

A Day in the Life of the ECLC Gardeners

July 5, 2023 

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

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

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

Barb P.

A Day in the Life of the Writer’s Group

June 28, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

June 21, 2023

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

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

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

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

A Day in the Life of the Personnel Committee

June 14, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

June 7, 2023

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

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

Update:  ECLC’s Racial Justice Journey

May 24, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

ECLC’s CYF Volunteers Go Above and Beyond!

May 17, 2023

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

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

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

Sacred Ground: ECLC's 75th Anniversary

May 10, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update from Council of Ministers’ President, Peter Horstman

May 3, 2023

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

We are: 

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

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

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

We continue to have challenges in front of us. 

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

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

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

ECLC Mission Partners

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 

Practicing Our Values 

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?  

Business Administrator Search Update 

April 12, 2023

We are pleased to announce that we have found a wonderful candidate. John Anthony has accepted the position and he will start his work with us later this month.

When Kienan Mick, informed us of his resignation, the pastors with the Executive Committee moved quickly to fill this critical position. We initially began looking for a person to join us for an interim period, but immediately realized that if we found the right person who was ready to take on the permanent role, we would be wise to do so. The position was posted on the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Job Board, a central place for people seeking non-profit work in Minnesota. Keeping in mind our commitment to transparency and equity in hiring, we alerted the congregation and shared a link to the posting. 

John has had a successful career as a business owner, owning and operating Peterson Anthony Insurance Agency in Fairmont and Trimont Minnesota for 30 years along with his wife, Connie. They recently sold that business and moved to the Twin Cities to start a new chapter. John has expertise in the wide breadth of aspects of being the administrator of our church. He has dealt effectively with facilities, budgeting, cash flow, personnel, risk management, investments, and more. John shares a deep commitment to our congregation’s values of inclusion, equity, and anti-racism. His references described him as highly competent, caring, compassionate, and an exemplary community leader. He is highly motivated and enthused to bring his skills to our church life, a community that aligns with his values and personal commitments. 

John and Connie are members of ECLC. When asked how it would be to work for his own faith community, he said that operating a business in a small town has prepared him for this unique situation! 

Please welcome John and wish him well in his new role! His first day with us will be April 20.

Join us for Holy Week at ECLC

March 29, 2023

As we collectively remember the stories that shape our lives as people of faith, we trust that God’s promise to accompany us from death to life will inspire us, root us, and sustain us in the days ahead. 

Palm Sunday, April 2: 
8:50am (with livestream) and 10:50am on the front steps. Note early start!

The Triduum (The Great Three Days), April 6, 7, 8

Maundy Thursday, April 6 
5:45pm (child-centered worship) and 7:15pm (with livestream)

Good Friday, April 7 
5:45pm (child-centered worship) and 7:15pm (with livestream)

Easter Vigil, April 8 
6pm (with livestream)

Easter Sunday, April 9

8am, 9:30am (with livestream), and 11am

Gratitude & Godspeed

March 22, 2023

One of my favorite quotes comes from a book I read years ago called “Expecting Adam” by Martha Beck: “The meaning of life is not found in what happens to people but what happens between people”.  You have been a reminder of that truth. 

My heart is filled with gratitude for the blessing and privilege it’s been to serve with you: I’ve appreciated your openness to invite me into your stories; energized by your willingness to engage in conversation; relieved by your quick response to help me when I’ve asked; honored to lift up prayers on your behalf; delighted to work with your staff and reconnect with some friends from long ago. I give thanks for your rootedness in faith that inspires commitments to worship, serve your neighbor and work for justice. God has blessed this community with people of deep faith, strong leadership and talented staff. Praise God!

My last day in an official role will be Wednesday, March 22 but you may see me showing up with my husband sometime in the future. Pastor Jeff returns from sabbatical next week. We’ve prayed for him while he’s been gone so he’s never been far away. With Jeff’s return I look forward to seeing what new thing God seeks to accomplish in your shared ministry for the sake of the world. 

You are beloved and chosen people, rooted in the good news of Jesus Christ through whom God creates a new reality—a reality where strength is made perfect in weakness, peace is possible and hope lives. Thank you for your witness in the world!

Keeping you in my prayers and thankful for yours—

Pastor Mary Pechauer

ECLC Youth Happenings!

March 15, 2023

The past few months have been filled with excitement and new activities for the ECLC youth! Take a look at what they have been up to…
In January and February, we gathered together in the sanctuary for All Ages Sunday School. We learned about MLK Jr. and made posters for ECLC’s anti-racism vigil, and talked about who we can turn to when we feel overcome by worries and made worry stones. We had a true showing of all ages on both of these Sundays!
The Sunday School kids are gearing up for Holy Week and are excited to lead the Easter Vigil service! Through art, song, and story they will share various moments from Jesus’ life as we await His resurrection on Easter morning. We hope you’ll join us!
Last Friday, 3-5th graders gathered for a night of food and fun together. There was pizza and games, a movie and crafts, and, from the mouths of babes, “an old-fashioned gaming console” (a Nintendo Wii!) We hope to share another night with these youth in the coming months! 
Our confirmation youth have been busy as they began meeting with their mentors. Mentoring pairs meet each Wednesday during Lent for a time of conversation and relationship building. We are grateful for all who are currently serving as mentors and look forward to the final few weeks together!
We look forward to sharing this Friday evening with many of our youth and their families while decorating cookies together and playing bingo! Keep an eye out for more CYF events to come!
-Katie Hendrikson, Coordinator for Children, Youth, and Family Ministry

America's Original Sin: Coming to Terms with Race

March 8, 2023

Join ECLC’s spring Theologian in Residence, Professor Andrew Packman, as we explore race and antiblack racism throughout American life including ties to the Christian faith and American history.  Sign up for the 4 part zoom series held Monday nights from 7:00-8:30pm on March 13, 20, 27, & April 3. 

Developed with a theological lens in mind, the four sessions are focused on: 

  • Session 1 – Race as Idea, Institution, and Sin
  • Session 2 – Overt Racism: From Slavery to Civil Rights
  • Session 3 – Covert Racism: The Case of Housing in Chicago
  • Session 4 – Implicit Racism: Evil Lies Close at Hand

As Packman writes, "When race or racism comes up in conversation, where do things get stuck? What are the points of confusion or disagreement that prevent us from having more generative conversations? And what is it about the concept of "race" or the problem of "racism" that you personally find most mysterious?"   Sign up now for deep conversations within our faith community or email Deacon Lauren at if you are unable to add your name to the form.

We hope you will be present for Professor Packman as our guest preacher in worship on March 26th and for his series on The Roots of Social Justice beginning on April 17th. We look forward to a season of learning and reflecting with Professor Packman!   

Collecting VEAP’s Most Needed Items Throughout Lent 

March 1, 2023

The sting of inflation has led to unprecedented demand for our long-time Mission Partner and neighborhood food shelf, VEAP.  VEAP Is able to purchase many food items at discounted rates, but some items it simply does not have access to. To support their March Food Drive, ECLCers are invited to bring in VEAP’s Most Needed Items that VEAP cannot otherwise access. 

Between now and March 31st, drop off these needed items anytime and watch our baskets overflow. You can bring them anytime, but our children will highlight a specific item each week and we invite you to follow their lead:

March 1: toothpaste and shampoo. 
March 8: cooking oils.
March 15: toilet paper
March 22: gluten-free foods like white and brown rice.
March 29: whole grain cereal. 

Want to see the inside of VEAP’s huge warehouse in Bloomington? Volunteer in the food shelf sorting, shelving, and filling orders with a group of 5 ECLCers on Tuesday, March 28th from 2:15-5:00pm. RSVP with ECLC Mission Partner Liaison, Tom Madsen to join them.

As we continue the Lenten journey together, thank you for helping our neighbors on the journey towards food security and full access to healthy and abundant food!  

ECLC Border Immersion Trip

February 22, 2022

This El Paso mural captures the truth reinforced by our Border Immersion Trip at the beginning of February. Under "You Belong" the Spanish text reads "we are from here, we are from there." Ten ECLCers traveled to Texas to learn from the community of Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey, an ELCA congregation. Pastors Rose Mary and Juan were remarkable teachers for us and are servant pastors to the families and refugees in the area.  

Immersed in powerful stories from those with first-hand experience--escaping violence or poverty, crossing the dangerous Darien Gap between Columbia and Panama, being separated from family members, living in fear of being apprehended without documentation (even though it can take 10-20 years to enter the U.S. "the right way"), and of trauma they’ve endured--our heads were spinning trying to understand the dimensions of our immigration system. In each case, people reached safety through the compassion of organizations, churches, and individuals assisting them. It affirmed that we have a role to play.

Intermingled with the stories were visits to refugee shelters, observing criminal court (the "crimes" for all but one defendant were crossing the border without permission), going to the fence, meeting with a Border Patrol agent, meeting with a former Border Patrol agent who now runs a large El Paso refugee shelter, and talking with an immigration attorney. 

It was a transformational learning experience. We were inspired by the determination, resiliency, faith, love, and generous spirit of those we met. Even though “we are from here, we are from there,” it is clear that we all belong to each other, and we have a responsibility to care for our immigrant siblings and to work to change immigration policies. On Sunday, March 5, travelers will share trip experiences and photos during Community Enrichment.

What is prayer?   

February 15, 2023

While on a walking pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy, author Patricia Hampl made a list of words as she considered the question: What is prayer? Praise. Gratitude. Pleading. Cutting deals. Focus… The exercise moved her to a new understanding of prayer. “Fundamentally,” she wrote, “it is a position, a placement of oneself….prayer as focus is not a way of limiting what can be seen; it is a habit of attention brought to bear on all that is.”  

Prayer-- a habit of attention. As much as we might like the sound of that, we know prayer can be a difficult habit to keep. We are busy. Distracted. Maybe we’re not sure how to pray, feel stuck in a rut, or we wonder, what counts as prayer.

There is mystery to prayer and though we may not understand it fully, it has power to create change—in us and for others. It nurtures in us a healthy perspective. Through prayer we keep company with God. And when keeping company with God it’s not possible to live with any other perspective than God is God and we are not.

How might we grow in the practice of prayer as a community? Let’s be curious about this together. We’ll try some different approaches as part of worship in the coming weeks and invite you to stay open to the Spirit’s leading as our “roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love”. Eph 3:17.

Welcome to the 2023 Council of Ministers!

February 8, 2023

We are grateful to these individuals serving in various capacities on our Council of Ministers. We will bless this group in worship on Sunday, please join us in welcoming them.

Peter Horstman - President
Carrie Henning-Smith - Vice President
Kathy Krypel - Secretary
Whitney Hansen - Treasurer
Chris Johnson - Adult Faith Formation
Sarah Irwin - Children, Youth, and Family Faith Formation
Sarah Broich – Mission
Jonathan Flak – Properties
Rich Weaver – Shepherding
Linnea Huinker – Stewardship
Meredith Olson – Welcoming
Luis Martinez – Worship, Art, and Music

ECLC Annual Congregational Meeting

February 1, 2023

On Sunday we will hold the annual meeting of the congregation on Zoom. All ECLC members are encouraged to attend to approve the 2023 budget and elect leaders who will continue to move us forward in our mission. We will also give thanks together for the life of our church that sustains, inspires and encourages us as we give witness to love and justice at God’s welcome table and in the world. The meeting will begin at 2 pm on Sunday, February 5. The Annual Report, proposed Budget, Nominations, 2022 Meeting Minutes and other information can be found here: 2022 Annual Report | EDINA COMMUNITY LUTHERAN CHURCH (

 No need to sign up to attend, just show up! See you Sunday!

ECLC Announces Theologian in Residence

January 25, 2023

ECLC and Adult Faith Formation are thrilled to welcome Andrew Packman as our Theologian in Residence this Lent and Easter season.  Professor Packman will lead us in conversations at the intersection of faith and social justice, particularly with a focus on theologically grounded racial justice ministry.  We invite you to save the date now for these two faith formation series with him:  

Coming to Terms with Race: A Primer on America’s Original Sin: A 4-part Zoom series from 7:00-8:30pm on Mondays, March 13, 20, 27, and April 3.  

The Question of Justice: The Theological and Ethical Roots of Social Justice: A 4-part Zoom series from 7:00-8:30pm on Mondays, April 17, 24, and May 1, 8.

We also look forward to welcoming Packman in preaching in worship and for time with our confirmation and high school youth.  Please help us to welcome him as we celebrate all of the ways we will learn from him during this series.

Andrew Packman is visiting Assist. Professor of Theological Ethics & Practical Theology at United Theological Seminary. His scholarship explores the place of the affections in moral and religious life. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Packman has also served as a church planter in Chicago. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Sarah Rohde, and their two sons.

Summer Fun for ECLCers!

January 18, 2023

It’s a new year which means summer will be here before we know it! There are a variety of opportunities for all ages to be involved in camps and activities.

June 23-25: Youth finishing grades 1-3 will experience a place of grace, meet new friends, try new activities and grow closer to God at Camp Wapo in Amery, WI. 

August 6-11: Youth finishing grades 4 & 5 experience Camp Wapo for a week to grow in their faith and create memories that will last a lifetime! 

Camp Wapo Informational Meeting- January 23 at 6pm via Zoom. Register at: Seeds Weekend (finishing grades 1-3); Youth Weeklong (finishing grades 4 and 5).

July 17-23: Youth finishing grades 6-12 embark on a week-long trip from Wilderness Canoe Base into the Boundary Waters to reflect on God’s creation, strengthen faith, build teamwork, and come away with more confidence in themselves and in their group. 

Wilderness Canoe Base Information Meeting-January 29 in Creekside Room. 8am for the All Ages Intergenerational Camp. 10:10am for grades 6-12 Canoe Trips. 

June 26-29: JAM Camp is back! In collaboration with St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Redeemer Lutheran Church, and Christ River of Life, campers engage in activities surrounding topics of social justice, art, and music. The whole family can join in as volunteers are needed to serve as junior counselors (finishing 6th grade and older) and group leaders. Registration begins in Mid-March.  

July 20-23: A group of all ages will head north to the Wilderness Canoe Base to hike, paddle, explore, and spend time in God’s beautiful creation on the edge of the Boundary Waters. Info meeting on January 29.

Throughout the summer, there will be more opportunities for children, youth, and their families to engage with one another through family fun nights, service-learning days, and more! Contact Katie Hendrikson with any questions. 

Celebrating ECLC’s Capital Appeal Tithe

January 11, 2023

On December 20, the Indigenous Rights group was pleased to recommend to the ECLC Church Council the name of an organization to receive the fourth portion of ECLC’s Capital Campaign Tithe: The Native Land Tenure Foundation. Some may recognize this name as the presenters for ECLC’s Native Land Education series offered through adult education virtually last winter.

The Indigenous Rights group has come to see the theft of land as the core injustice shaping our relationship with Indigenous Peoples, and we are aware that this land theft continues today, through incursions like the Line 3 expansion at Standing Rock, and the complex laws that govern lands that Indigenous peoples “own.” For this reason, and because ILTF is invested in the long work of returning their homelands to Indigenous people, we wanted to direct ECLC’s campaign resources toward a Land Back initiative. Because our capital campaign was all about our congregational “homeland,” we saw a mission alignment.  

Given in the spirit of reparations, this is a small congregational gesture toward more justice around land. ECLC gives this gift without strings attached, to be used as ILTF sees best. Because ILTF is a foundation, they will continue to distribute money and expertise for years to come. From their website: The Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is a national, community-based organization serving American Indian nations and people in the recovery and control of their rightful homelands. We work to promote education, increase cultural awareness, create economic opportunity, and reform the legal and administrative systems that prevent Indian people from owning and controlling reservation lands.  

ECLC further celebrates that gifts to each Capital Appeal Tithe Recipient will be written this week totaling $58,507!  Wow.  Thank you for your generous gifts to the Capital Appeal throughout 2022 that will now magnify the ministries of each of these tithe recipients and extend ECLC’s ministry across our neighborhood and the globe:

  1. AVENUES FOR YOUTH – Money to build a new shelter to house homeless youth in north Minneapolis and serving the whole metro area--$11,701  (20% of tithe) 
  2. PROJECT FOR PRIDE IN LIVING – Money for the Down Payment Assistance Fund – down payments for BIPOC  and low income people to own a home. $17,552   (30% of tithe)
  3. INDIAN LAND TENURE FOUNDATION—Investing in returning homelands to Indigenous people $11,701  (20% of tithe) 
  4. LUTHERAN IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE SERVICES – To build Welcome Centers around the US to provide services for Afghans, Ukrainians and many others to make their entry into the US successful. $17,552 (30% of tithe) 

ECLC welcomes Rev. Laurie Eaton as Guest Preacher on January 8

January 4, 2023

This Sunday, ECLC celebrates Jesus’ baptism and welcomes Rev. Laurie Eaton as our guest preacher. Laurie is a retired ELCA pastor who most recently served as Lead Pastor at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Minneapolis for 12 years. Read more about Laurie below. 

Fun fact: Laurie and Pastor Anna both served as vicar at Mount Olive Lutheran Church during their internship years! 

Laurie Eaton is a retired ELCA pastor, who lives in Plymouth MN with her husband, Jim Jasper. Most recently Laurie served as Lead Pastor at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Minneapolis for 12 years. She retired in 2021. Laurie was called to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament late in life, graduating from Luther Seminary in 2003. Her first call, as Associate Pastor, was to Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Hopkins, where she served for six years. Throughout her ministry she was actively involved in ISAIAH, as well as various Minneapolis Area Synod Committees and Task Forces. Laurie understands her call to ministry largely as empowering people to live out their faith in public, concrete ways, for the sake of the neighbor. Now she is a member at Valley of Peace Lutheran Church in Golden Valley along with Jim, and is continuing to explore what “public faith” will look like in this phase of life. Between them Jim and Laurie have 6 adult children, along with various configurations of spouses and beloveds, including three granddaughters, and several grand-dogs. 

New Year’s Day and Epiphany Worship

December 28, 2022

This coming Sunday, January 1, we will worship in person and online at 10am. We will celebrate Epiphany and receive star words for the upcoming year. The use of star words, sometimes called “star gifts,” is a prayer practice connected to Epiphany and the new year that has been growing in popularity in Protestant churches for nearly a decade. The idea is that a list of intention words are written on printed stars. During worship, individuals will be invited to draw a word and to use it as a guiding word throughout the year. If you are unable to worship in person but would like to receive a star word for 2023, please email or call Pastor Anna and she will get one to you.

Soup Supper, Advent Worship, and Choir CANCELLED for Wednesday, December 21.

Due to the forecast of increasingly difficult weather conditions today and into this evening, all activities for tonight are cancelled. We hope you’ll join us in person or online for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day worship. Stay warm and stay safe! If you’d like to view last week’s service, you can find it here.


Christmas Eve Worship, Saturday Dec. 24
Services with Carols & Holy Communion
3:30 pm (especially child-focused)
5:30 pm & 9:00 pm
Candlelight Worship

Christmas Day Sunday, Dec. 25 
10 am Reflections & Carols with Holy Communion and Blessing of the Toys

All Christmas Services will be livestreamed at

Dedication of Legacy Fund 

December 14, 2022

On Sunday we will dedicate to the glory of God the new Legacy Fund of Edina Community Lutheran Church. The Legacy Fund was established by the congregation in November. The purpose of the fund is to hold investments in perpetuity from which distributions will be made for ECLC’s ongoing mission and ministry. As we dedicate this fund, we will also dedicate the first two gifts which started the fund, the Paul Jorde Legacy Gift, and a gift by Lorraine Hart in memory of her parents. Subsequent gifts have been made or are in process and we will recognize those and any other gifts to the Legacy Fund at the annual meeting in February. We are grateful for the interest in and support of this new fund!

Pastor Jeff Sartain Sabbatical

December 7, 2022

As you read in last week’s e-news, I have been granted a sabbatical and will be away from ECLC from December 26 through March 27. Thank you for this gift of time for rest, reflection, and learning. It is a gift I do not take for granted. During my time away, Pastor Mary Pechauer who most recently served Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, will be serving part-time at ECLC. Pastor Mary is not a stranger to ECLC, having worshipped here prior to going to seminary. 

While I am away, Pastor Anna will manage and delegate my responsibilities among the staff and with the addition of some help from Pastor Mary, things should go well without adding a burden to anyone. If you have questions you would normally address to me, Pastor Anna should be your first stop, unless your question relates to finances and administration, including our new Legacy Fund; those questions should go to Kienan Mick. 

Sabbatical is an intentional time of rest and renewal, a time to give thanks and to be open to the Spirit’s healing, restoration, and inspiration. I will pray for you all while I am away, as the apostle Paul wrote to the people of Philippi, “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among us will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:3-6.) 

-Pastor Jeff

Children, Youth, and Family Ministry

November 30, 2022

Our children, youth, and families have been busy this fall at ECLC as they grow deeper in relationship with God and with each other. Sunday School continues week after week with dedicated teachers and young people learning more about Jesus’ love for them. Five 9th graders were confirmed on Reformation Sunday. Many children and youth have received Bibles as part of our faith milestones program. Our confirmands have learned about Martin Luther and the Reformation and have (nearly) mastered the Ten Commandments. In addition, they have participated in several service and justice opportunities—learning about the cash bail system with the MN Freedom Fund, packing health kits for Lutheran World Relief, and reflecting on what it means to write a land acknowledgement. They also had a fabulous art night where they painted a winter scene! Before Thanksgiving, our 4th and 5th graders and other special friends gathered at church for a fun night together. They made pasta and salad and shared a meal around a table, completed a Bible scavenger hunt, and played games around the church. Most recently was ECLC’s Advent Festival where people of all ages were invited to visit stations throughout the building. Thank you for accompanying the children and youth in this congregation—your support and love make a difference!

ECLC Land Acknowledgment

November 23, 2022

At our Thanksgiving service, ECLC began using a Land Acknowledgement in worship as a reminder that our Indigenous neighbors preceded us on this land and were unjustly forced off. This new statement was developed by ECLC members and was approved for use by the Worship, Arts, and Music Team and the Council of Ministers. It will be part of our weekly Sunday liturgy throughout Advent, and will be used at various other times in the life of our community. 

This statement is important because we use native land everyday as we go about our lives. As a community of faith we are called to tend to injustice in any way we can, including reminding ourselves regularly that this land is sacred and belongs to native people.

We will continue to adapt ECLC’s Land Acknowledgement as we learn more, and we are committed to being responsive to the injustice that continues. We encourage you to continue to explore the many learning opportunities available under “Indigenous Rights” on ECLC’s website. 


ECLC Land Acknowledgment Statement                         Approved by ECLC Church Council, November 15, 2022

We acknowledge that Edina Community Lutheran Church is located on the traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Dakhóta Oyáte*, the Dakota nation. Treaties developed through exploitation and violence were broken.  Tribes were forced to exist on ever smaller amounts of land.   

Acknowledging this painful history, we as a congregation confess our complicity in the theft of Native land and acknowledge that we have not yet honored our treaties. We further confess that Christians and Christian churches have benefited from this land theft. We commit to being active advocates for justice for Native People and to truth telling that leads to healing.  

* Dakhóta pronunciation and meaning: Dakhóta (dah-KO-tah) “the allied ones” & Oyáte (oh-YAH-tay) “people”

Advent 2022: Deep Roots for Waiting

November 16, 2022

This Sunday, November 20, we will close our liturgical year with a celebration of the Sovereign Christ. Here’s a look at what’s coming up as we enter a new church year and the season of Advent at the end of the month.

ECLC’s Intergenerational Advent Festival (Nov. 27): All ages are invited to participate in ECLC’s Advent Festival! Stations will be set up throughout the church and be available between services—service projects, crafts, spiritual practices, and more. Join us for a great opportunity to build relationships and lean into the promise of hope and expectation as we await Christ’s coming. 

Dedication of Annual Commitments (Dec. 4): We will dedicate commitments to the annual stewardship campaign during worship. Thank you for sharing your stories of generosity these last several weeks and for your commitments for the year ahead! 

Dedication of Legacy Fund (Dec. 18): The Legacy Fund was established at a special congregational meeting in November. This Sunday, we will dedicate the fund and celebrate inaugural gifts. 

Children share the Christmas Story in Worship (Dec. 18): Families and friends are invited to join us at the 11am service as the Sunday School children share the ABCs of Christmas!  

Midweek Advent Wednesday Worship (Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14, 21): This year, ECLC members reflect on deep roots for waiting, specifically how they remain rooted in times of uncertainty or expectation. Join us for a 6pm soup supper (with store-bought soup) and worship at 7pm. 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Worship:  Mark your calendars for Christmas Eve worship at 3:30pm (especially child-focused), 5:30pm, and 9:00pm. We will celebrate Christmas Day worship at 10am on Sunday, December 25th.

Thanksgiving Worship

November 9, 2022

On Wednesday, November 23 at 1 p.m. in the sanctuary (and live-streamed)  ECLC will hold a service of repentance and gratitude. Our Indigenous Rights Group will introduce us to a new land acknowledgment, a statement that honors the original inhabitants of the land the church building now occupies and acknowledges that we have benefitted from broken treaties and land theft.  We will also sing, pray, and offer thanks for all that has been entrusted to our care by our Creator.

After the service, everyone is invited to join in a time of fellowship and sharing a piece of pie.    

Our Thanksgiving Offering will support Redeemer Center for Life, the non-profit of our sibling congregation, Redeemer Lutheran Church. Firmly rooted in North Minneapolis, RCFL’s mission is to advance racial justice and equity by investing in the strengths, capacity, and resilience of people across the Harrison neighborhood, particularly through transformational housing, workforce development, and youth leadership.  To donate, mail a check to ECLC with “Thanksgiving Offering” in the memo line or go online here and make a gift under “Thanksgiving Offering.”  

In a season where we acknowledge both gratitude and truth-telling, we give thanks to the God who holds both completely. 

In Christ,

Pastor Anna Helgen
Deacon Lauren Morse-Wendt
Pastor Jeff Sartain 

Special Congregational Meeting – November 9th at 7pm on Zoom

November 2, 2022

A special meeting of the congregation has been called by the Council of Ministers for November 9 at 7 pm.  The meeting will be held on Zoom. The purpose of the meeting is to ask the congregation to establish a Legacy Fund, and to make necessary changes to the by-laws. Details about the new fund and bylaws changes are available in the church office.

ECLC’s leadership has for many years wanted to establish an invested fund in perpetuity that will support the continuation of ECLC and the long-term health and well-being of its mission and ministry. Permanent gifts of many kinds and all sizes could be welcome in the ECLC Legacy Fund. When the congregation approves establishment of the Fund and the Council approves an investment fund, as recommended by the Legacy Fund Advisory Committee, ECLC members and friends will have one more way to be generous, even into ECLC’s future.

To register to attend the meeting contact the church office for the Zoom information to participate. If you have questions in advance about the establishing of this fund and policy, please contact John Byom. or Eileen Supple. If you have questions about how to attend the meeting, please contact Liz Peterson, president of the Council of Ministers. 

The fund Bylaws, which members will be asked to vote on, may be found here. To view the policies of the Legacy Fund, click here.

For members unable to attend, proxy forms (available here or in the church office) must be submitted by midnight Monday, Nov. 7. 

October 26, 2022

This Sunday we celebrate Reformation Sunday and remember the witness of Martin Luther and his nailing of the 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Castle Church. We give thanks that we are a community that is constantly reforming the ways we give witness to love and justice here at church and in the world. We will also be celebrating many milestones for our children and youth in worship!

This weekend, we celebrate with our confirmation students! On Saturday, five 9th graders will participate in their faith journey milestone taking a prayer walk through the neighborhood and church. Then on Reformation Sunday, October 30, these confirmands will affirm their baptism. Please join us for fellowship at 10am and in worship at 11am as we celebrate with Sofia, Adin, Aubrey, Owen, and Lydia.

Many of our children and youth will participate in a Bible workshop on Sunday before church, and then in worship at 9am we will celebrate the ways we come together to accompany our young people in their lives of faith. 

2023 Stewardship Campaign Kick Off   

October 12, 2022

Our lives are made up of stories. Each one contains a multitude of emotions and experiences that shape our lives, our relationships, and our faith. When woven together, our combined stories become a rich tapestry of God’s love and grace.

As part of the ECLC community, we’re so grateful for the ways you’ve shared your stories and honored the stories of others. By doing so, we’re growing deep roots that help us give witness to love and justice at God’s welcome table and in the world.

During this season of our annual giving campaign, we’ll be reflecting on the stories of generosity that make us unique. This week, we invite you to listen to a generosity story from ECLC member Gayle Bintliff.

Generosity looks different for everyone, changes during seasons of life, and comes in so many forms. Yes, financial resources, but also generosity in relationships, in caring for the planet, in acts of justice, in giving time, in the talents we share, and so much more! 

When we give together, in whatever way we can, we have a collective and powerful impact. We look forward to hearing the stories of generosity that emerge as we strengthen our tapestry and see the beautiful colors and patterns grow deeper together.

Watch your mailbox next week for more information about our annual giving campaign, Deep Roots: Weaving our Stories.

Capital Campaign Update 

October 5, 2022

THANK YOU to all who have pledged and are contributing to our capital campaign! 

As of the end of September, we have received gifts and pledges from 121 households totaling $1,130,000.   We are grateful, as these are gifts over and above our annual ministry budget, for which during we will soon be invited to make our 2023 pledges.   

The goal, by the end of 2025, is to have participation from at least 160 households (39 more to go!) and to reach, at least, the Foundational Goal of $1,600,000 ($470,000 more to go!)

In the meantime, your gifts will soon be making an impact:

  • 4 Mission Tithe companions will receive a total of 10% of gifts received by the end of 2022:
    • Project for Pride in Living (30%)
    • Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services Welcome Center (30%)
    • ECLC Indigenous Rights Group (20%)
    • Avenues for Youth (20%)
  • A paydown of the mortgage of $300,000 by the end of 2022 (while keeping the same interest rate, will reduce our mortgage payments by $19,000 annually (a savings of at least this amount every year, and increased savings in future years as we continue to reduce the mortgage). 
  • Beginning work on the outdoor space project, eliminating invasive species this fall, and building a retaining wall in the spring. These are the first steps in an overall plan to care for and enhance the grounds as we enjoy God’s creation. 

Your gifts are making a difference!  To learn more or to participate, please visit 

House Churches Start Soon!

September 28, 2022

During the pandemic, we’ve realized more than ever the value of community.  We’ve drawn on faith during a challenging time. And, we’ve learned the power of being vulnerable, sharing truth in a broken world.  

House Churches are one important way that ECLC helps people build small group communities in a truthful, spiritual setting.  Sign ups for the 2022-2023 House Church year are now open!

House Churches are small groups of 5-10 households who meet once per month for 1 hour from October through June.  Following a simple template with check-in time, a faith reading or drawing, and reflection discussion time, groups adapt to their individual needs.  In less than 10 hours, these groups can build unexpected relationships, bring new spiritual insights, and hope to offer a safe space to share. There are a variety of groups: House Churches are offered on 5 different days of the week; some will meet in person; others meet on Zoom.

Feeling a nudge? What might the Spirit offer you through a House Church?  Sign up to be part of a House Church this year!  Contact Deacon Lauren with questions.

Pastor Conchi is Coming to Visit! 

September 21, 2022

It is such a gift, after a long Covid-induced wait, to welcome Pastor Conchi Angel Vanegas, pastor of our sibling congregation, Cristo de Paz in El Salvador, to ECLC from October 1-5!  God has blessed us with deep relationships with the Lutheran Church of El Salvador; please help us shower her with the abundant welcome we always receive when we visit Cristo de Paz.

On Sunday, October 2nd, Pastor Conchi will preach in worship, lead the Community Enrichment time between services, and be blessed in a simple reception with cake following the 11am worship. Please, come to celebrate her that Sunday! 

We hope her visit is filled with a variety of all-congregation activities where she’ll experience ECLC life and meet you in smaller settings. While RSVPs for most events are not required, please help us to plan by signing up if you can. 

Playground & Picnic:  Saturday, Oct 1 from 11-1pm
Join Pastor Conchi for a casual potluck picnic at the park while ECLC kids can play on the playground and adults enjoy casual conversation

All Congregation Game Night: Saturday, Oct 1 from 5-8pm
Whether it's cards, Candy Land, or Catan, play favorite games with other ECLCers. Pizza for all; suggested donation $5. Nursery staffing available for 0-5 year olds. 

Forum on El Salvador & Covid: Where is El Salvador Today?  Monday, Oct 3 from 6:30-8:00pm
Join Pastor Conchi in the sanctuary for a presentation on what life is like in El Salvador in 2022. This public event will also be livestreamed. 

Mural Visit & Lunch with St. Paul's:  Tuesday, Oct 4  11am-1pm   
Visit the murals on Lake Street and enjoy a meal with Pastor Hierald Osorto & friends from St. Paul's. RSVP required. 

Questions? Contact Deacon Lauren.  

FAQs about the “updated booster”

September 14, 2022


How is the updated booster different from the one I’ve already had?
The updated booster is formulated to provide protection against Omicron variants (including BA.5 which is currently circulating) as well as the original virus.

Am I eligible to get the updated booster?
Yes, if the following are true:

  1. You are at least 12 years of age (for Pfizer booster, 18 for Moderna booster)
  2. You have completed your original vaccination schedule (2 doses for Pfizer or Moderna, 1 dose for J&J)
  3. It has been at least 2 months since your last vaccination or booster

You may want to wait 3 months since having a COVID infection, but this is not a requirement for eligibility.

Does it matter whether I get the Pfizer or Moderna updated booster?
No. However, if you are between 12 and 18 years of age, Pfizer is your only option.

Should I wait to get the updated booster in case there is a surge this winter?
No, get it now. Surges are impossible to accurately predict. BA.5 is circulating widely in the community and the updated booster is designed to protect against it.

How do I know if I’m signing up for the right booster?
The only boosters available at pharmacies at this point are updated boosters so this shouldn’t be a problem. However, it’s a good idea to confirm that your booster is updated when you have your appointment.

-- The ECLC COVID Team

Adult Faith Formation

September 14, 2022

For many years the focus of our Adult Faith Formation was the Sunday Forum. During the pandemic, the mode of our engagement shifted. We used Zoom for what turned out to be surprisingly in-depth sharing on topics ranging from anti-racism to aging to parenting and more. In our Strategic Planning process, many members said our Sunday mornings felt hectic. People wanted a calmer, more focused Sunday experience. As we start a new year of programming, the newly formed Adult Faith Formation Team incorporated these learnings. 

“Community Enrichment” is our new name for the Sunday Forum time. This will be held most Sundays at 10:10 either in the Sanctuary or in Fellowship Hall.  This coming Sunday, September 18 in the Sanctuary at 10:10, the Minister for Adult Faith Formation, Chris Johnson, will lead a conversation about our theme this fall, “Deep Roots.” What comes to mind or heart when you think of your own deep roots? What keeps you “rooted” or “grounded,” especially in troubled or challenging times? How do you nourish your roots – and how do your roots nourish you? 

On September 25, ECLC member, Jim Olson, will introduce a new writing project for the congregation. How can the art and craft of writing inspire and inform our faith or deepen our spiritual roots? 

Our programming this fall also was informed by our anti-racism work and a desire to operate in a less white/white-supremacist culture. We want to foster deeper relationships in the congregation and with those who present to us, and to offer a less achievement or "consumer orientated" faith formation experience. 

Adult Faith Formation will also take several additional forms this year, beyond Sunday morning, including longer (90 minutes) weekday evening session via Zoom, book discussions, podcast discussions, experiential learning field trips and retreats! 

Watch the e-news each week for more information as our plans unfold! Please keep our new Adult Faith Formation Team in your prayers, and if you have ideas or questions, please contact Pastor Jeff or Chris Johnson.

Renewal Sunday! September 11
Worship at 9am and 11am (livestream at 9am) 

September 7, 2022

Last Wednesday, several youth gathered for an end-of-summer pizza party (and games!) and then we welcomed over 100 people to ECLC’s ice cream social in the lower level parking lot. After a full month of activities in August, you can feel the energy around here! We are excited to return to our (new) fall schedule and hope you’ll join us for worship. Whether you’ve been engaged with church recently or not, you are welcome and there is a place for you here!

This Sunday, we return to two worship services at 9am (with livestream) and 11am, with faith formation for all ages in between. Children, bring your backpacks this Sunday for the Blessing of the Backpacks during worship. Between worship services, we invite all Sunday School aged children and their families to join us for a Sunday School Kick-Off and Orientation (from about 10:15-10:50am). We will sing, pray, and learn more about the year together as we grow in relationship with God and each other.

After years of pandemic disruptions, we are eager to greet you this fall as we continue to be God’s good news for the world. Go in peace!

The Season of Creation: September 4 to September 25

August 31, 2022

The longest season of the church year, the Season of Pentecost, begins the Monday following the Day of Pentecost (June 5, 2022) and lasts until the season of Advent (November 27 this year). It can last anywhere between 22 and 27 weeks, depending upon when Easter falls. It is also called, “Ordinary Time.” Unlike the other seasons, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter, its length and lack of focus can allow it to fade into background. One way communities of faith are bringing more meaning to this long Ordinary Time is to add a new liturgical season, the Season of Creation. At ECLC, we begin this season-within-a-season on September 4. For four weeks we will turn our attention to the Earth, to our call to care for the earth, for the ways we fail that calling, for our own place as part of the creation, and for the ways we can be better stewards of all that is in our care. Listen for prayers, songs, creeds, and other expressions of the Season of Creation, and consider how this might be a season when you especially appreciate and love our beautiful and fragile earth.

Gratitude from Deacon Lauren

August 24, 2022

Dear ECLC Friends in Christ,

I am so grateful for my sabbatical time away to reflect, refresh, and reimagine our ministry together.  When I was blessed in worship to prepare for my sabbatical, I made three commitments.

To Learn in new ways to enhance our ministry together:
I reflected on my own personal passion of God’s scriptural call for justice and met with local leaders about anti-racism and the Church.  I attended worship services that stretched my views of worship and read long-awaited ministry books-- I look forward to sharing The Rev. Heidi Neumark’s Sanctuary with you later this year!  

To Learn something that had nothing to do with our ministry at all:
Over the years, I’ve become more cautious trying new sporty/active things.  This commitment pushed me! But, here I am, trying to drive a Jet Ski for the first time. I’m not gonna lie: I was scared! But, guess what? It was easier the second time. What new thing can I support you in trying out soon?

To rest, relax, and be with my family: 
Honestly, I needed this. We probably all do.  I’m so grateful for time I had to sit in my window seat, sleep until I woke up, finally organize every closet in our house, and most of all, realize our dream of traveling internationally as a family. Ask Luke about the subway in London or how hot it is in Pompeii, and Grace about macarons in Paris or the dragons of Barcelona. Just don’t ask Grace about the Vatican (spoiler alert: It’s really crowded and really hot). 

I am eternally grateful for these opportunities, and I’m excited to walk alongside each of you again. Please, reach out, let me know what I’ve missed! How ARE you?  How might we minister together this Fall? I’m ready.

Deacon Lauren

You are God’s Building!

August 17, 2022

For we are God’s coworkers, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.  -1 Corinthians 3:9

As ECLC has emerged from the pandemic, after the building sat vacant for months and months, we have talked together about the importance of “waking up the building,” as we slowly returned to in-person relationships, activities, and worship. Well, my dear friends, the building has awoken. It is alive! If you come to ECLC during the week, you’ll notice new breath, new life, and new energy. Last week, JAM campers and volunteer crew circulated in and out throughout the day—sharing in conversation over breakfast, arts and crafts, and bathroom breaks. A group of congregational and community leaders met in the Creekside Room to discuss the benefits of solar power. And the usual folks came and went: church staff, Meals on Wheels volunteers, counters, waterers and gardeners, the daily visit (or two) from the mail carrier, members dropping things off in the office, and the monthly onsite visit from our IT support company. On Monday, Lake Harriet Child Care Center began in their new space. The building is no longer quiet; it laughs, sings, cries, and makes melody in new yet familiar ways. You’ll see a lot more cars in the parking lot during the week, too. And our custodian Isaac remarked to me that there is much more garbage as of late. All signs that our building is alive and healthy. 

As we move toward the start of fall activities at church, we remember that we are God’s coworkers, working together. We remember that just as this building holds us, so do we hold one another—through all the joys and sorrows and transitions of life in community. Thank you for your good stewardship—of our building, of one another, of the ministry to which we are called.  You are God’s building!

--Pastor Anna

Updated Mask Policy

August 9, 2022
Dear Beloved Community, 

ECLC’s Executive Committee met last night and updated the mask policy to “Mask Wearing is Welcomed” for worship services and all other events or meetings that occur at the church. 

ECLC remains committed to the health and well-being of our community, and this policy affirms that individuals have and will continue to make good personal choices about COVID-19. All are welcome to return to worship when they feel comfortable, and ECLC will continue to provide live-streaming of worship services and hybrid meeting options for those who choose to participate virtually.

As you make decisions to keep yourself and others healthy, the Executive Committee strongly encourages the following: 

  • If you are eligible for vaccination, ensure that you are up-to-date on booster shots
  • Wear a high-quality mask. While we give thanks for an efficient HVAC system that provides frequent air turnover, we know that SARS-COV-2 spreads through aerosols. N95 or KN95 masks prevent 95% of particles from entering the airway, and ECLC will continue to offer these masks for both adults and children. 
  • Pay attention to local data on COVID-19 spread. You may want to track wastewater data to better understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in the metro area. 
  • Use rapid tests, particularly before gathering with others, to help gauge your health. 
  • If you are sick or have been exposed to someone with COVID, please stay home and join online instead of in person. 

However you choose to participate in our congregational life, we hope that you know that you are welcome and valued. We look forward to sharing many ministry and worship opportunities with you in the months ahead. 

God’s peace to you today,
  Liz Peterson, President
  Peter Horstman, Vice President
  Whitney Hansen, Treasurer
  Kathy Krypel, Secretary

August Mission Partner of the Month: Meals on Wheels

August 10, 2022

ECLC and Meals on Wheels have a long-standing relationship that started back in the 1960’s when the program operated out of Fairview Southdale Hospital with ECLC volunteers delivered meals on a monthly basis. Today, ECLC works with the MOW division based at United Methodist Church of Peace on 63rd and Xerxes. Meals on Wheels mission is to delivery nutritious meals to help seniors maintain good health and remain in their own homes. 

With the advent of our “new” kitchen, ECLC’s commitment has changed from delivering meals to heating frozen meals for clients.  ECLC volunteers average heating 30-50 meals three times a week and deliver them to Peace church for drivers to deliver to the individual homes. This important program is maintained by a great team of dedicated volunteers and I’d like to thank Carol Bros, Dee Dee Edlund, Shelly Haaland, Larissa Nelson & Jeanie Thomas, Anne Lindell Selbyg, Elaine & Jim Strom, Leslie & Mark Swiggum, and Rich Weaver for their generous service.  If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information, please contact Sue Crabtree, Liaison for MOW 

Fall Worship Schedule Begins on Renewal Sunday

August 3, 2022

As we move through these final summer days, we are preparing for the start of a new school year and with that a new worship schedule. Beginning Sunday, September 11, we will shift back to two worship times with faith formation activities offered for all ages between worship services. Sunday School, Confirmation, and High School Youth Group will gather on Sunday mornings. Adult Faith Formation will offer occasional Sunday morning Forums in the fall as well as week-day book studies, evening series, and other educational and spiritual enrichment offerings. The Adult Faith Formation Committee also plans to invite the wider community beyond our church family into some evening events. Stay tuned for more information about our fall plans as the weeks unfold!

 9:00am: Worship (with livestream)
10:10am: Faith Formation for All Ages
11:00am: Worship


Statement on Reproductive Rights

July 27, 2022

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, and grounded in our commitment to justice for all who are disenfranchised and criminalized by oppressive systems that seek to centralize power among the few at the expense of many, we proclaim this statement of faith... click here to read.

ECLC Heads North!

July 20, 2022

On Monday, July 18, five youth and two adults headed north to Wilderness Canoe Base (WCB) for 4-night canoe trip. While they are on trail, several households from ECLC will come up to WCB for intergenerational camp and will greet them when they return to base. We’ll all have a day together before we return home to the Twin Cities.

Please keep our canoers (Sarah, Adam, Anna, Tjostel, Finn, Anita, and Ben) and all of our other campers in your prayers —that they might grow deeper in relationship with one another and learn the importance of treading lightly on the earth. And mark your calendars for Sunday, August 14 when we’ll hear them share stories and photos of their time in God’s beautiful creation.

Prayer of the Voyageur by Dave Johnson
Help me, Lord, to leave my hurried life behind.
Help me know the quiet life within thy templed trees and lakes to find.
Give me eyes to see each task upon the trail.
Give me faith to know thine eyes will never fail.
Grant me patience when the portage paths seem long.
Grant me grace to share with friends in Word and song.
Plan clean wings upon my feet which now with laden shoes are shod.
Silence me, O Christ, I would be still and know that thou art God. Amen.

Mission Partner of the Month - Loaves & Fishes

July 6, 2022

You’ve seen the name pop up every other month at ECLC, but what is it and why should you care? Loaves and Fishes was founded in 1982 through a meal program at a dining site in Minneapolis. This has expanded greatly to numerous sites throughout the Twin Cities and the state on Minnesota. Their mission is simple, “To provide healthy meals to Minnesotans in areas where need is greatest.” You think that’s awesome? Well good news, you can join in on the fun! ECLC partners with Loaves and Fishes and every other month, we host a meal prep and serve at Holy Rosary in Minneapolis. Even better news, there is a volunteer opportunity this month! We need 6 people to help prep a delicious meal and then serve it to the people in need of food in the community. Right now, to be COVID conscious, the meals are prepared to go and handed out at a window to people, but originally and hopefully soon, we would all sit and eat together. There are so many stories and lives to be shared. Cooking stresses you out? Great news! We have a recipe we use every other month that is a crowd pleaser. Please consider helping this cause and reach out with any questions. Our next date is July 19 and we will need 6-8 people to prep from 2 - 3:30 pm, then 6-8 people to serve from 5 - 6:30 pm. We did not have enough people last time so please consider as it would be greatly appreciated and we will get you out on time. Can’t stay the whole time? No worries, any time is greatly appreciated. 

Fall Theme: Deep Roots 

June 29, 2022

In these unsettling days, where do you find your strength, nurture, and stability? What is helping you draw up support? What anchors your spirit? What is helping you grow?  
These are all functions of healthy, strong roots.  

Saint Paul wrote, “Continue to live your lives in Christ, rooted and built up, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”  

As we prepare for what we anticipate will be our first somewhat “normal” fall, we are aware that for many the past couple of years have been lean times. We have felt untethered from community. Like roots, so much of what has helped us in these times has been unseen, and sometimes unnamed.  

Our theme, Deep Roots, will invite us to explore together where we are getting our strength, where we are finding our sustenance, and from where we might draw up hope to bear witness. As we plan around this theme, we would value your insights.  

  • What are you rooted to that doesn’t serve you well?  
  • Are there ways being uprooted can be helpful?  
  • What keeps you connected to the most important things in your life?  
  • How might church help you nurture your roots so that you have energy, vitality, and stability? 

One of our five priorities in our current strategic plan is: “Develop deep spirituality in all aspects of our ministries and our life together.” This fall we will delve into this priority through this theme, Deep Roots. Being rooted in Christ, love, community, liturgy, scripture, prayer, gratitude, and more is what allows us to give witness to love and justice at God’s welcome table and in the world.  

Please email, call, text or talk to us about where you find your rootedness and what helps your roots to grow. 

Pastor Anna and Pastor Jeff  

Statement on Reproductive Rights

June 15, 2022

On Monday the Executive Committee approved a statement on reproductive justice. The statement will go to the Council of Ministers to be ratified at their next meeting later this month. This originated from a group of ECLC members, and was drawn from an official social statement of the ELCA and a Pastoral Message from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. Having this statement will help our church respond to the anticipated SCOTUS ruling later this month. Watch for opportunities to get involved in ensuring reproductive justice. A portion of the statement is posted below; click here to read the full statement. 

Edina Community Lutheran Church declares and advocates actively for public policy to ensure that:

  • Abortion is legal, regulated, and accessible to all
  • People who choose to have legal abortions are not harassed or prevented from accessing abortion due to economic or other factors
  • Reproductive health care, including contraception, is legal and accessible to all

Campaign Celebration on Pentecost Sunday

June 1, 2022

This Sunday, June 5, at our 9:30 a.m. worship service, we will dedicate the gifts and pledges that have been given and in anticipation of the many more to come, in joyful response to God’s “Yes” to us and to all Creation. 

Following worship, we will gather outdoors (weather permitting) after worship for food and fellowship for all ages from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Come and see how gifts might be used for our Love of God’s Creation

THANK YOU to the 53 households who have already made their pledges. We anticipate many more in the weeks and months to come as we launch this 3-year effort! 

Remember to Wear Red for Pentecost! June 5th is Pentecost, the fiftieth day of Easter, and we keep the resurrection of Christ by celebrating the Spirit of the risen Christ in our midst. 

Midday Worship: A Response to the Ongoing Horrific Acts of Violence in our World 

Thursday, May 26 at noon in ECLC Sanctuary

How long, O Lord? We cry out again with the prophets as the news of this day and this week and this month and this year has ripped our hearts open. Again. In the depths of this pain, we gather together to be close to the God who comes near to us in times of sorrow and tragedy and calls us to prophetic action. Join us in the sanctuary as we name, reflect, pray, and act in the face of horrific and ongoing acts of violence in our nation and world.

Summer Gatherings for Children, Youth, and Families at ECLC  

May 18, 2022

Outdoor Family Sunday School concludes this Sunday, May 22. Thanks to our Sunday School teachers, parents, and children for showing up together and growing deeper into relationship with one another. We’ve gathered in our winter coats around a fire and now in the springtime sunshine. In what ways will God call us into community this summer?

Story, Song, and Snack  This outdoor gathering for food, fellowship, and fun for all ages begins on Sunday, June 19 following 9:30am worship. To sign up to read a story, lead a song, or bring a snack, contact Pastor Anna.

Summer in the Park Playdates   ECLC parents and kids, meet new and old friends at these casual summer family get-togethers, Saturday mornings (9-11am) and Thursday evenings (6-8pm) throughout the summer. Similar to the winter sledding events you can sign up to “host” at a park near your house. And plan to attend the first playdate, Saturday June 11th, at Hyland Play Area in Bloomington!

Youth Summer Kick-Off! 6-12th grade youth and parents are invited to kick off the summer with an outdoor BBQ at a member's home on Sunday, June 5, from 5-8pm. Stop by when you can for casual fun, food, yard games, and an opportunity to reconnect! Beverages, meat and non-meat options will be provided for grilling. Last names A-L bring a salad/side to share, M-Z a dessert. Younger siblings are welcome! Please contact the church office to RVSP.

Capital Campaign Update

May 4, 2022

As we continue journeying through the launch of the capital campaign, we are imagining what “Yes” might mean for future mission and ministry at ECLC. You are invited to join in saying “Yes” during this month of May. On Pentecost Sunday, June 5, we will dedicate our gifts and pledges to in thanksgiving for God first saying “Yes” to us. 

Would you like to learn more? Informational gatherings for conversation and discussion are taking place, contact the church office for more details. During our time together we will share information on our goals for increased mission outreach, our outdoor spaces, and reducing our mortgage debt. You will not be asked to immediately make a pledge when we meet. We will provide information and then later, in the privacy of your home, you will be invited to give prayerful thought and reflection before you return your pledge card.

We Can Do This, Together!

April 27, 2022

My story and your story are not divided by boundaries, but are both reconciled within God’s story. 
“It is solved by walking.” ~ St. Augustine

We’ve been busy planning a fabulous summer for children, youth & families – together with Redeemer, St. Paul’s/San Pablo, Christ River of Life, and other advocates for change.

JAM (Justice, Arts, and Music) Camp is a vital part of ECLC’s commitment to growing love and justice at God’s welcome table and in the world – showing up with and for each other to overcome barriers and build community with an equity lens; reflecting the diverse, inclusive, and equitable world we imagine together. 

JAM Camp is a “pay what you can camp,” with up to half of our 40 campers relying on full scholarships. Camper costs now include meals for everyone, and transportation for those who need it. Please bring your checkbooks or cash to church this Sunday, May 1st to participate in a ECLC’s MAY DAY FUNDRAISER! 

Fundraising dollars are also needed for our middle school canoe trip to Wilderness Canoe Base trip this summer where our youth will grow in relationship with one another and connect with God’s creation as they learn to tread lightly on the earth. 

Easter: A Season of YES! 

April 20, 2022

Easter is upon us and this year we gather around the theme, “YES!” As we launch our capital campaign, which is titled, See what YES can do! we will celebrate many ways that God says yes to us and we say yes to God: Yes to New Life, Yes to Creation, Yes to Joy, Yes to Hope, Yes to Community, Yes to Baptism, Yes to Love. Watch for the ways this theme will be highlighted in worship each Sunday. 

We will use the following creed, based on the Apostle’s Creed but re-written, inspired by our theme. 

We say yes to God. Yes, to the Creative Spirit woven through all creation: God’s sacred imagination that calls us and all creation into being.

We say yes to Jesus. Yes, to the love of God in human form: The one in whom God lived and now lives among us, born as we are born, suffering as we suffer, dying as we die, and rising again, as we will rise.

We say yes to the Spirit. Yes, to being Christ’s body in the world: The sacred breath which challenges us and comforts us, forgives us and renews us, unites us with the saints, and holds for us the hope of heaven.

Yes Creator, Yes Christ, Yes Spirit, who first said yes to us, and in whose affirming Word we trust. Amen.

Holy Week at ECLC

Join us as we walk with Jesus on his intentional, determined march to confront the powers of injustice and oppression in his day, and to liberate all humanity and all creation forever. We remember his humble ride into Jerusalem, the final meal with his disciples, his death at the hands of the Roman authorities, his days of death in the tomb, and his resurrection that sweeps us all into a new life.

Holy Week Schedule

Maundy Thursday worship includes the ritual foot washing, an act of service and love Jesus called his disciples to observe. Maundy Thursday, April 14, worship services at 5:45 p.m. (child-focused) and 7:15 p.m. (7:15 live-streamed)

On Good Friday we will lament the ancient and contemporary pain of the world. Good Friday, April 15, worship services at 5:45 p.m. (child-focused) and 7:15 p.m. (7:15 live-streamed)

The Easter Vigil reenacts the ancient stories of God’s saving power, and we rejoice in the gift of baptism. The Easter Vigil worship service at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, April 16. (live-streamed)

On Easter Sunday we discover once again the joy of proclaiming, “Alleluia!” Easter Sunday, April 17, worship services at 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. (11am live-streamed)

Sabbaticals at ECLC

March 30, 2022

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.    Matthew 11:28-30, The Message Bible

This spring two of our key staff people will be away for sabbaticals. Deacon Lauren will be away from May 9 to August 5, and Kelly, Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry, will be away from May 3 to June 14.  Lauren’s plans include time to step away from day-to-day ministry and reground herself in her calling.

Kelly is only taking a portion of her time this year. During this first half of her sabbatical her plan is to become like a child to become a better teacher of children, and to invite and lead other adults to become like children, through language and literacy learning and a theology of play.  She will also be exploring playful learning and teaching strategies as a way to increase impact and reduce inequality, as part of a Project Zero micro practicum.

Rostered leaders and full-time Director level staff at ECLC are eligible for sabbatical leave of up to three months after five continuous years of service, and every six years thereafter.  Pastor Jeff has been approved for sabbatical at the beginning of 2023 and his plans will be announced in the fall. 

All sabbaticals are to include time for rest and relaxation, time for learning for the sake of learning, and time to enhance skills related to the person’s position. The sabbatical is one way the church ensures the vitality, engagement, and longevity of our leaders. 

Racial Justice Journey Continues

March 23, 2022

Following input from nearly 150 ECLCers responding to the anti-racism rubric this fall, and conversation with over 40 ECLCers analyzing those results, the Racial Justice Journey team identified its ministry priorities and commitments to next steps to advance our consistent and ongoing anti-racism commitment.  Embedding anti-racism in the systems and structures of ECLC may at first happen behind the scenes, but all of us will see structural changes over time that better reflect our values.  Here are some of the structural goals we are currently focused on: 

Public Witness/Prophetic Voice and Partnerships and Solidarity with Community 
Our Mission ministry, led by Council Member Carla Carlson, is committed to strengthening this work, with goals including: 

  • Combine the areas of Public Witness/Prophetic Voice and Partnerships and Solidarity with Community into one outward facing focus
  • Strengthen the anti-racist connections with each of our 21 mission partners through training and support of the mission partner liaisons
  • Continue our actions to amplify a prophetic voice to our mission partners and the broader community – with improved communications that empower more ECLC members to engage 

To address these goals, the rostered leaders have met with Julica and are meeting quarterly to create systems that support ECLC’s prophetic voice.  The Mission Partner Liaison Mid-Year Training focused on addressing their partners through the lens of anti-racism.

Adult Faith Formation 
Adult Faith formation, led by council person Mary Breen, is working on two initial structural goals while justice-oriented programming and anti-racism values continue to be woven into that ministry area:

  • A faith formation team will be created through a process that strives to reflect ECLC’s anti-racist values
  • We’ll seek input from the diversity within our congregation including multiracial families.

The work of creating this committee has now begun, with an invitation for all members to consider joining below! 

Thank you for your support of the embedding of anti-racist systems throughout all aspects of ECLC. As you notice changes throughout the congregation, we invite you to have a spirit of curiosity as we consider together how these new systems will better reflect God’s inclusive values in the world.  Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Deacon Lauren or the leaders of the above ministry areas!  

This is a week of blessings at ECLC! 

March 16, 2022

Tonight we will offer a blessing for our building as we gather together in-person more and more, and notice in new ways this sacred place we call our church. Then, on Sunday we will bless quilts crafted with care by members of our church, quilts that will carry our prayers, compassion, and solidarity to refugees. 

We hope you will join us for both of these opportunities to gather and give thanks. 

The word blessing can have many meanings. When something is a blessing to us, we mean it is a comfort, a way we feel the presence of God, or an opportunity to understand the sacred in deeper ways. When we offer a blessing for something or someone, we are expressing to God our hope and our care for that person, place, or thing. It is a form of prayer. 

Tonight! Wednesday, March 16:
Gather from 6:30-7pm for a Church Blessing. Our building has undergone some changes during the pandemic! Gather before midweek worship to move throughout the building and bless these updated spaces. We will begin in the sanctuary.

Sunday, March 20:
Come celebrate National Quilting Day with a blessing in worship and then between services there will be quilts on tables in Fellowship Hall for you add some ties! No experience necessary. When completed, these quilts will be on their way as part of ECLC’s support of Lutheran World Relief around the world. Over 75 years ago, LWR first quilt mission was to assist European countries following WWII.

Introducing the Indigenous Rights Committee

March 9, 2022

There is so much to learn about the land on which our church sits and the history of the people who stewarded it before us. Inspired in part by the Doctrine of Discovery educational series, discussing the film Dakota 38 and the adult education three-part Native Land series with Mary Breen and the ongoing social justice commitment we have at ECLC, we have a new focus group, the Indigenous Rights Committee.

The Indigenous Rights Committee is committed to learning more about the history of Native peoples in the region, getting to know our Indigenous neighbors, advocating for their rights, and addressing the question of a Land Acknowledgement for ECLC.

To accomplish these goals, the Indigenous Rights Committee has three subcommittees: Education, Advocacy and Land Acknowledgement. Some of the work has already begun with the Advocacy team promoting social studies standards with more inclusive narrative histories and urging legislators to support the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act.  

Kickoff Event
To celebrate the formation of this new group, we’re having a Kickoff Event! 
The Indigenous Rights Committee is creating field guides for us to learn about various sites with significant meaning in Indigenous communities. 

Our first field guide and visit focuses on Bdote, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. 

What: Learning About Bdote
Date: Saturday, April 23
Time: 2:30 – 4:30pm
Location: Bdote at Fort Snelling State Park
Note: An annual vehicle pass ($35) or day-pass ($7) is needed to enter the State Park. In the case of flooding, the event will be postponed. Additional information will be provided in the coming weeks.

We know this work will take time and that we will make mistakes along the way but look forward to sharing with you what we learn and learning from you as well.

Thank you, 
The Indigenous Rights Committee

Lent 2022 Full to the Brim

March 2, 2022

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 April 6th. Ash Wednesday spoken worship today at Noon in the sanctuary. Full music worship, 7pm in the sanctuary and live streamed. 

Make a “DESERT PLAY” kinetic sandbox this FIRST WEEK OF LENT at OUTDOOR FAMILY SUNDAY SCHOOL!  Gather with church friends, coffee, cocoa, and treats around a real campfire and the theme “Full to the Brim,” during Outdoor Family Sunday School from 10:30-11am March 6th through May 22nd. Children attend with their grownups!  For children birth through 5th grade, and the adults who love them – all ages and generations playing and making meaning together – with scripture, picture books, camp songs, community prayers, service projects, and good “messy church” fun!  Sign up to help start the campfire, share the story, lead a song, or bring a treat. 

MIDWEEK WORSHIP (March 9 - April 6) Wednesdays at 7pm in the sanctuary (and also live-streamed). We will sing Holden Evening Prayer with members talking about how they give witness to love and justice.
FULL TO THE BRIM with Donations of VEAP's most needed liquid items: laundry detergent, cleaning solutions, dish soaps, shampoos, hand soaps, and cooking oils. Bring items to the sanctuary any Sunday in Lent.
LENTEN OFFERING In celebration of ECLC’s new Welcome Statement that reflects our LGBTQIA+ inclusive values, this year’s offering will support ReconcilingWorks and Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Please prayerfully consider making an online donation under Lenten Offering or mailing a check to ECLC with Lenten Offering in the memo line.


February 22, 2022

Dear ECLC, 

As we begin a new church year together, following last Sunday’s annual meeting, the Executive Committee is grateful for our community of members, staff, and friends, for the ministry and justice work that occurred in 2021, and for all the hopes that we hold for 2022. We pray that the Season of Care has provided you opportunities to feel God’s deep love for you and to form and strengthen connections to our church community. 

Recently, the Pandemic Task Force and the Executive Committee both met to discuss ECLC’s COVID protocols. Because Hennepin County COVID case numbers have rapidly declined over the past few weeks, ECLC leadership believes we can restore many aspects of our congregational life that we have put aside during the worst days of the pandemic. We know that some of you will welcome these changes with open arms, while others of you may still feel hesitation. The Executive Committee and staff acknowledge the varied opinions that may be felt about our pandemic response, and we want you to know that you are welcome at ECLC in whatever form is best for you at this time, whether that be in-person or in a virtual capacity. 

The Executive Committee, with the full support of the Pandemic Task Force, has adopted the following changes in protocol, starting Sunday, February 27th

  • RSVPs are not needed to attend worship.
  • There is no capacity limit for worship services.
  • Singing, while wearing a mask, is allowed.
  • Pastors/Deacon can remove masks while preaching.
  • Groups can meet in the church building.

The following protocols remain in place at this time: 

  • Masks are required inside the building for everyone ages 2 and up; you are strongly encouraged to wear N95 or KN95 masks, and those are available for you when you come to worship.
  • Services will continue to be held at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m., with no formal fellowship hour in between.
  • The 11 a.m. worship service will be live-streamed.
  • The nursery is available for families to use, although it is not staffed.

Additionally, we strongly encourage all those who are eligible to be up-to-date on their vaccinations. We are grateful for the COVID team who has advised our decision making and who offer the following explanation of what it means to be up-to-date, as well as why this is critical for individuals, the greater community, and ECLC’s commitment to social justice. 

Finally, we end with an invitation: When you and your household are ready to return to in-person worship, please come. We know that time may be now and that time may be in the future. Regardless, we pray that you are able to see ECLC’s vision statement at work in your life: “We give witness to love and justice at God’s welcome table and in the world.” 

God’s peace to you today,
Liz Peterson, President 
Peter Horstman, Vice President
Whitney Hansen, Treasurer
Kathy Krypel, Secretary 

Welcome to the 2022 Council of Ministers!

February 16, 2022

We are grateful to these individuals serving in various capacities on our Council of Ministers. We will have an opportunity to bless this group in worship in weeks ahead, but for now we want to introduce you to this year’s Council of Ministers.

  • Liz Peterson - President
  • Peter Horstman - Vice President
  • Kathy Krypel - Secretary
  • Whitney Hansen - Treasurer
  • Mary Breen - Adult Faith Formation
  • Sarah Irwin - Children, Youth, and Family Faith Formation
  • Carla Carlson – Mission
  • Jonathan Flak – Properties
  • Rich Weaver – Shepherding
  • Sarah Martin – Stewardship
  • Meredith Olson – Welcoming
  • Luis Martinez – Worship, Art, and Music
  • Dave Engelstad – President Emeritus

Annual Congregational Meeting Sunday February 13 

February 9, 2022

On Sunday we will hold the annual meeting of the congregation on Zoom. All ECLC members are encouraged to attend to approve the 2022 budget and elect leaders who will continue to move us forward in our mission. We will also give thanks together for the life of our church that sustains, inspires and encourages us as we give witness to love and justice at God’s welcome table and in the world. The meeting will begin at 12:30 pm on Sunday, February 13, via Zoom. We are asking that members pre-register. The Annual Report, proposed Budget, Nominations, proposed Capital Campaign, 2021 Meeting Minutes and other information can be found on our website. This year we have ECLC member Karl Olson available for assistance with the zoom call.  You can contact Karl Olson as early as 12pm or any time during the meeting for any technical or troubleshooting questions. You are also encouraged to try and test your computer settings prior to the meeting, you can do so here.

Blessings! See you Sunday! 

ECLC Financial Forum Presentation     

November 10, 2021

if you were unable to join us for the first financial forum on November 1, we would like to present the opportunity for you to view a recording of the same material that was covered then. In addition, we will be presenting this information again on December 6, and will also include a live Q&A session and member to member connection. 

To view the video recording, please click play. 


Dear ECLC friends,
Starting in November 2021, ECLC will offer the following Sunday worship and programming opportunities:
9:30 and 11:00am Sundays: Worship in the sanctuary
11:00am: Live stream Worship from the sanctuary here.
Anytime: Worship recording from the sanctuary on our website here.
Sunday School will adopt a hybrid model, including:
Indoor Sunday School: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Sunday of the Month from 10:30-11:00
Online Sunday School:  4th Sunday of the Month from 10:30-11:00
Outdoor experience: November 28th with details forthcoming
We recognize that in-person gatherings all carry some risk, and we seek to lower that risk. Worship in the sanctuary will remain at 50% capacity (90 people) and require RSVPs here. Masks for ages 2 and up are required.  All of these protocols and plans will be re-evaluated on a monthly basis and shared with the congregation.
The ECLC Pandemic Task Force would like to thank you for filling out the brief survey this month. The results included 184 out of just under 300 ECLC active member households. The results indicated that 44% of households intended to worship in the sanctuary, 24% did not intend to worship in the sanctuary, and 32% were unsure. It was clear that many households intend to continue using the online worship options (36%).
About 96% of the households reported all people over 12 years were vaccinated. This led the Task Force to conclude that nearly all of the eligible people who intend to worship indoors will be vaccinated. In addition, among the households with children under 12 years, about 64% plan to worship indoors after the children are vaccinated, while 20% plan to worship indoors in November and 16% are uncertain when they will worship indoors.
We recognize both the needs and the desires of our congregational community are diverse, and will continue to seek to offer worship and programming opportunities that meet that broad range.  May the spirit continue to move as we re-form this season.
In Christ,
The Pandemic Task Force

Grateful in all things…..

October 20, 2021

Our gifts can be an offering of gratitude as we join with one another and give thanks for our ECLC community and the joy of living out our faith with one another.
As we continue to meet the needs of our congregation and support our mission partners, it will take our collective efforts to continue this impactful work. Last year, 239 households or about 75% of the congregation, made commitments to support the mission and ministry of the church. That is incredible!

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

Living Out Our Faith Through Our Mission Partners! 

September 29, 2021

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

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

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

In Gratitude,
Deacon Lauren & the Mission Committee