Ministries at St. Paul Lutheran Church
We are all called for Service, to witness in God’s name. Our ministries may be different; but our purpose is the same: To touch the lives of others with God’s amazing grace, so each may feel the love in God’s warm embrace.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians (I Cor. 12:4-7) and said “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
Here are some of the ways that the gifts of the body continue to be used in the ministry and mission of St. Paul Lutheran.
Ministry of the Office
The office of the church is where the coordination of all ministries of the church takes place. The committees and numerous groups of the church do a variety of ministries, all of which is organized through the office. The office is where the calendar of events is coordinated, records are maintained, our newsletter, The Lamplighter is prepared and sent out. The office is also where service bulletins are prepared and where people call and come with their concerns for themselves and others. After 42 years in the office, Shirley Germscheid retired. In June of 2015 Tammy Anderson took the lead as Office Manager. Tammy has been a life-long member of St. Paul Lutheran.
St. Paul Lutheran Banner Committee
The St. Paul Banner Committee was formed in May 1988. The Committee consisted of Cathy Carlson, Leona Hefti, Lorraine Shippman, & Dorothy Simonsen. Banners were made with Memorial Gift money and were often dedicated to members who had died. One banner was made for a Pastor’s installation and one for a gift to German Lake Lutheran Church in November 1989 in honor of their 100th anniversary.
Approximately 49 banners were made prior to January 2003. In 2003 Chad & Tammy Anderson agreed to change the banners as needed during the church year.
The Altar Guild
Pastor Palmquist started the altar guild. The changes during the past 25 years include new paraments for each season of the church year, linens that are easier to care for, plastic communion cups, and oil filled candles. The altar guild for many years sold Claxton fruit cakes during the Christmas season as a fund raiser. The Altar Guild continue to be a most active committee. This committee also decorates during the Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving seasons and for All Saints Sunday.
The Sympathy Committee
This group has been in existence for many years. For a long time there were only four ladies who served for funerals. The past quarter century has seen that number increase from 8 – 12 ladies. The families are very appreciative of this service. New helpers are always welcome. This committee along with other committees of our church work at saying, “all are welcome, to the love of God”. This continues to be a great way for us to support families in their time of sorrow.
The Steeple Restoration Project
The congregation recognized since 1996 that the towers/steeples needed to be repaired. A steeple research committee was formed; after several years of study, the committee made the recommendation to repair the steeples.
The recommendation was approved in January of 1999 and the work began in the spring. The work was completed by the end of 1999 by Buzz Matz construction of Arlington, MN.
Additional improvements were also made:
1. re-leading of all of the big stained glass windows in church.
2. painting of the frames and installation of glass storm window behind the organ pipes.
3. refinishing and varnishing of main church floor.
4. refinishing and varnishing pews.
5. sealing the outside north wall of the church.
6. installation of asphalt driveway west side of the church.
7. replacing windows in the social hall.
8. repairing of stucco on sides of front steps.
Election Night Suppers
“Back in the early and mid 1900’s, churches provided most of the social life of the communities. Church suppers (or luncheons) and church bazaars were gala events everyone expected the church to put on for the sake of the community. Ecumenism began, not over relaxed dogma; but over baked beans and potato salad.” – A Century of Grace Historical Book.
A Many Nations Supper was the first big fund raiser put on by the church. Monthly meals were served to the community at St. Paul’s for many years. We are not sure when the first Election Night Supper started, but we believe that it began in the early 1950’s. The records show that we first offered take out dinners in 1992.
Our churches no longer provide most of the social life for our communities, but our spring luncheon and the Election Night Supper have provided good fellowship for those working as well as those who come to enjoy the fellowship and good food. The Election Night supper is held on election day, the first Tuesday of November every year. This past November a total of 1100 meals were served.
The Quilters continue to meet and work on quilts and other projects. Recently, they began sewing baby quilts for all of the babies that are baptized at St. Paul Lutheran. Quilts continue to be sent to Green Lake Ministries auction and there are always quilts available for fire victims, Salvation Army, Santa Anonymous, and Lutheran World Relief. The Quilters might be a small group, but what a mighty work for others.
Wednesday Youth Education
We are proud of the strong focus on the education of our children here at St. Paul Lutheran. We have used different types of curriculum over the years to keep it fun and fresh for the students and teachers alike. Our students enjoy learning the Children’s Catechism, and how to use their bibles, and all of the bible stories that focus on the love Jesus has for them and each of his children. We currently have about 50 children enrolled in the Sunday school program. Each summer we offer a week of Vacation Bible School where children really have a great time singing fun songs, making crafts, snacks, play time and movie time. It’s a very fun week for all!
This year we are following a new multi-media curriculum called “Echo The Story”. This program focuses on the scriptures and catechism while suggesting the students enhance their learning through journaling, sketching, blogging, and peer discussion. Confirmation students in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade meet each Wednesday during the school year until they are confirmed. We are fortunate to have mentors for each of these groups that normally stay with their class from seventh grade through confirmation. Many have witnessed the strong bond that forms with students and their mentors that continues for years to come. The three areas of focus in the confirmation program are Learning, Service, and Fellowship.
National Youth Gathering
Under Pastor David Aaker we began a new program in 2006 when we attended our very first National Youth Gathering in San Antonio, TX – the theme was “Cruzando – Journey with Jesus”. Since then we have had a group attend the ELCA National Youth Gathering every three years with trips to: New Orleans, 2009 – “Jesus, Justice, Jazz” New Orleans, 2012 – “Citizens with the Saints”, Detroit, 2015 – “Rise Up”. Houston, 2018 – “This Changes Everything”. Then COVID cancelled 2021 plans, but we are currently planning for and fundraising for Minneapolis, 2022 – “Boundless, God Beyond Measure. This is a fabulous opportunity for our teenage youth to see other parts of the United States, help with service projects, meet new people, enjoy Christian Rock concerts, speakers, other art interpretations and hear first-hand, the stories from people, young and old who have witnessed the love, compassion, and saving grace of Jesus.
We continue to share communion and worship with the folks at Central Health Care, a nursing home facility, once a month. There are other assisted living facilities that are visited and provided communion in our community as well. Community ministry is also achieved by a number of church family volunteers through our time, talents, and financial support. Some examples are: Meals on Wheels, Second Harvest, Le Center Food Shelf, collecting supplies for elementary backpacks, personal care kits, newborn layette kits, Gods Work. Our Hands. and Feed My Starving Children just to name a few.
A number of our folks are homebound. Every attempt is made to provide communion to each of them once a month, including those who live out of town.
This is another way of saying that “all are welcome to the love of God”.
Le Center Food Shelf
Several of our members serve on the board of the Le Center Food Shelf and participate in helping make food available when the Food Shelf is open. Once a month we receive food which is delivered to the Food Shelf.
Meals on Wheels
During the months of July through December we as a church provide drivers to deliver Meals on Wheels to several homes in our community. We partner with St. Mary’s Catholic Church as they provide drivers from January through the end of June. Again, we have many servants who extend the message of the Gospel and proclaim all are welcome and there is food for the hungry.
Ministry of Music
Our worship service is at 9:00 a.m. and we mostly follow the regular liturgy of the church. Holy communion is offered each Sunday. We strongly encourage everyone to know that “All are Welcome” to be part of this holy sacrament. Children are encouraged to participate in communion with the permission of their parents.
Polka music was introduced to St. Paul Lutheran through a member band in the middle 1980’s and they shared their gifts during times of worship. In 1995 the Jolly Ramblers lead the entire worship service. Since 2000 the Jolly Ramblers have been with us every year during the fall and plans are in place for them to return this coming fall. This is always a popular worship service and people come from other churches and other communities to share in this time.
The Carillon Bell System
Music over the outside speakers has been a part of St. Paul Lutheran for many years. A Carillon Bell System was purchased in 1968. After several years when the system didn’t work, it was updated in 1983 and continued to provide music for the Le Center community for many years. The system has not worked again for a number of years and now a computerized, digital system has been put in place once again to provide music at noon time and again around 6 P.M. in the evening and following worship services on Sunday mornings and other special occasions.