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GOOD NEWS! D E C E M B E R 2 0 15 All of this and more on the web at SEE ALSO...

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Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

3 Reflections on the Holy Land 4 Events

t is a rare quiet moment on a Sunday morning. Thanksgiving is in just a few short days, people are already talking Christmas and it is cold outside but for a moment it is still and quiet. As I consider the things I am thankful for this year, I can’t help but think of those who live in Jerusalem, or Paris, or Beirut, or Mali or any of the other myriad places where violence has struck and be thankful that all whom I love are safe and living. My heart breaks for this world and for those caught in the crossfire of hatred and power. Sometimes it is overwhelming and I wonder what I can possibly do to make a difference. In fact, I have heard people say: well, there is nothing I can do so… The reality is there is something we can all do but unless we all invest in peace, the Prince of Peace whom we call for during Advent, has no hope of making inroads into the violence that seems to be everywhere. As I was preparing and planning for Advent, I did a little crowd sourcing on Facebook. I asked people what their hearts long for, what is it their souls are waiting for. I got lots of wonderful answers that can be put into two categories: connection and peace. The most human of desires is to connect with other humans, to know that we matter. The followers of Jesus are experts at this—at least we should be. Nothing should be easier for us than to connect with people and let them know they matter. Yet time and time again we fail at this and when we fail, the world fails and there is no peace. Our God is all about connection and peace—how is it we are not? This Advent and Christmas season we will be looking at these two things:

4 5

Update from Global Missions

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First Lutheran Foundation Report

Online Giving & Online Directory for Members

Blue Christmas Worship

Christmas Flowers Form

Nothing should be easier for us than to connect with people and let them know they matter. Yet time and time again we fail at this and when we fail, the world fails and there is no peace.

Tables of Blessing

connection and peace: how we find them in God, in ourselves and for others. We will ponder the question “What can I do to make a difference”, we will continually come to the table of mercy to be fed and go out to the tables of our home and community to feed others. The truth is, the thing we can do that is the easiest way toward peace is to be kind to one another. In this crazy season where the world has a jingle for everything and is encouraging us to buy more and more to make us more worthy, the Prince of Peace offers to us a message of stillness and kindness and peace. Give it a try: kindness for the four weeks of Advent and see what happens.

On Sunday, December 6, our congregation will celebrate “Tables of Blessing” to recognize the many ways God loves us and to celebrate our thoughtful response to God’s grace in our lives. We urge you to plan now to attend two important events: Sunday morning worship at either 8am or 10:30am and the “Tables of Blessing” meal later that day. More details at:

Pastor Karyn Bodenschatz




First Teen Clothes Closet Update

Thank You

Sugar Creek Events

10 God’s Hands & Feet

Serve & Give

11 12 13 14 15

Preschool Update Sunday School Young Youth

Middle School & High School OWLs Post

In the December issue In-home delivery begins Thursday, Nov. 26

Favorites. Readers were asked to submit

Coming up ... • January cover story: A playful look at cleaning out the congregational closet for the new year and moving in new directions.

This changes

EVERYTHING! Your money. Your story. Your life.

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We all need a plan for our money. Dave’s Enter class will you how to get rid of debt, yourshow class date/time/location manage your money, spend andhere. save wisely, and contact information and much more! This is a nine week course that starts January 3, from 6–7:30pm at First Lutheran! Tickets:

• All aboard: Augsburg College launches a “River Semester.” • Let’s talk: Congregations in Texas have conversations on racism. • Finances: Top financial resolutions for congregations in the new year. • Wednesday Night Live: Iowa congregation has hosted after-school moreforinfo event 30 years.

reflections on their favorite Bible characters and stories. Read a sampling of the responses in The Lutheran’s December issue. And ask, “Who in the Bible are you?” To help your discussion of this cover story, visit and click on “Study guides” on the lefthand side.

The unsettled season. In her Decem-

ber column for The Lutheran, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton reflects on Advent. In some ways, the season creates a certain restlessness, she says. But in the incarnate Christ, God comes to us, finds us and gives our restless hearts rest.

This changes

EVERYTHING! Your money. Your life. God’s work. Your In thestory. December issue

of The Lutheran, read about money Lutherans Learn God’s ways of handling withat work in the world: travel to Texas where Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University! immigrants receive “A radical welcome” … The average turnaround is $8,000 in just meet a woman who makes dolls that look the first three months!

just like their owners … see how Lutheran agencies help match children with loving families … visit Tanzania, where Lutherans support schools for children with disabilities … and think about celebrating “bold class women”date/time/location or sharing your good news.

• How-to: Ways to use Enter yoga to benefit your your health and spiritual life. contact and • February cover story: Multicultural congregations.

information here.

Subscribe today: Start a group plan to

The Lutheran for as little as $8.95 per subscriber. Visit or call 800-328-4648.



have been home but a few days and that land still lingers within my memory. That “Holy” Land. I lay in bed at night with my window open. The cool and freshness of the night air fills my room. I no longer hear the usual sounds of the night. The rubber meeting the road on the highway, the dog barking off in the distance, the whistle blow of the night train have all been replaced. I lay in my bed and remember the sights, sounds and the people of that place. I hear the call to prayer high on a mountain top and remember the people. I hear the church bells echoing off the thick, stone walls of the old city in Jerusalem and remember the people. I still smell the aroma of the market place in Nazareth and Bethlehem, remembering the people. I see the River Jordan where John baptized Jesus and remember the people. I see the clear water of the Sea of Galilee and remember the people. I hear the waves of the Mediterranean Sea and remember the people. I remember the sites we have seen, where Jesus was born and the rolling hills where the shepherds watched. The place where Mary lived and the angel came. I remember the ground that Jesus and the disciples walked and temptation by Satan occurred. I remember the place where Jesus was nailed to the cross as those who loved him were witness. I remember all of this and much more but still what I remember most are the people. The people. What I have witnessed, what I have seen is hard to comprehend. The sides are not equal. The one side has much while it withholds from the other. The one side controls the water and electricity for all giving total usage to their own side while withholding use for days on end to the other. The one side uses scare tactics in preventing the communication between those who have much and those who have little. The one side built a wall, much like the old Berlin Wall, claiming it is for security when in fact they are the ones with the armory. The one side uses “the wall” to cut off those who have little from the fruit and trees that provides a living, claiming that it is for security. The one side with much, come in the middle of

The answer we received, from each place, from each person was in general this, “Bring back this message, that all we want is peace.” “We want to bring up our children and live together freely.” “There is enough land here for all, we just want peace.”

the night to plow down olive, fig and fruit trees and turn them under the soil to make it appear as though there were none. The one side with much puts road blocks in place to force the other to go miles and hours out of the way to reach their destination. The one side with much bulldozes and destroys homes of those who have little, forcing them to leave the property. While in this Holy Land, the land of Muslims, Christians and Jews, a young boy of 12 years old, threw a rock at the wall that surrounded his family’s land. An Israeli soldier in full riot gear, sitting at his station on the wall, shot and killed him—for security. It is one thing to be

secure, it is another to violate human kind and humiliate. The side with much is Israel. The side with little is Palestine. The land of Palestine is gradually being taken over by others, whether they can prove ownership or not. Israel taking over the lands, gets more property, though this has been condemned by the United Nations. There is no distinction between Palestinian Muslims or Palestinian Christians, the dignity of all Palestine is threatened. You may say that this is a foreign land, it has nothing to do with me. I would say think again. This, our country is a country in which finances plays a big part. Money is pouring into this nation by special interests and organizations who want the support of the U.S. Though this should not be so, it is not always what is right but who has the most money. The people. With all that I have seen, with all that I have heard, with all that I have read, I have hope. We had the opportunity to have as guides those who where willing to give us a dual perspective. One guide Palestinian, the other Jewish. They respected each other. They worked together. They gave us the ability to speak with people of both sides of the question. After listening to those who live there, I have hope. I see hope in the young girl from France who comes and volunteers regularly on the farm in Palestine. I see hope in the student of Bethlehem University who comes from Chili and is there illegally until he gets his ID card. He takes classes as is allowed, to maintain his status but will stay in Bethlehem, for if he leaves he is not allowed to return. I see hope in the niece of a farmer, who comes back from the United States to help her family fight to keep their land. A fight that has been going on for 23 years—and continues. I see hope in the Parent Circle, who have lost children to this fight and now work together for peace. I see hope in the musicians that entertained us. Palestinians and Jewish who only have their music and use it for peace. I see hope in the Palestinian from a small town I fell in love with. He owns a brewery and seeks ways to make others in town successful.

The people. At every opportunity this is what we asked, “what is it we could do to help the situation here?” The answer we received, from each place, from each person was in general this, “Bring back this message, that all we want is peace.” “We want to bring up our children and live together freely.” “There is enough land here for all, we just want peace.” The message will be delivered. But I have some things to ask. Use more than one resource to gather your information. Don’t just depend on U.S. news and papers. Turn to other international news outlets to get a more informed and well rounded view such as the BBC or others. Since politics is involved by many nations, but especially by ours, consider getting information from support organizations that promote peace. Last, I ask that should you have the opportunity, go to this “Holy” Land. I requested that two trees be planted up on a mountain top by that farmer. The first tree will be planted for one who has a passion and belief that the more who come to this land the more the word of peace will spread. As the tree grows, so will the chance for peace. The second tree will be planted for me as a constant, growing prayer that the hope found in these young people will bring peace. Some day, I am going back to this land and should it be possible, I’m going back to see my trees. My hope is that they have grown. Blessings and Peace,

Sharon Kjos Shaz was one of our members who visited the Holy Land with Pastor Karyn this past October.

EVENTS Register for most events that are happening at First Lutheran on our website at


On Thursday, December 10 at 6pm, the women of the church are invited to a funfilled evening of baking and fellowship! Baked cookies will be decorated by the youth on the 11th and shared with those we are visiting during caroling!


Next retreat: Saturday, December 12 8:30am–1:30pm Part two of our Emotional and Intellectual Wellness exploration will begin with a study of Luke 10:38-42 (Jesus stops at Martha and Mary’s house for a meal). After some conversation we will continue our learning around the Strengths Finders results. After having lived with this new information and seeing it at work in our life we will have further conversation around the philosophy of working from our strengths. Lunch will be at a fun place to be determined by a person whose strengths lend themselves to finding fun places to gather. ;) First Lutheran invites all women to participate in this discipline, where we will explore the idea of wellness, exploring an aspect of the ELCA’s wellness wheel at each meeting. Contact Pastor Karyn for more info:


Sunday, December 13, at 5pm. Meet at church, where we will all load on a bus and go around town spreading Christmas cheer! Then come back to church for a yummy meal and fellowship! Sign ups on the Connecting Point for bus and food!




reetings to you from Hungary! I have now been living in Hungary for three months as a volunteer with Young Adults in Global Mission! When I arrived in August, I spent the first two weeks with six other YAGMs and our new country coordinator at a Lutheran Retreat Center in Révfülöp, a small town on the beautiful Lake Balaton. We spent these weeks learning Hungarian, studying the Bible, bonding and exploring the area. After our time in small town Hungary, we traveled to Budapest for one last week together before going to our individual sites. We attended a workshop with Phiren Amenca (a network of Roma and non-Roma volunteers and voluntary service organizations creating opportunities for non-formal education, dialogue and engagement, in order to challenge stereotypes and racism), explored the city and even went to see a performance of the Georges Bizet’s opera, Carmen. On our last day in Budapest, we were met by our site mentors and after a sending worship, we said goodbye and traveled to our individual sites. When my mentor and I arrived in Békéscsaba, I was met with warmth and excitement. I spent the first couple weeks exploring the city, meeting new people and taking in my new surroundings. After two months, I have started to feel “settled” and part of the community in Békéscsaba. Much of my time is spent working with students studying English. I lead an English table for students and offer individual consultations for students who would like a prepare for their Intermediate English Exam. Being a native English speaker, I expected I would be spending my time with English students, but I did not expect I would be using my skills and experience as a musician or teacher in the way that I am. Each week, I teach voice lessons to adults and students and work with the high school choir. I also sing soprano with a small adult choir called Calandrella. I have become even more thankful for the language of music,

First Lutheran Church + Good News

December 2015

While I have moments of gratitude in Hungary, I cannot express how thankful I am for my sending community; for your community. Your prayers, love and support have carried me through the last few months as I have gracefully stumbled into my community in Békéscsaba.

especially as I attempt to use “Hunglish” (Hungarian and English) and actions when communicating. It’s amazing how language and cultural barriers disappear and connections are created when people have the opportunity to make music together. Outside of my “responsibilities,” I have been invited to join other groups or activities within the community. On Fridays, I have been spending time with the youth group or attending an adult Bible study with the Y’s men group. At each event, someone in the group willingly translates for me so I can understand the new words flowing through my ears. On Thursdays, I have started

going to a sewing club with a small group of women. Now, I will admit that sewing a button onto clothing is quite possibly the only skill I have when it comes to this admirable skill. However, that doesn’t matter. I enjoy spending time with this small group of women as they laugh, teach and use sewing as a way a to express creativity. They are willing to teach and are quite patient with me as I slowly, but bravely, sew. I’m not certain if I will improve my sewing skills, but I do know that I will build relationships with these kind and welcoming women. Moments like these make me incredibly thankful for the willing and open hearts of each person I encounter. While I have moments of gratitude in Hungary, I cannot express how thankful I am for my sending community; for your community. Your prayers, love and support have carried me through the last few months as I have gracefully stumbled into my community in Békéscsaba. I ask that you continue to pray for all of the YAGMs and our communities, as we discover how God will use the gifts He has given each of us. Pray for the willingness and patience to build relationships with those around us (wherever we may be) and the courage to step out into the unknown as we live into the love of Christ. If you would like to learn more about my experiences and reflections in Hungary, please follow my blog: Blessings and peace, Aliyah Richling Aliyah Richling Young Adult in Global Mission — Békéscsaba, Hungary


Help us grow ENJOY THE CONVENIENCE OF ELECTRONIC GIVING Ever get to church and reach for your checkbook or envelope and realize they aren’t there? Have you been out of town and realized you forgot to send in your offering to the church? Regular and consistent giving is a hallmark of a good steward, but our hectic lives can make that challenging. Consider setting up a recurring giving plan through Simply Giving. Automating your financial commitments means your contributions will be received on a regular and consistent basis.

First has always provided print directories to help members connect with one another, but print directories quickly become outdated. We are glad to announce that members can now log into a secure, online version of our directory from our website. To request access to the online directory, go to and fill out the request form. The online directory is secure and private, and only available to members. In addition to phone numbers, you can share additional contact information such as your email. The online directory gives members the ability to edit all their contact information directly, and to choose the parts of their contact information they want listed. If you have questions about the online directory contact Andy stutesman:

Graphics by Wilson Joseph & Kristina on the Noun Project

un Project Zlatar of the No Graphic by Mateo

To set up a recurring contribution, visit us online at, locate the “Give Now” button and set up your recurring giving schedule. The first time you give, you will select a password that will enable you to log in at any time and make changes to your giving or view your complete online giving history. Or if it’s easier, pick up a paper authorization form and return it to the church office.

Help you connect

Category #2: Community Outreach FIRST LUTHERAN FOUNDATION REPORT Salvation Army 400.00 The Foundation Fund was established with gifts to enable further growth of our church, its Holmen Area Youth Partnership 400.00 ministries and stewardship. A maximum of 5% of the Fund’s assets may be spent in any St. Claire Health Mission 600.00 year. Gifts of any size are welcome. First Lutheran’s Foundation is supported by donations ofNew Horizons all kids, especially by legacy gifts of estate planning. If you would like to support First 500.00 Lutheran through your estate, contact the office and ask to speak with Pastor Stanton. Onalaska Food Pantry 600.00 Committee members are: Glen Vilim, Allan Ohm, Patty Shephard, Angie Mutch, Christine TLC Center 500.00 Sander, Steve Thinnes, and Michele Burton Category #3 ELCA Related Missions Sugar Creek Bible Camp First Lutheran Milestone Ministries First Lutheran Helping Hands First Lutheran Prayer Shawls First Lutheran Seminarian Fund

500.00 500.00 250.00 250.00 500.00

Category #4 Capital Improvements Gift suggestions First Lutheran Capital Improvements

from the ELCA Total Expenditures GOOD GIFTS catalog for dads, grads, 2014 Income/Expense Statement couples who have Opening Balances 1/1/2014 “everything,” and Gifts Paid others celebrating Bank Charges most anything… 2014 Dividends & Fund Appreciation

Call 800/638-3522 to request a free copy of the Closing Balances 1/1/15



covers the cost of a mosquito net 10400.00


brings home the bacon with a pig to raise 220877.73

$50 $75

ELCA Good Gifts catalog. Visit Investments as of 12/31/13 to view the catalog online. $110 BMO Harris Bank Checking Thrivent Mutual Funds ELCA GOOD GIFTS TO COMBAT HUNGER— $200 agriculture, women and children, training and Edw. Jones Account (Mutual Funds) education, health care, hunger at home, water, God’s Global Barnyard, and Stand With Africa—represent the integrated and sustainable efforts funded by the ELCA World Hunger Appeal. These gift donations are used where needed most to make a life-saving difference around the world and close to home. Learn more at


First Lutheran Church + Good News

spells out hope ­10400.00 with adult literacy 0.00 training


gives enterprise a chance with a 224124.77 micro-credit loan cooks up 40 2086.97 meals

103101.63 plants a 118936.17 community 224124.77 vegetable garden


helps a child stand up to poverty


lets irrigation waters flow

Gift suggestions from the ELCA $10 covers the cost of GOOD GIFTS catalog a mosquito net for dads, grads, $30 brings home the bacon with a pig couples who have to raise “everything,” and $50 spells out hope others celebrating with adult literacy Opera star Caroline Worra is a daughter of First Lutheran, training most anything… an Onalaska native, and a graduate of Luther College, gives andenterprise will $75 be performing on the Viterbo stage on Saturday, March 12.with a a chance Call 800/638-3522 to request a free copy of the micro-credit loan Tickets are on sale now: ELCA Good Gifts catalog. Visit to view the608.783.2121 catalog online. • $110 cooks up 40

Caroline Worra meals

ELCA GOOD TO COMBAT Caroline WorraGIFTS has been hailed HUNGER— by Opera News as “one of the finest plants a $200 agriculture, women and children, training community singing actresses around.” She has sungand over 75 different operati c roles, education, hungerAmerican at home, water, vegetable garden including morehealth than care, 20 World, and God’s Regional Premieres. She was Global Barnyard, and Stand With Africa—represent a child internationally acclaimed for her performances of Jenny in thehelps Mines of $600 the integrated and sustainable efforts funded by the stand Sulphur Grammy nominated CD for Best Opera Recording, and as theuptitotle ELCA World Hunger Appeal. These gift donations role of Good;most Passion of Boule de Suif, Opera Newspoverty and New areThe usedGreater where needed to make a life-saving lets irrigation Yorkdifference Times pick for one of the top classical CDs of the year. Her third full $7,000 around the world and close to home. waters flow opera recording, Glory Denied, was released by Albany Records and is a Learn more at

Washington Post and Opera News pick for one of the top CDs of the year.

December 2015

Tags available on November 22 Return gifts by December 13

If you purchase gift cards, please wrap them in a box Call Kathryn at 608.783.2236 if you’d like to know what else may be on a person’s wish list

Blue Christmas Worship The holidays can feel sad, stressful or difficult. We may miss loved ones who are away, absent or dead. We may feel burdened by the pressures to make this “the most wonderful time o  f the year.” Please join us at First Lutheran for an hour of worship including music, prayers, candlelight and reflection on what God is up to amidst our blue feelings around Christmas. Invite a friend or neighbor who may find it difficult to worship this time o  f year!


Monday, December 21, 6:30pm

Before worship all are invited into a time of fellowship and support at a free soup supper.


Christmas Giving Tree

Christmas Flowers for the Sanctuary If you would like to give a rose in honor or memory of loved ones for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services, you may do so by filling out the form and return it to the church office. Cost is $5.00 per rose.

December15.13 Order deadline is December Please print clearly. Your Name: ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ I would like a rose in memory of: ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ I would like a rose in honor of: ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ December 2015

First Lutheran Church + Good News




Holy Communion instruction is the 5th grade milestone, but all the baptized (of any age) are welcome to commune. If your child is baptized but younger than 5th grade and you wish to allow your child to commune, please attend a special instruction time as a family on Sunday, December 13, at 9:30am in the Fellowship Hall.


A baptism preparation session will be Saturday, December 5, at 10am in the narthex for anyone who is considering or has scheduled a baptism. To register or ask questions call the church office, 608.783.3326.


First Lutheran welcomes all people to participate in Christ’s mission through our ministries, worship and programs, whether you are a member or not. Membership does, however, benefit our congregation. If you’re a member, we know your contact information, can more easily provide you with ministry opportunities and invite you to offer your gifts to the rest of this family of faith. The next new member session will be Sunday, January 17, with new member Sunday on January 24. To register your family or ask questions, call our church office at 608.783.2236 or email




If you will be leaving town for the winter, we want to make sure you still get the monthly newsletter and other mailings. Please provide us with your winter address, and the dates you will leave and come back, so that we can keep our mailing information for your household up to date. You can mail us the information, or email it to us (office@, or call us (608.783.2236).


If anyone is interested in group spiritual direction, call Steve Spilde at the Franciscan Spirituality Center, 608.791.5297. New groups will be forming after the new year.


• Harrison James Pfaff, son of Kurt & Emily Pfaff


For Gundersen: be sure to alert the hospital of your church affiliation when they ask, and they will release your name to us when we call. For Mayo/Franciscan Healthcare: it is important that you or a family member contact us at the church office: 608.783.2236. Mayo no longer lets churches know who is a patient at their hospital.


To have your announcement in the monthly newsletter, send it to, or give it to Andy in the office. Deadline for the newsletter is always noon on the 15th of the each month. To have your announcement in the weekly announcements pages handed out each weekend, send it to, or give it to Andy in the office. Deadline for the weekly announcements is always noon each Wednesday.


Thank you for the following memorials: In memory of Robert Rude • Undesignated: Ronda DCamp


If the weather ever makes you wonder whether your group is meeting for their ministry, check our website, Facebook page, or update the office with your cell # and provider so that we can text you. We’ll also notify, and the La Crosse Radio Group stations: 106.3, 104.9, 102.7, 100.1, and 1490 AM. The staff and leadership of First intend to ‘make the call’ by 5:00 PM at the latest so everyone knows what to expect. Be safe this winter!

First Lutheran Church + Good News

December 2015




Warm socks for folks who need them! Socks will be collected for donation to New Horizons Shelter, a community resource where people are helped during times of need. Please bring new socks for children or adults to the Icicle Toes Tree in the narthex. Thank you!

THANK YOU BLOOD DONORS & VOLUNTEERS! We had another successful blood drive at First Lutheran on Monday, Nov. 2. We collected 39 units of whole blood and 4 double red donations. Up to 125 people in our community will benefit from your generous giving. Our next blood drive is scheduled for Tuesday, March 8, 2016, from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.


I want to thank all of the donors who have returned time after time to donate their blood. Thousands of people over the last 11 years have received the blood products they need to be strong and healthy. I appreciate your willingness to make this lifesaving service to others happen! I am stepping down as the blood drive coordinator to go back to work, but the position has been filled by Diane Shuda. She is a retired RN and a member of our church. Some of you may have met her at the November drive. She is going to be great and I know you will all enjoy working with her as I have done in the last few months. I have enjoyed getting to know all of you over the years. I will probably stop by a drive now and then or even volunteer to help out. God’s blessings to all of you and keep donating the gift of life! Sara Larkin


Monday, December 7, 2015 9am to 3pm

Join others from the region for a day of excellent speakers, music, a great meal and fellowship with over 100 guests. Call to reserve your space!


January 10 & 24, February 14,1–5pm These fun afternoons at Sugar Creek includes snow tubing (they have the tubes), cross country skiing, ice skating, broom ball, snow shoeing, relaxation by the fi re, hot chocolate, good food, and fun with friends! Bring the whole family! Call or email to make your reservation.


January 22–24, 2016

Looking for a chance to spend time with your family and your friends from this past summer’s Family Camp? Then this retreat is for you! Join us for this time of inspiration, fellowship and wintertime fun!



February 12–14

Enjoy a powerful weekend led by Pastor John Duke as he again leads this year’s Couple’s Retreat exploring how couples can develop a closer and deeper relationship with Christ as the center. Enrich your relationship with your spouse and enjoy some time away together. Call camp for more info & registration.

WISH LIST Your gift can be tax deductible, and Sugar Creek can provide you a receipt. • Trees (we take all kinds!) and perennials (sun or shade) • Shop equipment • Steel T fence posts • Flat bed trailer • Gentle temperament horses and tack • Wood burning furnace • Commercial kitchen supplies


February 4–7

Calling all stampers, scrappers, quilters or whatever your craft! Get away for a weekend dedicated to working on your craft and enjoy some of our programming like campfi res, devotions, worship, and more. Just bring yourself, bedding, toiletries and all your supplies. We’ll have morning and evening devotions and a worship service on Sunday. Cost and registration form at

13141 Sugar Creek Bible Camp Rd, Ferryville, WI 54628 608.734.3113 • •


nyone who has teens (or works with teens, or has even just driven past a high school or middle school lately) knows that no matter how cold it is, they avoid wearing winter coats. Instead, they want sweatshirts and hoodies—either pullover or zip-up. So as you are cleaning closets getting ready for the holidays, please think about donating any hoodies, sweatshirts or jackets you think teens would like. No monogrammed names, please, though team or school logos are OK. We need them for both boys and girls. Winter boots are another need now, both men’s and women’s styles. Toiletries are also a welcome donation: deodorant, shampoo, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes and feminine hygiene products. The closet could also use large, sturdy shopping bags, as clients typically are given several items during a visit. Donations may be left in the shopping cart to the right of the main doors into the narthex.

December 2015

please think about donating any hoodies, sweatshirts or jackets you think teens would like As we have spread word about the First Teen Clothes Closet additional volunteers are needed as appointment hosts. If you are interested in learning more, contact Bridget Crave, Lori Lunney or the church office. First Teen Clothes Closet team, Lori Lunney Shari Hegland Bridget Crave Sara Larkin Tina Nelson

First Lutheran Church + Good News






hristmas lights are everywhere in December, they are in and on homes, at the mall, on the street posts and even in our parks. Driving through lighted neighborhoods is something I enjoy this time of year. Seeing how people decorate their homes is alway fun. Some homes decorate extensively, others just right and some just a little bit. I love seeing all the lights of Christmas. My favorite show is going to the Rotary Lights and slowly driving through looking at all the wonderful light displays. Seeing Christmas tree lights in the windows of homes is another favorite of mine. Looking at my own Christmas tree with it all lit up, when it’s dark outside and the TV is off and I can just enjoy this simple pleasure of lights. Watching the Advent wreath candles being lit at church and in our home is always special. Seeing families light the Advent wreath at church is so nice, seeing Christ’s light shine through them as they serve is wonderful to witness. People pouring over the giving tree, trying to decide who they want to buy is exciting to watch, It’s fun to see the Sunday School classes come to the giving tree too, as the teachers and helpers try to get the kids to decide what tag to choose. Bringing socks for the sock tree, which goes to New Horizons, always amazes me, from just a few socks to many hanging on the branches and on the floor. These are ways our light shines this season. From singing carols at Onalaska Care Center and senior apartments, to helping serve on Christmas Eve and day, to helping make cookies, to ushering and serving coffee during these busy Sundays, are encouraged to let our light shine. Matthew 5:16 says, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” I hope you will find a way to let your light shine this Christmas season. When you are asked to



Matthew 5:16 says, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” I hope you will find a way to let your light shine this Christmas season. help out at church, be generous in giving and say “yes.” Letting our light shine before others is what we are called to do. Take some time to consider how you will let your light shine this Christmas season. Plan on helping at church on Sundays, on Wednesdays, or Christmas Eve or day. Mark on your calendars the things you want to participate in like baking cookies for caroling, going caroling with family or friends, getting a tag off the giving tree or bringing in some socks for the sock tree. We have so many ways to let our light shine, so let’s not let any opportunity pass us by, but let us continually shine Christ’s light in us to those around us. If you need help shining your light, let me know; I will be glad to help you find ways to serve others. E-mail me at kathryn@firstlu. org or give me a call at church.

Kathryn Pedretti Director of Servant Ministries

First Lutheran Church + Good News

December 2015

SERVE @ WORSHIP! Sign-up for the following & more at the Connecting Point and on your phone or computer at STILL NEEDED FOR DECEMBER: • Acolytes • Communion servers • Nursery helpers • Ushers • Puppeteers


Be part of this wonderful ministry, which offers support and friendship to our young adult members. Simply select a manila envelope for one of our young adults; available for pick-up in the narthex. More info at


Our quilters need supplies, especially sheets and lightweight blankets. Worn sheets are used as liners, and gently used sheets are used for quilt backs. Fabric is always welcome and even spools of thread, any color. Thanks!

The Sunshine Boys meet at First Lutheran on the first Thursday of the month at 9am to help with outdoor or indoor projects. Rolls and coffee are supplied to replenish your reserves! Dues are free!

NEWSLETTER ASSEMBLY It’s a relaxing way to volunteer! Wednesday, December 30, at 9am, to assemble the January newsletter. See you there!


Tis the season! Bellringers are needed through December 24th. Bell ringing can be done in 2 hour increments, inside or outside. This is also a great opportunity for our confirmation kids to gain some service hours—and do it together! Those interested in volunteering their time during the holidays—or anytime—through the Salvation Army, please check out the Salvation Army’s website or sign up online at!.

If you know of someone who needs a caregiver, speak with Pastor Karyn or call the church office.

First Lutheran Update

We can’t believe that the month of December is already here! The best time of the year! We love teaching the children about the birth of Jesus, the true meaning of Christmas!! Our preschoolers will be working on some, special, gifts for their parents. We will be having our Book Munchers, December 10, the children love having a “special” guest come into school! There will not be preschool December 23-January 1. Have a very Merry Christmas!!

First Lutheran Preschool

410 Main Street, Onalaska, WI 54650 608.779.4504 • Preschool Director: Melissa Rolbiecki 4K Teacher: Megan Colgan Preschool Assistant Teachers: Marci Leppert, Carrie Markos

December 2015

First Lutheran Church + Good News



It is that time of year to enjoy traditions that the Christmas season brings. One of our Christmas traditions we are busy preparing for here at First Lutheran is our Sunday school Christmas Worship. It is a wonderful time of year and a great way for our kids to spread their Christmas joy! Below are some of the details that will hopefully help clarify any questions you may have. Please pay particular attention to the details for each age group on December 16!

DECEMBER 6: REHEARSAL • K–5th graders will have extended opening in their opening classrooms and then go to class. • 3 and 4 year olds will have opening in their usual location

DECEMBER 13: REHEARSAL • K–5th graders will have dress rehearsal in the Sanctuary, there will be no class this day, so parents can drop off and pick up in the Sanctuary. • 3 and 4 year olds and Kindergarteners will have opening in their usual location.

DECEMBER 16: WEDNESDAY EVENING CHRISTMAS WORSHIP The Sunday school Christmas Worship will take place during the 6:15pm Worship service. ALL kids should arrive by 6:05pm. There will be refreshments in the Narthex following worship. • 3 and 4 year olds should report to their normal opening room (105) • K–5th should report to the choir room * Parents can pick all children up in their opening rooms after worship *

DECEMBER 20: SUNDAY SCHOOL • Sunday school as usual. Opening, followed by class in usual rooms.

DECEMBER 27: PARTY! • Birthday Party for Jesus, Intergenerational Event Everyone is invited to attend this Birthday Party for Jesus in Fellowship Hall from 9:15 to 10:15. This event replaces “usual” Sunday school, parents should pick up and drop off at the Fellowship Hall. Wishing you a Blessed and Merry Christmas! Contact Sunday School Superintendents Sheri Betz or Tawni O’Rouke for information or with questions!


First Lutheran Sunday school

First Lutheran Church + Good News

December 2015


Attention Young Youth!!!

When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” YOUNG Luke 14:15

YOUTH GROUP If you are in 2nd–5th grade then this is your club! Contact Katie Everson at, 608.786.4826 for information or with questions! All are welcome!


Meet at the church on December 11, from 6–7pm down in the Fellowship Hall to decorate Christmas cookies. The cookies will be handed out as gifts to residents that we visit when the church goes caroling on December 13. Parents are more then welcome, even encouraged to attend, the cookie decorating event!! We had a brilliant time in October at Clear water Farm! The kids did such an amazing job helping to get the garden ready for winter, feeding the animals and building scarecrows for their fall event. The weather was amazing and the event extremely successful. Thank you to all who attended!! What to look for ward to: • MP3 night • Winter Fun Days at Sugar Creek We’ve had some wonderfully attended events and the children have been wonderful. Thank you so much for attended and sharing your amazing children with myself and the youth group. Blessings, Katie Everson December 2015

First Lutheran Church + Good News


Upc ming Y uth Events EVERY



Christmas HS MOVIE NIGHT! Parties! Are you a movie buff? High schoolers, come teach Tina your ways! We will get together once a month to watch a movie and discuss after. Bring popcorn to share! Tues., Dec. 8 @ 7–8:45pm


NIGHT! Come join in a fun night of fellowship and games. This is a once a month gettogether for those high school game nerds out there! Bring your own favorite games to share with the group! Tuesday, December 15 @ 7–8:30 14

First Lutheran Church + Good News

Saturday, Dec. 19 MS Christmas Party! 5:30–8:30pm (supper provided) Sunday, Dec. 20 HS Christmas Party! 5:30-8:30 (supper provided)

December 2015

Stay up all night hanging out with fellow youth! Joint lock-in with English Lutheran in La Crosse (at English Lutheran). Bring friends!! Fri., Dec. 4, 9pm–7am (RSVP to Tina)

HS YOUTH GROUP! Every Sunday evening there will be a youth group meeting at 6:30–8:30pm. High school youth can come hang out in a time of fellowship, food, games, and learning. (No youth group on Dec. 27)

Feel free to invite friends along to every event!! Bulb graphics by Stephen JB Thomas

The holiday season is always a good time for fellowship with friends old and new as we prepare for the birth of Christ. The OWLs have developed a couple of traditions for the holiday season. The details are below and as always will look forward to including new people in our activities. December is a great month to give us try, Christmas spirit abounds and the fun is continuous. Our first December tradition is a fun trip to Sugar Creek Bible Camp for their Christmas version of “Yesterday’s Youth.” The morning program is “Eternity in Our Hearts” presented by Pastor Ron Nowland. Pastor Nowland’s presentations are insightful, entertaining and contain wonderful photography. In addition, Sheila Champlin will present a “Tour of Ireland.” After a delicious holiday lunch we will be treated to Christmas music by the “DisChords” band. The date is Monday December 7, we will leave the church at 8am to insure we get there in time for coffee and cinnamon rolls. Cost of the day including lunch is $10. The “Wow! You don’t want to miss this!” tradition is the world famous OWLs Christmas Potluck. We will gather in the church narthex at noon on Wednesday, December 16, to celebrate the season. If you have a favorite Christmas or Norwegian sweater, sweatshirt December 2015

etc. please wear for a group photo. In addition to our usual fantastic meal, we will have a gift exchange and play some Christmas games. We will have no theme for the gift exchange. We will just call it the “Mystery Gift” exchange. Please bring a wrapped gift costing less than $10. If you bring a gift you get to take one home. Participation is voluntary. We will play a game to determine who gets to pick first. If you happen to have an extra Christmas goodie, please bring a few to share in addition to your potluck dish. Looking forward to seeing everyone in December. The OWLs are a group at First that welcomes anyone, First Lutheran members or not, who are 55+. For information or to ask questions, contact Brian Narveson at

First Lutheran Church + Good News


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STAFF DIRECTORY Jason Stanton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Senior Pastor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 608.386.6431. . . . . . . . . . . . Karyn Bodenschatz. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Associate Pastor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 608.433.6002 . . . . . . . . . . . 410 Main St. Onalaska, Wisconsin 54650 608.783.2236 Fax: 608.783.3741

WORSHIP SCHEDULE Sunday 8:00 & 10:30 AM Wednesday 6:15 PM SUBMITTING NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS To have your announcement in the monthly newsletter, send it to, or give it to Andy in the office. Deadline for the newsletter is always noon on the 15th of the month. To have your announcement in the weekly announcements pages handed out each weekend, send it to, or give it to Andy in the office. Deadline for the weekly announcements is always noon each Wednesday. First Lutheran is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA)

Kathryn Pedretti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of Servant Ministries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bridget Crave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of Small Group Ministry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

YOUTH/EDUCATION STAFF Sheri Betz. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tawni O’Rourke. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Katie Everson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cindy Berg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tina Nelson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Tamara Schonsberg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Andy Stutesman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mike Peper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mark Koenig. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mary Meier. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peggy Daleki. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Jim Knutson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gabriel Hicks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Todd Saner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dick Daleki. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Melissa Rolbiecki. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Megan Colgan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marci Leppert. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Carrie Markos. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday School Superintendent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sunday School Superintendent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Young Youth Coordinator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Confirmation Administrative Assistant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of Discipleship for Youth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Office Assistant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 608.783.2236. . . . . . . . . . . . Communications & Marketing Coordinator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Head Custodian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Assistant Custodian Assistant Custodian Assistant Custodian Bell Choir Director. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Organist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Senior Choir Director & Contemporary Music Coordinator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Praise Band Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Preschool Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 608.779.4504. . . . . . . . . 4K Teacher Preschool Assistant Teacher Preschool Assistant Teacher


Todd Lofald. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . President Paula Skoy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vice President Jennifer Wiesjahn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Secretary Shaun Gibbs Aaron McDonald Mary Ann Redfearn Larry Schreiner

December 2015

First Lutheran Church + Good News


edition: December 2015

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WORSHIP SCHEDULE Sunday 8:00 AM 10:30 AM Wednesday 6:15 PM

410 Main Street Onalaska, WI 54650 608.783.2236

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Tables of Blessing INSIDE




Good News for December 2015