Newsletter of Augustana Lutheran Church of Andover

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Yes, this year we can be thankful, too.

Every year we try to have a joint worship service the evening before Thanksgiving. Together with St. Paul Lutheran Church in Orion and Cambridge Lutheran Church we worship and give thanks to God. We would also have someone from each congregation say what they are thankful for. This is a Thanksgiving tradition many people have at their own Thanksgiving gatherings. Perhaps, it is something you commonly do. This year, though, it seems odd to think about what we are thankful for. The truth is, though, thinking and listing what we are thankful for in our lives is exactly the type of spiritual practice we need.
The bible is ripe with many calls of thankfulness. The Psalms continually give praise and thanks to God (e.g. Psalm 7, 9, 35, 69, 95, 100, 106, 107, 118, 147). One year at the joint Thanksgiving Service the choir sang the popular words, “Give thanks with a grateful heart.” These different
instances remind us to give thanks to God for all that is good in our lives and the world. It seems to be pitted as a joyous occasion to say thank you to God
This is all well and good, but doesn’t this seem to miss the mark of a year like 2020? The COVID-19 pandemic has a long way to go, political and civil unrest seems to be at an all time high, and the economic toll caused by the pandemic is losing people jobs and homes. Our church had to completely shift how to do worship. Even though we are in the sanctuary again, worship is not exactly how we remember it. Even the Thanksgiving worship service has been affected because it will be online this year. If you want a pie you will have to bake it or buy it yourself.

Do you think that these Psalms and other verses throughout the Bible that call for thankfulness were written when things were on the up-and-up? No. The Israelites were conquered and dispersed by multiple foreign powers. Jesus and the early church lived under the thumb of the Roman Empire. Christianity itself was illegal in Rome until the 3rd Century. St. Paul sometimes wrote his letters to the different church bodies from prison. He was being held by the state for being a spreader of the gospel. Yet, Paul writes with joy to the Philippians, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Paul does not do this to ignore his jail sentence. Paul does not do this to put on some unrealistic optimism about the state of the Christian Church in their time. Paul makes the charge of prayer with thanksgiving because of who God is and what God did through Jesus Christ for us. There is true power in the love Jesus shows us every day and the peace of God in our hearts which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). On top of that, by looking for things to be thankful for with the church in Philippi, Paul finds things to truly be thankful for.

This is the point of the spiritual practice of giving thanks. It is not just meant to judgmentally say, “You should be thankful for what you have!” Instead it is a search and acknowledgement of what there is to be thankful for even in the midst of dark times. As for me, I am thankful for being able to welcome my son, Ezekiel, into the world. I am thankful that we have a church that has adapted its worship service technology in order to reach any person with an internet connection. I am thankful for a loving church that not only supports me but also my family.

Most of all I am thankful for the eternal love I have in Jesus Christ.
This does not diminish what’s been going on in our country and our world. What it does do is highlight the fact that there are still highlights in my life. It is not just some nihilistic depressive life with no meaning.
So, this year (yes, this year), what are you thankful for?
Liturgical Nerd Notes
Civic Engagement and our Calls to Be Disciples of Jesus
I have heard many times the phrase, “There should be no politics in the pulpit”. This idea is that we should be separating what is going on the political world and the gospel truth of Jesus Christ. While it is true that I cannot tell you who to vote for in the coming elections, I think it is important to remember that as disciples  of Jesus Christ we are called to civic engagement with our community, state, and federal government.
The ELCA adopted a social teaching document titled, “Government and Civic Engagement in the United States: Discipleship in a Democracy**”, this past June. The purpose of this document is to clarify and teach the church’s stance on its view of the role of government and our role as disciples within it.

Romans 13:1-7 makes it clear that government is a gift from God for the safety and flourishing of human life. As free citizens of a democracy we are not to overlook this great gift that we have. On top of that we hold to the biblical idea that God calls God’s people to be active citizens and to ensure that everyone benefits from the good of government. This is true for the people of the church and the church as a body to be “political”. This does not mean that the church is called to take partisan stances, but “politics” has to do with negotiating how the benefits and burdens of living in a society are shared. Politics is key to self-governance.

The document states, “Lutherans adopt a more complex approach, a middle way confessing that government is of a fallen people, by a fallible people, but nonetheless intended by God as a blessing for all people.” Therefore, driven by our baptismal call to spread the love of Jesus Christ, to fight for justice so that human dignity can be held by all people, and to live in peace we are called to engage in our communities in a way that pushes government to become a blessing for all people.

While there are many ways to be engaged in our government (or be ‘political’), the most common way to be civically engaged is to participate in the election. To vote for people who you feel is truly working towards the common good. The question to ask yourselves of the officials you are voting for is this: Are they making sure my neighbors are being served?

I want to leave you with the document’s final paragraphs:
“We Lutherans are grateful when government functions as God's gift and critical when it fails. While many have had their trust betrayed by government, this church affirms that government is indispensable for safeguarding and improving human life and creation. At the same time, this church affirms that government’s failures and injustices need to be remedied through robust civic engagement.

As members of the ELCA and as residents of this nation we will have serious disagreements about specific policy choices regarding what government should do or not do. We recognize that our siblings in faith can, in good conscience, reach different conclusions as to how to best serve our neighbor in complex circumstances. This recognition is healthy for us as a church and as residents of this nation, as we enter into conversations around those conclusions.  Although we may disagree about the best ways to achieve the public good, we do not disagree about our shared responsibility to seek it. We must also remember that our judgments and participation will always be marked by sin. Still, God’s care for human society calls us to rise again each day, forgiven and nurtured through our baptism to appreciate—and do—the work of self-government.”
**This document can be found on the ELCA website:

Daylight Saving Ends
Sunday, November 1 Clocks get set BACK one hour
The following have been elected to positions of leadership and trust at Augustana Lutheran Church:
Kathy Atwell, Bonnie Bandelow secretaryBryan Johnson  vice chairmanNicholas Swanson, Emily Maertens, Jeanine Lees, Mindy Poppy, Linda Papoccia, Jeanine Westerlund, Michael Carlson and Pastor Reed Pedersen

Contact info. for all Council members found on Website Leadership Page...Link HERE
May God bless them, and direct their deeds in peace, that they may be faithful servants of Christ.
Congregation Council Meeting
Highlights October 18
  • Council met in Luther Hall at 10:45.
  • Thank you to Steve Gray for repairing the sidewalk leading to the education wing.
  • Our church will participate in the Village Trick or Treat with a decorated car trunk and bagged treats near the lamp in front of the education wing
  • Thanksgiving Service will be virtual this year.
  • The next Church Council meeting will be after worship is over, Sunday, November 15.
Women, Wine, and the Word
Women, Wine, and the Word will meet again in November.
We will meet virtually via zoom. All are welcome.

Please email Megan at if you are interested in attending. We will meet on Thursday, November 19th at 7 pm.
We have updated our technology to make our prayer chain and church alerts as quick as possible. If you would like to be on the prayer chain please e-mail:
or call the church (309-521-8127) to give a cell phone number or email address that you would like added to the prayer chain and/or church alerts. When you are added you will be asked to register to be on the chain.
New Flower Chart for 2021 will be available the first
Sunday of November.
  1. Sign up on the flower chart on the bulletin board in the narthex (website ordering is discontinued). List the honoree or occasion by your preferred date.
  2. Call the florist of your choice and order and pay for
    the flowers (send no money to the church – pay the
    florist directly
    ). Be sure to tell them your date and
    they will deliver your flowers to church. 
If you cannot get to church, contact another member to sign you up and get a date.
The Andover Community Blood Drive with the
Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center
will be held on Saturday, November 14th from 8 am–12 noon in Luther Hall.
Blood donations continue to be needed.  Blood has a shelf life of 42 days – in a major disaster 50+ pints of red blood cells may be needed.
All donors are required to schedule an appointment time this year.  To schedule please call Kathy Swanson at 309-476-8548 or online at
Donors will earn a gift card or a long sleeved T-shirt
Congratulations to Ashley Rickey
On October 25th, 2020 at 1:00 pm Ashley Rickey completed her confirmation journey by undergoing the rite called, “Affirmation of Baptism”. In this rite she affirmed the responsibilities to which all baptized are called and was blessed by Pastor Reed and the family and friends that attended the service. We give thanks to God for our sister in Christ, and we welcome Ashley as an
official voting member of Augustana Lutheran Church.
Congratulations to Rachel and Cody Curry who welcomed their daughter, Finley Ruth Curry, into the world on October 13!
Grant Her Eternal Rest

We pray for the family of Colleen Wales who passed away October 8th. Pastor Reed presided over her funeral amongst family and friends on October 14th.

November Birthdays
01    Ashley Carlson
02    Ruth Ann Newman
03    Wayne Swanson
03    Sophie Selander
04    Jina Newman
04    Caiden Carlson
05    Sally Rehn
05    Khloe Nelson
07    Nina Pysson
10    Kelly Peterson
12    Zachary Riddell
14    James Dobbels
15    Tammy Norberg
16    Donnie Larson
18    Doug Dahlberg
18    Micah Anderson
20    Karen Sayre
21    Susie Josephson
22    Lily Pysson
25    Mary Anne Lovdahl
25    Barbara Carlson
25    Ruth Swanson
26    Steve Gray
27    Anne Cervantes
30    Rolland Carlson
November Anniversaries
01    Darin and Jody Nimrick
04    Kent and Carolyn Engnell
08    Keith and Heather Poppy
10    Mike and Wanda Lowery
25    Wayne and Kathy Swanson
While the church is without a secretary Pastor Reed is looking for some help. He would like someone that knows or can learn to use Microsoft Publisher to make bulletins. He could also use some help with clerical work around the office. Please contact Pastor Reed if you are able to help.

All Saints Sunday is November 1st.  This is a service where we lift up the eternal communion of saints, both alive and
deceased. In honor of this
holiday Augustana Lutheran Church invites you to visit the grave sites of your loved ones

November 2020
Laura Rickey
Diane Poppy
                December 2020
                Sally Reinhart
                Sally Rehn

Virtual Joint Thanksgiving Worship Service
Our Thanksgiving Worship service held between St. Paul Lutheran Church in Orion, Cambridge Lutheran Church, and Augustana Lutheran Church will be online. Each minister from the respective congregations will take part. Each congregation will provide a hymn, reader, and testimony of thanks. This worship service will premiere on our YouTube Channel on Tuesday, November 24, at 7:00 pm. Please join us as we all worship together and give thanks to God.
Joy of Christmas Past – Online
December 2, 2020

There has been a long tradition of Augustana College students coming to worship Jesus’ birth, hear a faculty member preach, walk to Jenny Lind Chapel for communion and caroling, and finish with cookies and hot cocoa in Luther Hall. This service has been called “The Joy of Christmas Past and Present”. This year we are unable to have this service in the sanctuary and Jenny Lind Chapel due to COVID-19. We will, however, be having an online worship service titled, “The Joy of Christmas Past”.

This service will include pictures of past services, readings of the Christmas story in different languages, music from Chris Nelson (Director of Music Ministries & Organist of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, IA), a greeting from Kai Swanson (Special Assistant to the President of Augustana College), and a past (yet timely) sermon given by Dr. Conrad Bergendoff during the 1975 Augustana Lutheran Church Julotta Service.

Grab a cup of hot cocoa and a cookie! Sing along and worship with us as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. The worship service will premiere at 7:00 pm on December 2nd.
Christmas Worship Schedule 2020

Due to COVID-19 we have had to change up our Christmas worship schedule. Normally there would be a ‘Family Christmas’ service and a late night Christmas service on Christmas Eve. The next day we would have our Julotta Christmas service in the morning. This year we will only be having two worship services. Both services will be held in the Augustana Lutheran Church sanctuary.
Worship Times:
December 24—2:30 pm        
December 24—8:30 pm
These services will be non-communion worship services. While we will not permit singing in the sanctuary, each worship service will end with everyone going outside to sing, ‘Silent Night’ in front of the church. There will also be candles given out for people to take home. Both
services will be live-streamed on our YouTube channel for those that wish to worship from home. If you would like to attend one of the in-person worship services you must
reserve a spot. (We are doing reservations to make sure we do not overload the sanctuary on either service.) Be on the lookout for a physical sign-up sheet at the church and an online sign-up sheet through our church website and
Facebook Group.
Important Note: If COVID-19 cases rise and we are pushed back to Phase 3 of the ‘Restore Illinois’ plan we will have online only Christmas worship.
Virtual Lessons and Carols
December 27th, 2020
In order to give Pastor Reed some time with his family after Christmas we will be having a virtual ‘Lessons and Carols’ service the Sunday after ChristmasDecember 27th. Pastor Reed needs volunteers to read and volunteers to provide the carols. There are nine readings and nine carols. You can do the music with instruments or acapella. You can have one person sing it or the whole family. Please contact Pastor Reed about how you wish to participate by emailing or calling the church phone (309-521-8127).
Every year Augustana Lutheran Church asks for all members to fill out a time and talent form to let the church know how you would like to be involved in worship and other church activities. This year the time and talent sheets will be filled out online. Pastor Reed’s wife, Megan, is creating an online document for people to fill out. By filling this out the church will have a better idea of how the people of our congregation can best serve the church and the gospel. Please look out for a link on our Facebook group and website
Click Here to see status of Sanctuary Modernization Fund Appeal (updated weekly)
On behalf of Pastor Reed,
staff and council of
Augustana Lutheran Church,
we wish members and guests of
Augustana a blessed


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Augustana Lutheran Church · PO Box 157 · 628 6th Street · Andover, IL 61233 · USA

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