2020 Committee Reports
PASTOR’S REPORT - submitted by Pastor Reed Lee Pedersen
Another year has gone by and I still hold onto the words of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, “3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. (Philippians 1:3-5)” 2020 has not been an easy year for our congregation, its people, our community, or the entire world for that matter.
In humble service,
COVID-19 has led to an empty sanctuary for much of the year, most notably on Easter and Christmas. We had faithful members of our congregation who died and could not be celebrated or honored as they should. One of those losses was our church secretary, current day Jenny Lind, and someone I considered a dear friend, Deanna Swanson. This has left the church with a void at Church Secretary that still needs to be filled.
Our historic church, “The Cathedral on the Prairie”, is a point of pride in our congregation. On top of worshiping God, seeing and interacting with our loving members is another strong point at Augustana Lutheran Church. Yet, with COVID-19, state shutdowns, and suggestions from the health department we were unable to be a church as we were accustomed. We couldn’t meet in person. We couldn’t all sit in the pews and hear our organ ring through the sanctuary. We had to adapt, and we did.
I am confident that the entire congregation has come to understand that a church is more than its building. Our congregation is more than its beautiful sanctuary. Our Sunday School did not stop in the spring when in person classes were shutdown. Instead we adapted and had Sunday School via zoom. Our council meetings did not end because we could not see each other. We moved to a conference call so we could still discuss and vote on church matters. VBS was not canceled, just moved to outdoor and online to reach our youth and families.
Most of all, Sundays did not stop coming during COVID-19 shutdown and neither did our worship services. We adapted to have the services prerecorded online (virtual) and played over an FM frequency for those without internet. When the weather opened up we were able to worship outside. Thanks to funding from our Endowment Committee the church was able to purchase the necessary equipment to live stream our worship services online rather than having them prerecorded. All of this adapting proves that our church can continue to worship God and share the love of Jesus Christ with our community no matter what curveballs the world throws our way.
We have shown that we can adapt. Now I want to challenge our entire church to GROW. When I use the word ‘grow’ I do not mean in numbers. I want the current members of our congregation to grow in engaging in their faith and in church involvement.
I want us as a congregation to have our spiritual needs and practices (e.g. worship, devotions, bible study, prayer time, fasting) to exist more than just on Sundays. I want our congregation to actually know how to read their bible and engage in it. I believe it is by engaging in an active faith life outside of church that it will make us stronger as a congregation.
I also want to challenge every congregant to be involved in church committees and activities. If you go to Augustana Lutheran Church or consider it as your congregation, I want you to invest your time and talents into making Augustana Lutheran Church as great as it can be. With everyone on board I am sure that the love of Christ will thrive in our church and community. Be assured, if we all buy in and invest our time and talents in the work of Augustana Lutheran Church then the growth in numbers will come, too.
Things may not be able to happen until post-COVID-19, but I want you to ask yourself, “What do I have to offer Augustana Lutheran Church? How can I help out? What are ways I could be more involved (not just on Sundays)? What are ways that I can live an active faith life rather than just engaging in my faith and church when it is convenient?”
The truth is that a majority of our members that participate in committees and activities are above sixty five years old. This is also a similar trend in our yearly offering. My hope is that over the next three years we can see increased or continued involvement from our members of all ages, but more specifically those who are less than sixty years old. After these next three years we will have a good idea of the future vitality of our congregation ten to fifteen years from now.
I want you to know this challenge is not just to you, but also to me. I believe I am called to grow in my involvement in this church and in the reigniting of past church groups and activities (e.g. Luther League). Due to COVID-19, I have gotten a little too comfortable being a ‘Sunday Only’ pastor that revolves all his work around making sure Sunday’s service looks good and goes well. I look forward to all the ways and time I can be involved and leading our church.
We are in this together. By God’s grace Augustana Lutheran Church will continue to exist and share the love of God for infinite years to come. It takes our hard work and active faith in the love of Jesus Christ to make this happen. God bless each and every one of you.
Pr. Reed Lee Pedersen
VICE CHAIRMAN REPORT - submitted by Bryan Johnson
This church year started out seemingly as any would. We welcomed Kathy Atwell and Michael Carlson into the council fold. Once again, Bonnie Bandelow agreed to be the council secretary. Bonnie does a really good job of that, and at times I think is forgotten, so I really want to say Thank You!
We agreed to Pastor Reed's requests for paternal leave and Health Insurance, with his and Megan's first child due in August.
And then, the month of March arrived, and nothing has been normal since. Our meetings have completely had to roll with the Virus rules. We held 3 months on the phone, and with the arrival of warmer weather, we were able to be in the front yard of the Education wing. Our last couple of months we moved into Luther Hall, spread far apart in masks. Our meetings have been filled with decisions on where and how to have services, what has to be cancelled. Pastor Reed rolled with all this the best, going to virtual, constantly tweaking that to what it currently is now. We had some Sundays outside, which was a great change away from looking at a screen! Above all, we have made decisions to side on the safe health for everyone, as much as possible. No one is enjoying or wanting things this way, but God is helping us cope and make decisions.
Pastor and Megan had a baby boy, and that brought happiness during a time that seemed stuck. They also decided to move out of the parsonage and buy a house for themselves to begin in raising their family! With this will come much discussion and decisions about what to do with the parsonage in the coming months ahead. The whole council is looking forward to a new year, a different year than we just are finishing up with. Hold strong to your beliefs, and all of this will have taught us more about life, as I believe that is what time and God are always doing!
ALTAR GUILD - submitted by Sally Rehn
The following is a list of members and the months that you care for the altar. If your assigned month doesn’t work, please trade with someone else. As long as church is online our only job is to make sure the correct color of paramount’s are on the altar/banner and if there might be flowers ordered to put them out. The 2021 flower chart is on the bulletin board but there haven’t been too many opportunities for people to sign up.
Be sure to check the flower chart to see if flowers are ordered for each Sunday (except during Lent when there are no flowers on the altar) or check the flower refrigerator to see if flowers are left. If there are none, put the flower vases in the sacristy.
All phones are 309 prefixes
Kathy Atwell 521.8566 Connie Dismer 944-7021 Sally Rehn 522.5587
Jan Gritton 738.9889 Sally Reinhart 521.8421 Mindy Poppy 236.0920
Diane Poppy 945.6749 Laura Rickey 235.4259
January Sally Reinhart, Jan Gritton
February Mindy Poppy, Laura Rickey
March Sally Rehn, Kathy Atwell
April Sally Reinhart, Diane Poppy, Sally Rehn
May Sally Rehn, Laura Rickey
June Diane Poppy, Kathy Atwell
July Sally Rehn, Mindy Poppy
August Sally Reinhart, Connie Dismer
September Jan Gritton, Kathy Atwell
October Jan Gritton, Mindy Poppy
November Connie Dismer Diane Poppy
December Sally Rehn, Sally Reinhart, Laura Rickey
- submitted by Gordon Rehn
2020 Committee members were: Pastor Pedersen, Gordon Rehn, Michael Carlson, Wayne French, Ron Peterson,
and Steve Gray.
The committee met twice this year:
The committee manages the Endowment’s
two investment funds: ELCA Pooled Trust,
and the Farmer’s National Bank Trust.
The committee also oversees the ALC Good Samaritan Fund
and the Church Modernization Fund
, For a full description of the Endowment, Church Modernization
and ALC Good Samaritan
funds, go to the church website home page, scroll down to the Msage Section, and click on the associated links. The following provides a summary of the committee’s accomplishments:
The committee’s charter dictates that the previous year’s income from our trust be evenly distributed between Property, Mission and Community Outreach.
In 2019 investments earnings totaled $24,000,
- Property: the entire $8000 for property is reserved for expected Steeple repairs
- Northern Illinois Synod: $ 4,500
- Lutheran Disaster Relief $ 1.000
- Mosaic $ 1,000
- Lutheran Fund for Leaders $ 1,000
- Lutheran Indian Ministry $ 500
- Total $ 8,000
Church Modernization Fund
- Community Outreach
- Streaming Equipment $ 2,000
- Good Samaritan Fund: $ 1,000
- Grow Ministries: $ 1,000
- Local Food Pantries: $ 1,500
- Parish Nurse Program: $ 1.000
- Total $ 8,000
With one week to go in our three year pledge drive, we exceeded our $125,000 which was started to repay Trust funds used to finance the painting and air-conditioning of the sanctuary!
Status of the 3-year fund appeal:
- 32 Pledges
- Pledge Amount: $ 66,590 - 53.3% of Goal
- Total $ Received: $133,087 - 106.5% of Goal
Thank you to all for contributing, especially during the very difficult 2020 year.
The Church Modernization Fund will continue to support future church improvements.
ALC Good Samaritan Fund
In 2020, $3.250 was given to individuals and organizations for relief from rent, funeral, and medical costs. We received $2,661 in member gifts and donation to this ministry. Thank you all for your support.
Status of Funds (as of 20 December 2020:
- Endowment Fund $ 7,459.17
- Church Modernization : $ 17,996.05
- ALC Good Samaritan: $ 8,334.68
Thank you to all Endowment Committee members for their efforts & guidance.
PROPERTY COMMITTEE - submitted by Bryan Johnson
My first year in charge of this committee was definitely different with the virus amongst us. We could not hold a cleanup day. But we did get some things done!
1) We removed some trees from the front of our buildings, and got the 17 bushes trimmed as well.
2) The mold that was cleaned last year from Luther Hall ceiling and the parsonage basement was caused from leaks. We feel we have figured out the leak causing the problem at Luther Hall, with the help of a roofing company, and will have some masonry work done on that this spring. We are going to try caulking at the parsonage, with hopes that fixes it.
3) A down payment was made with a steeple repair company, and hopes of that happening this fall did not, so spring will also bring that repair to be done.
4) The hot water heater for the kitchen was replaced, along with some boiler valves off of the education wing and sink repair in the men's bathroom as well. This was all done by a licensed plumber, who does fine work!
5) At different times, limbs and brush were cut down and disposed of over the year, due to wind and storms. Different members helped with this, and thank you to all who helped!
6) The same roofing company that helped with the Luther Hall inspection to stop the leak causing mold, also did maintenance repair on the roof of the Education wing. They are also a great company to work with!
The ongoing aging of our property and buildings will be a constant in requiring more work. I personally would love to see some "younger blood" on this committee, as I am the youngest member at age 63! The more we can do ourselves, the less we will have to pay out to have things done. This church is a treasure, and I hope it will be standing in good repair for many years to come! Just in the last 5 years, amazing things have been done! I would like to thank all current and even past members, and anybody who has helped to keep this looking as good as it still does. This coming year WILL be better!
WELCA – submitted by Sally Rehn
Due to Covid-19 most WELCA activities did not take place this year. Some circles met a few times using social distancing to keep in touch with each other. WELCA still needs financial support so hopefully the three circles—Faith, Peace, and Joy will continue to give dues. Sally Rehn, secretary; Chris Isaacson, treasurer
WORSHIP - submitted by Kathy Atwell
This has been a difficult year for our committee in so many ways. Due to the Covid-19 Virus, our spring & summer plans did not materialize. To complicate our committee more, in September we lost our dear & special friend, Deanna.
Our first meeting of the year, we made plans for Ash Wednesday, Lent, Holy Week, & Easter. Those plans did not happen. Ash Wednesday & 2 mid-week services were held. After the second mid-week service, it was necessary to close the sanctuary due to the virus. Pastor Reed immediately started having Virtual Worship Services. Later in the summer we were able to worship on the front lawn of the church. Through the month of October we were able to worship in the sanctuary using masks & social distancing. The first Sunday in November was truly God's Masterpiece. The weather was warm enough to worship on the front lawn with beautiful fall leaves gently falling around us. Terri Nelson had made 2 wreaths for the front doors of the church. Steve & Nancy Gray made fall arrangements around the posts of the lamps in front of the church. Special Thanks to each of them. Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving, Cambridge Lutheran Church, St. Paul Lutheran Church in Orion & our church held virtual Thanksgiving Services.
At our October Meeting, we attempted to make plans for Christmas Services. In normal times it would have been exciting but was difficult in so many ways. Usually there would be the decorating of the sanctuary & putting up the Christmas Tree on the Sunday following Thanksgiving; starting of the Advent Season. There would not be the Augustana College students & the "Joy of Christmas" This year there would not be a Christmas tree or so many red poinsettias on the altar. There would not be the two Christmas Eve Services or the early Christmas morning Julotta Service with candles in hurricane lamps. Instead of all this pageantry, it was necessary to have an online Christmas Service along with an in person hearing the Christmas Story & singing Silent Night in front of the church. The Sunday after Christmas was a virtual Lessons and Carols service. Through all these difficult times with plans having to be changed & disappointments along the way, we have more Blessings than we can begin to count. Thanks is not adequate to Pastor Reed being sure we had Worship Services every Sunday whether virtual or in-person.
OUTREACH COMMITTEE - submitted by Jeanine Lees
The Committee had several events planned thru February-May 2020 but we had to table them due to the pandemic. The end of July, first part of August money was collected for school supplies. $410.00 was sent to the Cambridge School District. During October we collected lots of candy. The Committee stuffed 150+ bags of candy. On Halloween night, the bags of candy were handed out in front of the church to trick or treaters. The candy leftover was taken to an Ameriprise business on Elmore. The business was going to send the sweets to veterans and deployed troops. November money was sent to the Orion Food Pantry for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. December handmade ornaments were gifted to the congregation. The Committee wants to thank the congregation. Without your gracious giving none of these outreach projects would have happened. Thank you again. Jeanine Lees.