Pastor's Update

Pastor's Update

Occasional updates from Pastor Paul Nelson, Senior Pastor

Church in the time of Coronavirus: Chapter 2

April 2020

Dear friends in Christ, Everyday Faith has been Immanuel’s theme for ministry since our Tent Meeting Kick off last fall (doesn’t that seem like a long time ago now, almost a different era?). We have raised up aspects of our Everyday Faith each season, beginning with “Everyday Worship”, then “Everyday Generosity” during our stewardship season. Our Advent theme was appropriately “Everyday Immanuel.” Lent brought us “Everyday Discipleship”. Each season has connected our relationship with God to everyday life.

Our Easter theme, EVERYDAY RESURRECTION, is more relevant than we ever imagined it would be when we planned it a year ago!

EVERYDAY RESURRECTION

Everyday Resurrection describes the new life, new grace, and new hope God gives us every day. When Christ rose from the tomb, death and evil were defeated, and our future was made secure in Christ’s love. That sure and certain hope faith brings is especially comforting right now, when so much in life is uncertain. Hope can be hard to hold onto in these times, but that’s why gathering to worship is such a blessing. We gather to hear the good news of God’s love proclaimed and have our hope renewed, we join in prayers seeking God’s love and mercy, and we are renewed in grace as we share communion.

Your giving enables our ministry of worship, comfort, fellowship, and service to endure! 900 households tuned in to our worship on Palm Sunday, about 700 more than an average service just one month earlier. On Easter Sunday just under 2000 households joined in worship. People are hungry for the Good News of God’s love, and I am so grateful that we can provide that through our worship, and for the great team we have putting that livestream worship together! Please like and share our Facebook worship announcements about our livestreamed worship and invite others to join our Immanuel online worship.

WHAT YOU CAN DO!

Thank you for your generous and faithful giving during this challenging time and supporting Immanuel’s ongoing ministry. Faithful giving is an act of worship connecting us to God and funding ministry that feeds the hungry, comforts the afflicted, and proclaims good news to all. Over 200 Immanuel households have embraced electronic giving through the Give + app, enabling them to give their offering through bank accounts or credit cards. If you are not signed up for electronic giving, simply download the Give + app and in a few easy and secure steps you can share your offering. Contact Church Administrator Tammy Vergeront with any questions.

BUILDING UP

Thank you also for faithful giving to the Building Up Capital Appeal. We’ve received $352,000 out of $634,000 pledged, %55 of the total amount pledged, in the first year of our campaign. Thanks be to God.

MATCHING GIFT

In the days ahead, you will be hearing details regarding how your generosity can have even more impact – through both our involvement in statewide giving campaigns and a generous matching gift from an Immanuel family. This family wants Immanuel’s ministry to stay strong during this challenging time and will be inviting any households who are able to join them in giving a special offering. The family will match your gifts given to this matching appeal. This is a challenging time, but the love of God that is ours in Jesus Christ our savior unites us, comforts us, and give us new life and hope, because in Jesus, every day is resurrection!

March 24

Church in the Time of Coronavirus Dear church, A team of callers from Immanuel has been reaching out to every congregational household these past few days. People have appreciated the care and connection and have shared prayer requests, many about family members, health, and worry about the future, but most expressing hope that this pandemic might pass over us quickly. Please include your Immanuel family in your prayers, and if there is any need you have please call me at 952-240-4275. Church leadership is meeting weekly (virtually) to address the impact of not being able to meet face to face as the body of Christ. We will continue to livestream worship each Sunday at 9:15 and 10:45, and for the remaining Wednesday’s in Lent as well as Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. We are continually updating how we practice social distancing as we attend to this vital ministry. We are also taking steps to “tighten our belt” at Immanuel, as so many of you are doing in the face of economic change. As groups are no longer meeting, Children’s choir directors, Holy Commotion Director, Nursery assistant, and Sunday Custodial services are suspended starting April 1. We will resume these positions as soon as we are able to do so. Immanuel’s Executive Committee will continue to track giving and expenses to keep you informed and help us make it through this challenge together. We are also continuing to develop new ways to connect and care for one another including:

You will be receiving more details about these opportunities in the days ahead. My prayers are with you every day, but especially in these challenging times. Again, if there is any help you need, please reach out to your church who cares about you and is here to give help, blessing, and encouragement. God’s peace be with you. Pastor Paul

March 12, 2020

Building Up Capital Campaign Update Thanks for Faithful and Generous Support! Thank you to all who stepped up and supported our Building Up Capital Campaign with your prayers and your pledges. Your faithful generosity has helped us get off to a great start. We are over halfway to our pledged goal of $633,663 before we have even finished the first year of this three-year campaign. In the first ten months Immanuel has received $340,000 in gifts, 54% of the total amount pledged. We have already completed the building updates and repairs that were part of our Building Up campaign, including the following projects:

Again, thank you for your generous support of Immanuel, and for helping us faithfully care for this facility and the ongoing ministry of Immanuel. May the love of God, the grace of our Lord Jesus, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit continue to be shared in and through us! Blessings, Pastor Paul

March 10, 2020

In light of concerns about the coronavirus, COVID-19… For the sake of care for our neighbors, especially those most vulnerable to communicable disease, here are some precautions we will be taking at Immanuel. While you are here at Immanuel:

Welcome and hospitality are vital as we are: Called to care. Sent to serve.

NOTE: any of these might change as events unfold around us. Our staff is constantly evaluating our procedures and as we learn more, we'll do more. Our team is committed to it. We are all in this together. If you have questions or concerns about any of these, please don't hesitate to contact the church office. If you can’t attend worship, please stay connected:

Please let us know how we can support you! Blessings! Pastor Paul

September 2019

Dear friends, What a blessing it was to gather together and kick off our new year of ministry together at our Welcome Weekend Tent Worship. It was especially exciting to introduce our ministry theme for this next year, EVERYDAY FAITH. Is faith like church clothes? Church clothes were your good clothes, formal clothes, uncomfortable clothes, and often ugly clothes. Church clothes were clothes you could not wait to get out of once you got back home from church. The worst of my church clothes outfits included a burgundy velvet blazer with plaid pants, and at a particularly low point in fashion, a polyester leisure suit. Power blue. Church clothes, the clothes you could not wait to change out of. It’s easy to treat faith like church clothes, something we take out, put on for Sunday, for church, then take it off so we can to be comfortable. Is that what faith is, like a suit of clothes we wear for special occasions, when we have to be good, but clothes can’t wait to get out of? Or can faith be something more, something we don’t simply wear on the outside but something we take to heart, a faith that is part of us, to guide, our inspire, comfort, and challenge us every day? EVERYDAY FAITH throughout the year We will explore how our faith can guide, inspire, comfort and challenge us every day:

We begin this fall raising up Everyday Worship, unpacking the elements of worship we can easily take for granted and making them a living part of each day. I hope, as we unpack the different elements of worship that you gain new insight to the deep meaning the parts of worship have and how they are meant to purposefully shape our everyday lives. To enrich your faith through our Everyday Worship series please consider:

I look forward to sharing this journey of EVERYDAY FAITH with you. May God bless us as we bless each other living out our faith every day. Pastor Paul

May 2019

Dear friends, OPENING DOORS UPDATE The story of Immanuel is one of generosity, and you are part of it. Thank you to all whose faithfulness and generosity supported our Opening Doors Capital Campaign, which began three years ago and comes to an end this month. Immanuel members supported our Opening Doors Campaign with $719,000 in pledges, which allowed us to transform our facility and enhance our ministry. Our Opening Doors Campaign has received $671,000 to date. Thank you to all who have supported the enhancement of our facility, and our ministry here at Immanuel and in our community. There is still time to fulfill your pledge.

BUILDING UP UPDATE God continues to open doors and help us build up our ministry at Immanuel. This month we kicked off our new Building Up Capital Campaign, which will continue the work of upkeep and the remodeling of our facility, helping us to be good stewards of our facility and attend to the ministry of hospitality at Immanuel. And, as we do with all giving to Immanuel, a porting of funds given to the Building Up Campaign, $50,000, will support the work of partner ministries. To date we have received over $615,000 in pledges for our Building Up Capital Campaign. Thank you to all who have stepped up and supported this endeavor. You can still make a pledge to the Building Up Campaign. I believe that God created us to be at our best when we are faithful and generous, and God is faithful and generous with us. As you live into generosity, may God build up your faith and fill you with joy as together we build up the body of Christ. Blessings, Pastor Paul

April 25, 2019

Dear sisters and brothers of Immanuel, Last month I shared an update with you regarding an important aspect of our ongoing ministry, our faithful giving. At the end of February Immanuel’s year-to-date giving was behind budget by 13%. This winter’s weather certainly played it’s part, as snow storms seemed to hit on weekends, keeping people from attending worship. Thank you for responding to this information with faithful giving in March that not only helped us meet our year-to-date budgeted giving, but end the month of March 26% ahead of budget. This March was the biggest non-December giving month in Immanuel’s history. We anticipate that April will be a strong giving month as well with the inclusion of Easter Sunday, where we were blessed with over 200 more people attending worship and celebrating that Christ is risen than in 2018. Our financial giving is one aspect of our discipleship, but an important one as it helps each of us prioritize what is important in our lives, and it makes possible the life change ministry of Immanuel here at church, in our community, and around the world. May you be blessed through your faithful and generous giving, and may we continue to be faithful participants in God’s work in the world. Blessings, Pastor Paul

April 22, 2019

Our Building Up Capital Campaign includes "caring" and "preparing" aspects to the campaign. Watch this video to learn more.

 

 

April 2019

As we are about to launch our 2019-2021 Building Up Capital Campaign we look back to see how God used Immanuel to help launch Onward Eden Prairie. I, and Immanuel's Kim Rathjen (the Onward Eden Prairie Board President), reflect on how this new non-profit grew from our vision and mission.

 

 

March 2019

Why do we have capital campaigns every 3 - 5 years?




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A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America