For the month of DECEMBER...

from Pastors desk

For as long as I can remember, I’ve not liked cars. I’ve always preferred bikes. Or walking. Or having bamboo shoots driven under my fingernails. It has come as a surprise to me, then, that I have not minded the hour-long commute to and from Hinckley. What I have minded, however, are the billboards. I really hate billboards. I hate them more than I hate cars. They are ugly and they are inane. A new one I have been seeing just this past week is especially aggravating: “Happiness is eating ice cream in your dream home!”


If you’ve ever wondered why the church exists, it is to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in the face of nonsense like that billboard I so despise. As we enter into the Christmas Season, which tempts us with a cultural celebration of nostalgia, this billboard piles on with more competing gospel: self-centered isolationism. I apologize if this column, perhaps my final one here at First, is sounding cranky. It’s just that this is a time of year when there is opportunity for our message of hope in Christ to sound out loud and clear over and above the siren call of self-absorption and consumerism… and it often doesn’t.


If billboards had existed in the days of Mary and Joseph, it’s possible that on the way to Bethlehem they might have read something like, “Happiness is eating olives in your hillside villa!” Joseph, of course, was a carpenter, but if he had worked the land, they would not have eaten the olives he grew. No, they would have been bought for a pittance, pressed into oil by low paid laborers and then that oil would have been sold at a good price to benefit the Roman occupiers. Oh, and Jesus’ mother and father could have only dreamed about living in a hillside villa. They couldn’t even afford a room in Bethlehem for Mary to give birth. But God didn’t send Jesus to be born of Mary to help people reach for the brass ring. He sent him to free them from domination and to teach them to love each other.


The church exists to proclaim Jesus’ message of freedom and love. And, as St Francis said many years ago, we proclaim that message by using words when necessary. Most often, we proclaim our Christian freedom through action. We proclaim our Christian freedom by refusing to worship the many gods that clamor for our attention. And love, rather than being something we feel, is proclaimed through the actions we take that care for our neighbor.


This Advent and Christmas Seasons, I encourage you to keep freedom and love in your minds as you try to filter out the cultural clamoring that will surely beset us all. I’m not asking you to be Scrooges. Have fun. Laugh. Sing. Enjoy gatherings with family and friends. But please remember the vast difference between the good news of Jesus Christ and the false promises of consumer culture. A way to do that would be to ask yourself this simple question a few times a day when you are tempted to go face down into the trough: “Was Jesus born to give us this?”


I wish to you all of God’s goodness this special time of year. It has been a gift to work alongside you. You are now and will forever be in my heart.


Pastor Steve



Many gifts……. When one door closes, another one opens…Pastor Steve, we will always remember your many gifts and the ways you helped us…. ….baptisms; confirmation; adult confirmation classes; Wednesday night services; losing your son and still continuing your walk with us; doing a funeral service while dealing with your own pain; church council meetings; synod participation; monthly staff meeting; All Boards meetings; Monday Bible study; Sunday worship; Holy Week services and Easter Sunday; God’s Work, Our Hands Day; home visits and bringing communion; answering e-mails; working with FiA; setting up and sharing with the congregation the guidelines in finding a new minister; for your great sense of humor in your services (“like hoping that eventually all of us would be comfortable moving up at least one or two pews!”); your great sermons and then posting them on the church website so we could read them over again and think about them; working from home one day a week and driving a long distance to and from our church four times a week; giving us the privilege of hearing such beautiful music when Jennifer sang in church; and this list is not comprehensive as we will never know how much time and how many hours you spent in prayer for our church and its members. We all felt blessed to have you come and join us this past year, and we send our prayers and blessings as you head down a different path. Many gifts…….


church office hours


Church Wesite:

Pastor Steve Sylvester, Interim:  Monday - Wednesday & Sunday

Mindy Johnson, Director of Youth, Family & Education - Days to be determined

Donna Martin, Church Secretary - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (9-3)

Kathy Thompson, Financial Secretary - Wednesday and Thursday (9-3)

Rick Bicking, Treasurer - Tuesdays, PLEASE call his cell phone



Church Council will meet DECEMBER 17TH,  after service.



**Acolytes schedule for DECEMBER...

(Remember if you cannot serve, PLEASE find your own substitute).  Thank You!

Sunday, December 3- Bella Carlson - Maddie Anderson

Sunday, December 10- Jaxon Thom - Jaeden Blesener

Sunday, December 17- Connor Olander -Sophia Warman

Christmas Eve 9:30 am- Jaeden Blesener - Owen Johnson

Christmas Eve 4 pm- Ava Blowers -Kenna Barnick

Sunday, December 31- Owen Johnson - Kenna Barnick


Wednesday Confirmation Parent Assist

Wednesday, December 6 – Julie Thom -

Wednesday, December 13- Katie Linden - Nicole Anderson

Wednesday, December 20- Nicole Anderson - Lisa Blowers

Wednesday, December 27- NO CONFIRMATION



Lectors for DECEMBER ....

Sunday, December 3-Diane Ausmus

Sunday, December 10- Donna Wachsmuth

Sunday, December 17- Carole Lahti

Christmas Eve 9 am December 24 -Diane Ausmus

Christmas Eve 4 pm December 24- Christie Dunkley

Sunday, December 31- Paul Olson



Ushers for DECEMBER:

Bryan Gorsegner and Paul Olson


kitchen workers

 First Lutheran Kitchen Committee 

DECEMBER:  Kitchen Cleaning- Lynnea Mayer 

Please check the kitchen work list below each week, during the month you serve. Clean whatever day that is convenient for you


alter guild




noisy offering

We are collecting a Noisy Offering, for month of DECEMBER

If you are interested in giving for this,

proceeds are going to the Our Missionaries, the Bencke's 


  • bible study2

*Men's Text Study (every) Thursday

7:00 AM Coffee Fellowship

7:30 AM Text Study

(led by Men)


*Women's Bible Study (every) Tuesday 

9:30 - 10:30 AM

(led by Women)


*Women's (OTHER) Bible Study (every 2nd) Monday of Month, in the library 

4:00 - 5:00 PM

(led by Women)


Bible Study (for ALL) (every) Monday

11:00 - Noon

We look over the three readings for the Sundays, two weeks hence.

(led by Pastor Steve)


women of ELCA

Women's Bible Study's ongoing mission project.

We ask members to join us and bring SOCKS during the month of DECEMBER for 

homeless packets.  Please put them in the basket marked "Homeless Packets," in the

cabinet in the Narthex.

Thank You




Boards will meet the 2nd Monday, of EACH month at 5:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall. 

Monday, December 11th


out 2 lunch bunch2   

Out to Lunch Bunch

NO Out to Lunch Bunch in December



community dinner 

Please Join us for the

Community Meal

5-6:00 pm the 1st Tuesday of Month-

December 5th

*We need 2-3 people, who would organize the Community meal for December, January,

February, March and April.

The sign-up sheet is on the table in the Narthex.


faith communiity nurse Robin

The Parish Nurse, will be doing blood pressures for anyone who would like one:

Sunday, December 17th, during Coffee Fellowship.


deadline for newletter article

January Newsletter Deadline, Monday, December 18th


      CLICK HERE:     QR Code for Online $$ Giving

First Lutheran Church, Hinckley MN QR Code For Online Giving

A QR Code is what links you to our church’s Mobile Giving, so you can donate through your phone. Just scan this code on your phone’s camera, and it will show you a link – click on that link and it will bring you to our Mobile Giving application where you can easily donate. The QR code will be in the back of Red Worship Book.

Any questions, contact Kathy T (Financial Secretary). Thank you!


bible study2

Join us on Mondays from 11 AM to Noon for the Pastor's Bible Study. We look over the three readings for the Sundays two weeks hence. Everyone is welcome to participate. There is no homework required, no tests will be taken, just immersion in God's Word.


womens bible study



hats gloves coats giving tree elca good gifts

Donate to provide warmth to those in need locally by placing new hats, mittens, and scarves for school and gently used coats, hats, and gloves for the homeless on the Giving Tree in the Narthex. Also, Check out the ELCA Good Gifts Tree!

Get your shopping done and make a difference. Donate to fight world hunger and transform lives by purchasing an ELCA Good Gift ornament from the Giving Tree.

a. Choose the gift (ornament) that means the most to you or choose gifts to give in honor of friends and loved ones and take a card to give them.

b. Take an ornament, put your money or check (made out to FLC and in memo line mark “World Hunger”) in the World Hunger envelope, and place it in the offering or in the safe in the narthex.


live nativity scene 

Live Nativity

Saturday, December 9th from 4:30-6:30 pm

Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 16726 Grindstone Lake Rd. 320-245-2449

Come to Manger and see! Join us for an evening at the Manger with a living nativity, animals, chili, refreshments, crafts, children's activities, and more!

This gift of hope that comes each year is for everyone, and is always free. ALL are welcome, just as you are



First Lutheran will be collecting Toys for Tots through Sunday, December 10th.  Help make Christmas a happy one for some child by your donation!


charcuterie board

"I'm dreaming of a Charcuterie Christmas"

Fellowship Hall

Saturday Night, December 2, 2023 at 6:30 PM

We will have beautiful music, fancy decorations, and Chacuterie boards at each table.  There will be plenty of time to visit and laugh.  

Planning Committee:  Questions? Peggy Smith, Sue Skalicky, Mindy Johnson, Robin Hendrix



christmas celebration music

Save the Date it’s Christmas Program Time!

Everyone is Welcome!

Sunday, December 3rd at 4:30 pm

Hinckley Seventh Day Adventist Church

If you want to participate, please call: Lori 320-384-7046 OR Jodie 320-279-3000 Refreshments follow program.


decorate church for xmas


Please help us decorate the church for ADVENT

10 am on Friday December 1st


volunteers needed First Lutheran Church is looking for a

few volunteers that would be willing to help with a few projects. Contact church office or let Pastor know. Thanks!!

upholstery chair We are looking for someone that might be able to reupholster the mauve chairs in the narthex, around the little table. If you happen to have that special talent and are willing to do that, please let the office know. It would be greatly appreciated.



We are looking for a few more people to be lectors, on Sunday mornings. Would you like to? If so, please let the church office know. Thank you.




Just a note to let you know, that offering envelopes for giving are always out on the bulletin table. If you need a bigger amount, please contact Kathy Thompson. Also giving statements will be available to pick up around the fifteenth of January.

Kathy Thompson - Financial Secretary


annual report

Annual Report time is approaching fast.

If you are the chairman of a board, a committee, or the Church Council, please select someone to prepare your report for the Annual Meeting.

The Deadline for Annual Reports is Tuesday, January 2nd , so they will be ready before the Annual meeting. Please return your reports to me print ready or email to me at:


commitment giving

Please pick up your 2024 Estimate of Giving for FLC 2024 today from the table in Narthex or use the one in this Newsletter.

All are invited to place your commitment letter in the offering plate or put it on Kathy’s desk in an envelope. You can also, send or email it to the church- attention Kathy Thompson.

You may still turn in your Estimate of Giving. Thank You



Pastor Josh Blair, won the quilt raffle.

Hope you enjoy your quilt.



You are invited to make contributions toward the Christmas poinsettias to grace our sanctuary during the Christmas season.

Click here to print form:   Pointsettia Order Form  

We must have all donations by Sunday, December 3rd. Each plant is $10.00.

You are also invited to share your Christmas poinsettia from home if you wish. Please have your plant at the church by 9 am Thursday, December 21st. It’s a good idea to mark your plant with your name so you are sure to get your same plant home with you. Information for the Christmas bulletin will be taken from this form. Please complete and be sure to list the exact information you wish to have appear in the bulletin. Thank you.

**Please return this to the office or offering plate by Wednesday, December 3rd**

______ I will bring a Christmas plant for the Sanctuary.

______ I wish to purchase a plant.

______ In loving memory of ________________________________________________________ ______In loving honor of___________________________________________________________ From: _____________________________________________

Drop your check to First Lutheran Church into the offering plate and be sure to mark it “POINSETTIAS– Altar Guild” on the memo line. Thank you!!


prayers for all 2  

He has us, in His hands .... Prayers for all !   



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