The First Lutheran Church Trust Fund granted $39,500 for local ministries and scholarships. The largest single grant was $10,000 given to Camp EWALU in Strawberry Point to help remodel and expand. Another $6,400 was donated for 24 “camperships.”
The Decorah Community Food Pantry was granted $5,400. Some of the food pantry founders, including First Lutheran Church members Carolyn Flaskerud, Marlene Sorenson, and Jane Tollefson, celebrated the Food Pantry’s work at the annual meeting in January.
The congregation established the Trust Fund in 1995 to steward planned gifts and bequests to support ministries beyond the congregation’s usual operating budget. A Trust Fund Board elected by the congregation oversees the assets and decides where to grant the proceeds. The Rev. Dr. Jim Martin-Schramm is the current chairperson.
“We are blessed by the generosity of our ancestors to be a blessing to the community,” said Pastor Mike Wilker.
The Trust Fund also gave $10,000 of scholarships to students at Lutheran colleges and seminaries, including four Luther College students: Aiden Hunter, Lars Marquardt, Lily McGohan, and Ella Runestad. Conner Freeman and Laurie Iuden-Nelson, both of Decorah, also received scholarships to attend Wartburg Seminary.
Aase Haugen, Lutheran Services in Iowa, and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service also received grants. The final award was made to a joint ministry of Prairie Lakes, Decorah Lutheran, and First Lutheran Church to support and encourage mothers of preschoolers and school-aged children in Winneshiek County.
In addition, the Trust Fund manages the Weston Noble Music Ministry Endowment which supports the congregation’s music ministry.
Anyone can contribute to the Trust Fund by including the FLC Trust Fund as a beneficiary in their will, trust, life insurance, or retirement plan. Consult an attorney, financial planner or call the church office to speak with Pastor Mike Wilker for more information.
Contact: Pastor Mike Wilker, 563-419-4488, PastorMike@FirstLutheranDecorah.org
Invest in a reusable water bottle, preferably one that is not plastic; many models are silicone, aluminum, or stainless steel (sometimes double-walled for insulation). Most individual thin-plastic bottles of water are not recyclable and are simply put in the trash, ending up in landfills. Americans purchase around 50 billion of these bottles every year, which amounts to about 151 per person! Estimates are that over a million plastic water bottles are sold worldwide every minute. In 2021, a total of 583 billion plastic water bottles were used and discarded.
The reasons many people purchase water in plastic bottles include taste preference for spring water or alkaline water, concern about public water safety, hygienic concerns, and convenience. But there are alternatives for getting purified tap water to drink, including installing purifiers under the sink or purchasing whole house water purification systems. Some grocery stores have dispensers for putting purified water into a reusable container. One of the most economical solutions is to purchase an inexpensive portable water purifier—either a pitcher or a larger dispenser, both of which use replaceable filters—available at most department and discount stores.
Decorah water is regularly tested for contaminants, and the most recent report for 2021 is clear that any contaminants in our water are all within safe limits. So, if you are not averse to tap water, all the better! You can refill your reusable bottle whenever you are near a faucet or a water fountain.
Related tip: Buy any soft-drinks in recyclable cans rather than plastic bottles. When you purchase something with a plastic lid, be sure to recycle that lid.
Almost a year ago, many of us took the opportunity to welcome new refugees (mostly Ukrainian) to Iowa by donating items for kits (bath, kitchen, bedding, cleaning, etc.) which were taken to Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) in Des Moines for distribution. Thank you all for your generous hearts and gifts.
LSI is now giving us another opportunity to help refugees with some urgently needed items. In visiting with LSI’s Community Engagement Specialist Natalie Estrem, I learned that these items leave their offices almost as quickly as they come in, so there is almost always an urgent need. Please consider giving a gift of money toward these needs to First Lutheran Church – please mark your check or cash ‘Refugees’. Our Ministry Support Coordinator Megan Pitz and I hope to order items from Walmart and have them delivered to the LSI Office in Des Moines so that no one from Decorah needs to drive them down. Walmart has free shipping with a minimum order. Please note with your gift if you would like it towards a specific item as listed below:
- Twin sheets for adults $19.97 Cotton Percale set at Walmart
- Twin/King comforters for adults $25+ bed in a bag comforter sets at Walmart
- Laundry detergent $19.24 Tide in an Eco-Box 105 loads at Walmart
- Dish soap approximately $3 per container at Walmart
- Large kitchen trash cans $20 at Walmart
- Large frying pans $12 at Walmart
- Large pots $8.94 at Walmart
- any amount to help with sales taxes or price increases
Please donate by MARCH 31. NO FOOLING, Megan and I will take care of this at the beginning of April! God’s peace and blessing be with you all, Nancy Solomonson
Dear Congregational Members and Friends,
On behalf of the Congregation Council, we are pleased to introduce you to the Rev. David Severtson, the candidate to serve as associate pastor. He is recommended by the Associate Pastor Call Committee and the Council.
We invite active members* of the congregation to attend the Congregational Meeting this Sunday, March 5, at 11:15 AM in-person or via Zoom. At the meeting we have two items on the agenda: 1) vote to call Pastor Severtson to begin work on June 1, 2) vote on compensation for Pastor Severtson. The Rev. Steve Brackett, assistant to the bishop, will represent the synod to facilitate the call process and votes.
Pastor David is currently serving as the associate pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Willmar, MN, where he leads faith formation and congregational care ministries. He grew up in Clear Lake, IA. He graduated from Luther College in 2001, and Luther Seminary in 2020. He also earned his Doctor of Music degree in piano performance from the University of Minnesota in 2007.
Please read the attached/linked documents. Paper copies are also available in the church office and sanctuary.
● Recommendation of the Call Committee, which explains the call process and rationale for calling Pastor Severtson.
● Associate Pastor Position Description, which was approved by the Council last October.
● Pastor David Severtson Biography, which narrates his faith and vocational journey.
● Compensation Agreement, recommended by the Council in accord with the Synod Compensation Guidelines.
Deep thanks to the Call Committee members who have been serving faithfully and diligently since elected by the congregation in June 2022: Laura Storlie, Melinda Hanson, Evan Neubauer, Ruth Caldwell, Doug Van Sloten, Jenna Mockler-Gjerde, and Pastor Mike Wilker.
Troy Whitehill Rev. Michael Wilker
Council President Senior Pastor
*According to the congregation constitution, Active Members are those who have shared in Holy Communion and contributed at least $1.00 in the past year.