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Zion Crownicle for September 2020

Join Us for In-person Worship!

On Sunday, August 23, we began having in-person worship again at Zion. Worshipers are required to wear masks and are seated throughout the sanctuary to maintain social distancing. Hand sanitizing stations are available by the door. Until Pastor Sarah Larson joins us in October our guest pastors will be: Jon Olson (Sept. 13) and Janeva Stromberg (Sept 20 & 27). We will continue to videotape the worship and post online for viewing. We hope to be live streaming our services in the near future and are continually trying to improve our presentation.

Hearing Loop System Installed

Zion has just installed a hearing loop system which helps people hear sounds from a microphone or an audio system directly and clearly in their hearing aids. A hearing loop provides a wireless, inductive signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is turned to “Telecoil” setting. Hearing loop systems are supported by all 38 models of in-the-ear hearing aids and 29 of 30 conventional behind-the-ear models. There will also be portable hearing devise that are available at the usher desk that will pick up the transmissions.

God’s Work. Our Hands” Sunday Outreach

On Sunday, September 13, we will celebrate God’s Work. Our Hands Sunday. For the next two months, we will be collecting items for the schools and Milaca Food Pantry. You may donate money to this outreach project or bring the following items to the church at your convenience through November 15. Due to job loss or reduced pay, many families in our region need our help more than ever. Most needed items include: any hygiene and personal care items, including deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, bath wash, diapers (3, 4, 5), female products, toilet paper. The food pantry is also in need of peanut butter and cereal. For Milaca students with food insecurity, you can donate money or the following snacks: cereal bars, cereal snack boxes, snack crackers, any kind of Goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, Jell-O and pudding snacks, pretzels, fruit cups. Keep in mind that you can also donate to our Good Samaritan fund, which provides grocery and gas cards to families. Thank you for assisting us with this outreach to our community!

Sunday School Kick-Off/Meet & Greet

Sunday School children and families are invited to meet at Rec Park on Sunday, September 27, at 10:15 am (following service at church). Pastor Sarah will be joining us to meet the children and their families. We will present how we are planning Sunday School to start out this fall, sing some songs and play some games. Hope to see you there! Dress for the weather!

Hello Zion Lutheran!

I just wanted to officially say “thank you” for extending a call to me. I am both honored and excited to have the opportunity to serve as your pastor and will be joining you in ministry on October 1. Until then, here’s just a little background info so you know a little more about me… I am blessed to be the mama of two amazing kiddos (Caden and Mari) and one entertaining tortoise (Harvey Ole). Some of my favorite things to do include spending time with family, playing basketball, and playing piano. I am currently finishing my employment at St. Cloud Hospital after working with the same team for over 7 years.

Below is an invitation to my ordination, which will be held on Sunday, September 13:

YOU’RE INVITED to a Service of Ordination!!

For: Sarah (Beseman) Larson 
Date: Sunday, September 13, 2020 
Time: 4:00 pm 
Location: Outdoors at Bethel Lutheran Church (901 West Broadway, Little Falls)
Face masks required with social distancing observed. If possible, please RSVP to slarson004@luthersem.edu if you are planning to attend. Thank you!
I look forward to getting to know you all in the very near future!
Sarah Larson

Pastoral Acts

Memorial Services: 
On Saturday, August 29, a Celebration of Life was held for Kenneth “Kenny” Vincent Taylor (02.20.1961 - 08.26.2020) at the Ogilvie Fire Hall with Pastor Jon Olson officiating.


Youth Service! Landscape Help Needed - A member has donated some funds to plant shrubs near our

children’s entrance. Youth who need service hours…please let us know if you are willing to help plant
at a date to be determined this fall. We will take your name and schedule the date soon.

Servant Keeper Online Church Directory

The church directory is the
window to a church’s family life. However, more and more people are
using their phones, mobile devices and computers to look for information.
Creating an online directory makes members’ contact information digitally available. Throught our office software, Servant Keeper, Zion will be creating an online church directory. Members will be able to edit family and individual records, update things like their pictures, phone
numbers, contact information, emails and more! Look for an invitation email being sent soon where you will be able to log in and create your individual password to update your info. We encourage you to put a current picture of your family. Pictures can be submitted to the office to be downloaded. A hard copy of the directories will be printed off for those with no internet connection. This will be a great help to our new pastor!

Online Reflections
- Keep up with all the great opportunities and ministries going on within our Northeastern
Minnesota Synod. Visit and click the Online Reflections tab to sign up to receive weekly updates to stay on top of what’s going on in our synod and church!

Keep track of what’s happening at Zion via Social Media!

Log in to Zion Online – You can find Zion’s monthly calendar, photos from the latest events, and watch Zion online worship! Log on and look for the tabs and enjoy
Like Us On Facebook! - Zion Lutheran Church, Milaca, MN has a Facebook page. Check it out for
announcements, prayer requests, words of encouragement and inspiration.
Look What’s Happening!

Congratulations to Jeanine Manthie who was named Staff of the Year for Milaca Elementary

School. Thank you for your contributions to our schools and students!

Want to be a more effective Steward? Consider Simply Giving – With Simply Giving your offering
is debited directly from your bank account directly into Zion’s account? For those of you who wish to
have your contributions transferred electronically contact the Church Office for more details 983-3368.

Want to Give Right Now?
Try your smartphone! Start by downloading a QR code reader for your
phone and then scan and the QR Code will take you to the Zion’s site on GiveMN. It is easy and helpful. Give it a try!

New Bishop for the NE MN Synod!

Duluth, Minnesota — The Rev. Amy Odgren has been elected bishop of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She succeeds Bishop Thomas Aitken who was elected bishop in 2008 and is retiring after serving two six-year terms. The election was held in an online virtual synod assembly on August 28 and 29. Bishop-elect Odgren was elected on the fifth ballot with 167 votes. The Rev. Dr. David Carlson, pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Duluth, received 140 votes on that ballot. More than 300 voting members of the synod participated in the online assembly and election. Due to the pandemic, the assembly was postponed from May. Bishop-elect Odgren currently serves as Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Evangelical Mission for the Northeastern Minnesota Synod. Prior to that she served as Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Evangelical Mission for the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin, and as pastor of ELCA congregations in Wisconsin. Ordained in 2001, she is a graduate of Warburg Theological Seminary, one of seven ELCA seminaries, and she completed a B.A. in education and psychology at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota. She has served on the Board of Directors and Presidential Search Committees at Wartburg Theological Seminary, as well as a volunteer and leader of numerous congregation- and community-based organizations. Concerning her role as bishop, Bishop-elect Odgren said “I see our principal challenge as engaging this culture as evangelists who share the gospel of Jesus in ways that will make a difference in the world. I think a bishop needs to listen extensively, pray often, and be bold to move the vision of the kingdom forward. And through this all, I trust in God’s resurrecting grace that keeps working and setting us free to love and serve.”

The new bishop takes office on November 1. ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will preside at an installation to be held on October 17.

The Northeastern Minnesota Synod is one of six ELCA synods in Minnesota and 65 in the ELCA. Comprised of 130 ELCA congregations with about 55,000 members, it is one of the largest ELCA synods geographically, stretching from Princeton in the south to International Falls in the north, Brainerd in the west to Hovland in the northeast. Bishops are elected to six-year terms and may serve two terms. About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God's work. Our hands.,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther. More information is available at our web site.


Health & Prayer Concerns - If you know of anyone who is ill, hospitalized, or in need of pastoral care, please call the church office at 320-983-3368. The Zion Prayer Chain may be activated by contacting Jan at janbrown@milaca.net or texting or calling 320-362-1181, or calling the Church Office and leaving a message on the Prayer Chain Voice mail. Prayer requests may be included in our online service on Sunday morning by contacting the church office.

Keep In Your Prayers

+ Those in need of Health, Healing and Guidance: Patrick Gunnink; take away the fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation from people receiving treatment or under quarantine for the Coronavirus. Protect their families and friends and bring peace to all who love them; all who’ve been hurt, displaced, grieved and in any way effected by war and disasters in the world.

+ Remember: in prayer our homebound members and nursing home & assisted-living residents: Lloyd Anderson, Dean Fransen, Lyle Fylstra, Mavis Holter, Bob Johnson, Grant Magnuson, Marlys Santema, Becky Weidenhamer.

+ Those serving in the Mission Field: Pastor Linda Johnson Seyenkulo, who is serving in Liberia.

+ Support: Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families: Reece Sandberg, Joelle Knapp, and Jack Knapp.

+ Comfort: to Jessica DeBoer and family as they mourn the death of her father; to the family of Ken Taylor as they mourn his death; to Trudy Johnson and family as they mourn the death of her mother; to Gail Glauvitz and family as they mourn the death of her sister.

Thank you!

Dear Folks at Zion, Thanks so much for the reception, the dry bag, t-shirt, and cookbook. I will find those presents useful this week as I put into Moose Lake. I will miss you. You are a wonderful church.

Love, Pastor Glen

Thank you for all the ways you make this world a brighter one. Thank you for the quilt.

Blayne Burma

From our Missionary

Greetings from Liberia! September 9, 2020

When I returned to Liberia in 2015, almost 25 years, after I left during the start of the Liberian Civil War, I met a man from St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Gbarnga, Liberia. St. Mark’s is the congregation where my husband Jensen Seyenkulo, now Bishop D. Jensen Seyenkulo, served as pastor when we were first married. The man came up to me and gently said, “Sis, Linda, so good to see you. I have not seen you since normal times.”

Normal times” is the phrase used in Liberia to refer to how life used to be before the Civil Conflict which started in 1989 and lasted for 14 years, about a month after I arrived in Liberia to live with my new husband.

I have wondered if the phrase “normal times” now also includes before Ebola (2014-2016) and before the Coronavirus which entered Liberia in March of this year. Both disrupted lives, families and devastated the economy, all which were and are still recovering from the Civil Conflict. That phrase resonates that way for me and so today, I write to you about what I am doing currently as an ELCA Missionary living in a time in the world and in Liberia as my location where things are not at all normal.

In “normal times” at the Louis T. Bowers Lay Leaders and Ministers Training Center (LTBLLMTC) where I teach and develop Curriculum, we would be in the middle of residential education with the Level 2 Evangelist Training Program and the Luther Course for B.S/B.Th. degree holders who have attended non-Lutheran colleges or seminaries. We would also be doing outreach education in the districts and parishes all over Liberia. However, as in the rest of the world, these are not normal times. The Coronavirus has impacted our institutional plans in major ways.

So, in our “not normal” time, we have adjusted our programs. We are still teaching and working but in a different way.

We have postponed the Level 2 course until January 2021. This was done in consultation with Health Officials who could not give us a clear indication of when we could begin to safely have students in residence at LTBLLMTC. The students in that course need face to face instruction, as many of them have not experienced formal education prior to entering the Level 1-4 Course at LTBLLMTC. The cell phone conversations I have had with some of the students indicated relief that we made the decision. By 2021 (God willing, as they say) we will have a clearer indication of how to go about having the residential program. When the students come in January, there will be one less student. One of the Level 1 students from way in the interior of Liberia, the Kuwaa Parish, became ill during the last two weeks of class. He was hospitalized and then moved to another hospital where he died. We will grieve his absence as we gather in January.

The Luther Course is another matter. We have 7 students, 6 vicars and one pastor ordained in another denomination. In the Lutheran Church in Liberia, vicars are people who have completed their seminary education and a year of internship with a local parish. The 6 vicars have all been approved for ordination in the Lutheran Church in Liberia in November. The Board of Ministry, Evangelism, Theology and Adjudication (BMTEA) which oversees the professional leaders of the Lutheran Church in Liberia has recommended these vicars and this pastor for the Luther Course to help solidify their Lutheran identity and address Lutheran theological understanding and practices in Liberia.

The Luther Course started on September 4 and 5. We are currently in the phase, in this “not normal” time, of working with the students on how we do the Course in a non-residential way. The faculty at LTBLLMTC decided to do 3 in-person sessions in two locations during the 12 week course to make social distancing possible and avoid long commutes for the sessions. We are putting the lectures on YouTube. We are using Email and Facebook Messenger in a variety of ways and to stay in contact with our students. Since we just started, we are still in the trial and error phase. This is a huge paradigm shift for both students and faculty. Facebook is the easiest medium to use, however the students are mainly used to using it for personal use so using it for classes is a change and requires some different skills. An additional issue is the reliability (or should I say Unreliability?) of the internet.

That said, we are all excited and interested in the learning that will take place. Course resources were handed out at the first session for the first 6 weeks of the course. Students have started reading and accessing the YouTube course lectures. New lectures will be added each week.

One of the things we are learning is how anxiety producing new ways of learning can be. It is interesting to see how anxiety on the part of students and teachers can get in the way of us being able to learn and share knowledge, especially when new technology is involved. This is something I am taking away from this “not normal” time of teaching and interacting with colleagues and students. I am truly understanding the phrase non-anxious presence and how staying calm affect an entire group; everyone working together to stay calm and to learn.

Another thing we are learning is how we humans can adapt to different situations and learn new ways of doing things. It’s not easy but it sure is interesting! At LTBLLMTC, we are working and living into a “new normal” which may be a combination of doing things the way we did them in “normal times” and the new ways of teaching and learning we are experiencing. We ask your prayers for the students and faculty at LTBLLMTC, as we work together to learn and practice what it means to be a Lutheran Christian in Liberia.

In other areas, St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church where I serve as Associate Pastor, is holding inperson worship with social distancing, required mask wearing, handwashing and temperature checks for everyone who comes. Sunday School with those things began last Sunday. We are an urban congregation and many children were coming to sit outside the church to listen to worship. Church leadership agreed that Sunday School would benefit them and provide some supervision.

The additions to our “not normal” ministries at St. Andrews include videotaped sermons from worship posted on our Facebook page, daily devotions sent out in chat rooms and on the Facebook page, and a Sunday school lesson sent out by chat room and Facebook page for those whose children are not coming to services. Interestingly, the social media presence has, I believe, increased our contact in the areas of reaching out to people who are sick or grieving.

Liberian society as a whole seems divided on the issue of wearing masks but united on the practice of handwashing. Mask wearing is not a political issue here; it is just that some people do not see the need and wonder if the virus is real. Here in Liberia, you cannot enter public buildings, businesses, schools, hospitals, clinics, and even some private home areas without washing your hands. As an example: One day I was away from home for 1 ½ hours and I washed my hands or used hand sanitizer 8 times!

I don’t know what your “not normal” time is like. I am in touch with family in friends all over the world and the story seems to be the same: This is not normal! Lifestyles have changed. Schedules have changed. Plans have been interrupted and sometimes even cancelled permanently. In the midst of all that “not normal” babies are born, people fall in love and get married, families spend time together, people continue to worship God, etc, etc, etc. It may be different but life continues.

As I close, hear the words of Psalm 46. 1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

May God’s word strengthen you and give you hope. Oh, and feel free to check out the social media pages I mention. Here are the pages:

St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church 

LTBLLMTC YouTube Channel

And you can friend me on Facebook or What’s App—I am the only Linda Johnson Seyenkulo. Please send me a message to let me know you are asking me. 

Blessings on your times, both normal and not so normal.

Rev. Linda Johnson Seyenkulo
Teacher, Curriculum Developer, LTBLLMTC, Totota
Associate Pastor, St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Gayetown, Monrovia
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