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Farewell & Godspeed

On Sunday, January 27, Pastor Stephen Blenkush marked his final Sunday here at Zion before he begins his new call at Our Savior’s Lutheran in Pequot Lakes in February.  The congregation and the community gathered on Sunday afternoon for a time of fellowship and refreshments to say goodbye to Pastor Stephen Blenkush and family, who served Zion Lutheran Church faithfully for thirteen years. The congregation presented Pastor Blenkush with the 125th Anniversary photo of the congregation, a beautiful quilt made by Sandy Warmanen and Jeannie Manthie with the words “Blessings from Zion” sewn on it, and his church laptop computer. We thank Pastor Blenkush for his service not only to Zion but to the Milaca Community.

It is important for us to understand that as of Feb. 3, 2019, Pastor Stephen Blenkush is no longer our pastor, but he will pray for our continued and future mission and ministry and for a fruitful partnership with our future pastor. We ask that you respect the boundaries of his new call and do not ask him to perform weddings, funerals or baptisms, visit the sick and the homebound, continue in any counseling relationship, support or give advice to anyone involved in a congregational disagreement. He may, at his discretion, return to Milaca to attend events as a private citizen. Thank you for your understanding.

Library Program by Zion's own
 Mark Boggs! February 19th

The Milaca Friends of the Library invites you to our annual meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday,
February 19th, at the Milaca Community Library. We promise a brief meeting with treats and coffee. At 6:30 pm, following the meeting, please join us for a stamp collection program by Mark Boggs. Mark will share his life-long passion of philately (the collection and study of postage and imprinted stamps).  He has been collecting stamps for almost 50 years. There are many ways to collect stamps. Mark primarily collects United States postage, both used and mint items (singles, plate blocks, sheets, etc.). However, he also has an extensive foreign stamp collection. Collecting stamps sparked his interest in history, and it also taught him the importance of attention to detail.  He will demonstrate how you can determine if you possess one in a million (unique), or one of a million (common) stamps. If you know anyone that might enjoy this hobby, he will give them a starter collection for free.

Samuel Hines plays
Classical Guitar 
February 20th


Join us from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. at Milaca Community Library for a Classical Guitar performance by Samuel Hines. Praised for his clear interpretive powers, technical finesse, and engaging performances, Samuel Hines is an award-winning classical guitarist from Southern California. This performance is funded by the Milaca Friends of the Library.

Lenten Soup Suppers
Lenten Soup Suppers Begin March 13th. We plan to continue our tradition of Lenten Soup Suppers. On March 13th, we will begin our Lenten Soup Suppers prior to our Lenten Vespers. You are invited to sign up with a few folks and plan and prepare a simple and tasty soup supper. Supper are 5:30-6:30 p.m. Vespers start at 7 p.m. Sign up on the clip board as it comes around or call the church office.

Music Sundays

The Zion Worship & Music Committee met recently and discussed ideas to enhance our worship experience. On the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month, we are looking for musical artists to share their talents as soloists, duets or ensembles of either choral or instrumental traditional or modern Christian music. We will also continue communion on these Sundays, but it will be progressive, which means that we will come up the center aisle to receive communion at the steps rather than around the altar. We hope to hear from interested musicians (or if you know of musicians who would like to perform on those Sundays). We are also still searching for a Choir Director, so share your thoughts with  Council Music and Worship Committee liaison Christine Nelson, 612-718-9733.

Faith on Tap
February 25th

Back in the day when Martin Luther would host regular Table Talks, a time when students and colleagues of Martin and the other reformers would gather at a table with perhaps a little something to eat and drink. Rumor has it because Luther was a good German, there might have been a beer or two consumed! The point of the Table Talks was not on the choice of beverage but on the conversation on matters of faith and the love and grace of God. In the spirit of Luther and the Table Talks, Pastor Bauer is hosting a monthly “Faith on Tap” at Timber Valley Grill on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 7 PM. Anyone is invited to come, pull up a chair, order the beverage of your choice (adult beverage, soda, coffee, whatever) and join the conversation as we explore the vocabulary of our faith. On a given Sunday or whenever Bible studies are held, we use words like faith, grace, salvation, redemption, justification and so many more. The question is, what do these words mean and why do they matter? The goal is to explore and discuss how these words shape our faith and life.


When you shop at Amazon, you can earn money for Zion! Make your purchases thru AmazonSmile and 0.5% of the price of all eligible purchases will go to Zion! All you need to do is chose Zion as your partner and do your regular Amazon shopping with AmazonSmile. Check it out before the next time you shop at Amazon.
It’s Time for Summer Camp!


On Sunday, February 24th, Jim Schmidt, director of Camp Onomia, will help kick off the 2019 Summer Camp Program.  Zion is very fortunate to be able to offer our youth camperships to help make it possible to attend a bible camp. This is done through generous donations from our members and different fundraising events. A big portion of the funds comes from the Soup Suppers during Lent. We are also blessed to have funds set up by families of past Zion members specifically for this ministry. The Pete Allen Campership was established in 2012 and is designated to send one 3rd grader to camp, paid in full. This campership will continue until funds are depleted. We thank the employees of First National Bank who have donated money from their “dress down” days to help replenish this fund.  The second fund was established in memory of Carol Johnson, by husband Wes, who wanted to continue her passion of being able to help send kids to camp. When Wes passed away, the family donated his memorials to this fund. Through the generosity of these families and all of you we are able to give camperships to all Zion youth who request one.
     Zion will contribute $50 towards the “Beginners” camp and half of all other camps up to $250 per person. Just complete and return the Campership Request Form (salmon sheet enclosed in newsletter). Please register by March 15th to get the early bird discount. Your campership can act as your deposit to ensure the discounted price with the remainder to be paid by June 1.
     For more details pick up a brochure at church or go on line to www.CampOnomia.org. We hope to see you on Camp Sunday to learn about camp, sing some camp songs, enjoy some camp snacks AND we’ll draw a name for one lucky 3rd grader to attend free of charge!!  (If you have a 3rd grader who is interested, please contact the church office or Jenny Niedzielski so we can be sure to have their name in the hat!) Feel free to wear your camp attire that Sunday! See You There!

Zion Handbells: Ring Out!

New ringers are always welcome in Zion’s handbell choir - the Alleluia Ringers. Practices are Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. If you are interested or have questions, please call Karen Edmison (983-3368 or 763-389-3397). 

Milaca Wolves Snack Pack
Trinity and Zion youth are continuing their ministry of providing weekend food for children whose lives are food insecure, meaning, they may have little to eat particularly on weekends. The youth put together food packs which include breakfast and lunch items, along with a snack. You are invited to participate by donating items. All items must be non-perishable and pre-packaged. Items include: Instant Oatmeal, Ramen Noodles, Cheez-It Crackers, Juice Boxes, Granola Bars, Pop-Tarts, Fruit Cups. Slim Jims, Spaghetti-O’s, Cereal Bars, Apple Sauce Cups, Fruit Snacks, Pringles Singles, Easy Mac, Pudding Cups, Cheese and Crackers, Pretzels, Animals Crackers, etc. Donations can be brought here to Zion and will be distributed through the school. Thank You!

Hooks and Needles and Quilts - oh my!

Come and join us in the Zion Library at 2 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month.We've been making baby caps, chemo caps, afghan squares , afghans, lap robes, and hand warmers. Come and stay for an hour or until the last person goes home. We have lots of yarn, but we need you to come and do a fun project which will help another person - and enjoy the fellowship of fellow yarn users!

and another way to use needles -

Wanted:  Quilters - Join the Dorcas Quilters on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 9 a.m. Cut squares, tie knots - there are many was to help even if you are not s quilter! Bring a lunch.

Photos from the Fika!

Come see a lot of photos from the Swedish Fika - a LOT of photos! If you were there, you are in at least one of these photos, so page thru them and find yourself.
Key Committees!

Check out one (or more) of these committee meetings and find out how you can serve Zion!

 Evangelism Team
 Joy of Giving Team 
 125th Anniversary Committee
 Worship and Music Ministry Team .

Talk to Pastor Blenkush and watch the calendar for meeting times.

               Donuts 4 Debt 2/24

On the last Sunday of each month Zion’s Evangelism Team is providing donuts for our Fellowship Hour.

Your free will donation will help us “nibble away” at our Debt Reduction effort. 

In November we collected $71.00.  Thank you! 

Every little bite helps!

The tastiest 125th Anniversary fund raiser is now available!  "Milaca's Best" cookbook contains all the best recipes from present and past  Milaca residents. If you are looking for well tested recipes or comfort food recipes or just plain good food recipes, you need this cook book. And they make great gifts for just about anyone who eats. The cookbooks are only $17 each or 2 for $35. Look for them on the table at the Fair Trade Market or in the church office.
Support Camp Onomia

We are very fortunate to have been able to offer a campership to all those attending a church camp in the past. Zion sponsors Camp Onomia and early bird discounts need to be in by March 15. Camp Onomia offers themed programs for all ages and for families, too! Brochures and campership request forms can be picked up at church. Contact, Pastor Steve, the church office, or Jenny Niedzielski if you have any question about this.

   Zion's Missionary

We have chosen to support The Rev. Linda Johnson Seyenkulo in Liberia as your new missionary. Linda grew up in Aikin, Minnesota.  (more info) In 2019, we will need 100 sponsors to give a gift of $20 to reach our goal of $2,000. If you'd like to be a sponsor, please sign the sheet in the Narthex or fill out the slip you'll find in the Sunday bulletin.

Linda joined us on July 8th for worship. She is an ordained ELCA pastor serving in Liberia, West Africa.  She is curriculum developer and teacher at the Louis T. Bowers Lay Leaders and Ministers Training Center in Totota, Liberia.  In addition, she is called as Associate Pastor at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Monrovia, Liberia. Her special areas are teaching New Testament, Bible Study Leader training, Theology and Preaching.  Pastor Linda is married to Rev. D. Jensen Seyenkulo who is the Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia. They have three children, Apu, Kenata, and Yongor who all reside in the U.S.  As a point of interest, Linda grew up in Aitkin, Minnesota and remembers high school athletic events between Milaca and Aitkin!

     Thrivent Action Teams

Thrivent Action Teams If you’re a Thrivent Financial member, you can lead a Thrivent Action Team to bring people together for a one-time project to help others by coordinating an educational event, conducting a service activity, or organizing a fund raiser. Thrivent provides: Resources to help you plan the event, promotional items, and a Community Impact Card with $250 of seed money. Learn more and apply on line.

              February 10th


On the second Thursday of every month, Pastor Blenkush and Pastor Bauer from Trinity visit and provide a Service of Holy Communion for the residents and guests of the Elim Home and Country Meadows. If you would like to come and assist with the residents or simply come and participate, please do. The service begins at 10 a.m.
      Our Family Bar codes

Eunice Circle is collecting Our Family bar codes to help the work of our church. We will receive five cents for every Our Family bar code when we send in batches of 500. This is an easy way we can make a difference. Bar codes can be put in the containers in the Narthex or the kitchen. Thanks!
          Solar Power now at
             Phebe Hospital !
    Next: "Current for Curran"

While we often have a lot of questions when we or a loved one has to be in the hospital for tests or surgery, the one questions we rarely have to ask is, "Will the power go out?" We take our electricity for granted. But halfway around the world, power outages at Phebe Hospital occur daily - even during critical surgeries.  But now, Phebe Hospital has a reliable energy source - solar power  is in action as you read this.

 Phebe now has solar power and the plan is to do the same for Curran Hospital.  The project is called "Current for Curran!" Check back for details on that project. Both projects share the Facebook page called Skip the Grid.

Please continue to pray for the people in Liberia who will benefit from these live-saving endeavors. Pray for the people dedicated to telling the story of how the light of the world saves lives in many ways.

See a few photos from Zion's Solar Sunday here.  Read a thank you note from Mary Jo Metzler here.

           Fair Trade Center
       1st Sunday of the month
The next Fair Trade Center will be on Sunday,  March 3rd

Stop by the Fair Trades Center – On the first Sunday of the month, Women of the ELCA sell Fair Trade high quality coffee (whole bean or ground), tea and chocolate bars to support the alternative Fair Trade system that empowers farmers, strengthens communities and benefits the environment. They also sell boxed greeting cards, packages of decorative napkins, and knives and cutlery. “Milaca’s Best” Cookbook and 125th anniversary mugs are also for Sale! We are located in the Narthex as you go into the Fellowship Hall for your refreshments. Helping others is our goal. Praise God!

      The 125th Anniversary
  Archive Cabinet

The cabinet is in place and has been dedicated! (see photos and get news)

The cabinet is in the southwestern corner of the Fellowship Hall for all to enjoy. In the center is the baptismal fount that has been in the library. It will be lighted and contain 3/8 glass shelves with hidden door openers.

All the things that are hidden in the library that no one knows about will go into this cabinet.  We have two beautiful scrapbooks made by Eileen McBroom and Martha  Norrgard.  We have pictures of the original church and old church directories and anniversary programs and lot lots more.

          Save Your Teal’s
         Grocery Receipts

Don’t throw those grocery receipts from Teal’s Market away! Bring them to church and look for the marked basket in the kitchen. Jenny Niedzielski will turn them in every so often and Zion’s Youth Fund will receive a 1% rebate on qualifying purchases.

        Zion's Meal Ministry

 Every once in a while someone from the congregation gets ill or has a death in the family. And when that happens, imagine the level of appreciation felt when someone from church shows up at the door with a ready to eat meal. Here at Zion, we have had individuals who have prepared meals for people who are going through tough and challenging times. This gesture of kindness was not only appreciated by the recipient. But it was also gratifying for those who prepared the meals. Zion's Meal Ministry is an effort to make this a formal ministry here at Zion and to create an efficient and organized way to provide this ministry to others. Does this sound like something YOU might be interested in getting involved with? If so, contact either Pastor Blenkush or the Church Office (983-3368) and you will be contacted when the first organizational meeting is set.

Thank You...

to everyone who donated to the repair of the chimney and stucco work. Larry & Shirley Rosenberg, Jan Brown, Brad & Donna Maitland, Bruce & Michele Hoskins, Steve & Lisa Sauer, John & Ardy Becklin, Virginia Wills, Joe & Janelle Knapp, Carrie Fanum, Kirby Allen, Krista Anderson, Ted Anderson, Lloyd Anderson, John & Dean Fransen, Dennis & Jackie Hjort, Don & Virginia Christensen, Ryan & Jessica DeBoer, Mary Anderson, Rich & Judy Mycue, Tim & Kim Lubrant, and donations from the Boggs home hosted meal. Special thanks to Ron Weyer who is overseeing the project. The stucco work was more extensive than originally planned and the lift needed to be at the church for a longer period. We are still taking donations to complete this needed project. Put chimney or stucco on the memo line of your checks. If your name has been omitted, please advise the office.

to Randy Hemstad and the many others, who worked hard and behind the scenes peeling potatoes, preparing meatballs, making pies, setting up, serving, and cleaning up after this year’s Meatball Supper.

to everyone who helped with or donated things to the Silent Auction and Bake Sale.

to everyone who helped make last Sunday’s Homecoming Sunday such an endearing event! The 125th Planning Team, Zion’s WELCA for decorating, the Church Council for serving the meal, for Chris Nelson, Joni Norrgard, the Alleluia Ringers for the wonderful music and most of all, for each of you who were able to participate in the celebration.

to everyone who generously contributed children’s books for Operation Community Connect!

to Virginia Wills for making up another batch of New Member Bags!

to Nicole Nelson for leading the Acolyte Training event in October.

to everyone who helped make Homecoming Sunday such an endearing event! The 125th Planning Team, Zion’s WELCA for decorating, the Church Council for serving the meal, for Chris Nelson, Joni Norrgard, the Alleluia Ringers for the wonderful music and most of all, for each of you who were able to participate in the celebration.

to Pastor Blenkush for all the photos he takes.

to Ron Weyer for overseeing the stucco repair. 

to Mark Boggs for chairing the 125th Anniversary Committee.

to the Mikla Family, Mary Rice and her granddaughters, Alexa & Camry Johnson, Don Sutton & Carrie Fanum, John & Noah Glauvitz, Andrea, Oliver, & Jack Swenson for taking time to help with the Salvation Army Bell Ringing on Dec. 1. Where you raised $637.31 to help individuals and families in need.

To everyone who participated in this year’s Santa Lucia Luncheon. If you were in on the planning,preparing,setting up, serving, clean up and/or providing cookies, bread, beans, rice pudding, and all the other great food—THANKS!

to Mary Anderson for her Santa Lucia leadership role these past years, it has been greatly appreciated.

to Pastor Steve and Julia Blenkush for 13 years of faithful service to Zion.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”   
 (Luke 6:38)



Stewardship Matters
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”        (Luke 6:38)

125 Ways to Make a Difference by Sandy Warmanen
I became aware of Give-to-the-Max day while listening to the radio late in November.  My experience as a member of Zion’s financial committee and serving as Zion’s treasurer for a couple years immediately turned my mind to the stubborn operating loan Zion has been making steady use of for years now.  I felt a need to obliterate that debt.   As you are aware, our 125th Anniversary Committee has been working hard this past year to do just that-obliterate our debt.   They have made heroic strides to do just that.  Nevertheless, our loan continues to bounce back up in excess of $20,000.
When I reflected on memories about Zion, I remembered comments and stories about the last years of the 1800’s and early days of the 1900’s when our families and neighbors realized they wanted and needed a place to worship together-a Lutheran Church.  They understood their children needed to be brought up learning God’s word; studying and singing, being in a community that believed and accepted the gospel.   They had a vision and set out to accomplish the building of such a place that we now know and love as Zion Lutheran Church.
Every child brought up over the years is a person brought up knowing that God has provided his son who loves them and has paid the price for forgiveness of sin.  These children are now adults living all over the world-who have changed the world because of the kind of people they are.  We are all a result and beneficiaries of the faith and vision our forefathers had.
Feeling grateful and thanking God for these believers who preceded us, an idea occurred to me-a light seemed to go on.  Could I give one dollar for every year-recognizing the vision and effort of these souls…one dollar for each of the last 125 years?  $125.00   I thought I could.  I decided I would.  Then, I remembered my (our) friend Ardy who told me about Zion’s challenge at the time Zion celebrated our 110th Anniversary.   In order to satisfy the loan for the addition of Centennial Hall, members were challenged to contribute $110.00.  The challenge was embraced and the loan paid off; there was much joy and back slapping and celebration of success! 
So the idea that each of us could bring $125.00 to debt reduction/annihilation was not an original idea, but it seemed possible!  It would be a miracle-a miracle that might be embraced by my church family!  We could have some fun with it.  Our children could put $1.25 in the collection box – perhaps $12.50 could be saved from an allowance or found in a pocket or pocket book!  Some may be inspired like me to give $125.00 – some a lot more.  The reality being no gift would be too small – none too big.    Zion had done this before-we could do it!
I was excited and thought I should run the idea by the women of Zion, so at our meeting, I did so.  They liked it! Zion’s women said they would be among the first to donate.  I was so happy I shared what was now gaining support and really starting to happen with a friend.  She was touched and said her grandmother was one of those sitting in a pew at that first worship service on Christmas Eve 125 years ago – a grandmother who had been important to her in her Christian life.  She sent me a check for our collection box.
Thinking about these things were accompanied in my mind with the hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers.”  I saw us as an army; an army fighting this persistent pesky irritation of debt!  I imagined every check, every penny, every dollar, a blow against the enemy and the eventual downfall of that burden.   I pictured us marching together and completely wiping out our debt.
Please pray about this, reflect on our history and on our future.  Imagine the world without the work of the gospel in the hearts of mankind – without the influence of Zion and all the churches preaching the gospel.  Open your hearts to make a miracle.  As we have heard so often, “God’s work - Our hands.”

Invest in Zion's Youth and help sponsor a Campership. Help provide the opportunity for more kids to go to camp.  A Campership will pay half  cost of camp - up to $200 for week-long camp and $100 for weekend or half-week camp. To receive a campership, fill out the Campership Request form. If you can help provide camperships, please do invest in our youth!

       Help us keep in touch!

If you have changed from a landline to a cell phone or if you do most of your calling and receiving of messages on your cellphone, please share those numbers with the Church Office. Thanks!

Senior Dining Center

Zion's Day at the Dining Site is Wednesday, February 13th. The Dining Site is located in the lower level of the Milaca Hi Rise.  The luncheon is serves at approximately 11:30 a.m. Come join us for good food and fellowship. The menu is French toast bake, ham slice, O'Brien potatoes, orange wedges, banana pudding with topping and a beverage of your choice. Come and enjoy the meal and the fellowship.

Remember – you can come here to eat any weekday for $4.00 for people over 60. Come and pick up a menu and visit us often.

PS - No one over 60 will be denied a meal because they can't pay.

                                                    Online Reflections

Interested in keeping up with all the great opportunities and ministries going on within our Northeastern Minnesota Synod? Go to www.nemnsynod.org and click the Online Reflections tab and click to sign up to receive weekly updates. Now you too can stay on top of what’s going on in our synod and church!

               College Addresses


    We want to keep in touch with our college students. If you or someone you know is attending college, please contact the church office with the address information. We want to keep in touch with our young adults!

             Got Facebook?    

    If you are a Facebook user, type in “Zion Lutheran Church, Milaca, MN” and stay up-to-date on events and activities here at Zion!

              for Worship

Consider providing flowers for the Altar at sometime during 2017. There is a sign up sheet on the bulletin board in the entryway.



Zion's Evangelism Team has a ministry called HomeTouch. A weekly mailing is sent to Zion's members who are homebound or restricted in their ability to get around, The mailing includes a devotional reading and an activity page. If you know of anyone in the congregation who is not already getting the mailing and should, please alert the church office or Jan Brown.

Worship Schedule

There is one Sunday service at 9 a.m. followed by the Fellowship Hour and Sunday School.
More about worship.

Coffee and Fellowship on
Sunday Mornings
Each Sunday, we have a fellowship hour after worship. If you can serve coffee and bring a treat , please sign up for a Sunday.

WELCA and Circles

Come to WELCA's bi-monthly meetings, and be part of a Circle - morning or afternoon. You can enjoy serving and learning and fellowship all at one time! See the calendar for meeting times. More info about WELCA.

So encourage one another and build each other up…
1 Thessalonian 5:11