May Weather

May weather is bringing new life.  Rain makes us grow and I pray that the rains will come and renew our earth.

Jesus gives us new life. Our Lord’s resurrection is a prelude of the transformation we are given now and at the second coming!


Easter is a season that lasts until Pentecost.

  • During this time the Gospel reading for May 3rd invites us to celebrate Christ as the Vine, God as the Vine Grower and we are the branches.
  • On May 10th we are commanded to love as Christ loves us. (This is a good reading for Mother’s Day  and Fishing Opener!)  Sunday School and Release Time Staff will be recognized as Sunday School concludes another year.
  • On the 17th, our Lord prays for us to be protected from the evil one and to be sanctified in truth. (Again a perfect reading as we honor the Class of 2015 at the 10:30 service!)


Memorial Day Weekend celebrates Pentecost the birth of the Church and May 31st celebrates the Holy Trinity.


In the midst of this rich season of Scripture based worship, Calvary Lutheran Church will be charting our future.

Come and become informed.  The Congregational Council as authorized the following forums to share the Design Team recommendation with the costs.

Sunday May 3rd @ 9:15 am in the Fellowship Hall Saturday May 9th @ 4:30 pm in the Adult Ed Room.

Monday May 4th @ 6:30 pm in the Adult Ed Room   Sunday May 10th @ 9:15 am in the Fellowship Hall.

The Congregational Council also authorized a special mailing that will include the ballot question or questions that will come in May.


The Calvary Congregational Council has called for a Congregational Meeting Sunday May 31st @ 10:15 am in the sanctuary for the purpose of approving the Design Team recommendation with authorization to the Congregational Council to arrange funding for the project.


May is a transformational month and the time has come to make a decision to transform our facility to do mission better and more efficiently at the Crossroads of Grace and Service.



Pastor Steve

Christ is Risen!

     Christ is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!  Blessed Easter everyone!


                                ŸThis month we celebrate “Christus Victor” which means ‘Christ Victorious’.


                                Ÿ Our story and our hope reside with Jesus who went from the despair of the crucifixion to the joy of the resurrection.


                                ŸAs Paul writes in Romans 8 … nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


                                ŸWhy?  Because the Lord has been to the worst.


April looks to become a pivotal time in our congregation.  Soon the council will receive the recommendations from the Design Team.  Soon the council will receive the recommendations from the Finance Team.


ŸSoon forums and/or meeting times will be established to communicate the Congregational Council’s recommendations to the Congregation.


ŸDepending upon the feedback and guidance from the Holy Spirit soon there could be a vote to determine the future of our facility at the crossroads of highways 34 & 71.


As this information is rolled out I want to commend the lay leadership in their professionalism.


                ŸI commend you the members for your patience because with new information the plans have shifted for good reason.


                ŸUntil you have all the facts I ask you to withhold judgment.


                ŸIf you hear something that bothers you please contact one of the following:


President Joel Vorhes 218.237.2550


President Elect Ginger Woodrum 218.573.2237


Past President Jerry Gorden 218.573.2414


Pastor Stephen Norby 218.255.5887


                                                                                                Pastor Sara Jensen 218.255.5806


When it comes to rumors, ask:  Is it true?  Is it helpful? Let us resolve to be transparent, honest and most of all healthy in this process.


Guided by the Holy Spirit we will make the decision that will best serve our mission now and in the future.


Guided by the Spirit this process promises to unite and not divide us.


Christ is Risen!


Pastor Stephen C. Norby         Pastor Sara Jensen

Ash Wednesday was February 18th

Ash Wednesday was February 18th.  At Noon and 7:00 pm we were blessed to have Pastor Laurie Kantonen from Hubbard Methodist as our preacher. With Riverside UMC our combined choir touched hearts.

Soup Suppers begin at 5:30 pm and is a great way to make connections with people we don’t always see.

Beginning February 25th and the Wednesdays in March we are using a variety of worship settings. Again services will be noon and 7:00 pm.

Quoting the introduction of Claimed Gathered Sent:

The goals of this guide are:

  • “To invite reflection, conversation and discernment about what being the church means today.
  • Help you grow in your understanding of how being church, Lutheran and together, as well as church for the sake of others, applies to your life and your congregation.”

To achieve these goals the focus for the Wednesdays in Lent are:

February 25: We are Church—Preacher Pastor Steve

March 4:  We are Lutheran—Preacher Pastor Steve

March 11:  We are Church Together—Preacher Pastor Sara

March 18:  We are Church for the Sake of the World—Preacher Dana Kocka

March 25:  What Difference Do We Make?—Preacher Pastor Steve.

Claimed by Christ may we Gather through the Holy Spirit and renewed may we be Sent to a world to share God’s love!

Peace, Pastor Steve

Happy New Year

I know this is the FEBRUARY newsletter, but I still want to take this opportunity to wish you all a “Happy New Year!” We went through a lot in 2014 as a congregation, but we are now on the other side and 2015 looks very promising. I don’t know if we will finish the year with a new building, but I can tell you that the Building & Design team is continuing to work hard to figure out what can be done.  We had a great response to the capital campaign, but building projects are expensive!  The team is continuing to discuss options for moving ahead while being aware of the need to be cautious so that our future ministry isn’t crippled with debt.  The Building & Design team has a tough job and will soon be providing an update to the congregation about their work.  Just a reminder:


Patience with the process may be required in terms of the building project, A vote of the congregation will be happening before the project begins.  If you have any questions about the project please talk to Al Judson (chair of the team) or another member of the building and design team. but many other parts of our ministry are moving along quite swiftly.  Dana reported to the Council in January that all the slots for the youth mission trip are full and there is already a waiting list.  The group is limited to two 15 passenger vans so you do the math…Wow!  A lot of youth are interested in going to serve their neighbors in Miami!

Another similar sized group of Calvary members recently attended an all day training in Bemidji that focused on Evangelism. Topics considered were:  How do we build relationships with people that can lead us into conversations about faith?  Why invite people to worship?  Do we expect to experience God in worship – Yes!  And we invite others to experience the joy of serving such a loving, gracious God.  We also talked about hospitality – how do we make people feel welcome once they have come through our doors?  You will definitely be hearing more about this topic in the weeks and months to come.

We can begin looking forward to Lent (I know, that sounds a little funny…) and the fellowship that happens during the soup suppers before Wednesday worship services.  Families in the congregation can be looking forward to spending “Friday night under the lights” as we spend an evening going snow tubing in Bemidji.  And there are many other things to celebrate as well – several Bible studies have begun, 3rd graders will soon receive their Bibles and new members are joining.  So much good news!  And I can’t neglect mentioning that we ended the first half of our fiscal year (July 1-Dec. 31, 2014) with income greater than expenses.

God is good!  We are fortunate to be part of such a vibrant community of faith!

In Christ, Pastor Sara

One Solitary Life

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village.  He worked in a carpenter’s shop until He was thirty and for those years He was an itinerant preacher.  He never wrote a book.  He never held an office.  He never owned a home.  He never had a family.  He never went to college.  He never traveled 200 miles from the place where He was born.  He never did one of the things that accompany man’s idea of greatness.  He had no credentials but Himself.  While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him.  His friends ran away.  Some of them denied Him.  He was turned over to His enemies.  He went through the mockery of a trial.  He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.  While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat.  When He was dead, He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave.  Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today He is the central figure of the human race.  All the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have never affected the life of man upon earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.   ~ Anon


2014 has not been a great year for ‘Peace on Earth and Good Will to All’.  But I would say that the blame for this rests upon human sin and not the will of God.
1809 was a dark year with Napoleon Bonaparte bathing Europe in blood.  Quietly, 1809 was the year the following people were born:  Frederic Chopin- Composer; Willian Gladstone- Statesman and Prime Minister of Great Britain; Oliver Wendell Holmes- American author and physician; Flex Mendelssohn- Composer; Alfred Lloyd Tennyson- Poet; Cyrus Mc Cormack- the man who changed agriculture and Abraham Lincoln.
In the year 1, Jesus was born quietly and he was marked by Herod for death.  With all the evil actions in our world, I share with you the source of our hope as Christians.  One Solitary Life is an anonymous poem that was a popular Christmas card in the 1970’s.  As we face the darkness of ISSIS and the Talaban, as refugees search for hope in Syria and Palestine, I tell you God is at work.
Born is the one solitary life that will provide just as God provided a place for his son to be born in the year 1 … Just as God provided for our world in 1809 … Just as God will provide for humankind to be both human and kind in 2015.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Pastor Steve

Season of Advent

The idea of vocation has come up in several of my conversations recently.  I’ve been talking with individuals who are trying to discern what God is calling them to do or be.  Also, as we have interviewed candidates for the position of Executive Director of Pathways this topic has come up.

Recently Erik and I took our kids swimming at the Detroit Lakes community center.  We all had a great time swimming and hanging out with friends.  The next day my daughter (age 5) asked me, “Mommy, why are you a pastor?”  I told her it was because that’s what I thought God wanted me to be.  She thought for a second, then said, “Well, I think God wants you to be a lifeguard.  Then we could go to that pool all the time.”  I got a big kick out of that! Some friends suggested that’s kind of what a pastor does – dips people in the “pool” at baptism and in this way serves as a kind of “life guard.”  Great image – I like it.

You may or may not feel particularly called to the type of work you are doing right now.  Maybe you used to be happy with it, but now are feeling a little restless.  Or perhaps you find more meaning in your “avocation,” something that you do “in addition to a principal occupation, especially for pleasure; hobby” (from  Sorting through what God is calling us to do, not just in our professional work, but also in our everyday lives, is an ongoing process of discernment.

In Christian contexts, discernment has to do with obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.  There are a variety of suggested ways to do this, including the “Examen,” a practice developed by St. Ignatius in the 1500s.  This method is still popular today as a way of asking the Holy Spirit for guidance as we prayerfully reflect on the day, asking ourselves how God has been present in the day’s events and the feelings experienced that day.  How is Christ calling you through these experiences?  How did you respond to that call?

In the Family Ministry book study that has recently concluded (“Holding Your Family Together” by Rich Melheim), parents were encouraged to spend 5 minutes (or more!) each night leading their children through a similar process that starts with everyone (1) sharing their “Highs and Lows” of the day (2) reading a short scripture passage or story and (3) talking about how the passage relates to their experiences.  Next they are encouraged to (4) pray about the day’s events and, finally, close with a blessing (5).  These five things make up the “FAITH5” (Share, Read, Talk, Pray, Bless).  It’s a wonderful model for parents to interact with their kids around spiritual or other topics.  The FAITH5 process also provides a natural lead in for talking about making decisions and how God is at work in our lives – in a nutshell, discernment.

The season of Advent is also about paying attention to how God is at work in our lives and discerning God’s guidance.  It  may take a little time to sift through life’s everyday demands as well as the holiday busyness, but you CAN find glimpses of God in this season (and others!).


Open our eyes Lord, that we may SEE you in our neighbors and HEAR your call to each of us.


In Christ,

Pastor Sara


Celebrations and Change

November celebrates many things:

  • All Saints Day celebrates heaven. (November 2nd)
  • Missions. (November 9th)
  • Commitment Sunday. (November 16th)
  • Christ the King Sunday celebrates our Victorious Lord. (November 23rd)
  • Thanksgiving speaks for itself. (Joint Service @ Hubbard Methodist Wednesday November 26th @ 7PM)
  • Advent and the New Church Year. (November 30th)


Like the weather, November is month of change.  With our “At the Crossroads Capital Fund Drive” wrapping up we now change gears to address our Current Fund and Missions.

  • Since our difficult vote in June our Current Fund has drawn down part of the balance that had built up over time.
  • At this time the Current Fund is spending more than we are taking in.
  • This is not sustainable. This is what we are doing …


November Adult Forums:

  • November 2nd between services @ 9:15, the Finance Core will explain the Current Fund, the deficit and what is needed to correct

the situation.

  • November 9th between services @ 9:15, the Caring and Outreach Core with the Executive Committee will explain the financial

situation of Missions like Eagle Pass Texas, The Pastor’s Discretionary Fund and other benevolences.

  • November 16th between services @ 9:15, Pastor Ed Poitras will share concerning Food Aid to North Korea. Contributions to the

ELCA Hunger Appeal will be received.

  • November 23rd between services LSS Senior Nutrition (Meals on Wheels) here in Park Rapids with Bob Hansen will be celebrated

and explained.

  • November 30th Coffee!!!!


November is our traditional Stewardship Month and as good stewards let us firmly support our base of operations.

In the mean time the Design Team, Finance Core and Council will discern the authorization needed to fund a proposed plan for new facilities here at the Crossroads of Grace and Service.  When that process is ready a congregational vote will be called to ratify the proposal.


Exciting Times!

Pastor Steve

At the Cross Roads Building Fund Campaign Appeal

Total to Date: $862,671        Total Pledges:  119


The three-year giving period starts OCT 1, 2014 & ends OCT 31, 2017

In Community of Service

Lots of exciting things have been happening around Calvary lately.  I hope you have been able to be part of some of them.  As I write this we just finished our campaign kickoff activities. It was great to be part of the energy in the room as the design was revealed.  It was obvious that people were imagining what might be possible if we expanded our facility.  The excitement spread throughout the room as people caught on to the vision that was being set forward.  It is a vision of a building, yes, but most importantly a vision of a variety of ministries that could happen inside that building…which will also push us out of the building to continue serving God in our daily lives.

I heard a lot of hope in these discussions.  Especially considering what the congregation has been through the past year, it was fantastic to hear conversations about the hope-filled future that God is calling us to embrace.  We don’t know what the final plans will look like, but we do seem to have a sense as a community that the Holy Spirit is at work among us and is pushing us to stretch ourselves, not only in our giving, but in our imagining what might be able to happen through the ministry of Calvary Lutheran Church.

In the next few weeks you will be asked to consider how you could contribute financially to make this vision a reality.  Please pray about this.  What creative ways could you find to give money toward the future of Calvary?

Each of us is being invited into this ministry.  If you are someone without many financial resources, it may be a new experience to be asked to consider stretching yourself in this way.  You are not being asked to “give until it hurts,” but to give what you are able to give.  God might surprise you in making money available for you to share.

Stewardship is one of the ways we respond to the abundance God has provided for us.  Sometimes it’s hard to see how our gifts make a difference.  This is a very clear opportunity to participate in God’s mission at this time and in this place.

I hope you can join us for the special events during the response weekend: Friday, October 10 everyone is invited to a congregational meal at St. Peter’s Catholic Church beginning at 5:45 PM.

We will be holding only ONE SERVICE on October 12 to celebrate the way the congregation has responded to this appeal.

 Join us at 10:15 as the entire congregation worships together!  It will be a great celebration!


In Christ,

Pastor Sara

At the Crossroads

S1-at-the-crossroadseptember is a huge month in the life of our church.  Many decisions are being made in the next 6 weeks that will shape ministry for decades to come.  Here are a few:

 Rally Sunday September 7thThe Youth will share about their mission trip to Los Angles.

Roll Out Sunday September 14th! JLG Architects will unveil their plan for our future facility needs in order to do mission.


September Worship Themes – At the Crossroads of:

          September 14 – Grace     September 21 – Service     September 28 – All Ages

          October 5 – Hospitality     October 12 – Praise

          During this time, many events are planned to help us rally for Christian mission.


October 12th Appeal Sunday  –  we will celebrate this stage of the campaign to fund our mission here and to the ends of the earth.

The morning schedule will be:  Sunday School 9:15-10:00,Worship at 10:15 (no 8:00 worship)

Worship will be liturgical and musical involvement from all music groups.


Our values and guiding principles are at the core of everything we are doing.  From the congregational meeting here are the …





OPENNESS & INCLUSIVENESS – that we are all God’s Children, each having unique creativity and gifts.


NURTURING & SUPPORTING FAITH – we have daily relationships with God.  Encouraging discipleship in all of our members from childhood through young adult, middle age to seniors.


LAY-LEADERSHIP – we are involved and active in our Church, each taking turns being Christ to others, nurturing each      other.


MISSION & OUTREACH – we can reach outside our Church’s walls in witness and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to     our community, nation and world.”


May the Lord bless this partnership “At the Cross Roads of Grace and Service”.


Pastor Steve

Calvary Congregational Family Practice

As a result of Calvary Conversations and hard work, the Congregational Council placed into writing direction as to how we will treat families at our church.
CALVARY CONGREGATIONAL FAMILY PRACTICE “This church’s first response toward families and households should be one of welcome and support that includes particularly the care for and safety of children. Children are to be invited into the community of the baptized regardless of their family situation.” (Human Sexuality Gift and Trust p. 23)
“In this country and in our congregations, families are formed in many ways. There are natural and adoptive families, foster families, blended families, families with a missing generation, and families where the parents are the same gender.” (Human Sexuality Gift and Trust p. 23)
All families are welcomed and cared for by Calvary Lutheran Church. In response to the Minnesota Marriage Law passed in 2013, Calvary Lutheran Church respects the bound consciences of the baptized and welcomes as Christ himself all who join us in mission.
On Pentecost Sunday, our congregation completed the task of selecting congregational marriage policy that was placed into Calvary’s Policy Manual. This is the policy:
Pastors, called or interim, with Calvary Lutheran Church shall officiate Christian wedding services in the Name of the Triune God.
Pastors, called or interim, with Calvary Lutheran Church shall provide preparation for marriage that may include an inventory. In response to marriage preparation, Calvary Lutheran Church respects the bound consciences of pastors under call or contract to officiate or not to officiate the service.
Calvary Lutheran Church welcomes same-gender marriages and rites of blessing of civil same-gender ceremonies, on or off its premises. Pastors, called or interim, shall follow their bound consciences to officiate, or not to officiate, at same-gender marriages. If our pastors are unable to honor requests for same-gender marriages and rites of blessing of a civil ceremony, referrals will be made to pastors who are able to officiate at such services.
Reflecting our core value that centers on the Grace lavished upon us from our Lord’s death at a place called, ‘Calvary’ … we go forward.
A third decision that was made was to accept the recommendation to contract with JLG Associates to develop affordable blueprints that will support our mission at the Crossroads of Grace.
As recommended by Kairos, I read A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri J. M. Nouwen. On page 55 a number of questions are asked beginning with … ‘How’.
How do we become people whose security base is God and God alone? How can we stand confidently with rich and poor alike on the common ground of God’s love? How can we ask for money without pleading, and call people to a new communion without coercing? How can we express not only in our way of speaking but also in our way of being with others the joy, vitality, and promise of our mission and vision?
In short, how do we move from perceiving fundraising as an unpleasant but unavoidable activity to recognizing fundraising as a life-giving, hope-filled expression of ministry?”
The answer is ‘PRAYER’– Prayer converts us from hostility or suspicion to hospitality.
The sign that prayer is working in all aspects of our lives is ‘GRATITUDE’.
As Lead Pastor, I am grateful for the leadership and dedication that God empowered throughout this last year of ministry. Calvary has endured a difficult year. We are now ready to move into God’s future. We center on Christ and with hospitality that welcomes all … we continue to be a hospital of sinners for sinners. For me, that’s all of us.
Thank you for your partnership in Christ.
Pastor Stephen C. Norby