On Monday, May 21 many members from Holy Cross Lutheran Church went to Feed My Starving Children and packed food to be shipped out. Everyone took the bus from Holy Cross and were able to participate in many different kinds of activities. Thank you to everyone that volunteered!
Holy Cross recently received a new interim pastor as of November 12, 2017. We are excited to welcome Dennis Sepper to the staff! Below is his article he wrote for the Winter Newsletter:
There is an old folktale that goes something like this: an elderly farmer faced the dilemma of deciding which of his three sons should inherit the farm. The farmer decided to assign a task and whoever most completed the assignment would be the one to inherit the farm. His challenge was to fill the family barn. The eldest son filled the barn with livestock but there was still plenty of room. The middle son filled the barn with hay almost to the roof but again there was room. Finally, it was the youngest son’s turn. This son simply walked into the barn with a candle and a match. Setting the candle in the middle of the barn, he lit the match and candle…suddenly the entire barn was filled with light and the winner became obvious to the farmer.
We all know how these winter months can be months of darkness. We rise in darkness and drive home in darkness. The environment reflects the seasons of the Church year. In Advent, we consider the darkness of the world and our lives and how much we need someone to lighten that darkness. At Christmas God gives us the greatest gift—Jesus, the Light of the World which brings about twelve days of celebration. Finally, as the days grow longer we enter the season of Epiphany as Jesus is revealed as the Savior of the world. God’s blessings to all of you as together we journey through these seasons of the Church year!
For those of you I have not had the pleasure to meet, I am Pastor Dennis Sepper the Interim Pastor here at Holy Cross. I am a semi-retired clergy currently living in Burnsville with my spouse, Nancy Connor, and our spoiled 11 year-old Shih Tzu, Chloe Dakota. I am originally from Detroit, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I then went to Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio where Nancy and I met. After our ordination, we spent five years in Cincinnati, Ohio serving two separate congregations. In 1985, we were called to congregations in the Minneapolis area. Nancy served at Central Lutheran Church downtown, and I served at Resurrection Lutheran in Blaine. In 1995 we were called to two positions as the University Pastors at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. After 20 years of service at PLU, we retired and returned to Minnesota where we have family and many friends.
Nancy and I enjoy the theater, walking around the many Minnesota lakes, and travelling. I am an avid ice hockey fan, having played from the time I was eight until into my forties. I am also a bit of a news buff still subscribing to the daily newspaper and watching the evening news.
I am excited to be here and look forward to working with you as you transition to a new pastor.
When you enter into the parking lot here at Holy Cross, there is familiar scenery that often greets you: woods in the back, shed on the east side, and church to the west. If you look closely enough in our south eastern corner, you are able to see our newest addition – a Gaga Pit!
Drew Accola, a student here at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, recently completed the Gaga Pit for his Eagle Scout project. Drew is seventeen years old and is in his senior year at Tartan High School. He started as a Cub Scout in the first grade and continued his journey by joining the Boy Scouts in the fifth grade.
Once Drew started looking into ideas for his Eagle Scout project, he knew he wanted to do his project at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. He earned three Scout religious emblems through Holy Cross, and he wanted to support the Church, Youth, and Family (CYF) ministry and give back to the Holy Cross community that encouraged him his whole life. He also reached out to his sisters and other youth to brainstorm ideas. They all thought it would be cool to have a Gaga Pit. “I agreed with them because Gaga was one of my favorite games at Camp Wapo.”
What exactly is a Gaga Pit? Drew explained “it's a large wooden octagon where people play a game called Gaga. Gaga is similar to dodgeball but you hit the ball instead of throwing it and there are no teams.” There are also ledges on the outside for kids who get hit by the ball and are out of the pit to stand on and watch the rest of the game unfold.
Drew worked with several stores in the area to help create the pit. He received discounted and donated supplies from Menards, Patio Town, Oakdale Rental, Lamperts, Synthetic Turf Solutions of MN, and Home Depot. He also received donations from many of the members at Holy Cross, All In Accounting, a Thrivent Action Team Grant, family, friends, and the CYF ministry. A lot of people also donated their time to help in the effort. Drew’s father helped transport the material, and many church members, Boy Scout leaders, friends, and church youth all helped dig the 4 foot holes for the post corners, attached the posts, filled in the holes with concrete and dirt, attached vertical braces, and compacted gravel. He still has to add the turf and finish the opening gate. Drew said that he also needs to submit his Eagle Scout application as well as pass a board of review with the Boy Scout Council. Then (if he passes), he will be honored at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor.
He hopes that this Gaga Pit will bring the joys of camp to the youth program and that it will be a fun game the church members can play. He believes the addition to the church would further its outreach ministry by bringing people in from the community to play, as well as providing a fun game for the R.O.C.K., confirmation, senior high kids, and maybe even some adults too. “Thank you to everyone that donated towards my project! I couldn't have done it without you. I am also thankful for all of the help and guidance I had designing and building the Gaga Pit.”
The devastation from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is tremendous. Thousands are left without homes and basic necessities. We have members from our own congregation down in Texas helping with the Salvation Army for two weeks to provide some relief. However, between the two hurricanes relief efforts are stretched thin. If you are looking for ways to donate or be involved, the Lutheran disaster relief provides some great information. You can access its website here.
It was a cold and rainy day here in Oakdale, Saint Paul on Thursday, August 3 with a high of 64 degrees and a low of 54 degrees. That didn't stop members at Holy Cross Lutheran Church from going out! At 5pm, everyone boarded the bus and headed out to the Saint Paul Saints baseball game. The rain held off and everyone was able to enjoy a good time. During the seventh inning stretch, Marvin and his son Matt were able to go head to head in a match dressed as cows! Holy Cross Lutheran and Jim even had its and his name up on the scoreboard! Even though the Saints ended up losing to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, it was still a great experience and activity put on by our Men's Group here at the church. Stay tuned for more to come!