Julie Matteson           Co-Moderators

and Shari Wirkus

To Be Determined      Moderator Elect   

Phyllis Wiles              Clerk

Melissa Pond             Council Secretary

Mike Legg                 Financial Secretary

Brenda Zemlicka       Treasurer

Patty Zemlicka          Historian


Members of Council:

Stacy Andersen

Russell Battey

Dawn Engel

Lynne Forbush

Allison Foster

Shanna Hillsdale

Rich Mittelstedt

Amber Nogelmeier

Sue Pearson

Cindy Spieker

Donna Trupe

Shari Wirkus

Patty Zemlicka



Council Minutes
November 2019

 I recently read an article about Peace Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. The congregation had decreased to 20 members. The church is located next to a giant noise barrier on a backstreet in Minneapolis. It was once a Missouri Synod Lutheran church, but over the years had slowly been moving away from the Missouri Synod doctrine by elevating women to roles in the church and was open to anyone who came through the door. 


As they were looking at complete extinction as a congregation they decided that if they were to die, they would die well. The congregation took “love thy neighbor” to the extreme. They started to fix houses for people in the neighborhood. Roofs, plumbing, broken doors, broken furnaces, whatever needed repair, the members of Peace Lutheran were helping people in the neighborhood to fix their homes. 


Of course, the immediate reaction of the people in the neighborhood was suspicion. The assumption was that the good will came with proselytizing and demands that people come to worship services. This, however, was not the case. The members of the congregation were truly wanting to help the folks in the neighborhood. 


In the beginning only two women accepted the offer for repair work. But the members of the congregation kept at it. They made flyers and distributed them around the neighborhood. They kept making the offer to help. No preaching. No expectations. Just help.


Word spread and people from the neighborhood joined in to help. Donations from grateful people helped to keep the church and the projects going. The article went on to explain many of the wonderful projects that the congregation and neighbors did to assist people in the neighborhood. 


Peace’s membership has quadrupled since this neighborhood project started. Many others in the neighborhood also consider the church to be theirs. They may never come to service. They may not even believe themselves to be particularly religious. Yet they feel this pull of kindness. They feel the pull to serve someone other than themselves. They want to be a part of a good, healthy community.


As I was reading this article a few different things came to mind:

1. Am I willing to sacrifice to assist people as whole heartedly as the people of Peace? 

2. This is an example of Christ to the utmost. 

3. Even when things seem dire, there is hope. 


Peace Lutheran Church, in my opinion, is “preaching” the good word of God every time they pick up a nail to

shingle or lift a paint brush to paint a house. They are offering so much more than a Sunday worship service. 

They are offering the love and hope of Jesus. 


I wish you many blessings and much thankfulness during the season of Thanksgiving. 


Shari Wirkus


First Congregational United Church of Christ

PO Box 111 - 121 1st Ave SE Watertown, SD 57201


ucc1wtn@midco.net - Office Email

uccwatertownpastor@midco.net - Pastor's Email

Office Hours M-F 8am - Noon

November Newsletter
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