Alexandria United Methodist Church
Saturday, February 24, 2024

Announcements


(subject to change)
 
Our Church's main communication comes through REMIND
Please join REMIND to stay connectional: text these digits @28kcbk to this “phone” number: 810810
Once you come to the join page, choose a "student" account.
We send out updates via REMIND that come to you in a timely, quick, brief format!
A safe, reliable app used by public schools across the state.
 
 
Worship with us on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m.
In person or online on our YouTube Channel, @AlexUMC
 
Sunday Coffee Fellowship
 
After our 9 a.m. service every Sunday, join us for Coffee fellowship!
 
If you are interested in providing the treats for Sunday's Coffee Fellowship, please email us at office@alexumc.org. This year's schedule can be found by clicking here. We prepare an annual sign-up in November each year so now is the time to let us know you would like to be added as a regular or a sub. Thank you in advance for your food ministry to our church!
 
Children's Sunday School programming - for ages 3-14, every Sunday, after Pr. Amy's children's message in the sanctuary, children reconvene in the Sunday School classroom. See more below about our programming!
 
Mark Your Calendar
 
Committee Meeting Schedules
SPRC, 5pm - First Monday of every month
Administrative Council, 6:30pm - Second Monday of every month 
Trustees Meeting, 5:30pm - Second Thursday of every month
Finance Committee meeting - December 7, 2pm

 

Special notes regarding Pastor's schedule

Pr. Amy and Thomas will be out of town February 3-8.

During the remainder of J-Term, Pr. Amy will be at Seminary on Tuesdays. Spring semester begins in March and Pr. Amy will be at Seminary weekly, Wednesday-Friday.

 

 

Announcements/Updates

 

 ______Special Announcements for families with youth/children________

 

Families, please note that this week, Youth Group joins the congregation for our Ash Wednesday service & meal (see above). We encourage families to attend together!

 

No Youth Group February 28. Pr. Amy will be away at Seminary.

 

 

Oddly enough, this year Ash Wednesday lands on Valentine's Day...also a special day in many liturgical calendars as well. Click here for a well-written post by Steve Manskar (2012) regarding Charles Wesley (1747), Valentine's Day, and love.

 

Would you like to learn more about our Christian calendar? At the end of this email, I've included a brief paragraph about it along with some helpful links you can visit!

 

 

Upcoming "Congregational Life" events - Unless specified, these events are hosted at our church's Fellowship Hall, Alexandria United Methodist Church, 2210 Sixth Avenue East, Alexandria, MN 56308.

 

'Congregational Life', also known as "CL", is a newer committee that our church created last year to respond to the changing life of our congregation. Amy Rieke is the Committee Chair and her team includes but is not limited to Linda DeWitt, Mel Nomsen, Arlana Langner, Tess Evink, Pr. Amy, and our Sunday School Ministries team.

 

  • Beach Party & Hot Dog Supper Wednesday, February 21, 6-7:30 Dress in your beach/summer attire enjoy some beach themed activities at your tables (meal provided by Congregational Life
  •  Easter "Sunrise" Breakfast, Wednesday, March 13, 6-7:30
    An Easter Egg Hunt for the youth will follow the meal (provided by CL).
  • Minnesota Hotdish Get Together, Wednesday, April 17, 6-7:30
    Enjoy a variety of hot dishes (provided by CL) followed by BINGO.
  • Potluck at Brophy Park, Wednesday, May 8, 6-7:30
    CL will provide the main course, and everyone else is asked to please bring a dish of your choosing.

All events are FREE and ALL ARE WELCOME. A Free-will donation for meals is always welcomed and encouraged. Any donations collected during CL events is used to support upcoming CL events and/or for youth group activities, including snacks and meals for youth group, and youth group field experiences. 

Please join REMIND and visit the website and online calendar to stay up-to-date with any changes regarding CL events and any other church news and programming. To join REMIND, text these digits @28kcbk to this “phone” number: 810810 and choose 'student' role when you register.

 

 

 

Milestone socks drive Please continue to bring in donations.

 

Giving Statements are in the Narthex If you can’t find yours please let the office know and message Ginger, office@alexumc.org .

 

 

Applications open - Non-profits, apply now, click here!

To learn more about the Community Wood-Fired Oven Pizza ministry, visit us online at http://alexandriacommunitywoodfired.com/ or through the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/UMCWoodFired

 

February is "I love to Read month"! What are you reading? Pr. Amy's list includes:

A Companion to The New Testament: Paul and the Pauline Letters, Author: Dr. Matthew L. Skinner, (c) 2018.

 

Giving information, click here

Giving online with our partner, Vanco, click here


Fellowship Opportunities

 

 

Monday, February 19, 5pm, 'Adult Fellowship' meet for a meal at Garden Center - newcomers welcome - please RSVP to the main office, 320-763-4624. We kindly ask that you cover the cost of your own beverages & meal.

 

 

Monday, February 26, 5pm, The 'Friends Gathering' group - newcomers welcome - meet for a meal at The Lure. To be added to the email reminder list for 'Friends Gathering', send a request to Jean Bristow at this address: jeanmbristow@charter.net . We kindly ask that you cover the cost of your own beverages & meal.

 

Church News

 

Church Directory - pick up your own copy! Find in Narthex in basket, bright orange cover

 

Giving statements are in the Narthex. Please take yours home. Any statement not picked up will be mailed to members via USPS.

 

Spring is almost here and a 'Spring Cleaning' event for our church buiding is in the planning stages. Please send Pr. Amy and email if you can help, pastor@alexumc.org. Tasks include, but are not limited to, window-washing and carpet cleaning.

 

SPRC Update

We have much to be thankful for as we begin the new year!  We'd like to keep members looped in on a couple of things related to our staff and parish:


Pastor Amy is in the final months of her Seminary work!!  I don't think we can fathom what balancing school, work, and family has been.  I think we can anticipate that these last few months will be particularly demanding.  We as a congregation can help by understanding that programming schedules may need to change or cancellations may occur.  We thank you for your patience!  We'll all celebrate with Pastor Amy and her family in May, at the completion of her studies!!


Thanks to all of you who have helped and are helping with custodial and maintenance responsibilities!  I think we are all learning a bit more about how our church works!!  It is rewarding to see the collaboration.  


The SPPR Committee (Staff-Parish-Pastor-Relations) is working on updating and adapting policies related to church safety.  This was prompted by and is a requirement of our insurance company (Grinnell Mutual), but we recognize it's a sound practice to have this in place.  Be aware that we may be modifying some practices in coming months to remain in compliance with this new policy.


Thank you for your assistance! 

Let us know if you have any questions.

Alex UMC SPR Committee: Ron Schutte, Heidi Ryan, Scott Garvin, Sharon Slack, Chuck Holm, Bruce Jordan, Pastor Amy 

Youth Group - Upcoming Wednesday nights
 

Click here for more details on Youth Group

 

 Confirmation Gathering - March 8-9 - (MN Conference-led event) Camp Koronis, Paynesville. Join Pr. Amy and many other Confirmation Classes from all over Minnesota as we explore the Wesleyan Quadrilateral together.  Through games, experiential activities, and small group discussion time, we'll explore these core four elements of faith: tradition, reason, scripture, experience.  Enjoy all Camp Koronis has to offer - a beautiful tabernacle space to learn and worship, a game room and open gym, sledding hill, and broomball court on Lake Koronis. A note about lodging: Adults will lodge with adults from their or other churches in close proximity to students; students will lodge with only other students from their church in rooms that hold 2-6 people.  If individual rooms would be preferred for students or adult leaders, please share in the "considerations" section of the registration form. Cost for the Confirmation Gathering is $85/participant to cover lodging, meals, and materials. All Alex UMC Confirmation students will receive scholarships so please contact Pr. Amy to let her know if you cannot attend.


Congregational Life
Schedule below
 
Monthly schedule for the 2023-2024 Season
Wednesdays, 6-7:30pm, Fellowship Hall (unless otherwise specified)
Meal and programming, games and social hour - something for everyone!
Free will donation
  • Wednesday, February 21, 6-7:30
  • Wednesday, March 13, 6-7:30
  • Wednesday, April 17, 6-7:30
  • Wednesday, May 8, 6-7:30
 
More opportunities for fellowship:
If you would like to be added to the mailing lists for the following groups, please send a request to Ginger at our main office, office@alexumc.org
  • Coffee Fellowship
  • Adult Fellowship
  • Friends Gathering
  • Joy Circle
 
 
About Sunday School with Alexandria UMC
Pr. Amy leads an interactive children's message during worship every Sunday!

Ages 4 - Grade 8, October-May
Theme verse Psalm 86:10
Because You are awesome and a wonder-worker, You are God. Just You.

Each week, please consult the weekly calendar in the bulletin for any special updates from the teachers regarding programming and schedule.
 
Most Sundays, the children will head for Sunday school after Pastor's message and return during the tithes and offerings. Once a month, the children will do noisy offering and might share something with us after the offertory prayer that they are learning about in Sunday School. We are already working on plans for a Christmas program should we have children that would like to participate.
 
Each unit of the Celebrate Wonder curriculum has a "faith word". The Unit 1 faith word, which takes us through the fall season, is "creativity". For the next four weeks, our scripture study comes from Genesis, verses 1:1-19; 1:20-25; 1:26-2:4; and 2:10-23.
 
We specifically purchased a curriculum kit that serves the "one room school house" model where all ages can learn and grow together.
 
We welcome your questions and we open wide our hearts and doors to invite our children for an amazing year together in Christ's steps!
Sincerely,
The Sunshine Team
 
 
 
Christian Education with Alex UMC
 
Ecumenical Bible Study - Currently cancelled due to high covid-case numbers
10:30 - 11:15 a.m. on Mondays, Windmill Pond Chapel (2nd floor)
Address715 Victor St, Alexandria, MN 56308,
All are welcome and encouraged to join us! We meet for 45 minutes or so and Pr. Amy and Sue Helgeson lead the group in sharing, prayer, Bible-based discussions and often a hymn or two! No homework - just come as you are!

Social Creed and UMC Principles Study - Please consult the weekly calendar for updates on the meeting schedule.
 
More happenings at Alex UMC!
 
 
Pizza Ministry at the Alexandria Community Wood-fired Oven
Wednesday nights, June-August: 4:30-7pm
See schedule here: https://alexandriacommunitywoodfired.com/index.php/entertainment/
 
 
FAMILY CAMP on the shores of Lake Andrew!

Join Pr. Amy VanValkenburg and Pr. Christa Forsythe as they embark on their fourth year together offering Family Camp on the shores of Lake Andrew (Spicer)! More details will be released when we get closer to the 2024 date!
 
 
Sponsoring a youth camper!
Youth camping - many dates and programs from which to choose - Northern Pines (Park Rapids) and Koronis Ministries (Paynesville) has camping for youth starting at age 6. Our congregation is encouraged to sponsor a youth to attend camp for a week of their own choosing. Depending on which week a camper chooses, costs vary, see pamphlet on bulletin board or go online to www.campminnesota.org .
 
 
Confirmation and our Youth programming with Alex UMC

The Faithful Five:
Prayers - we visited various stations that led us in different ways to pray
Presence - we listened to a presentation on noticing how our attention to our faith life is vital for our formation as Christians
Gifts - we took an 80 question assessment that revealed spiritual talents that we are using every day even if we aren’t consciously thinking about it
Service - we created a skit about a service project we might do in our congregation. Our group did a skit about starting a ‘kindness campaign'
Witness - we heard testimony from one of our group leaders about his own faith journey

"I am excited and curious about all that we can do together, and most importantly, I am interested in endeavoring to grow in faith alongside the youth of Alexandria UMC."
-Pr. Amy
 
About Youth Group
The tenants of my curriculum and theology around youth programming is first and foremost about relationships and building connection. My vision for healthy programming is to have opportunities for youth of all ages - it is the intersectionality of interesting, fun, and engaging programming that informs and supports the faith life of our youth...and as a church, we should be making those offerings to all youth!

Ultimately, I would love to see two youth groups. That is my goal as your appointed pastor.
MS Youth Group, Grade 6-8
HS Youth Group, Grade 9-12

We are in the midst of building these so for now, I am using the one-room school house model where all of us are together for this program year, Grades 6-12.

Four Units for the 2023 - 2024 Liturgical Year
Unit 1: The Geography, life and times of ancient peoples (November Field Trip)
Unit 2: Work, Money, and the Bible (January Field Trip)
Unit 3: World Religions (May Field Trip)
Unit 4: Our Methodist expression of the Christian faith (Youth Event with Conference Field Trip, TBD)

When does the Youth Group meet?
**Wednesday evenings, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
October 2023 - May 2024, with one Congregational Life (CL) event a month, 6-7:30 p.m.

We also have four field trips scheduled for this liturgical year. Please see the schedule for both Wednesday evenings and our field trips.

May 8 will be our final Wednesday night together for the liturgical year but not our final event of the year. *On May 8, we join CL and host the dinner and game night for the church, 6-7:30 p.m.

Our field trip to Duluth takes place May 31, and is overnight. There is no school for District 206 on April 1st. We will need additional chaperones. If you are interested, please let me know. My contact information is below.

2024 Youth Group Calendar
by month/day/time



February
7, 14, 21* (no Youth Group 2/28, Pr. Amy at Seminary)
*February 21, we join CL and host the dinner and game night for the church, 6-7:30 p.m.

March
6, 13*, 20 (no Youth Group 3/27, Pr. Amy at Seminary)
*March 13, we join CL and host the dinner and game night for the church, 6-7:30 p.m.

April
3, 10, 17* (No Youth Group 4/24, Pr. Amy and her family will be traveling to the Holy Land, April 15-24, 2024)
*April 17, we join CL and host the dinner and game night for the church, 6-7:30 p.m.

May
1, 8*
*May 8 will be our final Wednesday night together for the liturgical year, however, our field trip to Duluth takes place May 31, and is overnight. There is no school for District 206 on April 1st. We will need additional chaperones. If you are interested, please let me know. My contact information is below.
*On May 8, we join CL and host the dinner and game night for the church, 6-7:30 p.m.

**be sure to join REMIND for updates to our schedule

Four field trips (dates are tentative)
Each field trip has a “thinking theologically” pathway as we continue to discover together what it means to be a Christian in the 21st Century. See page four (4) for details.

The field trips are in harmony with our units, Units 1-4, and are spaced appropriately with the School District's calendar (District 206).

Unit 1: November - Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post, Day trip, Saturday, November 11, 2023.

Thinking Theologically:
As we explore the lives of the ancients in Israel, we will also be unpacking the lives of the peoples that inhabited North America all those 1000s of years ago. Part of this exploration will be to talk about culture and history; conversations will include discovery of our own ancestors and our own family tree.

Unit 2: January - Minnesota State Capital and Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Day trip, Wednesday, January 15, 2023 (there is no School for District 206 on this day). We will return from St. Paul and join the CL night for dinner at the church at 6pm.

Thinking Theologically:
As we explore our values as 21st Century Christians, we will also be unpacking the politics of ancient Israel during Jesus’ time. We will be asking questions like, “How might building the Kingdom of God be the same or different from Kingdom-building empire/government in ancient times and now-times?” Taking a grip to our own state capital endeavors to understand why laws are both important and complicated.

Unit 3: April/May - Glensheen Mansion and the Peace Bell, Overnight trip, leaving from the church on Sunday, May 31, 2pm - returning Monday, April 1, 5:30 p.m. (there is no School for District 206 on this day)

Thinking Theologically:
Exploring family systems and cultural systems - love, money, work, death, war, deceit, murder, and more…just like the Bible! We will visit the Glensheen Mansion and make our way to the peace bell (a replica from World War II), installed at Enger Park.

Unit 4: Youth Event with the Conference (TBD)
Thinking Theologically:
The Conference Youth Ministry offers a once-a-year program that anchors the expression of our denomination - Methodism - in Christian faith. This is where our youth will further explore Methodist social principles, polity, and doctrine. A date has not yet been set for this event. Stay tuned!

About Confirmation

What Confirmation is NOT:
Confirmation is not a program.
Confirmation is not a youth group.
Confirmation is not ‘graduation from church’.
Confirmation is not the end to something you did.
Confirmation is not a sacrament.
Confirmation is not something we do because “my parents” said I had to.
Confirmation is not a test.
And, Confirmation does not always end in a service of Confirmation.

What Confirmation IS:
Confirmation is a covenant.
Confirmation, not being something you do, but something you live out - a lifestyle.
Confirmation is fun!
Confirmation is a time to explore, learn, grow, and discern God’s calling for you in your life
Confirmation is learning about what it means to be an adult in the Methodist expression of the Christian faith.
Confirmation is a time to think theologically about the values and Christian ethics that created the Methodist movement in the United States.
A movement that began in the home of Susanna Wesley, the first founder of Methodism, and then brought more fully into form by her sons, John and Charles Wesley, two Anglican priests.

Confirmation requirements for Confirmation in the Alexandria UMC
Should you decide to make the covenant official by a service of Confirmation during a worship service with our church family, these are the expectations:
10 Sermon Notes (in-person or YouTube), written format
Community Service, 75-hour requirement
Completed Units:
Methodism - history, polity, and doctrine
Methodism - our social principles and social creed
Methodism - the sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism
Final deliverables regarding the units
1) Sharing your call story with Pr. Amy in the format of your choosing: orally, written, video, …I am very flexible on this.
2) In-person meeting with Pr. Amy, your parents, and a sponsor, to share what you would like to share about your faith journey and how you would like us to support you as you continue on your faith journey as a Methodist!


If you have a youth interested in our weekly programming or in our Confirmation programming, please contact her at pastor@alexum.org. If you are an adult interested in learning more about Confirmation and/or helping with our youth programming, please contact Pr. Amy and schedule an appointment. Pastor's office hours are posted in the weekly bulletin or call Ginger at 320-763-4624.

 


 
Looking Ahead to 2024! - Stay tuned for timely updates regarding this pilgrimage. Praying for peace in Israel and Palestine.
 
Pr. Amy and Thomas are planning travel to the Holy Land in April 2024!
"The Holy Land - The Women in Jesus' Life"
 
 
Are you interested? Dates are set for April 15-24, 2024.

Click here to register, or visit the URL below by copying and pasting it into your preferred web browser:

 
 
Price Main Tour:
Starting at $3,750  per person sharing a double   (optional single room supplement $870)

 

 

 
 
Our Contact information
Rev. Amy VanValkenburg, LLP Email: pastor@alexumc.org, Pastor's mobile: 320-309-5574/320-460-0776
Ginger Mayer, Admin. Assistant, Phone: 320-763-4624   Email: office@alexumc.org,
Office Hours: 9am - 1pm, Church Address: 2210 Sixth Avenue E, Alexandria, MN 56308

 
 


Whoever you are, however you are, just as you are, you are welcome at
Alexandria United Methodist Church.