Outdoor Worship Aug 14

Note: This service will not be live-streamed, but we will have a pre-recorded option available for those worshiping from home.  

We will worship on the west side of the building where there is good shade and invite people to either bring a blanket or lawn chair. We will have extra metal chairs available but want to take advantage of our cool summer mornings and enjoy hearing the gospel lessons as Jesus originally shared them, outdoors. Coffee hour will also be in the same location.

Sanctuary Refurbishment Project

This year for our capital project we are cleaning up and refurbishing our sanctuary space that has been a place of spiritual growth for over sixty years. Refreshing the worship space and making it more accessible will ensure that generations to come can continue in our congregational mission of being “engaged by God in a living faith…” at church.

“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” Psalm 122:1

Did you know a gift of $300 will purchase an upholstered chair for the sanctuary and $1,500 will purchase a whole pew? You could help buy your favorite seat in church! And stay tuned for an announcement about how you can participate in a coordinated piece of artwork designed to celebrate and memorialize your giving.

Please take a moment, think about Gethsemane’s mission, the community we serve, and how your time, talent, and financial contribution can make a difference. Let’s make sure everyone has A Seat at the Table!

Click here to give online.

Click here to view photos of the refurbishment process and our interim worship space in the Fellowship Hall.

Rock the Blacktop August 17

Get ready to “Rock the Blacktop” at our final church picnic this summer!

The whole community is invited on Wednesday, August 17 from 6-8 PM for live music, food and fun!

Our entertainment, Grayhawk, has been performing classic rock and original music for over 20 years. We’ll also have a bouncy house, games, and information from Hopkins Early Childhood. The menu is BBQ pork or chicken sandwiches and sides.

Freewill donation. Mark your calendars and invite your friends and neighbors!

Click here to volunteer at the event.

Need of the Month: School Supplies

As we near back-to-school time we are again collecting school supplies to be distributed to our community members through Resource West. Since Hopkins schools are starting earlier this year Resource West will be distributing supplies mid-August, and we are collecting through Friday, August 12. Click here for a a list of items that Resource West is requesting to equip our youngest community members for the new school year. Financial donations are also appreciated, and the Gethsemane Memorial Foundation will match your gift!

Beginning Sunday, August 14 we are collecting for Lutheran World Relief (LWR,) a partner organization that provides school supply kits to students around the globe. Supplies needed for the school kits are:

  • 70-sheet notebooks of wide- or college-ruled paper

  • 30-centimeter ruler, or a ruler with centimeters on one side and inches on the other

  • pencil sharpener

  • blunt scissors, i.e., safety scissors

  • unsharpened #2 pencils with erasers

  • black or blue ballpoint pens (no gel ink

  • box of 16 or 24 crayons

  • 2 ½” eraser

Community Town Hall Forum

Forums are held in the Fireside Gallery. They are free and open to all.

Wednesday, August 24 7:00-8:00 PM

Let's Start at the Very Beginning: A Community Conversation about Very Small Children and the People Who Care for Them

The smallest among us need some attention. The research is compelling; what small children experience in their first five years really matters. We know this and yet many of us are looking for real ways to make an impact on the lives of young families that help them feel supported and truly cared for. Join us for a community conversation about the little ones and the little things that matter. 

Katy Smith, a Hopkins High School alumni, is an inspired parent educator, trainer, early childhood advocate, and keynote speaker. Katy has two undergraduate degrees in social work and in parent education from Winona State University. She has a master’s degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Public Policy and Advocacy from Walden University. Katy and her husband, Matt, taught and raised their family in Winona and recently moved to Forest Lake to be closer to their grandkids. Katy is the 2011 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, the first early childhood educator in Minnesota and the first parent educator nationally to be honored with the award.

Stop Food Waste Challenge

The Gethsemane Green Team has joined the Hennepin County Stop Food Waste Challenge. We invite you to join and learn with us! The challenge takes place during the month of August.

Did you know that about 40% of food is wasted somewhere along the supply chain? You may be surprised to learn that much of that food waste happens at home. Learning skills like creating a meal plan, buying just what you need at the grocery store, cooking creatively, and properly storing food can have a big impact on reducing the amount of food in your home that goes to waste. Join Hennepin County’s online Stop Food Waste Challenge to learn easy, practical skills that will help you stop wasting food, put more money in your pocket, and create a healthier environment. Even better, taking steps to reduce food waste is one of the most important actions we can take to address climate change.

The challenge has more than 40 actions to choose from in five categories. Participants get email updates with resources and tips for taking action, access to reducing food waste webinars, and opportunities to connect and share with others.

Click here to join.

Gethsemane Campout August 19-21

Join Gethsemane families and friends at our annual campout August 19-21 at Baker Park in Maple Plain.

This fun tradition includes a potluck dinner on Saturday night followed by campfire worship led by Pastor John. Spend the day at the beach, go fishing, biking or just relax!

We have reserved the Half Moon group site for Friday and Saturday night, but feel free to come just for the day on Saturday if you don’t want to camp. Baker Park is just 20 minutes west of Hopkins.

This event is FREE. Click here to sign up so we can plan for you.

Solar Project

Gethsemane installed Minnesota-made rooftop solar panels in the spring of 2022. This project was the result of more than two years of research and planning, and financial support from many members of the congregation and community who believe in the value of this project. You can still donate by clicking here.

Gethsemane Solar at a Glance:

  • Location: Roof of fireside gallery and education wing

  • # of Panels: 215 Heliene 72M-G1 400W

  • # of Inverters: 4 SolarEdge technologies

  • Total Project Cost: $175,210

  • Estimated Net Savings (30 years): $203,000

  • Estimated Project Payback: 15 years

Click here to view our energy production.

Click here for an interview with the president of Heiline, Inc., the company that produced our Minnesota-made solar panels.

Click here to view photos of the Solar Panel Project.

Click here to view photos from our Blessing of the Panels event.

This project builds on other earth-friendly initiatives launched by the church in the last several years, including LED lighting, composting, and non-toxic lawn care.

Join the Green Team!

Gethsemane's Green Team is an intergenerational group dedicated to advancing sustainability and caring for creation. We welcome anyone with a passion for the environment to join us. Please contact Bev Gillen (952-564-7076) for more information.

Volunteer Opportunities

Rock the Blacktop Event August 17

Sanctuary Refurbishment Project

Summer Ushers - We are seeking volunteers to assist with Sunday morning worship at 9:30 in the Fellowship Hall. Ushers are asked to arrive at 9 AM for instruction. Help us build a “Welcome Table” with your gift of hospitality!

Click here to sign up to usher.

Summer Youth Trips

Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp: Saturday, June 25 - Sunday, July 3

Students completing 9th grade (and a few brave adults) will be journeying all the way to Montana for a week of hiking and camping at this beautiful, lakeside Bible camp. Students have an opportunity to reflect on their faith in the midst of God's abundant beauty.

Click here to register for the Montana trip.

Appalachia Service Project: Saturday, July 30 - Sunday, August 7 

A small group of high school travelers (along with a few students whose schedule made it impossible to travel to Flathead, and adult chaperones) will be headed to Appalachia to serve in a variety of work sites. 

This trip will include site seeing and fellowship events in the beautiful Appalachian mountains.

Click here to register for the Applachia trip.

Boundary Waters Canoe Trip: Monday, August 1- Saturday, August 6

Our first year confirmation students are excited to travel to Northern Minnesota where they will build friendships and their faith while they camp and paddle in God's beautiful creation.

Click here to register for the Boundary Waters trip.

Sisters in Spirit Monthly Devotions

In lieu of our traditional Sisters in Spirit Retreat the SIS team is offering the gift of monthly devotions. Our prayer is that through these words we can stay connected to one another and to the Spirit until we are able to gather in person safely.

July Devotion from Deb Davis

Welcome to July – so unlike the ‘normal’ Sisters in Spirit winter gathering weather.

July - a time of longer days filled with sunshine and blue skies. July means a time to reflect on America’s founding. A patriotic time to celebrate our freedom with parades and flags, picnics and outdoor games, baseball and biking, hiking and swimming, fireworks and watermelon, root beer floats and hot dogs. And often a time for gathering with family and friends.

But also I look to July to slow down beneath a shade tree and take time to enjoy the summer days – those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer! It’s not always easy to change gears and abandon a busy schedule. It takes a conscious effort sometimes to pause long enough to see God’s summer creation around us. To be in the moment and not let the beauty go by unnoticed.

"A Bit of Time" by Henry W. Gurley

I’d like to spend a bit of time
each day doing nil
By sitting by my backyard swing
And viewing all things ‘til
The sun must gently dip behind
My trellised garden gate
To sojourn to those regions far
Where it will meet its fate.

And then I’d spend a bit of time
Just sitting in the quiet
And hope for splintered, silver moon
To grace my new-found night.
And if these things should come to be,
I’d of a certain know
That God’s in charge of things on high
As well as things below.

Let us pray. Lord of all, thank you for your blessing of summertime. Help us to not take for granted all your creation. Bless us with a peaceful camaraderie with our family, friends and neighbors. Amen

June Devotion from Deb Paulson

June - a month of familiar beginnings. Warm weather returns in time for lazy days at the lake, catching fish, and the unmistakable call of the loon. Gardens, butterflies, baseball, bicycle rides, and a favorite flavor (or two) of ice cream. Family and friends gather again for backyard barbecues. The June bride is dreaming dreams of love.

Happiness can be experienced from the world around us, but our greatest joy is when God fills our heart to its fullest. Then our days will be filled with more than we would ever ask for.

Sisters, may your June be the beginning of all the things you love!

Whatever makes your soul happy, do that!

May Devotion from Paulette Dummer

Dear Sisters In Spirit,

This month we honor mothering. This includes all who provide compassion, nurturing and caring for next generation. Did you know that the egg that became you was formed in your mother’s body while she was yet in your grandmother’s womb? This means on a cellular level you have been connected for a very long time to your own history.

As infants we innocently trust that we are nurtured and kept safe by those who love us: parents, grandparents, foster parents, sisters, cousins, and aunts. Also care providers, teachers, physicians, and a multitude of people who help us grow physically, emotionally, and mentally. We pray that this trust is not betrayed.

God, the perfect parent, entrusts us to the care of the church as a parent leaves their child at a daycare. The God who loves us with unconditional love leaves for a time while the church is to nourish and protect the spiritual growth of the believer. The church continues to encourage us to know God’s WORD, learn the way and will of God and to surrender our hearts to the Spirit of God; To keep us safe until we return to God.

God holds no priority on our physical body but looks at our other heart; not the organ that pumps blood through our veins but the one that maintains our spirit. That other self that you see in the mirror. The physical self is temporary and finite, but the spirit is immortal. The hope is that you will seek and treasure God’s truth until the world’s lies hold no appeal. We pray that your spirit trusts and obeys God’s Spirit.

The human heart is a vital organ but not the whole being. It can be transplanted to another body and continue to support another life. It is just a heart. But our spirit which lives into eternity is the real us. We pray that you listen and accept God’s truth.

Nothing we do or say can change our value to God. God sees us through our spiritual hearts to determine if we love God, love our neighbor, and love ourselves. Life for God is all about love. The Spirit of God that flows through us is of a similar bond as that of our mothers and grandmothers. We have been connected to God for a very long time. We pray that you do not reject the love of God.

So, this month as we honor mothering, compassion, nurturing and caring for one another, take a moment to listen to your heartbeat and feel the connection to your own mother and grandmother. Also feel the love of God and be filled to the brim with God’s love and let that love overflow to everyone you meet.

I close now with this blessing from Pete Greig.

Lord, for mothers today, we pray for joy.

For orphans, comfort.

For not yet mothers, hope.

For single mothers, grace.

For those who are lonely, family.

We ask for grace today

For the mothers of prodigals,

And for those who have lost children,

And for those who don't know where their children are.

May the embrace of grace displace shame

For mothers in prison,

For those who can't feed a baby,

For those who miscarried

Or had an abortion.

And Lord, may those who never held their own child,

For whom today is sadder than it is happy,

Know the love and joy of parenting

In the family of God.


April Devotion from LaRee Shebeck

Dear Sisters, 

Although I didn’t write a poem, as Mary Ofstie so ably did in the March Gethsemane News, I will share a meditation with you, my Sisters in Spirit. 

Right now we are in the season of Lent (Latin for “spring.”) Just as nature comes into rebirth in the spring, so, too, Christ went from death to life in the resurrection. I once thought that you needed to give something UP for lent; I now think you should take something ON instead! Be inspired to look outward, and take ON outreach to your Sisters in Spirit with a call, text, email, or note to show your concern and Christian love. Many in our congregation are grieving, lonely or hurting. Take ON extra prayer time and remember your Sisters in your prayer.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 

Easter is April 17, the most holy day of the church year. We will celebrate the resurrection of our Savior with exuberant Alleluias! Like the women who first saw the empty tomb, let us be filled with the same joy, knowing that death has been conquered forever. 


Risen Lord Jesus, inspire and embolden me to reach out to your broken or lonely people with your love and mercy. Open my eyes and my heart so that I may be attentive to the needs of others. Make me ever mindful of your victory over death. Amen 

March Devotion from Mary Ofstie

Updated Forecast

Here are the current conditions and long range outlooks:

Slick, icy roads; ice skating, ice fishing and hockey.

Flip the light switch and sparks fly;

morning daylight and longer sunsets boost spirits.

Walk like a penguin to keep upright;

birds sing during the penguin shuffle.

Fur-lined bomber hats and yak tracks;

plush fleece pajamas and slipper socks.

Salt sprays cars, trucks and bicycles;

add salt to pots of bubbling chili.

Shovel snow after winter storms;

melting snow replenishes lake water and soil moisture.

Itch and watch dry skin scatter;

From the window snow dusts driveways.

Fingers bleed and crack;

the first crack in a thawing lake.

White fingers and red, runny noses;

Glittery blue fingernails and pedicured “toeses.”

Measure snowfall and record the wind chill;

Check rain gauge and log the heat index.

Now for the latest forecast:

Tomorrow brings gray skies,

perfect for gathering an abundance of silver linings.

He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up breezes, and the water flows.

Psalm 147: 15-18

Green Team Tidbits

The Green Team is providing ideas for actions people can take in their daily lives to support the health of our planet. Most actions are small and doable. How many can you make a habit?

Water Conservation Tip

Running your faucet for 5 minutes uses as much energy as running a 60 watt light bulb for 14 hours! Remember to turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth!

Time for Spring cleaning!

You can make effective, non-toxic cleaning products using baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and soap as ingredients. For example, here is a recipe for an all-purpose cleaner:

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons non-antibacterial liquid dish soap

In a 16 oz. spray bottle, add the vinegar and fill with water. Add dish soap last. Add lemon juice if desired.

Click here for more green cleaner recipes.

Save the Bees

We depend on bees to pollinate 70 out of our 100 crops—from apples and blueberries to watermelon and zucchini, yet the world’s most widely used class of insecticides—called “neonics”—is a key factor in the devastating die-off of bee colonies. Simply put: fewer bees = less food.

Bayer is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of bee-toxic neonics. In addition to producing aspirin, Aleve, One A Day, and Alka-Seltzer, this German chemical giant also invented neonics that have topped $1.5 billion in annual in sales.

Consumers yield power with their purchasing dollars and their voices. Collectively, we can help combat this issue.

Write a letter to NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) asking that Bayer discontinue producing neonics that are negatively impacting bee colonies and our food supply. Share this information with family and friends and encourage them to share their voices. Let’s flood NRDC with letters that will be forwarded to Bayer.

NRDC Address: 40 W 20th Street, 11th floor, New York, NY 10011

The Green Team

Welcome Word with Mary Ofstie

Gethsemane’s Librarian, Mary Ofstie, has created this new virtual offering featuring books and materials from the Dominick Memorial Library.

Around the World in 13 Books!

Click here for a video from Mary about these books in our library that will take you around the world!

· Anthony, Lawrence. The Elephant Whisperer

· DeFede, Jim. The Day the World Came to Town

· Dickey, Lisa. Bears In the Street: Three Journeys Across a Changing Russia

· Grann, David. Lost City of Z

· Jung, Chang. Wild Swans

· Murphy, Finn. Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life On the Road

· Noah, Trevor. Born a Crime

· Russell, Ruth. The Year of Living Danishly

· Shafak, Elif. Island of the Missing Trees

· Sjoholm, Barbara. The Palace of the Snow Queen

· Thurbon, Colin. Shadows of the Silk Road

· Vodolazkin, Roxanne. The Girl They Left Behind

· Weber, Bruce. Life is a Wheel: Love, Death, Etc. and a Bike Ride Across America

The April episode of Welcome Word celebrates National Poetry Month. (Click the video on the left.)

What is poetry? Terry Heick, an English teacher, defines it this way: “Poetry is the extraordinary perception of the ordinary.” 

Poetry uses the five senses. It exemplifies social perception, the ability to identify and guide personal relationships. Poems are intimate. Not all poems will speak to everyone, but finding those that do are beautiful moments.

Come along and take the “poem plunge!” Discover poems that touch your heart. Mary will share tools that will help you in your search. You are also invited to visit the following links:

Poetry Foundation

"How to Read Biblical Poetry"

"Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland

“Why Poetry” Book List

Berry, Wendell. A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997.

Bible, New Testament. The Gospel According to Luke

Bible, Old Testament. Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Eccesiastics, Song of Solomon

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. Compilations

Crews, James. How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope.

Gorman, Amanda. Call Us What We Carry: Poems

Hanson, Walter. Next Place

Harjo, Joy. When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through

Keillor, Garrison. Good Poems From the Farmers’ Almanac

Kenyon, Jane. The Best of Jane Kenyon.

Prelutsky, Jack. The New Kid On The Block

Schwartz, Amy. Things I Love

ZHadan, Serjii. The Things We Live For, The Things We Die For

March's "Welcome Word" video celebrates Black History Month and highlights the resources available in our church library.

You are also invited to visit the following links:

“For My People,” a poem by Margaret Walker

“Celebrating Black Artists,” a TPT episode from their original series, STAGE. In honor of Juneteenth 2021, STAGE applauds performances by MN artists including the Steele family, Penumbra Theater, Sounds of Blackness, blues and jazz musician, James Samuel “Cornbread” Harris, Sr. and more.

Ongoing Need: Lutheran World Relief

Our congregation supports Lutheran World relief with a variety of ongoing projects. Our quilters, sewers, Circle members and others create Quilts, Baby Care Kits, Personal Care Kits, School Kits and Fabric Kits throughout the year to ship around the world.

We are collecting the following items in support of these projects. Please place items in the barrel near the north entrance.

  • Blankets, sheets, old spreads, curtains/draperies for quilt filler and backing

  • New or gently used towels - bath and hand size - for Personal Care Kits

  • Baby blankets and clothing as follows up to size 2: sleeping gowns, onesies, socks, hats, jackets, t shirts for Baby Care Kits

  • 4-oz bars of soap for Baby and Personal Care Kits

  • Gift cards for Target, Dollar Store/General, Staples, Office Depot /Max for school supplies to be purchased when offered at discount.

Financial donations are also appreciated and will be used to defray the cost of shipping quilts and kits around the world. To make a financial contribution, you can send a check made out to Gethsemane with LWR on the memo line. You can also use the church’s online giving link.