Virtual Worship March 29th pt.2

Posted by River of Hope Lutheran ELCA – Hutchinson, MN on Sunday, March 29, 2020

Virtual Worship March 29th pt.1

River of Hope Worship, 3.29.20

Posted by River of Hope Lutheran ELCA – Hutchinson, MN on Sunday, March 29, 2020

Worship Life with COVID-19

This is not your typical day.

We are – all of us – in the midst of a world wide pandemic. The last was 1968-69. Some of you might remember it – most of us don’t.

While it is true that for the vast majority of us, this new virus will render us ill for a moment and we will recover. That is not true for all of us. For those who are elderly or have underlying health conditions, this new virus will mean a far more serious result.

We have all seen the advice from the CDC and other public health officials to limit our contact in public and practice “social distancing”. The goal of social distancing is to minimize the spread of the virus to protect those who are most vulnerable, and – hopefully – minimize the number of people who will require hospitalization.

In consultation with Dr. Brian Pollmann, members of the River Table and I have made the decision to cancel worship at the Event Center for the remainder of March.

This doesn’t mean, however, that worship is cancelled! We will do what River of Hope does… get creative!

* Join the Watch Party on Sunday Mornings on Facebook at 10:30 am. We will pray – interact in real time – hear the Story and a sermon. For those of us who love the music, there will be links to worship videos.

* Continue to support River of Hope through your financial offerings. While we might not be meeting at the Event Center, the bills will continue to accumulate! + If you are not signed up for SimplyGiving ** click here ( and follow the prompts.

+ If you prefer to write a check, feel free to stop by the office, Mondays – Thursdays; 9 am – 12 noon. or drop it in the mail. Our mailing address is listed below.

* Continue to read Love Without Limits – I’m working on ways to continue our conversations while keeping others healthy.

* Other ways to stay connected:

+ PRAY! If you would like a prayer partner from River of Hope – please send me an email. I will connect you with the name of someone else from River of Hope!

+ CALL! Be sure to check in with each other – give a phone call or text message to say “Hi” and that you’re thinking of them.

+ REACH OUT! I know, we’re Minnesotans, we don’t do that well. That said, PLEASE connect with me if you would like to speak directly or have any concerns!

+ DON’T PANIC! There are really smart people – with really big hearts doing a lot of work to bring all of us through this time.

It is at times like these when the love of God truly brings peace in the midst of the storm. May we all share that love (from a safe distance) with everyone we meet – no exceptions

In Christ, Pastor Janine

Season of Lent

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.

Click here for a 40 day devotional calendar as we enter the Lenten Season.

We Give

Terebinth Refuge is a Christ-centered shelter and safe home that brings hope, healing services, and freedom to sexually exploited and trafficked women.  During the season of Lent, River of Hope will support the St Cloud organization. We have a goal of supporting their work with a gift of $1,000. Please click here for there list gifts for shelter needs and supplies.

Checks can be made directly to Terebinth Refuge and brought to worship or dropped at the RoH office.

We have a goal of supporting their work with a gift of $1,000.

Please click here for more information on this organization or others ways to support this shelter for hope and healing.

Please click here for there list gifts for shelter needs and supplies.

Significance of the Terebinth (Oak) Tree

Throughout the Old Testament Terebinth and Oak are referred to and the reference interchanged. The word used in Isaiah 61:3 which is often translated ”ram” as it’s root, refers to strength and power and can also mean “pillar”referring to a strong leader. Terebinth (pistacia) develops a very large deep and extensive root system and therefore remains green in years of drought, it often sprouts from the stump after being cut. Because of its large size and great age, terebinth tree were places of significance, well known landmarks in the scripture, also seen as a resting place of shelter and shade. God refers to His children as becoming a “terebinth of righteousness”, a position of resilience, strength and rest to bring Him glory.

Services Include:

  • Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing Program for women 18 and older
  • Trauma-informed, Strength-based, Victim-centered, and Survivor-informed Programming
  • Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Services
  • Equine Therapy
  • Individualized Case Management
  • Legal Advocacy Referrals
  • Independent Living Skills
  • Education and Employment Services
  • Wellness Programming
  • An On-site Registered Nurse
  • Medical referrals
  • Psychological referrals
  • Support Groups
  • Survivor Staff
  • Spiritual guidance (if desired)

Erin’s Kids

Have you been hearing about “Erin’s Kids” lately?

Erin’s Kids is a fund set up at River of Hope in memory of Erin Olson, by her parents Shirley and DuWayne Olson.  Erin was a vivacious young lady who had a passion for life, a radiant smile, unending energy, and a love of kids. She loved to camp and always went out of her way to make sure everyone was included. To leave anyone out was unacceptable to Erin. Therefore, the funds raised for Erin’s Kids will be used to ensure that all youth who express interest in going to camp at River of Hope will have the means of going. All kids are Erin’s Kids!

Fundraising for Erin’s Kids will be ongoing! You can expect to see more fundraisers throughout the year, hear more about “Erin’s Kids” and learn more about Erin as we honor her memory.

Please help us grow this fund, support our youth, and provide life changing experiences through Him.

Here are some ways to help with Erin’s Kids:

  1. Donate online, selecting “Erin’s Kids”
  2. Drop a check in the weekly offering or send it to the office with the Memo: Erin’s Kids
  3. Share about Erin’s Kids on social media and help us spread the word. #ErinsKids
  4. Talk to your kids, grand kids, and their friends about going to camp. Let’s get them excited!
  5. Tell someone about Erin! Her parents tell us that she would LOVE what’s is being done in her honor.
  6.  Share your own memories of going to camp on social media, using the hashtag #ErinsKids
  7. Watch for upcoming fundraising events and dive in!
  8. Volunteer to chaperone an upcoming trip.

Thank you!

Pr. Laura’s new call

April 10, 2019

Dear River of Hope-ers,

I am writing to share news with you that marks a new milestone in the life of River of Hope. With both grief and joy in my heart, I will be leaving River of Hope. My last Sunday with you will be May 19.

Over the past eight years, you have taught me to be a pastor and a preacher. It has been a privilege to serve you and with you and I have loved each of you deeply. You have taught me how to love so well. It has been the most beautiful and terrible gift to be shared. You are part of my heart now, so I will carry you with me wherever I go. My departure will mean different things to different people. It might bring up other losses you’ve experienced, or you might be disappointed or angry. All these feelings are part of this process, and I am experiencing this loss as well. Let’s offer each other grace and forgiveness as we navigate these waters.  In the midst of our sadness, the Good News is always a new thing being born out of loss – this is our resurrection story that we tell every Sunday. This is our rhythm of life already as Christians.

The new call I have accepted is a brand new thing for the ELCA. I will serve as Pastor and Program Director at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter for the Continuous Growth Pathway.  I will resource and support pastors and deacons in the Southwestern and Southeastern Minnesota Synods to faithfully lead into the unknown and difficult terrain of the future of the church in healthy ways. I will commute regularly to and from Fairmont to St. Peter knowing that as the program gains steam, I will be able to work from home.

As many of you have heard me say, “Living in two places will work until it doesn’t.” Coming to this realization has been a gradual, prayerful process of listening to my life as your Pastor and as a partner with John. It has been difficult to feel my call to serve as your pastor change. The energy it takes to fully live in two places will not serve River of Hope or my marriage well for the long term.

This is a moment of hope for you as you continue your life together as a community. I know you’re ready to live into the future that God is calling you toward, discovering more about who you are as a people, and how you are called to be a specific place for hope and healing for whoever you encounter. A new pastor will bring new gifts and you’ll go in new directions! The Holy Spirit has so much up her sleeve for you. Hutchinson needs this community of faith so, so much. Mike Weisenberger, River of Hope President, will lead you well in this time of transition. Please include him and the River Table in your prayers as they lead you into and through this time of transition.

My life is forever changed because of how our lives have been brought together to follow Jesus. I am grateful beyond words. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

All my love and a little bit more,


 P.S. I would be grateful if you kept this news off of social media until after worship on Sunday, April 14.

Prepare Meals for the Beffert Family

River of Hope-ers!

Just imagine how an illness throws routines into a mess.  Many of you know just how how that feels. So please help the Beffert family as they adjust to Jami’s illness and as doctors work to help her body heal.

Will you sign up to make a freezer meal or 2?  Because Jami’s diet has changed, the help they need is in feeding the rest of the family (2 growing teenagers and their dad). The only stipulation is that there is protein included in whatever you make.

Sign up and details including contact person can be found right here:

Thank you, River of Hope, for showing and sharing the love of Jesus in this way!

A Discussion About Race – Book Study

“I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness” by Austin Channing Brown will be the book that will shape our discussion about race.

Please commit to most if not all sessions, offered Sunday mornings (led by Sara Shorter) or Wednesday evenings (led by Pastor Laura). We’d like at least 8 participants per group in order for discussion to be healthy.

Yes! Invite a friend to attend with you!

Sunday Mornings @ Event Center  8:45-10:15 – March 10, 17, 24, 31 & April 7, 14

Wednesday Evenings @ downtown office 7-8:30 pm –  March 13, 20, 27 & April 10, 17, 24

Sign-up sheets are on the Connect Table at worship or let the office know you want to attend.

Lutheran Marriage Encounter

How about this for a valentine’s gift? Receive the gift of a closer relationship with Lutheran Marriage Encounter. The next enrichment event is Feb 15-17 in Brooklyn Center. Dave and Pastor Linda Pedersen are one of  the presenter couples. Apply now at, or contact Peter and Phyllis McMahon at or 763-561-1575 for more information. A special 50% discount off the regular application fee for 2019 events is offered in celebration of Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s 50 Years of enhancing marriages. Pre-registration is required and space is limited.

The Latest & Greatest from River of Hope

Read it here!