Won’t you be…my neighbor?

Read the neighborly post here:


All Saints’ Sunday – October 30, 2016

This coming Sunday we will recognize all the Saints (realizing that in the Lutheran tradition, we are all considered, simultaneously sinner/saint (100%) of both (seriously). So it’s not a day of remembering Mother Theresa but, instead, your grandpa and your co-worker and your classmate as well as David Bowie and Prince too.

So, bring a picture of your loved one or something they made or loved to put on display during worship. We’ll have a time for you to write a prayer and light candles in memory of all those we know and love who have died.3682_img_0430

For those of you playing along at home, you might see that All Saints’ Sunday is recognized November 6 this year. However, because we recognize Confirmation (affirmation of baptism) on the 6th, All Saints’ sort of gets a back seat, so we did a little switch-a-roo.

God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday, September 11, 2016

dayofservice_banner.ashxRiver of Hope’s purpose statement begins with these 3 words: We. Go. Out. (The dramatic periods are not behind each of the 3 words in our purpose statement. But dramatic here, no?) It’s in our DNA to be people who are sent out to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world in all kinds of ways.
On Sunday, September 11, we’re incorporating this “we go out” into our worship service, a church-wide celebration of our freedom in Christ to serve the neighbor. See more information here: http://www.elca.org/dayofservice?_g…
First, we’ll gather for worship per usual. We’ll sing a few songs and hymns. Then we’re going to bless people. We’ve invited first responders from the Hutchinson community to be part of worship that morning. So ER workers and EMTs and the Hutchinson PD. In light of the September 11th anniversary, we will surround them with our gratitude and pray God’s continued blessings upon their work to protect and serve the most vulnerable people at their worst.
Which, when you think about it for even a moment, is what we’re called to do as Christians. To first respond to those who are neglected or forgotten or in their greatest need. And we do this because God first responded to us.
So then, after this blessing, we’ll be fed from Christ’s table and then go and respond to the world in the form of service projects in and around the Hutchinson community.
Keep your eyes peeled for service projects to be involved with that will cap off your Sunday worship service. It’s going to be a good day to be reminded how we respond to the unconditional love given to us through Jesus Christ!

River of Hope’s Constitution

We will vote on the constitution on Sunday, May 15. One step closer to chartering!

Have a look here.


Also, here is a “Frequently Asked Questions” sheet about all things chartering.

Chartering Q & A

Questions? Contact

Pastor Linda Pedersen, Chair, [email protected] 507-328-9911                                               Pastor Laura Aase, [email protected] 320-583-8005                                                               Ruth Hamlow,[email protected] 320-587-5045                            JimSchaefer,[email protected] 320-587-3883                        JillSpringer,[email protected] 303-913-3828
Rachel Stearns, [email protected] 320-583-3793.

A One-Word Sermon


Take Back Advent

Monday, 30 November, 2015

This past Sunday I invited and challenged the congregation to read the Bible on a daily basis through the season of Advent. It was in light of a reading from 2 Kings where they discover/re-discover what we think was the book (or a portion of the book) of Deuteronomy. What you need to know is that rediscovery changed the life of King Josiah, and so it changed the lives of his people.

What would happen to you if you were to read scripture every day?  Don’t worry about having to know all the technical details of it. Just see if this daily habit of reading scripture will actually connect God’s story and your story. Does it matter to your life? Some days, quite frankly, it will be tough to draw a connecting line. Other days it may seem like it’s taking notes on your actual life.

Join me in reading scripture that connects the story from Sunday to Sunday. You can see the daily readings by going here and clicking on “Weekly Insert”:  https://riverofhopehutchinson.org/im-new/worship/worship-bulletins/

Or check out our Facebook page where daily posts will be made: https://www.facebook.com/riverofhopehutchinson/


Saying “Yes” to Baptism…

River Conditions

Dear Hopeful People,

Just in case you missed it, last Sunday 8 people confirmed their baptisms at a celebratory worship service, surrounded by their families and mentors. It was a raucous worship, celebrating the power of the Holy Spirit.


  • to families that practice faith at home and in their daily lives and not just at worship once a week. Your faith habits and practices matter so much.
  • to mentors (Michelle Jeske, Terry Kempfert, Jami Beffert, Diane Lietzau, Jill Springer, Stacy Vilt, Katie Weisenberger, Sara Shorter) who walked with these young adults for the past 3 years. In their “Living Creed” statements they made on Saturday, all of the mentors led with “who me? a mentor?” and then proceeded to talk about their faith and the work of God in their lives that had us all saying, “well, of course you.” The Holy Spirit is powerful in how it uses our ordinary daily lives to bring the promises of God to life!
  • to the young adults: Anna Houseman, Emma Kraft, Olivia Kropp, Maddiee Mora, Mara Pollmann, Abby Riewer, Cameron Schofield, and Hanna Seifert. Your Living Creed statements on Saturday were faithful and true. Thank you for taking the risk of saying yes to a life of faith. You are not alone!
  • to Kristine Dobratz and Jami Beffert and Brenda Sandquist and all the other parents of 8th graders (and 8th graders themselves) for helping to host the Confirmation After-Party!
  • to Warren and Terry Kempfert. Warren crafted the beautiful glass cross windows and Terry engraved them with each youth’s name and their confirmation verse. What meaningful gifts to give in the name of River of Hope. Your generosity and creativity are gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  • to Carol Krage and Sandy Tracy and the beautiful blue stoles each of the youth decorated and wore. It’s like water dripping over their shoulders, a beautiful reminder of the “yes” to their baptism.

What a gift to be in this life of faith with you. Thank you.

Love, Pastor Laura

ALSO — want to see pictures of the joyful day of confirmation?  Click right here: https://arlynsphotos.smugmug.com/Other/ROH-Confirmation-2015/i-MbqstqQ


Assembled through the season of Lent, this mural of the Last Supper is made up of ugliness and brokenness we would swear God could not do anything with at all. And it becomes the very picture of transformation.

Assembled through the season of Lent, this mural of the Last Supper is made up of ugliness and brokenness we would swear God could not do anything with at all. And it becomes the very picture of transformation.

We tried a new thing for Maundy-Thursday of Holy Week this year. Lots of folks helped to get all the moving pieces into place.  We gathered in the Jorgensen Hotel lobby at a banquet table. We sang, I preached, and then we confessed and words of forgiveness were pronounced again and again. This journey, after all, began on Ash Wednesday and those sweet words meant something more after not hearing them for the season of Lent.

We listened to the scripture of the last supper with Jesus and his closest friends where he made things crystal clear: If you will have a share with me, I will wash your feet. This is how you love and serve people.  So then we did that. We did what Jesus modeled for us to do. I dare say for some of us, it was harder to have our feet washed than it was to kneel down and wash foot after stinky foot.

IMG_5865_2After feet were washed, we began to assemble Personal Care Kits that we collected all throughout the season of Lent. We learned quickly that we’d have to double up our process or we’d be there all night. We did. They got assembled. 236 kits, thanks be to God.

Then the banquet! We broke our communion fast and served one another bread and wine. And then we celebrated. We sat and talked and laughed. Johnny Cash even sang for us.

Then as quickly as it all begun, it was over. The music stopped. Jesus and his disciples would soon head to the garden where they’d begin failing Jesus by falling asleep and then denying him, betraying him. Samantha Tillmann read Psalm 88 as we stripped the altar – the altar was the entire room now, that big, long banquet table. Then, as we left in silence, the only sound was the clanking of coins hitting the bottom of a bucket as we each  threw 30 coins in, knowing we too betray Jesus.  That money (about $100) was given to McLeod Alliance for Victims of Domestic Abuse – people who have been betrayed by a relationship.

(Simply) Giving Challenge

To be plain: Simply Giving (an automatic, electronic program) has saved our bacon.

However you give to River of Hope, our bacon thanks you.

So what’s this challenge?

Will you get a load of this!?  A generous, anonymous gift of $2000 is on the table from some folks who love River of Hope.  They challenge you to do one, two or all 3 of these things:

  • Increase in what you are already giving to River of Hope.
  • Start giving a financial gift to River of Hope
  • Sign up for Simply Giving

No amount is too small.

June 1 is the deadline to see these things happen:

  • Simply Giving people increases from 56 to 70
  • We close the remaining $2000/month gap (which is about $500/week)

How can you give?

I’m Not a Christmas Person…Wait, maybe I am

Dear Hopeful people,

It is the season of hope born into the world – Christmas! And, I must confess to you, I have never defined myself as a Christmas person. Don’t get me wrong, God coming to the world in vulnerable flesh as the ultimate sign of love for us is just IT, isn’t it? I mean, just sit still and be quiet for a minute and let that sink in.

Which sort of gets to my point about not being a Christmas person.  We are not allowed to just SIT and BE QUIET very much anymore. Everything around us tells us to keep going, keep working, keep producing. Keep the screen in front of your face. Don’t stop for a minute to ponder because there’s just too. much. to. do.

It’s hard, isn’t it? It just is. Which is why worship is so important.  Built in time for quiet and reflection and just to sit and not produce.  (Sorry if this is lost on those of you with kids when you’re busy wrangling them during worship. I do hope you see the value in even that time with them in worship and can feel it in your bones.)

Anyway, all this is to say I wasn’t a Christmas person until this year. I’ve never yearned for Christmas like this before. Advent (Oh, I’m so an Advent person. But you knew this, right?) has been dark, just as it should be. The waiting has been hard, just as it should be. Maybe you’ve had Advents that have been plenty dark. Maybe this one, for you, was just the right amount of dark and light.  This is the first Advent, for me, where I’m ready for Christmas. Even more than ready. For light to break into the dark. For God to get here already. For new life to spring forth into the dying world.

Sometimes Christians get uppity about Christmas being co-opted by culture and commercialism and we try and believe Jesus AT people. Put down the combative spirit. Christ will come. Christ comes into the midst of our over-scheduled, over-productive lives. Christ comes into the darkness of death and despair. Christ comes into the brokenness of your marriage, your family. Christ comes into the darkness of your cancer and the waiting.

God is with us. Emmanuel. Come, Lord Jesus.

I love you.