Chatfield Lutheran hosting school supply drive as part of 75th anniversary year mission projects

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS The Rev. Nissa Peterson of Chatfield Lutheran Church shows school supplies and the bin in which they're being collected just inside the church's main entrance. This special collection is being held as part of Chatfield Lutheran's local mission work.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Chatfield Lutheran is off to a running start with Norwegians, exercise, root beer and Root Prairie.

And that’s all about the beginnings.

“We are partnering with Running Start for School again this year. We have the collection bin all set up and ready to start filling up with school supplies to help get kids ready to learn,” said the Rev. Nissa Peterson, pastor at Chatfield Lutheran Church (CLC). The church chose to hold this local mission project as part of its ongoing work in the community and is part of the busy calendar of events that CLC is entertaining as it marks its 75th anniversary.

She went on, “There is a lot of poverty and food insecurity in Fillmore County. When families struggle to put food on the table, school supplies are a low priority in the family budget, so having supplies in time for school really does alleviate a need for local families in need and helps set those students up for success.”

Peterson said supplies like backpacks, glue sticks, notebooks, pencils, markers and folders will be donated to local kids to help set them up for success this school year, and cash donations are welcome and will be forwarded to the Running Start for School program.

“Anyone in the community wishing to donate can drop items off at the church until July 29. The drop-off bin is to the left when you enter the main door. It’s clearly marked and hard to miss,” she noted. “Regular church hours are the best time to drop off. Sunday mornings, we are always open, of course.”

Peterson continued, “I don’t know how others feel, but I love shopping for school and office supplies. I always enjoyed picking out what colors of folders and notebooks I would have as a kid. So for those who enjoy shopping, it also has the added benefit of helping kids in our area. God calls us to give generously, and God calls us to use our gifts. For people who have the gift of bargain hunting, this is a perfect way to combine that joy with meeting a need in the community. This is a great way to serve our community. This is a need in our area. We want to set our kids up for success in school, and having the supplies they need to do that helps immensely.”

She highlighted other upcoming events at CLC, beginning with the church having already acknowledged its Norwegian heritage.

“This is the 75th anniversary year of Chatfield Lutheran Church. Our anniversary committee is working on tons of fun events. We have already had a Norwegian heritage service where we worshipped using the old liturgy from the 1950s hymnal, as well as the choir singing a hymn in Norwegian. On Memorial Day, we had members visit the grave sites of each of our founding members, thanking them with prayer and flowers.”

The committee has more heritage events in mind for this Sunday, June 23. “On June 23, after worship, we will have a walking tour of places where the congregation once worshipped before our building was completed. The library basement, fire hall – formerly the town hall – and Oakenwald Terrace are all places where we once worshipped. The fire hall will also offer the benefit of spraying water to remind us of our baptisms.”

On Sunday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m., the church is hosting a “root beer floats and hymns” event in the back yard of Oakenwald Terrace. “We are excited to gather for song, fellowship and, of course, yummy treats,” Peterson added. “All are welcome to this – CLC members or not, we know many people love to sing together.”

Summertime promises numerous activities and gatherings, but CLC has marked Oct. 13 as an important date on its calendar. “The big event is happening on Sunday, Oct. 13. We are planning a celebration worship service celebrating our past and proclaiming hope and joy for our future. We are welcoming former pastors and members back to join us,” Peterson said. “We will have a delightful, educational and fun program telling the story of where we’ve been and how God has been at work here since the beginning. The morning will also include games and activities for kids and kids at heart, like a scavenger hunt, photo booth, parachute and face paint. It is a day sure to be full of joy, good memories and the Holy Spirit blowing among us.”

As she concluded, Peterson promised that the historic 75th anniversary year will be one shared not only with the public, but with the people from the church that gave CLC its roots.

“We’re quite excited to be sharing in ministry together with Root Prairie Lutheran in rural Fountain at this exciting milestone, since Root Prairie Lutheran started Chatfield Lutheran 75 years ago,” Peterson concluded. “We will include Root Prairie in our celebrations as well, as they are the foundation of our past as well as a ministry partner in our future.”