Christmas in Bethlehem – Sunday, November 21, 2021

11:00 a.m. – ADULT FORUM, Gathering Space – CHRISTMAS IN BETHLEHEM

  • Join members Martha Monson Lowe and George Lowe for a glimpse into Christmas in Bethlehem in the 21st century. The “little town” is not so little anymore. “Hopes and fears” are ever present. Yet, “the everlasting light”, the “holy child of Bethlehem”, draws us always to Him, and “the dear Christ enters in”.
  • Note: Palestinian arts and crafts will be available for sale before worship and after the congregational meeting.


  • Good Shepherd members Martha Monson Lowe and George Lowe are pleased to offer handmade Palestinian arts and crafts from the Holy Land for sale.
  • All items were collected from artists and shopkeepers during their last visit, when Martha and George volunteered at Bethlehem Bible College.
  • Items include olive wood carvings, cashmere scarves, pottery, jewelry, wool rugs, felt work, Christmas ornaments, embroidery, olive oil soap, kefiyas, Hebron glass, and more!
  • This is an opportunity to support those in the land where Jesus was born, and to buy meaningful gifts for Christmas, other occasions, and for yourself.

Notice of Congregational Meeting, November 21, After Worship

Dear members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church —

This letter is to inform you of a brief congregational meeting and vote on Sunday, November 21 following worship.

This year, the congregation council was asked to identify particular ways we might enhance the worship life and ministry of the church.  As we returned to in person worship, it soon became apparent that a new audio and video system needed to be prioritized. Members of the facilities and grounds committee, especially committee chair Robert Fitton, along with Pastor Amy and Brooke Joyce identified the limitations of our current system, assessed what is needed for audio and video equipment in the church building, and consulted with a professional firm who did an acoustic assessment of the sanctuary and made recommendations for a system that would meet our needs.  The stewardship committee now has made the audio and video system a priority for our fall campaign as we discern our giving for 2022 as well, adopting the theme “Hear the Good News.”

At this time, I am happy to report that we have a bid from DB Acoustics in Marion, Iowa for a new audio and video system. The proposal includes new speakers, microphones, sound controls and equipment, wiring, and video equipment for the sanctuary.  It also includes speakers and controls for the nursery as well as repurposing the current sanctuary speakers to bring sound to the gathering space outside the sanctuary and to the fellowship hall.  We will also have a new wireless microphone in the fellowship hall to provide better quality sound in that space for presentations and meetings.  New video equipment in the sanctuary will allow for greater flexibility in setting camera angles for recording worship, and the recording equipment will have a direct connection to the sound system.  This equipment will also make it more feasible to accomplish live-streaming of services.  Finally, and most significantly for recording our services, the new system will include a microphone that will pick up congregational singing and spoken responses.

The bid for this audio and video system is reasonable and will meet the needs of the congregation now and into the future.  However, the bid is only guaranteed for 30 days, which puts us under a time constraint.  As a result, I am calling a congregational meeting which will be held after worship on Sunday, November 21 to vote on the proposed system.  This vote will allow us to proceed with the project. At the meeting, there will be a brief presentation of the system, the cost of the project itself, and some other financial considerations for the coming year.  I would ask that you please plan to attend the meeting if possible on November 21.  

In addition, I’d like you also to prayerfully consider your response to this project in your planned giving for 2022, or if you prefer, you may designate a gift for the project (note audio/video on memo line of checks).  As of this letter, I can report that there has been an anonymous donation of matching funds up to $10,000 pledged towards the system.  Between planned giving and designated donations, we can make this project a reality. Lastly, I will mention briefly that our stewardship campaign includes designating funds to refurbish our sanctuary piano by replacing the action (the “action” of a piano includes the hammers and the mechanism which causes the hammers to strike the strings when you press the keys).  This project, at an estimated cost of $5,000, is fully funded. As you plan, please prayerfully consider your giving to all our budget priorities including investing in staff and giving 26% of our budget to God’s work beyond this congregation.

Information on the project is available on the website at —

— for you to review before the meeting on November 21.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


Jonathon Struve
Congregation President

Thank You and Ordination Service Recording from Amalia Vagts and David Lester

Dear Good Shepherd Family, 

We are absolutely overwhelmed by the support and time that our congregation gave to support this past weekend’s ordination and the years leading up to it. We are deeply grateful to all of you who were able to offer specific gifts before, during, and after the service. A special word of thanks to Pastor Amy and Brooke for your leadership.This is a remarkable congregation – the one where David was first welcomed as a new Lutheran and where my call to word and sacrament ministry was ignited. Our hearts are filled with a joy that we take with us to our Tucson and Our Saviour’s Lutheran. Thank you for the stunning stole made by Barbara Berg and given as a gift from the congregation. Thank you to all who helped, who served, who came, who watched, who prayed, and who hear and follow Christ’s call to live with love, mercy, and grace for all people. Come see us at Our Saviour’s! 

With peace & joy, 
Amalia & David

Photo by Parker Deen

Racial Justice Statement Listening Sessions

Racial Justice Statement Listening Sessions
The draft racial justice statement has been shared with the Good Shepherd email list. It is also available as a hard copy in one of the boxes outside the office. 
Please plan to join in one of the two upcoming sessions on October 12 at 7:00 pm via Zoom (click here to join the Zoom listening session) and October 30 at 11:00 am in person at Good Shepherd to share feedback on the draft racial justice statement. 

Celebration of Life Service for Mary Fritz – Saturday, September 11, 11:00 am

  • Mary Catharine Fritz (Belschner), age 89, of Decorah, Iowa (formerly of Hawkeye, Iowa), died on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, at the Barthell Eastern Star Home in Decorah.
  • All are invited to this celebration of her life with Pastor Amy Larson officiating. Masks are required indoors.
  • A Luncheon will be served in the Fellowship Hall following the service.
  • Interment will follow in the afternoon at the Hawkeye, Iowa, Cemetery.
  • In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation or Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
  • A full obituary is here: