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

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:


Covid Protocol Update for Sunday, August 22

From Pastor Amy:
Fellowship Hour has been moved outside due to the surge in COVID cases. When the CDC was advising that unvaccinated people could be unmasked indoors, we wanted to offer the option of indoor Fellowship Hour even as we remain masked in worship. We were more cautious with worship to make that central event safer for children and immunocompromised people. Now that there is substantial transmission in our county, we want to follow CDC guidelines to mask indoors for all large group gatherings. Thus, the Congregation Council has determined that Fellowship Hour should be outside. 
Coffee and treats will be set up in the entranceway to the Fellowship Hall. You are asked to go through the line masked and then enjoy your treats outdoors. In case of rain, Fellowship Hour today will be cancelled. Youth will meet with Kelli in the library with masks.

The Congregation Council has also determined that masks will be required for all Sunday School and Youth Forum activities. Also, we ask that those who want to lead in worship or work with children and youth be vaccinated. (Note, the Congregation Council, rather than a COVID task force, is now setting the COVID protocols.)