Our featured donation for the month of May will be Cereals of all kinds.  Monetary donations are always welcome and needed also.  If you prefer to make a monetary donation and want to get credit for it on your contribution statement, please make the check out to St. Paul Lutheran Church and mark in the memo that it is for the Food Shelf.  We will deposit the check into our Food Shelf line item and write one larger check to cover the donations to the Food Shelf on a regular basis. 

Do you like to play with yarn? If so, please join the Yarnsters prayer shawl group at their next meeting.  If you like to crochet or knit, or would like to learn how, the group would love to have you come.  We have great teachers who are happy to show those who would like to learn.  If you don’t have a pattern or yarn, we have patterns to give out and new yarn donations are coming in so we have plenty of yarn to share.

The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, May 20th,  from 10:00 Noon in the church conference room.  If you have any questions, please contact Esther Longseth, Chris Peterson, a prayer shawl group member or the church office.

If you have fabric pieces you no longer need, good usable flat sheets you no longer need, or regular sewing machine thread in any color that you have no use for, you can donate these items to the quilters.  Donations are always welcome!

The quilters invite anyone interested in quilting, or learning how to quilt, to join them on the first Thursday of each month at 9 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.  Stay as long as your schedule allows.  If you have quilted for years or have never quilted before, there are always jobs that you can do.  The next quilting dates are Thursday, Thursday, June 1st and Thursday, July 6th. 

Mgama Happenings:

     In 2005 the church council of St Paul Lutheran voted to become a sponsoring companion congregation of a parish in the country of Tanzania, Africa.  We were assigned the parish of Mgama. The members of this parish are mostly farmers who work their fields with the large hoes that everyone of all ages seem to use.  The partnership formed is directed by the Saint Paul Area Synod and is based on the three principles of  Prayers, Presence, and Projects.  Known as Bega Kwa Bega (shoulder to shoulder  as translated from Swahili ) we are one of over 65 sponsoring congregations.

    Our presence has been in 2008 and 2016 when congregation members  traveled the many hours to Tanzania and lived in the community.  We were always warmly welcomed by the singing and dancing of the villagers as our bus entered the village after traveling the rough rocky roads of Tanzania.  If only we could somehow translate the joyful worship they express in their services which last for hours that pass quickly to our own somewhat stoic worship services.

     When visitors from the Saint Paul Synod visited their parishes they soon began to develop ideas of projects that would benefit the people of the Iringa Diocese.  Volunteers may have thought of the projects and provided the beginning funding and training, but they also worked shoulder to shoulder with the parish members so they could eventually be in charge of projects.

     During the time we have been companion sponsors we have supported the following programs to our parish:  Scholarships are given for students to attend the secondary schools which require tuition. Most families are unable to provide that extra funding for schooling without the help of scholarships.  Education of one person is said to help ten others in the family live a healthier improved lifestyle.  A micro finance program which gives small loans to members has been started with joint funding from our congregation and members of the Mgama parish.  The rate of payback for loans is 98%.  Loans are used to purchase fertilizers, seeds, building materials, sewing machines, land, etc.  A four-year program of teaching better growing methods, use of fertilizers and improved seeds as well as better planting methods has given larger crop returns.  Crops not needed can be sold for income to use in other areas such as tuition or building materials. We have three safe water wells in our parish.  Safe water sources lead to healthy living and cut down on the travel time to secure fresh water each day.  The planting of trees was begun to protect land degradation and now it is a source of income for parishes when the trees are harvested for lumber.  As of 2016 over one million seedlings have been raised and planted by parishes in the Iringa Diocese of Tanzania.   We also support the Ilula Hospital and Huruma Orphanage with funds.

       Visitors to Tanzania have witnessed how the Holy Spirit is guiding the companionship.   All who have experienced the warm hospitality of our parish members will always remember their example of how they focus on relationships in their culture while we in the US tend to focus on things.  Being a part of this sponsorship is truly a blessing to the congregation of St. Paul Lutheran as we continue to pray for them and they for us.


       After what seemed like a long cold winter we welcomed the first warm days of spring and anticipated being out and about without heavy clothing.  Picture the life of someone who has had unfortunate situations in their life and they have no warm shelter during those days of winter or anytime where they have the comfort of save shelter.

       Fortunately for a period of 35 years there has been a community group in the Twin Cities dedicated to helping those in need of shelter.  Simpson Housing Services has been active in the community for 35 years to provide services such as meals, temporary and permanent housing, tutoring programs for children, and mentoring programs.  Volunteers are the backbone of this program and in 2016 alone 34,080 hours were given by 3,433 volunteers.

    St. Paul Lutheran members and friends are included in those volunteer hours when we served the evening meal there for two Sunday evenings.  As an outreach project directed by the Social Concerns Committee we provide a complete meal to the shelter guests and staff.  This is an opportunity for families to serve together in an activity of caring for others.  Some food preparation is done ahead of time but most is done when we arrive by 5:00p.m.  After the 7:00 p.m. serving time we finish with dishwashing and kitchen cleanup.  Most times we are back on the road to Stillwater by 8:30p.m.   Our scheduled dates for 2017 are Sunday, June 18, and  Sunday, October 15.  Participation is not limited to members of St. Paul Lutheran.

     A donation of many quilts made by St. Paul Lutheran Quilters, blankets, towels, socks, knitted hats, cleaning supplies, and household items was made to support the phase of Simpson Housing which assists homeless individuals and families moving into permanent living arrangements.


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