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Administrative Assistant Needed

Help Wanted

To begin Fall 2012

Part time Administrative Assistant needed for Lutheran Campus Ministry at UIUC.  Entry Level.

Requires an ability to greet and receive visitors with an openness and energy for campus clientele providing an atmosphere of hospitality.

Skills needed in written communication with word processing, editing, excel, minimal record keeping and social networking.

Prefer a person who is a member of an ELCA congregation and/or has an understanding of Lutheran liturgy.

Must maintain confidentiality on sensitive matters.

Please contact Pastor Elaine K. Olson at 217-344-1593 or email  to apply.

Spring Break Trip to Nicaragua

Exploring Partnership: A Global Exchange Trip

With St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church and Santa Emilia Nicaragua

March 16 – 23, 2013

What we will do?

Our primary activity will be getting to know our global neighbors in the mountain, coffee-picking community of Santa Emilia. Nicaragua.  We’ll learn about their culture; experience daily life with them; and hear their struggles, hopes, and dreams.  It is possible to visit, work with and learn from women who have micro-credit projects; elementary and high school students; subsistence farmers; migrant workers and community leaders. We will help build a house for a family living in desperate conditions, work in the local school, assist in the community clinic, play baseball with the local team; and participate in other community projects. And of course, there will be some time for hiking the beautiful mountains, learning how coffee is grown and processed; sightseeing and perhaps even visiting a black sands beach.


Where will we stay?

We will stay in modest hotels in the capital city of Managua and in “casitas” built for coffee pickers on a local coffee farm.  We will eat “tipico” Nicaraguan food (mostly rice & beans) prepared by the community.  Our transportation will range from a rented van to Nica buses to lots of walking.


What will it cost?

The cost is $750 per person PLUS airfare.  This covers lodging, meals, in country transportation, translator expenses, and trip coordination and leadership for 6 days.

This experience is limited to 14 people.  A $200 non-refundable deposit is due with your registration by December 13, 2012. Participants must be in good, health, able to walk at least 1/4 mile and pre-approved by Pastor Elaine.   Contact with questions or interest.


This experience is lead about JustHope.

JustHope is a non-profit organization whose mission is to create long-term global partnerships that are committed to combating extreme poverty and increasing global understanding.  JustHope Global Partners engage one another in cultural exchanges, cooperative learning, mutual dialogue, and sharing resources.  Although partners often engage in development projects together, the focus of the partnerships are on increasing global understanding and empowering self-determination.



An Olympic Attempt for a Worldly Good

Minister’s Musings

July 30, 2012

 An Olympic Attempt for a Worldly Good

The sanctuary buzzed with delight and anticipation as Susannah and Tatyana spoke of being chosen to compete in the Paralympics in London.  We all smiled with pride and eagerly applauded their triumphs. I wonder if this is what it is like for a celebrity to be embraced by a crowd of groupies.  As Tim said, “I’ve never known an Olympian before.”

On a Sunday in July, the congregation at St. Andrew’s blessed their travels, their participation and their competition. Yes, we are honored to know these two young women with powerful shoulders and muscular arms who display amazing physical strength and endurance.  Yet, we at St. Andrew’s also celebrate their hearts.  These two women carry a gentle kindness, a faithful witness and generous spirits revealing God’s steadfast love. They know the courage needed to endure incredible hardships and find strength beyond perceivable limits.  Out of this, they encourage and engage others to dream big and live fully. These women model ways of going and seeing and living compassion for the sake of others.

I am grateful to Susannah and Tatyanna for they have reminded our congregation that the Olympics are not only about the strongest or the fastest and the most powerful.  These games are also about people from around the world gathering together to share in the joy of peaceful competition and the awareness of unity even in difference – difference of culture, color, and capability.  These games of competition can also model compassion.

I believe these women are called to a unique ministry through this vocation of athletics.  For they actively engage in our Christian teaching of peace and understanding.  This is an Olympic attempt for a worldly good.  We gave each a small rock to remind them of the God’s Love that steady as a rock, and of St. Andrew’s, a touchstone of this Love for others.   And we blessed them with this prayer:

            Strong and Faithful God,

            We ask you to bless Susannah and Tatyanna.

            Keep them safe from injury and harm,

            Instill in them respect for the field of competitors.

            May they find endurance to compete well.

            Reward them with perseverance and discipline.

            Grant them the will to go, eyes to see others, and hearts of God’s compassion.

            As they have blessed St. Andrew’s and this university,

            May they be a blessing to others as they travel and compete.

            Guide them each day and give them what is needed.

            Bless them with friends to cheer them along the way,

            As they cheer others in peaceful competition.

            May your Holy Spirit be present in their journey and race.

            Almighty God bless them, direct their days and their deeds in peace.  Amen.



Pr. E

Susannah Scaroni and Tatyanna McFadden will compete in the Wheelchair Track and Field 2012 Paralympics Games Aug. 29 – Sept 9 in London.


The heat doesn’t stop…. Neither does God.

Minister’s Musings

July 22, 2012

The heat doesn’t stop…. Neither does God.  

The heat just won’t stop.  Each day the grass is getting more yellow and brittle. And this week, a play-filled summer is shattered by yet another mass shooting in a movie theater. The theater is a place Terry and I often go to escape, to be cool, and to get away from pressure of it all. It is to be a safe place.  And now, this too has been tainted with a sense of despair and desolation.

It seems experiences and places of desolation are creeping into the very landscape of peace and play.  It is like the intensity of a heat that doesn’t quit.  And, as pastor, I wonder how to respond.  Where is God in this?  What does it mean? What do we do in the midst of a heat that doesn’t stop – this symbolic heat of pain, despair, violence and desolation. How do we respond as followers of Jesus?  I personally want to just run away.  Maybe say a quick prayer and then go on about my own business.

But, we who have grace by the very love of God, revealed in Jesus, are invited to come and follow this Spirit of Jesus into the world, into the heat.  We are invited by God to dwell in that love to be with Jesus and to do the things of Jesus.

So, what did Jesus do when the heat didn’t quit? Take a look at Mark 6.  Jesus is talking with his followers and they are celebrating the many healings and good works they had just accomplished.  As they are talking, Jesus invites them to a desolate place to rest for awhile. They take a boat across the water to a desolate place, and when they arrive it is crowded with many people, in fact thousands of people looking for mercy.  Perhaps Jesus and the disciples thought to themselves, “The heat doesn’t quit.”   But, look at verse 34.  “But when Jesus CAME ashore he SAW the large mass of people and had COMPASSION on them.” (BOLD mine.)   In the midst of the desolate masses, in the “heat”, Jesus came. Jesus sees.  Jesus has compassion.

This compassion is an active noun for the inner part of the body. Jesus “guts” for them.  He acts from the center of his being. The word in Hebrew is rechiem meaning womb or the place of life-giving, life-growing, life-nurturing love. Jesus shows compassion.  He extends a Divine love that is beyond empathy.  It is a love that joins the pain and remains with it, steadfastly.  Jesus goes, sees and acts with compassion. He is present. And out of this compassion, the never-ending heat can be quenched. Thus, hope can grow from the constancy of God’s compassion.

I don’t know when rains will come.  I don’t know when the killings by desperate people will end.  I don’t know what places will be safe. I don’t know how the desolation will end.

But I do know that God’s compassion comes to this heat, this desolation.  God sees it and steadfastly dwells among it longing to bring life, hope and love.  God’s compassion, revealed in Jesus, is steadfast and faithful. This is God’s work.

And God needs us, our hands for compassion to be lived in the world.  So we follow Jesus into the heat.  So we dare go, and see and share compassion. And trust for hope to come and quench the fire.  The heat doesn’t stop, but neither does God.