Our Sunday, June 6 worship began with these words: “The church is not just a place; it is a people.”
We were gathered together to recommission our Sanctuary space in preparation for the renovation AND to reflect on the holy experiences of the people who have called Lake Nokomis Lutheran home – and will continue to do so.
Here are the three stories printed in Sunday’s worship aid. You’ll read how faithful people were inspired, renewed, comforted and affirmed in our faithful space. Thank you writers for sharing your stories with the community.
by John and Sue Bergly
Do you remember the grapevines twisting and turning on a path across the stone wall or the huge heart brushed and spattered with brilliant colors? Or, in the aisle, a photo
mobile of past and present people and events? Or, above us, the multi-colored “faith path” zig-zagging and rising across the sanctuary? Whatever the design, size, or material, their over-arching messages were that God loves us and is always with us. For all these visual memories in this space, we are thankful.
We very much look forward to more opportunities, together with our Three Church Partners, for creative expression and artwork that enhances and deepens our worship.
The power of music
by Ann Rieck, daughter of Vera Benzel
This photo is a wonderful reminder of the 13 years my mother, Vera Benzel, was the director of music at LNL. In 1964 she was hired to direct a youth choir and an adult choir; through her enthusiasm and persistence and the support of the pastors, she grew the music program to five choirs, which provided music for Sunday morning worship and three special presentations a year: an Advent service, a Lenten service and Spring Sings ranging from Schubert’s Mass in G to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was a labor of love for her!
"I know my mother would want me to acknowledge the support, enthusiasm and faithfulness of the accompanists, organists, choir members and parents of choir members she received throughout her time as director. I know that it was a labor of love for her."
Through the generations
by Jan, Patty, Beth, Sharon and Lori Swanberg, and Glady Nylander
The first generation: Many years ago, two sisters, Anna and Martha, traveled to Minnesota from Norway and joined Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church. Over the last 100-plus years, this place and this community has been a constant source of support, connection, friendship, and faith.
Anna and her kids Gil, Aggie and Gladys were all confirmed and baptized here. Anna’s husband died when the kids were little; the funeral was held here.
The second generation: Gladys married John Nylander at her home church, and together they had 7 daughters - Lynn, Jan, Patty, Beth, Sharon, Lori, and Polly – all baptized here. Beth died at the age of 4; her funeral was held here at Lake Nokomis Lutheran. The other six daughters were confirmed at the church. Polly’s funeral was held at the church when she died at age 21 and when John died in 2005, his funeral was also held here. Gifts from Anna, Beth, John, and Polly’s memorials contributed to the cross, candles, communion table and organ in our sanctuary.
The third generation: Lynn, Jan, Patti and Lori were all married at Lake Nokomis Lutheran. Six of Glady’s grandchildren, her son-in-law Kent, and 6 more great grandchildren were claimed as children of God at their baptisms here. Generations of this family have helped children to grow in their faith, John, Glady, Lori, and Lori’s daughter Jennifer have all taught confirmation or Sunday school.
The fourth generation: In 1993 Lori’s son John Swanberg played the role of baby Jesus at Christmas time. In 2022 John will be married at Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church. Lori especially remembers the women’s retreats and being surrounded by really, really good people for whom she continues to have deep respect. Lori says, “There is an awesome presence being in this faith community.”
The fifth generation: For generations now this faith community – the rituals and traditions, the love and support – continues to surround and hold this family in both difficult and joyous times.
These are the ‘numbers’ for Glady Nylander’s family at Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church:
5 (soon to be 6) weddings
1 baby Jesus
Sanctuary stories are people stories