All posts by Mary Pat Kleven

Liturgical Dance – Maddy Woodman

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Creating and performing a liturgical dance requires your whole being: body, mind, and soul committed to the movement and the story behind it. It engages all of you in an act of expressive worship that brings you into community with the church and welcomes the active presence of the Lord. By dancing like this, I use movement to discover God’s glories in a new light in order to receive His gifts with fresh wonder.

Thus, as soon as the opportunity developed for me to do a performance at the Christmas Eve service, I was committed. I dance almost everyday, but it is rare that I have the opportunity to bring my passion to the church and engage in such active worship. My mind immediately started considering the possibilities: what movements I would use and what music I would dance to. With all these elements to consider, choreographing a piece can be daunting. The artist must create movement from stillness and choose from seemingly endless possible actions, working with timing, dynamics, and more. However, liturgical dance provides a respite for my overactive choreographic mind. It is a beautiful reminder that I do not go into the creative process alone. By praying and intentionally drawing inspiration from the Bible and Christian hymns, I trust that the movement I make is not a reflection of my own artistic genius (or lack thereof), but rather an inspired response to the glory of God which I perceive in the world around me.

I began my process with prayer, asking God to reveal Himself through my movement before going about the task of picking a song. I listened to a lot of music, improvising to each song to see what moved me. Though there were so many Christmas songs that filled my heart with joy and made me want to dance, I settled on “Mary Did You Know?” Its narrative slowly revealed the deeds and characteristics of Jesus in a way that spoke directly to my heart. As I
continually listened to the song in preparation, I found myself, much like Mary, experiencing awe and wonder about who Jesus is and how his life fits into God’s plan for salvation. I searched for movement that would convey my interpretation of the music and embody my emotions. I began with a joyful reach and a tender rocking gesture and let the dance grow from there. For example, when the singer speaks about Jesus calming the storms, I let a wave pass through my body. Shoulder to wrist, the energy goes through my arm, pulling my body to the side and challenging my balance. As I recenter myself and take a deep grounding breath, I feel the storm of movement stilled. This visual representation of the lyrics (and the long ago deeds of Jesus), not only conveys a message to the audience, but transforms my thoughts as a dancer.

On a unique level, I am able to feel what it is like to have the peace of Jesus settle in my body. This somatic experience and others like it magnify the presence of the Lord in my life which in turn, magnifies my ability to worship Him. I realized that I, like Mary in the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), have the chance to praise the Lord and share the joy that He brings me. Finally, Christmas Eve came around. As I danced, I experienced these emotions again, but not alone. As I joyfully reached my hands out, gazed upwards in wonder, and rocked an imaginary Jesus gently in my arms, I went through it all with the congregation. When I looked across the pews, I saw faces looking back at me. In that moment, I knew what it means to be in
fellowship, to worship with joy, to express gratitude and beauty, and to have that affirmed by those around me. This exchange is what gives me the strength to continue dancing and praising
the Lord. Thank you for your witness.

 

Latest from Pastor Tom and Monica Liddle’s ministry in Timor

When we stepped across the threshold into Kodae’s house in Lospalos, I could tell he wasn’t breathing. His younger brother was sitting beside him on the dingy mattress he had been on for months, shooing flies away from the pale corpse. The smell in the room was putrid. The boy turned to us with tears in his eyes. Their father appeared from a side room. On seeing us he announced, “He just died.” It was 4 in the afternoon, the sun was shining, and it was very quiet.

Kodae had a massive tumor on his lower left jaw. When Monica first went to see him at the request of a mutual friend, the tumor was the size of a volleyball. That was January 11. Two days later the bottom half fell off, leaving a gaping, but painless, massive open wound. Over the next couple weeks we went to visit Kodae often. He was afraid of what was happening to his body. Yet both he and his father were hanging onto hope. Day after day his dad sat with him, lovingly cleaning his wound and repositioning his frail body.

In the last week of January we were there for another visit. This day was different: Kodae was writhing and moaning in pain. Monica suggested medicine to ease the pain, which he was willing to try. Kodae had not taken any pain medicine until now, despite nearly a year of serious illness. I read scripture and prayed with him. A few days later, Kodae’s right leg swelled up. The next day his breathing became increasingly labored. As we left that day I pulled Kodae’s dad aside and talked to him, encouraging him to invite close family and friends to say goodbye to Kodae.

Kodae’s tumor was the size of a marble for maybe a few years, according to stories we have heard from his friends and family. It eventually got bigger and in March 2020 he was referred to Dili, where doctors surgically removed the tumor. The biopsy, sent out of country to a pathology lab, showed cancer; Timor has no pathology lab of its own, and it has no treatment for most cancer patients beyond surgery. Kodae’s tumor came back within two months and grew rapidly. The family went back to Dili but doctors told them it was stage four cancer and there was nothing they could do. Kodae’s dad was desperate; they were given no treatment and no option but to go home and wait for death.

Kodae’s story was on Timor’s television news program a couple months ago. In the t.v. interview, Kodae’s father expressed outrage. Though he had fought for Timor’s independence, he feels ignored, marginalized, oppressed. Helpless to get proper treatment for his 25-year-old son with cancer.

Timor Leste invests less per capita in health care than any country in the world. Basic medicines are often in short supply. The well connected and the elites can go abroad for health care and higher education, and they do. Kodae’s dad knows this. It’s not fate, bad luck or a shortage of money that prevents some people from receiving decent health care in East Timor. It is the choices that people in power make that have far-reaching impacts on the lives of many.

Sunday, November 24 – Thanksgiving Potluck, Community Service

Our annual Thanksgiving Potluck will be on Sunday, November 24th after our morning church service.  Come join us for good food and fellowship.  Last names A-L bring salad; M-Z bring hot dish.

Later that afternoon, at 4:00 p.m., the CCIC will hold the annual Community Thanksgiving Service at First Congregational Church beginning at 4:00 p.m.  This service of music and readings will feature the Cannon Falls Ensemble as well as choirs from the community.  After the service, the CCIC will host the monthly Community Dinner; this month the First English Lutheran Church will provide the meal.

Mark your calendar and plan on spending time at church with friends and neighbors in the glory of God!

John Fritz memorial service November 16, 11:00 a.m.

John Fritz, age 87, of Cannon Falls, passed away peacefully at the Gardens of Cannon Falls on November 2, 2019. John Dwight Fritz was born on July 20, 1932, at the Willows Home in Kansas City, Missouri. At 10 days old, he was adopted by Ray and Johanna Fritz of Luverne, MN. After the death of his mother, he continued to be raised by his grandparents, Frank and Mary Fritz, and his great aunt, Selma Enger.

John graduated from Luverne High School in 1950 where he played baseball, basketball, and ran track. Winning the State Tournament in the half-mile was one of his proudest accomplishments. Following high school, he enlisted in the US Navy where he attended school and became an aerial photographer. He was stationed numerous places including the naval base in Atsugi, Japan.

After returning home, John was united in marriage to Viola Van Voorst on July 11, 1954. They resided in Cannon Falls after John received his bachelor’s degree from Mankato State Teacher’s College. John was a teacher at Cannon Falls High School for 29 years. During his teaching career he taught Science, Math, and started the Photography Department. He was a legendary Track and Cross-Country coach. Following his retirement, John enjoyed spending time at the lake in Garrison, MN. He loved to fish, golf, and be with family. His greatest joys were his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He will be forever known as “Grandpa John” to everyone.

Survivors include his wife Viola, of 65 years; sons Kevin (Julie) Fritz of Garrison, and James (Sheri) Fritz of Cannon Falls; grandchildren Matthew (Kristine) Fritz, Ryan (Jessica) Fritz, Jenna (Matthew) Sjoblom, and Holly Fritz; great-grandchildren Issac, Eli, and Emma Fritz;  Rylie, Reese, and Renlie Fritz; Jackson and Josie Sjoblom; brothers Roger (Bonnie) Sarver and Russell (Sue) Sarver; sisters Phyllis (Kurt) Peters, Lori (Bob) Meyers, and Myra Vaughn.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, November 16 at 11:00 am, at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 220 W. Main St., Cannon Falls. MN  55009. There will be a visitation from 10-11:00 am at the church, prior to the service. Interment with military honors will be at the Cannon Falls Cemetery after a lunch is served at the church. Lundberg Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Chili Feed raises funds for Feed My Starving Children

Pat Green’s chili recipe from Wendy’s Restaurants and Sandy Meglic’s cornbread with kernel corn took top honors at the First Congregational Church Chili Feed, Sunday, October 27th, 2019.  Attendees sampled various chili and cornbread recipes brought in by church members along with desserts and coffee.  After the feed, participants “voted” for their favorites by making cash donations.  The winners were determined by the most cash raised.  Over $560 was raised for Feed My Starving Children, and will be used for the packing event planned for November 23rd, 2019.  Emery Kleven announced the winners (pictured above) with their winning entries.

Memorial for David Bremer, October 28, 2019

David Russell Bremer, age 78 of Cannon Falls, MN, passed away in the early morning hours of October 21, 2019.

Dave was born the eldest of five children on May 4, 1941 in Northfield, MN, to Russell E. and Grace (Carlson) Bremer. David grew up in Cannon Falls, graduating with the class of 1959. Following that, he attended Winona State University.

Dave served in the United States Air Force from October 1962 to October 1966. In 1964, he left for an overseas tour of duty in Vietnam until 1965. On April 4, 1970 David was united in marriage to Marianne K. Hutchinson in Garden City, SD. They eventually settled down in Cannon Falls. In May of 1974, Dave was hired as a full-time member of the MN Air National Guard until his retirement in March of 1996 as a Master Sergeant.

Upon his retirement, David attended MN State College Southeast, graduating with a degree in accounting. After receiving his degree, Dave went to work at Dakota County Technical College until his full retirement in 2008.

David was a member of First Congregational United Church of Christ, Cannon Falls VFW since 1965, American Legion since 1976, and DAV (Disabled American Veterans) since 2005.

David is survived by his wife, Marianne; son, Mark (Sangrail Deal) of Thomasville, GA; daughter, Dianne (Truman) Tucker of Rochester; granddaughter, Samantha Bremer (Adam Magnuson) of Maplewood; step grandchildren, Collin, Gretchen, Reagan, and Lauren Tucker; brothers, John (Mary Beth) of Northfield, Tom (Bonnie) of Owatonna, and Bob (Toodie) of Sioux Falls, SD; sister, Laura (Bruce) Hemmah of Cannon Falls; honorary family members, Bonnie Knoll of Hastings, Kayla Holthe of Wanamingo, and Kayla Simonson of Maplewood; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Russell and Grace; nephew, Joseph Hemmah; brother-in-law, Herb Hutchinson; and sister-in-law, Lois Snyder.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, October 27 from 2-5 p.m. at Lundberg Funeral Home in Cannon Falls. A memorial service will be on Monday, October 28 at 11 AM, with visitation from 10-11 AM, at the First Congregational Church, 220 W. Main St., Cannon Falls. Interment will military honors will follow at the Cannon Falls Cemetery.

The family would like to thank the loving caregivers with Mayo Clinic Health System – Red Wing Hospice for their compassion and support.

Nathaniel Blaine Emery Memorial slated for October 23rd

There will be a memorial service for Nathaniel Blaine Emery on Wednesday, October 23rd at the First Congregational Church, 220 W Main Street, Cannon Falls.  Visitation will start at 2:00 p.m. with a service at 4:00 p.m.

Nathaniel Blaine Emery, age 48, of Salt Lake City, Utah, passed away on Sept. 22, 2019. He died fighting a lifelong battle with mental illness. He left behind his parents, Chuck and Carol Emery of Cannon Falls, his sister Elizabeth, his brother-in-law, Neil Budzinski, his nephew Eli, and his niece Sylvie, all of Waltham, MA, all of whom Nathan loved and adored. He also left behind many aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and co-workers of all ages. Aunt Janet was Nathan’s special friend and soulmate. Don Hernke was Nathan’s special friend and mentor. Harris Nelson was also instrumental in sharing values of life as he taught Nathan to catch northern pike in the Cannon River by Welch.

Nathan attended Cannon Falls Schools; did his Basic Training in U.S. Navy in Florida; earned a 2 year degree in Diesel Mechanics , Dakota County VoTec; earned BS Degree in Economics (graduated with honors), University of Minnesota, Duluth; earned MBA, U of M, Duluth; and got a Series 7 License.

Nathan’s interests included fly-fishing, mountain biking, camping, wood working, mechanical and auto body repair, watching NASCAR, professional sports and movies, dogs (Snoopy, Tar, Lady and Cooper), and almost anything to do with wheels!  Nathan loved traveling and had been to countries in S.E.Asia (Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia),  the length of South America from Columbia all the way down to ‘almost’ the southern tip, and a few countries of Europe.

Nathan’s ashes will be scattered in Minnesota, in the Wasatch Mountains and streams in Utah, and in the Fairview Cemetery , Langdon, Iowa, where his parents, sister, brother-in-law, his Aunt Janet and Aunt Arlene will be. Nathan’s grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents are already buried there.

The First Congregational Church Chili Feed is back!

Scheduled for Sunday, October 27th, 10:45 a.m., 220 West Main Street, this event will help to raise money for the Feed My Starving Children packing event in Cannon Falls slated for November.

Church members will bring crockpots of chili and pans of cornbread for the event. They will be set up with labels (but no names!) for everyone to sample and enjoy. Each crockpot and cornbread pan will have baskets for people to “vote” for their favorites with donations to Feed My Starving Children. The winners will be the folks who have generated the most cash. The prize? Bragging rights for having the best chili or cornbread in Cannon Falls!

The public is welcome to attend; for more information call First Congregational Church at (507) 263-2901 or email the office at fccucc@citlink.net.