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Please join us for our Worship Service on Sundays at 9:00 am on our Facebook page.

Who We Are
Our mission is simple...
As for me and my house we will serve the Lord in how we Love, in how we Live, and in how we Give.

We are an active, growing, and energetic congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org) and the Northeastern Iowa Synod (www.neiasynod.org).

We offer both contemporary and traditional worship services and offer faith building opportunities for people of all ages.

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Office Hours:

9:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday-Friday

Christmas and New Year's Office Hours:

Christmas Eve: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Christmas Day: Office Closed

New Year's Eve: 9:00 am - 2:30 pm

New Year's Day: Office Closed

Upcoming Worship Schedule: Sundays @ 9:00 am

Worship Services are currently only on our Facebook page

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515 5th St. NE
Independence, IA 50644

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Phone: (319) 334-2511
Fax: (319) 334-4596

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It’s usually around this time of year that I start complaining about the busyness of December. With all the baking and school concerts and shopping and wrapping and church programs and family gatherings and decorating and baking (I know I said that already but baking is really important this time of year – at least to me) there isn’t much time left to sit and relax with a nice warm mug of hot chocolate.

This year, however, there is no business as usual, and I think that makes Advent a little more important.

Advent is the time of ‘arrival’ or of ‘something or someone coming’. For many of us, the something we’re waiting for this year to arrive is normalcy, or a vaccine, or simply getting together with family and friends. This might be the bluest Christmas most of us have ever seen.

Traditionally, though, Advent in the church is a time of a promise fulfilled and a promise coming nearer to fulfilment. The promise fulfilled is the birth of Christ and the gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love that come with that special birth. The promise yet to be fulfilled is the second coming of Christ and the manifestation of hope, peace, joy, and love that come with Christ on that day.

Well, this year is different, but that doesn’t mean we just have to sit around and wish for things to be different. With the gift of time granted to us by the cancelation of programs and concerts and get-togethers, there is no better time than now to explore something different.

One idea would be to join us on Facebook each day for the little devotion that’s posted every morning. The devotional series we’re using for Advent this year was written by youth directors from all over the country (Gina has one in there too).

Or join me for a weekly Zoom study on Christmas. I’ll be leading these sessions on Wednesday nights at 7:00 (following the Advent worship service that will air at 6:30). I’ll just need you to contact the office so I know who to send the Zoom link to.

Another idea would be to take one of the Advent boxes from church and work on it with your kids or grandkids. Crafting is good for the soul, I’ve been told, and you might learn a thing or two as well.

Maybe you could get your hands on a copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas and watch it as a family. Don’t sit there and claim to be watching it with your thumbs getting a work-out on your phone. Not only is this little cartoon a sentimental favorite of many, but there is also a good message too.

You could send Christmas cards to everyone in the nursing homes. Try making a silly Food Network style video of you and your family making Christmas treats. Do some Christmas caroling from a safe distance, or maybe try some video Christmas caroling.

And after that, sit down and relax with a nice warm mug of hot chocolate and read yourself the Christmas story found in Luke 2:1-20 (this is the same Christmas story Linus reads in A Charlie Brown Christmas) and reflect on gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love that have come your way.

Merry Christmas everyone!
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December 2
All I want for Christmas is a Flashlight.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

Advent is marked with symbols of light: Advent candles, Christmas tree twinkles, and outdoor blinking lights on our houses. We are totally lost without light. I remember one time on a camping trip I had to go from the campfire to the car without a flashlight. I banged into logs, turned this way and that, and realized quickly that not only could I not see the car, the campfire was no longer in sight. Light is obviously something many of us need. But sometimes obvious things become profound when we cope with their absence. Light often helps us to see what’s in the dark, but it also call out to us. With the light, we can see and move. What kind of Christmas lights do you like the best?

Dear God, this Advent, let your light help us to see more clearly, so that we might know where to go and whom we should follow. Amen.
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The Blessings of a Quilt
Written by Ron Oline, Edited by Susan Oline
All Things Members (ATM) Committee

This past November 7th, Susan and I did what we have done for the past several years, which was deliver the quilts that Immanuel’s quilting group creates to the Lutheran World Relief collection truck in our area. This year more than ever I have come to realize what a quilt means.
For the ladies who have been a part of the quilting group throughout the history of Immanuel, there is a love and commitment they put into making quality quilts that end up going to people and families in need. I have seen firsthand what it takes to make a quilt and the different jobs that are part of that process. There is shopping for, purchasing, and cutting large rolls of batting; collecting fabric and cutting it into squares; laying out the squares in a pattern; sewing the squares together; layering the pieced tops over the batting and bottoms; tying the layers together; and finally sewing the binding around the edges. It may sound like a lot of work to some of us, but I see ladies who look forward to and truly enjoy being a part of this project. I can sense the satisfaction they feel when they see their finished quilts and the hope that they will bring comfort to for those who receive them.
This group puts together over 200 quilts throughout the year; and even with this year’s pandemic, it hasn’t slowed them down much. They want to keep the gift of giving going. Many of these quilts are passed out to people all over the world by Lutheran World Relief, but a number of them also go to local families in need at Christmas, youth served by Lutheran Services in Iowa, and Immanuel’s high school graduates.
And for the people who receive these quilts, I can imagine the gratitude they must feel when they receive their very own quilt. Growing up, I took for granted the comfort of a quilt. My mom made quilts her entire life, and my siblings and I always had our choice of quilts to pull over us during those cold winter nights in our not-so-energy-efficient farmhouse.
I believe God knows the importance of a quilt, too. I often think of that when flying somewhere. One glance out of the airplane window on a clear day gives a unique look at the landscape below. And, especially if you are flying over the Midwest, you get to see a beautiful and interesting quilt-like pattern of the farm fields laid out for miles and miles of viewing enjoyment.
The effect of love acting like a comforting quilt can even be found in some versions of Bible writings. On the Bible Study Tools website, I found this version of Proverbs 10:12 that states, “Hatred starts fights, but love pulls a quilt over the bickering.” This makes me think that in our world today, when you get tired of all the bickering and negativity, grab a quilt and say a prayer.
I want to end by saying thank you to everyone who has been reading these topics over the past months and for the kind responses I have received about them. It is very much appreciated. This is the last Topic of the Month written by me for now. I do want to say to all of you, on behalf of the ATM Committee and myself, we wish you blessings in the Advent and Christmas seasons ahead along with the comfort of a quilt on your journey. And always remember to pray. We will pray for all of you, as well.
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Shop with Scrip to support new ministries at Immanuel. Order online at www.shopwithscrip.com Use enrollment code: DA68E3A539485 when shopping so Immanuel gets the credit!

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SWAG: Text @SWAG2511 to 81010
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