New! Contemplative Practices Summit

Peeling Away the Layers to Love: A Contemplative Practices Summit

Saturday, January 19, 9am-3pm
Assisi Heights -- Rochester

Even on the best of days, we all face the challenge of dealing with our own personal “disturbances” and inner struggles.

Anxiety/depression, relationship and health issues, work and financial challenges, feeling a lack of control or feeling overwhelmed all make the list. But if only that were all that we faced! A polarized, demonizing, anxiety- and angst-filled culture surrounds and affects us through social media and our public discourse.

Is it any wonder that we need to take time to consciously peel away these layers and disturbances that can cover over our inner, true and love-filled selves?


Take a day away in the new year to join others in the beautiful and contemplative surroundings of Assisi Heights to take a deeper look at "Peeling Away the Layers to Love." We’ll name our personal disturbances through a mindfulness meditation practice, have guided alone time for personal reflection following the practice, and discover an ability to cut the hidden strings that bind us or control our thoughts and emotions. This personal time provides a first step in peeling away layers that make it difficult for us to offer a loving presence to others, and to ourselves. We’ll also name and lament collective, cultural issues that impact us, concluding the day with practical discussions on how to peel away these types of layers from your heart and mind as well.

You’ll leave with some tools and a lens through which to claim your own unique way of helping a hurting world.

Joining retreat leader and guide Julie Stevens (Director of Contemplative Practices) will be guest speaker Pastor Charles Ortloff, and Gloria Dei’s own musicians Chris and Noelle Roberts. Cost of the summit is $20. Pay at the event via cash or check.

Assisi Heights is located at 1001 14th St. NW, Rochester. Email with questions.

High School Trip - Deadline Approaching!

High School Adventure Trip - About this trip
by D.J. Chatelaine
Deadline to Register: November 1st

Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake

Rocky Mountain High by John Denver captures the beauty that will surround us this summer as we spend a week in the Colorado Rockies at Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp. Having spent two separate weeks in two similar experiences to what we have in store for July 20-28, 2019, I can tell you, we’re in for a treat. Seriously. I can’t think of too many other places in the world that instill feelings of awe and wonder at the beauty of God’s creation like Colorado. What’s more, we’ll experience it together at an incredible camp, Rainbow Trail, that offers opportunities for leadership development, spiritual growth, service, community building and time to unwind and have a blast for one week in your life--a week you’ll remember as one of the best.

FireShot Capture 112 - Rainbow Trail Blog - Google Docs_ -
FireShot Capture 113 - Rainbow Trail Blog - Google Docs_ -

Even more exciting, you have the option to walk in the quiet solitude amongst the forest and the streams through signing up for the Compass Points backpacking excursion. Through 3-4 days on the trail, our group(s) will be led by experienced guides who not only know the San Isabel National Forest like the back of their hand, but are gifted in spiritual and leadership development. Plus, the trip includes half-day whitewater rafting (!!), ropes course and a service project opportunity! All cooking and food supplies are provided and we will travel together and be with those who elect to stay onsite for the awesome High School Camp at the tail ends of the week.

If roughing it in nature or going a few days without a shower isn’t your cup of tea, then you have the amazing opportunity to meet, learn from and hang out with a bunch of Lutheran high school students from across the country as well as an exceptional staff at the onsite camp. From the website: “Whether you have been a long time camper or are new to Rainbow Trail, a week of Senior High Camp can be the best week of your summer! Share in a week of creativity, high adventure, leadership opportunities, and close relationships! Activities include high rope adventures like the circuit and dangling duo, hiking and optional white water rafting.”

FireShot Capture 114 - Rainbow Trail Blog - Google Docs_ -

We will be traveling to and from Rainbow Trail as a whole group, no matter if you choose the onsite or Compass Points option, so there will be plenty of time to bond in the long drive!

One word summarizes Rainbow Trail: prodigious. To join in on what’s going to be a fun and memorable trip, turn in your registration and to me at church by November 1st! (NOTE THE DEADLINE CHANGE).

Follow this link for the general registration form and this link for Compass Points. Please email me ( with any questions you may have.

Middle School Mission Trip - Deadline approaching!

by D.J. Chatelaine
Milwaukee, WI - Registration deadline: Nov 11th

Picture a ship about to set sail: the magnificent white hull towers over the docks and points towards the open water ahead. The tall masts shoot into the air, sails ready to propel the vessel onward to the grand voyage ahead. The Milwaukee Art Museum captures this feeling of magnificence and anticipation through its ship-like structure. Situated at the edge of a city with a rich history, one that has seen an influx of peoples from all over the country and world, notably Germany, Italy and the American South, the museum functions as a beacon of what’s to come. Working to overcome problems of racial injustice & inequality, poverty and gentrification, Milwaukee at the same time celebrates its food, culture and successes (just check out the season the Brewers are having).


All of these things, plus the opportunity to partner with Serve Boldly, a Lutheran service organization grounded in the understanding of loving your neighbor, make me very excited for Gloria Dei’s Middle School kids to spend a week together doing God’s work in this community that’s only 4 hours away! I’m looking forward to a time of building each other up, while we serve alongside Milwaukee service organizations that are focused on youth and hunger. And of course, I can’t wait for all those fun and unexpected mission trip moments that will become lifelong memories. Sound like fun? Then be sure to turn in your deposit and registration by November 11!

Good Minutes - MEA Break

A Few Good Minutes: Sunday School on the go!
Sunday School on the go with Krista
No Sunday School - Sunday, Oct 21

Often Gloria Dei does not hold Sunday School during a school break, so Good Minutes is a way to connect as a family. Different topics, activities, and challenges will be suggested through these videos for families to engage together. It may be two minutes, it may be ten minutes. So gather around and let’s share some Good Minutes!

This first episode is a quick look at what we do in our day and what is prayer. What do you think? Talk about it!

Christmas Program Sign Up

Gloria Dei Children’s Christmas Program: "A Piece of Christmas"

Our children are awesome storytellers and see Jesus from a unique viewpoint, through the eyes of a child. Please join us as we explore through the eyes of a child what the birth of our Savior may have looked like.

Performance: Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 4 pm

Signup Deadline: Sunday, October 28


2nd - 5th graders have speaking parts.
3 year-old - 1st graders have non-speaking parts and only need to attend the MANDATORY rehearsal on Saturday, December 8 from 10:30 am - Noon

(3 year-old - 1st graders only attend practice on December 8) Lunch is provided for Sunday practices that begin at noon!

Saturday, November 3, 2nd - 5th grade only, 10-11:30 am (no lunch) -- meet in Lower Level
Sunday, November 4, 2nd - 5th grade only, noon-2pm (lunch) - meet in EpicOneEight Worship Center
Sunday, November 11, 2nd - 5th grade only, noon-2pm (lunch) - meet in Worship Center
Saturday, November 17, 2nd - 5th grade only, 10-11:30 am (no lunch) -- meet in Lower Level
Sunday, November 18, 2nd - 5th grade only, noon-2pm (lunch) - meet in Worship Center
Sunday, November 25 (Thanksgiving weekend), 2nd - 5th grade only, 4 - 6pm (snack) - meet in Narthex

Saturday, December 1, 2nd - 5th grade only, 10-11:30 (no lunch) - meet in Lower Level
Sunday, December 2, 2nd - 5th grade only, noon-2pm (lunch) - meet in Worship Center
Saturday, December 8 - this is a Mandatory practice for all children participating in the program - meet in Narthex
- 2nd - 5th grade, 9 am - Noon
- 3 year-old through 1st grade, 10:30 am - Noon

Sunday, December 9, 4 pm meet in the Fireside Room

Gloria Dei Receives Prestigious Clergy Renewal Grant from the Lilly Foundation

A Note from Pastor Charles: I have some really great news to announce! Our congregation has been awarded a Lily Foundation grant of $44,000, for the support of a three month sabbatical for Pastor Dave in 2019. I have known many pastors who have applied for a grant and Dave is the first one that has actually gotten the grant. Congratulations to Pastor Dave! Well done! We’ll hear more about this as Dave’s sabbatical nears, but here is a bit more information about the grant.

 Pastor Dave Berg

Pastor Dave Berg

In response to Gloria Dei’s innovative, forward looking mission and ministry, the Indianapolis, Indiana based Lilly Foundation has awarded our congregation a $44,000 grant to support a three month sabbatical for Pastor Dave in 2019.  Lilly Grants seek to strengthen Christian congregations by providing opportunities for pastors to step away from the persistent obligations of congregational life and engage in a period of renewal and reflection. The funding decision came in part because of Gloria Dei’s unique emphasis on “Research and Development,” and our desire to explore what the church of the future looks like today. The funds will be used to support Dave’s travels and study as well as financially cover congregational staffing and some programming in his absence.

With the support and advising of the congregational council, Pastor Dave wrote the grant to specifically fund a time of renewal that will have an emphasis on exploring Celtic Christian spirituality. With its emphasis on creation spirituality and original blessing among other ideas, Dave believes that some of the core attributes of the age old Celtic Christian tradition have much to teach us today. He will spend some time in Iona, Scotland studying and touring the home of the Celtic church. He will also learn from noted theologian John Philip Newall at the New England School of Celtic Consciousness in Madison, Connecticut. In addition, Dave will take time over the three months to write, read, travel and enjoy some down time with Robyn and the girls. The sabbatical will begin with a sendoff lunch on Sunday, April 28, 2019 and welcome back lunch on Sunday, August 4, 2019. While he is away, there will also be opportunities for the congregation to study the idea of Sabbath, as well as a deeper dive into Celtic Christian Spirituality.

The Lilly Foundation Grant is yet another place where people outside of our immediate community are leaning in and excited by our work and ministry at Gloria Dei. These are indeed exciting times to be the church, and with the help of this funding, we can continue to discover where God might be leading us.