“God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” - 1 Corinthians 1:9
The Greek word is koinonia, and several words can help clarify its meaning: sharing, unity, community, fellowship. Koinonia is first of all a gift of grace. God calls us to this fellowship through the gospel, nurtures us in worship through the communion of the Holy Spirit and the sharing in the body of Christ through the sacraments (2 Corinthians 13:13; 1 Corinthians 10:16). God invites us to belong to his community of faith, and the unity and friendship we experience in Christian community is a gift from God.
Gloria Dei’s constitution describes our ministry of fellowship this way: Manifest the unity given to the people of God by living together in the love of Christ and by joining with other Christians in prayer and action to express and preserve the unity which the Spirit gives.
You don’t need to be an official member to participate at Gloria Dei. All are welcome to join us for these fellowship opportunities:
Gloria Dei’s Women of the ELCA strive to faithfully live out our mission statement as we continue to grow in faith: “As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts, support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.”
Our monthly small group gatherings offer opportunity for fellowship and Bible study. Martha Circle meets at 9:30 a.m. on the first Thursday of each month and Eve Gathering meets at 5:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month. Special annual events include our Fall Fair in November, our main opportunity to raise funds to support missions both locally and worldwide, and honoring Bold Women in February, giving thanks for the many faithful women in our parish who demonstrate a quiet kind of Bold that is often unnoticed, such as women who are nurturing mothers, or who serve on Altar Guild, or bring communion to shut-ins, or who serve at the community breakfast. We welcome all women to join us in our ministry.
Men in Mission
Gloria Dei’s Lutheran Men in Mission is an informal group which provides opportunities for fellowship and service for all men associated with Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. The group has become an integral part of our church. It was originally formed as the “Men’s Club” which gathered one a month for breakfast to generate ideas and assist the church in events for fundraising and fellowship.
In addition to selling Fair Trade Coffee – and supplying it for coffee fellowship, we have three big events each year:
1. Mother’s Day Brunch – The men’s group serves up Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, sausages and orange juice. Any profits go to various projects going on at Gloria Dei.
2. John Isaacson Memorial Fishing Trip – Taking a full day in June, we drive to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and charter a few boats on Lake Superior, near where a former member lived. This trip is not limited to men – all are welcome. Fish caught on the fishing trip is grilled and served at the congregation’s annual “Lake Superior Sunday” pot luck buffet on the third Sunday in July.
3. Breakfast by the Lake – For a program, fellowship, and planning for the year, we gather for an annual breakfast at Per and Elaine Wickstrom’s home.
Some from our group have also attended the Northeastern MN Synod Men’s retreat, usually held in February near Brainerd. We invite and welcome all men to participate in our meetings and activities – and bring a friend!
Christ himself is present on our journeys of faith, when we break bread together and talk about God’s work among us (see Luke 24). Bread Breakers is a great way to get to know more people in the congregation over such a meal and conversation. Participants can sign-up for different times, locations, and activities depending on the hosts. One object is to have a blend of long-term and most recent parishioners in each group. Conversation topics may include how people came to Gloria Dei, and how they sense God working in the world, how we can grow in our ministry together. Sign up at the corner bulletin board in the Hillside Room to participate or to be a host.
During the summer, church softball season is in “full swing”! Organized through the YMCA, we play one game a week for one hour at one of the UMD softball fields against another church softball team. Coach Paul Steklenski announces a spring training practice before the season starts, and everyone who shows up for a game gets put in the batting order and a chance to be out on the field. Gloria “Dei-dreamers” are always looking for new recruits! Skill level isn’t important… just the desire to have fun. A small cost per person or family for the season helps pay for the refs, and scholarships are available to include anyone interested. Come and play or come with your lawn chair and cheer the team on!
Thousands of quilts are used in refugee camps throughout the world. In addition to being versatile and warm, they are also beautiful reminders of compassion for people experiencing hardship and oppression. The Gloria Dei Quilters are a part of reaching out to those in need. Each year, our group makes quilts for Lutheran World Relief and donates quilts to the silent auction at the Northeastern MN Synod Assembly. We welcome newcomers to tie quilts with us at 6:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday evening of the month.
This group meets at 10:00 a.m. on the third Monday of each month, though normally not in the summer. We choose a variety of books to read throughout the year and welcome you to our discussion.
Coffee & Conversation
Gloria Dei members and friends meet monthly for breakfast and conversation 9:00 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month in the back room at London Road Perkins.
Swedish Cultural Society
The Swedish Cultural Society in Duluth goes back to 1934. An independent organization, it meets at Gloria Dei on the third Sunday of most months in the afternoon. The program usually consists of Swedish musical entertainment or a program with a speaker on Swedish or Scandinavian traditions, music, customs, or crafts, followed by a light lunch. The Society also sponsors two major community events each year:
1. Midsommar in June, consisting of a program, decorating, and dancing around a Maypole followed by Swedish goodies and coffee – held at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.
2. Lucia Fest in early December, celebrating Santa Lucia Day, with a program of Swedish singing, a procession of light, and a brunch – held at the Holiday Inn.
The Swedish Cultural Society also offers a scholarship yearly that enables someone interested in learning the Swedish language to go to the Concordia Language Villages in Bemidji.
To get in touch with a leader of any of these fellowship groups, please relay your interest to the church office: firstname.lastname@example.org.