Christmas Kindness

By Pastor Steven Borst

“The fruit of the Spirit is… kindness.” Galatians 5:22

Having just come off our Discipleship Series in November, I have been considering more closely the fruits of the Spirit. It seems to me that we all want to have more love, joy and peace in our lives. We all strive for more patience, faithfulness, and self-control. Yet, one of the spiritual fruits that is often overlooked is kindness.

During the difficulties of 2020, many people have called on our citizens to be more civil toward one another. To be civil, at a minimum, is to refrain from name-calling with those whom we disagree (and often don’t like!). That seems like a good first step, but God’s Word calls on us to do something
more. Instead of just being civil, we are called to be kind. Such kindness doesn’t come naturally to our sinful selves, but the Holy Spirit can create this fruit in our lives. We need such gracious sanctification because godly kindness is not just biting our lips when someone annoys us, but actually responding out of love toward them.

The world often treats kind people poorly. They tend to get stepped on and
taken advantage of. That’s why kindness is often seen as an undervalued
character trait among our citizenry. However, for those who have been born again in Christ, the Holy Spirit is hard at work in creating kindness in our hearts. The Spirit is re-forming us to be more like Jesus, who is the very definition of what it means to be kind.

The appointed Epistle Reading for Christmas Morning comes from Titus 3,
which reads:

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in
righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of
regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on
us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his
grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

(Titus 3:4-7)

At Christmas, God’s goodness and kindness appeared in human flesh. God our Savior took on our humanity to save us by His own righteousness. Through baptism, we have been made a new creation and now our lives are rich in grace for all eternity. Wow! That indeed is a Christmas miracle!

Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus was meek. Some saw His kindness as weakness, but they were sorely mistaken if they thought they could take
advantage of Jesus. He was forceful when He needed to be (especially with the religious hypocrites), but His heart is a heart of kindness.

His kindness was shown to a Samaritan woman as well as a woman caught in adultery. He was kind to a cheating tax-collector and to a Roman centurion, a man considered Israel’s enemy. His kindness overflowed to the 5,000 whom He fed. He taught for hours on end because He kindly looked over those lost sheep who couldn’t get enough of God’s Word. His kindness was extended on the cross to all humanity, and this kindness of God is now bountifully poured out on you.

Christmas means different things to many people, but at its core, Christmas is about kindness. As the Holy Spirit conceived the Christ-child in Mary’s womb, so we pray that the Spirit would engender in us the fruit of kindness. At Christ’s nativity, the goodness and loving kindness of God appeared to us! May we embody such kindheartedness to all whom we meet throughout this holy season.

Walking Together as Disciples of Jesus

Below you will see a list of families who have resolved to Bear Much Fruit in 2021! They have returned their Pledge Postcards and by God’s grace, are
committed to Pruning, Training, and Sacrifice in their lives. It’s not too late to join us on this journey! Please respond by returning your Pledge Postcard or by sending us an email at We will be
praying for all our Discipleship 2021 families throughout the coming year. Thank you for joining us!

Thank you for pledging to participate in
Immanuel’s Discipleship Series!

  • Dunlap
  • Lostlen
  • Bryant Family
  • Unrath Family
  • Meister
  • Ilten Family
  • Keck Family
  • Fosgett
  • Borst Family
  • Goodwin Family
  • Kessler
  • Kempe Family
  • Kassel Family
  • Edwards
  • Gumpf
  • Foucrier
  • James
  • Frahm Family
  • Schweiger Family
  • Seeger
  • Matheson
  • Armentrout
  • Thorpe Family
  • Feinauer Family
  • Brandt Family
  • Jones Family
  • Leggett Family
  • Buster Family
  • Townsend
  • Boburka Family

Immanuel is Forming a Women’s Care Ministry Team

Care Ministers are a group of women assisting our elders to provide care for our congregation through cards, encouragement, and acts of compassion. If you are interested in participating in such a ministry, please contact Carol Luther.

Advent Service Schedule

This year, we will be streaming our midweek Advent Services on our YouTube channel. Our Immanuel tradition is that our school children participate in these services. Because we respect the privacy of
our students and their families, we are creating a private link for each Advent Service. School families will automatically receive this link, but church members must sign up to participate. If you would like to watch and worship our Advent Services, please make sure to let us know by clicking the link below. Thank you!

December 2 – Grade: Preschool; December 9 – Grades: Kinder, 1, 3, 5; December 16 – Grades: 2, 4, 6

Stay tuned for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day schedule

Stay up to date with all Immanuel activities by joining our YouTube page! Click the button below and click to subscribe!

Please continue to tithe and give offerings, and if you are able, give generously! You can do so by sending a check or giving online through our website.

2021 Offering Envelopes 2021 offering envelopes are available for pick up in the front office. You can also visit the cart to pick up your envelopes during outdoor worship each Sunday. If you cannot find your envelopes or need to be assigned a giving number please contact Jamila at

Endowment Fund Update

The Immanuel Lutheran Church Endowment Fund was established in 2000 with generous donations from special gifts provided by congregation members. The fund’s purpose is to receive and administer gifts and bequests outside of the general church budget, which can include physical
improvements to the church facilities, higher education scholarships in the
fields of Lutheran ministry and Christian education, and for special ministries in Christian education within the congregation and extended to other Lutheran congregations. The fund is managed by LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) Foundation, and currently valued at over $500,000; the gifts that are bestowed each year are limited to specifically selected dividend income earned thus allowing for growth to maintain the long term health of the fund. In 2020, we were able to provide funds totaling $8,500, including scholarships that were awarded to three congregation members, all of whom have shared some information about their studies and experiences.

Avery Hjulberg: I am attending Concordia Seminary St. Louis, pursuing a Master of Divinity degree, with an expected graduation date of 2024. My favorite class this semester is Intro to Systematic Theology and Intro to Pastoral Ministry. With Covid, everyone, including the professor, wears a mask in class. There is a video moderator in each class to record/livestream the lecture so if someone has to miss class because of Covid reasons they can attend class virtually or watch the lecture later after it is
posted to Blackboard. We are able to eat in the dining hall if we choose too and we cannot serve ourselves. A dining hall staff member will serve us food from the buffet. During the summer when things were slower, we had to call in our lunch and dinner order each day from a specified menu and then go pick up our food at lunch and dinner and then go eat outside or in our room or in a common area. Starting Nov. 2nd we have to download an app called CampusClear and each day answer questions regarding how we are feeling/if we are experiencing any symptoms related to Covid. That will tell us whether we should attend class or not and will notify our health and wellness coordinator, Dr. Gary, and she will be in touch with us as to what our next steps should be. I have already been quarantined once because a person in one of my classes tested positive with Covid. So a lot of first year students had to quarantine and get tested. Those of us that live in the dorm were moved to another dorm building reserved for quarantined dorm
students. We could not leave quarantine until we all received negative results. Thankfully everyone tested negative. When I graduate, I will be ordained as an LCMS pastor and serve at a congregation that the Lord has called me to.
Update: As this newsletter was going to press, I was disappointed to learn that my classes will go 100% online after the Thanksgiving holiday, so I will be attending classes from my parents’ home in Tupelo, MS starting in
December. We are not yet certain about whether or not we will be able to
return to campus for Spring Semester.

John McCombs: I am attending Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, enrolled in the Specific Ministry Program. This program prepares men to serve in their churches in ordained pastoral ministries, usually in assistant ministry roles. The majority of my classes are designed to be synchronous (live, through distance learning), but include one seminar class on campus annually. I am currently in a vicarage, which is like an internship, and will be ordained in 2022, and then graduate and become certified in 2024. Prior to enrolling in the SMP program I was taking one class per year in the Master of Theology program from Concordia, Irvine. I have paused that coursework to focus on the more practical SMP program. Th class that I am currently taking is The Master Narrative, which is helping me to better understand and explain God’s work as described in the Bible, beginning with creation and looking forward to Jesus’ future restoration of creation. Our next class was supposed to be a seminar held on campus in Missouri, but instead our cohort of 11 men will hold the week-long class remotely from our homes or offices. A couple of years after I complete the SMP program, I will retire as an elementary school principal, and be able to take on more responsibilities at Immanuel in the ministry of the Word and
Sacrament. Vondella and I have been married for 30 years and have four
children, all of whom were confirmed at Immanuel. Vondella and I coordinate Team 2 of the Immanuel Guest Chef program that serves meals to veterans at March ARB. If you have any questions or need prayer, please contact me at

Emma Parker: I attend Concordia University in Irvine, California, and am pursuing a double major in biology and chemistry. I plan to graduate Spring 2022. My favorite classes this semester are Anatomy and Physiology. This semester started out with all of our classes online. I still live on campus, and I take classes from my dorm. The restrictions have lifted somewhat to allow some smaller classes to be in person, but none of my classes have done
that yet. I’m hoping next semester will see more classes online. I miss having my classes in person! My plan right now is to go to medical school after I graduate. I like the medical field because it gives me a chance to serve people from all walks of life, including my fellow Christians. In my spare time, I like to read books and watch movies with my friends. I also love swimming, biking and hiking. This semester, I have an internship at a local hospital, where I can work in a department and see how everything works. I am so honored to be one of the scholarship recipients. The photo I am sharing is taken of me and my younger sister Gracie.

In addition, a portion of the funds were used to purchase and install a defibrillator in Graumann Pingel Education Center (GPEC); special thanks to Dr. Michael Ferreri for initiating and following through on this effort.

The members of the Endowment Commission are excited to see the gifts being used to advance the missions of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. When thinking about charitable donations, or your estate plan, please consider the Immanuel Lutheran Church Endowment Fund as a place where your contribution will make a perpetual impact on our congregation and those members who choose to pursue a career in Christian ministry and education.

Members of the Endowment Fund Commission:
Marlin Brandt (President)
George Frahm (Vice President)
Susan Atkinson (Secretary)
Adam Illingworth, Brian Pearcy, Gil Dyrr and Karin Jeske

For more information about the Endowment Fund, please contact the church office, or reach out to any member of the Endowment Fund Commission.

Outdoor Sunday School! During part of the outdoor worship service at 9:30 a.m. children will be invited to their own special Bible story and craft just for them. Children 4 years old and up will be invited to meet in the shade for this special time. We will social distance and please have them wear their masks.

FAMILY ADVENT NIGHT! This year we have put together an Advent Family
Night kit for each Preschool Family, Elementary School Family, and Church
family to spend some time focusing on Jesus and the Advent season. The
boxes will be available on Sunday, Nov. 29 and will be handed out to school
families Monday, November 30. They will be available for pick up in the church office after Monday, November 30th. They are intended for families with children preschool and elementary age.

Confirmation Classes: Confirmation classes will not meet during Advent.
Your family will receive an Advent devotion book to use during the 4
weeks of Advent that is based on the Advent candles. Do you have a advent wreath at home? This would be a great year to get one!

High School Youth We are studying Apologetics (defending our faith) on
Tuesday nights December 1, 8, and 15. Wear a mask and practice socially distancing when you come from 6-7:30 p.m.

ACCREDITATION VISIT RESULTS: During the spring of 2019 ILCS began the self-study process to prepare for a visit from the Western Association of
Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the National Lutheran School Association (NLSA). On October 5-7 representatives from WASC and NLSA conducted a virtual visit. Immanuel received 18 commendations to specific areas of strength. These commendations are listed below. If you would like to view the zoom conference that Immanuel’s Leadership team had with the Visiting committee you can go to our website and click on the schools tab.

Schoolwide Areas of Strength

  1. Immanuel Lutheran School has a professional, Christ-centered staff and
    faculty who demonstrate a clear commitment to the faith development of
    their students.
  2. Immanuel Lutheran School has a fully supportive parent community
    including parents of current students as well as alumni.
  3. Immanuel Lutheran School has a committed and caring leadership team
    including the principal, pastoral staff, and Board of Directors.
  4. Students at Immanuel Lutheran School reveal a high degree of
    engagement and subsequently take pride in their school and
  5. Immanuel Lutheran Church is fully supportive of the school and sees the
    school as its primary ministry.
  6. Immanuel Lutheran Church and School have created a strong partnership and are devoted to community outreach.
  7. Immanuel Lutheran School staff are highly effective in collaboration
    through PLCs and teamwork.
  8. Immanuel Lutheran School has been successful in creating a
    communication network which engages and informs the school
  9. Immanuel Lutheran School has adopted Student Learner Outcomes which are easily understanding, measurable and communicated.
  10. The facilities of ILCS are well maintained and provide a safe and secure
    environment for all students and staff.
  11. The remodel project for Immanuel Lutheran School has provided a
    functional and aesthetically pleasing space.
  12. Immanuel Lutheran School is committed to the ongoing development of
    technological resources and instruction.
  13. The leadership of Immanuel Lutheran School is prompt and attentive in
    providing resources necessary for classroom support and instruction.
  14. ILCS leadership has developed an upgraded salary matrix for teaching
    staff and has prioritized the regular review of this matrix.
  15. ILCS has developed community relationships with CBU and other
    institutions which provide additional experience and exposure for
  16. The unified branding and identification of Immanuel Lutheran Church and School is now visible in multiple forums including online and print.
  17. Immanuel Lutheran School has been very intentional and thoughtful with the implementation of additional safety measures as a result of Covid which has resulted in receiving a waiver for on campus instruction.
  18. The tremendous efforts by staff and leadership in preparing for this
    highly unusual virtual accreditation visit.

THANK YOU to the Puentez and Foster families for donating the funding needed to purchase 5 new tables for our lunch area. When Immanuel transitioned to in person instruction we scrambled to meet our social distancing protocols in our lunch area by grabbing tables and chairs from GPEC and other areas of our campus. These new lunch tables will allow our students to continue to be safe while eating their lunches in a more comfortable environment.

Community Outreach Report

By Julia Gardner – Outreach Coordinator

2020 ANGEL TREE – The Angel Tree is our way of giving special gifts to the Foster Teens & our local Veterans. Will you join us in helping them this Christmas? While we have outdoor services, the ANGEL tree will be done slightly different with multiple options.

The current options to help are:

  1. Take an ornament off the small tree at the Sunday outdoor service and
    return it in the Angel Tree box that same day using Scrip to purchase or
    through the church office by 12/7/20.
  2. We’ll have ornaments on our Angel Tree in the church office to purchase
    $25 gift cards using Scrip gift cards M-F 8am-4pm by 12/7/20.
  3. Mail or bring a check to Immanuel with ANGEL TREE/ Veterans –
    OR– ANGEL TREE/Foster in the MEMO line by 12/7/20 and we will
    purchase the $25 gift cards for you.
  4. Purchase $25 gift cards yourself, notating which group they are for, then
    mail or bring them to the church office anytime M-F 8am-4pm by 12/7/20.

FOSTER GIFT CARD SUGGESTIONS: Starbucks, Subway, Fast Food, Target, Walmart, Game Stop, Kohl’s, Marshalls and Best Buy.

VETERAN GIFT CARD OPTIONS: Walmart or Target. Gift cards must be received by 12/7/2020. Thank you for your heart to help!!

Have questions about how you can help and want to participate? Please call the church office M-F 8am-4pm for more information.

THANK YOU to those who have already participated to make the Veterans and Foster Teens feel special and loved during this uncertain time.

We wish you a VERY Merry Christmas while we celebrate the birth of Jesus this season!

May you be blessed for all that you do for others in Jesus’ name!

Immanuel Lutheran Church and School
5455 Alessandro Blvd., Riverside, CA 92506