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News for 1/1/2020 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

St. John Lutheran Program

The youth of St. John Lutheran Church in Kensington delivered their Christmas message by performing a play called “Christmas Hope”. The church has held their children’s program with candlelight service on Christmas Eve in the same sanctuary for 99 years!


Three shepherds; Isaac Wagenblast, Jakeb Brown and Conner Molzahn, came to visit Mary at the manger. Kassie Wagenblast as Mary, and sheep Jenna Molzahn, Sawyer Levin and Lexi Bienhoff.


Conner Molzahn (behind), Isaac Wagenblast (left), and Jakeb Brown (right) played the three shepherds in the Christmas program.

Maycee Westbrook, Kyler Seemann, Abigail Hardacre and Jack Molzahn narrated the present day story while the young children told the Bible story.

WELCA Christmas Party

The 2019 WELCA Senior Christmas Party welcomed over 45 guests at St. John Lutheran Church, in the Parish Hall, on December 8. The theme for this years’ party was “Red, Green and Gold”, which carried out in many of the decorations throughout the hall.

The 9-foot green pine Christmas tree with red lights was adorned with a variety of red, green and gold ornaments. The tables were covered in gold table coverings with homemade runners on each table in either red or green to coordinate with miniature Christmas trees fashioned with red or gold embellishments. The small trees sat on sliced of wood, from the Rahjes wedding, beside little black lanterns aglow, from warm flickering candle lighting inside. Each lantern had its own ribbon with greenery decor fitting the theme. A sprinkle of “snow” finished the wood-sliced table arrangements on all 12 tables.

Every year, WELCA presents a take-home gift to honor and thank those in attendance. This year's gift was a 13 page variety of puzzle and answer sheets. Donning a kelly green cover sheet was a handmade, red poinsettia created from chenille stems. Surrounding the centered poinsettia was a greeting, “Merry Christmas”, written in gold lettering. Each puzzle packet came with a #2 Christmas pencil. Red napkins and green plates completed the party table decor with scattered specialty candies covered in red, green and gold wrappers.

WELCA members provided a variety of fine-fare brunch-styled food for everyone to enjoy since the party was held immediately after church dismissed. Breakfast casseroles, cinnamon rolls, coffee cakes and many other goodies were provided. A variety of hot teas and hot chocolates were offered.

Christmas cards for Lori Miller, Lelia Grauerholz and Audry Miller were passed around for all to sign and extend greetings to these faithful WELCA ladies.

Mary Struckhoff, WELCA Justice Officer, welcomed everyone giving an interesting tid-bit of information on the poinsettia. She also presented “The Colors of Christmas”, a reading of colors and their symbolic meanings for this season. Those present joined in singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” followed by the origins of “The Christmas Pickle”.

The WELCA Quilt ladies fundraiser was a raffle drawing for quilts and blankets. Prize winners were drawn during the WELCA Christmas party and were as follows: Quilted Table Runner- Eulonda Hagman, Patriotic Quilt- Joyce Grauerholz, Pastel Quilt- Linda Rice, FHSU fleece blanket- Krystal Kerns, TR fleece blanket- Linda Dettmer. Thank-you to all who purchased tickets to support this fundraiser.

After a prayer and recognition of key people, the party continued by sharing fellowship. The WELCA ladies then began assembling around a dozen cheer-plates to be delivered to friends and family who couldn’t attend or who cannot get out as well as they’d like, but are loved and remembered.

I’d like to personally thank everyone who has helped me over the past 4 years as the seasons and party themes changed. The donated items and help of any kind has been appreciated. It’s been an honor to serve at a job I enjoyed. Warmest wishes extends to all this Christmas and into the new year from all the WELCA ladies at St. John Church of Kenmnsington.

Respectfully submitted by Mary Struckhoff, WELCA Justice Officer

Lions Club News

Each year, the Kensington Lions Club meets to package and deliver gift bags to members of the community. Each bag contains FFA fruit and homemade cookies. This year they delivered 46 bags. Lions are always here to serve! Consider joining us. Our next meeting will be January 6, at 7:00pm at the Senior-Community Center.


Gary Hainke and Darold Grauerholz checking gift bags while Bob Bearly and Galen Larson check the list.

Don Wiens and Bob Bearley making sure each bag has fruit.

KAYS Collect Food

Before Christmas, the students of TR High School try to avoid a bit of homework while helping the community! The students bring food to block the doors of classes they don’t want homework in that day. If the door is blocked, no homework!!

All food collected is then donated the the Kensington food pantry. The students even go to the Senior Center to deliver and help sort the food. This activity is sponsored by the KAYS.

KAYS blocking the doors with food items.


KAYS helping to sort food items after delivery to the food pantry. (L-R) Ivy Corbett, Jacob Elson, JaCea Reece, Bayleigh Morgan.

Edgar Galicia helps Donna Johnson sort supplies for the local food pantry.

TR Elementary Gives Back

This Christmas, the students and staff at Thunder Ridge Elementary wanted to give something to the residents of Sun Porch and Smith Center Health and Rehab. Robin Billings used her Thrivent Action Dollars to purchase the items so the kids could then assemble the gifts.  The kids put a small bottle of lotion in a pair of fuzzy socks and wrapped them up with a package of cocoa and a candy cane. Each gift was topped with a hand made card made by the students. 71 gift packages were delivered to the residents before Christmas. 

The kids were excited to give back to the community and loved their Thrivent shirts they received free for participating in the project!


Mrs. Hughes Kindergarten class proudly wearing their shirts.

1st graders Keith Baker and Destyni Coomes assemble gifts for the elderly.

Thunder Ridge Calendar Events


Jan. 1-3 No School -- Winter Break

Mon. 6- School Resumes

Tue. 7- HS BB @ Osborne 4:00pm

Wed. 8- MS Honors Program 3:15pm in Auditorium

Thur. 9- MS BB @ Southern Cloud (Glasco) 3:00pm/ lv 12:35

Sat. 11- HS Winter Formal 8:30-11:30pm

Mon. 13- MS BB in Agra vs. Natoma 4:00pm; No TR Academy

Tue. 14- HS BB @ Lakeside (Downs) 4:00pm

Wed. 15- MS In-School Spelling Bee 9:30am in Auditorium

Thur. 16- MS BB @ Rock Hills (Mankato) 4:00pm/ lv 2:30

Fri. 17- HS BB vs Wilson 4:00pm

Mat Makers

Mat Makers will meet again on Saturday, January 4, from 9-noon at the St. John Lutheran Church. If you want to crochet on your own, there is plarn (plastic yarn) already cut and rolled into balls in the church's hallway. Or if you'd rather come join the fun in person, mark your calendars for January 4th!

Weekly Inspiration 

Life is good, life is great. Always love and never hate. Break the rules, stand apart. Ignore your head and follow your heart. - Ashley Purdy

You'll never find the RIGHT person if you never let go of the WRONG one. - Unknown

A life spent making mistakes is more honorable than a life spent doing nothing. - George Bernard Shaw


Send your info to Erica Barnes at with subject line: NEWS; or feel free to call 785-476-8185. For the full, in color edition, visit


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