Bonnie Miller is a spunky, fun-loving, devoted member of Dilworth Lutheran Church. She is married with two children and two grandchildren. A retired cardiac pacemaker nurse, she now loves singing in the choir, playing the French horn in the Red River Valley Veteran’s Band, and, most of all, taking care of her grandchildren.

As a child, Bonnie attended an Episcopal Church, but was more active in the Lutheran Church with their youth activities. “I loved being a part of both churches. It reminded me that while we may have differences, we are all one.”

When a job opportunity brought Bonnie and her husband Greg to the FM Area, they checked out many churches. “After we visited a lot of places, we loved the warm, welcoming feeling of Dilworth Lutheran Church. The Pastor was gentle and compassionate, and the sermons were what we needed to hear. The church made such a difference for our young family. We wanted to raise our children in a faith-based environment and Dilworth Lutheran provided it. And, as a bonus, they even had a choir!”

Through their time here, Bonnie and Greg have faced many trials. Along with her faith and family, the love and care from her Dilworth congregation has given her the strength to carry on to serve others as they have served her. “Dilworth has been a great church home. The messages continue to speak to me wherever I’m at and they help carry my faith outside of the church, to work and life. The longer we have been here, the more my faith grows. I find myself praying more and getting deeper into the Bible.”

The church continues to inspire and provide love and support to Bonnie. “What I love most is the way so many people get involved. People love this church, and they continue to inspire me to become more involved. There is something here for everyone.”

Recently retired accountant and current grandchild baby-sitter, Cindy Andrew grows in her faith through Dilworth Lutheran’s mission of “Love God. Love Neighbor.”

When Cindy Andrew moved to Dilworth twenty years ago, she knew almost no one. Her kids were busy in elementary school, and she was establishing her career as an accountant. “My family’s move to Dilworth could have been a lonely and difficult transition. Instead, I found a family at Dilworth Lutheran Church.”

For Cindy, Dilworth Lutheran provides opportunities for growth in her love for God and for love of neighbor. “Dilworth Lutheran has given me so many opportunities to grow in my faith. During the week, I am able to be a part of the women’s devotional group, and I am able to mentors students in confirmation. These opportunities to learn, grow, and share my faith are so important to who I am.”

Dilworth Lutheran’s energy in helping our community has expanded Cindy’s faith. Through serving with her church family, Cindy’s faith and world has grown. “As I’ve practiced loving my neighbor at a Habitat for Humanity build site or serving at a funeral, I’ve found deeper love for God.”

This past Christmas, when Cindy walked into the Faith Life Center with gifts for children in need from our local elementary school, tears sprang to her eyes, “When I saw over a thousand gifts for people in our community and women in the jail, I was overwhelmed by the superabundance of God’s grace. Wow!”

The church is her family here in Dilworth. She knows that she’ll always have a home here for loving God and loving our neighbors.

Angela Weiser loves being busy. As a young adult, she loves being active in softball, she works as much as she can, and she spends her days in a Doctor of Physical Therapy program learning to heal peoples’ bodies.

Between studying, working, and playing, all of Angela’s busyness can be exhausting and sometimes overwhelming. “I love everything I do—I’m excited about all the work I’m going to do to help people heal. But studying and working all the time can be a lot.”

For Angela, Dilworth Lutheran Church has been a place to find peace and center herself. “Since I’ve started graduate school, I’ve found that I need God front and center in my life. When I’m not connecting to God, the rest of my life isn’t the same.”

Dilworth Lutheran Church has provided the setting for her to grow in her faith. “Dilworth Lutheran consistently reminds me of the joy of being in Christian community. In worship, on mission trips, and through congregation members’ testimonies during Lent, I’ve learned that we are in the life of faith together.”

“The thing I’ve appreciated the most about Dilworth is that it provides a place for people to be honest. I’ve heard about people’s struggles—struggles that I’m facing as a young adult—but I’ve also heard that God is active and leading them through life. Coming to regular worship helps remember that God is always with me and loves me.”

As she moves into physical therapy, Angela knows that the faith nurtured at Dilworth Lutheran will flourish in all her work. “At Dilworth, I’ve learned that God heals our bodies and souls. As a physical therapist I will get to live this out every day.”

As Dilworth grows into a new building, we pray that we will be able to continue to inspire, transform, and provide respite for our youth and families.

If you are around Dilworth Lutheran, you are bound to bump into Lisa Grafstrom. She teaches Sunday School, serves on the Youth Committee, Church Council, and, when summer comes around, she helps lead the youth on mission trips and Habitat for Humanity builds.

“I love this church,” she says. “When we were first married, I was drawn to the small size and to Pastor Mark’s sermons. Since we have had kids, Dilworth has been a wonderful place to raise a family in faith.”

As her girls have grown up in the church, Lisa and her family have enjoyed getting to know all of the great people of Dilworth Lutheran Church. “I love how the church is a true community. The older members always support the youth programs through their generosity. The youth are able to serve meals to everyone. My daughters have met people they wouldn’t meet anywhere else.”

Today, Lisa sees great things ahead for Dilworth Lutheran. She loves Pastor Elizabeth and her leadership. “Pastor Elizabeth’s positive personality has helped grow the youth programs and revitalized our worship. Our small church now feels lively and energetic. Elizabeth delivers great messages like Pastor Mark and she advocates for the church.”

Because of the generosity of the congregation, Lisa has found a second family at Dilworth Lutheran Church. “We are so grateful to be a part of this congregation. God is working here.”

Emalee Muhonen is a mother, wife, and member of Dilworth Lutheran Church where she attends church regularly and teaches Sunday School. Emalee has been a member of Dilworth Lutheran for as long as she can remember.

Years ago, she remembers feeling jealous of other churches when they would take their youth out on fun field trips like skiing and mission trips and at the time, Dilworth Lutheran had a very small youth program.

Fast forward many years and now Emalee is a wife and mother! She had a decision to make for her new family as to where they will worship. She decided to continue to attend Dilworth Lutheran because of how their youth program had grown. They were now offering all the things she wished she had as a child. As she grew so did the church. The program had become larger, more involved, and more welcoming!

Emalee and her family have remained members of Dilworth Lutheran Church because of the great youth program! They also stay because of family and all the amazing people in the congregation. She especially loves how the elderly population interacts with the youth; it warms her heart to see this.

Emalee remembers one day in church her first grade daughter was the only child who went up for the children’s sermon and she was very nervous. A gentleman saw her and hauled his oxygen tank over to the middle of the pews and sat down on the carpet with her. She said it is moments like this that make coming to church so special.

Some of you know Kevin and Jean Syverson. Kevin drives the school bus for Dilworth Elementary. Like many retired baby boomers, Kevin now works part-time and loves to plant trees. He lives what our founding father, Martin Luther, once penned, “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” Be sure to ask Kevin how many trees he’s planted!!

A few years ago, Kevin and Jean went through several major transitions: Kevin retired from the Railroad; after 23 years of working in Christian Education, Jean switched jobs; and they moved to Dilworth. Then the pandemic hit, and with it came an isolation that accentuated their need for community and fellowship.

After this upheaval, Jean and Kevin longed to be grounded. “When we moved to Dilworth we had a deep desire to be known, to belong,” Jean said.

Jean and Kevin started coming to Dilworth through the drive-in worship. Even the worship wasn’t the same as being in person, they found a spiritual home. “The pandemic makes it more difficult to get to know people,” they reflected. “But the worshipping community has given us a sense of home. We feel grounded here. We love having a good mix of old and young in our new faith community and enjoy both our traditional and contemporary worship services.”

Kevin was also happily surprised to find a couple of his Railroad friends at church too. He hopes he can someday be a part of a men’s group who like to fix up the church. “I want to contribute to my church,” he said. “It is a two-minute drive to our new church, and we are only 20 minutes away from our grandson. Life is good!” they proudly proclaimed.

Jean and Kevin love their new home, small town life, and getting to know their neighbors. “You can tell who the members of our church are by the signs on their lawn,” they said. “Love God. Love neighbor. That’s what we do at Dilworth Lutheran.”

If there is an event going on at Dilworth Lutheran Church, Sandy Stultz is there. Whether she is baking pies for the Fall Dinner, participating in weekly Bible studies, or rounding up volunteers, Sandy loves serving the church.

Sandy has been actively involved in Dilworth for over 50 years. Early in their marriage, Sandy and Dennis moved to Dilworth. Sandy grew up with a strong faith and she wanted to pass this onto her children. When Sandy arrived at Dilworth Lutheran Church, she was looking for familiarity, for a place where her family could become part of a larger community in love and service. “The warmth of Dilworth Lutheran drew me in,” Sandy shared. “The people made me feel welcomed and invited me to be involved in many different areas of church ministry.”

One special person invited Sandy to become a Sunday School teacher and this made all the difference. “Teaching Sunday School let me be near my children as they were growing up and helped me talk about the faith with them. From Sunday School, I got to know the warm, friendly, caring people of Dilworth of all ages in the congregation. And from there, I stayed involved.”

For Sandy, this ministry of Dilworth Lutheran has been central to her faith life. “I am so thankful and blessed by all the friendships, prayers, and bible studies of Dilworth. I love all the pastors we have had here. They truly care about people.”

The work of being involved has been transformative for Sandy. “The ministry of Dilworth is not only for people inside the church, but it is also carried outside of Dilworth Lutheran into people’s everyday lives. The church has helped me to open my thoughts emotionally and spiritually and helped me become more accepting of today’s society.”

“I am so thankful Dilworth Lutheran Church,” Sandy says. “It has been a real blessing to be a part of this community.”

Jacob is an energetic 7th grader, excited to visit with everyone he meets.

Before coming to Dilworth Lutheran Church, Jacob attended a larger church where he did not know many people. Although he enjoyed some activities at this church, he wanted to be in a community closer to home.

Jacob and his mom tested out Dilworth Lutheran and instantly felt welcomed by all the friendly people.

“Pastor Elizabeth told a story about someone lifting another person up during our first visit,” he says. “Since joining Dilworth, I feel lifted up by the church, and especially Hannah. She is so optimistic and nice about everything.”

Jacob loves the way Dilworth nurtures his faith in big and small ways. “One of the best things I’ve done at Dilworth is going on a mission trip with Hannah to Duluth. I met so many other children and saw how I can make a difference. It was life changing.”

Jacob finds joy in the daily life of the church. He loves communion, singing in church, seeing his friends, and the FOOD! “I love when the ladies in the kitchen tell me to ‘eat up’ because they have the best treats.”

Jacob’s faith has grown at Dilworth Lutheran Church. He feels connected to many people and has found the community he longed for. He loves being part of Dilworth Lutheran’s community, and, of course, snagging some of those extra treats!

Your generosity to Dilworth helps create the welcoming and nurturing environment centered in Christ that Jacob finds here.

Steve Varty owns a construction company for framing new home builds. He’s married and has two quickly growing boys. While he spends his days working in town, he tries getting outdoors in the woods or on a lake, hunting and fishing, as often as possible.

Steve grew up near Twin Valley and was active in church growing up. He spent his youth at church with grandparents. “Growing up, faith and family always went together,” Steve says.

In college, Steve had little church connection. Life was busy with work and school.

Once Steve got married, however, he knew that he wanted church to be the foundation of his new family’s life. When Steve and his family moved to Dilworth, they joined Dilworth Lutheran Church. Dilworth has been a place to grow with his family in faith.

“Dilworth Lutheran is similar to me to time in the boat and in the woods. It gives me an hour to sit, hear from God, and relax. I like thinking through Pastor Dan and Pastor Elizabeth’s sermons. After a stressful week, Dilworth brings me back to what is most important in my life: faith and family.”

Steve feels blessed to have found a church like Dilworth that allows him to share his faith with his family and community.

She remembers being asked a number of times after her diagnosis, “Aren’t you mad at God for letting this happen to you?”
“You can choose to be bitter or you can choose to be better,” she would reply. “I choose to be better.”