Gordon Wicks – Celebration of Life

On Saturday October 16, 11 AM at Atonement, 602 Auburn Dr, Rapid City there is going to be a service “Celebration of Life” for Gordon Wicks, member of Atonement who passed away.
A reception at the church follows the service.

The burial is the day before, Friday, October 15, at 2:30 PM at the cemetery in Sturgis.

Bible Study at ALC

Starting September 19, there is a bible study at Atonement. It is a series called “Understanding the Old Testament” and takes place after Sunday worship service in the fireside room at Atonement. We will be using videos to guide us in our study of the Old Testament. This bible study is led by Marty Hogen and anyone can join!

ALC Vision & Open Questions

Atonement’s council had a great retreat at Terra Sancta on August 21. At the beginning of the retreat, we reflected on the past year. We looked at our mission statement and talked about how we lived into each of the parts of the mission statement.

Here a few points for each part:

  • Called by the Spirit of Christ
    • Bringing Communion to home bound people
    • Visits, calls, letters, cards to shut-ins
    • Our worships and events are centered around Christ
    • Open Communion
    • Prayers daily for Pastor, parish, all those who serve our country
    • Fellowship – Caring for one another
    • House Blessing on Epiphany
    • Called a new pastor
  • Show God’s Love (emphasis on “show” as in go out to reach)
    • Our website to show what our church is about and more
    • Our facebook page
    • Flyers at the post office and coffee shops
    • Newsletters
    • Bulletins
    • Weekly emails
    • Sending kids to Lutheran Outdoors
    • VBS, WOW, and Kid’s Fair
    • Invites to Bazaar, Lefse, Bingo Night
  • We Worship
    • Sunday Worship Service
    • Mid-Week Lenten Service
    • S’more Jesus devotional evening services
    • Great music and instruments in services
    • There is online access to worship service (Zoom)
    • Transmitting the service to the parking lot
    • WOW kids worship on Wednesday and at VBS
    • Day of Prayer and Fasting
  • We Teach
    • Word on Wednesday (WOW)
    • Sunday kids lessons
    • Women’s bible study
    • Making lefse and quilts
    • Vacation Bible School (VBS)
    • Adult ed: 
      • Series on “Living with Fear”, 
      • on “Grief”, 
      • movie nights, 
      • how to approach “New Life” after the pandemic, 
      • meditation videos, 
      • podcast
  • We Serve
    • Collecting things for missions
    • Donating money
    • Monthly community outreach (diaper drive, WAVI, etc.)
    • Kid’s Fair
    • Sending bulletins and printed-out sermons to home bound people

As you can see, your church was very busy last year! We hope, you are part of the many events and services in this new year.

For this new year the council then discerned a vision and open questions. That means for the coming 12 months the Council established this vision for our church: “The church will take steps to reach out to our surrounding neighbors.” This vision should not be confused with our mission as a church. Our mission statement has not changed and guides us always in what we want to do as a church internally and in the community.

The vision the council came up with, is what the council saw that we as a church should focus on in the next 12 months. We invite all members to share their ideas and feedback about it and participate in accomplishing it. Please speak with me or council members about how you’d like to help in working on this vision.

At the same retreat, the council discerned open questions. The questions are about “who are we?”, “what has God called us to do and to be?”, and “who is our neighbor?”.

The Open Questions the council came up with are as follows:

  1. What steps can we take to reach out to people in our community?
  2. How can we nurture your faith to make it vital and sustainable?
  3. How can we get different generations to interact with each other?

There will be many opportunities to talk about these important questions as a congregation in the coming months. The idea is that these are questions which the council does not have the answers too, we want to hear your thoughts and reflections on each question so we can discover the answers together.

On Sunday, October 3, after the service, we are going to have a special coffee hour “Café International” where we will go all out and decorate our coffee hour area, serve tasty pastries from a bakery, and you have the choice of latte macchiato, cappuccino, americano, or teas. Our three open questions will be on your table for you to discuss together. Then you can write down your ideas on how we can answer each open question.

This is an exciting time for our church, and I am looking forward to exploring with you who we are and who we want to be in our neighborhood and community, called by God.

Blessings, Pastor Sonja Pilman

S’more Jesus and VBS

The second s’more Jesus evening was meaningful and fun having a devotion, prayers, and singing songs together with the kids from VBS at Atonement. Of course, the s’mores where fantastic too and Pastor Sonja brought the tasty Swiss chocolate.

Pastor Sonja gets a hug!
VBS was island themed and here we are singing the camp song “If God is for me, who can be against me?”

Outdoor Service at Terra Sancta July 18, 21

We had a wonderful morning service at Terra Sancta today! The parish came together, it was great seeing everyone, and we made beautiful music 🎼 Thank you for coming!

Pastor Herb gave a sermon reminding us of how we are the salt of the earth. And we enjoyed Rubye’s yummy cinnamon rolls after the service in the shade.
I hope we can do this again!

On a personal note, a big thank you to the councils for your meaningful gift to my one-year-anniversary as your pastor. It is beautiful and well picked with the two intertwined hearts. I have a lot of love for my two churches, this gift will always remind me of that. Thank you and yes, with God, all things are possible!🙏

– Pastor Sonja

Holy Week 2021

Join the Graceful Hills Parish for Holy Week 2021. We will have special music and meaningful liturgies!

Go here to see all the bulletins: gracefulhills.church/bulletins/

Special Services:

April 1, 6pm – Maundy Thursday – at ALC

April 2, 6pm – Good Friday – at PVLC

Saturday, April 3, 7pm – Easter Vigil – at PVLC 

April 4, 6:30am – Easter Sunrise – at ALC 

Join in person with our usual guidelines of social distancing and mask wearing, or join live through our virtual connection on Zoom:

Easter Sunday Services:

Sunday, April 4, 9am – Easter Sunday, followed by Egg Hunt + simple brunch, – at PVLC
Join in person or on GoToMeeting

Sunday, April 4, 10:30am – Easter Sunday, followed by Egg Hunt + simple brunch, – at ALC
Join in person or on Zoom


If you have questions, contact 
Pastor Sonja at pastorsonjapilman@gmail.com
or 650 431 6693

UPDATE Next Steps for Worship guidelines related to the pandemic

UPDATE Next Steps for Worship guidelines related to the pandemic: 

Pastor Sonja assembled a group at Piedmont Valley to reflect on these guidelines. The Revitalization group (Bob Burns, Mike Smith, and Donna Wright) accepted the request to reflect and are highly qualified with their links to healthcare. After discussion together, the Revitalization Group suggested to the PVLC Council that we move to possible decrease mask use with in-person worship in May. Knowing that the state of SD is moving to herd immunity (maybe 70%) with vaccination by May, the council is moving to having “masks optional” starting on May 23, but continuing social spacing. Also keeping the doors open for springtime ventilation. The council is committed to always consider our whole community as we move forward at the Graceful Hills Parish.

At the upcoming PVLC Council meetings on April 19 and May 17, the council will confirm the May 23rd date for change in mask use. The council reserves the right and responsibility to change these plans (to earlier or later adjustment) should the cases and vaccine trends change dramatically in the next few weeks.   At this point our guidelines for mask use will change on May 23, and we will confirm this each week from now until May 23rd.  Our main goal is to be super clear about our plan and communicate it out to all in our community and parish.

The PVLC Council

The ALC council follows the recommendations of the highly qualified Revitalization Group at PVLC.


If you have questions, contact:

Pastor Sonja Pilman
(650) 431 6693
pastorsonjapilman@gmail.com

Grief Moves Us – Script

Why is it important to talk about our feelings of grief and loss? To quote Margie Neugebauer, Director of Justice, WELCA:

“Are you feeling tired, sad, angry, lonely, anxious, depressed? Well, the entire world is feeling all these emotions and maybe more. These can be signs of grief and loss. In reality the entire world is grieving. An article in the The American Counseling Association publication, Counseling Today, states; “The foundational emotion attached to the pandemic is grief, and grief — if not acknowledged, felt and addressed — will continue to trigger more easily identifiable emotions such as fear, anxiety, depression, and whatever other feelings and reactions typically present for people in a crisis (Grief and the COVID-19 Pandemic, Sophia Caudle.)”

We addressed our grief and shared our experiences, insights, and talked about how to move beyond feeling this way in this adult education. To read the script click the button below:

Contact Pastor Sonja for feedback, ideas or questions:
pastorsonjapilman@gmail.com
or 650 431 6693