Sunday, December 21, 2008


Melanie Wittman and Carl Magnusson, both members of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, were married in an evening candlelight service at the church on Saturday, December 20th. The service was officiated by Pastor Laura Gentry. Hory Magnusson, great uncle of the groom, played piano for the wedding. Clare Wittman, sister of the bride, was the flower girl. Mothers of the couple served as scripture readers. Photos were shot by William Gentry.

The bride wore an elegant gown of an original design. The designer is a personal friend of Melanie's.

Mr. and Mrs. Magnusson's reception was held following the wedding at the Kerndt Brothers Community Center.

Congratulations, Carl & Melanie!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


The Women of the ELCA had a Christmas party at the home of Jan and Mary Schweitzer on December 17th. They held a business meeting followed by a game, Christmas caroling and then they enjoyed Christmas cookies and other treats. Pictured left to right are Grace Ziegelmaier, Nancy Amble, Donna Reed, Mary Schweitzer, Sharon Kiesau, Gayle Bahlman, Pastor Laura Gentry, Donna Thran and Judy Schild.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


On All Saint's Sunday, November 2nd, 2008,  a special liturgy was part of the worship to commemorate the saints who have gone before.

Names of saints—by virtue of grace—were written on paper hearts. Worshipers processed forward during the hymn of the day to placed the hearts upon the cross, affirming our belief that these saints are held in God's hands through the redemptive power of the cross.

Friday, October 31, 2008


The Lansing Laughter Club celebrated Halloween this year with a silly costume party. Laughter was enjoyed by all, followed by a time of treats and fellowship.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


On Sunday, July 6, the members of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Lansing worshiped on the Mississippi River. The church’s regular Sunday service was held aboard a Mississippi Explorer Cruise boat, captained by Jack Libbey.

This was the first time Our Savior’s has chartered a boat for worship. The group embarked from the Mississippi River Explorer Cruise dock next to the Red Geranium on Front Street. The cruise took them both north and south of the port. Sunny weather and a large turnout made for a spectacular trip.

“The worship cruise was wonderful!” declared longtime member Mary Schweitzer. This sentiment was echoed by the whole group.

Two people were baptized in the river during the course of the service. Captain Jack pulled the vessel up to a sandbar so Pastor Laura Gentry, the baptismal candidates, sponsors and a number of other passengers could disembark. The others observed from the boat. There, Danielle Gabel and her 10 year-old son, Cameron, of DeSoto, Wisconsin, were both baptized by immersion. Their sponsors are Melanie Wittman, Carl Magnusson and Jessie Mason.

“The whole experience was amazing,” said Gabel of her baptism. “It was an emotional, happy day. Cameron was just glowing with joy. I can feel that we have really been embraced by a loving church and that is so inspiring to me.”

Gabel and her three children became members of Our Savior’s the prior week along with Eddie and Rose Bartz, Randy Bunn, Perry Johnson, Carl Magnusson, and Ruby and Paula Rathbun. A special new members reception was held for them at the church on June 29.

Randy Bunn commented, “I am so glad I joined Our Savior’s. I’m a shy person but they made me feel like I’m part of the family.” He also enjoyed the worship cruise. “That was the first time I had ever attended worship on a boat and it was awesome. I love the Mississippi. That’s why I moved to Lansing. Having worship on the river and witnessing the baptisms really helped me reflect on how I can move forward in faith and do God’s will.”

Also aboard the Independence Day weekend cruise were three staff persons from Sugar Creek Bible Camp of Ferryville, Wisconsin. The camp sent the college aged staffers along to serve as musicians. Together with Pastor Gentry, they provided dynamic accompaniment for the service with guitar, drum and percussion instruments.

After the service, Captain Jack took the group further downstream to enjoy the river while coffee and donuts were served. The musicians played hymns and patriotic songs during this fellowship time.

Pastor Gentry has performed 75 baptism in her 10 years of ordained ministry thus far but said this was the first time she’d been asked to baptize in the river. “Lutherans don’t usually use a lot of water in baptism, but they certainly can. We believe God’s power is the same no matter how the baptism is done. I think it was very exciting for our congregation to witness a different kind of baptism to remind us of the various ways in which the Holy Spirit works.”

At the end of the cruise, Pastor Gentry said to the congregation: “Many people ask me what heaven is like and I say, ‘I don’t know but this river gives us a pretty good idea.’ So being able to worship and to baptize out here on this glorious day was a true delight for me. Thank you to Captain Jack Libbey and to the church council for making it possible and to all of you for being here!”

Members of Our Savior’s are hopeful that taking a worship cruise on the Mississippi will become an annual tradition.

Below is a slideshow from the cruise. Photos by Burnell Smith.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Dakota Marie-Love Stieber was baptized at Our Savior's Lutheran Church on Sunday, March 2nd. Pictured above are: Pastor Laura Gentry, Dakota with her parents Dexter Steiber and Andrea Love; and baptismal sponsors Roxanne Love and Alex Minkel.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Jarod Michael, son of Matt and Noelle Reams, was baptized at Our Savior's Lutheran Church on Sunday, January 20, 2008. Pictured above are: sponsor Danny Reams, Matt Reams with Jarod Michael, Noelle Reams, sponsor Kathy Mitchell and Pastor Laura Gentry.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


This month, the Lansing Laughter Club, a ministry of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, celebrates its one-year anniversary. For a whole year, the group has met each Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Kerndt Brothers Community Center on Main Street to laugh for a half hour.

Using a method called laughter yoga, developed in 1995 by a medical doctor, the Lansing Laughter Club laughs without the necessity of jokes. The basic premise of laughter yoga is that anyone can laugh. We don’t even need a sense of humor. All we need is the desire to laugh, to open up our hearts and let the joy and laughter flow. Laughter yoga combines laughter exercises with deep breathing, stretching, and relaxation. When it is practiced in a group, it becomes absolutely contagious. Not only do people laugh, but they joyfully connect with one another and cultivate their own childlike playfulness.

As the old saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. Laughter has been proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease, strengthen your immune system, ease physical pain and boost happiness. Participating in laughter yoga sessions can also increase creativity, physical vitality and emotional intelligence. Besides, it is just plain fun.

The Lansing Laughter Club draws laughers of all ages from Lansing and Waukon. Often, people from outside the area drop in to experience laughter yoga as well. Laughter club is a unique place where the generations can join together in a unifying activity. Even those with physical limitations or disabilities can actively participate.

Because it is the first laughter club in Iowa registered at the international laughter yoga site,, it has received a great deal of media attention. In addition to coverage by local newspapers, the Des Moines Register ran a front page article in February. It was featured in the religion section of the LaCrosse Tribune in May. The Lutheran, the national magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, published two articles about the club. KWWL Channel 7 aired a special feature about the laughter club in May.

One of the highlights of the year for the laughter club was the costume party held on Halloween night. Laughers, dressed in a wide array of costumes, paraded down Main Street with signs. They offered free laughs to everyone as a special Halloween treat.

Gary Jones and his wife, Janet McMillan, make the trip from Waukon each week to participate in the Lansing Laughter Club. “We just love it!” they proclaim.

“That half hour flies right by! You want to stay even longer.” says Jones.

Lansing resident, Donna Thran, has also been a regular participant. She recognizes the difference it has made in her life. “Even if you didn’t think you wanted to come to laughter club, it’s worth it. You get here and get to laughing and when you get home, you feel so energized.”

Duane Heit also echoes this sentiment. “When I leave laughter club, I always feel great.”

Rich Gramlich believes that his participation in the group has changed his life for the better. “Laughter Club has improved my overall well-being. I feel healthier. I feel more vibrant—not just at laughter club but in my everyday life. And I have made a wonderful set of new friends by attending these meetings each week.”

Laughter club leader, Pastor Laura Gentry, is amazed by the positive effects of practicing laughter yoga. “It is such an immunity booster,” she says. “In the past year, I only got one cold and I got over it immediately. The laughter has truly made me more resilient.”

Gentry thinks the community-building power of laughter is astonishing. “When you laugh with people, it breaks down all barriers and you quickly become friends. At laughter club, everyone feels loved and important, even first time visitors. And that makes it a great outreach ministry.”

Gentry, convinced of the importance of laughter clubs, traveled to California last May to study with Dr. Madan Kataria. The founder of laughter yoga, Kataria lives in Mumbai, India. After a week-long course, Gentry became a certified laughter yoga teacher. She has now trained 20 laughter yoga leaders.

Two of her students, Mary Beth Theising and Maxxximum Madcap of Decorah, started their own laughter club. It meets each Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Senior Center, 806 River Street in Decorah.

Another laughter student of Gentry’s, Anna Moody of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, has begun doing laughter yoga sessions at the Elkader Hospital. She is also planning to lead laughter yoga at the McGregor Public Library.

Gentry’s third laughter yoga leader seminar is scheduled for February 8th through the 10th in Ferryville, Wisconsin. “This seminar will be a retreat where people can get away from their everyday stresses and laugh, learn and develop meaningful friendships.” Explains Gentry who is eagerly anticipating this upcoming laughter seminar. Several people are flying in from out of state to participate. Enrollment is limited, but there are still a few spots open.

The Lansing Laughter Club is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Web site at or call the church at 563-538-4664.