Building community through learningThe scent of warm cookies wafted through Pilgrim Lutheran Church Saturday. Downstairs, baking teams turned out dozens of treats, from Scottish shortbread and snicker-doodles to peppermint bark and turtles. While they mixed ingredients together the participants — a blend of community and church members — mingled.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The scent of warm cookies wafted through Pilgrim Lutheran Church Saturday. Downstairs, baking teams turned out dozens of treats, from Scottish shortbread and snicker-doodles to peppermint bark and turtles. While they mixed ingredients together the participants — a blend of community and church members — mingled.
“It’s like an instant friendship,” said Tanya Haugland, who took part in the cookie bake. For $5 and a little time, each person brought home four dozen assorted Christmas cookies. Some came to share the baking experience, and the mess it creates. Others learned.
Allena Lofgren said she’s watched her mother make cookies, and attempted some herself. She found the class both educational and enjoyable.
“This is my get out and talk with others time,” said the stay-at-home mom.
This summer, Pilgrim Lutheran Church took on a new role, that of community school. To date, more than 100 people have taken part in classes on a wide range of topics from cooking and estate planning to Zumba, a fitness program. Teachers from the church and community have stepped up to offer inexpensive classes that are useful, fun, informative, hands-on and multi-generational, said Will Mowchan, Pilgrim Lutheran’s pastor. Anyone is welcome to participate.
“We wanted to make sure that it was very inclusive,” said Jenny Carey, who helped lead the cookie class. “So whether you’re Lutheran or Catholic or Jewish or whatever, we just wanted to make sure that everybody knew they were welcome.”
There is no hidden agenda, Mowchan said, just a chance to serve the community.
“Let’s get people together, let’s get to know each other better,” he said.
Stefanie Smetak and her 11-year-old son, Seth, teamed up to bake a batch of peanut butter blossoms Saturday. Despite a puff of flour that sprayed out of the bowl during mixing, causing the two to laugh, the recipe was a success.
To date, the Smetak family has taken classes on making bread, cookies and birdhouses, and digital photography through the church school.
“It’s fun and it’s a good way to have time with your families,” Seth said.
In another corner of the kitchen, Robin Rickman and her 10-year-old daughter Emily chopped nuts, mixed ingredients and rolled dough into balls. It was, said Rickman, a great opportunity for some mother-daughter time.
“I grew up like this,” Haugland said, but a lot of families don’t have the time to bake together today.
One popular class is Zumba. Mary Johnson-Garay, an elementary teacher and church member, offers the exercise class three times a week at the church, 820 Belknap St. About 12 to 18 students stop by each night. The cost is $5 per session and walk-ins are welcome.
“The music is great, the routines are designed to target the heart and muscles appropriately and fun is the top priority,” Garay said.
The church will begin its winter session of classes Jan. 13. More information on Pilgrim Community School and the classes is offered at www.plcsuperior.org, or call 715-392-4731 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. While classes are available to all, so is the chance to teach.
“If anyone in our community has a skill they would like to share, have them call Pilgrim Community School,” Garay said. “We are always looking for talents and people willing to share them.”