Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The kindness of a faith community July 20, 2018


CHOCOLATE MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER, right? Or at least it helps.

Chocolate lifted my mood recently following the death of my friend and pastor, the Rev. Dr. Michael Nirva. He died June 9 in Sweden from complications related to cancer. His unexpected death while traveling with family hit me, and our congregation at Trinity Lutheran Church in Faribault, hard.



From across town, First English Lutheran Church reached out, gifting Trinity with a basket of hugs and kisses. Of the Hershey’s chocolate variety. The congregation’s act of Christian love and sympathy touched me and many others. How thoughtful and kind and caring.



Likewise, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church sent a plant to honor Pastor Nirva at a celebration of life service last weekend. What a blessing to live in a town where such grace is extended to a faith family grieving the loss of its senior pastor.

Thank you, First English and Our Savior’s.



© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


22 Responses to “The kindness of a faith community”

  1. Ruth Says:

    I’m sorry for the loss of your friend and pastor. How wonderful you live in such a loving and caring place.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    What a lovely gesture.

  3. Claudette Says:

    I’m Swiss-Canadian so yes to chocolate. 😊

  4. Littlesundog Says:

    I never really cared for chocolate much… until I went to Germany recently and got hooked in a serious way. I have never heard of gifting chocolate for the death of a loved one, but I now think it’s a lovely and thoughtful gesture. There’s just something soothing about a bit of that sweetness melting away, while we savor the delightful taste. Similar to holding those sweet memories of loved ones for just a little while… remembering their gift in your life.

  5. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss! Nice to see that one church will reach out to the other like that

  6. treadlemusic Says:

    Such an event is devastating whenever/wherever it occurs but, when traveling away, it’s even more tragic. You’re left with heavy emotions of a relationship unfinished/without “closure” (sorry for the “buzzword”) and the struggle to move beyond seems to be more heavy and difficult. Sending hugs (unfortunately, not of the chocolate variety…..)

  7. Sorry for your loss.
    I agree, a little bit of hugs & kisses is such a SWEET thought!
    I really love that idea. xx

  8. Truly a SWEET Gesture 🙂 Plus it gets people gathering over a basket of treats to reminiscence about the good memories. We can all relate to a family member or friend giving us a sweet treat and letting us gather around over that treat with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk/juice. ((((Blessings)))))

  9. Virgil Says:

    I too was warmed by thoughtful gestures of our community churches. The candy kisses were an emotional uplifting for me.
    You have posted some very meaningful messages since Pastor Nirva’s death. Thank you Audrey.

  10. Bella Says:

    You are in my thoughts and prayers as you navigate through a long period of losses and many sorrowful moments. Indeed it does take a lot of faith understanding why these things happen .

  11. Jackie Says:

    Sorry for the loss of your Friend and minister! You’ve spoken highly of him, from your words I can tell he was a wonderful man and friend. I love to see support from other congregations 🙂

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