Blog

Check out the latest news from St. John’s.

Creation Kids Preschool is hiring

Creations Kids Preschool is currently seeking the following positions for the 2019-2020 school year. Click on the respective links for the full job descriptions.

For more information, contact Katie Freerksen, Rachel Linbo, or Jessica Paulsen. Resumes and cover letters can be emailed to preschool@stjohnskasson.org or dropped off at the St. John’s office. In lieu of a resume, applicants can submit a job application instead.

God’s love is for everyone to experience and share

Pastor David Efflandt

Each year in Lent, I am thankful for the opportunity to think deeply about my relationships, both with others and with God. This year I am finding myself keenly aware of this: all of us need to experience the nearness of God. When I look out at the landscape of my own relationships, I can see those mountaintops and valleys of my faith journey, where I have felt very close to or very far from God’s presence. I have often felt closest to God through the love shared by friends or family, or in worship. It is ironic, though, that through the words and deeds of these same people, I have also experienced what felt at the time like the complete and total absence of God.

This leads to what is a difficult reality to encounter: our relationships are not perfect because we too are not perfect. No matter how hard we try, we cannot live or speak perfectly in our lives of faith. Nobody can. And yet, even as we come face to face with this truth, we are also welcomed into the full knowledge of who we truly are: while we are indeed broken people, we are also people who have been made whole through the love of God in Christ. All of us.

How might this help us in our relationship between God and others? Plant this truth deeply in your hearts: there is nothing in this world that can stop God from loving you. Nothing. Let it blossom into a harvest of God’s faithfulness in your words and deeds. Remember God’s patience, kindness, compassion, and steadfast love given without strings attached, and give it away in the exact same way in all your relationships. In this way, you will help others experience the nearness of God.

Giving just got easier

After months of careful research, we are excited to announce we have a new platform for giving – Tithe.ly! We now have the opportunity to set up automated giving or send one-time gifts through our website OR through a convenient app on your phone. Simply visit stjohnskasson.org/giving or search for the “ELCA Giving Tool by Tithe.ly” app to get started.

Make the most of your gifts:

  • Select ACH/bank to incur the lowest fees.
  • Opt to “Cover card processing fees” to pay the fees and ensure your full intended amount goes directly to St. John’s.

If you haven’t participated in electronic giving in the past, now is a great time to consider setting up this option! It’s easy and secure. It also makes consistent giving one less thing to think about because Tithe.ly works even through vacations, inclement weather, and forgotten wallets. St. John’s will continue to offer envelopes for donations, but we ask that you consider electronic giving!  Giving electronically, is a tremendous time savings when counting and recording donations, it also provides the church with more reliable and steady donations.

Please take this time to consider, if you are able, to enhance your current giving. Even a small step up – such as a $5 or $10 periodic increment over time provides St. John’s the valuable support we need.

If you have any questions about the new system, council members or office staff are available to help!

Participants enrolled in our previous automated giving option will be receiving information about the changeover. Your current automated giving will end April 30, 2019.

Thank you for generosity to St. John’s. We appreciate all the ways you give so that we may live as witnesses of Jesus Christ in our community.

Caramel Rolls

Our youth going to San Diego for the summer service trip will be selling ooey gooey caramel rolls March 31 through April 10 (in-person Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings or order online). Rolls will be fresh-baked and ready for pick-up Palm Sunday, April 14 beginning at 8:00 am.

Now available: take and bake is also an option! Simply indicate on your order if you prefer baked or frozen.

Exciting changes for CKP

Creation Kids Preschool has a TWO THUMBS UP announcement!

Proudly starting our 21st year of preschool, we are full of excitement to share the news of our Before & After Care program. This will be full-time, 5 days a week for registered Creation Kids preschoolers at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kasson, MN. Monday through Friday hours are 6:15 am – 6:00 pm.

Beginning September 2019, with convenient options to help simplify your busy life, we invite you to explore our new program, Little Lambs. CKP Little Lambs will consist of a structured play group that will include the lunch hour with friends and a mix of small and large motor activity time, creative arts/activities, reading/story time, outdoor play (weather permitting) and a rest period depending on your child’s preschool programming for that particular day. Details on classes and Before and After Care for 2019-2020 are in the registration information at stjohnskasson.org/preschool

We invite you to visit our booth at the Dodge County Expo at Triton High School on Saturday, March 30 8:00 am – 2:00 pm. Along with fun games and prizes, we will have more information about this new program. Registration for preschool will open to the public on March 30 and for current preschool and St. John’s families, registration is now open.

For questions, please reach out to any of the following associated with Creation Kids Preschool; our administrator, board members, or teachers: Lindy Bungum, Tessa Carolan, Lindsay Colwell, Risa Fellows, Katie Freerksen, Anne Holtan, Rachel Linbo, Jessica Paulsen, Amanda Sabelko, Phyllis Sands, Kresta Schultz, Teresa Watkins, or email preschool@stjohnskasson.org.

Please feel free to pass this news along! Limited spots available so don’t wait too long!

We would like to thank everyone, past and present St. John’s Staff, board members, teachers, our congregation and community, and 20 years of students, parents and families for your love and support in growing this amazing preschool program. We realized there was a need in our community and we can now answer back by expanding our ministry with loving hearts and your continued support!

May God continue to bless you all!

Your Thrivent Choice Dollars make a difference

Grant funding from Thrivent Financial through its Thrivent Choice® program can help support organizations you care about. Don’t let designated Choice Dollars expire.

Eligible Thrivent Financial members (ages 16 and older) have until March 31, 2019, to direct any remaining 2018 Choice Dollars. Help support St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Go to Thrivent.com/thriventchoice to learn more and find program terms and conditions or call 800-847-4836 and say “Thrivent Choice” after the prompt.

These dollars have been a blessing to our congregation. In 2018, over $8,600 in Choice Dollars were distributed to various groups at St. John’s.

Property: Boiler Repairs/improvements – $5,000

Library: Furniture updates – $500

Youth: Confirmation Camp – $500 + ELCA Youth Gathering – $1,000

Worship and Music: Special music  Harpist – $250

Creation Kids Preschool: Playground Mulch – $1,397.25

_________

Total – $8,647.25

Directing your Choice Dollars is an easy and meaningful way to support St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Thank you to Thrivent Members who have directed Choice Dollars.

It’s all about our congregation, your support, your choice. Choose to make this difference by directing your Choice Dollars today.

Questions about Thrivent Choice Dollars?  Ask a Thrivent Advocate at St. John’s.

St. John’s Thrivent Choice Advocates: Dave Aakre, Marge Albright, Kay Hodge, Gail Jensen, Barb Pike and Renee Solberg

Lent & Holy Week Worship

Join us on the journey to the cross this Lent and Holy Week:

  • Ash Wednesday
    March 6 | 5:20 pm & 6:30 pm
  • Wednesday Lenten Worship
    March 13-April 10 | 6:30 pm
    Soup Suppers at 5:15 pm (benefiting our youth: the summer service trip, Sugar Creek Bible Campers, and Creation Kids Preschool)
  • Maundy Thursday
    April 18 | 11:00 am & 6:30 pm
    (evening service includes First Communion)
  • Good Friday
    April 19 | 6:30 pm
  • Easter Sunday
    April 21 | 6:30 am, 8:00 am, & 10:15 am

Lasting Hope: Devotions for Lent

Lasting Hope devotional books are now available. These short devotions share insight on the Psalms to nourish our souls. Pick up one per family at the Welcome Center.

2019 Haiti Mission Trip

Unfortunately, the Haiti Mission trip has been postponed. Due to the current civic unrest and crime in Haiti there is a Department of State travel advisory. The group will continue to raise funds for the projects they are supporting as discussed below.

On March 21-28, 2019, eight people from southeastern Minnesota will travel to visit our mission partners in Haiti. From St. John’s: Jen Smith, Emilie and Luckinger Hilaire, Wayne Hendrickson, and Dennis Foster. From Rochester Central Lutheran School: Missy Tjosaas. And from St. Paul Lutheran Church in Pine Island: Pastor Marie Anderson and Kari Toft.

Planned projects:

  • Children’s VBS in Bouyaha and in Pignon
  • Taking student pictures in Bouyaha
  • Women’s bible study
  • Health education and wellness clinics
  • Food distribution to Families in Bouyaha
  • Basic sewing classes
  • Solar powered computer lab at the school in Bouyaha
  • Rehabbing Bouyaha homes (cement floor, roof repair)
  • Funding for a truck (partnership with two other congregations)

Before the trip, St. John’s is working to raise $15,000 for three of these projects:

  • $4,500 for a solar powered computer lab. This will include the solar power infrastructure and 11 laptop computers.
  • $4,000 will go to providing cement floors and metal roofs for homes in Bouyaha, upgrading from dirt floors and makeshift roofs.
  • $6,500 is St. John’s portion of a total $20,000 goal for a reliable pickup truck. Two congregations in Illinois will share the total cost. We’re also looking for leads on a 2004-2010 3/4 or 1 ton, 4-door, diesel, 4 WD, manual transmission pickup with reasonable mileage.

There are ways the team is asking for help meeting this goal:

  • Come to the February 20 Oasis meal. Donations will go to support these projects. A pizza supper will be served 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm.
  • Join us again for a Pulled Pork Luncheon on Sunday, March 17 starting at 11:30 am.
  • Cash donations are always welcome! Cash or check to St. John’s Lutheran Church clearly marked for Haiti Mission can be placed in the weekly offering or left in the office.

All funds raised will directly toward those we serve. Each team member is paying his or her own expenses. 

Your prayers are also needed! Pray for:

  • The team as they travel
  • The team as they complete God’s work
  • The students in Bouyaha
  • Pastor Mioche and his staff

Warm up with some chili

Due to the weather for February 24 – the original date – this event has been rescheduled for March 24. 

Warm up at the annual Chili Cook-Off & Bingo event! Sunday, March 24, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm (note the time change from previous years). The chili tasting is by free will donation. Bingo is $2 per card. There are prizes for bingo and the best chili – plus the coveted Gus the Goose trophy for the best chili!

All proceeds help fund our youth summer service trip to San Diego.

Think you have the best chili? Register by 11:00 am, March 23 by contacting Lindsay (lindsay@stjohnskasson.org).

Pastor Dave Efflandt to start at St. John’s February 18

St. John’s is excitedly awaiting the arrival of Pastor Dave Efflandt, the next Lead Pastor of the congregation. He was approved by a vote of the congregation on January 6 after a thorough interview process by the St. John’s Call Committee and approval by the Congregational Council.

Pastor Dave currently leaves in Northwood, Iowa, with his wife (Sarah), two children (Austin, 16, and Bella, 15), and mother-in-law (Maryell). He is the pastor to Bethlehem and Deer Creek Valley Lutheran Churches in Glenville, Minn. Please keep those congregations in your prayers – as excited as we are to welcome Pastor Dave, they are facing losing a beloved pastor!
The Glenville congregations are his first call as an ordained pastor. Early in his career he managed restaurants and taught band in the Twin Cities, and later he and Sarah, moved to California where he continued teaching middle school band and working as a church music minister.

In 2011, after feeling a calling to ordained ministry, the Efflandt family moved to Iowa where he began studies at Wartburg Theological Seminary. He was called to Bethlehem and Deer Creek Valley in 2015.

During his time in the Southeastern Minnesota Synod he has been active on the synod level including Committee to Elect a Bishop (current), Synod Assembly planning team, Minnesota Technology of Participation, mentor for first call pastors, and Power and Boundaries Facilitator.

According to his references, Pastor Dave:

  • “Loves his people”
  • “Works well with Staff”
  • “Previous life experience is invaluable”
  • “He is out in the community”
  • “Awesome”
  • “Not an ivory tower pastor”
  • “Very wise”
  • “His life experience strengthens his preaching”
  • “Strong leader”

As he focuses on the final days of his time in Glenville, Pastor Dave took the time to share:

People have been telling me what an amazing congregation St. John’s is, and I am so looking forward to getting to know you all in person. Whether in ministry, during worship, working alongside staff, or in fellowship, I look forward to hearing your stories of what it means to be church, to hear about your hopes and dreams for future ministry together, and to be a part of such a vibrant and growing community of faith. Thanks be to God for the ministry you have been a part of in the past, and for allowing our paths to cross for ministry together in the future. See you soon!

Plan to be at worship Sunday, March 3 as we formally install Pastor Dave!

February 2019 Messenger

Twice a year we publish a BIG issue of our newsletter with tons of updates on what we have been doing and what exciting things you can look forward to. 
 

Congratulations Sabelko family!

We’re excited to celebrate with Deacon Amanda and Justin Sabelko as they welcomed Tyler Odin Sabelko at 6:14 pm on February 3 at 6 lbs, 6 oz. All are healthy and doing well!

Amanda will be on parental leave until March 17.

Apply for funding

St. John’s Foundation accepting applications through March 31!

If your ministry group has a need that was not part of the 2019 budget, you may apply for Beyond the Budget funding from St. John’s Foundation.

If you are planning to attend an ELCA college in the 2019-2020 school year, the Foundation has scholarship funding available!

Both applications for funding are available at www.stjohnskasson.org/foundation or in the office. Application deadline is March 31.

Revive your soul!

This Lent we’ll revive our souls in a discussion of The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. If you’re feeling the stress of an overwhelmed schedule and aching with the sadness of an overwhelmed soul, plan to join one of our small group discussions.

Groups will meet Thursdays at 7:00 pm, Saturdays at 10:00 am, and Sundays at 9:00 am. The study will take place March 7-April 14.

Hop on over to stjohnskasson.org/best-yes to sign up for the time that works best for you. We’re also looking for leaders for each time, which you can indicate right on the signup.