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

Family Fun Night June 20

It’s that time of year – time for a neighborhood party! Come out and bring a friend or neighbor along to this year’s FREE Family Fun Night. Food, root beer floats, face painting, games, songs by the VBS kids, a cake walk, and more.

Wednesday, June 20
5-8 pm
Here at St. John’s

Lutheran 101 is here for the summer

Are you interested in learning or reviewing the fundamentals of Lutheran faith, practice, and teaching? Pastor John will lead Lutheran 101 this summer Thursdays at 6:00 pm. All are invited!

Operation Christmas Child no longer housed at St. John’s

Tanya Young
Operation Christmas Child Coordinator

After much thought and prayer, as well as discussion with the Mission and Outreach Commission and the congregational council, it has been decided St. John’s will no longer house the Operation Christmas Child project. This decision wasn’t an easy one to make, but felt I needed to be the one to share with everyone. Over the last 4 years, it has been such a joy to see how God has worked through everyone with this project. All the individuals/groups who have come to a packing party, financially supported by buying items or shipping, and those who have just simply prayed for each child that would receive a shoebox gift. Over the last 4 years we have packed and shipped 2,900 shoeboxes, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It is more than just the number, but better yet the amount of children that have had the opportunity learn about Jesus through a shoe box gift.

Thank you for allowing me to be your coordinator of the Operation Christmas Child project. It has been an honor to lead this project for our congregation and the community. I will be continuing my work with the Mission and Outreach Commission and putting my energy into the many local and worldwide ministries available through our own Southeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA churchwide, and our mission partners in Haiti.

Summer 2018 Wednesday Worship Schedule

During this summer we will worship outdoors by the fire pit (weather permitting – we’ll be inside if weather doesn’t cooperate) on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm.

All are welcome to this casual service. We’ll celebrate communion (2nd and 4th weeks of the month), sing, have a short devotion, have some themed celebrations, and end with some s’mores. Bring a chair. You’re also welcome to bring snacks and beverages!

Our readings will come from the Narrative Lectionary, another structure of reading through the Bible in a worship setting. This summer will include 5 weeks of the Psalms, 4 weeks on the Sacraments, and 4 weeks on Revelation.

We’ll have piano music every week, but this is a great chance for anyone else who wishes to share their musical talents to get involved, no matter how experienced! Have a guitar – bring it! Want to get into the rhythm – bring some bongos! Have an accordion – ok, that too… All levels, all instruments welcome.

During our weeks on the Psalms, we’ll be reading from Psalms for Sojourners by James Limburg. During the weeks on Sacraments we’ll look at By Heart: Conversations with Martin Luther’s Small Catechism from Augsburg Fortress. And finally, for the weeks on Revelation we’ll read from Revelation and the End of All Things by Craig Koester.

  • June 6 – Psalm 100
    Celebration of first night of summer worship and a prayer station
  • June 13 – Psalm 13
    Blessing of all things that roll (bikes, tractors, strollers, etc.)
  • June 20 – Psalm 23
    Family Fun Night/VBS Celebration
  • June 27 – Psalm 30
    Pet Blessing (Real or stuffies, real pets should be leashed or contained)
  • July 4 – No worship
  • July 11 – Psalm 150
    Report from those who attended confirmation camp and celebrate Action Packed Day Camp
  • July 18 – Baptism: Psalm 46 and Acts 2:37-42
    Remembrance of baptism
  • July 25 – Baptism: Psalm 84 and Romans 6:1-11
    Affirmation of Baptism/Celebration of baptismal birthdays
  • August 1 – Lord’s Supper: Psalm 65 and 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
    Sundaes on Wednesday (ice cream Sundaes) and talk about seeing God in every day
  • August 8 – Lord’s Supper: 1 Samuel 21:1-9 and Matthew 12:1-8 or Mark 14:12-25
    Collect food for the food pantry and Food for Friends, we’ll also be talking about our Southeastern Minnesota Synod’s initiative Enough Food for All
    Bring peanut butter, jelly, and/or mac and cheese (no glass jars) for Food for Friends
  • August 15 – Revelation 4:1-11 (John 17:1-5)
    Praise the Lord all creatures! (Make a joyful noise, kids use noise makers)
  • August 22 – Revelation 5:1-13 (John 1:29-31)
    Report from those who attended the National Youth Gathering
  • August 29 – Revelation 6:1-8; 7:9-17 (John 14:1-4)
    Backpack Blessing (students from preschool through graduate school, teachers, staff, anyone going back to school can bring their bag!)
  • September 5 – Revelation 21:1-6; 22:1-5 (John 16:20-22)
    Back to School Celebration

Help needed for Food for Friends this summer

During the summer, the need for hunger assistance is at an all time high as children do not have access to free/reduced price meals at school. The Food for Friends ministry that St. John’s supports needs you to help ensure all K-M children have enough to eat this summer.

The summer food program kicks off Wednesday, June 6.

We are in need of one Food For Friends volunteer to staff the food pick-up from 4:55 pm – 6:00 pm each Wednesday evening. Can you give on hour to help a K-M family in need?

You can sign up at

Now collecting for Ready, Set, Learn

St. John’s is a collection site for the Dodge County “Ready, Set, Learn” program to provide school supplies for children in need. Donations accepted in the Narthex beginning June 3.

  • backpacks (large preferred)
  • glue sticks (washable, small)
  • 2-pocket folders (blue, green, red, yellow)
  • washable markers (wide or narrow)
  • spiral notebooks (wide or college ruled; blue, green, red, yellow)
  • #2 pencils (12 packs)
  • pencil pouches/boxes
  • highlighters (wide or narrow)
  • pens (black or blue)
  • composition books (wide or college ruled).

Anyone wishing to apply for supplies can download one here (Word or PDF) or pick one up in the office.

Applications are due by July 27.

Questions: contact Tanya Young at (316) 390-5368 or

What’s happening in the library?

Since the beginning of March, the Education Commission has been working with Properties and Memorial & Interior Design to update our library space. To begin, we sorted through all the books to remove non-faith forming materials including fiction and non-religious content. We also removed the old library furniture, including a desk and computer which are never used. Everything that was not sold through our Book Sale or the Rummage Sale was donated to Savers or ReStore in Rochester. Currently, we are working to re-paint the library before we replace the table and chairs. We are also planning to add some comfy seating spaces for children and adults to use as they are reading, working on projects, or in a meeting. It is our hope that by renovating the library more people will make use of the books and space.

Breakfast & a Transition Update

This update was recorded. Watch it here.

The Congregational Council invites you to breakfast Sunday, June 3 after worship (breakfast begins at 10:00 am). They’ll have an update on the transition process to share with you at that time. Come find out where we’re going next as a congregation.

More about the transition process.

Call Committee Announced

On behalf of the council, we are very excited to announce that a call committee has been put together, voted on, and will begin the last stages of this transition process as they work to call a new lead pastor to St. John’s. The committee consists of eight members. They were officially commissioned in worship Sunday, May 20, and Wednesday, May 23.

  • Al Flickinger- Council
  • Dick Buckwalter – Transition Team
  • Ashley Johnson – Youth
  • Dennis Foster
  • Alyssa Trow
  • Jen Hodgman
  • Daryl Melquist
  • Katie Freerksen

We believe this team represents the various populations within our congregation, including those defined by age, interests, involvements, length of membership, stage of faith development, and more. Over the next couple of weeks, members of the Transition Team will work closely with this group to bring them up to speed on the work that has been done over the last year and to complete the Ministry Site Profile, a document that will serve as St. John’s “resume” as we move forward. The call committee will also work closely with Susan Miller from the synod office and present the final Ministry Site Profile to the congregation during a town hall style meeting sometime in June. Upon congregational approval, the synod then sends this profile on to potential candidates with the interview process to follow.

We ask that you keep each of these call committee members in your prayers as they move forward in this very important and exciting work, as well as the pastoral candidates that God may be calling to join us in continuing the mission, ministries, and story that is St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Rummage Sale

The Education Commission will host their annual rummage sale May 11 (2 pm-6 pm) and May 12 (9 am-2 pm) in the education wing of St. John’s. Clothing, home décor, toys, books, and so much more! There are always some really fun finds all supporting faith formation programs.

As you work on your spring cleaning, we’re ready to take any treasures ready for a new home! Bring them to the Youth Room any time. No furniture or electronics, please.

Milestone Celebration

In all worship services on May 13 and May 16 we’re having a celebration! Our 1st – 6th grade students will be sharing what they’ve learned about the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Bible, the Sacraments, and the Apostle’s Creed with the whole congregation. Students will also receive a special gift—a small stone (“milestone,” if you will) to remind them of what they learned this year!

Read more about our Milestone Ministries.

New Badminton Club

All are welcome to join us for some friendly badminton Sunday afternoons from 2:00-4:00 pm at St. John’s. Playing will be in front of the church by the sign. This is open to anyone, though we encourage high school and older. If you have your own racket, please bring it. Snacks (ex. cookies or chips) are always appreciated because that intense racket swinging makes one rather hungry. Questions: contact Ashley Johnson at

A Call Committee is Coming!

You have heard that the work of the Transition Team is coming to a close, but what comes next?

Lots of things!

But one big thing is that a Call Committee will be formed. Our Congregational President, Jen Smith, is collecting potential names. If you would like to suggest a name – your own or someone else’s – contact her in person or at by Tuesday, May 8. 

Once names are brought forward, a committee of up to 8 individuals will be appointed. The committee is to be a balanced representation of our congregation. Potential candidates should be committed to the future of St. John’s and be able to respect the confidentiality of the process.

The future Call Committee will do its best to keep the congregation updated on their progress within their abilities to share.

The call committee has been announced. Click here for more.

A facelift is coming to our property

Memorial and Interior Design Committee is embarking on a project to replace the shrubs on the south side (front) of the building. Trees will remain but shrubs along the building and in the courtyard will be replaced. The Congregational Council and all related committees have approved the project. Family Tree Nursery in Rochester has presented a plan, which has received approval. Volunteers will perform as much work as possible. Several families have designated their memorial gifts. If you would like to contribute, place a check in the offering or drop off at the office. Place “shrub project” on the memo line. If you want to volunteer, leave your name and contact info in the office or contact Deb Smith at (507) 635-5478 or

Celebrate with Pastor Nirmala

Pastor Nirmala’s installation in Byron has been rescheduled to Sunday, May 6. She has accepted a call to Christ Lutheran Church in Byron. She will also continue to serve here at St. John’s. All are invited to attend the installation service in Byron at 8:00 am (traditional) or 10:00 am (blended). You are also invited to a celebration meal beginning at 11:30 am at Christ Lutheran. Sign up at the Welcome Center or in the office by April 29 if you plan to attend the meal.