Welcome New Members!

On February 21 we welcomed 27 new members into the St. John’s family.

Kelly Utesch & Tanner Weifenbach
Kelly Utesch and Tanner Weifenbach recently relocated from La Crescent, MN, and are transferring from First Lutheran – Onalaska. Kelly grew up in St. John’s and is returning after twenty years in the La Crosse, WI and Lexington, SC areas. Kelly is a service advisor at Rochester Ford. Tanner (age 4) attends KM Nursery Group. Kelly and Tanner like to fish, be outdoors, and play with their Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Kelly also enjoys running, and Tanner is a LegoManiac.

Kelly & Tanner

Kyle, Jackie, Ryan, & Ayden Howell
Last June, Jackie and Kyle were married and started a life together in Kasson with their sons Ryan and Ayden.  As a family they enjoy gardening, traveling, fishing, golfing, and just simply spending time together. During the week, both Jackie and Kyle work at Mayo Clinic in Rochester while Ryan and Ayden attend Kasson Elementary.


Mike, Tracy, Madison & Cameron Lee
The Lee family lives in Mantorville and come to St. John’s from Bethel Lutheran in Rochester. Mike works as a systems administrator for Heartman Insurance. Tracy is a finance analyst at Mayo Clinic. Madison is 10 and enjoys dance. Cameron is 7 and plays hockey.


Jon, Melissa, Kaleb, Mya, & Eliana Klein
Jonathan (Jon) and Melissa (Mel) Klein and their three children, Kaleb (9), Mya, and Eliana (both 5), live just south of Kasson.  Jon is employed with Morton Buildings in Rochester, and Mel is a CRNA at Mayo Clinic.  Kaleb is in 3rd grade at KM Elementary School and Mya and Eliana are in pre-school. In the winter they like to snowmobile, sled, and play in the snow. In the summer they can be found camping as much as possible. They also enjoy attending sporting events and concerts, playing basketball, and spending time with friends and family.


Cindy Wiste
My name is Cindy Wiste. My husband, Duane and I have lived in Kasson for over 37 years. Our children, Tim and Jillaine graduated from KM High School. We have six grandchildren and one great grandson. At the end of March we will be moving to Sierra Vista, Arizona in hopes that my husband’s health improves with the more stable temperatures. Our daughter Jillaine is already there with her family. Her husband grew up in Sierra Vista and that is how we all are ending up in that community. Our son Tim and his family will stay in Rochester so we hope to get back to visit often! I was a previous member of St. John’s for about 20 years before taking a position at Trinity Lutheran in Hayfield for the past 15 years. I am excited to return to my “home” church in Kasson before we move and start our new adventure. While I am here I am enjoying helping out where I an and reconnecting with old friends.


Jeff, BJ, Colton, & Dalton Ostgaard
I’m Jeff Ostgaard, and my wife is BJ. We have two children. Colton is 14 years old, and Dalton is 12 years old. We have lived in Kasson for 11 years. BJ and I both work at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. I am an event support specialist in the Media Support Services department. BJ is an Assistant Supervisor in the DLMP department. Colton participates in band and choir, and loves playing video games. Dalton also is in band, and he plays soccer and baseball. He also loves to play video games. We have 2 cats, Odin and Zeus. During the summer, we spend most of our weekends at our camper trailer in Elysian, MN. We spend a lot of time boating, swimming, and fishing, and sitting around the campfire in the evening. We also like movies and music, and I like to watch and play sports when I can.


Mindy Ward (with husband Paul and daughter Maren)
I was born in Comfrey, small town of 400 people in Southwestern Minnesota, and raised on a farm (my father and brother still actively grow corn, soybeans, and sugar beets and raise beef cattle). I attended high school there and after graduation attended college at Augsburg College. In addition to obtaining degrees in Biology and Psychology, I enjoyed being a pitcher on the softball team. After college, I moved to New Jersey to attend graduate school at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (Rutgers). I graduated, moved to the “Philly Burbs” and started my career in Allentown, PA as a Trauma Physician Assistant. In early 2012,  I was blessed with the opportunity to grow in my career at Mayo as a Trauma and General Surgery PA. After accepting the position and making the decision to move back to MN,  I was also blessed to meet my now husband, Paul, at a friend’s wedding…and how great it was that he was from Kasson! We were married in April 2014. In November of 2015, our beautiful daughter, Maren, was born. In my free time, I’m a big college basketball fan! My team (from Philly), the Villanova Wildcats, are currently #1..whoo hoo! I also enjoy watching the Gophers, who also notched a big win this week, and enjoy going to games with Paul. I also like overall staying active and getting outside. “Playing” on Paul’s family’s small farm south of Kasson when the weather is nice is one of my favorite things to do.  I look forward to joining St. John’s and meeting many of you!


Jordan, Channing, Bennett, & Maclin Sorensen
From Northeast Iowa originally, we have lived in Kasson for 2-3 years. Channing is a pediatric nurse practitioner with Mayo Health Systems in Mankato, MN. Jordan is an assistant store leader at Scheels in Rochester. Bennett James Sorensen was born January 9, 2014 and is two years old. Maclin Ray Sorensen was born September 30, 2015 and is 5 months old. In our spare time we love spending time with our families, who live in New Hampton, Iowa. We are avid Iowa Hawkeye fans, whether it’s on the football field, wrestling mat of basketball court, it doesn’t matter; we love our Hawks. Bennett loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Pau Patrol, and Thomas the Train! Maclin has recently found his voice and his personality is starting to show through. He loves to smile!


Monday Evening Supper Events

Pastor Randy will be hosting weekly Monday evening supper get-togethers at the church for eight family units from each of the monthly service group lists during the summer months. Plan on a 6:30 pm picnic supper followed by fun and games, an input conversation of the mission of our church, and a short worship service. More details will follow. The goal is to see this summer outreach to our member families, and as a way to get better acquainted.

New Volunteer Teams Being Formed

To try to better manage our worship volunteer needs, we are looking at forming worship volunteer teams for each worship service: Sundays at 8:00 am, and 10:15 am. We will form five teams of four volunteers for each worship service to serve each month as ushers and another five teams of four volunteers for each worship service to serve each month with Communion. These teams will then be assigned a particular Sunday and commit to a particular Sunday for each month of the year, and be responsible  for assisting at those services each month. Watch for volunteer coordination to begin this spring and for implementation to begin in the fall with our worship services.

Thinking of joining St. John’s?

Here at St. John’s, we consider all of our “members” as partners in ministry. If you’re ready to formally become a ministry partner with us, plan to join us for the next New Member Partner Orientation.

New Member Partner Orientation will be held on Sunday, April 19, following the second service from 11:15 am – 1:15 pm. A lunch will be served. New member partners will be received at worship services on Wednesday, April 22 and Sunday, April 26. Please contact the office to let us know that you will be in attendance, and contact your previous congregation to have a letter of membership transfer sent to us.

Congregational Meeting November 9

A special congregational meeting in the Fellowship Hall is called for Sunday, November 9 between services (9:10 a.m.-10:10 a.m.) for the purpose of voting on calling Amanda (Hagen) Sabelko as our rostered Associate in Ministry Children, Youth, and Family Development Director. All confirmed members of St. John’s are eligible to vote. Voting will be by ballots. Information on Associates in Ministry (AIMs) and Amanda’s certification process will be on the Welcome Center, or talk to Amanda in person for more information.

Stewardship Letter 2014

StewardshipLetter14pic“Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” That’s how the apostle writes his letter to new Christians at Philippi. “In all my remembrance I always give thanks to God with Joy in my heart,” he says.

This year we invite you to consider the Joy in your heart. What is it that motivates you about this place that we love and know as St. John’s Lutheran Church? What beats in your heart? What fond memories do you have of the people, the place, the mission, and the ministry here?

Here’s what a few people are saying:

  • “My family helped found this place. I remember how proud I was the day that we walked from the old church building to the new church building here.”
  • “My kids loved VBS this year. They especially liked the activities outside and the crafts inside. They are still singing the songs they learned.”
  • “The meals on Wednesday nights for our family are a life saver.”
  • “I am so thankful that my daughter has had the chance to be a part of the confirmation program. I pray that she will stay active with her faith.”
  • “The choir sounded so beautiful on the anthem last Sunday.”
  • “I am thankful for my circle group.”
  • “I appreciated the care that the pastors provided me when I was in the hospital.”
  • “It is really nice to know that St. John’s is active in the local Habit for Humanity builds, and collecting food for the local food shelf SEMCAC.”
  • “We served at the soup kitchen for the homeless.”
  • “Thanks for sending all of your wonderful groups of kids to the week of Bible camp here at Flathead Lake Lutheran Bible camp.”
  • “It was working with kids that came for the Vacation Bible School that impacted my faith the most with our summer mission trip to Texas.”
  • “I am so grateful for the friendships and ties that I have with my many friends at St. John’s, being here at home by myself. It makes all the difference in the world to know that they care.”
  • “The lutefisk dinner was the best around once again this year.”
  • “I love all of the changes that you have made at St. John’s. Keep up the good work.”

As you contemplate the “JOY” that God has clearly given here please know that we count it a Joy to share the faith with you.

Have you filled out one of these cards? There are extras available at the Welcome Center or in the office. Return completed cards or let us know your pledge in another way ASAP!

Have you filled out one of these cards? There are extras available at the Welcome Center or in the office. Return completed cards or let us know your pledge in another way ASAP!

Now we invite you to joyfully and prayerfully consider your annual stewardship pledge for 2015. This is the time when we ask for your tithing commitment to the church so that we can faithfully establish our mission and programming for 2015. What will it take? It will take each family’s support. Many families do not give to the church for one reason or another, but we are asking each family to sit up at the Joy table once again this year and to take part. If we had 105 families commit to tithing 10% of household income we would fulfill our Joy – filled mission. (What would tithing mean for your family? Take a look in this tithing chart.)

Please fill out the enclosed pledge card. Write down your commitment figures at home so that you have a record of your family’s 2015 financial commitment to the church.

You may bring your 2015 pledge card to the church and place it in the offering baskets. You may call your pledge into the church office. You may email us your pledge. Or, your can send your pledge in the mail. It is important that we each share in the big “JOY” celebration in the context of the worship services on Sunday, September 28th and Wednesday, October 1st.

God Bless You,

Pastor Randy
on behalf of the Church Council, Stewardship commission, and full membership of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Kasson.

2014 Lutefisk Dinner – serving fish with a flair!

Dinner Signup Information

On Sunday, September 21, and Wednesday, September 24, members of the Lutefisk Dinner Committee will be in the narthex before and after services with signup sheets for workers needed the week of the dinner. Workers will be needed in all areas beginning Tuesday, October 21 through Thursday, October 23. Please help us by signing up or by contacting any of the committee members.

Advertising — Can You Help?

Thank you to those of you who are willing to help distribute lutefisk dinner posters. This is a great (and inexpensive) way to advertise our dinner. If you are willing to put up a poster at your place of work or will be visiting a church or business in a nearby community and are willing to take a poster with you, please pick up one in the church office.

Lefse Bakes

Lefse bakes started on August 27 and will continue every Wednesday morning at 8 AM through October 15. More volunteers are always appreciated and welcome. Marge Albright and Shelley Gustafson are leading the lefse bakes; contact them for additional information.

Pre- and Post-Dinner Leader’s Meetings

Make plans now to attend the pre-dinner leader’s meeting on Monday, September 29, 7-8 p.m. The post-dinner leader meeting will be Monday, November 3, 7 p.m. We are grateful for so many willing volunteers who are in charge of various subgroups – meatballs, butter, dishwashing, takeout – to name just a few.

Make a JOYFUL noise with the senior choir

Notes Bouncing alongSing aloud unto God our strength:
make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.

The St. John’s Senior Choir and their director Clark Johnson would like to invite you to share your musical talents in praise to God. The choir will celebrate our fall message of joy with the congregation through music. We will conclude 2014 with our annual Service of Lessons and Carols in December. Please consider joining this wonderful group of musicians for inspiring music and great fellowship.

The Senior Choir will begin the year with a rehearsal on Wednesday, September 3 at 6:45 p.m. We will be sharing music with our congregation on Sunday, September 7. Membership is open to high school students and adults. The choir will sing four services a month at the 8:00 and 10:15 worship services and an occasional Wednesday night service. Wednesday rehearsals will run from 6:45 p.m. until 7:40 p.m. in the music room.

If you have any questions, please call choir director Clark Johnson at (507) 635-5465.

The JOY Campaign

The following letter was sent to congregational members earlier this summer. As of August 26, 2014, we have raised enough for a new bus, 21% of the total requested funds. Have you contributed? Drop your contribution in the office or the offering plate (marked JOY campaign) or click here for online giving options.

Philippians 1:3-5 “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with JOY in everyone of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.”

Dear Friends in Christ –

I bring you good tidings of great joy! I know you’re accustomed to hearing that during Advent, but we have a lot of celebrate at St. John’s these days. We have a variety of new staff people (Amanda, Katie and Ben) who are doing great things for and with us! Pastor Nirmala is providing outreach and ministry to members who are unable to join us. Attendance at our blended worship service continues to grow, and summer activities are ramping up. There is a lot to be joyful about!

Council members are very pleased about all of these things. However, one of our primary responsibilities is the health and welfare of the church’s finances and ensuring that all the wonderful happenings at our church are financially feasible. Looking ahead, the Council has identified four special projects that need to be addressed to ensure the safety of our children and staff, and to continue to adapt and grow our ministries. To support these projects, the Council is announcing the Joyful Giving Campaign to raise funds for these four special projects, which are described below.

  1. Security Windows In Office and Sunday School Room Doors
    St. John’s staff and volunteers are requesting that fire-rated observation windows be added to the five office doors, nursery door and ten Sunday school room doors that are currently without windows. These windows are being requested because of the priority we place on safety and security, especially as it pertains to our children. Estimated costs are $3000. This project will be managed by the Properties Commission.
  2. Reliable Transportation
    For the past several years, St. John’s has made use of the “big blue bus” to transport approximately 70 students from school to St. John’s each Wednesday for Oasis. We have also been able to utilize the bus for occasional field trips for Creation Kids Preschool and other youth programming. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons including maintenance costs and safety reasons, the current bus is no longer an option and needs to be retired. A committee of volunteers which includes the current bus mechanic and several congregation members has researched several transportation options and is recommending that St. John’s purchase a newer, used school bus. Estimated costs for this project are $6000. This project will be managed by the Transportation Committee.
  3. Video Ministry
    St. John’s sees the need to provide a new video outreach ministry that has the potential to reach out to many people, both inside the walls of our building and beyond. We are attempting to start a Video Ministry where we video record our services to make them available to both members and non-members in multiple formats. Funds are needed to cover the start-up cost of this ministry. These startup costs include the purchase and installation of a video recording system (video cameras, video mixing board, wiring, etc.) and training on how to operate the system.This video ministry will reach many people. It would be used to help those in attendance when we have an over-full worship service (Easter Sunday, for example) by showing video of the service on TV screens in the narthex and fireside room. Video of worship services would also be streamed or podcasted on our website to allow both members and non-members to view our worship when they are unable to attend. Recorded video of the service would also be available in other formats (flash drive, DVD) to be delivered to people who are unable to attend worship, or do not have website access.New technology provides exciting opportunities to meet the needs of our congregation and to evangelize to the world around us. Estimated costs for this project are $10,400. This project will be managed by the Media Commission.
  4. Increased Personnel Costs
    As I mentioned earlier, we have a variety of new staff on board doing wonderful things for St. John’s. We also have long-time staff people who help keep St. John’s up and running, and we are starting the call process to bring a second full-time pastor to St. John’s. It is imperative that we are able to pay our current (and future) staff living wages in line with similar positions in other congregations throughout our region. We would also like to be able to utilize additional, temporary staff for increased office coverage during our busy holiday seasons. We are asking for $15,600 to cover a variety of personnel costs during 2014. This funding will be managed by the Personnel Commission.

The total request being made through the Joyful Giving Campaign is: $35,000.

If you have any questions, please ask any one of your Council members. Council will be providing regular updates on the progress of this campaign. We thank you in advance for your support.


Jakki Trihey, President and St. John’s Council, Pr. Randy Fett, Dennis Foster, Sharon Melquist, Jay Harris, Paul Beeman, Roger Carlsen, Lori Evans, Randy Price, Deb Smith, Bill Thornburg, Tim Tjosaas and Dan Ziebell

2014 Lefse Bakes

lefsePlan now to join us for this year’s lefse bakes to prepare for our annual Lutefisk Dinner.

Great reasons to join us include:

  1. connecting to your (or not your!) heritage
  2. your love of baking
  3. your desire to be a church volunteer
  4. visiting with fellow flippers and mixers during our great coffee time!

No experience necessary.

This year’s dates are:

  • August 27
  • September 3
  • September 10
  • September 17
  • September 24
  • October 1
  • October 8
  • October 15

Mixers begin at 7:30 a.m. and baking begins at 8:00 a.m. every Wednesday

As always, check the calendar for more events.

Second chance for directory photos

We are offering another opportunity to have your family portrait taken in case you were not able to participate in April. If you missed the first round, schedule a time for June 16 or 17 and help us complete the St. John’s Member Directory.

Contact Becky Knoepke at if you have questions or concerns or leave a message at the church (507-634-7110) and we will get back to you as soon as possible.