Fall Start-Up

RandyFettPastor Randy Fett
Lead Pastor

Fall start up. Families are buying school supplies. Students have their class schedules. Fall sports have begun. Farmers are praying that frosts are delayed and they will have a full harvest. Families are spending their last days at on vacation. Things are gearing up for Fall. Some of us can hardly wait for the first kick off. Anticipation is building.

In churches, (and in the past here), we call the Sunday after Labor Day “Rally Sunday.” This year, St. John’s is calling it “Gods Work, Our Hands” day. We invite everyone to share in a very special day of service in connection with our worship on Sunday, September 11. This is a national and synod wide emphasis throughout the ELCA.

Worship time changes: Wednesday evening worship will change to 6:15 pm. We are trying this to accommodate families who desire to have their children home from the evening activities at an earlier time. Sundays will return to 8:00 am with Traditional style liturgy worship and 10:15 am with the Blended style worship.

Fall also includes the installation of our educators and volunteer leaders, the presentation of Third grade Bibles, and the wind up for our 9th grade confirmation class (33 students), who will be confirmed on Sunday October 2 at the 10:15 am worship service.

Lefse baking has started and plans are in motion for our annual Lutefisk supper in late October.  Visit for details on lefse baking opportunities and the Lutefisk Dinner.

Thank you to all for your dedication to these significant missions and ministries of St. John’s. Your commitments are an inspiration to us all.

I have been thinking about how I might share a blessing each week with families. With each email response that I send out, I will share a special blessing from scripture and I will commit myself to pray for that special blessing on each of your homes. Think about how can you share a blessing with those around you. This is a call from our God. Let me begin with these words:

“O give thanks to the Lord of Lords, for he is good, who does great wonders. It is he who remembers us. O give thanks to the God of heaven for his steadfast love endures forever.” – inspired from Psalm 136. May this blessing be upon your home today.

God bless as we gear up for the fall, as we serve as God’s hands, as we begin anew with programming and ministries, and as we pray for those bountiful crops.


Pastor Dana

Pastor Dana O’Brien
Associate Pastor

Pastor Dana O’Brien
Associate Pastor

As I have learned over time – and as many of you have probably discovered over the last few weeks – I’m not very good at goodbyes. (OK, I’ll admit it – I’m awful at goodbyes.) I apologize for that.

But luckily for me, I’ve found a way around it. Over time, as I’ve left other congregations, I’ve done a bit of research and discovered that in a number of languages, the same words are used for both “hello” and “goodbye.” We’re probably all familiar with the Hawaiian word aloha which is both a greeting and a word of farewell. Many of you probably also know that the word shalom is both a Jewish greeting and is shared as a blessing of peace when departing. Aloha and shalom are just the tip of the iceberg of hello/goodbye words. Other words which I’m told mean both “hello” and “goodbye” include ciao (Italian, pronounced “chow”), czesc (Polish, pronounced “tshest'”), salut (French), hej (Danish – I’m told goodbye is actually “hej, hej”), sawasdee (Thai), ahoj (Czech), szia (Hungarian), dag (Dutch), and a bunch of others that are way too complicated for me to spell, much less to pronounce.

I like the idea of using one of these hello/goodbye words, because at the same time you all are saying “goodbye” to me, you are also saying “hello” to so many amazing things happening here. A few examples: St. John’s continues its strong youth programming with its Sunday and Wednesday ministries; you are establishing yourself as a good neighbor in your immediate neighborhood with family festivals, Halloween parties, Easter egg hunts, and ministry of encouragement visits; leaders continue to do a wonderful job of moving this congregation into the future; and St. John’s has taken the lead in addressing food insecurity among the kids in our schools through the Food for Friends ministry. God is so active here – God continues to bring us new families and it is truly an exciting place to be. It is difficult for me to say goodbye. But at the same time, I am also saying “hello” to new adventures at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church in Homer Glen, Illinois (and yes, that’s really the name of a place, and I would be thrilled to see any of you if you ever happen to come down that way).

But here’s the coolest part of most of these hello/goodbye words – you only use them informally with close friends. In fact, my online research tells me that using many of these terms for hello or goodbye in a formal situation would be very impolite.  And I think I know why that’s the case – because with friends, really good friends, a goodbye is never final. Rather, it is a recognition that for some time – maybe a long time – your friends may not be physically present; but they will always remain in one’s thoughts, in one’s prayers, and in one’s heart.  And even though we’ve been together only a bit over a year, that is what you have become to me – good friends, for whom a simple “goodbye” in both inadequate and inappropriate.  Because even if we never see each other again, you will all remain in my thoughts, and in my prayers, and in my heart. So I will not say “goodbye.”  Rather, I will say aloha, ciao, czesc, salut , hej hej, ahoj, szia, and dag.

And I will say Shalom – may God’s peace be with you all.

September is here already!

Amanda Sabelko CYF Ministry Development Director

Amanda Sabelko
CYF Ministry Development Director

Amanda Sabelko, AIM
Children, Youth, & Family Development Director

Here you will find a few key dates to mark on your calendar for the whole family!

Start Dates –

Confirmation: September 7
Oasis Afterschool & Education and Club 56: September 14
Sunday School/Club 56: September 18
Details & registration in the office or at

Adult Education: September 21 Introduction to the Bible Weds. Sept. 21, 28, & Oct. 5, 7–8 pm. All adults are invited to participate in a 3-week introduction to the Bible. This will be held in conjunction with confirmation classes.
Details, as they are available, will be available at

Small Group Ministry: There have been a few families with the idea of starting a small group for parents. This could be a place to learn about your faith and how to start conversations with kids about their faith. Sound like something you’d be interested in? Please contact Amanda – details, as they are available, will be at

For more information, visit the links above or contact Amanda at (507) 634-7110 ext. 14 or

News from CKP

CKP will have three new staff members for the 2016-2017 school year. Missy Tjosaas will teach our bridge class and Kresta Schultz will be her teacher assistant. Kris Foley will be the teacher assistant for the fours and Kimberly Johnson will continue as the teacher. Kimberly will teach the threes and Missy will assist.

CKP fours and bridge classes will begin September 12 and the threes will have their first class September 13.

Parents and students will meet the teachers and tour classrooms September 7, 5:30-7:00 pm.

Michelle Gillard will give a CPR/First Aid class September 27, 6-9 pm. CKP staff must have this certification for state license requirements. There are a few open spots in this class. If interested, call Phyllis Sands at (507) 634-7110.

We are making plans for our annual pancake breakfast and silent auction on October 9. Please mark your calendars. If you would like to contribute an item for the auction, please contact Risa Fellows, Stephanie Gore, or Phyllis Sands. Funds raised are used for program scholarships and instructional materials.

Adult Fellowship—September 11 Lunch Outing to Kenyon

On Sunday, September 18 Adult Fellowship will travel to Schweich Restaurant in Kenyon for lunch. We will leave St. John’s parking lot at 11:30 am. Please sign up with Barb Pike (507) 634-7179 or Carole Baker (507) 634-7133 by Sunday, September 11, so that we may let the restaurant know how many to expect.

Adult Fellowship—October 1 Trip to Lanesboro

Come away with Adult Fellowship as we journey by motor coach to the quaint little village of Lanesboro on Saturday October 8. We plan to leave St. John’s parking lot about 9:00 am. There will be a little time for shopping before lunch at the Pedal Pusher Café (cost not included), followed by an afternoon of fun with the Commonweal Theatre production of The Three Musketeers. Cost for the bus ride & play is $40 + a donation to the food shelf. You may sign up with Barb (507) 634-7179 (cell (507) 273-0221) or Carole (507) 634-7133 by Saturday, October 1.

Oasis Meals Resume

Oasis Meals resume Wednesday, September 14 and will once again be catered by Country Pleasures. Meals are served 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm. Prices remain the same as last year – $5/person or $20/family. Punch cards will be available for purchase and families will be able to pay with credit/debit card.

September Special Events

  • September 7 – Wednesday Worship time changes to 6:15 pm
  • September  11 – God’s work. Our hands. Day, Worship times change to 8:00 and 10:15 am
  • September 14 – God’s work. Our hands. Day
  • September 25/28 – 4-yr-olds & 3rd graders receive Bibles

More details & events available online at