Archives

Advent & Christmas Special Events

  • Lessons & Carols
    Dec. 10 | 8:00 am & 10:15 am
  • Grief Support Gathering
    Dec. 14 | 11:00 am
  • Children’s Christmas Program
    Dec. 17 | 10:15 am
  • Senior Community Worship
    Dec. 21 | 2:00 pm
  • 4th Sunday in Advent
    Dec. 24 | 9:00 am
  • Christmas Eve
    Dec. 24 | 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 7:30 pm
  • Christmas Day
    Dec. 25 | 9:00 am

Find a full schedule of events at stjohnskasson.org/calendar

Notes:

  • Dec. 27 – NO worship
  • Jan. 31- worship at 9:00 am

Well Trained & Alert

Pastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

For twenty-three years, beginning in 1990, I served as a chaplain in the Montana Air National Guard. The first two years of service were during the “Cold War.” The perceived threat, in those days, was that the Warsaw Pact countries, led by the Soviet Union, would attack one or more NATO countries, allied with the US. World War III would presumably start with a swift Warsaw Pact invasion of West Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Belgium, to deny a landing point for NATO allies. This conventional warfare was expected to be short lived, for neither side wanted to be the last to deploy the inevitable nuclear weapons.

As a squadron of fighter jets, our basic mission was to “Survive, Fight, Win.” Surviving a direct nuclear strike, for obvious reasons never came up in our training. We, who were, “non-essential,” to the fight spent the better part of most exercises sheltering against radioactive fallout. We sat, and sat — reading books, watching movies, and struggling to imagine that anything like this could ever happen. Such a war could scarcely be imagined. With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Cold War was declared to be over, and talk was of a “peace dividend.” How would we spend all of the money we would save, by not preparing for war? Now we had only to worry about “rogue nations,” and terrorist groups. In 1993 there was an unsuccessful attempt to bring down the World Trade Center with a truck bomb. We felt relieved at the relatively few casualties, and the minor damage done to the building, but we were warned to be alert.

Then came September 11, 2001, as another “day that will live in infamy.” Now, we lined up the troops for a no-kidding war. It was my job to brief the troops and their families on the cultural and religious differences between the US and the Middle East, and praying for their safe return. I remember thinking, with a lump in my throat, as families were divided in tearful goodbyes, “So this is what we have been training for all of these years. I pray we have trained them well.”

The key words for Advent season, will be, “Stay Awake, Watch, and Pray”…”So that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:7). “Therefore, keep awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly, and what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake” (Mark 13:35-37).

Have a blessed Advent season and a merry Christmas.

We are not alone

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

I remember one Advent when I was around 13 years old, I heard the song “Breath of Heaven” for the first time. The song is the story of Jesus’ mother, Mary. It is a plea for God to be with her as she nears the birth of her child and she is frightened by all that the future holds. I remember thinking the burden she felt must have been enormous. The line that has always struck me hardest is, “Must I walk this path alone?” I have heard this sentiment from many people and have even heard it swirling around my own mind more often than I would like. Fear and doubt can take us over. So many people around us just don’t seem to get it. Must I walk this path alone? Inevitably , when I have these thoughts God finds a way to break into my life. He sends people to be with me during life’s burdens.

Advent is a season of waiting. Waiting in anticipation for the birth of the Savior. In life, whether we are waiting for a joyous event, like the birth of a baby, or waiting for something difficult, like treatment for an illness, waiting is the hardest part. Burdens get heavier in the waiting, if we let them. As we travel through this time of Advent I would encourage you to look around and see if you can pinpoint the people who are walking with you on the path. Is there someone you hadn’t noticed before? Where is God showing up? Is it a family member? Maybe, you are showing up as God’s hands and feet to someone else. In a world where, at least lately for me, the burdens seem so heavy and it feels that I am alone, a change of perspective is needed. At Jesus’ birth the words of the prophet Isaiah are remembered and he is called Emmanuel, which means God is with us. When we worry, when we doubt, when we feel that we are walking the path alone God is with us. When we are filled with joy and excitement God is with us. Breathe that in and remember in the bustle of this busy season that God is with us and we are all brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

Service of Lessons & Carols

The music ensembles of St. John’s will present a service of Lessons and Carols Sunday, December 10 at the 8:00 am and 10:15 am services. A shortened service will also be presented the following Wednesday, December 13 at 6:30 pm. This is the twenty-fifth year the musicians of St. John’s have shared advent and Christmas music with the congregation. String players from the congregation and flutist Sarah Vinzant, from Kasson-Mantorville Schools, will join the ensembles this year.

A service highlight is four short movements from a Christmas Cantata entitled “For Us a Child is Born” for choir, bass soloist, and instruments. This piece was originally thought to be composed by J.S. Bach. Scholars now attribute it Johann Kuhnau, Bach’s predecessor at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig.

This joyous service of spoken word and music will tell the Christmas story from the prophesy of the ancient prophets to the celebration at Jesus birth. Please invite your friends to join us.

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus

We are sharing the book Unwrapping the Names of Jesus for our Advent devotional. You are encouraged to join with us in dwelling more with Jesus. Copies are available in the Narthex (one per family). And follow along with our Facebook event for prompts and ideas each day.

The Giving Tree

Take an ornament on the Giving Tree to purchase a life-changing item from ELCA Good Gifts (more info in the catalogs around the building or at www.ELCA.org/goodgifts) or for movie tickets for Food For Friends. Take a tag, purchase the movie card, and return both to the church office. Checks for ELCA Good Gifts should be made out to St. John’s OR purchase online.

Christmas Tree Auction

The confirmation small groups, along with a couple other groups, have decorated Christmas trees and other holiday decorations (pallet creations, wreaths) for the Advent season. They will be in the Fellowship Hall for you to bid on until Sunday, December 17. Proceeds from the auction go to help pay for confirmation summer camp.

Senior Christmas Worship

Senior Christmas Worship will be held December 21 at 2:00 pm. Refreshments will be served in the Fellowship Hall following the service. All are welcome.

Grief support this Christmas

Anyone who has lost a loved one is invited to celebrate your memories at a dinner and program on Thursday, December 14 at 11 am in the Fellowship Hall. A grief support counselor from Season’s Hospice will be our guest speaker. Bring a dish to share as you are able. Please RSVP by December 10 to the office (507-634-7110). Come to receive comfort and peace.

2018 Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting is scheduled for January 24, 2018 at 7:30 pm. The report will be available in hard copy and electronic format mid-January. All commissions and committees are asked to submit written reports by January 3 to shelly@stjohnskasson.org.

Lutefisk Wrap-Up 2017

2017 Lutefisk Dinner Meals Served: 1,867

As we opened our front doors at 9:00 am on October 26, 2017, we knew it was going to be a great day for our 56th annual lutefisk dinner! From the beautifully decorated narthex and sanctuary to the welcoming smiles of our greeters, the guests were eager to participate in a delectable dining experience!

Behind the scenes, workers had arrived before 6 am to cut and bag 1,700 pounds of fish. Others were just as busy preparing gravy, setting up the parking lot, arranging bake sale items and enjoying the ‘spirit’ of working on lutefisk day. It’s always fun to reconnect with former members who travel to Kasson to provide an extra pair of hands and to also see so many Kasson community members share in our dinner.

Our congregational endeavor allows us to disburse $20,000 from the profits as mission support to our ELCA synod. In addition, the bake sale table proceeds of $7,950 will be used to fund various projects at St. John’s over the next several months. Thank you, the members of St. John’s, for your generous donations of money, time and talents which allow us to keep the ticket price at $16. We also want to thank those of you who helped with lefse baking week after week beginning in late August. Not many congregations in the area make their own lefse.

Mange takk (many thanks)!