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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.

Operation Christmas Child

Guess what time it is? IT IS SHOE BOX TIME! That’s right, Operation Christmas Child!

There are going to be a lot of exciting opportunities this year. We have started collecting supplies and empty shoe boxes in a bin in the Narthex marked Operation Christmas Child. (See below for a list of items to donate.)

Packing parties will start Wednesday, September 27 around 7 pm (after worship). They are scheduled every Wednesday and Sunday until November 11, with a few days off. If you or your group would be interested in doing a packing party, please Tanya Young know. We are open to doing them other days as well.

The 2nd annual parade will be held October 8 at 3:30 pm. We will collect supplies in the streets of Kasson with fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, and St. John’s Blue Bus. Additional features will be in the parade, but you will have to wait to see what they are. Following the parade, we will meet back at the church for refreshments. Please consider walking or riding in the parade with us.

Thank you so much for your continued support of this project!

For more information, contact Tanya Young at (316) 390-5368 tyoung8550@yahool.com.

Items to donate:

  • TOYS: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy cars, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries)
  • SCHOOL SUPPLIES: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, colored pencils, erasers, rulers, scissors with rounded edges, water color paints, coloring and picture books, glue sticks
  • NON-LIQUID HYGIENE ITEMS: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, washcloths, small package of Kleenex
  • ACCESSORIES: t-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)
  • A PERSONAL NOTE: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may be able to write back.
  • DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

Miss Amanda’s Musings

amandasabelko2016-1Amanda Sabelko
Children, Youth, and Family Ministry Development Director

Faith Formation Ministries
On November 2, Oasis kids will be packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We are looking for more donations of toys, school and health supplies – more information in this newsletter.

We will be giving out Prayer Pillows to 3-year-olds November 13 & 16. Anyone is welcome to receive this special gift. Three-year-olds will receive prayers to put in their pillows throughout the year!

This year’s Advent Festival will be November 29, 3:00–5:00 pm. Please join us for games and fellowship!! This will also be the kick off for the Christmas Tree Silent Auction put on by our Confirmation Classes. We are looking for different groups to provide an activity or craft during the event too! If your bible study group, commission, or even family would like to host an activity please reach out to me or another member of the Education Commission!

Operation Christmas Child Needs

We’ve had great support for this year’s Operation Christmas Child collection season, but we have five more packing days left and have a couple of needs now through November 13:

  • Empty shoe boxes – big need!
  • More items from the donation list (at www.stjohnskasson.org/operation-christmas-child-gift-suggestions or at the Welcome Center)
  • Financial donations to purchase items not given
  • Boxes and items can be left in the box in the narthex and financial donations can be left in the offering plate (clearly marked for Operation Christmas Child) or in the office.

Story from recipient of Operation Christmas Child gift

occ-recipient-alex-nsengimanaA survivor of the 1994 Rwanda genocide shared his heartbreaking, but inspiring, story Saturday in Boise. Alex Nsengimana spoke to new immigrants from Africa about how he found light during a time in darkness.

He shared his experiences of living through Rwanda’s genocide when he was younger, witnessing the deaths of family members. Alex fled for his life and ended up in an orphanage.

The story he shared Saturday was about the gift he received from Operation Christmas Child while he was at that orphanage – a shoe box filled with school supplies and hygiene items.

“That was the very first time receiving a gift in my life, and I knew someone was thinking about me,” Nsengimana said. “When I was in high school I saw these boxes again. And I remembered what they did in my life. I went to pack more boxes myself.”

A few years ago, Nsengimana went back to Rwanda with Operation Christmas Child and brought back shoe box gifts to children at the same orphanage he grew up in.

He is spreading the message, and encouraging people to participate in Operation Christmas Child.

 

Operation Christmas Child Gift Suggestions

St. John’s is collecting items for Operation Christmas Child. Bring in your items or financial contributions now through November 13.

Suggested items:

TOYS: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy cars, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries)

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, spiral or small notebooks, paper, solar calculators, colored pencils, erasers, rulers, scissors with rounded edges, water color paints, coloring and picture books

NON-LIQUID HYGIENE ITEMS: toothbrushes, toothpaste, bar soap, combs, washcloths, small package of Kleenex

ACCESSORIES: t-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)

A PERSONAL NOTE: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may be able to write back.

DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

QUESTIONS:  CONTACT TANYA YOUNG (316) 390-5368; OR TYOUNG8550@YAHOO.COM

 

Successful Operation Christmas Child Parade

On Sunday, October 9 we had a great parade to collect items for Operation Christmas Child.

We collected 6 filled shoe boxes, 430 items, and $49 in donations. KTTC came and talked to us about the event.

THANK YOU to all the volunteers that made this event a success including all the women in the circles, and Women of Faith Bible study that brought cookies.

We’re still collecting supplies through November 13. Find the list of items here.

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Operation Christmas Child 2016

This time of year we welcome contributions for Operation Christmas Child. Bring supplies and empty shoe boxes and leave in or next to the box in the narthex. A list of supplies is below.

And mark your calendar for October 9 for the St. John’s Lutheran Church Collection Parade & Festival! We’ll have a parade complete with fire trucks, ambulances, and police vehicles leaving St. John’s at 3:30 pm and following the route below. Friends and neighbors are all welcome to bring their supplies or completed shoeboxes out to the parade for collection or bring them to St. John’s through 5:30 pm that evening. Emergency vehicles will hang out at St. John’s after for a meet-and-greet – stop by, visit, and enjoy refreshments!

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Gift Suggestions

TOYS: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy cars, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries)

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, spiral or small notebooks, paper, solar calculators, colored pencils, erasers, rulers, scissors with rounded edges, water color paints, coloring and picture books

NON-LIQUID HYGIENE ITEMS: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, washcloths, small package of Kleenex

ACCESSORIES: t-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)

A PERSONAL NOTE: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may be able to write back.

DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

QUESTIONS:  CONTACT TANYA YOUNG (316) 390-5368; OR TYOUNG8550@YAHOO.COM

Friday Roundup – November 27, 2015

Our confirmation kids have been up to some great service projects. One group offered babysitting Saturday night. Five confirmation students and three adults hosted more than 15 kids ages one to thirteen from five families. The crew enjoyed some pizza, played in the nursery, and watched some movies. Watch for more free babysitting nights in the future!

Last week, we were a drop-off location for completed boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Sunday morning we blessed the boxes, preparing them to be sent off on Monday. 784 Operation Christmas Child boxes were collected. Thank you to Tanya Young for coordinating the entire project and many other volunteers who helped collect, pack, and donate.

15 Blessing of the OCC Boxes

Blessing of the boxes.

 

15 Operation Christmas Child boxes

Boxes loaded up and ready to go.

On Wednesday, we didn’t host our regular Wednesday afternoon/evening programming, but we did give thanks go God at our Thanksgiving Eve worship. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Friday Roundup – November 20, 2015

Winter seems to have arrived, but not for the five families who spent last weekend at the Wilderness Lodge in Wisconsin Dells!

15 Operation Christmas Child CollectionMeanwhile, here in Kasson, Tanya Young, the coordinator for our collection site for Operation Christmas Child, was collecting shoeboxes gifts for children around the world. Other congregations could bring their boxes to St. John’s and then they’d be shipped on from here.

On Monday, November 16, Pastor Dana opened her home for any who wanted to enjoy watching the movie musical Meet me in St. Louis. The next one is November 30 and will start of a Christmas movie series. Join her at 506 7th Ave. NE, Kasson at 7 pm for Holiday Inn.

High school youth have been meeting at 7:30 pm Wednesday nights. This Wednesday, the 18th, they hung out at the ice rink.

15 Youth Group Ice Skating

Friday Roundup – November 13, 2015

What have we been up to in the last week?

Prayer Pillows Milestone

Last Sunday and Wednesday we celebrated a faith Milestone by presenting 3-year-olds with Prayer Pillows. Throughout the year, they will receive a postcard of prayers to learn with their family, one each month. The pillows are made by Colleen Jacobson and are a gift from St. John’s in part of keeping up with our congregation’s baptismal promises.

Prayer Pillows for 3 yr olds

WELCA Thankoffering

The women of St. John’s celebrated their Women of the ELCA (WELCA) thankoffering on Sunday the 8th. The celebration included bringing food and supplies for  SEMCAC Food Shelf and special offerings which are sent to Churchwide Women of the ELCA. These offerings are then used to support and strengthen our partnership in supporting the important ministry efforts of women. Thankofferings show gratitude for God’s blessings. Women have been celebrating Thankofferings since 1889 along with Episcopal and Methodist women. Thankofferings make it possible to support many different programs and organizations.

Kickoff to 12th Grade Quilt Milestone

Each year, high school seniors at St. John’s are invited to receive a quilt from St. John’s upon their graduation. They work throughout the year to choose the fabric and help put the quilt together, so they have to start early! They met for the first time on Sunday. If you missed it, contact Lindsay (Lindsay@stjohnskasson.org or (507) 634-7110) to get started. Thank you to Jen Smith for coordinating this ministry!

Pastors Mioche & Joas Visited from Haiti

Pastor’s Mioche and Joas visited from Haiti on Wednesday. For 11 years we have supported Pastor Mioche’s ministry. It was great to get an in-person update from them! Read more about this ministry partnership here.

Operation Christmas Child Packing Party

Operation Christmas Child packing is in full swing and people gathered Wednesday night for another session of packing boxes. Next week starts National Collection Week and other organizations will be brining their packed boxes to St. John’s.

Ministry of Encouragement to City Hall

On Thursday, November 12, we had a great visit to Kasson City Hall to express our appreciation for all the people there do to keep our community running. And the new City Administrator was even able to be there!

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Family Trip to the Dells

Right now five families from St. John’s having a blast (we hope!) in Wisconsin Dells at an indoor water park. It’s a great excuse to get away and pretend to be somewhere tropical!

Friday Roundup – November 6, 2016

This week was busy with:

  • Trunk or Treat
  • Remembrance Day at worship
  • Program staff attending the synod’s Fall Theological Conference
  • Quilting resumed (prayer shawls too!)
  • An Oasis Afterschool “Packing Party” for Operation Christmas Child
  • Confirmation Trivia Night
  • Monthly Senior Community Worship
  • Yard work around the church building

Trunk or Treat

Over 250 visitors from the community joined us on Saturday, October 31 for “Trunk or Treat.” It was a fun afternoon of games, “trick-or-treating,” and refreshments at St. John’s. People decorated the trunks of their cars, backs of their vans, or (in one case) even a trailer and passed out treats. This year’s “treats” were all non-food items as part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, an effort to provide a safe place for kids with food allergies or sensitivities to trick-or-treat. The police and fire departments even came out to join in the fun.

15TrunkOrTreat-costumes
15TrunkOrTreat-decoratetable
15TrunkOrTreat-festivevan
15TrunkOrTreat-Fosters
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15TrunkOrTreat-inside
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15TrunkOrTreat-police
15TrunkOrTreat-superhero
15TrunkOrTreat-trailer
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Remembrance Day at worship

On Sunday, November 1, and Wednesday, November 4, we remembered our loved ones who have passed. We read names of those from our congregation who died in the past year, did a special ringing of the bells, and lit candles as  a remembrance.

Remembrance Day Candles

Remembrance Day Candles

Program staff attending the synod’s Fall Theological Conference

Each year the synod bishop’s office hosts a conference of continuing education for pastors and other leaders in the church. This year Pastor Randy, Amanda, and Lindsay all attended the event in Onalaska, Wis.

2015 Fall Theological Conference

2015 Fall Theological Conference

Quilting resumed (prayer shawls too!)

Wednesday, November 4, was the first day back to quilting for the year (now that lefse baking is over!). Anyone who likes to iron, cut blocks, or tie quilts is invited Wednesdays at 8 am. No experience needed! Thank you to everyone who donated fabric and sewed together tops!

Quilting has resumed for the year! Join them 8 am Wednesday mornings.

Quilting has resumed for the year! Join them 8 am Wednesday mornings.

There's also an opportunity to learn about making prayer shawls on Wednesday mornings - or any time! Mary is happy to teach you.

There’s also an opportunity to learn about making prayer shawls on Wednesday mornings – or any time! Mary is happy to teach you.

An Oasis Afterschool “Packing Party” for Operation Christmas Child

On Wednesday, November 4, KM Schools had an early-out, so the Oasis Afterschool kids had a special service project to pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Confirmation Trivia Night

While the adult leaders had a meeting Wednesday night, the confirmation students had a rousing trivia night!

Monthly Senior Community Worship

On the first Thursday of the month, we host a Senior Community Worship service at 1:30 pm. For some, this is an easier time to attend and offers a special time together. The December service is a special time and will be held December 17 at 11 am (NOT the first Thursday). It will be followed by a luncheon.

Yard work around the church building

It takes many types of volunteers to do God’s work. This week we give a special thank you to Gary Kautz to did a lot of pruning work this week and hauled the waste away. We’re all set for spring!

Pruned shrubs thanks to Gary Kautz

Pruned shrubs thanks to Gary Kautz

Faith Formation Ministries

Amanda Sabelko CYF Ministry Development Director

Amanda Sabelko
CYF Ministry Development Director

Amanda Sabelko
CYF Ministry Development Director

  • On November 4, Oasis kids will pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We do need more donations of toys, school supplies, and health items. For more information, please contact Tanya Young, tyoung8550@yahoo.com
  • We will be giving out Prayer Pillows to 3-year-olds on November 8 and 11. Anyone is welcome to receive this special gift. Three-year-olds will receive prayers to put in their pillows throughout the year!
  • On November 11, there will be a family packing party for Operation Christmas Child. Bring your whole family and help to pack a box for a special child! Contact Tanya Young with questions.
  • There will be an Advent Festival, November 29 from 2:00-5:00 pm. Please join us for games and fellowship. This will also be the kick-off for the Christmas Tree Silent Auction put on by our Confirmation Classes.