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Exploring our faith together

Pastor Dave Efflandt
Lead Pastor

Greetings everyone! I hope this message finds you well, and that your summer is off to a great start!

Over the past month, I’ve been spending time with many of you at our table talk conversations, learning about you and your families, hearing some of your cherished stories about St. John’s, and also dreaming with you about what possibilities await our congregation out there in the future. It has been so uplifting to share this holy space with you, gathered in fellowship with God in our midst. (There are still more times available—sign up on the board in the Narthex, right inside the main doors.)

From those conversations, I’ve been reflecting a great deal on how we, as people of faith, navigate a world that often doesn’t provide us with easy decisions or clear answers. In short, I’ve been pondering how we remain faithful during times of doubt, fear, uncertainty, confusion, and grief. And what a better place to engage and explore those difficult questions than with each other, gathered together worship on Wednesday evenings. We will be utilizing the book series: Can I Ask That? from the Sticky Faith Curriculum to help us on our journey. Take a look at the subjects below, and come join us as often as you are able:

  • June 5: Can I Trust the Bible? Does the Bible Contradict Itself?
  • June 12: Does God Discriminate Against Women?
  • June 19: Can I be a Christian and Believe in Evolution?
  • June 26: VBS Family Fun Night
  • July 10: Is Jesus Really the Only Way to God?
  • July 17: Does God Test People in Their Faith?
  • July 24: Does God Endorse Violence?
  • July 31: How Can I Follow a God Who Would Let Christians Do Such Bad Things?
  • August 7: Is it Wrong to Doubt God?
  • August 14: Is Hell Real? How Could God Send Someone There?
  • August 21: Can I Do Something So Bad God Won’t Forgive Me?
  • August 28: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
  • September 4: Is Sex Outside Marriage Wrong?

May God continue to bless your walk of faith, encouraging you to ask the difficult questions, to be comfortable with the uncertainty, and courageous as you face the mysteries of life. Amen.

Summer worship 2019

We’re now in our summer worship schedule. Sunday worship is at 9:00 am followed by fellowship.

Wednesday worship is at 6:30 pm by the fire pit (inside if weather requires a move). Bring a chair, stay for s’mores, and engage with some tough topics on Wednesdays this summer!

Wednesday topic schedule:

  • June 5: Can I Trust the Bible? Does the Bible Contradict Itself?
  • June 12: Does God Discriminate Against Women?
  • June 19: Can I be a Christian and Believe in Evolution?
  • June 26: VBS Family Fun Night
  • July 10: Is Jesus Really the Only Way to God?
  • July 17: Does God Test People in Their Faith?
  • July 24: Does God Endorse Violence?
  • July 31: How Can I Follow a God Who Would Let Christians Do Such Bad Things?
  • August 7: Is it Wrong to Doubt God?
  • August 14: Is Hell Real? How Could God Send Someone There?
  • August 21: Can I Do Something So Bad God Won’t Forgive Me?
  • August 28: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
  • September 4: Is Sex Outside Marriage Wrong?

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

Summer worship schedule

Believe it or not, summer is just around the corner! We will have worship on our regular schedule May 20 and May 23. Beginning May 27, we will move to a single 9:00 am Sunday morning service. On Wednesday, May 30 there will not be a service. On Wednesday, June 6 worship will resume. Still at 6:30 pm, but out by the fire pit as weather permits. Routines shift in the summer, but we still worship God every week!

Look for God every day

LindsayColwell 2017webLindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

When people aren’t familiar with the type of job that I have or are not familiar with St. John’s they tend to say to me as the school year winds to a close, “Things must be slowing down for you now that the school year is ending, right?” Usually that produces a laugh from me and the comment, “No, I am actually MUCH busier in the summer.” I spend my summer preparing last-minute details for the high school and confirmation trips, putting together summer mid-week worship with Amanda, and trying desperately to get everything ready for the coming school year. Three months sounds like a lot of time, but in reality it goes by in a flash.

This summer in mid-week worship around the fire pit we are using a book called Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren. The book outlines how everything from waking up in the morning to checking email to going to bed are sacred practices in the life of our faith. We are also spending time concentrating on prayer. How can we not only make prayer a more regular part of our lives, but how can we pray for one another. One of the things that we are trying out is writing our prayer requests for the week on a Post-It note and then at the end of the service taking home someone else’s prayer request to include in our own prayers. Busy lives get in the way of our faith at times, but perhaps if we spend a little time shifting our perspective about what prayer looks like we will see that our entire day can be seen as a prayer. I have a quote up in my office that says, “God comes to you disguised as your life” (Paula D’Arcy).liturgy-of-the-ordinary

Take a moment to look around and see where God is showing up in your life. Take a moment to pray for someone else. Open your eyes to the possibility of the sacred in the everyday ordinary occurrences in your life. Find a few moments this summer to set aside the busyness and thank God for the wonder that is life. God’s blessings to you in your sacred, ordinary life.

 

Summer Worship

Summer worship begins Sunday, May 28 and Wednesday, June 7 (no worship Wednesday, May 31). We will worship:

  • Sundays at 9:00 am
  • Wednesdays at 6:30 pm by St. John’s new fire pit

Free AGAPE* Concert

On Wednesday, May 17, 7-9 pm (after Wednesday night worship), AGAPE* will be joining us at St. John’s for a FREE evening of music and storytelling. We will be collecting peanut butter and jelly (plastic containers only, please) for our Food for Friends program.

AGAPE* (Dave Scherer) combines rapping, dancing, storytelling, and his fluency in Spanish to connect with his listeners in a way that they really “get it.” His energy is contagious, and his stories of faith transcend differences. Even those who do not normally enjoy hip-hop find themselves dancing to his music and captivated by his unique presentation of the Gospel. You can find more information here.

agapeconcertflyer

Wednesday Worship Services

Our Wednesday worship services will now have a different theme than our Sunday services. Join us as we study Martin Luther and the catechism. We are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.