The Messenger

June Special Events

  • Confirmation Camp
    June 10-15
  • Vacation Bible School
    June 18-22
  • Family Fun Night
    June 20, 5-8 pm
  • ELCA National Youth Gathering
    June 25-July 2

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

Summer Worship

We’re now on our summer worship schedule!

  • Sundays – 9:00 am followed by fellowship
  • Wednesdays – 6:30 pm at the fire pit
    (weather permitting, inside in case of rain)

Praying Together

Pastor Nirmala Reinschmidt
Interim Pastor

What is the distinguishing mark of the Christian church?

PRAYER

Throughout redemptive history, corporate prayer has been a primary focus of God’s people. Former ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson once commented that “A praying church is a growing church.” I am convinced of that truth throughout my ministry.

We must be praying people, first, because we know that our only help in the name of the Lord. It is the Lord who builds the house and watches over the city, who gives success to the church’s mission. In praying together, we admit that we are helpless. In prayer, we ask God to do the awakening, regenerating, maturing, and gifting that only He can do.

Secondly, when we pray together, we testify and remind one another that our hope comes from somewhere else entirely. We are not wringing our hands, desperate for human solutions.

Thirdly, when we pray together we grow in love for one another. Each person who is united to Christ, everyone who loves Him and is loved by Him, is also bound together with us in love.

I write this article to remind ourselves of the power of Corporate Prayer. It is a critical time in the life and the mission of St. John’s Lutheran Church. We have formed a call committee to choose our Senior Pastor.

We need to come together in Prayer seeking wisdom and discernment in selecting our new shepherd.

I am available on Mondays at 10:00 am to lead a prayer group. We gather just to pray. All are welcome!

Be still this summer

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

Amanda Sabelko, Deacon
CYF Ministry Development Director

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all Faith Formation volunteers and staff this past year! From our Sunday and Oasis teachers to our adult education leaders, and confirmation guides we could not have made it through the year without your support and dedication to the faith life of our congregation and its visitors. Thank you also to Country Pleasures and the confirmation groups for your work with the Oasis Meals. We have been truly blessed by your service!

School’s out for the summer! But as you know schedules are still going to be crazy. Between t-ball, gardening, work, and other summer fun I’m sure summer is still quite stressful for us all!

In Psalm 46, King David writes “Be still and know that I am God.” For me being still means to put away my phone and laptop, to sit with a cup of French pressed coffee and take in God’s creation. For you it might be something entirely different – realizing that your to-do list can wait, taking time to spend with the important people in your life, or maybe taking a nap. No matter what helps you to be still and relish in the presence of God, go ahead and do it. God wants to have a relationship with you and sometimes that requires us to slow down and find space to listen. What will you do this summer to be still and know God?

A time to get involved

Jen Smith
Council President

(More about the transition here.)

As Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us there is “A time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” We are especially reminded of this at this time of year as we celebrate another class of graduates, many of our young congregation members enlisting in the Armed Forces and adoption of our summer worship schedule.

There is indeed a time for everything and here at St. John’s it time to engage. The transition team has worked dutifully to identify who we are as well as garner an insight of what we need. These past few months our council has been engaging in where we are at and how we continue to move forward. A Call Committee has been commissioned. Thank you to those who are serving in these leadership roles. We have several commissions carrying out the work of St. John’s both in house and outside our walls. We are committed to serving our community.

I’m asking each of you to find where it is you belong here and ask that you reach out and volunteer. Our programming cannot run without engagement from each of us. The most prominent need for the summer is adult volunteers with our summer programming. We also have a landscape project starting soon which I hope to see as a congregational activity with families participating together. I know there are several maintenance and upkeep project continually happening under the direction of our Properties Commission. Our leadership goes beyond the council and commissions. We each have a role to play.

On Sunday, June 3 the council and members of the transition team gave a report. The video recording is available below. We are excited about the future of St. John’s and want to be sure to engage all of you in this excitement as well. Everything we do is with, and because of, God’s grace.

(More about the transition here.)

2018 Action Packed Day Camp

Youth who were in grades 4-8 in 2017-2018 are invited to St. John’s 2018 Action Packed Day Camp. Join us for a week of non-stop fun!

Details

July 9-12, 2018
Cost is $50, includes a tshirt

Registration

Register today! – registration will be capped at 25 students or cut off at June 27, whichever comes first. (See bottom of the page for payment info) Participants also need to complete the medical form.

Schedule

Camp days will be approximately 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. A couple of days will be closer to 6:00 pm; families will be notified closer to the week of camp.

  • Monday, July 9 – Science Museum of MN, with Imax movie
  • Tuesday, July 10 – ValleyFair, with waterpark
  • Wednesday, July 11 – Scenic Tour at Mystery Cave, Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park
  • Thursday, July 12 – MN Zoo

What to Bring

Students will need to bring a sack lunch, wear sturdy shoes or sandals (no flip flops!), bring a swimsuit and towel on Tuesday and Thursday, a sweatshirt/jacket on Wednesday for the cave tour, and a water bottle. Daily snacks will be provided.

Payment

Fee is payable by cash/check or pay online below.

After selecting your payment, you can change the quantity if you are registering more than one child.

2018 Action Packed Day Camp
2018 Action Packed Day Camp
$50.00

Family Fun Night June 20

It’s that time of year – time for a neighborhood party! Come out and bring a friend or neighbor along to this year’s FREE Family Fun Night. Food, root beer floats, face painting, games, songs by the VBS kids, a cake walk, and more.

Wednesday, June 20
5-8 pm
Here at St. John’s

Lutheran 101 is here for the summer

Are you interested in learning or reviewing the fundamentals of Lutheran faith, practice, and teaching? Pastor John will lead Lutheran 101 this summer Thursdays at 6:00 pm. All are invited!

Prayers for our travelers

We have two groups of travelers this month. Our confirmation students will be at Sugar Creek Bible Camp in Ferryville, WI June 10-15 and a bunch of our High Schoolers will be headed to Houston, TX for the ELCA National Youth Gathering with thousands of youth from around the country. Pray for safe travel and that God may speak to them through these experiences.

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.

May Special Events

  • Rummage Sale
    May 11 (2 pm—6 pm) & May 12 (9 am—2 pm)
  • Milestone Celebrations
    May 13 & 16 at worship
  • Senior Recognition
    May 16 & 20 at worship
  • Breakfast Fellowship
    May 20 between services
  • First Day of Summer Worship Schedule
    May 27 at 9:00 a.m.
  • No Worship
    May 30

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

Can luxury distract us?

Pastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

Apsley Cherry-Garrard was an English gentleman who was, as they say, born with a silver spoon in his mouth. In 1907, he inherited his father’s large estate. Though he knew luxury, he had always been thrilled, hearing of his father’s achievements in India and China, fighting with the British Defense Forces.

At the age of twenty-four ‘Cherry’ applied to join Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica, hopefully, to the South Pole (1910-1913). His first application was rejected. Scott felt he had nothing to add to the expedition. He would be a detriment and a danger to himself and the entire expedition. He applied a second time and offered to pay one thousand pounds. He was turned down again but gave the money anyway. Scott was impressed with this unselfish act, and a close comrade persuaded him to allow Cherry to sign on as assistant zoologist. This man who had only known luxury was in for the experience of a life-time, and the most torturous battle between life and death imaginable.

For two years the men endured temperatures as low as -77°F in winter. In one event Cherry’s teeth chattered so hard that he shattered most of them. The men were frost-bitten and on the verge of death several times. Scott and four of his men, with the support of the others, did reach the South Pole, but tragically died on the return trip. Yet Cherry remembered those days as some of the best in his life. He wrote in his memoirs:

Those Hut Point days, would prove some of the happiest of my life. Just enough to eat and keep warm, no more – no frills or trimmings: there is many a worse and more elaborate life…the luxuries of civilization satisfy only those wants which they themselves create.” 
–The Worst Journey in the World

That final phrase has stayed with me – what a profound saying! Is it true that luxuries we live with can be a liability, blinding us to the joys of a simpler life? My own trip to Antarctica and the South Pole, taught me that I could live comfortably for months with less than seventy pounds of luggage, including winter survival gear. I’ve traveled lighter ever since.

St. Paul teaches:

…I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
— Philippians 3.8

We all have different gifts & styles of serving

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

In the midst of a busy end-of-program-year season, Amanda and I were able to take a few hours a month ago to attend the Twin Cities Faith Formation Network in Lakeville with children, youth, and family workers and volunteers. The topic for the day was all about engaging volunteers in the congregation, not just in youth ministry. The first speaker, Nancy Thompson, spoke about how important it is to recruit and develop volunteers and leaders, not just to start and develop programs. She noted in particular how important it is to build and grow relationship, both with other people and with God. In her talk, she spoke about how important it is to find the right fit for volunteers to help them succeed. In her way of thinking there are four levels for people to volunteer at, and she also highlighted the importance of each one.

Serving = this is an entry level volunteer position; easy, not long term, low investment. Examples: greeters, supply room coordinator, room coordinators, service project supply person, anything that can be done on own time.

Shepherding = a position that involves giving care to others, more involvement than serving level, the next step in investing in community. Examples: nursery caregivers, large group hosts (think bereavement representatives at a funeral), technology helpers.

Teaching = higher level of commitment, more preparation ahead of time, direct engagement with groups of people. Examples: small group leaders, Sunday School/Oasis teachers, leading a women’s or men’s group.

Leading = those who advocate for programs, chair events, high capacity volunteers. Examples: congregational council, chair of commission, transition team, all members of commissions.

As the speaker finished up I began to realize just how important it is to help everyone find the right level for investment in our community. In 1 Corinthians 12:4 Paul reminds us that there are different kinds of gifts, but one Spirit who distributes them. We all have different gifts that can be used to the glory of God. I have been working on changing my thinking so that I notice in a different way. Where do you notice gifts that you could use? Or maybe gifts in another? How can we help each other grow those gifts? How can we empower, equip, and encourage one another? Rather than trying to fill the voids that we have in programming, what if instead we worked from a place of abundance? What are you abundant in? How might you share that gift to the glory of God? God has given us all amazing, but different gifts! Let’s figure out how to use them together!

Lutheran 101

Are you interested in learning or reviewing the fundamentals of Lutheran faith, practice, and teaching? Pastor John will lead Lutheran 101 on a weekday evening during the summer. Sign up in the office or welcome desk and mark your preference for date and time OR click here to sign up online.

Superhero VBS

Remember to register your kids for our FREE Superhero VBS by May 18 to be guaranteed a t-shirt! Here are some other things to remember:

  • June 18-22, 8:30-11:30 am
  • Early drop-off/late pick-up available
  • 3-year-olds through 4th grade
  • Open to the entire community!

If you’re a 5th grader or older, we have lots of ways for you to help! Including:

  • Donate milk caps, empty paper towel rolls, washi tape, and cereal boxes
  • Help with the kids at VBS
  • Come decorate June 9 (9 am—2 pm)

Full details on the bulletin board at St. John’s or at www.stjohnskasson.org/vbs