The Messenger

Priorities for our future

Pastor John Allen

Interim Pastor

Most or all of you know that we are in the final stage of a transition period we started two Christmases ago. Your Call Committee is conducting interviews to identify a solid candidate to call as your next Lead Pastor.

This is a good time to review some very powerful work your Transition Team produced and published. This work is not meant to be relegated to the scraps of history, but, much like a catechism, it is meant to be used over and over again to guide and coordinate all of the work of the St. John’s congregation.

Here are the most enduring four answers to six critical questions pondered long and hard by the Transition Team. The answers are very specific to St. John’s. As you do the work of commissions, council, or the general work of individual members, please read and re-read these carefully to guide your thought and work. With God’s blessing, they will work to unite this ministry and define it for years to come.

Why do we exist? Living in God’s grace, St. John’s Lutheran Church is an inclusive community worshiping together, growing in faith, serving others, and living as witnesses of Jesus Christ.

How do we behave? We reflect God’s love in our actions and decision-making by: Providing hospitality; Embracing each individual’s faith journey; Modeling forgiveness and; Committing to a life of devotion and service.

What do we do? We provide worship, service, fellowship, and faith formation opportunities for the members of our congregation, community and the world.

How will we succeed? We will succeed by Investing in and empowering people to lead and serve; by offering unique and innovative forms of worship, fellowship, service and education; by fostering intergenerational faith relationships; by connecting with the greater community in visible ways; by communicating clearly and consistently using all media types; by teaching and modeling generous giving to remain financially viable and; by being intentional in our evangelism.

October—A Time for Looking to the Future and the Past

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

October is such an odd month for me. Since starting my position here at St. John’s the month has been to a large degree about looking towards the future. In October we hold our affirmation of baptism worship service for our 9th grade students as they profess their faith before the entire congregation. In the weeks leading up to that worship service I spend many evenings engaged in listening to their faith statements and talking with them about how we as a congregation can support them as they continue to move forward in their faith. October is the time that we put out all of the information about the upcoming summer’s high school youth trip, plan for fundraisers and activities throughout the year, and get a fresh start with the high school youth group.

But October is also a month of looking back for me and remembering those no longer with us. October 4th marks year six for me of being without my Grandma Alice who was my strongest supporter. October also marks the due date of what would have been our first baby that I lost very early in 2014. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us there is a season for everything, and 3:11 tells us that God has made everything suitable for its time. While October is a joyful time of looking forward and things to come, it also holds a sadness for me. But whenever I am sad or anxious about these things I am reminded of, just as many of you are I am sure, the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Christ takes the hurt in our lives and uses it for good. He used the loss of my grandmother to bring my family together in one town and put a roof over our heads in the form of her home. And without that first loss I would not have Oliver, who is the rainbow after a life of storms. As we head into our celebration of All Saints remember the sad, but don’t forget to look for how God has used it to work good.

Continuing our conversation

Jen Smith
Council President

Thank you to all who took the time to engage in discussion at the All Commission meeting on September 23. We had an excellent representation of commission leaders as well as staff and other programs supported by St. Johns including Lutefisk, Creation Kids Preschool, and Food for Friends. It is my hope that each commission will continue the conversations we started. We discussed strengths and challenges of St. John’s as well as ways to empower each of out commissions to carry out the work identified by each. Looking forward, we challenge each commission to review the minutes from this meeting (coming soon! watch the weekly enews and other publications for the link) and discuss strategies to utilize our strengths to overcome our challenges. Each of you were left with homework. We have asked each commission to identify: “What is most important right now?” and “Who must do what?” To be successful, these two questions must be asked by all of us on a regular basis. As we complete tasks and transition through the seasons of the church, these answers will change. I encourage each of you to see where your time and talents can be shared with St. Johns. Together, we can live as witnesses of Jesus Christ and serve the many programs and ministries of St. John’s. Continue to prayerfully reflect all that you see God doing through us.

In addition to the minutes from the meeting, you can also review the packet that was distributed at the meeting.

All Saints’ Celebration

On Wednesday, October 31 and Sunday, November 4 we will be celebrating All Saints Day during worship.

Both days will include a reading of names of saints lost in the past year (if a loved one died in the last year that we didn’t know about, submit names to the office by October 22) and include a lighting of candles in remembrance of all the saints.

On Wednesday, October 31 the Youth and Family Commission will be hosting an interactive learning event for remembering our loved ones we have lost. This event will take place in the Narthex Wednesday afternoon through evening programming.

Upcoming Book Fairs

October 3-October 21: St. John’s will be hosting a children’s book fair and adult wellness book fair from Augsburg Fortress/Sparkhouse. Contact Lindsay (lindsay@stjohnskasson.org) with questions or stop by the displays in the Narthex.

Lutefisk Dinner—October 25

This year’s Lutefisk Dinner is nearly here!

The basics

Thursday, October 25, 2018
Serving: 11 am – 2:30 pm & 4:00 pm until all are served.
Bake sale: 9:00 am until sold out
Adults $17, Children (under 10) $7
No advanced ticket sales. Cash or check only.
Menu: Lutefisk, lefse, meatballs in gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, rutabagas, cabbage slaw, Norwegian baked goods

Take out dinners may be pre-ordered by calling St. John’s between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm at (507) 634-7110 beginning Monday, October 22. Please drive to the northwest corner of the church building to pick up take-out dinners on Thursday.

More details

Check out all the latest news and information about past dinners at stjohnskasson.org/lutefisk.

High School Service Trip 2019

Students in 9-12 grade (2018-2019) are invited to join the 2019 summer youth trip to San Diego. We will be traveling to a YouthWorks site July 28-August 4, 2019. Service activities will include serving at a food bank, clothing distribution center, and homeless shelter. Participants will also engage in educational experiences regarding the current refugee and immigrant crisis. An informational meeting will be on Sunday, October 14 at 9:10 am in the Fireside Room.

More info:

July 28-August 4, 2019 (may depart earlier depending on travel arrangements)
Open to students in grades 9-12 (2018-2019)
Register by November 4 to ensure a spot.
$50 deposit due at time of registration.

Made Known Event for Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Sunday, October 21 from 5:00-7:00 pm St. John’s will host “Made Known,” an event to connect parents who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant with one another and with our community. All of God’s children are known and loved. Contact Lindsay with any questions at lindsay@stjohnskasson.org.

CKP Pancake Breakfast & Silent Auction

The annual Creation Kids Preschool Pancake Breakfast & Silent Auction is coming up Sunday, October 14. Breakfast will be served 8:30 am – 10:30 am. Donations for the auction are needed and much appreciated. Call/text Rachel Linbo at (507) 421-6013 to donate. All proceeds will go toward program equipment and the CKP scholarship fund. Supplemental funds provided by Thrivent Financial.

True disciples

Pastor Nirmala Reinschmidt
Interim Pastor

Our western idea of faith as cushioned pews and convenient sacrifice flies right in the face of what Jesus called us to. It’s in Luke 9:23-24: “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’” To which you can almost hear someone saying, “In that case, I think I’d rather run my own life. It sounds like there’s too much to lose in following Jesus.” Well, you need to listen to Jesus’ startling equation, “For whoever wants to save His life (or hang onto his life) will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Hang onto your life, you lose it. Give it away and you find it.

Maybe you’ve tried to discount Christianity. It’s very popular. Of course its only a pale shadow of the disciple Christianity Jesus calls us to. You go to the meetings, you believe the beliefs, you give in the offerings, you sometimes read your Bible, and you pray. But it’s a surface commitment, a commitment that still leaves you in control. My guess is that discount Christianity has left you unfulfilled and unsatisfied. It can’t satisfy you. You were made to be abandoned to Jesus, taking up a cross, making choices that might cost you, building His Kingdom instead of yours, and accepting assignments from Him that go way beyond your comfort zone.

And as for “the honor and the rewards?” Jesus said that no one who sacrificed for His great adventure” will fail to receive a hundred times as much in the present age…and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30). You can’t out-give Jesus. True Christianity is expensive but it’s ultimately fulfilling and rewarding.

Jesus asks you to take your commitment to Him at a whole new level. And you can be sure the cost of not following Him is far greater than the cost of following Him. He’s waiting for your answer to His invitation. By God’s grace, your answer will be, “Jesus, I will cheerfully join you and I will partake of the dangers, difficulties, and fatigues. I anticipate the honor and the rewards.

As we are beginning a new fall season, let us encourage each other to worship regularly, pray daily, give generously, and to serve others to show our love for God and for others. There are many opportunities here at St. John’s to help you to make that commitment.

Please keep our call committee in your prayer as they are discerning to call our new senior pastor.

Gearing up for fall

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

The leaves have been turning new colors and we all know that means! Fall is just around the corner!

Still time to register for fall
We’re gearing up to start Sunday School and Oasis Programming the week of September 13. Families are still able to register online at stjohnkasson.org/lifelong-learning or in the office.

Volunteers still needed
We are still looking for volunteers to help out by teaching Sunday School or Oasis classes. We wouldn’t be able to do these ministries without our fabulous volunteers. Please consider helping to pass on the stories of our faith to our students. You can contact me (Amanda) for more info: (507) 634-7110 ext 14 or amanda@stjohnskasson.org. You can also sign up on the Youth Bulletin Board in the Narthex.

Fall Fest
On September 15, the Education Commission will be hosting our first annual Fall Fest! All are welcome as we share a meal of hotdogs, chips and lemonade. There will be lawn games, inflatables, cotton candy, and even a campfire with s’mores! We hope you will join us for this fun fall celebration. Opportunities to volunteer lend us some items are available here.