The Messenger

The Face(s) of the Synod

John Allen 4 webPastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

Sitting in a session of Southeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly earlier this month, I kept thinking of that quote from the old Pogo comic series, “We have met the enemy—and they is us!” The synod is not the enemy, of course, but I’ve sure met congregational members who seem to think it is. Seven members of St. John’s attending that assembly have met the synod, and we know, “they is us.”

Our church, the ELCA, practices a participatory form of governance. We don’t have a top-down kind of authority that we often associate with other churches. We don’t have a pope, for instance. Our bishops and other leaders are elected by us to administer the ministries that we, as congregations have chosen to share. We can use the word “synod” to refer to the bishop’s office, or the synod office, but when we speak of what the synod does, “they is us.”

At the assembly, we saw the face (or faces) of the synod at work. We met at the Civic Center in Rochester, together with some three or four hundred representatives of local congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), to listen, worship, learn, talk, share, compare…and elect. Some members came from small struggling congregations. Others came from large struggling congregations…and every configuration in between. We heard some engaging preaching and Bible studies. And, as always among Lutherans, we heard some great music. Together, we shared our common desire to be the hands and voice of our Lord. We shared our common faith and hope. We shared concern for the challenges and barriers that make proclamation of the Gospel difficult in our time and age. We came to name our fears and challenges, and we came to pledge our commitment to one another and our Lord Jesus. So, next time you hear the word “synod,” or see it in our budget, think of all of the ministry, mission, and outreach that happens on our behalf.

Summer is Almost Here

LindsayColwell 2017webLindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

The summer is fast approaching and we have many opportunities to take part in as the weather warms up!

  • Summer worship on Sunday mornings at 9 am (one service) will begin on Sunday, May 28. Our Wednesday evening worship will move outdoors beginning on June 7 (we will not have worship on May 31) with a time change to 6:30 pm. Come join us around our brand new fire pit care of Eagle Scout candidate, John Kllinkhammer.
  • We will be celebrating our graduating seniors at worship on Sunday, May 21 at both services, as well as on Wednesday, May 24 at 6:15 pm. Come celebrate this milestone with us!
  • Community baccalaureate will be held on Sunday, May 21 at 7 pm at First Baptist Church of Kasson.
  • Our high school discipleship retreat for 8th-12th grade students has been moved to June 16th-18. This retreat will take place at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch near Stewartville. Cost is $50, which includes zip line, challenge course, and all meals. Space is limited.
  • This year’s Vacation Bible School will be held June 19-23 from 8:30am-11:30am. Our theme this year is Dr. Seuss! Come have some wild fun with us! Sign-up at www.stjohnskasson.org/vbs or in the office.
  • Good Earth Village is offering two family camps this summer: Family Camp (July 28-30) and Grand Camp (July 5-7). More information available at www.goodearthvillage.org.
  • Our middle school day camp, Action Packed Day Camp returns this year for 5th-8th graders. This camp is planned for July 10-13, 9am-3pm (at least one day will end around 6pm). Cost for this week of constant action is $50. Schedule of activities and sign-up available soon. Space is limited to 25 students.

Summer Worship

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

Kasson-Mantorville Middle School MOE on May 16

Our next Ministry of Encouragement (MOE) visit will be to the Kasson-Mantorville Middle School on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. This will be an early morning celebration, and we will meet at St. John’s at 7:00 am and hustle off to the Middle School to get set-up for them before their meeting at 7:30 am. You can either meet at the church or be at the school by 7:15 am. We will thank all the middle school personnel, about 65-70 people. Sign up to attend and/or bring food online or there are paper sign-up sheets at the Welcome Center. We will show our appreciation for all those who are teaching and working with our students so plan to join us. This is open to any volunteer to attend and/or donate food. Any questions, contact Ardis Grovdahl at grovdahlardis@kmtel.com or (507) 634-7644.

Free AGAPE* Concert

On Wednesday, May 17, 7-9 pm (after 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.

agapeconcertflyer

A Dr. Seuss VBS

Join us for a week full of fun and faith as we learn about God through the stories of Dr. Seuss!

June 19-23, 2017
8:30-11:30 am
Special Wednesday worship June 21
Ages: 3-year-olds through 4th grade

Details and signup in the office or at http://stjohnskasson.org/vbs/

A Dr. Seuss VBS

Upcoming fundraisers for the school in Haiti

haiti_cups_in_action

As part of our ministry partnership in Haiti, the team travelling to Haiti this summer is hosting some upcoming fundraisers to help build the school:

  • Burger Night at the American Legion in Kasson – Friday, May 19, 5:30-7:00 pm. Cost is $8/person.
  • BBQ themed evening with music and dinner at St. John’s – Wednesday, May 24, 5:30-7:00 pm. Freewill donations.

May Special Events

May 17 @ 7:00 pm — AGAPE* Concert
May 18 @ 6:30 pm — WWII Life of Arthur Raske at the Kasson Public Library
May 19 @ 5:30 pm — Haiti Fundraiser at the Kasson American Legion
May 24 @ 5:00 pm — Haiti Dinner & Music Fundraiser
May 28 @ 9:00 am — First Sunday Summer Worship

More details & events available online at www.stjohnskasson.org/calendar

Bare Necessities

john-allen-2-webPastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

At the age of 24, Apsley Cherry-Garrard was one of the youngest members of Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica (1910-1913), in support of Scott’s dream of being the first to discover the South Pole. “Cherry” had lived a life of privilege and luxury. He fit well the description being “born with a silver spoon in his mouth.” But, there were no luxuries at all on this expedition. The men of the Terra Nova endured two winters of unimaginable hardship — living on the edge of survival. Strangely enough, Gerrard learned to appreciate the bare necessities of life. “The luxuries of civilization,” he wrote, “satisfy only those wants which they themselves create.”

During lent we are reminded of the luxuries we have and take for granted. These luxuries are not only habit forming, but they create a desire for more. The miracles of the smartphone we own make us wonder how much more awesome the next generation will be.  Lines form outside the Apple Store every time there is a new release, which we believe we can scarcely live without. Cherry Gerrard had to be removed from all of his luxuries before he appreciated the simple pleasures of existence. These forty days of life without some of the addictive luxuries of life might be enough to liberate us from the wants that our luxuries create.

Thoughts on Lenten practices

LindsayCowell2Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

The season of Lent is upon us again. Lent is a contemplative time. A time when we hear the phrase, “what are you giving up for Lent?” I have known people who have given up everything from chocolate to soda to smoking. It was never something I thought much about, as it was not a tradition that I was brought up with, and then the day before Ash Wednesday when I checked Facebook I noticed a post a friend of mine made. She said, “When did Lent become New Year’s 2.0?” That struck me as I have been trying to set my own Lenten intention. Is that what we have turned this season into? Just one more holiday that we enter into with good intentions, and then set aside when the restrictions become too difficult once we have made it only half way through the season? Perhaps, but I hope you will take a moment with me to consider a different way to approach Lent. Instead of viewing this season as another fly-by holiday, that we begin by celebrating with gusto and high expectations of ourselves that will just be set by the wayside later, perhaps we could simply set an intention to bring ourselves closer to God. Take 5-10 minutes every day for some quiet. Turn off your phone. Read a Bible passage. Do some yoga while you say the Lord’s Prayer. Quiet your mind by doing some coloring. Do anything that will shut out the world for a few minutes and allow you to talk to the God who made you. The God who loves you so deeply that he sent his Son to die for you on the cross. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Try it and see what happens. Let me know how it goes.

Join us for breakfast!

Confirmation group serving on March 19

On Sunday, March 19, the Sunday Confirmation Group will be serving breakfast in the Fellowship Hall 8:30 am –10:30 am. All proceeds will benefit their trip to confirmation camp this summer.

Palm Sunday Brunch & Silent Auction

Youth will be serving breakfast and hosting a silent auction on Palm Sunday (April 9) to raise funds for camp this summer. They are seeking items that can be donated to the silent auction. If you have an item to donate, you may contact Lindsay at Lindsay@stjohnskasson.org or bring your item to the office.

breakfast

Giving to St. John’s

Faithful giving to St. John’s Lutheran Church enables us to continue our ministry within our congregation, community, state, the wider church, and throughout the world.

Here are some ways to make giving easier:

  • Automated Giving – download the Planned Stewardship form to set up automatic recurring gifts to St. John’s from your checking account
  • PayPal or Credit Card – Use the button below to give online now (to pay with a credit card without using a PayPal account, see the link toward the bottom left of the page after clicking on the link below).



  • Donate by Searching or Shopping – Through Goodsearch, every search you make on your computer will earn a penny for nearly every search you do. Set Goodsearch as your browser’s default search engine and you’ll start racking up the pennies. Visit www.goodsearch.com/about to read about additional ways – including shopping, dining out, and gaming – to earn contributions.
  • Shop Amazon.com – If you shop Amazon, sign up and shop at AmazonSmile and a portion of your purchase will go to St. John’s!

8th-12th Grade Retreat

zipline

Students in 8th-12th grade are invited to a retreat at Ironwood Springs Friday-Sunday, April 21-23 June 16-18 (note the date change!). Cost is $50/person and includes all meals, housing, challenge course, and zipline! We’re also looking for some adult volunteers to join us.

Stop by the Welcome Center for an application.

Order Easter Lilies by March 22

easterlily

The confirmation students are selling Easter lilies to decorate the church building for Easter Sunday. You may purchase lilies – one for $15 or two for $25 – from any confirmation student. Proceeds from the sales will help pay for confirmation camp. Orders are due by March 22.

Interactive Prayer Stations

crayons

Everyone is invited to join us after Wednesday night worship during Lent for interactive prayer stations. Adults and kids alike can color, work with Legos, check out the blessing wall, and more changes to explore new ways to pray. Join us in the Narthex starting Wednesday, March 8 at about 7 pm (after worship).