The Messenger

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 or bring your item to the office.


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 to read about additional ways – including shopping, dining out, and gaming – to earn contributions.
  • Shop – 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


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


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


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).

Intro to the New Pastor

john-allen-2-webPastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

I’m happy to be with you as your interim Lead Pastor. I’ve had a few brief moments to share with you since I arrived here on December 18, driving from Great Falls, Montana, and dodging winter storms.

First, I want to thank Colleen Jacobson for housing me while we waited for a townhouse to be available, and then to all who helped move and provide furniture. My wife and I will be very comfortable there during our time here.

Now a little about myself and my family: Yes, Ruth and I currently own a home in Great Falls, MT, though we’ve spent more time recently in Minnesota. My most recent interim ministry was with Good Shepherd Lutheran in Rochester. We were there nearly two years and had a very positive and productive relationship with that congregation and staff. After a six-week rest at home, we are back and ready to start afresh with you.

While we were in Montana, Ruth’s 94-year-old mother suffered a broken thigh bone while in a nursing home in Kalispell, MT. We rushed there for the surgery, and Ruth has been with her since then. I look forward to the time when she can join me here. We have three grown children and three grandchildren, whom I hope you will meet in due time.

Please expect that this will be a longer and more productive interim than you have experienced in the past. While serving on your staff in ministry, I will be giving special attention to the leadership of the congregation as we tend to five developmental tasks of interim ministry. Namely: coming to terms with the past, exploring your identity and direction, making helpful leadership changes, renewing relationships with the larger church, and committing to new leadership and direction. That may sound technical, but we will be as open and cooperative as we can in this work, and I believe we will be happy with the results.

I but I look forward to our time together and ask your willing cooperation in the work that we have ahead. I’m happy to say that Pastor Nirmala has also agreed to stay on with us as part-time assistant pastor. She and I will work closely with the talented staff you already have in place.
cell (406) 590-2974

Miss Amanda’s Musings

amandasabelko2016-1Amanda Sabelko
Children, Youth, & Family Development Director

Happy New Year!

Do you have something you want to accomplish this year? Maybe it has to do with your finances, health, or maybe your spiritual practices?

As you think about your resolution for the year, consider doing something to share your passion (whatever it is) with other people! I am passionate about learning how to equip people for ministry. I live this out in my day to day life, but this year I plan to live out that passion with trust in the way God works in our lives and world.

Although it was postponed, thank you so much to all of our teachers, parents, and students for helping to prepare for the wonder of the Christmas Story through the Christmas Program! The Children’s Christmas program will take place on January 15 at the 10:15 am service.

Important Upcoming Meetings


Annual Meeting January 29

The Annual Meeting is schedule for January 29, 2017 at 11:30 am. The congregation will review the annual report from 2016 and vote on business for the future of the congregation. The report will be available in hard copy and electronic format in mid-January.

Budget Information Meetings

We’ll be hosting two Budget Information Meetings for people to ask any questions they may have about the congregation’s financial reports and proposed budget. You’ll get the opportunity to understand where the congregation is and what needs to be done to further the mission and vision of St. John’s. We would like everyone to provide input and ideas on how best to move St. John’s forward! Meetings will be Wednesday, January 18, 7:00 pm, and Sunday, January 22, 9:00 am and 11:15 am.

2017 & 2018 Youth Summer Trips

We’re already planning ahead for the next two summers and inviting our High School youth to join us on our coming summer trips. This summer, June 24-July 1, 2017, youth and adults are invited on a backpack trip to Colorado. A $50 deposit and registration are due by February 19.

In 2018 the High School youth will go to the ELCA National Youth Gathering, June 21-July 1 in Houston, Texas. We’re collecting names of those interested in this trip now.

Sign-up and more information for both are available at

Second High School Youth Group Time

Starting January 8, the youth will have another opportunity to gather as a “Youth Group.” Join Lindsay and other youth from the congregation at 11:30 am Sundays! Youth also meet on Wednesdays at 7:15 pm. Come to whichever time(s) work for you! All are invited.