The Messenger

July Special Events

  • Office Closed
    July 4
  • Action Packed Day Camp
    July 9-12
  • Prairie Meadows Worship*
    July 12 at 2:00 pm
  • Fairview Worship*
    July 19 at 9:30 am
  • Sunwood Worship*
    July 19 at 2:00 pm

* These worship services happen monthly. You are invited to join residents with us. These services are always on the online calendar or printed calendar in the Snippets.

Find a full schedule of events at


The Cross Symbolizes a Cosmic as Well as Historic Truth

Pastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

The cross symbolizes a cosmic as well as historic truth. Love conquers the world, but its victory is not an easy one.
— Reinhold Niebuhr, 100 Days of Prayer

This year, in worship, we are reading mostly from the Gospel of Mark. If there is one central theme and truth expressed it that book, it is the one stated so well above. Early in the Gospel, Jesus seems to command everything. He heals the sick, casts out demons, commands the seas to be still and the storm to end, and confounds his enemies. He even raises the dead, as in the story of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:41-42).
The story only gets complicated, it seems, when Jesus comes face to face with human pride, greed, hatred, and unbelief. The old saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” seems to be born out when Jesus came to his home town of Nazareth, and the people “took offense at him” (6:5). “And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief” (6:5-6).

Jeremiah (5:21) prophesied, “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.” That thought was repeated in 1738 by Jonathan Swift in his Polite Conversation: “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

The one who came as the Word of God, and with a word commanded all the forces of nature, seemed to have met his match in human sin. That victory could not be easily won. It would take a cross. It should be no surprise that our work of sharing the Gospel in a busy and conflicted world will not be an easy one. It will take nothing less than a cross.

Busy building relationships this summer

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

In the midst of the break of summer, our students at St. John’s stay busy when it comes to faith formation and community building. June was a particularly busy month for those of us in Children, Youth, and Family Ministry.

The second week of June many of our 7th grade confirmation students attended camp at Sugar Creek in Wisconsin. We spent our week building community, in Bible studies, on a Christ hike, and in small groups re-centering our focus on Christ through the study of a book called #Struggles: Following Jesus in a selfie centered world.

The third week of June, Amanda and the Education Commission put together a spirit filled week of VBS for over 100 students! Our young people learned about the power they have through Christ in the VBS theme Hero Central! There was an amazing number of super heroes for Christ whooshing around St. John’s in June.

As I write this, 10 of our high school students are preparing for a week of faith formation in Houston at the 2018 ELCA National Youth Gathering. We will learn together through interactive learning stations, Bible study, service, and nationally known speakers during our time in Houston.

The second week of July, our middle school students will spend time building community through fun and fellowship at Action Packed Day Camp, with short daily devotions to center our time together in Christian community.

All of those things that I have written about above are great, and the numbers are inspiring. But, what I find inspiring and Holy Spirit filled is the amazing support of this congregation to make these events happen for our students. Where I see God is not in the numbers, but in the deep relationships I see being built at these events. I am inspired by the palpable presence of God in all that is happening. And to that, all God’s people said, AMEN!

Curious about the call process?

Your St. John’s Call Committee is meeting to keep moving us forward toward calling a Lead Pastor. Our Ministry Site Profile, a kind of resume potential candidates will review to learn more about our congregation, has been submitted.

Join us Wednesday, July 25 at 7:30 pm for a Town Hall Meeting with Rev. Susan Miller from our Southeastern Minnesota Synod office. She’ll address what we can expect from the call process and answer your questions.

If you know a pastor that the Call Committee should consider, there are forms at the Welcome Center you can fill out and submit. These will be sent on to the synod office.

Ongoing opportunities this summer

  • Adult Bible Forum with Pastor John
    Sundays, 10:00 am
    Conversation going deeper into scripture.
  • Prayer Group with Pastor Nirmala
    Mondays, 10:00 am
    We pray for our congregation, community, and world.
  • Lutheran 101 with Pastor John
    Thursdays, 6:00 pm
    Learn more about the fundamentals of Lutheran faith, practice, and teaching.

Sewing for Haiti

Do you like to sew, or just have a heart for helping others?

Well, then we need you. We are working on a project for Haiti of sewing curtains for several different buildings (school, churches, guest house etc.). Dates aren’t set yet but, will hopefully happen sometime in July. If you are interested in sewing, ironing etc. If you aren’t a sewer but still want to help contribute financially, let us know.

For any questions, to get involved, or to arrange a financial contribution, contact Tanya Young or (316) 390-5368. We will add you to the list so when we do have firm dates I can let everyone know.

Haiti Child Sponsorship Program

Friends of Christ School in Haiti has a child sponsorship program. For only $35 a month you can help support a child at the school. We are partnering with our friends in Haiti and also the Pleasant Hill Christian Church who started the program.

Sponsorship includes:

  • 1 hot meal a day during the school time
  • Food (rice, beans, sardines, etc.) is sent home every 2-3 months for the family of the child
  • School Tuition
  • School Uniforms
  • School Supplies/Books
  • Small Stipend to pay the teachers at the school
  • You will receive letters from the student that you sponsor and have the opportunity to occasionally send small gifts through team members that are going

Please pray about this, and if the Lord is leading you to sponsor a child contact Tanya Young (316) 390-5368

Wish list for Haiti ministry

The congregation at St. John’s has been supporting ministry in Haiti led by Pastor Mioche since 2004. Here are a list of things on their wish list. If you, your family, or your small group feels called to give, this is what your contributions will help support.

  1. Build 4 more classrooms (6-9 grade).
  2. Finish the Admin building’s second floor ($10K-$15).
  3. Food for the school including propane gas, $400-$500, 425 students this year.
  4. Fencing the whole yard with concrete blocks to prevent animals from foraging.
  5. Construction of a new church building in Pignon/Terre.
  6. We are praying for one or two vehicles donation for the ministry.
  7. There is the youth college scholarship program with 2 people in it right now. We would like to expend it to at least 5 people. It’s about $1,500-$2,000 a year to help a young person get a good college education.
  8. For $35 monthly, a child can be sponsored at our Bouyaha school.
  9. Start and build the Rock residence on top of the mission house.
  10. Buy more chicken layers to produce more eggs.
  11. Still want to start making big blocks of ice and ice cream business in Pignon to generate more revenues for the ministry.

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

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?


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.)