The Messenger

April Special Events

  • Pr. Nirmala’s Installation in Byron
    Sunday, April 15, 2018
  • American Legion Burger Night Youth Fundraiser
    April 20, 5:30 pm
  • New Member Coffee Hour
    April 22, 9:15 am
    (new members received at worship April 29 & May 2)
  • WELCA Birthday Party
    April 26, 7:00 pm

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

Blessing

Pastor Nirmala Reinschmidt
Interim Pastor

Each Sunday, at the conclusion of our worship, I stand before the people, extend my hands, and speak a blessing over them. If I were ever to stop being a pastor, this may be what I would miss most.

In biblical terms, to bless is to declare God’s truth into someone’s life and to announce God as the gracious, sovereign Lord who intends to flood His children with goodness and joy. When we pronounce a blessing, we serve as witness to the truth that God’s generosity and power has not been extinguished. Regardless of the difficulties we face or the despair we know, God’s tenacious love will have the final word.

In the sermon on the mount, the Lord speaks blessings that reflect the subversive reality of God’s kingdom. Blessed are the poor in spirit, says Jesus. Blessed are those who mourn. Blessed are the meek and the hungry (see Matthew 5). With these strange words, Jesus makes a prophetic announcement declaring who is included in the blessing of God’s kingdom. Again and again, He affirms that blessings come to us not because of our ingenuity or effort but because God is kind and always working for our good.

Because we belong to the Lord who blesses, we live as a people who bless. In our corners of the world, we announce—and live as instruments of—His blessing. Whenever we bless others in Jesus’ name, we join God’s healing and restoration. We participate in His intentions to bless the world.

May the Lord help us to become people of blessing!

Serving our community

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

Happy Easter! The resurrection of Jesus was no joke! The promise of forgiveness and everlasting life is what we live into this Easter Season. In First Communion classes during March, we talked about our responsibility to serve others. In the sacrament of Holy Communion, we are strengthened to serve and share our gifts with others. How do you use your gifts to serve your neighbors and community?

Since summer is just around the corner we want to make sure you know about our annual Vacation Bible School in June. You can register online at www.stjohnskasson.org/vbs or grab a form from the office. Please register by May 18 to be guaranteed a t-shirt.

Super Hero VBS

St. John’s Lutheran, Kasson MN
June 18-22 | 8:30 – 11:30 am
Ages 3 through 4th grade
(2017-2018 school year)
We are offering early drop-off (7:00-8:15 am), late pick-up (11:45 am-12:30 pm, and transportation to Just Like Home or Project Kids in Kasson. For questions, contact Deacon Amanda at amanda@stjohnskasson.org or (507)634-7110 ext. 14.

Get involved with VBS!

We need a lot of people to make VBS a success! Volunteer at www.stjohnskasson.org/vbs, on the bulletin board, or talk to Deacon Amanda. Our 2018 VBS will be the mornings of June 18-22.

Station Leaders (11th grade – Adult): You have the important job of teaching the Bible point to each group of children as they rotate through the stations. Each station shares the lesson in a different, unique way: experiencing a Bible story, doing a craft, playing games, eating a snack, or hearing about real kids who live out the Bible point in real life. The joy of this position is that you get to share God with the kids in your own specialized way.

Crew Leaders (7th grade – Adult): If you love kids, you can do this job! This is the perfect opportunity to really get to know the kids. You will have about 5 students the stations during the course of the morning where you’ll learn important Bible points and have a lot of fun! And you won’t be alone, you’ll travel to your stations with 1-2 other crews.

Assistant Leaders (5 – 6th grade): You bring the excitement and energy to our VBS that helps the kids get excited about learning the Bible truth for that day. You’ll be placed in each crew to help the crew leaders guide their children from station to station. You’ll get to play with the kids and help them do the activities planned each day.

Music Leaders (7th – Adult): You get to bring the noise! You get to help us celebrate the Bible point through music. Music is provided.

Save the Date: VBS Decorating Party

Saturday, June 9 | 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Share your hands and/or ideas to make our space fun and inviting for VBS! Come for the entire time or any amount of time you can. Help us plan for lunch by signing up on the bulletin board at St. John’s or talk to Angie Moore or Deacon Amanda.

Summer worship schedule

Believe it or not, summer is just around the corner! We will have worship on our regular schedule May 20 and May 23. Beginning May 27, we will move to a single 9:00 am Sunday morning service. On Wednesday, May 30 there will not be a service. On Wednesday, June 6 worship will resume. Still at 6:30 pm, but out by the fire pit as weather permits. Routines shift in the summer, but we still worship God every week!

A Successful Lutefisk Dinner, Looking Ahead to Next Year

The lutefisk committee is happy to report that the proceeds from the 2017 event were dispersed as follows:

  • Southeastern Minnesota Synod Mission Support – $20,000
  • Projects and programs at St. John’s – approximately $5,000
    • Property Commission
    • Youth Education (Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, Confirmation/trips)
    • Creation Kids Preschool
    • Three 8-foot white tables
  • Operation Christmas Child – $100
  • Missionary Sponsorship – $40

Make plans now to volunteer make next year’s dinner a success. The 57th annual lutefisk dinner will be held on Thursday, October 25, 2018. Lefse bakes will be Wednesday mornings for 9 weeks beginning August 22. Renee Solberg is the Dinner Chairperson and Marge Albright is the Lefse Bake Leader.

Rummage Sale

Mark your calendars and gather your items. The Education Commission’s rummage sale is May 11 and 12, 2018. We will begin accepting donations April 29. No furniture or electronics, please.

Thank you for your support of CKP

We are so blessed by the support you give to Creation Kids Preschool. You celebrated CKP Sunday with our students, families, staff, and board. The children were so proud of the projects they had on display. Many of them had parents and grandparents by the hand as they led them to their own project. Their singing at the service was definitely from the heart! Wasn’t it great to have all those children up in front for the children’s sermon?

Several families came to our Open House to meet our staff and to see our facilities. Enrollment for the 2018-2019 has begun. Class information and registration forms are available online (www.stjohnskasson.org/preschool) or call Phyllis Sands at (507) 634-7110 for additional information.

We were happy to have so many of you come and eat our chicken and wild rice soup at our Lenten Wednesday supper. The desserts were awesome! Your globe offerings for CKP were so generous. With your support, prayers, and encouragement, we continue to be able to offer a Christian preschool experience for the children of our church and our community.

A Celebration for Everyone

The Women of the ELCA at St. John’s invite everyone to join them for a birthday celebration at 7:00 pm on April 26. This is an annual celebration to enjoy some cake and time together. This year’s speaker will be Edna Thayer speaking on, “Embracing Laughter for Wellness.” Doors open at 6:30. No reservations required.

Upcoming confirmation dates

6th graders: Mark your calendars for confirmation orientation. You and your parents should plan to attend Wednesday, May 2 at 7:30 pm OR Sunday, May 6 at 9:10 am to learn more about your journey ahead.

8th graders: Plan to attend a meeting with your parents either Sunday, May 6 at 11:15 am OR Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 pm to help you understand the final requirements of your confirmation instruction.

Students in both grades will receive further information or talk to Lindsay (lindsay@stjohnskasson.org or (507) 634-7110).

6th and 7th graders – registration will be sent to you and posted online soon!

Handbells Would Like Your Help

June is handbell conference time. It is being held in Rochester so mark your calendars for the June 24th concert with up to 450 handbell ringers playing together in the Rochester Civic Center. We would like your support. Please donate an item for a silent auction/raffle to be held in early May. Please contact Ann Brenke (507-951-8750).

Holy Week Worship

  • No Wednesday Worship
  • Maundy Thursday – 11:00 am & 6:30 pm with First Communion
  • Good Friday – 6:30 pm
  • Easter Sunday – 6:30 am (Blended Sunrise Service), 8:00 am (Traditional Festival Service), & 10:15 am (Traditional Festive Service)

What will St. John’s look like going forward?

Pastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

I’ve heard it recognized a number of times, “this interim is different than the others before it.” I hope it is, because that difference is intentional. When it is complete, we will have spent about eighteen months reflecting, analyzing, dreaming, and visioning. Of course, the main expectation is that you will call a new “settled” senior pastor, and possibly an additional pastor after that. But, what else should we expect for the future. What difference will you see for the effort made?

There is a book called The Unstuck Church. In it, author Tony Morgan describes stages of growth and decline that congregations experience in their natural lives. The title implies that congregations or ministries can get stuck in any of those stages, and it takes vision, insight, and perseverance to move from one stage to a healthier one. Morgan labels the seven stages: Launch, Momentum Growth, Strategic Growth, Sustained Health, Maintenance, Preservation, and Life-Support. Honestly speaking, St. John’s most likely fits the description of “Maintenance,” meaning we’re working pretty hard just to keep the status quo.

Our vision for the future, however, borrows some of the best attributes of a momentum growth congregation, to jump start a path to sustained health. Imagine this being the description of St. John’s ministry:

  1. We will have an “outward focus.” That is, we will not be “unashamed about [our] desire to reach people for Jesus.”
  2. “There’s a lot of buzz.” We will be known in the community by word-of-mouth.
  3. “Creativity and innovation (therefore change) will be expected.” We will be “risk driven.”
  4. We will be “driven by personality.” For better or worse, the ministry will often be identified with the senior pastor, but we will “multiply the voices and personalities that carry out the ministry strategy.”
  5. We will “begin to focus [our] vision.” We will “mark out the specifics of where [our] ministries are heading in the future. There will always be “a new mountain the ministry team intends to take on.”
  6. We will “begin to give leadership away.” We will “recognize the one person can’t call all the shots.” We will seek out and raise up leaders within the congregation.

This sounds a lot like what your congregation council and transition team have been working on. It describes an exciting future, “unstuck” and moving forward. This is my hope and prayer for you. May God so inspire and ordain it.

God Bless.

Growing Young

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

In February’s Messenger article I spoke a little bit about the book, Growing Young, that comes out of the Fuller Youth Institute in California.

February’s article centered around the concept of the warm community and how important it is to get to know the people around you. By getting to know one another we are able to have empathy for one another’s joys and challenges. By getting to know one another we truly become the people of God, one body in Christ.

During this Lenten season I am contemplating and daily trying to sit with one of the other important concepts that comes out of that book, namely, to take Jesus’ message seriously. When I started to think about that concept in a real way I realized that I have some serious work to do. What is the main way that we can take Jesus’ message seriously? By pulling out our Bibles and engaging with God’s word every day. Now, as someone who works in a congregation for a living you would think that I get to do this on a regular basis, but when I thought about it I have fallen desperately short. The past year plus has been pretty busy not only at St. John’s, but also in my personal life as we work to figure out how to help our son, Oliver, overcome his apraxia of speech. Most days I find myself simply trying to make sure I have eaten enough and gotten what needs to happen taken care of.

But during this time of Lent I wanted things to be different. Small steps, for me, is the only way to really create a habit. When I overwhelm myself in an attempt to get it right the first time…that is usually when I find myself stumbling, falling, and going back to old habits. In trying to set an intention for this Lenten season I came across an excellent spiritual practice in the book we are reading for the moms’ book study, Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline. One of the practices which the author suggests is concentrating on your breathing. Try it. Breathe in slowly and completely, then hold for a second. Breathe out slowly and completely, then observe the moment between breaths. Try this a few times throughout your day. Be intentional. Think on this verse when you do, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4). And just like that you have made something you do without thinking into a prayer, into worship.