The Messenger

Christmas & Advent Special Events

  • Festival of Lessons & Carols
    Dec 9 | 8:00 am & 10:15 am
  • Grief Support Program & Lunch
    Dec 10 | 11:00 am
  • Children’s Christmas Program
    Dec 16 | 10:15 am
  • Senior Christmas Worship
    Dec 20 | 2:00 pm, dessert to follow
  • Christmas Eve
    Dec 24 | 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 10:00 pm
  • Christmas Day
    Dec 25 | 9:00 am
  • No worship
    Wed, Dec 26 or Jan 2
  • One service, coffee to follow
    Sun, Dec 30 | 9:00 am

More times and details about worship at St. John’s here.

Full schedule of events at stjohnskasson.org/calendar

Waiting…

Pastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

‘O that I might have my request,
and that God would grant my desire; 
that it would please God to crush me,
that he would let loose his hand and cut me off! 
This would be my consolation;
I would even exult* in unrelenting pain;
for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
What is my strength, that I should wait?
And what is my end, that I should be patient? 
Is my strength the strength of stones,
or is my flesh bronze? 
In truth I have no help in me,
and any resource is driven from me.
–Job 6:8-13

There’s old expression about “the patience of Job,” as in, “She must have the patience of Job to live with that old goat!” In the verses above, Job isn’t showing much patience, and I can understand why. Job was righteous and without fault in his trials, yet everything worth clinging to in life was taken from him. He is in grief, sorrow, and unrelenting pain—yet his greatest challenge is waiting on God, who seems to be absent and uncaring. He would rather that God would “crush” him than endure this waiting.

Don’t most of us find waiting to be hard? Whether it is for the birth of a child, the arrival medical test results, the grade on a final exam, the coming of spring, or the removal of stitches; waiting is harder than most other things. Even when what is expected is a bad thing, we’re likely to say, “Let’s just get it over with.”

The season of Advent is a practice of the discipline of waiting, watching and praying. A discipline is a hard thing, from which we gain growth. During Advent, we intentionally wait and practice being still. Christmas can wait, spring can wait—there will be times to break out the trumpets and open all stops on the organ, but let’s leave time to rediscover the exhilaration of expectation. We proclaim in the past, present, and future tense, “Christ was born, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!” Like a dog sitting with a Milk Bone on its nose, waiting is hard, but it’s good training, too.

Have a Blessed Advent Season.

Finding peace, even in imperfect moments

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

The Advent season is upon us again. Every year when Advent comes around I am reminded of lights. The blinking Christmas lights that played Christmas carols that used to ring the front window of my grandparents’ home. The blinding light of my bedroom when my little brother would come in to wake me up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning to open presents. The lights on the trees outside at Luther College as I walked back to my dorm room with friends following the candlelight worship service just before Christmas break. Lighting a candle at the end of mass at my in-laws’ church in Foley, Minn. But the one that stands out most to me is a bitterly cold December morning when I was at seminary.

It was my last year and I was full of anxiety about what came next, but for one quiet morning before the sun came up as I walked to the campus center to my job at the information desk I felt the presence of God. In the bitter cold with snow all around and the twinkling Christmas lights in the trees there was a deep quiet in that neighborhood of St. Paul and the peace that only comes when God reaches out to touch us. My anxiety was calmed through that quiet. That moment was not the end of my anxiety or the perfect moment that made everything right. Instead, that moment gave me strength to face the future.

The Gospel of Luke tells us in chapter one that the angel Gabriel came to Mary to announce that she was with child. In Mary’s unwed situation I doubt very much that it felt like a perfect moment to her at first. But then Gabriel bestows on her the peace of God, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30).

In this Advent season of waiting for the birth of our Lord we are living out that very real waiting that we are doing for the second coming of Christ Jesus. While we wait, we also realize that he never left. His Holy Spirit works in, through, and among us as we worship, serve, and have fellowship together. God’s peace is among us, God’s presence is among us. May the Advent season be the time when you too feel the peace and love of God.

Advent Devotions

Looking for a devotional to lead you through this season of Advent? Hark, the Glad Sound! devotions from Luther Seminary are available for you to pick up at the Welcome Center or download at www.luthersem.edu/advent There are other devotionals with a special focus on family-style resources on a dedicated shelf in the Library for you to borrow.

Giving Tree

There will be a variety of giving opportunities this holiday season on our giving tree in the narthex. Ornaments with ELCA Good Gifts items will be available, gift cards to resupply our Good Samaritan Fund, and a local family to support this Christmas. All items should be turned into the office no later than Sunday, December 23. Any checks should be made out to St. John’s Lutheran Church. Items for the local family should not be wrapped. Thank you in advance for your generosity! Any questions may be directed to Lindsay at lindsay@stjohnskasson.org

Tree Auction

Our youth are decorating and auctioning off amazing Christmas trees again this year! The auction will begin on Sunday, December 2 and will end on after worship Wednesday, December 19 (7:30 pm end time). The auction proceeds will benefit our students attending summer youth trips in 2019 to Sugar Creek Bible Camp and our service trip to San Diego. Please be sure to stop into the Fellowship Hall between the above dates to check out all of their great work! Direct any questions to Lindsay at lindsay@stjohnskasson.org

2019 Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 20 at 11:30 am. The annual report will be available in hard copy and electronic format in mid-January. All commissions and committees are asked to submit written reports to katie@stjohnskasson.org by January 3. There will also be budget information sessions so you can ask questions about the budget on Sunday, January 13 at 9:00 am and Wednesday, January 16 at 5:30 pm.

Moms’ Book and Fellowship Group

Our St. John’s Moms’ group will begin meeting again this month. Meeting times will be Sunday mornings from 9:10-10:10 am beginning December 9 (first meeting postponed due to weather on December 2) and Thursday afternoons from 12:30-1:30 pm beginning December 6. Details are at StJohnsKasson.org/moms If you are interested please contact Lindsay (lindsay@stjohnskasson.org) to be added to the email list and online group. Our first meeting will be a get-to-know-you session and time for us to select our book.

Lutefisk Dinner Wrap Up

MANGE TAKK (many thanks) to everyone who volunteered their time to make this year’s dinner a success. It was a great day for food and fellowship and together we served 2,012 meals to our guests and workers.

Proceeds of $23,600 from the dinner will be distributed to the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA for mission support. In addition, the bake sale proceeds of $8,100 will be used to fund programs within our congregation and offset maintenance projects.

A special thank you to those who contributed their requested household donation; 46% of the households on our membership roster contributed. Monetary donations are still being accepted if you have not fulfilled your household donation (please designate “Lutefisk Dinner” on your contribution). More details on contributions from the congregation are below

Mark your calendars now so you will be available to enjoy the experience of volunteering for next year’s dinner on Thursday, October 24, 2019.

2018 Donations

Type of donation requested # of households mailed to # of households donated % donated
$15 donation 610 237 38.9%
20 lbs potatoes, peeled & cut 59 39 66.1%
Cranberry relish 42 32 76.2%
5 lbs butter 82 45 54.8%
Norwegian baked goods 39 31 79.5%
GRAND TOTALS 832 384 46.2%

Help spread the word!

If you have experience or passion for publicity, communication, social media, websites, photography, or related areas, you may be interested in our new Communications Commission! If interested, contact Katie Livingood at katie@stjohnskasson.org or 920-279-8277.

November Special Events

  • WELCA Thankoffering Worship
    November 11, both services
  • Thanksgiving Eve Worship
    November 21, 6:30 pm
  • Office Closed
    November 22-23

Full schedule of events at stjohnskasson.org/calendar

Cheerful Givers

Pastor Nirmala Reinschmidt
Interim Pastor

“Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful givers.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

There are three types of givers: the flint, the sponge, and the honeycomb. To get anything out of the flint, you have to hammer it. Then you only get chips and sparks. To get water out of the sponge, you have to squeeze it. The more you squeeze, the more you get. But the honeycomb simply overflows with sweetness.

When a person understands what God has done for them, you don’t have to prime them to give and you don’t need ten requests. They understand that He is a great God. In fact, at offering time, we ought to jump to our feet and applaud that we are here to give, have something to give, and have been blessed to have strength enough to work that we might be able to give. We ought to just applaud the privilege of giving.

Apostle Paul talks about the Macedonian Christians who are cheerful givers. Their hearts are filled with thankfulness to God. So they share their blessings with Paul to do his mission. Apostle Paul was so proud of them. We pastors at St. John’s are proud of you too. You are like honeycombs. You share your time, talents, and treasures generously to support the mission at Christ Lutheran.

As you consider your future giving to St. John’s, please prayerfully consider to increase your giving as well sharing your time and talents to support the mission of St. John’s Lutheran church

Thanks again for your generosity!

Where will you find peace this holiday season?

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

Crisp air, falling leaves, apple cider…if you haven’t noticed it’s definitely autumn!

I’m probably not alone in thinking that the holiday season can be quite stressful. The last weekend in October, we held an event at St. John’s called “Self Care – In Real Life.” Our speaker, Anna Rendell, walked us through some ideas to care for ourselves every day and especially during the holidays.

Here are some that stuck out to me:

  • When you take out things to decorate if you aren’t in love with it anymore and it doesn’t bring you happiness get rid of it. Donate items that you don’t use anymore and help another family to create new holiday memories!
  • You don’t have to do everything. Do things that are meaningful to you and your family.

Trying to make the “perfect Pinterest Christmas” won’t always bring you joy, it might just drive you nuts. (I took a little liberty with that one!)
Overall, make sure the things you do this holiday season bring you life!!

During Advent, we’ll be hosting a book study called Advent Conspiracy: Making Christmas Meaningful (Again). We’ll be re-focusing on what the season is truly about. For many of us, there is a struggle to find the connection between our Christmas to-do lists and the story of Jesus’ birth. An overwhelming stress has overtaken worship and celebration. This time of year when focusing on Christ should be the easiest is often the hardest. Somehow, this had become the new normal. It is our hope that you might create new patterns of celebrating the season! You can join us on Sundays during Advent starting on December 2 at 9:10 am in the Youth Room.

Lastly, this month we celebrated 3-year-olds as they received a prayer pillow from the congregation. They will all receive prayers every month from December to October 2019. Prayer Pillows were given out on November 4 and 7 at all services. Keep these young ones in your prayers as we support them in learning the power of prayer in their lives.

St. John’s Thankoffering Sunday

St. John’s Women of the ELCA invite the entire congregation to participate with us on Thankoffering Sunday, November 11, 2018. We will have Thankoffering envelopes available for anyone who would like to participate with a financial offering. The Globe Offering will also be given to the Women of the ELCA Thankoffering projects. The Thankofferings support many women’s, men’s, and children’s programs, along with scholarships for women wanting to further their education. A special offering of food for Semcac is given along with quilts that are provided to an organization in need of them. Our women invite everyone yes even children to participate by bringing a bag of food to be brought forward for a blessing during this service.

St. John’s Lessons and Carols: December 9

St. John’s will be alive with the wonderful music of a service of Lessons and Carols Sunday, December 9 at the 8:00 am and 10:15 am services. This is the 26th year musicians of St. John’s have shared advent and Christmas music with the congregation.

Mary Schneekloth

The musicians are very excited to welcome Mary Schneekloth, a professional harpist, to our services this year. Mary will perform as a soloist and collaborate with the Senior Choir on three selections. The beautiful, unique sound of the harp will fill our sanctuary with joyous and reflective music. Liz Harwood, K-M Middle School instrumental music teacher and St. John’s member will also enhance the program with her outstanding oboe playing. Mary and Liz will play a beautiful setting of “O Come, O Come Immanuel.” Liz will also join the choir on two pieces, “Celtic Advent Carol” and the French carol “He is Born” arranged for choir, oboe, harp and percussion.

This joyous service of spoken word and music will tell the Christmas story from the prophesy of the ancient prophets to the celebration at Jesus birth. Please invite your friends to join us.

Full list of Advent and Christmas services at stjohnskasson.org/worship