The Messenger

2019 Annual Meeting

You can now download the 2019 Annual Meeting Minutes. Note that these are not yet approved – they will be approved at the 2020 annual meeting.

The Annual Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 20 at 11:30 am. 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.

You can download the 2018 Annual Report now! (Hard copies are also available at the Welcome Center.) We also shared some more details on our 2019 budget, specifically a categorical breakdown of expenses and of compensation.

We also encourage you to read through our narrative budget. Maybe an unfamiliar term, but this is the actual story of how our resources will be spent in 2019 and what we can do TOGETHER with your support!

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

Quilting Resumes

On November 7 our Wednesday morning quilting resumed in the Fellowship Hall. Please join us 8:00 am – 12:00 noon to help with pressing, cutting, sorting, tying, or sewing. No experience is needed. We take time for some coffee and conversation. We are looking for volunteers to sew blocks into quilt tops at home. There are kits in a tote in the hallway across from the office. Each kit contains enough blocks to make a 60” x 80” top. We are ever grateful for all the donations of fabric and gently used flat sheets (any size—twin or larger). We have received some Thrivent Action money and memorials which help pay for the filler. Thanks everyone! Any questions, call Marlene Shurson at (507)634-7383 or Charlotte Andreen at (507)634-7558.

2,012 meals served!

MANGE TAKK (many thanks) to everyone who volunteered their time during the week of this year’s Lutefisk Dinner, brought in their requested household donation, and contributed to the bake sale.  It was a great day for food and fellowship and together we served 2,012 meals to guests and workers.

Priorities for our future

Pastor John Allen

Interim Pastor

Most or all of you know that we are in the final stage of a transition period we started two Christmases ago. Your Call Committee is conducting interviews to identify a solid candidate to call as your next Lead Pastor.

This is a good time to review some very powerful work your Transition Team produced and published. This work is not meant to be relegated to the scraps of history, but, much like a catechism, it is meant to be used over and over again to guide and coordinate all of the work of the St. John’s congregation.

Here are the most enduring four answers to six critical questions pondered long and hard by the Transition Team. The answers are very specific to St. John’s. As you do the work of commissions, council, or the general work of individual members, please read and re-read these carefully to guide your thought and work. With God’s blessing, they will work to unite this ministry and define it for years to come.

Why do we exist? Living in God’s grace, St. John’s Lutheran Church is an inclusive community worshiping together, growing in faith, serving others, and living as witnesses of Jesus Christ.

How do we behave? We reflect God’s love in our actions and decision-making by: Providing hospitality; Embracing each individual’s faith journey; Modeling forgiveness and; Committing to a life of devotion and service.

What do we do? We provide worship, service, fellowship, and faith formation opportunities for the members of our congregation, community and the world.

How will we succeed? We will succeed by Investing in and empowering people to lead and serve; by offering unique and innovative forms of worship, fellowship, service and education; by fostering intergenerational faith relationships; by connecting with the greater community in visible ways; by communicating clearly and consistently using all media types; by teaching and modeling generous giving to remain financially viable and; by being intentional in our evangelism.

October—A Time for Looking to the Future and the Past

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

October is such an odd month for me. Since starting my position here at St. John’s the month has been to a large degree about looking towards the future. In October we hold our affirmation of baptism worship service for our 9th grade students as they profess their faith before the entire congregation. In the weeks leading up to that worship service I spend many evenings engaged in listening to their faith statements and talking with them about how we as a congregation can support them as they continue to move forward in their faith. October is the time that we put out all of the information about the upcoming summer’s high school youth trip, plan for fundraisers and activities throughout the year, and get a fresh start with the high school youth group.

But October is also a month of looking back for me and remembering those no longer with us. October 4th marks year six for me of being without my Grandma Alice who was my strongest supporter. October also marks the due date of what would have been our first baby that I lost very early in 2014. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us there is a season for everything, and 3:11 tells us that God has made everything suitable for its time. While October is a joyful time of looking forward and things to come, it also holds a sadness for me. But whenever I am sad or anxious about these things I am reminded of, just as many of you are I am sure, the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Christ takes the hurt in our lives and uses it for good. He used the loss of my grandmother to bring my family together in one town and put a roof over our heads in the form of her home. And without that first loss I would not have Oliver, who is the rainbow after a life of storms. As we head into our celebration of All Saints remember the sad, but don’t forget to look for how God has used it to work good.

Continuing our conversation

Jen Smith
Council President

Thank you to all who took the time to engage in discussion at the All Commission meeting on September 23. We had an excellent representation of commission leaders as well as staff and other programs supported by St. Johns including Lutefisk, Creation Kids Preschool, and Food for Friends. It is my hope that each commission will continue the conversations we started. We discussed strengths and challenges of St. John’s as well as ways to empower each of out commissions to carry out the work identified by each. Looking forward, we challenge each commission to review the minutes from this meeting and discuss strategies to utilize our strengths to overcome our challenges. Each of you were left with homework. We have asked each commission to identify: “What is most important right now?” and “Who must do what?” To be successful, these two questions must be asked by all of us on a regular basis. As we complete tasks and transition through the seasons of the church, these answers will change. I encourage each of you to see where your time and talents can be shared with St. Johns. Together, we can live as witnesses of Jesus Christ and serve the many programs and ministries of St. John’s. Continue to prayerfully reflect all that you see God doing through us.

In addition to the minutes from the meeting, you can also review the packet that was distributed at the meeting.