Beginning Sunday, September 13 we will delve into the themes of Michael Foss’ book Real Faith for Real Life: Living the Six Marks of Discipleship and how they are lived in a community of faith. We’ll also have two extra chances to engage with this discussion in Zoom studies on Tuesdays at 11:00 am and Thursdays at 6:00 pm beginning September 15 and 17.
At EPES, we are so proud of the leadership of our Nutrition, Justice, Gender and Health project and the workshops they have been leading – one of which is outlined here. We are delivering huge sacks of soil and hundreds of seedlings to twenty health promoters TODAY as one of the outcomes of this project. We have several levels of intervention to respond to the massive hunger in poor communities because of the strict quarantine – occasional direct food support to families of health promoters and immigrants, support for five soup kitchens (primarily led by health promoters and some feeding 150-200 people a day), developing educational materials about food storage and preparation, sharing low-cost recipes and workshops on home and community gardens as a more long-term response to food sovereignty.
Thank you for your love and support. Blessings to all of you during this difficult time.
To the Community of Faith at St. John’s Lutheran Church,
Let us begin by saying how grateful we are for your support of our annual Lutefisk Dinners throughout the years. While the Lutefisk dinner has been a highlight of our ministries, this year will need to be an exception. During these uncertain times of COVID-19, we want to be mindful of the health and safety of our volunteers, and of our many guests. At this point, we do not feel we can possibly prepare and serve a dinner this year, especially considering the demographics of our guests and volunteers.
Therefore, it is with heavy hearts that we have made the decision to cancel this year’s Lutefisk Dinner, as well as the Lefse Bakes. If one could predict the course of the virus, the answer might be different. We know that there will be heartache and grief over this decision because that is what we are feeling right now as well, but now is the time for this decision to be made.
We are hopeful that next year will be different, and that we will find ourselves gathered back in our fellowship hall to share this feast together. Until that time, may God continue to bless you all.
Sincerely, Lutefisk Dinner Committee and Leadership
This information was published prior to our initial return to on-property worship on June 21, but we are still able to gather! Sunday mornings at 9:00 am we will have Worship on the Lawn (in case of inclement weather we will change to Drive-In Worship). More worship schedule information available here.
What to expect when you come to St. John’s for in-person ministry and worship
Please assess your own health prior to coming to the property by asking yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to any of these questions, please strongly consider staying at home to keep yourself and others safe and healthy.
Have you had close contact with a person with a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19?
In the past 72 hours, have you had any of the following?
Fever of 100.0° F or greater, OR
New cough OR new sore throat, OR
New diarrhea OR new nausea or vomiting, OR
New respiratory distress (shortness of breath or fast breathing), OR
New chills OR new repeated shaking with chills, OR
New muscle aches OR headache, OR
New loss of smell or taste?
We will be checking temperatures for in-person ministry activities and worship (Exception for parking lot services. However, please self-screen for these services as well).
We are asking that everyone coming to St. John’s for worship or other ministry activities please wear a mask. If you have one from home, please bring it along. However, we will have masks on-hand if you need one.
We ask that you continue to observe MDH and CDC social distancing guidelines while on the property or in the building, and to practice proper handwashing and hygiene. When entering and exiting the building, please make sure to utilize the hand sanitizer provided close to the doors.
For worship on Sunday, June 21, 2020
If weather permits, we will have two outdoor worship services on Sunday, June 21, at 9:00 and 11:00 am. We will have an online-only option at 10:00 am for those who would prefer to worship that way. All three services will have communion. If you choose to come and join us in-person, we ask that you bring your own chairs and a Bible.
If the weather does not cooperate, worship will still take place in-person at St. John’s. We will instead move to a parking lot service, and encourage you to come in the main parking lot entrance, follow the direction of the parking attendants, and tune in to FM 87.9 to join us for worship. Please then remain in your vehicles for the entirety of the service. This is also an option available to those who would like to worship in-person, but may not feel safe to do so outside with the crowd.
For worship on Wednesday, June 24, 2020
There will be three options for worship: 9:00 am, 12:00 noon, and 6:30 pm. When you arrive on the property, come in the main parking lot entrance and follow the directions of the parking attendants. They will direct you to a parking place which will allow you to see the service from your vehicle. Then, tune in to FM 87.9 to join us for worship. Communion will be served individually to you in your vehicles. For your safety and the safety of the communion servers, please follow the direction of the worship leaders for receiving communion in your vehicle. Please remain in your vehicles for the entirety of the service.
Other worship information for the summer
Worship on the Lawn (with drive-in service contingency for inclement weather) – 9:00 am
The video format below goes a bit more in-depth, and the written form is just below the video.
In Romans 13:10, Paul reminds us that, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” We hear this. We know this. These words have been the basis for all our decisions about our ministries and our building these past few months. And they will continue to guide our decisions and our actions moving forward, as we turn our sights toward a re-engagement of our in-person ministry activities and worship.
Many hours of planning have gone into the creation of St. John’s re-engagement plan. There have been joys uplifted over what it might be like to be together in person. There has been fear expressed over the virus. There has been palpable anxiety present in the hundreds of varying expectations about how we utilize our building for worship and ministry. And, there has been so much prayer for God’s faithfulness to be present throughout all our conversations, as well as within this plan and its implementation. And I do believe that God’s faithfulness has been, is and will continue to be at work in our community of faith as we see the inspiration of the Holy Spirit breathing through our ministries.
So what can you expect?
Through June 20, we remain in the first step, which is where we have been – office is closed and no all meetings, worship, and other gatherings have been online-only.
Beginning June 21 we will enter the second step in this process:
Office will be open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 9:00 am – 12:00 noon.
In-person meetings must adhere to MDH and CDC guidelines – this means they are possible with precautions, but virtual meetings are still preferred.
Pastoral care visits are by appointment and only via tech (phone/Zoom/Google, etc.). Hospital and nursing home visits adhere to MDH and CDC guidelines.
Outside worship will begin (see below) with a continued focus on online worship.
Most work will still be done from home; no more than one program/pastoral staff member will be in the office at the same time.
The leadership of St. John’s will continue to monitor the health conditions in our state and community as well as MDH and CDC guidelines for houses of worship, and adjust our ministries as conditions allow. With the best interest of our congregational family in mind and as conditions allow, we will aim to expand.
Take a moment to read these words from Paul. Pray over them and weave them into the tapestry of God’s faithfulness working in your life. May God continue to bless the life and ministries here at St. John’s Lutheran. Amen.
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12-15)
Sunday, June 21, 2020
Outdoor Worship at 9:00 am & 11:00 am – bring your own chairs
Your Communication Commission was charged with creating and/or sourcing graphic design for a new logo for St. John’s after we worked as a congregation to redefine our mission, vision, values, and identity. A new logo is a direct extension of that work. We felt it was important to keep the visual representation of the unique shape of our church building, so that is central to our design. We felt it was important to represent how “church” means going out into our community and showing love to our neighbors: Thus the pathway leaving the church door. The pathway also leads you inside our doors where all are welcome. The color palette was selected for its natural-ness of the blue (sky) and green (grass). It felt modern, clean, and real. We hope you enjoy the new face of St. John’s.
Watch for more redesigns to coincide with this new look in the coming weeks!
Beginning Saturday, April 25, 2020, through May 30, we will be hosting a new Bible study on the book of Ephesians. The study will be on Saturdays at 10:00 am.
You will need a Bible. Additionally, if you want a study guide Deacon Amanda & Kelly will be using Life Lessons: Book of Ephesians: Where You Belong by Max Lucado to guide our conversations. If you want the book but you are unable to purchase the book online, please let Deacon Amanda know and we can get one for you.
As we live in the unknown, think about how Moses might have felt wandering through the desert for 40 years! That’s a long time to be unsure of what the next day brings! Print off a Flat Moses to color and show off what you are doing in the wilderness with him!
Deacon Amanda took Flat Moses to work at her home office this week! What will you do??
As of March 28 – The office is closed through at least April 10. Most staff are monitoring their email during this time.
\Update as of March 16, 2020
People of St. John’s,
Centers for Disease Control and the State of Minnesota provide new guidelines
for protecting our communities from the spread of COVID-19, the leadership of
St. John’s has made additional decisions about our lives together:
Until further notice, in-person worship will be suspended. This includes Sunday and Wednesday worship times, and also includes all regularly scheduled programming, including Sunday School, Club 56, Oasis Afterschool and Education, Confirmation, and Youth Troop.
We WILL worship together at 9:00 am Sundays and 6:30 pm Wednesdays via web video. Videos will be accessible live and on-demand (after they air) at stjohnskasson.org/sermons and through our Facebook page. You are encouraged to gather around a screen as a family and participate along with our worship leaders.
Upcoming events that will be affected are below. If you have questions about any of these or other gatherings, contact the office at (507) 634-7110. We will continue to alert you to changes in the weekly enews and Snippets (to be posted with the worship videos and emailed).
WELCA Doing Day is postponed
Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday Ruth book studies are suspended. We are exploring online options. If you have not yet participated but want to be included, contact Deacon Amanda (firstname.lastname@example.org or (507) 634-7110) to get connected.
Fairview, Prairie Meadows, & Sunwood worship services are suspended.
Senior Choir rehearsals are suspended.
The WELCA Bus Tour is postponed.
Directory photos WILL take place, but families are encouraged to keep the 6’ or more safe distance from other families as encouraged by the CDC. Update: These have been postponed.
Meetings will be handled on a case-by-case basis, depending on available space and size of the group, though we will be advising all commission meetings to consider postponing meetings or meeting virtually (phone or web meetings). For assistance setting up a virtual meeting, contact email@example.com or call the office at (507) 634-7110.
At this time, office hours will remain 9:00 am – 2:00 pm.
Creation Kids Preschool will remain open through Tuesday, March 17, but then will be closed March 18 through March 27 or until further notice, following the lead of the Kasson-Mantorville Schools.
Outside groups will still have access to the building, though they will need to comply with CDC and MDH guidelines for gatherings.
Stewardship of Finances: As always, we are encouraged to steward our finances “according to our means.” During the coming weeks, even though we will not be gathering in-person for worship, there is still ministry happening at St. John’s, which means we still rely on your regular financial support. Please take a moment to pray over your situation, and consider your financial stewardship. If you are able to do so, please continue your support of our congregation and its ministries during these anxious times. You can contribute through Tithe.ly, our online giving platform at stjohnskasson.org/giving or the Tithe.ly app on your mobile device. You can also drop off or mail in your contribution. Thank you to everyone for your continued financial support of the ministries of our congregation, and for your prayers, as we do our best to meet the increased need in our community, working together to live into Christ’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves.
continue to be present in the office and are also available by email. Please do
not hesitate to connect. Remember, God is walking with us through these
uncertain days. We are experiencing changes in routines, but not in God’s
grace. We look forward to finding new ways to connect as people of faith until
we can gather again in person.
Grace and Peace, Leadership of St. John’s
Reminders that remain true from the original update on March 13:
We know this is an uncertain situation and uncertainty creates anxiety. There are things we can do to stay proactive without raising anxiety. In addition to these measures, you can:
Pray. Pray for prudence in individuals’ actions, for wisdom of those seeking solutions, for thanksgiving for science that can help understand this disease and its progression, and for peace as we walk through uncertain times.
Do not panic. God has promised to walk with us. Rest in that promise and seek hope that prayerful responses and informed precautions make the difference they are intended to make.
We will keep you informed as the days and weeks continue. We pray that routines can return to usual. If the risk increases, we will continue to implement the best protocol for our community’s safety.
A couple times a year we offer opportunities for people who are ready to or interested in joining St. John’s to gather to learn more about this faith community. If they’re ready to officially join, they are welcomed formally in worship.
The next chance for new member meetings are:
Wednesday, April 29 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, May 3 at 11:30 am
Anyone interested in learning more or taking the next step is encouraged to come to one of these sessions. Participants will enjoy a meal, get to know each other and some of the St. John’s leadership, learn more about St. John’s mission and opportunities, and cover any other questions you may have.
First Communion Classes will be held Saturdays, March 28 & April 4, 1:00–3:00 pm.
All 4th Graders Welcome! If your student is older than 4th grade and has missed First Communion, we welcome their presence.
Important – At least one parent or guardian is expected to attend class with their student. We believe it is important for families to be involved with one another’s faith journey and this is the perfect opportunity to learn with one another.
When do we celebrate First Communion? Maundy Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 6:30 pm.
St. John’s Women of the ELCA (WELCA) and the Quilting group will be taking a bus to the Twin Cities to visit Lutheran World Relief & Global Ministries on Thursday, March 26. If we have 35 passengers, your cost for the bus will be $15. Lunch stop to be determined; meal not included. Additional details will be available when we know the total number of riders. The sign up is on the table at the Women’s Bulletin Board.
Lent is a busy time here at St. John’s. We have lots of fundraisers and activities that happen during this season of contemplation as we meditate on the earthly ministry of Jesus. For me in particular, it can be a difficult time to center myself the way that I hope to on devotions and spiritual practices.
Lent is a period of self-examination. A set aside period of time where we take time to see how God is at work in our lives. By slowing down we take the opportunity to recognize the great love that God is already bestowing on us, to see grace at work in our lives. It is hard not to slow down just a little when you are reminded at the beginning of Lent at Ash Wednesday that, “You are dust and to dust you shall return.”
Daunting words, but perhaps, also an invitation to remember. An invitation to remember that we are more than the clothes we wear, more than the things we have or don’t have. An invitation to remember that whether we are at the height of the good things in life or at our most broken that we belong to God. February saw several terrible losses in our community. At every turn I kept reminding myself, and continue to remind myself, that God’s promises are wide and true, that he will get us any way he can.
The slowing down and noticing of Lent can be deafening and daunting. Fr. Richard Rohr has said, “In silence all of our usual patterns assault us…That is why most people give up rather quickly. When Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, the first thing to show up were the wild beasts.” At those times, when the world seems like too much remember, God sent his Son to redeem this world. The kingdom of God has come near. Have no fear for God’s promises are wide and true, and for you.