The Messenger

A Lenten spiritual practice of stewardship

Pastor Dave Efflandt
Lead Pastor

“In Lent, we, as disciples of Jesus, are called to a discipline that contends against evil and resists whatever leads us away from love of God and neighbor: self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love—strengthened by the gifts of word and sacrament.” (ELW)

On Ash Wednesday, we were met with these words; an invitation into Lent with a reminder that faith is a practice. And, at the core of that practice is the call to be faithful stewards of everything in our lives.

This season of Lent is about so much more than just giving something up. It’s about the discipline of recognizing our sin and seeking forgiveness from God. And ultimately, it’s about the spiritual practice of receiving that blessing from God and responding likewise to our neighbors as stewards of the faith.

On Sunday, April 1 and Wednesday, April 4, we will have an opportunity to “Try a Tithe.” We learned in the fall that our regular “support” is wrapped up in our practice of stewarding our gifts towards the routine ministries of this congregation. A “tithe” is something that is sacrificial; it’s something over and above our regular support.

Between now and then, I invite you to pray over your own spiritual practice of stewardship. Just as we did in the fall campaign, we are encouraging you to pray over all those cherished gifts of your finances, your time and your talents. Consider a gift of a tithe on one of the dates above. Not only will our ministries be blessed by your tithe, but we hope that you will be blessed as well. Join us this year as we reach out even further into the world through these gifts to live and love as God loved us first. Amen.

A Night of Good Coffee & Good Art

Come enjoy gourmet coffee, appetizers, and fine arts of all kinds. Visual artists and performing artists will be showcasing their talents throughout the evening. Coffee provided by Trail Creek Coffee Roasters.

The Coffeehouse Event will be March 7 at St. John’s from 6:00-9:00 pm. Cost is $10/person.

All proceeds benefit outreach programs and youth programs in our community.

Child care will be available for children ages 6 months-12 years. St. John’s youth will provide games, crafts, snacks, and a movie for $15/child or $40 max/family. Registration and details at stjohnskasson.org/date-nights

Events for youth & to support youth

  • April 5 is the Palm Sunday breakfast and silent auction put on by our students attending summer trips. We will have lots of auction items and a tasty breakfast!
  • Youth & Family Ministry will be putting on a raffle for a Yeti cooler. Tickets at $10 and will be on sale April 1-15. Only 300 will be sold. Chances of winning are good!
  • Registration for 2020-2021 program year will be available beginning in April. If your student will be in 7th grade next year get them signed up for confirmation. Information will also be available before the end of the school year regarding high school summer trips for summer of 2021.
  • Registration for Action Packed Day Camp will be available in April. Space is limited to 30 kids in 4th-8th grade. Dates are June 8-11 and cost is $60 for the full 4 days or $15 a day. Details are still in the works, but the week will include a trip to Valley Fair, a service project, and other fun adventures.
  • Tickets for a St. John’s night at the Rochester Honkers baseball game will go on sale in mid-March. Tickets are $10 and include a voucher for concessions (a hot dog and bottled beverage). St. John’s participants will be involved with between inning fun. The game is Thursday, June 11 at 6:35 pm. $5 of the total ticket cost comes back to St. John’s to help support youth programming.

For more info on any of the above, contact Lindsay at lindsay@stjohnskasson.org

MOE to Kasson American Legion Color Guard

Our next MOE (Ministry of Encouragement) visit will be to thank the Kasson American Legion Color Guard on Thursday, March 12, 2020. We will be thanking about 20-25 people. These are all veterans who are at every local veteran’s funeral to recognize them for their service to our country, march and carry the flags in all local parades, participate in ceremonies, and other requests. They are a proud group and we will show them our appreciation and how proud we are of them. Possibly this group recognized one of your loved ones at their funeral. If you would like to carpool, we will meet at the church, depart at 6:45 pm to arrive at the Legion for their 7:00 pm meeting. If you plan to attend and not carpool, you can enter the front door at 212 West Main Street or the west door from the parking lot. The meeting room is in the basement. Sign-up sheets are at the Welcome Center for food donations and/or attending the Thank You. If you want further information or have questions, please contact Ardis Grovdahl (634-7644) or grovdahlardis@kmtel.com

Relay for Life Breakfast

Saturday, March 14, 8:00-11:00 am St. John’s Relay for Life team will serve pancakes and other goodies for breakfast, host a bake sale, and offer a silent auction. All proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Dodge County.

Silent auction bidding starts Sunday, March 8, and closes at 11:00 am on March 14. Bake sale items can be brought to the church kitchen Friday, March 13. Please mark them with Relay for Life event.

CKP Sunday 2020

On Sunday, March 15, we will celebrate the ministry of Creation Kids Preschool on “CKP Sunday.” Enjoy breakfast, students’ artwork, and special music from the kids as we celebrate this ministry!

WELCA Doing Day 2020

Doing Day 2020 has been postponed, but stay tuned for a new date! Donations are still welcomed.

WELCA Doing Day will be Wednesday, March 18 starting between 8:00-9:00 am. This is a day of spirit-filled mission work. We will be packing mission kits that benefit many around the world as well as here in the United States. Along with the mission kits and quilting, there will be morning coffee and devotions, a potluck lunch, and lots of fellowship.

Needed for the kits:

  • child-size blunt tip scissors
  • 24 count crayons
  • pencil sharpeners
  • 12” rulers that include both centimeters and inches
  • 70-sheet notebooks (wide or college rule)
  • sturdy combs
  • pick style combs
  • jars or tubes of petroleum jelly (4 oz or larger)
  • heavy duty kitchen gloves (size medium)
  • nail clippers
  • light weight bath towels
  • hand towels
  • wash cloths (preferably dark colors)
  • large bars of soap (Ivory or unscented)

Also needed are infant items (sizes 3-18 mo) including T-shirts, sleepers without feet, cotton knit sleep sacks, cloth diapers, and infant socks. Fabric of 100% cotton, 3-yard lengths, is needed for sewing kits.

The WELCA quilters always need new/gently used flat bed sheets (fitted sheets must be full size or larger). Flannel sheets and pillowcases are used for quilt backs or to make infant diapers.

Everyone is welcome to join us. If you have any questions, please call Gail Jensen, 507-633-2467 or 507-951-3367.

Easter lily sales opening soon

The Altar Guild will be selling Easter lilies to decorate the building for Easter Sunday. Sales will take place between services Sundays March 15, 22, and 29 and after worship Wednesdays March 18 and 25. Or pick up a form in the office. Plants will be $15 for one or $25 for two. Deadline to order is Sunday, March 29.

January Special Events

  • Budget Presentation
    January 19| 9:10 am
  • Annual Meeting
    January 22| 7:30 pm
  • Date Night  (babysitting)
    January 24+ 6:30 pm
  • Ordination of Nicole Hanson-Lynn
    January 25| 1:00 pm

Full schedule of events at stjohnskasson.org/calendar

Gifts and Talents

Pastor Dave Efflandt
Lead Pastor

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1Cor 12:4-7)

With the arrival of January comes the inevitable arrival of our annual meeting; those times when we get together to talk about the business of the church. And these words from Paul to the early church in Corinth provide us with the foundation upon which we plan our time together, reflecting on who we are as a church, not only here in our community, but also throughout the world; a community of faith gathered together around God at work in each of us through the Spirit.

We have our own strengths and abilities as congregations in our community, gifted with a vibrant worshipping environment and the joy of serving through our gifts of time and our finances. But Paul also reminds us that we are part of something bigger in the world; members of the body of Christ. We are part of the church in the world, utilizing our gifts of the Spirit for the “common good.” When we engage in worship and ministry, we’re letting the whole world know who God is in the things that we say and do.

Blessings to you all as we embrace not only our own gifts and talents, but also in the ways that we are connected to others throughout the world; members of the body of Christ. With that in mind, come and join other members of St. John’s at our annual meeting to reflect upon this past year’s ministries, as well as to pray and plan for our ministries in the year to come. Amen.

Reflecting on a successful year

Deacon Amanda Sabelko
Deacon of Faith Formation

It seems that we spend a lot of time looking forward during this time of year rather than taking time to relish in what has happened over the last year. So, I thought I would share some of the successes of our Faith Formation ministry in 2019!

This past year was the first year our kindergarten through sixth grade students spent the whole school year focusing on one part of the Small Catechism. In these “milestone” classes, our students memorized scripture and creeds, they even created projects to share what they learned with the whole congregation. Lookout in April for these projects again.

Did you know that we have over 120 kids at Vacation Bible School this year? With the additional dropping off kids, via the Big Blue Bus, at Just Like Home and Project Kids, we’ve been able to reach out to more families in the Kasson-Mantorville area. Those kids plus over 40 volunteers and staff made for a fantastic week of learning about the ways that God Saves!

This fall began my seventh program year serving at St. John’s and over that time I’ve seen a lot of students come and go. It has been a privilege to walk alongside them in their faith journeys! I have never had the opportunity to work with such supportive parents and volunteers in Children’s Ministry until my last few years here at St. John’s – and for that I give thanks! Thank you so much to all of our Children’s Ministry parents and volunteers who have helped out over the years, including this current one! 

I look forward to another great year.

2019 Annual Report

The 2020 Annual Meeting was held Wednesday, January 22 at 7:30 pm.

Download the 2019 Annual Report here. 

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 2020 and what we can do TOGETHER with your support!

There was also an additional financial update shared by the Finance Committee after the meeting.

Are You Called to Lead in 2020?

Do you feel called to commit your time and energy St. John’s in a leadership capacity in 2020? At the Annual Meeting on January 22, we will elect a council president, council treasurer, and two at-large council positions as well as members of the St. John’s Foundation, Nominating Committee, and Audit Committee. We’re also seeking youth and adults to attend the 2020 Southeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly May 15-16 in Rochester. If you feel God’s call to serve in any of these capacities – or know someone who should – contact the office (507-634-7110) or talk to any council member.

Thank You For Your Support

By Nicole Hanson-Lynn

Grace and Peace to you, people of St. John’s Lutheran Church. I am writing in gratitude and celebration. I grew up in this congregation. You nurtured me, noticed my gifts and encouraged me to pursue my calling to ordained ministry. You taught me and gave me opportunities to teach. You showed me what it means to lead worship. You supported me with scholarships and prayers as I attended college and seminary. And now, I celebrate with you that I have completed my training. I graduated from Luther Seminary in August and was assigned to the Northern Great Lakes Synod (Upper Peninsula of Mich. and NE corner of Wis.).

So thank you: For your support throughout the years. For helping me discern this call to ministry. For walking with me through training. For being such a big part of my spiritual formation. Grace and peace be with you now, and I pray that you continue to be the blessing to others that you have been to me.

Ms. Hanson-Lynn will be ordained at St. John’s Saturday, January 25 at 1:00 pm. All are invited to this celebration.