It is hard to believe that the season of Advent and Christmas is already upon us. Before we know it 2020 will be here! Things here at St. John’s continue to change and evolve as we work in our community of faith to follow God’s call into this changing world. As we head into the new year there is a specific change that I would like to draw your attention to as 2020 approaches. This year our 7th-12th grade students are going to be taking service trips to Duluth and New Orleans in summer 2020. In the past, as students fundraise an individual account tally has been kept for the work that they do and the funds applied accordingly. In light of the time that we spent this fall on talking about the importance of stewarding our time, talents, and finances the Youth and Family Commission has made a change in how we keep track of our fundraising efforts. Rather than asking students to raise money for themselves, we are asking students and their families to shift their perspective to think of the whole group attending the trip, and in turn, placing their focus on how we contribute and fit into the whole of our faith community. Families will pay a flat fee of $200 for the trip and then take part in at least 10 events of service to our congregation. We have several events planned, including this month’s Advent Tree Auction and Christmas Bake Sale. If you have service opportunities that you think would be a good fit for our students to take part in, please consider connecting with me. Our young people love to be of service to others. Giving them opportunities to exercise that passion is how we train and mentor the next generation of church leaders. Thanks be to God!