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Thinking About Fall

Before we welcome all the Lutefisk Dinner guests, help us beautify our building for the fall season! Saturday, October 19, at 9:00 am, we will be decorating the building for fall. This is a family-friendly event and all are welcome to help. You are also invited to bring in fall flowers, pumpkins, gourds, etc. starting Sunday, October 13. Anything you have to share can be used!

Finding peace in the chaos

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

Can you believe it’s already September? The summer flew right by, actually this entire year has been a blur! The ease of summer is now gone and with it comes the busyness of fall. Starting school, the beginning of harvest, sports, raking leaves…the list of things on our plate is endless.

In my family, this was always an anxious time of year. Growing up on a farm in western North Dakota, there were always worries about harvest time. How would the harvest turn out? Did it rain enough? Too much? Will the market go up? Mostly things we couldn’t control. I remember listening to my dad and other farmers sitting around coffee talking about the weather and the markets; all the worries on their minds. It’s hard not to think about everything that could go wrong.

When something is constantly on your mind, Paul calls on us to talk to God about it. In Philippians 4:6, it says “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Ask God to bear that particular burden for you. Worry doesn’t do anything but suck the life out of today. I can’t say it’s easy not to worry, in fact I’ll be the first to admit that this is a daily challenge for me.

While this fall might bring anxious times, I pray that you also find peace. Whether it be in a literal harvest of crops or the abundance of life around you, may you experience the assurance of God’s grace and love in your life. Hear this blessing – “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

2019 Fall Fest

Sunday, September 15
11:00 am – 1:00 pm

The Education Commission is excited to kick off the program year with St. John’s Fall Fest. We’ll celebrate with food, games, and activities including a bouncy house with a slide AND a dunk tank! Plan to bring a few lawn chairs and the whole family out to enjoy an afternoon together with your faith community. All are welcome!

Volunteers make this an amazing experience. Sign up to help with the food, games, set-up, clean-up, or more here.

 

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.

Fall Fest

On September 15, the Education Commission will be hosting our first annual Fall Fest! All are welcome as we share a meal of hot dogs, chips, and lemonade. There will be lawn games, inflatables, cotton candy, and even a campfire with s’mores! We hope you will join us for this fun fall celebration.

We’re also looking for some volunteers and some items to borrow for the event. If you can help out, sign up here!

Gearing up for fall

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

The leaves have been turning new colors and we all know that means! Fall is just around the corner!

Still time to register for fall
We’re gearing up to start Sunday School and Oasis Programming the week of September 13. Families are still able to register online at stjohnkasson.org/lifelong-learning or in the office.

Volunteers still needed
We are still looking for volunteers to help out by teaching Sunday School or Oasis classes. We wouldn’t be able to do these ministries without our fabulous volunteers. Please consider helping to pass on the stories of our faith to our students. You can contact me (Amanda) for more info: (507) 634-7110 ext 14 or amanda@stjohnskasson.org. You can also sign up on the Youth Bulletin Board in the Narthex.

Fall Fest
On September 15, the Education Commission will be hosting our first annual Fall Fest! All are welcome as we share a meal of hotdogs, chips and lemonade. There will be lawn games, inflatables, cotton candy, and even a campfire with s’mores! We hope you will join us for this fun fall celebration. Opportunities to volunteer lend us some items are available here.

Recommitting to Prayer

Amanda Sabelko
Children, Youth, & Family Ministry Director

Labor Day weekend again marked the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year at St. John’s!

We’ll be getting back into the groove of things for Sunday School, Oasis, and Club 56 starting the week of September 17. Registration forms are available in the office or at www.stjohnskasson.org/lifelong-learning

This year I am working on different ways to strengthen my own prayer life. In the coming weeks, I plan to start a daily prayer practice. It will be open to others who are looking for a place to listen to God and the world around us. If we truly believe prayer is meant to be a conversation with God we must take time to center ourselves on Godís Word and just listen. As you finish your summer out, I pray that youíll take a little time to be still.

Fall Start-Up

RandyFettPastor Randy Fett
Lead Pastor

Fall start up. Families are buying school supplies. Students have their class schedules. Fall sports have begun. Farmers are praying that frosts are delayed and they will have a full harvest. Families are spending their last days at on vacation. Things are gearing up for Fall. Some of us can hardly wait for the first kick off. Anticipation is building.

In churches, (and in the past here), we call the Sunday after Labor Day “Rally Sunday.” This year, St. John’s is calling it “Gods Work, Our Hands” day. We invite everyone to share in a very special day of service in connection with our worship on Sunday, September 11. This is a national and synod wide emphasis throughout the ELCA.

Worship time changes: Wednesday evening worship will change to 6:15 pm. We are trying this to accommodate families who desire to have their children home from the evening activities at an earlier time. Sundays will return to 8:00 am with Traditional style liturgy worship and 10:15 am with the Blended style worship.

Fall also includes the installation of our educators and volunteer leaders, the presentation of Third grade Bibles, and the wind up for our 9th grade confirmation class (33 students), who will be confirmed on Sunday October 2 at the 10:15 am worship service.

Lefse baking has started and plans are in motion for our annual Lutefisk supper in late October.  Visit http://stjohnskasson.org/lutefisk/ for details on lefse baking opportunities and the Lutefisk Dinner.

Thank you to all for your dedication to these significant missions and ministries of St. John’s. Your commitments are an inspiration to us all.

I have been thinking about how I might share a blessing each week with families. With each email response that I send out, I will share a special blessing from scripture and I will commit myself to pray for that special blessing on each of your homes. Think about how can you share a blessing with those around you. This is a call from our God. Let me begin with these words:

“O give thanks to the Lord of Lords, for he is good, who does great wonders. It is he who remembers us. O give thanks to the God of heaven for his steadfast love endures forever.” – inspired from Psalm 136. May this blessing be upon your home today.

God bless as we gear up for the fall, as we serve as God’s hands, as we begin anew with programming and ministries, and as we pray for those bountiful crops.

Friday Roundup – November 6, 2016

This week was busy with:

  • Trunk or Treat
  • Remembrance Day at worship
  • Program staff attending the synod’s Fall Theological Conference
  • Quilting resumed (prayer shawls too!)
  • An Oasis Afterschool “Packing Party” for Operation Christmas Child
  • Confirmation Trivia Night
  • Monthly Senior Community Worship
  • Yard work around the church building

Trunk or Treat

Over 250 visitors from the community joined us on Saturday, October 31 for “Trunk or Treat.” It was a fun afternoon of games, “trick-or-treating,” and refreshments at St. John’s. People decorated the trunks of their cars, backs of their vans, or (in one case) even a trailer and passed out treats. This year’s “treats” were all non-food items as part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, an effort to provide a safe place for kids with food allergies or sensitivities to trick-or-treat. The police and fire departments even came out to join in the fun.

15TrunkOrTreat-costumes
15TrunkOrTreat-decoratetable
15TrunkOrTreat-festivevan
15TrunkOrTreat-Fosters
15TrunkOrTreat-games
15TrunkOrTreat-inside
15TrunkOrTreat-Lindsay
15TrunkOrTreat-police
15TrunkOrTreat-superhero
15TrunkOrTreat-trailer
15TrunkOrTreat-treats
15TrunkOrTreat-visitors
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15TrunkOrTreat-vistors2

Remembrance Day at worship

On Sunday, November 1, and Wednesday, November 4, we remembered our loved ones who have passed. We read names of those from our congregation who died in the past year, did a special ringing of the bells, and lit candles as  a remembrance.

Remembrance Day Candles

Remembrance Day Candles

Program staff attending the synod’s Fall Theological Conference

Each year the synod bishop’s office hosts a conference of continuing education for pastors and other leaders in the church. This year Pastor Randy, Amanda, and Lindsay all attended the event in Onalaska, Wis.

2015 Fall Theological Conference

2015 Fall Theological Conference

Quilting resumed (prayer shawls too!)

Wednesday, November 4, was the first day back to quilting for the year (now that lefse baking is over!). Anyone who likes to iron, cut blocks, or tie quilts is invited Wednesdays at 8 am. No experience needed! Thank you to everyone who donated fabric and sewed together tops!

Quilting has resumed for the year! Join them 8 am Wednesday mornings.

Quilting has resumed for the year! Join them 8 am Wednesday mornings.

There's also an opportunity to learn about making prayer shawls on Wednesday mornings - or any time! Mary is happy to teach you.

There’s also an opportunity to learn about making prayer shawls on Wednesday mornings – or any time! Mary is happy to teach you.

An Oasis Afterschool “Packing Party” for Operation Christmas Child

On Wednesday, November 4, KM Schools had an early-out, so the Oasis Afterschool kids had a special service project to pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Confirmation Trivia Night

While the adult leaders had a meeting Wednesday night, the confirmation students had a rousing trivia night!

Monthly Senior Community Worship

On the first Thursday of the month, we host a Senior Community Worship service at 1:30 pm. For some, this is an easier time to attend and offers a special time together. The December service is a special time and will be held December 17 at 11 am (NOT the first Thursday). It will be followed by a luncheon.

Yard work around the church building

It takes many types of volunteers to do God’s work. This week we give a special thank you to Gary Kautz to did a lot of pruning work this week and hauled the waste away. We’re all set for spring!

Pruned shrubs thanks to Gary Kautz

Pruned shrubs thanks to Gary Kautz

Trunk-or-Treat October 31

Trunk-or-Treat

Everyone in the Kasson-Mantorville and surrounding communities is invited to join us for a FREE Trunk-or-Treat event Saturday, October 31, 2-5 pm.

This family event will be full of games, fun, prizes, and trick-or-treating through the St. John’s parking lot.

If you’d like to decorate a trunk (decorate your vehicle and pass out prizes – especially great for those who are eager for trick-or-treaters but live in the wrong place!) or lead lawn games, please sign up on the Youth Board in the Narthex or talk with Tanya Young or Amanda Sabelko.

tealpumpkinAll prizes and treats will be non-food as we are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. You can learn more about this project, which allows students with allergies and diabetes to also have a safe place to trick-or-treat, at tealpumpkinproject.org.

Upcoming Family & Youth Events

LindsayCowell2Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

There are several family and youth events in the coming months to look for! Here are some of the highlights: ?

  • A block of rooms has been reserved for us at the Wilderness Territory Resort at the Wisconsin Dells for November 13-15. Friday the 13th there is no school as it is the end of quarter for our students. Wristbands for the waterpark are included in the price of rooms (up to 6 per room). The deadline to book rooms is Oct. 14, 2015. Fliers can be downloaded here or found on the youth board or in the office. ?
  • The youth, along with the Youth and Family Commission, will again be hosting a Chili Feed and Bingo Night fundraiser. Mark your calendars for Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 4-6pm. More information to come. Come join us for great chili and good fun following the Vikings-Packers game! Rescheduled, but watch for details!?
  • The 9th-12th grade students are invited to take a trip to ValleySCARE on Friday, October 16, 2015. We will take the “Big, Blue Bus” and leave church at 4pm. We will stop for food on the way, so students should bring money for that expense. We will return to the church parking lot at midnight. Tickets will cost $20 for the amusement park and gas. There are 35 spots available for students. Deadline to sign-up is Monday, October 11th. Students may bring friends. All students are required to fill out a signup form, a health form, and a youth and family covenant – all available in the office or at www.stjohnskasson.org/youth. (Adults interested in chaperoning, please speak to Lindsay.) Cancelled

Trunk-or-Treat

5d1d58c6-ec8c-4fc8-8e91-7576307c9c84Join us October 31, 2:00 – 5:00 pm for Trunk-or-Treat!  This family event will be full of games, fun, prizes, and trick-or-treating through the St. John’s parking lot. If you’d like to decorate a trunk or lead lawn games, please sign up on the Youth Board in the Narthex or talk with Tanya Young or Amanda Sabelko.

Thoughts on Hope

Pastor Randy Fett Lead Pastor

Pastor Randy Fett
Lead Pastor

What is your “Hope”? In what do you place your hope? Many times we say things like I “hope” the Twins win the wild card, or I “hope” I can lose five pounds before they take the pictures, or I “hope” that I win the lottery. To use the word “hope” in that way, though, is to place our hope in something or someone that may or may not happen. The apostle Peter says in the third chapter of his letter to young Christians, “Be ready at all times to give a reckoning, an accounting, for the hope that is in you.”

We have great hope for our children. We want the best for them. We look out into the next years and we want to stand on a future filled with promise and with hope. Many times we say that the youth of today are the hope for the future. When I was growing up we tried to change this to “We are the hope for today.” Hope is basic to life. Hope is wishful thinking. It is as important to us as water is to fish, and as vital to us as electricity is to a light bulb. If we live in hope we think things will improve and we will be satisfied, but take away this hope, without this hope, we are doomed to a dark and often grim existence. A little boy said it this way, “Hope is wishing for something that you know ain’t gonna happen.” So where do we turn?

The apostle tells us to ground our hope on the solid foundation that is in Jesus Christ. All other ground is sinking sand. The prophet Jeremiah said, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Peter says, “Be sober minded.” In other words, let this biblical truth soak into your minds and let it infiltrate your being. Jesus Christ is the ground for our hope. Jesus’ death and resurrection are the sure signs that God’s hope, biblical hope, salvation in Jesus Christ, is unwavering, certain, and sure. Let this be your stay this week.

“Hope-fully,” you have had an “extraordinary summer.” I know that there are so many extraordinary things that have happened among us and in your lives this summer. Give praise to God for these. Share a story with us as to what you observed in these God moments. This summer I have hosted 12 Monday night suppers with member families. The turnout has been great. We ended each of these sessions with four questions about what families value about St. John’s: what their vision is for the future of our congregation, what their spiritual needs are, how we have helped them with these needs, and what our mission, ministry, and witness is today.

This month we turn the corner to starting up all of the programs. Thanks to the many volunteers who are stepping up to make this happen. The staff have been faithfully working behind the scenes to make sure that everything will run fine. September is the time when we step forward with our faith commitment for giving to the church in 2016. Please be attentive to these things. We count on your partnership with us.

God bless you – Pastor Randy

Miss Amanda’s Musings – September 2015

Amanda Sabelko CYF Ministry Development Director

Amanda Sabelko
CYF Ministry Development Director

September is here already! September 13 marks the restart of Faith Formation for all ages!

Start Dates –

Sunday School: September 13
Oasis Afterschool & Education: September 16
Confirmation: September 16
Details & registration for each of these in the office or at www.stjohnskasson.org/lifelong-learning

Adult Education: September 20
Adult Education is faith formation designed for High School, Young Adult, and Adults. This fall we will start out with a series of presentations by local artists. Each will speak about their particular art and how their art is impacted by their faith.
Details, as they are available, will be available at www.stjohnskasson.org/adult-education.

Faith-Full Parenting: September 16
A parent-group hosted by Amanda. We will cover topics that are important for parenting today; including social media and internet safety.
Details, as they are available, will be available at www.stjohnskasson.org/adult-education.

For more information, follow the links above or contact Amanda at (507) 634-7110 ext. 14 or amanda@stjohnskasson.org

Turning to Joy for September

RandyFett“Rejoice, rejoice believers,” are our words of faith. “And again I say, ‘Rejoice,’” say the scriptures. Let’s turn the corner to this theme as we begin the Fall season. Joy is part of our habit. Joy is in our heart because of what God has done. Joy is a gift of the spirit. But sometimes we do not feel joyful. The news around is beating us up with sadness, and often times disgust. We long for a world filled with Joy. Even the apostle wrote “the whole creation groans in travail” until the day of our salvation. Well here at St. John’s we begin the Fall with Rally Day. The halls are filled on Sundays and Wednesdays. The kids are back. The families are back. Confirmation is in session. Choirs are singing and playing. The lefse irons are fired up and rollers working. We ask for your 2015 “commitment to giving” pledges this month. Worship regularly as a family of faith. Drench your beings with Joy. Invite your family and neighbors. Don’t forget the lessons of “Hospitality”. Aren’t you also looking for a bright, joyful spot in your Fall?

– Servant for the Gospel’s sake, Pastor Randy