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Advent Worship

Coming Days Advent 2015 blue web

Advent Worship

During the season of Advent — November 29 until Christmas — we study the voices of the Old Testament prophets preparing the way for Jesus into our world!

Special Christmas Services

  • Festival of Lessons & Carols
    December 13, 8:00 & 10:15 am Services
  • Senior Christmas Worship & Lunch
    December 17, 11:00 am Service
  • Children’s Christmas Program
    December 20, 10:15 am Service
  • Christmas Eve Worship
    December 24
    2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 10 pm

Anyone Need Help Decorating the Tree?

Pastor DanaPastor Dana O’Brien
Associate Pastor

As many of you have noticed, I have been trying to invite myself over to your house pretty much since the first day I arrived here in Kasson. So here is another of my unending attempts to visit you all in your homes.

Now, some of you know how much I love Christmas. I love pretty much everything about Christmas — both the secular and religious — from the most sublime Christmas music to the tackiest front yard decoration. I love the movies, the songs, the food, and all the different Christmas traditions that help make this season really special.

So I have this idea. If any of you have traditions that you would like me to see, or wish to start a new Christmas tradition — like inviting the associate pastor over to help decorate the tree — I am more than available.  And, if you do invite me over, I will bring my own contribution to place on your tree, and you don’t even have to feed me. (If you want, I’ll even help decorate your tree. I’m actually great with tree lights — although I am aware that some people are a bit possessive about their lights).

If, as you’re reading this, you’re wondering “is Dana trying to invite herself over during the Christmas season?” let me make this perfectly clear.  The answer is a shameless “yes!”  That’s exactly what I’m trying to do. I would love to see everyone’s Christmas decorations this season.  So don’t forget to ask me early before my schedule fills up. And a “Merry Christmas” to you all.

Blessings of youth ministry activities

LindsayCowell2Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

As 2015 comes to a close, we have much to be thankful for and much to look forward to here at St. John’s! I feel blessed to have been welcomed into such a congregation as this one: a congregation willing to have conversations, people willing to give so much of themselves, and a congregation invested in the future of its youth. God is at work among us, which I see every time I spend time with the youth of this congregation. I am looking forward to all that 2016 has to bring and to all that God has in store for us. Here are just a few things that Youth and Family Ministry and I are working on at the moment:

  • Our 5th and 6th grade students are becoming more active in their involvement in service and educational opportunities both on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. During the Oasis afterschool time on Wednesday we are trying out a new youth group model with our 5th and 6th graders centered-around fun and fellowship, giving them a chance to burn off some energy after a long day at school. I am hoping to work toward establishing something similar for those students who take part in Sunday mornings.
  • Our 7th and 8th grade students taking part in confirmation have been enthusiastically engaging in our quiz bowl contest, having lots of fun and competing a little while learning about the Apostles’ Creed. In 2016, we will continue our confirmation study with the sacraments, as well as planning a few events for this age group outside the structure of confirmation class.
  • Our high school youth have a great inter-generational event in the works for the winter months. Look for more information to come on this event that will be planned by our students for the entire congregation to enjoy. The high school youth group (Peer Ministry/P.L.A.G.U.E) will also become more regular in their events. High school students looking to get involved can meet the group at church at 7:30pm each Wednesday to carpool to our meeting place. Our meeting events will be on a rotating schedule for the month as follows: week 1 – service event, week 2 – learning activity and conversation, week 3 – fellowship/fun (often the week we will go to Rochester), and week 4 – a leadership activity. If there is a 5th week in the month, we will have a second fellowship/fun evening.

As always, please check out the church calendar and announcements for any changes. Students and those interested in taking part in any of these ministries can follow goings on through the Remind app or by texting the number 81010. The following are the class names to follow in the app or to put in the message portion of a text message: 5th and 6th grade – @cyf5and6; 7th and 8th grade – @sjkasson; High school – @sjkyouth.

May God bless our work together, giving us hearts full of his love and compassion and hands to do his work in the world. May he show us how to be everyday missionaries, the people of God at work in the world.

Food for Friends Ministry Takes Off

If you’ve seen the Sunday school rooms on a Wednesday evening, you may have seen piles of backpacks filled with all sorts of tasty food. These backpacks are just the beginning of our Food for Friends backpack program, which started in early October. Each week during the school year, kids in the Oasis and confirmation programs here at St John’s will fill the backpacks with nutritious food for distribution to students in the elementary school who are at risk of hunger on weekends and school breaks.

We hope to build relationships with the families participating in Food for Friends. That’s already happening. The Thanksgiving break gave us an opportunity to share our abundance and provide food baskets to some of the families participating in the program. We originally intended to provide baskets for 14 families, but because of your generosity (and that of our partner congregations) we collected enough food to provide 18 baskets to families! All the families stopped at St. Johns to pick of their baskets and were very thankful for the much-needed food.

This is truly a community effort to fight hunger. In addition to Channel One Food Bank and staff at the Kassan-Mantorville Elementary School, we are partnering with the Methodist congregations in Kasson and Dodge Center and also working with businesses, organizations, and individuals in the area to make this ministry a reality. As support increases, we hope to expand the program to cover kids in Middle School as well. To contribute or help with the program, or for more information about Food for Friends, please contact Angie Richards, Jenifer Hodgeman, or the office at St. John’s. Or visit www.stjohnskasson.org/food-for-friends

Packing boxes for a Thanksgiving meal for our Food for Friends families.

Packing boxes for a Thanksgiving meal for our Food for Friends families.

Relax with a Christmas Movie

The time before Christmas can be a busy and hectic one, but if you’re looking to slow down a bit and want to treat yourself to a classic Christmas movie, hot chocolate, Christmas goodies, and good company, join Pastor Dana at her home (506 7th Ave. NE, Kasson) for some classic Christmas movies. Each movie will start at 7 pm.

  • November 30 – Holiday Inn
  • December 7 – White Christmas
  • December 14 – The Bishop’s Wife
  • December 17 – It’s a Wonderful Life

You are all invited, and feel free to bring a friend.

November’s Ministry of Encouragement Visit to City Hall

A big THANK YOU to everyone who helped with our Ministry of Encouragement (MOE) visit to Kasson City Hall on Thursday, November 12. We all had a great time thanking the city employees for the amazing work they do to make Kasson a great place to live. Our thank you included a certificate of thanks and a whole lot of really good food.

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Festival of Trees Reminder

Bid on the confirmation group’s “Festival of Trees” silent auction now through Sunday morning, December 13. The trees can be picked up that day or in the following week.

Funds support the 7th-8th grade confirmation program.

Funds support the 7th-8th grade confirmation program.

Financial Update – October 2015

October 2014 October 2015 2015 Year to Date
Income $46,051 $45,385 $469,973
Expenses $56,523 $56,774 $527,602
Deficit as of 10/30 $34,800 $57,629