The Messenger

Exploring our faith together

Pastor Dave Efflandt
Lead Pastor

Greetings everyone! I hope this message finds you well, and that your summer is off to a great start!

Over the past month, I’ve been spending time with many of you at our table talk conversations, learning about you and your families, hearing some of your cherished stories about St. John’s, and also dreaming with you about what possibilities await our congregation out there in the future. It has been so uplifting to share this holy space with you, gathered in fellowship with God in our midst. (There are still more times available—sign up on the board in the Narthex, right inside the main doors.)

From those conversations, I’ve been reflecting a great deal on how we, as people of faith, navigate a world that often doesn’t provide us with easy decisions or clear answers. In short, I’ve been pondering how we remain faithful during times of doubt, fear, uncertainty, confusion, and grief. And what a better place to engage and explore those difficult questions than with each other, gathered together worship on Wednesday evenings. We will be utilizing the book series: Can I Ask That? from the Sticky Faith Curriculum to help us on our journey. Take a look at the subjects below, and come join us as often as you are able:

  • June 5: Can I Trust the Bible? Does the Bible Contradict Itself?
  • June 12: Does God Discriminate Against Women?
  • June 19: Can I be a Christian and Believe in Evolution?
  • June 26: VBS Family Fun Night
  • July 10: Is Jesus Really the Only Way to God?
  • July 17: Does God Test People in Their Faith?
  • July 24: Does God Endorse Violence?
  • July 31: How Can I Follow a God Who Would Let Christians Do Such Bad Things?
  • August 7: Is it Wrong to Doubt God?
  • August 14: Is Hell Real? How Could God Send Someone There?
  • August 21: Can I Do Something So Bad God Won’t Forgive Me?
  • August 28: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
  • September 4: Is Sex Outside Marriage Wrong?

May God continue to bless your walk of faith, encouraging you to ask the difficult questions, to be comfortable with the uncertainty, and courageous as you face the mysteries of life. Amen.

Take Jesus with you this summer

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

Summer is a hard time to stay connected to church. School is out, families take vacations, the weather is too nice…the list goes on and on.

This summer, we want you to stay connected by joining our Flat Jesus project!

Flat Jesus is inspired by a national school project called Flat Stanley, based off a book written by Jeff Brown. Just as Flat Stanley has helped children with literacy and geography, Flat Jesus helps children stay plugged into the biblical message you’ve been sharing with them all year.

How it works:

  • Everyone gets their own paper cutout of Jesus to take with them on their summer adventures.
  • Get one at the welcome center or print your own from blog.wearesparkhouse.org/flat-jesus-coming
  • Bring Flat Jesus with you on your adventures—to the park, your camping trip, and even the pool!
  • Take photos and share them on your favorite social media platform! Make sure to check-in at St. John’s Lutheran Church and use the hashtags #FlatJesus and #sjkkids to connect with others!

Where will your journeys take you and your Flat Jesus?

Summer worship 2019

We’re now in our summer worship schedule. Sunday worship is at 9:00 am followed by fellowship.

Wednesday worship is at 6:30 pm by the fire pit (inside if weather requires a move). Bring a chair, stay for s’mores, and engage with some tough topics on Wednesdays this summer!

Wednesday topic schedule:

  • June 5: Can I Trust the Bible? Does the Bible Contradict Itself?
  • June 12: Does God Discriminate Against Women?
  • June 19: Can I be a Christian and Believe in Evolution?
  • June 26: VBS Family Fun Night
  • July 10: Is Jesus Really the Only Way to God?
  • July 17: Does God Test People in Their Faith?
  • July 24: Does God Endorse Violence?
  • July 31: How Can I Follow a God Who Would Let Christians Do Such Bad Things?
  • August 7: Is it Wrong to Doubt God?
  • August 14: Is Hell Real? How Could God Send Someone There?
  • August 21: Can I Do Something So Bad God Won’t Forgive Me?
  • August 28: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
  • September 4: Is Sex Outside Marriage Wrong?

Creation Kids Preschool Carnival

The entire community is invited to a free carnival to celebrate Creation Kids Preschool’s 20th anniversary. On June 6, 2019, 5:00-7:00 pm, there will be food (hot dogs and accompaniments), bounce house, face painting, treats, games, and more. Anyone registering for preschool at the event will have the registration fee waived.

Family Fun Night

Pink hawaiian flower | designed by Vexels

Bust out your hula skirts and come out for this year’s Family Fun Night on Wednesday, June 26 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm here at St. John’s. We’ll have a luau theme in celebration of our Shipwrecked VBS. Food, games, crafts, and more—fun activities for the whole family all FREE! The whole community is invited to come celebrate.

Get shipwrecked with us this summer!

Our FREE vacation Bible school – Shipwrecked VBS – is coming up quickly. From June 24-28, 8:30 am – 11:30 am children ages 3 through 4th grade (’18-’19 school year) are invited to learn about God in fun and exciting ways. Through music, crafts, and games we will learn how God continues to rescue us. We also offer early drop-off, late pick-up, and transportation to Just Like Home or Project Kids in Kasson. We’re also looking for helpers from 5th grade through adults. Details at stjohnskasson.org/vbs or talk to Deacon Amanda.

VBS Decorating Party 2019

Saturday, June 15, 2019 | 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Share your hands and/or ideas to make our space fun and inviting for VBS! Come for the entire time or any amount of time you can. Help us plan for lunch — sign up on the bulletin board or talk with Deacon Amanda.

Keep our summer travelers in your prayers

Summer is here and we have young people venturing out on all kinds of exciting adventures. Thank you to all who have supported them in preparing for these experiences. Let’s all pray for safe travels and positive experiences for all of them!

  • Action Packed Day Camp – June 10-13
  • VBS – June 24-28
  • Confirmation Camp – June 16-21
  • San Diego Service Trip – July 28-August 4

Thank you for a great year

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all Faith Formation volunteers and staff this past year! From our Sunday and Oasis teachers to our adult education leaders, and confirmation guides we could not have made it through the year without your support and dedication to the faith life of our congregation and its visitors. We have been truly blessed by your service!

Missionary Karen Anderson to preach August 18

The congregation at St. John’s supports the work of Karen Anderson, an ELCA missionary in Chile. On Sunday, August 18, she will be here preaching during worship (9:00 am) and sharing a presentation during the breakfast fellowship time (10:00 am). Come hear more about her work with EPES, an organization that annually reaches over 145,000 women and their families in poor communities with innovative strategies and tools for collective action for better health and empowerment.

Southeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly elects new bishop

Photo by Joe Ahlquist, Post Bulletin

Rev. Regina Hassanally was elected June 1 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during the synod assembly, held May 31-June 1 in Rochester, Minn.

Hassanally was elected on the fifth ballot, with 237 votes. She currently serves as pastor of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Goodhue.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology – Health Professions from Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa. Her Master of Divinity degree is from Palmer Theological Seminary (Wynnewood, Penn) with her Lutheran year spent at Luther Seminary (St. Paul).

May Special Events

  • Rummage Sale
    May 10 (2 pm—6 pm) & May 11 (9 am—2 pm)
  • Senior Recognition
    May 15 & 19 at worship
  • Breakfast Fellowship
    May 19 between services
  • First Day of Summer Worship Schedule
    May 26 at 9:00 am
  • No Worship
    May 29

Let’s build on our ministry together

Pastor Dave Efflandt
Lead Pastor

Christ is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

We have gathered together as Church under this truth since the beginning, celebrating what God has done for us in Christ, overcoming death and the grave, working forgiveness and life for us all.

And, it’s this very truth that drives us out into the world; sent forth by Jesus to let the world know what God is up to in this place, as we love others as we have been loved first.

And you know what the funny thing is? Every individual church throughout the world expresses this love in so many ways, and that’s what I’d like to let you know about this month, as we continue making our way forward in ministry together.

Here are a couple of ways that you can be a part of things in the months ahead:

Table Talks.

I’ve gotten to know a small group of folks here in my first couple of months, but what I’d really like to do is to get to know this congregation and so many more of you in the months ahead. So, I’m opening up the calendar for you to come in, spend an hour or so with me, thinking about your own gifts for ministry, sharing your thoughts and experiences about our church, and introducing yourself and your family. You can sign up in the Welcome Center. We have morning, afternoon, and evening times available, as well as couple of Sunday morning times after fellowship, so hopefully you can find a time that works for you.

Welcoming New Members.

Whether you’re brand new, or you’ve been here for a while but just haven’t made it official, please come and let us welcome you into our fellowship here at St. John’s. Here are the dates:

  • New member “class”: Sunday, May 5, at 11:30 am in the Fireside Room. Lunch will be served
  • New members received: Wednesday worship on May 8, at 6:30 pm and Sunday worship on May 12 at both services

I am looking forward to getting to know you even better over the next couple of months. Please continue to pray for God to encourage you to use your gifts in the life and ministries of our church, and to be good stewards of all that God has given you. See you soon!

Thank you for making this a place to gather and grow in faith

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

Summer is just around the corner and there are so many exciting things coming up at St. John’s! Before we start getting excited about summer I want to thank everyone in the congregation for your overwhelming support (in all ways: time, talent, and financially) of our young people at St. John’s this program year! Throughout the year everyone generously gives to the cause of helping us raise money for our youth trips, as well as making our programming function. Whether it is donations of Christmas trees for our tree auction at Advent, attending coffee or breakfast on a Sunday morning, coming to eat burgers and buy raffle tickets at the American Legion, serving as a confirmation small group leader, mentoring young musicians/confirmation students/students who serve as assistants in all of our programs, or even sharing our events on social media…it all matters and it is all support.

Our youth programming here at St. John’s has grown so much in the four years that I have been here at St. John’s. To be honest, much of that has nothing to do with me. Our 7th and 8th graders have told me they will miss confirmation because of the time spent with friends and caring adults as they explore their faith. Our high school youth group went from five regular attending students in 2017-2018 to an average of 15-20 students every week in 2018-2019. That isn’t because of me. It is because of our ten young women who attended the 2018 ELCA National Youth Gathering. The experiences that they had and the faith that was cultivated on that trip they went out and shared with others. The safe space that they helped create they have shared with others and built a place and community where God’s love is actively at work.

As we look to the summer and the new program year let us give thanks for the wonderful program year at its close and all of the amazing people that made it happen! Thanks be to God!

Summer Worship Schedule

This summer we worship together Sunday at 9:00 am and Wednesday – outside! (weather permitting) – at 6:30 pm. Sunday schedule begins May 26, 2019. No Wednesday worship on May 29, 2019. We move outside beginning June 5, 2019.