Has the change of pace brought on by COVID-19 made you feel overwhelmed at times? Have you felt sad or angry? Do you often feel like you’re walking alone through all of this? I imagine this is how some of Jesus’s followers felt after His death too. Their lives were turned upside down!
Consider the two men walking on the road to Emmaus. We’ll read about them in Luke 24 today. They were overcome with sorrow as they walked away from Jerusalem. The Bible says: “While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.” Jesus drew near to them, and then He walked with them.
Our God does the same for you and me today. He draws near to us, even in our sorrow, hurt, anger, and confusion. He draws near to us and He walks with us through it. This is our hope. This is our comfort. Jesus is alive! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! And He is with us even now.
Letter from the Unified Leaders
April 25, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Hello, my name is Rich Buss, and I serve as President of St. John’s Leadership Board. I am also one of St. John’s Unified Leaders, which is made up of the St. John’s Leadership Board, Spiritual Health Ministry Team, Foundation Board & Management Team. Amid this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Unified Leaders of St. John’s want to provide a congregational update on the activities over the last month. The last update was during worship services on March 15th – the last time we physically gathered to worship as a congregation. But we are so blessed that we can still gather to worship on-line via St. John’s YouTube services. God is blessing us by His Word in new and powerful ways!
There has been a lot of praying, conversation, and planning by your leaders and staff over the last month as we seek to follow the Lord and bring His love to you and to our community. We will continue to be in dialogue together… making plans bathed in prayer, trusting in the Lord’s leadership, His presence, and His promises.
We continue to Connect, Care and Share in Christ but in very different ways. This has created some challenges, but it has also created some new opportunities for all of us. All St. John’s ministries have been adjusted to comply with the state and local requirements to lessen the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Here are some important updates that involve all of us as the Body of Christ:
We would like to thank and encourage all the people who have given us the ability to stay connected as the Body of Christ and refreshed by His Word. A huge thank you to the Lord for St. John’s worship team and leaders, musicians, pastors, lay readers, videographers, mailing teams… and so many others. It has been a labor of love and done so well. All who see, hear, and read God’s Word are being blessed, strengthened, forgiven, and sent in the Good News of Jesus!
Virtually all of St. John’s ministries have been modified to comply with social distancing protocol. Many of the events have been cancelled until further notice but many operational ministries/meetings continue to progress using alternative on-line methods that allow us to remain connected and make key decisions.
Classes at St. John’s School continue on-line via Remote Learning. This has been a big adjustment for everyone, but we are most impressed with our staff’s ability to make this work and thankful for their continued dedication. We also are impressed with the partnership and love of parents who have embraced this alternative solution. We are truly blessed together in the work of the School!
St. John’s Early Childhood Center has joined our School in offering on-line instruction and resources for 3 and 4-year-old children, but the building remains closed for normal on-site day-care services. We hope to re-open this ministry as soon as we can.
Across all St. John’s ministries there have been some staff placed on furlough since March 18th. God has given our congregation a dedicated and gifted team of people to serve us, and this furlough has created a financial hardship for many of them. It is important to know that up until now, unemployment benefits are not available to church workers. To help care for our staff in all the uncertainties of this pandemic, St. John’s put in place a Compensation Continuation Plan that provided 50% of compensation for any staff furloughed until we could figure out next steps as a congregation.
Most of you are familiar with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that our President signed into law to help all those affected by COVID 19 pandemic. St. John’s has applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as part of the CARES Act, and has received a low-interest loan from the Small Business Association (SBA) in the amount of $420,750 to help cover payroll, benefits, utilities and mortgage costs over the next 8 weeks. This is a real blessing as we hope to re-start our various ministries and provide the resources needed to make staff whole for lost income over the past month. Our St. John’s West Bend Foundation is also engaged to support the work of the church and its staff beyond the next 8-weeks as needed and as appropriate. Praise God for all He provides!
Through March, St. John’s is holding steady according to budget except for lost revenue from the Early Childhood Center. Overall, we are slightly ahead of budget in offerings. God’s people have been generous to offset some of our ministry shortfalls in this pandemic. This is a good time to remind everyone to be generous and support the work of Christ’s Church and the many great ministries and staff He uses to do His work. As you continue to support the Lord’s work – you can give through the St. John’s App or by mailing checks/offering envelopes. Thank you for your support… and thank you Lord!
The Congregational Meeting scheduled for May 3, 2020 is cancelled due to Governor Evers extending the Safer at Home order to May 26, 2020. A future date for the Congregation Meeting will be provided as things evolve.
As Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Jesus will lead us through this challenging time. These challenges are a great reminder for all of us to trust in Him. As people of God, we trust in the Lord and call upon Him to increase our faith and we ask that the Holy Spirit give us confidence to live our faith out in powerful, loving ways in the days ahead.
So, let us be in prayer – for those on the frontlines working on our behalf. We pray for our government officials, healthcare workers, church leaders, staff, and all the people working with us and for us in this time of uncertainty. God’s promises are true! We ask for God’s mercy and His strength in the days ahead.
Weekend Worship – 4/19/20 – Second Sunday of Easter
We congratulate Danny & Alyssa (Trimble) Mengel on their wedding April 25. May God continue to bless this and all marriages.
Thanks be to God for the birth of a daughter, Gillian Jane, to David & Kerrie Roesler on April 22. May the Lord continue to bless this family with amazing gifts.
Our prayers are with the family of Karl Becker, who was called home April 9. May God comfort this family with the promise of the resurrection through faith in Christ.
Members in treatment, at home, or recovering: Bill Ladwig, Paul Johnson, Sandy Lovato, Larke Mor , William Bremser, David Vernon, Marcelle Donaldson, Doug Zarling, Erwin Wergin, Darrel Hegy, Carla Kinkel, Pastor Cal Seban, Carrie Kuehl, Andy Bollen, Delores Fischer, Darlene Daley, Robert Polivka, Evelyn Wornardt, Leatrice (Lea) Strupp, Gloria Kohn, Joseph (Tom) Augustine, Paul Johnson, Ken Endlich, Brandee Michels, Cindy Doers, Marion Schoenbeck, June Wilke, Verna Kissinger, Lois Lewinski, James Zimbal, Sharon Stenschke, Barbara Moritz, Donna Menzel, Bill Wilke, Jerry Jung, Elmyra Martin, Mary Plaskey, Gary Woodward, Al Schaetz, Arlene Goebel, Gladys Hron, Mary Ann Yahr, Lois Gauger, Barb Yahr, Ellen Frank, Cheryl Eberhardt, Charles Frank, Lucille Seil, Nancie Purskey, Norma Warnkey.
Non-Members: Ellen Mortenson (Andrew Mortenson’s grandmother), Steve Williams (Rick Dusenbery’s brother-in-law), Cheryl Walsh (Carmen Kuntz’s daughter), Ben & Lucy (Mark Cassidy’s friends), Phillip S. (Jeff & Tina Noren’s neighbor), Betty Moskler (Mark Cassidy’s friend), Doug (Mark Cassidy’s friend), Ashlyn Roecker (Carol Roecker’s great-grand niece), Sherry (Kathy Sitzberger’s friend), Ashley Doll (Cathy Schimmel’s niece), Rich Buss, Emory Benner (Kathy Benner’s grandson), Mickie Wagner (Tom & Peggy Bruce’s friend), Don & Ruth Cooper (Cindy Midtbo’s parents), Audrey Fellenz (Lynn Fellenz’s mother-in-law), Scott & Val and family (friends of Susan Mueller), Duane (Jerry & Terri Buettner’s friend), Mary Ours (Janet Haliburton’s friend), Mason Jan (Jenny Wolf’s sister), Jack (Melede Meinzen’s friend), Tom Hall (Kandi Mentch’s uncle), Nancy Brakebush (Clara Guse’s friend), Danielle Hayburn (Paul & Charlene Otto’s daughter), Bridgette Finster (Norm Finster’s mother), Stephan & Martha Garmon (friends of Rachel Morton), Kris Kraase (Evelyn Wornardt’s granddaughter-in-law)James Oelhafen (brother of Audrey Weiland), Richard Davies (father-in-law of Nicole Davies), Shane Nault (grandson of Carmen Kuntz), Mary (friend of Bruce & Denise Biendarra), and Steve Strehlow (brother of Melede Meinzen).
New Bible Study Opportunity!
Join us on Wednesdays at 6:00 PM as we dive into God’s Word and spend time in prayer for each other, for our community, and the world.
We’ll be using Zoom as the platform for our online bible study. Many of you have used it for our Red Letter Challenge Check-Ins. It’s a platform that will allow us to be interactive as we dive into the Word of God and Prayer.
Need some help getting the week’s groceries? Due to COVID-19 concerns, a trip to the grocery store has become for many an exercise in anxiety as well as a potential health risk. Even so, our God promises to provide our “daily bread,” and He does that in many ways, through many people. If one of our volunteers at St. John’s can help you pick up your local groceries, please call the office at 262-334-4901.
Please note: our volunteers are offering to pick up groceries – payment for the groceries (cash or check) is still the recipient’s responsibility.
The Apostles’ Creed is a statement of faith that unites us in a common confession. As we gather through online services, we are still encouraged by these words, even as we speak them in the context of our own household. One thing we miss in this time is the blessing of the many different voices around us as a congregation uplifting this confession of faith to one another. Although we can’t meet together, we can join our voices together through video.
We are asking the people of St. John’s to video yourself or your household speaking the Apostles’ Creed. This can be captured on your phone, tablet, or computer. No fancy production or filters needed, just hit record and speak together. We will then collect these videos into a single creed video that we use in our online worship service.
Please send your video directly to John Ehlke at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to use this in worship as soon as possible, so don’t delay. Gather up, turn that camera to face you, and. . .
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Given the current circumstances around COVID-19, St. John’s has canceled the spring Men’s Retreat originally planned for May 15-17. Although we are saddened by our need to cancel this event, we are eager to continue our Men’s Ministry into the future as the Lord provides opportunity.
If you have any questions regarding this cancellation, please contact Doug Raddemann through the church office or email at email@example.com.
Screenagers: The Next Chapter
Movie: Sunday, April 26
Parent Discussion: Monday, April 27
During this extraordinary period during which we are practicing physical distancing to support our public health goals related to COVID-19, screenagersmovie.com is allowing a special opportunity to still view the movie in an online setting so that we may continue to connect, encourage and support one another as we teach our children how to use the tools of technology in a positive and God-pleasing way.
Please register using the link below. FREE REGISTRATION. Registration INCLUDES access to stream “on-demand,” the movie, AND participation in the livestreaming community event. This link gives you direct access to sign-up to view the movie NOW through April 27 and to join in the live Q&A that will be hosted on April 27 at 6:00 PM. These events work best when accessed from a computer.
Do you feel God’s Calling to Become a Pastor or Deaconess?
Concordia Seminary exists to prepare the next generation of church leaders. We are here to support you as you consider being trained to become a pastor, deaconess or scholar, to ultimately contribute to the church with deep commitment to Lutheran theology and practice, and in a spirit of servant leadership.