The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” The past few months only seem to have accelerated this truth. The situation changes daily, stymying those of us who like to plan. Things have been placed on hold, whether vacations, ministry plans, budgets, or sports seasons.
One thing, however, has not changed. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The promises made to us in our baptism by Jesus have not changed. We are still provided with all that we need, still forgiven and beloved children, and still guided by His Spirit as His body, the church. However, how the Lord uses His church to accomplish His mission has changed over time and continues to change, given the current context.
In response, we’d like to share with you some of the changes that will take place to ministry at St. John’s this fall:
Discipleship Hour- Due to COVID-19 precautions in the School and Early Childhood building, we will be unable to use these facilities for Discipleship Hour. Instead, we will be offering Discipleship Hour on Wednesday nights, starting on Wednesday, September 16, at 6:00 PM. This version of Discipleship Hour will be both in-person in the sanctuary and also live-streamed for those at home as we finish our sanctuary renovation project (see the article below). Thank you, Lord, for this tool of new technology to further your kingdom! More information coming in the next few weeks regarding content, but be prepared to hear the phrase “Households of Faith” a lot.
Wednesday Night Worship – With the relocation of Discipleship Hour to the sanctuary on Wednesday nights, we will be discontinuing Wednesday night worship except for special seasons such as Thanksgiving Eve, Advent, and Lent. The last Wednesday Night worship service will take place on Wednesday, September 2.
Outdoor Worship – We will continue to host our 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM Sunday worship services outside through the end of September as we have done the last three weeks, weather permitting. If there is rain in the forecast, we will move the service into the sanctuary, and masks will be required.
New Member Sunday We did not have the opportunity to welcome and celebrate our new members and confirmands in the Spring, and so will do so on Sunday, September 13.
The picture above was created two years ago as a way to dream and visualize what our worship space would look like with several video updates, to include the removal of the large center screen at the front of the nave. Since that initial rendering, God’s people have been generous towards this project, and we are in the middle of the final stage of installation.
The goals of this project have always been:
Improve our communication quality and ability both on and beyond our campus.
Strengthen our people for Personal, Congregational, and Community Discipleship through stronger engagement in and access to worship and discipleship gatherings.
Help to restore the visual and architectural beauty of our main worship space, while providing strong functionality of visual aids.
Establish a system and infrastructure that will bring St. John’s up to modern functionality while implementing the technology needed to expand and accommodate future growth.
As this new equipment and systems are installed, we will be learning its function and looking forward to its use in many ways. As with anything new, there is always a bit of learning curve and nuance. Even so, we look forward to numerous benefits from this project, to include:
Dual projections screens and an open view of the full altar wall and windows.
Dual supplemental flat screens to support participation for those seated towards the back.
Additional flat screens in the balcony, gathering space, and childcare room and integration with existing screens in the Lower level and welcome space.
Flexible content distribution that will allow for viewing and participation from any of these screens and locations.
Multiple HD cameras to support the recording and live broadcast of services and discipleship gatherings on campus.
Thanks be to God for this and many more blessings that support our work of Connecting, Caring, and Sharing in Christ.
Hannah Lull, 2020 Streufert Award Recipient
The Board of Directors of WLI proudly introduce the 2020 recipient of the Dr. Donna J. Streufert Leadership Award, Hannah Lull!
The Streufert Award recognizes one or more female students at Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW) and Concordia University Ann Arbor (CUAA) who have demonstrated exceptional and/or unusual servant leadership as demonstrated by Jesus Christ. Miss Lull was selected to receive the award for her exemplary leadership at CUW, which includes a $500 scholarship and plaque of recognition on the CUW campus.
Hannah Lull describes herself as an authentic gal who runs on Jesus, coffee and Culvers! She is a senior at Concordia University Wisconsin, studying to be a teacher, majoring in Lutheran Elementary Cross Categorical General and Special Education.
Hannah admits her faith journey is far from perfect but that the LORD’s faithfulness and radical love have kept her close through mission trips, being an RA, running Haven (a contemporary prayer and praise team on campus), as well as having Christ-centered friends and, most-importantly, a God-fearing family.
Hannah’s father, Alan Lull, is a Youth and Mission Director at St. John’s Lutheran School in West Bend WI . Her mother Renee is the fourth-grade teacher at St. John’s Lutheran School in West Bend WI. Hannah’s bother David is a 20-year-old living with autism whom Hannah adores and feels God has used for His purposes more than any other person she has ever known or met.
Hannah attended St. John’s Lutheran in West Bend WI for grade school and Living Word Lutheran in Jackson WI for high school before attending Concordia University Wisconsin for her undergraduate degree.
Hannah enjoys cooking, writing, reading, playing guitar, socializing and outdoor adventures. These interests made her a perfect fit for participating in over twenty mission trips around the world including Israel and India, serving as Haven Coordinator at Concordia, speaking at LWML, writing Lovin’ the Least, and serving as National Youth Gathering MC.
Hannah admires authenticity, honesty, empathy and vulnerability in people. Hannah’s desire is to love Jesus more than anything in this world and share that good news with every person she meets. Her personal mission verse is Matthew 5:16:
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Congratulations Hannah and God’s blessings on your leadership development and career!
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
for His steadfast love endures forever!
(1 Chronicles 16:34)
Greetings to you in the name of Jesus, your Savior!
St. John’s annual Thank Offering is a sacred opportunity to look beyond ourselves and what we are doing in daily life and look at the big picture . . . to look to God and thank Him. No matter what is going on in our lives, the Lord has amazing promises for us, promises that are real and eternal. Our God is awesome, and He loves you!
It is in response to God’s love and works among us that each year (usually in May/June), we encourage the people of St. John’s to consider making a special Thank Offering. This invitation is a special invitation to stop, reflect, pray, and respond to the Lord with genuine thanks for God’s work through all the ministries of St. John’s.
This Thank Offering tradition has been a personal blessing to my family and me as we have paused to reflect on God’s love for us and work in our lives. Will you join Christine and me in giving a special Thank Offering that is over-and-above your regular offerings?
Indeed, these tough times are a recipe for fear, disunity, and trepidation in our community, economy, and even in our homes. Perhaps, especially with the disconnections and disruptions of life since March, you have fallen behind in your offerings to support God’s work among us. This Thank Offering is a great opportunity to join fellow disciples of Jesus at St. John’s to catch up and support the work God has given us to do together.
Maybe times are tough for you, and making a special gift is not possible. If this is your situation, can I ask that you pause and commit to making a special prayer of thanksgiving to God? It is as easy as saying, “Thank you God for_________.” God loves prayers of thankfulness! We all have something we can bring to the Lord in prayer.
If you choose to make a gift, you can give through the green Thank Offering Envelope
or our St. John’s App – look for the pull-down menu that says, “Thank Offering.”
On behalf of St. John’s Staff and Leaders, we give thanks for you! Most of all, we give thanks to the LORD for all that He has done, is doing, and will do according to His plans and promises! These promises are for you and your family. Thank you, Lord!
Peace and blessings in Christ,
Pastor Jeff Hesse
The ECC had the opportunity to host a summer program on a smaller scale this year for school-age children. Allowing children back into the building in June brought so much joy for the teachers and families we were able to serve! Parents were excited to return to work and provide a fun environment for their children. Parents and children were so supportive of the ever-changing schedule of activities based on what we were allowed to do within the community this summer. Here are some comments about how God was at work this summer:
It has been an AMAZING summer with a GREAT group of kids!! We had so many adventures, from going to Bookworm Gardens to playing in different parks in West Bend. The children had a lot of fun with art days, water days, pajama and move days, trips to Jumbos, roller skating, and received so many compliments from people in the community saying how well-behaved and well-mannered our group of kids were. A special thank you to all the parents for making sure the kids had everything they needed each day. We hope the kids have a wonderful school year, and we hope to see you all again next year!!
I just wanted to thank you all so very much for a wonderful summer program. We were a little unsure about whether to send Will or not under the circumstances, but it was the best decision we could’ve made. He absolutely loved it and had such a great time. Before he started the program, he was definitely feeling the stress of the quarantine and isolation away from other kids. But after returning to St John’s to familiar friends and teachers, he was like a new kid! I can’t tell you how much that means to us. St John’s is a special place, and it’s because of all of you! So thank you from the bottom of my heart!
As a thank you to the summer program teachers for their hard work this summer, I’d like to provide lunch.
Inara had such a fun summer with all of you!! Thank you for helping create special memories!
The Olson family, Trace, is beyond grateful for you all, too!! God Bless!
Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Through this summer program, God provided the opportunity to be his hands in living out our St John’s mission and vision of Connecting Caring and Sharing in Christ and being his disciples in as many places as possible.
Worship Plans for Indoor and Outdoor Services
Greetings St. John’s,
Moving forward, St. John’s has decided to continue to host our 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM services outdoors and in a very similar fashion. Our Wednesday 6:00 PM, Saturday 6:00 PM, and Sunday 8:00 AM services will continue to be indoors. In compliance with the state order, indoor worship services will require face coverings for the full duration of the time we gather indoors. Our outdoor services will not require masks, but you are welcomed and encouraged to do so.
Saturday 6:00 PM and Sunday 8:00 AM services will be indoors and require a face covering or mask upon entry. All of our previous procedures, distancing, and sanitization will also remain in place. Please bring a facemask with you to worship. If you do not have one, we will provide one for you.
Sunday 9:30 AM & 11:00 AM services will continue outdoors. Face coverings will not be required, but as with our previous procedures, they are encouraged. Distancing with seating is also encouraged.
Additional Outdoor Worship Notes:
We will gather for outdoor worship services by the North East drive and parking area. Cones and signs are marking the morning worship area.
Services will be led by our pastors and utilize sound equipment. They will include a small worship team, and the full-service order will is for your participation.
Folding chairs will be set up ahead to time, but we also encourage you to bring a bag/folding chair for additional seating and distancing.
The indoor bathrooms, nearest the parking lot doors, will be available for use, but masking will be necessary upon entry.
We are in the process of acquiring additional shade tents for the green space and parking lot seating areas.
There will also be additional tables for the welcome pads and offering box.
Bottled water will be available at the welcome tables
If rain or other weather challenges are imminent for our time in worship, the services will move indoors. That announcement will go out shortly ahead of the service and to those already gathered. As with our other indoor services, face coverings are required.
As you consider this plan and what your time in worship will look like moving forward, we encourage you to cling to the promises of God; promises He gave you in your baptism. Even as we find new ways to gather, we gather around God’s Word and Gifts that our faith will be strengthened. That’s why it’s good to be together in the Lord!
St. John’s Worship Ministry
Outdoor Worship – Set-up & Take-down Crew Signup
We are creating crews of people to support outdoor worship by helping to set-up and take-down the various chairs, tables, tents, and equipment before and after services. This is a pivotal and necessary component of our ongoing outdoor worship plan and experience. If you value this worship experience, we encourage you to consider signing up to help.
The more people and crews we can commit to this need, the lighter the commitment and rotation will be. Crews will consist of 4-6 people and be schedule for either set-up or take-down on respective Sundays. Set-up will begin at 8:30 AM on Sunday and take-down will begin following the 11:00 AM service. Point leadership for this has been identified and signing up with this form will open to door for communication and coordination. Thank you for your help!
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
There’s an important question making its way around St. John’s these days. The question is: “When can our life group meet again?” St. John’s is here to assist you in seeking a prayerful answer.
When St. John’s closed its doors on in-person worship activities, our church leadership also made the difficult decision to cancel all life group gatherings until further notice for the sake of our church family’s health.
The impact of this decision varied: many groups have suspended activities while individuals stayed in touch; other life groups continued to meet on the internet or over the phone; some life groups even reported having conversations more frequently due to the quarantine. Whatever the case, it has been a great reminder that God is always at work in and through His people.
Now that we have begun to meet again in worship, the Unified Leaders of St. John’s are encouraging our life groups to consider doing the same. Our goal, Lord permitting, is to see the majority of our life groups restored and active at St. John’s by September, though we understand every life group will approach this differently.
Whether you’re a lay leader or a member of one of our many life groups, this is a time for reflection and conversation with one another. I invite you to prayerfully consider the following:
How did this quarantine impact your life group(s), when do you hope to meet again, and what would it take?
As these days come and go, remember that whether on earth, or in heaven, or when all of creation is restored, it is good to be together in the Lord.
Leaders: as you consider meeting, please reach out to your Management Team Lead for guidance on re-opening and procedures to consider. The official policy for re-opening Life Groups has been attached for informational purposes. In addition, please make use of the attached flowchart for some helpful questions to ask your group as you pursue fellowship once again.
As on-site services resume at St. John’s, we are looking for some volunteers to help us keep up with the sanitizing procedures between services.
We are looking for adults 18+, people who are not considered high risk individuals, and people who are not already actively serving on a ministry team (we are trying to lighten the load of the ushers and other ministry leaders already serving in worship; however, if you are an usher or worship team leader, you are more than welcome to volunteer for a Sunday service as you feel led).
Volunteers can sign up to sanitize after the 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM, or 11:00 AM Sunday services (Saturday and Wednesday services will be taken care of by usher teams). We will create a rotating schedule of 2 people per service to get us through the summer or for as long as these procedures need to be in place.
The procedures include sanitizing:
-Offering box surface
-Chairs used in the narthex or by the fireplace
-Any other frequently touched surfaces (note, this does NOT include cleaning bathrooms but DOES include the door handles for the bathrooms)
Teams will be overseen by Asst. Worship Director Rachel Morton, and by sextons Bob Krause and John Ehlke. Once responses have been collected, Rachel will email the schedule to everyone.