Connections E-Newsletter – September 3, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
What happens when you gather thirty kindergartners and their families, their teachers, a bunch of pizza and cookies, and a dunk tank? One correct answer would be chaos. Another would be fun! Underlying all of it would be connection, or perhaps, re-connection. Teachers got to reconnect with students in person instead of over a screen. New families to St. John’s School were able to connect with families who have been here a while. Parents were able to ask questions of teachers about what this school year will look like. Our new school administrator, Mr. Jim Van Dellen, was able to meet and greet folks. You get the idea.
I’m speaking, of course, about our Kindergarten Connection party that was held last week, where all of the enrolled kindergarten students and their families joined some St. John’s leaders and staff for a meal, a time of connection, and some fun. There was also a second party planned to welcome new families in grades 1-8, but the weather didn’t cooperate. These parties are just a small piece of how we connect, care, and share here at St. John’s.
What I saw in a microcosm at our party was something I believe holds universally true, especially during this time- We as human beings are meant for and wired for connections. We need others to be around, to live life together, to care for, and to have fun. It doesn’t matter if you are a family with three or four kids or a widow or a single or a grandma raising grandchildren- we all have a need to fellowship, to do life together, and to be connected. This doesn’t change, even in a pandemic. How we do it might be different, but it still has to happen. When connections don’t happen, it becomes so much easier to turn to things that are less than God-pleasing to fill that hole and those desires. Loneliness is plaguing our world right now, and people are turning to all sorts of things to fill that void.
Think back to the garden of Eden for a moment. Do you recall what the Lord first says after Adam and Eve eat the fruit? It’s not, “What did you do?” It’s, “Where are you?” God desires relationship and connection with His creation, and He wired us the same way.
Here’s where the church has to be the church, and Christians need to acknowledge that, while they aren’t going to solve all the world’s challenges, we have an obligation to connect with those around us. The Lord has stationed us in neighborhoods, families, and other communities where there are hurting, lonely and broken people. A Christian doesn’t get to live in a neighborhood or a city because it best serves their desires, wants, or interests. A Christian is placed in a neighborhood to serve and connect with the others there.
That all begs the question – Who are you connecting with this week?
In Christ,
Pastor Reynolds 
Dear Friends in Christ,
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, stymieing 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.
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
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!
 
Worshiping Together,
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!
Sign-Up HERE.
Connecting, Caring, and Sharing in Christ
An Update on Life Groups at St. John’s
 
“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.
Download Life Group Reopening Flow Chart HERE.
Download Policy for Restoring Life Groups HERE.
 Sanitation Teams
 
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: 
-Pews 
-Welcome Pads 
-Handrails 
-Door handles 
-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.
Please reach out to Rachel with any questions or concerns you may have: rmorton@stjohnswestbend.org or 262-334-4901 ext 327. 
 
Sign-Up HERE.
It’s Good to be Together in the Lord

We will celebrate In-Vehicle Communion this Sunday, September 6, from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM for those who are not yet comfortable being present for an in-person worship service.
Please note the shortened time! 
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE!
Discipleship in as many places as possible.
Morning Bible Studies Resume beginning Wednesday, September 16 at 9:30 AM and Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 AM in the Lower Level. Join us as we dig into God’s word and some coffee led by one of our pastors!
Discipleship Hour Resumes every Wednesday beginning September 16 at 6:00 PM in the Sanctuary. Discipleship hour begins both in person and virtually! We’ll meet in the Sanctuary to spread out. We will also stream Discipleship Hour to our Youtube and Facebook Channels. We’ll be digging in our theme for the year, “Households of Faith,” based on content from Lutheran Hour Ministries, and examining how our Lord calls even our own homes to be places of His presence.
Promises of Grace Begins Sunday, September 27 – Lower Level of the Sanctuary. Promises of Grace (POG) is our “new to St. John’s” course that examines the foundational elements that we believe, teach and confess and also helps people connect into life here at St. John’s. POG lasts for nine weeks and is offered on both Sunday Mornings at 9:30 and Wednesday nights at 6:00 PM. Are you interested in membership at St. John’s? Contact the church office to register. 
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This alert is being sent to you out of love and concern. We have had fraudulent emails sent out using the pastor’s names and names of our members trying to get people to buy gift cards. Upon a willing donor buying gift cards, the perpetrators then ask the person to scrape off the back of the cards, take pictures of the numbers on the cards and email the images so the cards can be used remotely.
Please be advised that this is a scam, and the emails did NOT come from our communications. Someone is posing as people from the family of St. John’s are trying to take advantage of our love, care, and generosity to help others. We have met with the West Bend Police Department, and they are investigating. The WBPD suggested that we communicate with all of you as quickly as possible.
St. John’s pastoral team (or anyone on staff) will never communicate via personal email asking for gifts to be transacted in such a manner. We always work through our carefully established St. John’s structures and protocols for transparency, protection, trackability, and efficiency. When in doubt, check it out. Before you are inclined to act on your willingness to help, please talk with us. There is never a rush (no matter what the story is). So stop, evaluate, and chat with us so we can work through what is real and what is fake. If you get any of these emails, please delete them and do not click on any links or attachments.
It is a broken world, and scams are real. Let us remember what Jesus told His followers in Matthew 10:16 – “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” We pray for these fraudsters and call on them to repent, confess their sin, turn away from this behavior, and trust that Jesus has forgiven them. We also thank the Lord for all law enforcement, and specifically, we thank the West Bend Police Department for their work and protection.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call the church office at (262) 334-4901.
Faithful Disciples, Academic Excellence, Christian Leaders
We are looking for a dependable custodian to maintain and protect our facilities, fulfilling a part-time position, cleaning mainly at our day school, and other assigned areas. The work is 15 hours a week for three hours a day, Monday-Friday, 3:30-6:30 (hours can be flexible). The external and internal appearance of a building reflects on the occupants. Job duties will include but are not limited to, cleaning and tidying the premises, and preventing vandalism. The ideal candidate needs to have experience as a custodian, focused on building upkeep, be able to physically work to cover a large campus in the allotted time, a keen eye for detail, and the diligence to cover a large campus—a keen eye for detail is imperative.
To apply, please contact Janet Hatland at jhatland@stjohnswestbend.org, or call 262-707-9587.
Partner Ministries
Contact the office to learn how to join the Living Word Luther High School family.
 
Click HERE to sign-up!
Contact the Enrollment Office to learn how to join the CUW family.
 
Click HERE to sign-up!
Do you feel God’s Calling to Become a
Pastor or Deaconess?    
Click HERE to learn more. 
Reach in Prayer, St. John’s App, Daily Devotions


Wednesday
6:00 PM Traditional
 
Saturday
6:00 PM Traditional
 
Sunday
8:00 AM Traditional
9:30 AM Blended
11:00 AM Contemporary

809 South 6th Ave
West Bend, WI 53095
Church Office: 262-334-4901