DRIVE-IN AND ONLINE WORSHIP THROUGH OCTOBER. DETAILS ON OUR NEWS PAGE.

Online services will continue at least through the month of October. Sunday worship can be seen by smartphone, tablet or computer on the News page of this website or on St. John's Facebook page.
OR listen Sundays at 7am, Noon or 4:30pm by using your phone to dial (508) 924-5733.

Audio only by calling (888) 975-5536. Call in ANY TIME from Sunday morning through noon Friday.

News

Tentative Sanctuary Reopening Nov. 1

After much discussion about safety precautions and preparations, the council voted at its September meeting to plan on tentatively reopening the church for in-person worship, if safely possible, on November 1st.

Drive Thru Flu Clinic

A drive-thru flu clinic is planned for 9:30-10:30am Oct. 13th at St. John’s. If you are unable to make it, you can get a flu shot at Gaffey, 3408 E. 23rd St., Sterling, from 8:30am-4pm Monday-Friday.

Faith Formation 2020-21 Online

St. John’s has returned to Sunday school this month. After much prayer, asking our families and evaluating the status of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided to begin the Sunday school year and confirmation classes online.

PreK through sixth-grade Sunday school will have two or three online, pre-recorded lessons for each age group every month. Materials kits for this age group will be available for pickup on the last Sunday of each month. if you did not get your packet for October, please let Gerad or the church office know. The kits will include the Sparkhouse curriculum student activity sheets and most materials needed to participate in the lessons at home.

In addition, the first Sunday of each month we’ll have a 20- to 30-minute, preK through sixth-grade Zoom meeting that will include the week’s Bible story, student interaction time, music, a game or activity and prayer.

All classes and Zoom meetings will begin at 10:30am Sundays and can be accessed through the St. John’s Sunday School Facebook group: facebook.com/SterlingStJohns. Videos are available upon request in case you are not on Facebook. We will continue with our special children’s offerings while learning from our homes. More details will be available on the Sunday school Facebook group and at our Zoom meetings. Thank you in advance for your patience as we all adjust to this new way of leading Sunday school.

October class schedule (all at 10:30am):

  • October 4th: PreK-6 Zoom meeting (link will be emailed)
  • October 11th: Pre-recorded Sunday School lesson available on demand
  • October 18th: Pre-recorded Sunday School lesson available on demand
  • October 25th: Pre-recorded Sunday School lesson available on demand

Tri-Church Confirmation

We begin this year meeting online through Zoom meetings. SEVENTH- AND EIGHTH-GRADE students and adult leaders are meeting from 7-8pm Wednesdays. NINTH-GRADE students and adult leaders are meeting from 8:15 to 9pm Wednesdays to prepare for Affirmation of Baptism.

October class schedule (all on Zoom)

  • October 7th: Seventh and eighth grade from 7-8pm; ninth grade from 8:15 to 9pm
  • October 14th: Seventh and eighth grade from 7-8pm; ninth grade from 8:15 to 9pm
  • October 21st: Seventh and eighth grade from 7-8pm
  • October 28th: Seventh and eighth grade from 7-8pm

Affirmation of Baptism/Confirmation Sunday

St. John’s will be celebrating Affirmation of Baptism on October 18th and Immanuel on October 25th. St. Paul has no 2020 confirmands, but may plan a special service later this fall; more details to come. Plans for each congregations’ Affirmation of Baptism Sunday are in the works. We are consulting with families and our congregations’ leaders for Sunday worship and celebrating our confirmands.

Junior High/High School Faith Formation

High school youth and junior high youth each will meet with Gerad or a volunteer through Zoom meetings one Sunday per month. Times and Sundays may vary slightly from month to month. We are also looking into ways to gather young people safely sometime in the near future. We are also looking into a remote Bible study that would meet outside of the Sunday morning time for high school students and adults.

October schedule:

  • Junior High: 11am October 18th
  • Senior High: 11:30am October 18th

Drive-In Worship Guidelines

Drive-in worship will serve as our transitional step, we will be using the parking lot in a different way than we are accustomed to. Rather than parking in the designated parking spaces, we will be parking north-south with a masked council member/usher directing attendees to their location. Those who desire to participate in the “drive-in” services will be encouraged to enter the parking lot from Eighth Street so we can better line up cars for the service. We’ll have a dropbox set up for folks to leave their offerings as they enter the parking lot. Participants will also be instructed to tune their car radio to a specific station to hear the service.

During the service, we will be making use of pre-packaged communion kits that contain bread and alcohol-free wine. Those who wish to commune during the service can request the number of kits for their passengers from the masked usher once you have been directed to your parking location.

After the drive-in service has concluded, direction will be provided to take turns exiting the parking lot. Other information and additional direction will be provided as needed during the service. Those who attend the drive-in services will need to remain in their car throughout the service. We greatly appreciate your understanding as we transition into this next phase. Should you have questions about any of this, please feel free to call the church office.

While some of the food is donated and received through the Walmart Distribution Center, all of the nonperishable items must be purchased at a reduced rate through River Bend Foodbank in the Quad Cities. They have received donations from grain farmers, Modern Woodmen, the CARES Act, and individuals, and the donations need to be spent as soon as they come in.

The foodbank is currently giving out food every Saturday from 10am to noon via a parking lot drive-through at the foodbank. The line of cars gets longer as the weeks of unemployment multiply. They are also delivering food onsite at Coloma Courts, the Rock Falls high rise, Ster-Lynn Apartments and the Whiteside County Health Department. This is a huge undertaking for a very small staff. It is also a very expensive endeavor.

In light of this, the members of the Tri-Church Committee would like to address the needs of those who are lacking in food by supporting the foodbank. This is not a time that we can coordinate a fundraiser, but we can raise funds. We are encouraging each of you to consider giving to the Sauk Valley Foodbank. If you are able to make a donation, please mail it directly to:

Sauk Valley Foodbank
1801 Plant Drive
Sterling, IL 61081

Volunteers are also needed for the Saturday distributions.

The phrase, “We are in this together” has been used throughout this pandemic. This is one way that we can be together as members of Immanuel, St. John’s and St. Paul, and as members of the local community.

Covid-19 policies approved by Council

It is our practice at St. John's to give notice to the congregation when policies are updated and when new policies are approved by the Congregation Council. Our Council approved a new policy at its meeting July 21st, and because of the importance of the content, it is being published here for review.

Screening Policy

It is the policy of St. John’s Lutheran Church to provide guidelines to all staff and visitors of the facility that will reduce the possibility of transmitting contagious disease.

Purpose

It is the purpose of this policy to define the guidelines that will help ensure the safety of the staff and visitors.

Procedure

Staff Screening: All staff will be screened for temperature, and signs and symptoms of Covid-19 prior to entering the work area.

  • An initial temperature will be taken. If the temperature is above 100.3°F, the staff member will be asked to leave and they will be advised that in the event the temperature does not return to normal (98.6°F) within 24 hours they should consider contacting their primary care physician. They should contact their physician before going to the Emergency Department.
  • All health questions as listed below shall be addressed daily.
  • All employees shall receive education on handwashing/sanitizing, masking, and visitor restrictions.
  • All employees shall wash/sanitize their hands frequently throughout the work day and shall wear a mask when social distancing of six feet or more cannot be satisfied.
  • An attendance sheet, including the temperature record and documentation of questions and actions shall be completed; sign as the evaluator if no one else is present.

Visitor/Volunteer Screening: A staff member, the chair of the committee, or responsible person of the group will greet visitors, explaining procedures as temperatures are taken and recorded.

  • An initial temperature will be taken. If the temperature is above 100.3°F, the visitor will be asked to leave and they will be advised that in the event the temperature does not return to normal (98.6°F) within 24 hours they should consider contacting their primary care physician. They should contact their physician before going to the Emergency Department.
  • All health questions as listed below shall be addressed with each visit to the facility.
  • All visitors shall receive education on handwashing/sanitizing, masking, and visitor restrictions.
  • All visitors shall sanitize their hands and wear a mask when social distancing of six feet or more cannot be satisfied.
  • An attendance sheet, including the temperature record and documentation of questions and actions shall be completed; sign as the evaluator if no one else is present.
  • No food or drink may be brought into the building.
  • Only the west (left) side of the chapel and the restrooms at door #8 may be used by visitors.
  • An area in the basement has been cordoned off for use. The elevator may be used to reach the lower level. The restroom in that area may be used.

General Health Questions for all Staff and Visitors: In the event that the staff member or visitor answers “yes” to any of the following questions and the condition cannot be explained, they shall be advised that it is not in the best interest of themselves or the facility to enter at this time.

  1. Have you been in close contact with anyone experiencing symptoms of or having been diagnosed with Covid-19?
  2. Covid-19 has been associated with many symptoms including those below. Are you experiencing any symptoms in the following list or any unusual symptoms that you cannot explain?
  3. Have you experienced any cough or cold symptoms such as runny nose, congestion or sore throat?
  4. If yes to coughing, is it a productive cough?
  5. Have you experienced any nausea or vomiting?
  6. Have you had a headache?
  7. Have you had diarrhea?
  8. Have you experienced any body or muscle aches or pains?
  9. Have you experienced any recent loss of smell or taste?
  10. Have you experienced a recent fever or chills?
  11. Have you experienced any shortness of breath?
  12. Have you noticed unexplained fatigue?
  13. Have you experienced any eye fatigue or redness in or around the eyes?
  14. Have you noticed any unexplained rashes or swelling of the arms or legs or been around any children who have shown these symptoms?

Council Approves Affirmation Statement

The Council affirms that ministry is a core tenant of our Mission and that established ministries will continue and the opportunity for expanding into additional ministries will be evaluated when presented. The Council fully understands the complex nature of ministry, but as long as God’s people are willing to engage in good works, we will do everything in our power to support those ministries.

Kroger Rewards

St. John’s is now a member of the Kroger Community Rewards Program. If you have a Kroger Plus Shopper’s Card, you can earn rewards for the St. John’s Building Fund every time you use it. Just about everything you purchase qualifies, with the exception of alcohol, tobacco, and postage stamps. There is no cost to participate and you’ll still earn fuel points on eligible purchases every time you shop. Signing up is free and easy.

  1. Visit kroger.com/communityrewards.
  2. Sign in to your digital account or create an account.
  3. Choose “I’m a Customer” and click on “View Details.”
  4. Be sure your card is linked to your account.
  5. Select St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (MU937).
  6. Receive a confirmation, and you’re ready! If you have questions, please contact Nancy Breed at (815) 441-4007. Thanks for your continued support of St. John’s.



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