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.
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.
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):
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is the purpose of this policy to define the guidelines that will help ensure the safety of the staff and visitors.
Staff Screening: All staff will be screened for temperature, and signs and symptoms of Covid-19 prior to entering the work area.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Download a PDF of the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, The Messenger.
Past issues, starting in October 2012, are available here.