Spring has quickly begun its transition to summer. Plants are growing with bright green all around, and in the air are the familiar sounds of birds singing. The natural environment around us has sprung to life. Just as nature grows and reconnects in this new season, so we enter into a new season of reconnection.
For all of us, this past year and its long months have pulled our hearts and minds to previously unknown limits and beyond. To say nurturing relationships has been difficult is truly an understatement. Even the most tightknit family in our community has endured unimaginable struggles.
In this new season, we continue to find ourselves with much still weighing heavily on our hearts and minds as we try to pick up pieces and attempt to make sense of all that has taken place. We also know full well that humans are made for relationship and friendship. We are social beings that long for interaction and conversation.
As the current chapter of this time in the pandemic comes to a close, more and more opportunities for reconnecting are happening all around us. It is therefore important that we stop and give thanks to God for the doctors, nurses, scientists, and medical researchers that have allowed us to get to this point safely. It is a modern-day miracle that not just one but multiple vaccines are available to nearly anyone, some even for use in children over the age of 12. Lord, we pray for all children and the most vulnerable that soon they, too, may have the blessing of this protection.
It warms my heart to see that we are indeed moving in a positive direction. As such, I would like to extend a personal invitation to the whole of our congregation. Because having opportunities for conversation and reconnecting are so important, beginning in July, members are invited to a brown bag lunch or dinner date for your household with me, your pastor. Each Thursday beginning July 8th I will have an opportunity to sit down with a household for either a noon lunch or 6pm dinner date. Since these lunch/dinner dates are for only one household at a time, I ask that you call the church office to select your preferred Thursday for lunch or dinner.
Once we have confirmed our lunch/dinner dates, all I ask is that you come with your brown bag meal to the church as we eat and reconnect in fellowship together. I’m looking forward to this time together and for the conversations we’ll get to share. And as always, if you’d like to chat or have something on your heart of mind, please feel free to call. In the meantime, I’ll continue to be holding you in prayer.
~ Pastor Jacob
Members of the church council would like to express a sincere and heartfelt thank you to everyone who stepped up and participated in the recent giving match that was provided by a generous member of the congregation. Pledges were quickly matched just weeks after the campaign kicked off. This represents a significant commitment to continuing God’s work through the life of St. John’s and its people. We continue to pray for guidance and inspiration as we chart our path forward in the coming months.
At the recommendation of the Personnel Committee, the Congregation Council approved updates to seven policies at its meeting June 15th. This completes the required biennial review of the complete St. John’s Policy Manual. The updated policies included:
A complete policy manual, in the form of a three-ring binder, can be found in the East Room and the Library. A copy may also be obtained from the church office. Please familiarize yourself with these updates. Questions may be directed to any member of the Personnel Committee or Congregation Council.
The census is coming! The ELCA requires that congregations maintain accurate and up-to-date membership roll information. In order to facilitate this process, we will be mailing out the 2021 St. John’s Census to all families in the coming weeks. We ask that surveys be filled out and returned as quickly as possible. You can also complete the survey online by going to census.stjohnsonthird.org. Thank you for assisting us with this important process!
As we begin to return to our normal worship patterns, planning has begun for reorganizing the Altar Guild and reaching out to folks who have helped in the past. This is an important ministry in the life of our church and has been executed by many faithful members of our congregation. Please prayerfully consider helping with this ministry and either call the church office or Denise Norman at (815) 631-9506 to express your interest.
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.