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Pastor John Albers, Rev. John M. Albers

Ministry With God’s People

By Pastor John Albers

A Bit of a Mess

A Bit of a Mess
"Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20

I now admit openly what I shared with other congregational leaders nearly two years ago when I accepted the call to serve as pastor with the people of St. John’s.  “It’s going to get messy,” I shared regularly with staff and other congregational leaders.


Ministry, especially ministry with and for those who are in the most need, will get and stay “messy.” The projects around the church and school building are just a metaphor for the renovations underway in our congregational and personal “spirit.” I do hope that at least some of the following is true (I know it is for me.)
  • Looking to an even greater future. It’s great to reflect on the blessings God has provided St. John’s throughout its 165-year history. But it is my conviction that God has even GREATER THINGS in mind for our next 165 years. I claim it unashamedly: as a pastor, my focus is on our future, not “what we have done in the past.”
  • A reason to give even more … of yourself and of your resources.  I don’t talk a lot about money and overtly about financial stewardship. We don’t publish weekly giving records. Suffice it to say: we could use more … more money, more of your time, more of your skills, more of your participation in worship, study, and prayer. And I want St. John’s to be a place where folks WANT to provide even more.
  • A destination rather than a point of departure. Let’s face it, in the last several years St. John’s has not been a destination for families at Christmas and Easter. I want to make sure that when your family members visit, you are inspired to bring them to St. John’s on a Sunday morning (or Saturday evening).
  • More opportunities for ministry are obvious each and every day. We don’t have the capacity for all of it … we may require a few more partnerships like the one I hope we form with the Pax Center of La Porte.  But I do want to be a place that is looking to expand ministry, rather than find a way to “do the best we can.”

And, for that matter, the newcomers I pray we will welcome into our midst in the coming months and years will make things even messier! Newcomers have a way of challenging our assumptions and finding new ways to extend the kingdom of God. And while we all imagine that newcomers will want more than anything else to help do what we are already doing … my prayer is that they won’t. Most will be “just fine” with those who are currently providing leadership on boards and committees and the like. They will have their own ideas of what kind of ministry La Porte and the surrounding communities require.

Worship Calendar

Several event names will be linked to additional information available
by clicking on the name of the event.

    Worship for the Season of Pentecost (Autumn)

    November 4/5 – All Saints' Day (Observed)
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Divine Service, Setting 1
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Communion
    with Remembrance of the Faithful Departed at each service

    November 11/12 – Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Prayer and Preaching
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Communion
    November 18/19 – Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Divine Service, Setting 1
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Song
    November 22 - Thanksgiving Eve (Chapel)
    • 6:30 pm – Divine Service, Spoken
    November 25/26 – Christ the King (Last Sunday of the Church Year)
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Divine Service, Setting 1
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Communion

    Worship for the Season of Advent

    December 2/3 – First Sunday in Advent
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Divine Service, Setting 2
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Song
    December 6 – Advent Midweek
    • 6:30 pm – Evening Prayer (Holden)
    December 9/10 – Second Sunday in Advent
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Prayer and Preaching
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Communion
    December 13 – Advent Midweek
    • 6:30 pm – Evening Prayer (Holden)
    December 16/17 – Third Sunday in Advent
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Divine Service, Setting 2
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Song
    December 20 – Advent Midweek
    • 6:30 pm – Evening Prayer (Holden)
    December 23/24 – Fourth Sunday in Advent
    • 6 pm – Evening Prayer
    • 10 am Divine Service, Setting 2

    Worship for the Season of Christmas

    December 24 – Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas Eve)
    • 4 pm – Family Service
    • 9 pm Candlelight Service
    December 25 – Christmas Day (Chapel)
    • 10 am – Divine Service, Setting 2
    December 30/31 – Eve of the Naming of Jesus
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Divine Service, Setting 2
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Communion

    Looking Ahead to Epiphany and Lent

    January 6/7 – Epiphany/Baptism of Our Lord
    January 21 – National Lutheran Schools Week (Gymnasium at 10 am)
    February 11 - Transfiguration of Our Lord
    February 14 – Ash Wednesday
    February 18 - First Sunday in Lent

    Special Events in our Calendar

    Remembrance of the Faithful Departed

    A day to remember
    Be sure to be a part of this annual commemoration on Sunday, November 5

    Each year worship for All Saints’ Sunday includes the Remembrance of the Faithful Departed, naming most especially those from our congregational family who have died since the last All Saints’ Sunday (November 6, 2022). 

    Remembered, this All Saints’ Sunday will be nearly 20 persons from our congregational fellowship who have died since the last All Saints Day. Many received the ministry of the congregation and her pastors in their final days, others relied only on a gathering of family and friends. About the same number of other friends and family members will be remembered, including three young students from our communities who died in tragic accidents within the past month.

    All Saints’ Sunday this year is Sunday, November 5.  November 1st is the middle of three days of remembrance in the Christian calendar.  All Hallows Eve (celebrated as Reformation Day in the Lutheran Church) is on October 31. All Saints’ Day is a day to celebrate all of the saints of the church, including those who may not have a special day of remembrance. Actually, the Remembrance of the Faithful Departed is a tradition originally associated with All Souls’ Day, November 2.

    Church Updates

    Music Ministry Developments

    Music Ministry Developments

    New "Sounds" for music at the Connect Service

    In recent weeks congregational leaders have been working to “update” our sound at the Connect Service (Sundays @ 9:30 a.m.) and engage others through the power of music.

    The music at Connect has gone through many iterations over the years from singing along with videos to self-led songs that may or may not have hit the mark for a number of reasons. Most would agree that singing along to live musicians is ideal, and this has proven to be very successful at a number of other churches. That being said, contemporary Christian music can be more challenging to play and sing, especially when there is an expectation that the song sung in church sounds like the one sung by professionals on the radio (or at least doesn't butcher it).

    In an effort to enhance our music ministry, while maintaining the objective of using live musicians, we are employing the use of music tracks. The tracks help the musicians stay on track (pun intended) with clicks (like a metronome) and verbal cues (like having a conductor) through an earpiece, while also providing some background instruments/vocals, which we can control. The tracks also allow us to transpose a song up or down so it is more singable from the original version.

    This does require a bit of technology, but once we've worked through the kinks it could be great. That said, if we discover that it is just not a good fit for St. John's, then we can walk away, as this has primarily been an investment of time to date.


    So, here are the basics of how this works:
    • Tracks for a number of songs can be purchased by the church through Loop Community: (check it out!)
    • Tracks can be edited based on the needs of St. John's. For example, the song can be transposed to a different key, it can be sped up or slowed down, and certain measures/refrains can be removed (sometimes the refrains that we sing 5x in a row can be a bit much in the contemporary songs).
    • Those tracks can be combined into setlists for various services and shared with up to 20 team members/musicians.
    • The tracks are accessed by the team members through the Prime Multitrack app (available only for Apple devices), which allows musicians to view the music and practice on their own ahead of time.
    • The tracks are split into two outputs during the Connect service, with one going to the musicians including clicks/cues, and the other played through the speakers for the congregation to hear.
    • The musicians and track will play at the same time making a joyful noise to the Lord!
    Now that we've figured out the process, we are in the process of fine-tuning it and spreading the word. The more people involved, the better. We would love to get more musicians involved on a regular basis (guitars, drums, etc). If you want to be involved or know of people who might be, please let Tracy Fronk and Pastor Albers know.

    Trunk Or Treat 2023 Reprise

    Trunk Or Treat 2023 Reprise
    Another Successful Trunk or Treat is "in the record books!"

    For many years St. John’s has hosted a Trunk or Treat in our church parking lot, always on the last Friday of October. It’s seen considerable change and growth in the past several years, and we plan on even more in the future.

    One of our “trunkers” decided to distribute a toy rubber duck in place of candy, and since nearly every child received just one, we can say for certain that more than 350 “treaters” enjoyed the event.  And when you had parents, “trunkers,” and other volunteers, nearly 450 persons were a part of the event.


    Volunteers were key for the event: planners, food volunteers, candy “suppliers”, setup and tear down crew members all played a critical part in making the event even more successful than in the past.  A couple of observations:
    • The “Family and Friends” hour beginning at 5pm with the “public” event publicized as starting at 6pm was a great way to “stagger” treaters. Last year we were overwhelmed quickly at the 5pm start time.
    • While the parking lot was nearly filled with trunkers, there was room for others, so plan to set up and decorate a trunk next year.
    • Candy donations were incredibly helpful, ensuring that those who could not make a large investment in candy could still be a part of the event.
    • Food and drink were relatively simple and helpful. Volunteers cooked the hot dogs that other donors provided and bottles of water was a great choice.
    • Traffic control “specialists” are getting more and more “specialized” in their efforts resulting in a much safer effort each year.


    While only seeing modest success, the first food ingathering will supply some canned food and other non-perishable food items for the Pax Center in downtown La Porte.  If you would like to add to the “haul,” just drop off your food items in the hallway in front of the church office before Wednesday, November 8.

    SJLS Alumni Outreach Team

    Come Soar!

    Reaching Out To Former Eagles

    Pastor Albers needs your help to reach out to Eagles who long ago left the nest. Some still actively participate in the life and ministry of St. John's Lutheran Church while others have moved across the nation, still others live in the area but aren't active. 

    We are working to develop the Sunday that kicks off National Lutheran Schools Week (the third Sunday in January each year) as a bit of a "homecoming" Sunday for these former students.  We're getting started with the 8th grade graduating classes for 2014 (10 years ago), 1999 (25 years ago) and 1974 (50 years ago). We hope to build a much stronger data base of former students in the coming months and years, connecting with folks who may want to be connected to our ministry again.

    What we need is one (or more) volunteer to help organize names of graduates and begin also building contact information, along with married names and spouses. We have old yearbooks, attendance books, and other memorabilia that should help us build our alumni database.  Now all we need are a few folks to help us out along the way!

    Contact Jennifer or Pastor in the church office and help us get to work reaching out to those who have, in the past, made St. John's their home (turns out many still do)!


    Chapel "Pieces" In Their Place

    Workers gathered on Monday, October 23, to unload new chairs for the chapel. The Altar Platform is getting work off-site and new seminar tables are getting ordered.
    Chapel "Pieces" In Their Place

    Big Church Clean-up

    Big Church Clean-up
    Nearly two dozen workers made quick work of cleaning projects on Saturday, October 21.

    Bible Studies

    Weekly Study Opportunities

    Weekly Study Opportunities
    After a brief summer "hiatus," bible study opportunities at St. John’s return in the coming weeks

    Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study

    Pastor Albers is wrapping up his study of St. Paul's letter to the Philippians on November 5.  A new study is set to begin when he returns on Sunday, November 19.

    Women of the Word

    Women of the Word are learning how to read the Bible?  Actually, yes, a video series from The Bible Project, "How to Read the Bible" will form a fabulous foundation for conversation and study each Wednesday at 6pm.

    Men’s Bible Study

    The Prodigal God is the topic for the Men’s Bible Study this fall. The next gathering is at 8 a.m. Saturday, November 11, in the CHAPEL. The subtitle is “Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith;” based on the book by Timothy Keller. It will be a challenging--and fascinating--study based on the parable of the prodigal son. So, men, bring your coffee and join us. (Here’s your homework: look up the definition of a "prodigal.")
    Mark Jerndt

    Growing in Christ:

    Devotions to Strengthen Your Life with God

    By Mark Jerndt

    He Restores My Soul

    He Restores My Soul
    We can rest and relax knowing that God is taking care of us... We, like sheep, need a Shepherd to guide us to safety and provisions for our lives.

    Eagle Updates

    Operation Christmas Child

    Mrs. Foglesong and the 1st-grade students will kick off OCC at a school assembly on November 3rd at 1:30 p.m. in the gym. Since 1993 more than 200 million OCC shoebox gifts have been delivered to children throughout the world.
    Operation Christmas Child

    Don't Miss This Latest News from St. John's School

    Don't Miss This Latest News from St. John's School
    We really do rely on your ongoing support and communication.  Together we are a team for the success of all our school children!

    Planetarium Visits St. John’s

    A Digitarium Planetarium System will be coming to St. John’s on November 21st. A planetarium helps students grasp abstract astronomical concepts and can spark enjoyment and interest in science.
    Come Soar!

    Save the Date for National Lutheran Schools Week

    Save the Date for National Lutheran Schools Week
    NLSW Service on January 21, 2024, at 10:00 a.m.  All our students, Preschool - 8th grade will be singing for the service.

    College GO! Week

    Staff, teachers, and students were all involved during College Go Week!
    College GO! Week

    Join us for chapel this week!

    First Chapel of the Winter Term
    Consider joining us for chapel on Wednesday mornings!

    Sinai Forum at Purdue Northwest

    “Relationships are the agents of change and the most powerful therapy is human love.” -Dr. Bruce Perry
    Dr. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., was the speaker for the Sinai Forum at Purdue Northwest (PNW). 
    Dr. Perry is a brain development and trauma expert.
    Sinai Forum at Purdue Northwest

    Our School's Calendar

    Some events may be linked to additional information available
    by clicking on the event.

    Important Dates

    November 3: Operation Christmas Child Kick-Off at 1:30 p.m. in the gym
    November 5: Daylight Savings Ends
    November 8: Donuts with Dads starts at 7:15 a.m. in the cafeteria
    November 13-17: Operation Christmas Child Collection Week
    November 22-24 - Thanksgiving Break
    November 29: Mid-term reports sent home
    December 1: Family Movie Night in the gym at 6:00 p.m.

    Looking ahead

    December 11 - Children's Christmas Program (in the sanctuary)
    December 15 - Christmas Craft Day
    December 21-January 3 - Christmas Break

    Student Stories

    Eagles Take Flight

    Eagles Take Flight

    New Student Mentoring Program

    Part of ensuring a student’s success at school is improving each child’s mental health. Dr. Lipscomb, Director of Student Success, states that one way to do this is for students to have a mentor and that SJLS would benefit from a formal mentoring program. 

    Since this will be new to SJLS, it’s important to Dr. Lipscomb that the process of gaining mentors, as well as matching students with mentors, is not rushed. Going slow helps ensure that the student’s needs are thoroughly met and protected, as well as the mission of SJLS is maintained.

    After much brainstorming, the name “Eagles Take Flight” seems to fit well for this new program.

    Student Council Update

    Student Council Update
    The Student Council will be initiating Red Ribbon Awareness Week on Monday, October 30th - Friday, November 3rd.  The Student Council has designated different themed dress up days for students and staff and there will be door decorations emphasizing “Staying Drug Free”.

    St. John’s Student Council has been busy this fall.   Members voted and decided to ring the Salvation Army Bell.  They will be ringing the bell at Wal-Mart in LaPorte on December 6th from 4pm to 6pm.  The members also voted on an organization to give the quarter 4 Chapel offering to and they landed on Riley Children’s Hospital.  

    Mrs. Skalka helps coordinate the work of these student leaders. Class representatives are elected by their classmates each fall and officers will be elected by the Student Council themselves soon.

    The current St. John’s student council representatives from 5th through 8th grade for the 2023-24 school year are: Rubi, Hunter, Ellie, Maisie, Parker, Sophiana, Lillian, Lydia, Aurora , Ben, Xander, Kenneth, Benjamin, Nolan, Leah, and Elaine.

    Ms. Campbell’s Morning Announcement Challenge

    Ms. Campbell’s Morning Announcement Challenge

    Student Bible Verse Memorization Expands with New Program

    Ms. Katie Campbell is our administrative assistant in the school office! She is in charge of typing up the morning announcements for the students to read over the intercom. On October 9th, Ms. Campbell started her Bible memory verse challenge. 

    Every Monday she puts a new Bible verse on the morning announcements and sends an email to parents. The students who want to participate practice memorizing the scripture all week. Then, on Fridays, students can come to the office throughout the day to recite the verse by heart. If they memorize the verse, they get to choose from the small prize bin! 

    Lots of students participated in the first week with John 3:16 and were excited to recite the scripture!  Join the students in the challenge and see how you do in the next several weeks!

    October 30: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2

    November 6: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

    November 13:  "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

    November 20:  "To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12

    November 27:  "Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Mathew 25:34

    N.E.S.T. News

    NEST News

    N.E.S.T. (Nurturing Eagles Support Team) Update ...

    Christmas Craft is back again this year on Friday, December 15th. This is a popular fun Christmas activity for our students to make crafts for their family members.  If you are interested in “hosting” a craft station for students, please contact one of our two NEST (Nurturing Eagle Support Team) coordinators for the event: Amy King or Sara Maas.  Amy’s email is:  Call the school office to get her phone number.  Anyone who is interested in helping with the event will need to contact the school office to have a background check completed. 

    Once you pick a craft out for the children to do, a sample of the craft will need to be turned in to the school office for us to put in the "showcase."  Once our showcase is filled with craft samples, our students really begin to get excited about participating in Christmas Craft Day.  Crafts need to be very simple, as students grades Preschool - 8th grade will be choosing from these.  We ask that the Christmas Craft “host” have enough materials and supplies for approximately 80 students to complete the craft.  

    There are other opportunities to help out if you are not able to “host” a craft.  We like to provide our adult helpers a lunch for volunteering their time.  Maybe you would like to provide a potluck food entree for our craft “hosts’.  We are also looking for additional volunteers to help run the cash register or assist students, especially younger ones, in creating the crafts.  Some hosts may also need a donation of supplies, so even if you cannot help that day be in touch with Amy to see what kind of supplies will be helpful to have on hand.

    Our next NEST meeting will be Monday, November 20th at 4 pm in the Lady Lounge.
    NEST News
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