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DECEMBER 2023

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ST. JOHN'S REPORTER

Introducing a new era of communication: St. John's digital newsletter.

Each month, you'll receive the latest updates from St. John's, right in your inbox. This new format will allow us to communicate and share information with one another in a more efficient fashion.

Pastor John Albers, Rev. John M. Albers

Ministry With God’s People

By Pastor John Albers

Eager Anticipation

Eager Anticipation
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God." Romans 8:19 (NRSV)

"He's coming!  He's coming!"  Our goddaughter had been waiting with her mom and brother at the side door of our church while Dad and I finished up a conversation. I don't remember what we were talking about, but her dad and I could get into some extended conversations about lots of things that could wait. The rest of the family was ready to go ... now Dad was too!

Waiting can take on plenty of forms, especially when we are speaking of waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

IMPATIENCE

Those who demand action are often impatient.  We could imagine that our God "owes" us. Christ's return has been delayed, or it appears that way. It has been more than two millennia since our Lord promised to return and, upon His return, bring retribution upon our enemies. The signs of our Lord's return include plenty of dire predictions and destruction, all of which we imagine will be visited by others.

FEAR AND DREAD

However, there are plenty of reasons to fear the coming of our Lord and dread his appearance. The prophet Isaiah says it well, "In our sins, we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?" Our righteous God SHOULD visit our iniquity with vengeance. We should be destroyed. As the prophet continued: even "our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment." (Isaiah 64:5-6)

EXPECTATION

But the image I believe fits best with our Lord's promised return: expectation of the joy that will be ours because of the salvation that is ours because of Christ's sacrifice. As a pregnant mother and her spouse eagerly anticipate the gift of a child ... as their families eagerly wait for the gift of a sibling or grandchild or niece (or nephew) or cousin ... so we eagerly await the salvation that will be revealed as our Lord returns.

This is the reason to not only be joyful of Christ's return ... and soon ... but also to prepare for it faithfully. "Be prepared," is Jesus' call and the call of the prophets. While it requires definitive action on our part, being prepared is less about the specifics of what we do to prepare and more about a way of life as we live prepared. Through faith in Christ, we have already been prepared to meet our Lord when he comes again. This one is not only our Lord, He is also our Savior. This one not only promised to destroy the unrighteous, but he has given to us His robe of righteousness to cover a myriad of sins, the sin that would otherwise separate us from God.

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 Advent

    December 2/3 – First Sunday in Advent
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Divine Service, Setting 3
    • 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 – Vespers
    • 8 am – Matins
    • 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 3
    • 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 – Prayer & Preaching
    • 10 am Divine Service, Setting 4

    Worship for the Season of Christmas

    December 24 – Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas Eve)
    • 4 pm & 9 pm – Service of Lessons and Carols
    December 25 – Christmas Day (Chapel)
    • 10 am – Divine Service
    December 30/31 – Eve of the Naming of Jesus
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Divine Service, Setting 1
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Communion

    Worship for the Season of Epiphany

    January 6 – The Epiphany of Our Lord
    • 6 pm – Divine Service, Setting 1
    January 7 – The Baptism of Our Lord
    • 8 am – Divine Service, Setting 1
    • 9:30 am - Connect Word and Communion
    January 13/14 – Second Sunday after the Epiphany
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Prayer and Preaching
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Communion
    January 20/21 – Third Sunday after the Epiphany
    • 6 pm – Divine Service, Setting 1
    • 10 am National Lutheran Schools Celebration (In the Gymnasium)
    January 27/28 – Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
    • 6 pm– Evening Prayer
    • 8 am – Morning Prayer
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Communion

    Looking Ahead to the Season of Lent

    February 11 - Transfiguration of Our Lord
    February 14 – Ash Wednesday
    February 18 - First Sunday in Lent

    Special Events in our Calendar

    Advent and Christmas Worship

    Advent and Christmas Worship
    Be sure to make worship together a priority this Advent and Christmas!

    As the new year begins, the calendar begins to fill up with special worship services. The Time of Christmas is, of course, focused on the preparation for and celebration of the Nativity … the birth … of Our Lord.

    ADVENT

    As before, we will mark the days of Advent with midweek services of Evening Prayer on Wednesday evenings beginning at 6:30 pm. While it was composed more than 25 years ago, the Holden Setting of Evening Prayer has become a favorite for the people of St. John’s.  Described as being very “singable,” even by non-musicians, this liturgy led from the piano is designed to encourage prayerful preparation and a quiet night’s sleep. 

    Services are on December 6, 13, and 20 in the church sanctuary. 

    CHRISTMAS

    As in previous years, the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord will begin with Services of Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve at 4:00 pm and then again at 9:00 pm.

    Sue Rosselli has recruited several musicians to help provide a “crescendo” for our celebration. Zach Kabacinski will be providing a trumpet descant for familiar hymns O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Joy to World.”  Esther Munos will be helping out with a flute descant for “The First Noel” and “Away in a Manger,” and Nevaeh Reynolds will help out with a solo rendition of O Holy Night” and the earlier service.

    The Festival Service for the Nativity of Our Lord on Christmas Day will be the first communion service in our recently renovated chapel. We will gather at 10 am on Christmas morning.

    There is one weekend after Christmas this year on December 30/31. Rev. Joseph Cunningham will once again be a guest preacher for all three services that weekend.

    We Prayed All Afternoon

    We Prayed All Afternoon
    It had been many years, but when news began to spread about an infant from St. John’s at Riley Hospital for Children, Pastor Albers remembered a Prayer Vigil offered for a church member by a congregation he then served. 

    When Thanksgiving came and went and the news from Indy was not great, he decided to host a six-hour prayer vigil for this infant and his family in our chapel on the afternoon of November 29.

    Over the past months the WOW Study group has been increasing its prayer ministry and others from St. John’s have been building an email prayer chain – so Pastor asked for help to host the vigil. Beginning at noon on November 29, individuals from St. John’s gathered to pray for the infant child. 

    There was a more “structured” time for prayer at the beginning of each half-hour. Each time a different detail was the subject of prayer: hospitals, doctors, caregivers, parents and family, patience in times of trial, and others. Then, at 6 pm, members of the WOW group and others from St. John’s were joined by many members of the infant's family for a closing prayer service.

    While at some points along the way, there were only one or two others who joined him in prayer, Pastor Albers was thrilled that so many made it a point to stop by and join the vigil, if only for a few minutes. Several SJLS teachers brought their class to join in prayer.

    At the time of this posting, the infant child has shown incredible progress towards recovery. And those engaged in the vigil were thankful for the opportunity. Mom was absolutely thrilled, indicating that she mostly picked up where we had left off, spending a good part of that night in prayer. 

    Church Updates

    New “Sounds” at Connect

    If you haven't been to the Connect service this past month, you've missed the most recent developments in our music ministry. The group is still working out the "bugs," but so far the response has been very positive, especially if we can begin to recruit more and more folks to join the team.
    New “Sounds” at Connect

    It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like …

    It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like …
    From Advent wreaths to Poinsettias, St. John's is gearing up for the holidays! We will gather on Saturday, December 9, starting at 9 am.

    Renovated Chapel Get’s Lots of Use

    Plan now to join worship in the chapel on Monday, December 25, for the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, at 10 am.
    Chapel worship

    Ministry Opportunities!

    New Weekend Worship Schedule
    Ministry opportunities at St. John’s. Take a look at how you can be engaged:

    Portals of Prayer Home Delivery

    The Portals of Prayer has been a mainstay of daily devotions for generations of God's people! Help us extend this ministry.
    Portals of Prayer Logo

    Projects

    Continued Progress in Chapel Renovations

    Progress is still moving forward on renovations to our chapel. 
    Continued Progress in Chapel Renovations

    New Emergency Preparedness Equipment

    New Emergency Preparedness Equipment
    On November 3, Mrs. Berndt and our Director of Student Success, Dr. Tammy Lipscomb, attended the fall 2023 AED Celebration at the HFL’s Conference and Learning Center, receiving SEVEN new AEDs for St. Johns.

    Bible Studies

    Study Opportunities Continue

    Study Opportunities Continue
    Be sure to make note of the several opportunities at St. Johns for ongoing study

    Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study

    Meets each Sunday at 10:45 am Pastor Albers leads a study on a book of the Bible or a series of readings.

    Women of the Word

    Wednesdays at 6:00 pm. A lay person leads a topical study making use of a book or video series. Begins with a time of prayer and includes sending cards to those in need of prayer.

    Men’s Bible Study

    Usually meets on the 2nd Saturday at 8:00 am in the chapel. An elder or other lay leader leads a book study or topical bible study with video or other study materials.
    Mark Jerndt

    Growing in Christ:

    Devotions to Strengthen Your Life with God

    By Mark Jerndt

    He Guides Me

    He Guides Me
    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

    From the Desk of Principal Berndt

    December is here! And with it the Time of Christmas. The students and staff are getting excited about all of the special events that are planned for the next several weeks.
    From the Desk of Principal Berndt

    Children's Christmas Service

    Children's Christmas Service
    Service of Lessons and Carols on December 11 features student musicians and ensembles.

    Security Upgrades Expand Again

    The Secured School Safety Grant (SSSG) program through the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) is making an impact on our school and the security of our children.
    Security Upgrades Expand Again

    Chapel Remains a Critical Part of our School Ministry

    First Chapel of the Winter Term
    Consider joining us for chapel each Wednesday morning at 8:10am (whenever school is in session).

    Operation Christmas Child Outreach

    On Friday, November 17th, Mrs. Foglesong’s First Grade students and parents packed shoe boxes with items that were donated. 
    Operation Christmas Child Outreach

    Digital Planetarium Visits St. John’s

    Digital Planetarium Visits St. John’s
    The students were in awe of what they experienced, seeing a part of God's creation that is not normally viewed up close.

    SGO GIFTS DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT

    Consider a gift to the St. John's Scholarship Fund at the Lutheran SGO of Indiana. Support our school ministry while receiving one of the most generous tax credits offered by the State of Indiana.
    SGO GIFTS DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT

    Our School's Calendar

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

    Important Dates

    December 11: Christmas Service Program at 5:30 p.m. in the Church
    December 15: Christmas Craft Day
    December 21: Last Student Day before Christmas
    December 22- January 7: Christmas Break
    January 8: Classes Resumes

    The School Office will be closed from December 22nd to January 8th for Christmas break. This closure time allows our staff to spend time with their families. If you have an emergency or would like to leave a message, please contact the school office at 219-362-6692.

    Looking ahead

    January 12 - Second Quarter Grading Period Ends
    January 15 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
    No School for Students/Teacher Professional Development Day
    January 17 - Muffins with Moms at 7:15 a.m.
    Second Quarter Report Cards Sent Home
    January 21-26 - National Lutheran Schools Week
    January 22 - NEST Meeting at 4 p.m.

    Student Stories

    Student Council Update

    Student Council Update
    “Service learning” has become a critical part of preparing students for their life in the world.

    Under the guidance of one of our teachers, students select projects and plan fundraisers. Each is designed to engage the students directly, in raising funds and serving others.

    For example, during a recent meeting, the members voted that Riley Hospital for Children would receive Chapel offerings in the 4th quarter.

    St. John’s Lutheran School will also be “Ringing the Bell” on behalf of the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.  Come see the students on Wednesday, December 6, from 4 to 6 pm at the Walmart Store in LaPorte.  

    History of the Red Kettle                                                                           


    In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry. During the holiday season, he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. He only had one major hurdle to overcome -- funding the project.

    Where would the money come from, he wondered. He lay awake at night, worrying, thinking, and praying about how he could find the funds to fulfill his commitment to feeding 1,000 of the city's poorest individuals on Christmas Day. As he pondered the issue, his thoughts drifted back to his sailor days in Liverpool, England. He remembered how at Stage Landing, where the boats came in, there was a large, iron kettle called "Simpson's Pot" into which passers-by tossed a coin or two to help the poor.

    The next day Captain McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street. Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, "Keep the Pot Boiling." He soon had the money to see that the needy people were properly fed at Christmas. 

    Basketball season begins at St. John’s

    Basketball season begins at St. John’s
    Basketball season began on Monday, December 4, with FOUR Eagle teams beginning practices!  We also welcome five new coaches.  Basketball ball coaches for the 2023-24 season are Mr. Matt Hagenow, Mr. Jacob Zoll, Mr. Ron and Mrs. Mary Jo Maynard, and Mr. Chas Grott.  Plans are underway for creating game schedules and tournaments and printed schedules will be available soon. 

    Our 6-8th Grade Boys Basketball team (10 players) needs a coach. If you are interested in volunteering to coach please contact Julie Stelter, the Athletic Director, via phone (219-362-6692 ext. 128) or email (julie.stelter@stjohns-laporte.com). Games will start in January after Christmas break. 

    Veteran’s Day

    Veteran’s Day
    La Porte County residents gathered Friday, November 10, 2023, to thank, honor and pay their respects to local veterans, and St. John’s Elementary School was proud to be included.

    St. John’s 5th-8th grade students attended the 36th annual Veterans Day Ceremony.

    The guest speaker for La Porte’s 36th annual Veterans Day Ceremony, Chief Warrant Officer 5 George Edward Lawson, an Iraq veteran, told those gathered at the Civic Auditorium it was an honor to represent them.

    Mr. Lawson is a La Porte native, and attended Kingsford Heights Elementary School.

    One 7th grader mentioned, “Two things I enjoyed about the day are when Veterans and families of Veterans stood when they heard the song that went with their military branch.”

    Another comment came from a St. John’s employee. “The most memorable part for me is when Chief Warrant Officer 5 George Edward Lawson mentioned the Vietnam War. Mr. Lawson stated that the men and women coming home from that war were not treated with the respect they deserved. He asked for those Veterans and families of Vietnam Veterans to stand and be recognized. My dad served in Vietnam.”

    St. John's Eagles were honored to be a part of the Veteran’s Day Program.

    N.E.S.T. News

    NEST News

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

    Christmas Craft Day

    Christmas Craft is back again this year on Friday, December 15th. This is a popular and fun Christmas activity for our students to make crafts for their families. Two NEST (Nurturing Eagle Support Team) members, Amy King and Sara Maas are coordinating the event this year.  

    If you would like to volunteer to help at this event, please contact Amy King (kingamy219@yahoo.com, (574) 360-8718) no later than December 10th to make arrangements to do so. 

    Our showcase will soon be filled with craft samples for our students to choose from.  Students are getting very excited about participating in Christmas Craft Day.  

    Muffins with Moms

    St. John’s Lutheran Church and School understands just how important mothers are, not only to us but even to our community. Mothers wear many titles in their lifetime such as doctor, teacher, lawyer, bank, and chef…to name a few. As proof of the value of moms, America made a special day just for them; Mother’s Day. Each year, St. John’s adds to this and honors our mothers by hosting “Muffins with Moms” in the school cafeteria in January. This will take place on January 17, 2024, from 7:15 am-7:55 am. Moms will have the opportunity to come in, enjoy some refreshments, and see their students' classrooms. Mothers will then be invited to join us in the church for chapel at 7:55 am. If you are interested in serving the refreshments for this event, please contact the school office at 219.362.6692. If you are a mother of a St. John’s Eagle student, you may not sign up to serve but must come and be served.
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