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JANUARY 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

Plans and Opportunities

An anniversary provides a wonderful opportunity for reflection, as well as an opportunity to set out on a new direction.

Here’s what I have learned so far this year at St. John’s:
  • Everyone wants to build a better and stronger future for St. John’s.
  • Current projects at church and school are encouraging and helpful.
  • St. John’s folks are generally busy folks!  Work, family, school, recreation & church balance is a near-universal issue!
Put as simply as possible, here are our challenges as I see it:

We must look forward.

While St. John’s may have a glorious past filled with lots of joyful memories, our future is … well … in the future!  When making an observation of what we used to do, please be ready to make a suggestion for the future and why it is the BEST way forward! 

We must focus outward.

A focus on those who are not yet a part of our congregation or school ministry will likely help us better serve those who are already a part of our fellowship.  

We must serve others.

Our Lord’s commands rarely, if ever, include a reminder to “take care of number 1!” While self-care is critical, our Lord directs us to serve our neighbor (including family members, friends, co-workers, etc.). Our ministry at St. John’s must always seek to serve others.

The good news is that these challenges are more and more becoming our daily priorities. Leaders are talking more and more about tomorrow.  Individuals are talking more and more about reaching those who are not in worship regularly. Plans to reach families who are not yet a part of our school are underway. Opportunities to serve others abound and plenty are responding.

What do you think about ministry with God’s people? What should be my priorities as pastor in the coming months? What future direction do you imagine for the ministries we share? Let’s chat soon!  Stop by the office sometime … if the door is open and the light is on, I am available (for at least a few minutes). Better yet, let’s schedule some time over a cup of coffee or other beverage … early mornings are great, but late afternoons and early evenings are also usually available.

Peace and joy,

PJA

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 Epiphany

January 14/15 – Second Sunday after Epiphany
  • 6pm – Divine Service, Setting 1
  • 8am – Divine Service, Now the Feast
  • 9:30am – Connect Word and Communion
January 21/22 – Third Sunday after Epiphany
January 28/29 – Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
  • 6pm – Divine Service, Setting 1
  • 8am – Divine Service, Now the Feast
  • 9:30am – Connect Word and Communion
February 4/5 – Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
  • 6pm – Divine Service, Setting 1
  • 8am – Divine Service, Now the Feast
  • 9:30am – Connect Word and Song
February 11/12 – Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
  • 6pm – Evening Prayer
  • 8am – Morning Prayer
  • 9:30am – Connect Word and Communion
February 18/19 – Transfiguration of Our Lord
  • 6pm – Divine Service, Setting 1
  • 8am – Divine Service, Now the Feast
  • 9:30am – Connect Word and Communion
February 21 – Shrove Tuesday

Looking ahead to Lent

  • February 22, 10am & 6:30pm, Divine Service with Imposition of Ashes
  • Wednesdays in March, 6:30pm, Evening Prayer (Holden)

Church Updates

Join the Livestream Production Team

Join the Livestream Production Team
St. John’s relies on numerous volunteers to make possible our use of technology to assist with our worship services. Over the past year our technology has improved and our internet connections have become more reliable. The team is small … but mighty … and, we pray, growing in size!

The best way to get involved is to volunteer as a Production Assistant for one of our Team Leaders on a Sunday morning. The work to live stream our 8:00 am worship service is much better with a two-person team. And as the assistant, you can get some “on-the-job” training. There is no bulletin for the Connect service at 9:30am on Sundays, so having an assistant to help click through the numerous slides is even more important.

Currently, helpers range in age from 10 to 60. Some help nearly every week, while others step in “in a pinch” or so the other technician can get to communion. If the Pastor and church office have prepared well (without any mistakes), the task can be as simple as clicking on an arrow as the service progresses.

Speak to Pastor Albers, Dionne Lovstad-Jones or Debra Albers to get more information.  Or call Jennifer in the church office: 219-362-3726.

School Board Plans for Success

School Board Plans for Success
The School Board has been meeting to update and revise the St. John’s Lutheran School Board Strategic Plan.

The school board is setting goals, objectives, and outcomes for the improvement and progression of the school.

Pastor Albers and Linda Satkoski have been leading the group through an effort to set some rather lofty goals including most especially in how we will become known more broadly in the community. The current draft of our goals identify six areas of work:
  • EXCELLENCE: Be well known as the premier educational choice for students in La Porte and surrounding communities.
  • IDENTITY: Strengthen our identity as a Lutheran Christian school with a unique capacity to serve a diverse community.
  • ORGANIZATION: Create a highly-effective organization that is continually increasing its capacity to serve.
  • FUNDING: Secure the financial resources required to support our school ministry into the future.
  • FACILITIES: Provide the infrastructure necessary to achieve excellent outcomes.
  • SAFETY: Create an environment where all children can learn without fear or limitation.
In the coming month, the board will work to identify some more specific outcomes and objectives which will guide the work of leaders, administration, faculty and staff in the coming triennium.

Snow Cancellation FYI

Snow Cancellation FYI
More than a few folks from St. John’s were confused when on Christmas Eve a local news station reported that “St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church” had canceled services!  Turns out that it was another St. John’s located in SW Michigan.

Usually, we will NOT cancel services, save a declared emergency by state or local officials. Pastor Albers travels city streets and state highways, most of which are kept very clear (as compared to some less-traveled county roads). He has also received numerous invitations to “camp out” on a Saturday evening so as to avoid several trips down Highway 2 in the middle of a snow storm. HOWEVER, please make personal decisions that keep you safe and warm. We usually live stream our 8am services, so many can join us online if it is too treacherous to venture out.

We do make use of the local service provided by WNDU, which you can check here.  However, there are at least eight (8) Lutheran Churches that use the name “St. John'' and are listed on this service. Be sure to look for: “St Johns Lutheran Church-LP'' or “St Johns Lutheran School La Porte.”

Ministry Opportunities!

Ministry Opportunities!
Ministry opportunities at St. John’s. Take a look at how you can be engaged:

Altar Guild

A team of volunteers work individually and as a team to prepare the sanctuary for worship. Newcomers work with those who have served for many years.

Ushers

Individuals are needed for each worship service and tasks vary from gathering offerings to ringing the bells to helping guide worshippers to communion.

Thrift Shop

The Thrift Shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Call Mary Jo Uebele, (317) 650-6771 or Linda Peters, (219) 393-3496.  Newcomers are trained by a more experienced staff person.

Livestream Production Team

Some technology is used at each of our church services, both in the Sanctuary and School Cafeteria. New workers are mentored by experienced ones. If you would like to get your name on the schedule or get more information, call Debra Albers, (219) 241-9763.

NEST

Jill Blair, one of our school parents and school board members, is leading our Nurturing Eagle Support Team (N.E.S.T.) and could use additional assistance from anyone with St. John’s connections (church or school). Give the school office a call, (219) 362-6692.

Projects

Project Welcome Update

Project Welcome Update

The new family restroom in the narthex is open and ready for use!

After the plumber completed work in November, church volunteers got to work on creating a restroom in place of the alcove off the narthex and improving the other.
  • A door was “appropriated” from the banner room and relocated to the narthex.
  • New ceiling and lighting helped complete work in the restroom and brought new light to the coat room.
  • Temporary floor covering and trim made installing plumbing fixtures possible.
  • A new sink in the Ladies’ Restroom and a new utility sink in the basement improves existing spaces.
  • A new Digital Sign helps improve communication as worshippers enter through the portico entrance.
  • New floor tile has been installed in the basement hallway and areas impacted by work for the sewer connections.
The same crew of volunteers helped clean and prep the narthex floor in advance of Christmas Services.

Thanks to the Alexander family, a project in the works for a while comes to fruition as new coat racks and shelves replace the metal racks in the alcove.

Next up on the list of projects requiring attention:

  • New porcelain and ceramic wall tile in the narthex restroom.
  • A fresh coat of paint in the narthex and entryways.
  • And a final clean-up of the nursery and mother’s room in the basement.
On Saturday, January 21, plan to join the crew for a workday in both the church and school. Work will begin at 8:00 am and wrap up by 2:00 pm. Projects are planned for workers of every skill level and interest. Whether you have plenty of DIY skills or just like to clean up, there will be a project for you. 

Our new Vertical Platform Lift from Bruno should be installed by the first weekend in February and in the spring a new driveway and parking for those with limited mobility will help complete work to make our church more accessible.

Fundraising

Project Welcome projects are NOT included in the St. John’s General Fund budget and must be paid for by ADDITIONAL donations provided by members and friends. Last spring the Governing Board approved a budget for projects not to exceed $55,000.  So far projects have come in under budget!

Your additional contributions at the end of the year resulted in gifts of nearly $25,000, bringing the total raised to nearly $40,000. Your additional donations can help make sure we continue these important projects to create a more welcoming and helpful space for worshippers.

Technology Upgrades Continue

Technology Upgrades Continue

Congregational leaders have been undertaking lots of upgrades to our technology infrastructure over the past year. More technology upgrades will help us communicate and improve instruction for our students!

Digital Signage

By the time you read this, you may already have noticed two new digital signs at our church and school. These news signs will provide more up-to-date information for worshippers, students, and visitors. Because the information can be updated online and tied to the same slides we use for our worship services, the info should always be current. The sign at the school entrance can do double duty updating students and visitors daily, while also serving as a means to welcome worshippers to the Connect services on Sunday mornings.

More digital signs will be installed at other entrances. The only requirements are an electrical outlet and access to the internet. Take a look the next time you are on campus! 

Security and Internet Infrastructure

After months of waiting while moving existing wiring out of the way, a new raceway is being installed in the school hallway. This new raceway will not only help organize low-voltage cable, it will provide easy access when one of several systems requires some expansion or work. These include our computer network (including printers and WIFI access points), our new VOIP phone system, our new keyless entry system and fire alarm system.

Additionally, TechCentric Solutions has been retained as the vendor to install the new keyless entry system. The first step is the exterior doors, many of which will be outfitted with a keycard or pin pad for easy access. Each exterior door will get a sensor that will help monitor these points of entry, making sure they stay secure … especially during the school day.

VOIP Phone System

Over the last year or so, many have struggled to leave a voicemail that is actually received by the intended recipient. A new voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) phone system should be ready to install early in the spring, as soon as the new network wiring is completed. 

New Access Points

While many upgrades over the past year have tremendously improved our school’s internet capacity, several new access points should be installed in the coming six weeks making the conversion from the old (and limited) system to a new network. Several additional access points installed in the church building should make the migration to a single, campus-wide network complete!

Bible Studies

Join a study already underway!

Bible Study
There are currently three regularly-scheduled bible study opportunities at St. John’s:

Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study

Pastor Albers leads this study that meets each week on Sunday mornings at 10:45 am in the Ladies’ Lounge.  The group began a new series on Sunday, January 8, taking a look at the biblical “roots” of our worship as God’s people.  

Women of the Word

This group meets weekly on Wednesday evenings, 6:00 - 7:30 pm in the Ladies’ Lounge. The first order of business this month is to complete their study on the Three Wise Women (weather and other conflicts made things difficult in November and December) and then move to “She is Called: Women of the Bible” study series the remaining weeks of January.

Men’s Bible Study

This group meets monthly on the 2nd Saturday of the month at 8:00 am, in the lower level of the church building. Use one of the two “front” entrances, closest to the parking lots. Bring a cup of coffee and your bible. A different study topic each month. If you cannot make the study on Saturday, January 13, set aside Saturday, February 11, and plan to join the group. The study concludes by 9:30 am.
Mark Jerndt

Growing in Christ:

Devotions to Strengthen Your Life with God

By Mark Jerndt

Stoking the Fire

Stoking the Fire
Walther Henrichsen, while with the Wycliff Bible Translators, served in a jungle camp in 1961 and 1962.  They often went on survival hikes.  At night, they would build a big fire.  This fire would drive the wild animals deep into the jungle and away from them.  During the night, if the fire went unattended, the flame would grow lower and lower.  He said that the animals would become braver and that you could see pairs of eyes looking at you from the jungle.  This was an incentive to throw more logs on the fire.

Eagle Updates

Don’t miss this latest news from St. John’s School

Don’t miss this latest news from St. John’s School

elearning/ Professional Development Day

Our first day back to school was on Wednesday, January 4, 2023, but included an eLearning Day. The teachers and staff received some wonderful professional development including a presentation by Dr. Debra Farrar-Schneider of Behavioral Specialist of Indiana (BSI). As a result, our teachers and staff will be better able to complete Functional Behavioral Assessments as situations with students develop and better discern an appropriate response.

Student Council

St. John’s Student Council has been busy this fall.  The students voted and decided that they wanted to earn money so that they could put in a gaga pit for the entire school to use at recess or at gym times.  They started by having a coin war.  They earned  $259.25 over one week.  Additionally, the Student Council members decided upon a service project that they wanted to complete.  Each month they will be completing a new service project.  Members voted and decided to ring the Salvation Army Bell.  They rang the bell in front of Wal-Mart in LaPorte for November.  This month the Student Council will be presenting at a chapel service and will be making Christmas cards for the elderly living in nursing homes so that they receive a small handmade card and candy cane from the students.   

NEST Updates

Muffins with Moms

First Chapel of the Winter Term
Muffins with Moms was a great follow-up to Donuts with Dads last fall. The cafeteria was a buzz of activity prior to school. Nearly every student had a mom or approved "stand-in" ... a grandmother, an aunt, older sister, or, in some cases, moms "adopted" a student whose mom was not available.  Thanks to NEST leaders for organizing the morning.

Pastor Albers and Principal Berndt were able to share some important information about current and upcoming projects, including news that re-enrollment for the 23/24 School Year will officially "kick off" on National Lutheran Schools Week Sunday, January 22. About one-half of the moms joined the students for our first Chapel Service of the winter term.

Fun Fair

Fun Fair

ANNOUNCING THE RETURN OF ST. JOHN’S FUN FAIR!

This has been a beloved event for St. John’s Church & School, bringing families and friends together to share in the fun.  

Plan now to join us at the WESTERN ROUNDUP on Friday, February 17, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm in the school gymnasium (and other locations throughout the building) and bring your kids, grandkids, and friends, too. We will have games, prizes, a balloon artist, photo booth, face painting, a cake walk, food, snacks, and treats.  And…we are bringing back the prize baskets!  Watch in the bulletin after the first of the year on how you can buy tickets to win the themed baskets, including: Beach Theme, Gardening Theme, Movie Night, and Taste of LaPorte.  

There is a Christmas tree set up in the narthex with tags for items that we would love to have your support in donating.  All proceeds from this event will be utilized for developing a new playground for our school.
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111 Kingsbury Ave, La Porte, IN 46350
219.362.3726
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