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FEBRUARY 2024

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ST. JOHN'S REPORTER

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Pastor John Albers, Rev. John M. Albers

Ministry With God’s People

By Pastor John Albers

Praying WITH the Psalms

Praying WITH the Psalms
WITH GOD’S PEOPLE

In December 2021, I began my ministry with the people of St. John’s by changing the usual preposition used to describe a pastor’s ministry. It is often “at” or even “for,” as in, “I pastor at St. John’s.” The shift was intentional. 

There is no question I am a strong leader, or at least I hope to be. One St. John’s leader has even referred to me as a “bull in a china shop,” and she continued, “which is exactly what we needed.” My hope is, rather, that “WE” are a bull in a china shop, We are going to change the paradigm for congregational ministry TOGETHER.

WITH THE PSALMS

While I’m still working out the details, our worship this Lent will be focused on Praying WITH the Psalms. I’m finalizing the Psalms for each Wednesday evening service, but the goal is that we not only sing the Psalms or even just “think” about them.  Rather, my goal is that we PRAY the Psalms, and actually pray WITH the Psalms.

The difference, I pray, will be found in a deeper appreciation for what each of the psalms can do TO us.  For example:

  • “Taste and see that the Lord is Good!”  Psalm 34  God’s goodness is designed to transform the way we live today. Knowing that we can trust God’s goodness brings all sorts of confidence for living.
  • “The Lord is the stronghold of my life.” Psalm 27  We build on the solid foundation of God’s strength rather than relying on our own.
  • “My help comes from … the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121  God is from everlasting. Even as our lives are filled with change, God does not change.
TRANSFORMATION

A fundamental proposition for God’s people in Christ is that we do not work to make God over in our image. Rather, God and God’s word change US. As we pray with the Psalms this Lent the constant theme and call is to consider how, because of this word from God, we are changed.

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

    February 10/11 – The Transfiguration of Our Lord
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Divine Service, Setting 1
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Communion

    Worship for the Season of Lent

    February 14 – Ash Wednesday
    • 10 am – Divine Service with Imposition of Ashes
    • 6:30 pm Divine Service with Imposition of Ashes
    February 17/18 – First Sunday in Lent
    • 6 pm – Divine Service, Setting 1
    • 8 am – Now the Feast Setting
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Song
    February 21 – Midweek Lenten Service
    • 6:30 pm – Evening Prayer (Holden Setting)
    February 24/25 – Second Sunday in Lent
    • 6 pm – Evening Prayer (LSB Setting)
    • 8 am – Morning Prayer (LSB Setting)
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Communion
    February 28 – Midweek Lenten Service
    • 6:30 pm – Evening Prayer (Holden Setting)
    March 2/3 – Third Sunday in Lent
    • 6 pm – Divine Service, Setting 1
    • 8 am – Now the Feast Setting
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Song
    March 6 – Midweek Lenten Service
    • 6:30 pm – Evening Prayer (Holden Setting)
    March 9/10 – Fourth Sunday in Lent
    • 6 pm & 8 am – Prayer and Preaching
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Communion
    March 13 – Midweek Lenten Service
    • 6:30 pm – Evening Prayer (Holden Setting)
    March 16/17 – Fifth Sunday in Lent
    • 6 pm – Divine Service, Setting 1
    • 8 am – Now the Feast Setting
    • 9:30 am Connect Word and Song
    March 20 – Midweek Lenten Service
    • 6:30 pm – Evening Prayer (Holden Setting)

    Looking Ahead to Holy Week

    March 23/24 - Palm Sunday - 6 pm, 8 am, 9:30 am
    March 28 – Maundy Thursday - 10 am, 6:30 pm
    March 29 - Good Friday - 12 pm, 6:30 pm
    March 31 - Easter Sunday - 6:30 am, 10 am

    Special Events in our Calendar

    Ash Wednesday 2024

    Ash Wednesday 2024
    Ash Wednesday starts the season of Lent, a spiritual journey for the entire congregation on our way to affirming our individual Baptism into Christ at the feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord. 


    WHY A CROSS OF ASHES?

    On this first day of Lent, the people of God receive an ashen cross on the forehead (a gesture rooted in baptism). It is a symbol that recognizes the primary paradox which defines our living: the grace of God which cleanses the sin that would otherwise hold us captive. The ash is a reminder of the judgment on sin: “The wages of sin is death.” The cross is a reminder of that which brings life: “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

    ABSOLUTION DELAYED?

    Our extended confession of sin near the beginning of the liturgy of Ash Wednesday ends with an “assurance” of forgiveness rather than a clear “absolution.” A clear statement of forgiveness will also be noticeably absent in the services during the season of Lent which usually begins with a “confession and absolution” (services which include the celebration of Holy Communion). 

    This is a part of our Lenten discipline, designed to highlight the “companion” liturgy on the evening of Maundy Thursday. In the same way that the Imposition of Ashes is done individually, the absolution during the Reconciliation of the Penitents on that evening is also done individually as worshippers come forward to receive absolution and laying on of hands by the pastor.

    If during the days of Lent, you are particularly troubled by your sin, Pastor Albers is available by appointment for individual confession and absolution.

    FAREWELL TO ALLELUIAS

    Ash Wednesday also begins a time where we intentionally set aside our “Alleluias,” recognizing that it is our sin that condemns our Savior. This also is designed to dramatically highlight our joy on the day of the Resurrection of Our Lord. This year Easter is on Sunday, March 31. 

    Lent 2024 Begins!

    Lent 2024 Theme
    In the middle of February, as the Time of Christmas comes to an end, the Time of Easter begins. The Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord (Easter Sunday) is in the middle of this time, with the season of Lent serving to prepare our spirits for the celebration of Easter. 


    40 DAYS, NOT COUNTING SUNDAYS

    Church historians generally agree that a penitential season designed to prepare God’s people for the celebration of Easter is as old as the Council of Nicea (325 AD). It became also a time of preparing the catechumens (new converts) for baptism at Easter.  Keeping a “fast” became a common practice, especially for these converts, but soon became popular for all Christians. While the length of the time (40 days) varied from place to place, the fast itself was rather strict, one meal per day, and not until after 3 pm, and no meat, fish, or dairy.

    The time was formalized in the late 6th century: 40 days, not counting Sundays, beginning on a Wednesday and including an imposition of ashes to mark the beginning of the time. Sundays were each considered to be “a little Easter.” Often the fast was broken on these Sundays, although other penitential practices continued until the actual celebration of Easter.

    The first Christians moved their weekly gathering for worship from what had been the common practice among the Hebrew people, on Friday evenings to mark the beginning of the Sabbath. Christians, on the other hand, decided that since they gathered to celebrate the resurrection, the most appropriate time for worship was in the morning of the first day of the week, Sunday.

    FASTING, PRAYER, and WORKS OF LOVE

    For generations, God’s people have focused on three things for the Season of Lent:
    • FASTING: Use this season as an opportunity to moderate your input and use that change in your habit to remind you of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
    • PRAYER: Join us Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm for a more intentional time of prayer. 
    • WORKS OF LOVE: Take on an additional service opportunity during these days. Help a neighbor prepare for spring or check in on someone who lives in an Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing facility. 
    BE AN EVANGELIST

    The additional Evening Prayer services during Lent and, then, the services and events of Holy Week at the end of March provide ideal opportunities to invite a friend to join you in worship. 

    Church Updates

    Ministry Opportunities!

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

    In Memoriam

    In Memoriam
    Our new chapel doors are being provided by their children in memory Carl and Dorothy Moellman who loved their family dearly and did their best to teach life’s lessons with God at the center.

    Projects

    Chancel Upgrade Delayed Due to Extreme Weather

    The volunteers completing most of the work to renovate the narthex and chapel were planning to begin work on another transformational project but were then delayed by weather.
    Chancel Upgrade Delayed Due to Extreme Weather

    Stained Glass for New Chapel Doors

    Stained Glass for New Chapel Doors
    As church workers designed new tri-fold doors for the chapel, they immediately wanted to include some windows, helping to bring just a little light into the space even when the doors are closed. But they wanted them to “fit” with the design of other windows in the building.

    Preschool Play Area UPDATE!

    Help us provide for the future of our youngest students! Our Plan: Relocate and improve the play area designed for our youngest students (preschool through kindergarten).
    Preschool Play Area UPDATE!

    Bible Studies

    Two Studies Relocate to the Newly-Renovated Chapel

    Two Studies Relocate to the Newly-Renovated Chapel
    Now that workers have completed the expansion of both our computer network and various components, two of the three regular Bible studies have relocated to our newly renovated chapel.


    The most critical of these components is a large-screen (75”) television, providing an easy means to share a video or other presentation with a group. Just as critical is the expansion of the computer network in the church building, including a new access point (AP) for the chapel.

    (NOTE: These APs are ones that were “leftover” when new APs were installed in the school building. They do not make use of the same WIFI network as the rest of campus and the signal is much less reliable. Pastor Albers has asked Qubit Networks to provide a quote for services to eventually install FOUR new APs in the church building providing a “seamless” experience for those who need to access the internet while at the church building. This will include access to our “Guest” network.)

    The Women of the Word (WOW) which meets weekly on Wednesday evenings at 6 pm has been meeting in the chapel and plans to do so in the future. The men’s Saturday morning study which meets monthly at 8 am on the 2nd Saturday of the month also plans to continue meeting in the chapel. Enter the church building through the far southwest door (near the vestry).
    Mark Jerndt

    Growing in Christ:

    Devotions to Strengthen Your Life with God

    By Mark Jerndt

    Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me

    Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me
    The words “your rod and staff, they comfort me”, make a connection between discipline and grace.

    Eagle Updates

    2023-24 Choice Scholarship Award Amounts

    The Indiana Choice Scholarship Program has transformed our school’s ability to reach more students and include more families. Thanks to this program and the scholarships provided by St. John’s Lutheran Church: EVERY family can afford an Eagle education for their children. 
    Indiana Choice

    Preschool/PreK/K Roundup

    Preschool/PreK/K Roundup
    It's time to think about next year's Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, or Kindergarten enrollment! If you have a child or know of a child that falls in that age bracket, we would love to meet with you and your family or have you recommend us to others!

    Tuition, Fees, and Scholarships, O MY!

    Sufficiently and consistently funding the ministry of St. John's Lutheran School requires plenty of planning. Determining what is best for student tuition, fees and scholarships is a task our school's leadership takes on each year beginning in December.
    Tuition

    CONNECTED: National Lutheran Schools Week 2024

    CONNECTED: National Lutheran Schools Week 2024
    Sufficiently and consistently funding the ministry of St. John's Lutheran School requires plenty of planning. Determining the best student for tuition, fees and scholarships is a task our school's leadership takes on each year beginning in December.

    Our School's Calendar

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

    Important Dates

    February 2: Kids Heart Challenge Kick-Off TBD
    February 8: Title I Parent Meeting for Grades K-4 in Cafeteria 4:30 pm
    February 10: Basketball Tournament - Boys & Girls Grades 6-8
    February 12: Culver’s Give Back Night at LaPorte Culver’s (ALL DAY)
    February 13: Valentine's Day Classroom Parties 1 pm
    February 13: Farewell to Alleluias Celebration 1:30 pm
    February 14: Ash Wednesday Chapel
    February 14: Midterm Ends-Reports go home with students
    February 16-19: No School - President's Day Weekend Break
    February 26: School Board Meeting 6 pm
    February 28: Muffins With Moms 7:15 am

    Looking ahead

    March 5: Middle School Math Competition at Valpo University
    March 7: Open House-Preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten at 5:30 pm
    March 10: Daylight Savings Time Begins
    March 14: Regional Spelling Bee at Tri-Township School, Wanatah
    March 17: Happy St. Patrick's Day!
    March 19: First Day of Spring
    March 20: End of Third Quarter
    March 22: Third Quarter Report Cards Sent Home
    March 25-April 1: Spring Break - School Offices closed
    April 2: School Resumes

    Student Stories

    Chapel Offerings to Benefit Project Welcome

    Each Wednesday the school children are encouraged to support a mission project by providing an offering. This quarter that mission project is PROJECT WELCOME. Our children will be providing critical support for our efforts to provide a place of welcome for worshippers and others.

    Because 2023 ended with many church members and worshipers providing generously for these projects, the offerings of the children may very well COMPLETE the effort!  Each week the children will also get a “front row seat” on the latest project, re-tiling a portion of the chancel, specifically the “altar platform” including the area around the communion rail. The project is scheduled to begin on February 19 and be completed before Holy Week.
    Project Welcome 2.0

    Accelerated Readers

    Accelerated Readers
    St. John's students in grades 1-8 are participating in an AR (Accelerated Reader) Reading Challenge! 


    Any elementary LCMS school in the US and Canada can enter the contest. There are currently 35 schools registered. Each grade level competes against the same grade level from the other school for average points per student. This means EACH student will have to participate if St. John’s is going to excel. 

    After scores are reported each week, a leaderboard shows the current standings. The contest runs from January 22nd until the beginning of March. Students must read independently. Reading can occur anywhere the children are- at home, at school, in the car, etc. 

    Accelerator Reader is a computer-based program that many schools across the nation use to monitor students reading and progress. The program doesn’t just encourage reading. The results from this program help teachers guide students to books that are at their reading level, especially struggling readers. Students take short quizzes after reading a book to check if they’ve understood what they read. There are over 150,000 titles for a student to choose from with the goal that reading will become more enjoyable for students when they can select their books and succeed.

     Let's see if our Eagles can Soar above the competition. Several of our students have already met their 3rd-quarter accumulated point goals! Eagles are readers, and readers are leaders! 

    2nd Quarter Honor Roll

    The Honor Roll list at St. John’s has been established to recognize those students in grades 5-8 who have consistently performed high academically.  The Honor Roll is a way to commend students who have achieved academic success. Recognizing these achievements is designed to encourage not only these students but also other classmates.

    Every grading period, St. John’s Lutheran School celebrates its student’s academic achievements using a 3-tiered Honor Roll system. Our highest award is the Principal’s Honor Roll in recognition of “all A’s,” followed by “Honor Roll,” (3.7-3.9 GPA) and “Honorable Mention” (3.0-3.6 GPA). 

    Honor Roll

    Spelling Bee Attracts a Large Number of Students

    Spelling Bee Attracts a Large Number of Students
    St. John’s held our Annual School Spelling Bee on January 26th as a part of National Lutheran Schools Week.  Nearly half of our students from grades 3 through 8, a total of 36 students, participated and everyone did an excellent job! 


    Congratulations to 8th grader Nolan Roule for taking 1st place and to Luke Mobley from 5th grade for 2nd place!

    St. John’s is excited for our Spelling Bee Champion, eighth grader Nolan Roule to represent St. John’s at the LaPorte County Regional Spelling Bee. The event is on March 14 at Tri-Township School (309 School Drive), in Wanatah, IN.  The event will start at 6:00 PM

    The LaPorte County Regional Spelling Bee will include the school winners from each enrolled LaPorte County school. The LaPorte County Regional Spelling Bee winner will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship.

    The National Spelling Bee began in 1925 when nine newspapers joined together to host a spelling bee. Little did they know that almost a century later their literacy effort would reach millions of students each year. Every year, students from all walks of life have the opportunity to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee program. They progress from classroom to cafeteria, from auditorium to civic center, just as millions of other students have done before them. By inspiring the exploration of words, the Scripps National Spelling Bee illuminates pathways to lifelong curiosity, celebrates academic achievement, and enriches communities.

    St. John's Basketball 2023-2024 Season

    Eagle basketball is well underway! 


    The big news is that a full ONE-HALF of our students in 4th through 8th grades are playing basketball on one of our FOUR teams this year.  And ALL of our coaches are school parents who have stepped up to help out. We also rely on parents to staff the concessions and ticket desk. And that is just the proverbial “tip” of the iceberg since the stands are filled to overflowing each game with parents, grandparents, and friends coming to cheer on our Eagles.  

    Our thanks especially to our coaches: Chas Grott, Matt Hagenow, Ronald and Mary Jo Maynard, and Jacob Zoll,

    ST JOHN’S INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT

    Each season St. John’s hosts an invitation tournament and since we have four teams, it is necessary to fill up TWO Saturdays with games.  Besides St. John’s, three teams were invited to our tournament: Renaissance Academy, St. Peters, and La Porte Christian Home School Athletics.

    The 4th & 5th grade boys and girls teams were up first, hosting a tournament on Saturday, Jan. 27th. Every team did a great job and had wonderful sportsmanship. First place for the girls went to the St. Peter’s Wildcats! Second place was Renaissance Academy! For the boy's teams, first place went to Renaissance Academy and second place was St. Peter’s. 

    Next up are the 6th through 8th grade teams on Saturday, February 10th. The girls will tip off at 9 am and the boys will begin at 10:15 am. If you would like to come and cheer on your St. John’s Eagles, it costs 8$ for a family plan. One adult costs $5 and a K-8 student costs $3.

    NOTE: We make use of our new keyless access system for each of our basketball games, which means students and fans ALL need a code to access the building. Call the school in advance at (219) 362-6692 and they would be happy to provide you with a code. Or speak with a student or coach – they should also have a code available to share.
    St. John's Basketball 2023-2024 Season

    N.E.S.T. News

    NEST News

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


    Muffins with Moms

    “Muffins with Moms” was previously canceled due to inclement weather. This event has been rescheduled to February 28th starting at 7:15 am. Students will be able to share refreshments with their mothers in the cafeteria as well as visit their classrooms and teachers. Mothers will then be encouraged to head to the Chapel.
    NEST News
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