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MARCH 2024

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Pastor John Albers, Rev. John M. Albers

Ministry With God’s People

By Pastor John Albers

A People Set Apart

A People Set Apart
“You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” Leviticus 19:2

As we approach holy week my thoughts return not so much to the services and events which will fill that time, but to the people … YOU … who will come to be a part of worship during this time. 

“You shall be holy…”

That is, you are “blessed” by God.

Throughout the story of the scriptures the idea of “blessing” is linked to the people’s primary identity as God’s people. The promise of God to Abram in the 12th chapter of Genesis includes the promise that not only would Abram be blessed by God but through Abram (eventually Abraham) God would bless the world.  

This does include the promise of provision, that God’s people would receive from God manifold blessings all we need, as Luther put it so well, “to support this body and life.”

That is, you are “set apart” from others and the world.

But the notion of holiness has more to do with being “set apart” from others and also from the world. From the beginning, God’s people were not to be like others but were, rather, supposed to be unique from among all the peoples of the world.

A whole host of commandments recorded in both the Old and New Testaments are designed by God to make sure a person can be known as a child of God simply by the way she or he lives each day.

A sanctuary is a holy place. That is, it is set apart for a special and unique purpose. There is nothing all that different about a sanctuary. Like most buildings it has a roof and four walls … often highly ornamented or designed in a specific way … but it is essentially the same as other buildings. Except for its purpose: worship and prayer, the gathering together of God’s holy people.

That is, your life should reflect the one who calls you to be His own.

The notion of holiness that is evidenced in the behavior of a person comes from the idea, that holy people should always reflect the God in whose name we gather. We are holy because God is holy. Our day-to-day activities are important mostly because we are always witnesses to the Lord in whose name we gather, namely Jesus the Christ.

We stand forgiven before God because of the work of Jesus Christ for us. We are included in those who are God’s people not because of anything we have done or even will do. None of our actions, no matter how good and righteous, can earn us a place in God’s heaven.

Our actions, therefore, are mostly about being a witness to the God who calls us and saves us. When people see us, they get an idea of who God is. When people interact with us, they get a glimpse, albeit incomplete, of God’s nature.  

We are holy because the Lord our God is holy.

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 Lent

    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 4
    • 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)

    HOLY WEEK & EASTER: All services in the church sanctuary.

    March 23/24 - Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion of Our Lord
    • 6 pm/8 am/9:30am - Divine Service with Procession with Palms
    March 28 - Maundy Thursday
    • 10 am - Divine Service with Reconciliation of the Penitents
    • 6:30 pm - Divine Service with Reconciliation of the Penitents and Stripping of the Altar
    March 29 - Good Friday
    • Noon - Liturgy of the Cross
    • 6:30 pm - Way of the Cross
    March 31 - Easter - The Resurrection of Our Lord
    • 6:30 am - Easter Sunrise Celebration
    • 10 am - Easter Festival Service

    Looking Ahead to Ascension and Pentecost

    May 9 - The Ascension of Our Lord - 6:30 pm
    May 18/19 – The Day of Pentecost - 6 pm, 8 am, 9:30 am
    May 25/26 - The Holy Trinity - 6 pm, 8 am, 9:30 am
    June 1 - Eighth Grade Graduation - 6 pm

    Special Events in our Calendar

    Blood Drive

    Red Cross Blood Drive Banner
    Be sure to help us make an impact on our community. Plan now to give blood at our next  BLOOD DRIVE on Monday, March 18, beginning at 2 pm. There are 30 slots available.  (This is replacing the drive that had to be canceled on Sunday, January 21, because of a lack of heat.)

    Our school's cafeteria will become the temporary home for Red Cross Blood Services with appointments throughout the afternoon and into the early evening. The first 90 minutes of the drive will be “private,” that is, only those affiliated directly with the church or school can get an appointment. The “public” drive begins at 3:30 pm after the school day has ended.

    IF YOU WANT TO GIVE BETWEEN 2 PM and 3:30 PM call the church or school office to schedule your appointment!  

    If you want an appointment AFTER that time, please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit and enter: stjohnslaporte to schedule an appointment.

    Be part of something big. Make an appointment today.

    Holy Week, 2024

    Holy Week, 2024
    Beginning the weekend of March 24th (with Saturday evening worship on March 23), the most holy of weeks will be filled with ten (10) services and events. Be sure to make plans to be at church all week! ALL OF THE SERVICES will be in the church sanctuary.

    Sunday of the Passion with Procession with Palms

    March 24 at 8 am & 9:30 am (March 23 @ 6 pm)

    March 24th is Palm Sunday and with that comes an opportunity to not only celebrate Jesus' triumphal entry but also hear the entire story of the Passion from Mark's gospel. We begin with the story of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and within moments our thoughts will turn to the celebration of the Passover with his disciples, His betrayal by Judas, his trials before the Sanhedrin and Pilate, and his crucifixion. A homily will bring some things into clearer focus before we once again gather at the Lord's altar.  

    Maundy Thursday, the Paschal Day of the Lord's Supper

    March 28 at 10 am & 6:30 pm

    Maundy Thursday takes its name from the Lord's command (maundatum) to love one another, demonstrated most clearly in Jesus' washing of the disciples' feet. Our worship on that day includes several critical pieces that both bring an end to the season of Lent and then begin the Paschal Triduum, the three holy days. 

    The Reconciliation of the Penitents begins our worship service. On Ash Wednesday, we made a corporate confession of our sins and then individually approached the altar to receive a cross of ashes as a reminder of our sinfulness and the promise of redemption (it's a cross, not just a smudge of ashes). On Maundy Thursday we confess our sins and then are invited to come forward individually to receive absolution.  We once again gather at the altar to celebrate the supper our Lord instituted on "the night when he was betrayed."

    The evening service concludes with the Stripping of the Altar as all hints of celebration are removed, leaving the sanctuary as bare as possible in advance of services on Good Friday.

    Good Friday, the Paschal Day of our Lord's Death

    March 29 at Noon & 6:30 pm

    The tone for Good Friday is somber and reflective. We gather for the Liturgy of the Cross at noon, the hour our Lord was crucified to focus our attention on the punishment our Lord receives in our place. The day will end with the Way of the Cross liturgy at 6:30 pm, drawing even more attention to the horror of the cross itself.

    The Celebration of Easter, the Paschal Day of our Lord's Resurrection

    March 31 at 6:30 am & 10:00 am

    A Sunrise Celebration begins our day. While the sanctuary remains dark and the tone is rather somber at the very beginning of the service, the Easter Proclamation makes clear that the day is focused on the joy of resurrection! Our processions and hymns of praise will focus on the news the women receive and bring to the disciples early in the morning on that first day of the week.

    The Festival Service at 10 am on that day is the chief celebration of our Lord's Resurrection. The hymns and readings continue to proclaim that Christ has, indeed, been risen.

    Plans are still being made, but the Sacrament of Holy Baptism will again be a part of our worship on Easter morning! We will, at the very least, recognize one of our own, a young infant, who was baptized into Christ’s name in the Pediatric Intensive Care unit last November.

    Passover Seder 2024

    Passover Seder 2024
    YES, Pastor Albers and Debra will once again be hosting a Passover Seder Meal for their St. John's family and friends.  (Folks have been asking. 🙂)


    MARCH 26, 6 pm

    This Passover Seder is intended to be an educational experience, as well as a reason to celebrate. The event is designed to give us as close a picture as possible of a traditional Jewish Passover Meal. It is NOT intended to replicate the meal Jesus celebrated with his disciples “on the night when he was betrayed”. The texts and traditions, however, have been handed down over the generations so they likely reflect something of what happened on that evening.

    The Seder isn’t “our” meal as Christian people; it is the covenant meal of the Jewish people. However, it does give us a look at the roots of our covenant meal, the Lord’s Supper. We read through the Haggadah, the liturgy for the evening, and eat the Passover meal recognizing the fact that it is not a particularly “Christian” celebration. It is, however, a gathering of Christian people, and because of that we will look for the promise of the Messiah throughout the celebration.

    Our celebration is held annually on the Tuesday of Holy Week rather than trying to synchronize with the actual date of Passover, which is a movable feast in Judaism and often lines up with our own Holy Week service schedule, although not this year.

    This year Passover officially begins the evening of April 22 which is when the Seder is usually celebrated by observant Jewish families. This is not only a leap year in the Gregorian calendar, but it is also a Jewish leap year. An extra month is added to certain years to make up the difference.  The last Jewish leap year was in 2022.

    For us, locating the service in the middle of Holy Week provides a timely opportunity to learn more and celebrate the freedom won in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

    One could say this meal is “crowd-sourced.” While this is not a potluck, some folks are helping to procure the wine, while others are providing something for the meal.  If you just want to come without providing anything for the event, a donation of $20-$25 per person helps to cover the costs. Donations in addition to this will help cover the cost for someone who cannot afford to pay.

    Plan now to join us on Tuesday, March 26, beginning at 6 pm.

    You can reserve your spot by filling out this online form or by calling the church office. (You can “risk it” and just tell Pastor Albers that you plan to come, but there is a high likelihood he will forget and not tell his spouse!)

    Sunday Brunch Anyone?

    Sunday Brunch Anyone?
    On Sunday, April 7, Pastor and Debra Albers are inviting 30 of their closest friends to join them for Brunch!

    Pastor asked Dale and Annie Fischer to make arrangements with their friends at The Hangar Grill Pub in downtown LaCrosse. We will plan to leave church immediately following the 9:30am service that morning, arriving in LaCrosse by 11:30am.  (Folks can meet us in LaCrosse.

    The great thing about brunch in downtown LaCrosse is that it is nearly impossible to get lost!  The Hangar Grill and Pub is at the intersection of US Highway 421 and State Road 8.  You can’t miss it!

    The group is limited. Indicate your plans to join us by filling out this reservation form, speaking with Pastor Albers (, or contacting the church office.

    Church Updates

    School Board Gets New Member

    Last fall, when a member of the School Board had to step down, the Governing Board and Pastor Albers began to ask around for a replacement. We were “almost” ready for an election at the Voters’ Assembly in December, only to realize we had not spoken to each of the nominees.
    School Board Gets New Member


    School HVAC Creates Emergency Need

    On a cold Wednesday in early March another teacher reported a failed heating unit for her classroom. A service technician from our preferred vendor, Land HVAC, arrived early the next morning. By Monday the unit was ready to install and thanks to a contact from one of our trustees, the unit was in place and turned on by Tuesday.
    School HVAC Creates Emergency Need

    Chancel Gets a Facelift

    Chancel Gets a Facelift
    Thanks to the hard work and effort of a few willing workers, and the financial support of many others, the chancel got a bit of a “facelift.”

    Connect Service Sound System Gets Attention

    Our goal with all of the upgrades is that there will be some basic capacity available by simply turning on the system and plugging in a microphone while still making sure we can add more musicians as the Connect music ensemble grows this year. 
    Connect Service Sound System Gets Attention

    Bible Studies

    Studies Reorganize for Lent and Beyond

    Studies Reorganize for Lent and Beyond
    Each of the regular and ongoing studies at St. John’s underwent a bit of “reorganization” for the season of Lent.

    Wednesday Women of the Word (WOW)

    The WOW group has really taken a hold of the new charge from Pastor Albers to lead our congregation’s prayer ministry. Each week in the season of Lent the group has organized PRAYER CARDS for a different target group. The group participants gather a bit early on Wednesday evening to get cards ready and signed. Then the entire congregation, including guests in worship, are invited to also sign the cards before they are sent out on Thursday.

    Public servants have been our target this Lent, beginning with the La Porte Fire and Police departments the first two weeks, the last weeks our focus will be our elected officials; first the City of La Porte, then the County of La Porte, than those from our community elected to represent us in the State House of Representatives, State Senate, and even representatives and senators from our area at the federal level.

    A new study will begin right away after Easter!

    Saturday Morning Men’s Study

    Roland Lovstad decided to follow up a book study on the Parable of the Prodigal Son (or is that Prodigal God?).  The group which means on the 2nd Saturday of each month will be studying a series of Jesus’ parables over the coming months.
    Give the church office a call (219-362-3726) or send an email ( to get on the email list for this group.

    Sunday Morning Bible Study

    Pastor Albers continues a study, Praying With the Psalms, that is a companion to the Wednesday Evening Prayer services during Lent.  The study series will finish up in the next couple of weeks with Psalm 84 and Psalm 42.

    The study will be on a “hiatus” for several weeks to allow a bit more time for Holy Week services. The hiatus will extend for at least one more to make room for Sunday Brunch on Sunday, April 7.
    A new study will begin on Sunday, April 14.  What do you want to study?
    Mark Jerndt

    Growing in Christ:

    Devotions to Strengthen Your Life with God

    By Mark Jerndt

    Thou Preparest a Table Before Me

    Thou Preparest a Table Before Me
    The One who prepares the table before David in the presence of his enemies is the Lord. Through David saying God prepares a table for him, he is acknowledging his dependence on God. David has full trust in God and knows that God will provide him with everything he needs.

    Eagle Updates

    Tuition and Fees Approved for the ‘24-’25 School Year

    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.

    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!

    Play Equipment Ordered

    After a review of the plan by the Board of Trustees and Governing Board, Principal Berndt placed the order for equipment for the new Preschool Play Area!
    Play Equipment Ordered

    St. John’s Hosts Regional Principal’s Meeting

    St. John’s Hosts Regional Principal’s Meeting
    This March our school’s principal, Mrs. Julie Berndt, hosted a meeting of principals from the region’s Lutheran schools. The NW Indiana Principals meet together to discuss topics that include current education curriculum standards, National Lutheran School Accreditation requirements, SGO information, district updates,  sharing best practices in Lutheran religion curriculum and activities, reviewing the Choice application process, enrollment and marketing procedures, and state reporting.

    Our School's Calendar

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

    Important Dates

    March 12: School Board Meeting 6 pm
    March 14: Regional Spelling Bee at Tri-Township School, Wanatah
    March 15: Camp Lutherhaven Presentation
    March 18: Blood Drive in the Cafeteria
    March 18: NEST Meeting 4 pm
    March 18-20: ILEARN Testing Grades 3-8
    March 19: First Day of Spring
    March 19: Spring Picture Day
    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

    Looking ahead

    April 5: Classroom Easter Parties
    April 9: School Board Meeting 6 pm
    April 15: NEST Meeting 4 pm
    April 25: Middle School Dance
    April 26: No School
    May 1: Fourth Quarter Midterms Sent Home
    May 2: Project Night
    May 22: Spring Spectacular in Gym

    Student Stories

    Academic Contests Stretch Student Abilities

    Academic Contests Stretch Student Abilities
    The Annual Valparaiso University Math Contest and Annual Spelling Bee give a chance for Eagle students to compete against some of the best in the region.


    The top three math students in each grade traveled to Valparaiso University to compete against seven other area Lutheran Schools top mathematicians.  Students attended practice after school last Friday where they honed their skills. 
    • 5th grade: Hunter Crostreet, Vincent Fischer, and Luke Mobley.
    • 6th grade: Lilly Aquino, Ian Roule, & Peter Solum.
    • 7th grade: Ben Cowgill, Katie Jedrysek, Xander Watkins.
    • 8th grade: Ben Aquino, Kenneth Martinez and Leah Fischer.    
    The day started with a fifty question assessment where each grade level was separately challenged. Upon completion students were taken to the University Music Department for a lesson on the interaction of music, math and technology.  Two Valparaiso University professors led the presentation with University students assisting.  Students were paired off and directed to create their own musical composition using an assortment of items.  The Valparaiso University students then interacted with St. John’s students about their compositions.  Finally students were able to perform their work in front of all the math contestants, math professors and university students.  

    After students were treated to lunch, the award ceremony began.  We are proud to announce that five St. John’s Lutheran School students PLACED in their grade level, and one was even in FIRST PLACE! In 5th Grade Hunter Crostreet placed 4th. In 6th Grade Peter Solum captured 3rd place and Ian Roule placed 5th. Our own Ben Cowgill took 1st place in 7th grade and in 8th grade Ben Aquino placed 5th.   

    Additionally students that have had the privilege to attend the competition for three or more years were recognized and given a large chocolate bar including Leah Beth Fischer, Katie Jedrysek, Ben Aquino and Ben Cowgill. 


    The Regional Spelling Bee will be held on Thursday, March 14th at Tri-Township Schools located in Wanatah. Our 8th grade winner, Nolan Roule, will be competing. If you would like to go and root for Nolan, the school is located at 309 School Drive!

    N.E.S.T. News

    NEST News

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

    Muffins with Moms

    Finally!  After having been cancelled earlier this year, “Muffins with Moms” was finally held on February 28th. Moms (and grandmothers and others "standing in" for mom) shared a muffing and other refreshments in the cafeteria before visiting their classrooms and teachers. Many mothers were able to join their children at Chapel led by Mrs. Netzer and her 3rd grade classroom.

    A big thanks to Katie Campbell and the several "dad" volunteers she recruited to assist with the event!
    NEST News
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