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MAY 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

Abide ... Remain ... Stay ... Endure

Abide ... Remain ... Stay ... Endure
The scriptures are always more than a little surprising as to what they reveal, especially when reading more closely.


The week of the 4th Sunday of Easter began like most every other week, I spent the first days of the week with what might be called “worship paperwork and logistics.”  Between Jennifer and I we work to assemble all of the pieces necessary for worship the next weekend and, sometimes, the next. That’s when the lectionary … the series of readings we use for worship … stepped in to make its impact on my thinking … and preparing … and praying.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:5

The Greek word that gets translated here as “abide” is a word that is used in its various forms nearly 120 times in the New Testament, one-third of them by the evangelist John in his Gospel. It’s one of his favorites. He uses it in all sorts of contexts: from the story of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan through his ministry and even up to and including his resurrection appearances.

The word is translated differently depending on its context. It describes John the Baptist’s recollection concerning the descent of the dove at Jesus’ baptism. It’s the way the evangelists speak about Jesus’ extended visits to the homes of those who hosted him. It describes his geographic location. And is the same word John places on the lips of Jesus as he teaches his disciples about the necessary connection between the vine and branches.

The more I considered the word and its various translations into our language, the more significant the lesson I found myself learning from Jesus. Abide … it’s a word that in our common usage usually refers to paying attention to or following the desires of another “I will abide by your decision.” Other English equivalents are mostly understood by their opposites.  Remain … as compared to being separated from someone. Stay … as compared to leaving.

But the one that made the most dramatic impact on my Spirit this week reinforces the idea that our task as disciples is not unlike the work of God in Christ … to “endure.”  As in the food that endures to eternal life (John 6:27). I re-read other references from John’s Gospel, especially those from the 15th chapter, which were the lessons appointed for the 5th and 6th Sundays of Easter. That’s when the Gospel, the good news of God’s love took on even more meaning.

Endure is not something we can do alone … or at least that is not usually what happens.  Endurance most often requires the help or assistance of another. It often requires learning something from experience, as well as a strong focus on the possibilities for the future. Endurance requires preparation … patience … and peace, which focuses on what God has promised rather than on what I can accomplish.

I tried to re-translate the now familiar verse from John 15:5 and could not without also changing the preposition … as in “endure with” in place of “abide in.” I suddenly recognized the critical nature of continuing a relationship with God. Abide is a great word since it recognizes the importance of “place,” of being in the same place as God. Endure, however, pushed me to see God’s presence in my work in Jesus's name. Remain … stay … both sound kind of “static” … endure, on the other hand, seems way more active, describing my daily living as God’s child. "Abide" seems focused on the present, while "endure" gets me thinking about the future.

Endure with me, as I endure with you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it endures with the vine, neither can you, unless you endure with me.” John 15:5

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 Easter

    May 4/5 - The Sixth Sunday of Easter
    • 6 pm/8 am - Divine Service
    • 9:30 am - Connect Word and Song
    May 9 - Ascension of Our Lord
    • 10 am/6:30 pm - Divine Service
    May 11/12 - The Seventh Sunday of Easter
    Including a Prayer of Thanksgiving for Mothers
    • 6 pm/8 am - Prayer & Preaching
    • 9:30 am - Connect Word and Communion
    May 18/19 - Day of Pentecost
    • 6 pm/8 am - Divine Service
    • 9:30 am - Connect Word and Communion

    Worship for the Sundays after Pentecost

    May 25/26 - Holy Trinity (1st Sunday after Pentecost)
    • 6 pm/8 am - Divine Service
    • 9:30 am - Connect Word and Communion
    June 1/2 - The Second Sunday after Pentecost
    • 6 pm- Service of Prayer and Praise (8th Grade Commencement)
    • 8 am - Divine Service
    • 9:30 am - Connect Word and Song
    June 8/9 - The Third Sunday after Pentecost
    • 6 pm/8 am - Prayer & Preaching
    • 9:30 am - Connect Word and Communion
    June 15/16 - The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
    Including a Prayer of Thanksgiving for Fathers
    • 6 pm/8 am - Divine Service
    • 9:30 am - Connect Word and Song
    Looking Ahead
    August 25 - St. John's Family Reunion
    - 10am: Outdoor Worship
    - 10am: Blood Drive
    - 11am: Classroom Open House
    - 11:30am: Picnic Lunch

    Special Events in our Calendar

    Special Worship Events

    As the season of Easter comes to an end, the month of May brings with it some of the most important festivals of the church year.
    Special Worship Events

    Scheduled Workdays

    Scheduled Workdays
    In the coming months the Board of Trustees and Pastor Albers will be putting out the call to help with various projects around the church and school.  And, as the old saying goes, “many hands make light work.”

    Church Updates

    Impressive Investments Continue

    In the past three or four years we have made an IMPRESSIVE amount of investments in our facilities, both at the church and school, only some of which were from the fund which now shows a deficit.  Most of which were supported by other donations.
    Impressive Investments Continue

    Ministry Opportunities!

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

    Projects

    New Chapel Doors

    New Chapel Doors

    Promises, promises!

    Pastor Albers has been promising that work is progressing towards new tri-fold doors to replace the older, accordion doors currently in place. Work is finally more noticeable.
    The concept is not unlike other recent renovations, an upgrade that looks as though it could have been installed when the building was built in 1954. There are three identical openings, each of them 11 feet in length and 8 feet tall. These openings will be filled with 18 (six for each opening), solid oak panel doors designed to match the reredos (the oak wall behind the altar.

    Additionally, each door will include a stained glass panel (approximately 11” square”) that borrows its design from the current windows located in the back of the sanctuary. One set of doors is nearing completion as the lower level of the church building is used as a space for final stain, poly, and assembly.
    Folding door hardware has been ordered and the first set of doors should find its way into its permanent home sometime before Mother’s Day.  And, if all does well, a second set no later than Memorial Day.

    On a related note: the new baseboard trim for the chapel should be ready for installation by the end of May, reducing the “checklist” of items to just a few items for work this summer.

    New Church WIFI Network

    wifi keyboard
    A reliable WIFI network easily available to almost everyone is quickly becoming the “standard” in buildings throughout the community. We can now add St. John’s Sanctuary to that list!


    Thanks to some recently installed access points (APs), those who are looking for a stable connection to the internet will now see two available networks in the church sanctuary, chapel, and narthex. 
    • “SJLS-WIFI” is the primary, secured network reserved for use by devices owned by St. John’s (like a tablet or digital sign/television) or by leaders (i.e. pastors, teachers, bible study leaders).  
    • The “SJLS-Guest” network is available 24/7, without a password.  The bandwidth of this network is limited to providing a connection to the internet. Users are automatically “kicked off” after two hours.
    The new church WIFI network is just an extension of our current computer network that, until recently, primarily served the school building.
    • Three years ago (Fall, 2021), the first set of new APs was installed in the school building providing a more stable internet connection for our students.
    • In summer, 2023, NewAge Telecom installs a wireless bridge, bringing internet access to the church building. Church volunteers install old APs leftover from the school project.
    • In winter, 2023, the project was “completed” as the balance of the school APs were upgraded and the new SJLS-WIFI became available to each classroom and community space (including the cafeteria and gymnasium).
    • In summer, 2023, APs were moved inside classrooms as the re-cabling project was mostly completed. NewAge installed a new VOIP Phone System in the school building.
    • In winter, 2024, volunteers extend the new cable to various locations in the chapel and church building
    • In April 2024, Qubit Networks set up new APs for the church building which are installed by volunteers.

    Lighting Upgrades Qualify for Incentive

    Lighting Upgrades Qualify for Incentive

    Thanks to a bit of watchfulness on the part of leaders and some extra effort by a couple of church members, the church parking lot will be a bit brighter and safer AND a NIPSCO incentive program will foot the bill!


    When searching for some better light bulbs for the church chancel, Pastor Albers stumbled on a great deal for new lighting for our church parking lot. Many of the older bulbs no longer functioned properly and needed replacing. Light bulbs that usually cost $140 (or more) were on sale for less than $30 each. All eleven bulbs were purchased for about $425, a savings of nearly $1,200!  Al Vollmer took the initiative to rent a lift, get the supplies, and replace all 11 bulbs.

    NIPSCO PRESCRIPTIVE INCENTIVE

    After a couple of emails and a phone call to confirm qualifications, St. John’s has since applied to a part of the NIPSCO PRESCRIPTIVE INCENTIVE Program, available to businesses (as compared to the energy-efficiency “rebate” program available to residential customers.

    We are awaiting payment of nearly $1,100 through this program, including not only the cost of the new light bulbs but also a bit of value for the work of our volunteer to install them. We plan to make other upgrades through this program this year including some additional LED lights and maybe even smart thermostats for our school’s classrooms.

    Bible Studies

    Spring Studies Overflow into Summer Plans

    Each of our regularly-scheduled bible studies will continue to meet throughout the month of May and are even making plans for the first weeks of summer.
    Spring Studies Overflow into Summer Plans
    Mark Jerndt

    Growing in Christ:

    Devotions to Strengthen Your Life with God

    By Mark Jerndt

    Surely Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me

    Surely Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me
    Psalm 23 is summed up in one brave but simple statement:  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”.  It is a bold statement but an exclamation of confidence in the One who controls us.

    Eagle Updates

    Special Events

    Project Night and Graduations for kids young and old are on tap this month. Plan now to be a part of each event!
    Special Events

    Kid's Pop-up Craft Event

    Kid's Pop-up Craft Event
    Looking for a PERFECT gift this Mother's Day? Bring your elementary-aged school children to our craft event on Saturday, May 11, from noon to 2pm at the church parking lot on Monroe St.  Children will get the opportunity to create a personalized gift!  No cost. Includes snack food and drinks.

    Middle School Dance

    The students had a fantastic time at this event, with highlights including a golden balloon arch, a professional photographer capturing all the memories, and even the chaperones joining in on the dance floor. The music was lively and enjoyable for everyone!

    Open Enrollment Begins

    Open enrollment at St. John's started on Monday, April 22nd. We currently have 29 open seats, with at least TWO openings in each grade. Flyers have been sent out to area preschools with enrollment opportunities for all future Kindergarten students. If you know of any families who may be interested, please spread the word!
    Open Enrollment Begins

    Breakfast on "Trial"

    Breakfast on "Trial"
    Hungry students struggle to learn.  For this reason, many schools offer some sort of breakfast option for their students.  St. John’s is considering adding breakfast to its nutrition program in the 2024/25 school year.  To that end, for two weeks in April we experimented with what the best way may be to make this happen for St. John’s.  

    Play Area Update

    A new play area for our preschool will soon be a reality! A Health Foundation Grant secured last summer will provide $24,000 for new playground equipment and other applications to corporate foundations have been submitted even as we work to raise more funds from donors. The new play equipment is set to arrive on July 16th. Look out for more information coming soon.
    Play Area Update

    Our School's Calendar

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

    Important Dates

    5/2: Project Night
    5/6 - 5/10: Staff Appreciation
    5/7:
    8th Grade Graduation Planning Mtg. 4 pm
    5/12:
    Mother's Day
    5/14:
    School Board Mtg. 6 pm
    5/17:
    Bremen Field Day-ALL DAY
    5/20:
    NEST Mtg. 4 pm
    5/22:
    Spring Spectacular PS-8 | 10 am - Rehearsal | 5:30 pm - Program
    5/24:
    Career Day Grades 5-8
    5/27:
    Memorial Day NO School
    5/31:
    PK Graduation 9:30 am | K Graduation 1:30 pm
    6/1:
    8th Grade Grade Graduation 6 pm
    6/4
    Last Student Day

    Looking ahead

    8/6: Back to the Nest Event
    8/14: First Day of School-Welcome Back!

    Teacher Spotlight

    Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Laura Kroemer

    Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Laura Kroemer
    The school is excited to announce that Ms. Laura Kroemer, who joined our faculty as a part-time teacher this spring, will be St. John’s Lutheran Church and School’s 5th-grade teacher for the 24/25 school year. Ms. Kroemer joined the faculty in March to co-teach with Mrs. Gross in 5th grade for the remainder of this school year.  

    Ms. Kroemer has 19 years of teaching experience in the schools of Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball, Texas; Lutheran High School Association in St. Louis, Missouri; The International Institute in St. Louis, Missouri; Lutheran High School South in Chicago, Illinois; and XingChang High School in XingChang, Zhejiang, China. 

    Ms. Kroemer received her Bachelor's and Master’s Degrees from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, IN.  

    Ms. Kroemer’s Bachelor of Arts Degree is in International Service. Her Master of Education Degree is in Secondary Education in Spanish. Ms. Kroemer has applied for an Emergency Teaching License in Elementary Education while completing the requirements to earn her transition to an Elementary Generalist License.

    Student Stories

    Bremen Field Day

    Once again St. John’s Lutheran School students from Kindergarten through 8th grade will participate in the St. Paul's of Bremen all-day Field Day event on Friday, May 17th. In case of inclement weather, the rain make-up date is scheduled for Monday, May 20th.

    The event will kick off with devotionals at 8:45 a.m. Central Time, followed by a variety of games and either a 1-mile or 3K run/walk. This promises to be a day filled with excitement, teamwork, and friendly competition alongside other faith-based schools.

    More detailed information will be shared with all St. John's families soon. We look forward to this wonderful opportunity for our students and families to come together in celebration of fun and fellowship.
    Bremen Field Day

    Career Day

    Career Day
    Dr. Lipscomb is planning our upcoming Career Day event scheduled for May 24th.

    The event will take place from 8:30 am to 10:30 am, and although there might be minor scheduling adjustments, we are thrilled to have a diverse group of professionals joining us. From Mold Makers to Financial Advisers to Nurse Practitioners, there will be over 10 careers represented.

    During the event, students from 5th to 8th grade will rotate between different professionals, allowing them to learn about various career paths. Before the rotations, there will be a networking session for the professionals to connect and share insights.

    Our students need to be exposed to a wide range of career options. Each student will come prepared with a list of questions to ask the professionals, enabling them to learn more about different professions and explore their passions.

    Thank you for the church’s continuous support in making events like Career Day possible and meaningful for our students.

    Intramural Update

    Following an engaging and rewarding basketball season focused on enhancing players' skills, sportsmanship, and teamwork, the students transitioned to Intramural sports to maintain their active lifestyle.

    The first Intramural sport featured was Floor Hockey, running from April 3rd to April 11th. With 15 enthusiastic participants on the court from 2:40 to 4:00 pm, the students honed their abilities in positioning, goalkeeping, passing, shooting, and scoring while actively engaging in the game.

    Our second sport, Badminton, has commenced for Intramurals starting on Monday, April 22nd, with 26 students joining this year. They play singles according to their grade and experience levels and participate in doubles matches where they collaborate with various partners, showcasing a mix of skills. Badminton sessions are scheduled three times a week and conclude on May 9th, from 2:35 to 4:00 pm. The participants are gaining experience in wielding a racket, maneuvering the shuttlecock (birdie) at different velocities and angles, and applying varying levels of force to clear the net. The Badminton sessions are enjoyed by all participants!
    Intramural Update

    N.E.S.T. News

    NEST News

    The first Semi-Formal Middle School Dance was held on Friday, April 26th. Faculty Appreciation Week is scheduled for Monday, May 6th to May 10th.
    NEST News
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