Friday, December 4, 2020

31- Day Bible Reading Challenge 4/31


Isaiah 11:10-16
In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. 11 In that day the LORD will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean.

12 He will raise a banner for the nations
    and gather the exiles of Israel;
he will assemble the scattered people of Judah
    from the four quarters of the earth.
13 Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish,
    and Judah’s enemies will be destroyed;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
    nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.
14 They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west;
    together they will plunder the people to the east.
They will subdue Edom and Moab,
    and the Ammonites will be subject to them.
15 The LORD will dry up
    the gulf of the Egyptian sea;
with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand
    over the Euphrates River.
He will break it up into seven streams
    so that anyone can cross over in sandals.
16 There will be a highway for the remnant of his people
    that is left from Assyria,
as there was for Israel
    when they came up from Egypt.


Thursday, December 3, 2020

31- Day Bible Reading Challenge 3/31

 Day 3/31

Isaiah 11:1-9

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
    or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
    with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
    with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
    and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
    the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
    and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD
    as the waters cover the sea.

31- Day Bible Reading Challenge 2/31


Day 2/31

Isaiah 9:1-7
9 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

2 The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
    will accomplish this.


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Good Newsletter


December 2020

Christmas—God’s Gift to You

This year in our monthly articles we are considering favorite verses from the Bible. 

This month’s favorite Bible verse is:

Galatians 4:4,5

“When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”

It’s the moment for which children wait so excitedly: the time for tearing open Christmas presents. It’s thrilling to see their excitement and joy to find out what lies beneath the bow and paper. But often, just as quickly as the excitement erupted, it begins to disappear. When the flying bows and paper settle, feelings of disappointment and ingratitude so often start to surface. The moment everyone so eagerly looked forward to becomes yet another disappointment.

For so many, the Christmas season and celebration ends up like the boxes strewn across the floor—empty. Because, eventually, the decorations are taken down, the parties end, and life goes back to normal. 

But this won’t be the case when we remember what Christmas is really about. Christmas is the celebration of the gift of God’s one and only Son, a gift he gave to the world. It’s the gift that I need, that you need, that this whole world needs. You see, this world—including you and me—is wrapped and covered in sin. It is this covering of sin that leaves us empty and disappointed and looking for more gifts and other presents that we hope will fill the void. But they can’t.

It is only through the gift of God’s Son, and his life and death that removes from you the ugly covering and wrapping of your sins. Jesus did not come to be placed under a Christmas tree, but to hang upon a tree, not as an ornament, but as the one who would die upon it to pay for all of your sins. His perfect, innocent life and death are gifts he offers to you to make you his perfect and holy child and heir of heaven.

Christmas is so much more than presents placed beneath a tree. It’s the sure and certain fulfillment of God’s most treasured gift to you—your Savior from sin, Jesus Christ.

Upcoming Events at St. John:

Worship Services: Sunday 11:30 AM.

Adult Bible Study Sunday 10:30 AM.

Advent service Dec 9 at 6:00 PM

Christmas Eve service Dec 24 at 4:00 PM

Visit our website at

For more information or to unsubscribe go to or call us at 651-771-6406

Worship time is Changing!

Our new service time will be 11:30 AM starting on Dec 6, with Adult Bible classes at 10:30 AM.  
The time will change to 8:30 AM in April. 

Please join us Sunday as we welcome Pastor Al Schleusener as our new vacancy pastor!  

Advent service will be on Dec 9 at 6:00 PM, 
Christmas Eve service on Dec 24 at 4:00 PM.  

Christmas decorating will be on Dec 4 at 6:00 PM.  Please join us.

31- Day Bible Reading Challenge 1/31


Day 1/31

Isaiah 2:2-5
2 In the last days
the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established
    as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
    and all nations will stream to it.
3 Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
    to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
    so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
    the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations
    and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
    and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
    nor will they train for war anymore.
5 Come, descendants of Jacob,
    let us walk in the light of the LORD.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Ministry Planning Update - Vision Development

Our strategic planning process continues to make progress towards a ministry plan and we wanted to share an update with you. 

In October, we concluded efforts to gather feedback from our members on different ministry options. A summary of the feedback was also mailed home to members.

Now our leaders are working to take the feedback provided by our members to develop a mission and vision. This past Saturday, our leaders met for a working session to define a first draft. Our ministry planning consultant, Pastor Stroh, will be back on-site on Saturday December 5th to facilitate a more detailed planning session with our leaders. In this session we will complete the first draft of our ministry plan. This plan will then be shared with our members to gather further input.

As leaders we thank God for the opportunity to plan the work He has called us to do and we are excited to share the resulting plan with you. In the mean-time, please continue to pray that God blesses our efforts as a congregation. We know the Holy Spirit has the power to succeed in spreading the Gospel. 

God has blessed St. John with the pure and powerful Word, a “golden hearted” congregation, a dedicated core group of members, and a large facility on a large property. Through the Holy Spirit, we can use these blessings to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth, starting right here on the East side of St. Paul.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

SCLA - Christmas Homestays Needed

We are still in need of host families for several boys this Christmas. If your family (or another trustworthy party you know) is willing to help out with hosting December 18/19 - January 2/3, please let me know. A $600 stipend per student is granted for hosting.

To expedite the process, I have attached a Background Check Application. Anyone in your household who is 18 or older would need to apply to have a check run. (If your 18+ family member has had a check within the past 10 months and can provide us a copy, it would save SCLA some money.)

There is also a fillable online form that would help me place the students. It provides information regarding pets, and other household details which help me with placement.

If you are willing to even consider being an emergency contact, please let me know that and the best way to reach you.

 Tamara Julian

Dormitory Student Advisor

St. Croix Lutheran Academy

Office - (651) 455-1521 ext. 1118

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Elizabeth Raether called home to heaven

Elizabeth Raether, a resident of "The Shores of Lake Phalen," was taken home to heaven this week.  A private graveside service will be held.  Blessed are those who die in the Lord!

Advent and Christmas Eve Services


There will be an Advent service on December 9, at 6:00 PM.  

Christmas Eve service on December 24, at 4:00 PM.

Thank you Pastor Berg

We thank the Lord for bringing Pastor Berg to St John to serve us as our Vacancy Pastor for the past year.  Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, we are not able to have a fellowship gathering with coffee and cake to thank him for his service to St. John.  We are asking that our members thank him personally with a card/monetary gift.  There is a card box located in the church office for your thank you cards. 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

November 2020 - Good Newsletter


November 2020


This year in our monthly articles we are considering favorite verses from the Bible. 

This month’s favorite Bible verse is:  Psalm 118:1

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

Psalm 118 is an “Hallelujah” psalm, meaning “Praise the LORD!” Long ago, God’s people sang the words of this psalm toward the end of their Passover meal. It was a special occasion time for God’s people to remember how he had rescued their nation from slavery in Egypt; it was a picture of God’s rescue of all people from their slavery to sin. The Passover meal reminded each generation how much God truly loved them.

Would disaster continue to interrupt their lives? Would prosperity be withheld? Would earthly death continue to pick away at their loved ones? Yes, yes, and yes. Yet the people sang out praise and thanks to their merciful God for deliverance from all these trials of life. . . and more: “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4,5).

It is the custom in North America to gather this time of year to celebrate Thanksgiving. Whether you are with family, friends, or celebrating alone, take the time to give thanks to our Savior-God for his mercy and deliverance from death through Jesus. Jesus shows us that God is good. Even when times are tough, Jesus proves that his love for us endures forever.

Upcoming Events at St. John:

Worship Services: Sunday 11:00 AM.

Adult Bible Study 10:00 AM.

Thanksgiving Eve service on Nov 25 at 6:00 PM

Visit our website at

For more information or to unsubscribe go to or call us at 651-771-6406

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Divine Call Accepted

 At our Special Voter's meeting on November 1, Pastor Allen Schleusener from Mt. Olive Ev. Lutheran Church in St. Paul, MN was given a Divine Call to be our next Vacancy Pastor.  I am happy to announce that our Lord has led him to accept this Call.  This call will be effective on December 1.  Pastor Berg's call expires on Nov 30. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

SCLA - Veterans Day 2020

While we are unable to have our annual Veterans Day Tribute in person this year, we'd still like to express our thanks for Veterans virtually!

Tune in to the Wednesday, November 11 chapel message streaming live at 10:32 a.m. and then posted to YouTube shortly afterward to watch anytime.

Enjoy special messages from SCLA parent Jamie Fischer and alumnus Keagan Smith ('15), followed by the "Salute to America's Finest" filmed at last year's event, featuring the song for each military branch.

View the list of alumni veterans and current military personnel.

Thank you to all who have served!
God's blessings!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

SCLA Event Updates

 The 2020 Fall Concert premieres this Sunday, November 1 at 6:00 p.m. on YouTube! The concert will be posted until Sunday, November 8, 6:00 p.m. and then removed from YouTube and the internet in accordance with our license agreements. Visit for more information and to see behind-the-scenes pictures during production!

In place of the usual Chili and Pie Fundraiser that takes place prior to the concert, the MPO has created a video to let you know about some of the exciting things going on in the music department! View it at

Vacancy Pastor

At our Special Voter's meeting on November 1, Pastor Alan Schleusener from Mt. Olive Ev. Lutheran Church in St. Paul, MN was given a Divine Call to be our next Vacancy Pastor.  This call will be effective on December 1.  Pastor Berg's call expires on Nov 30. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Good Newsletter-October


October 2020


Take Out the Trash!


This year in our monthly articles we are considering favorite verses from the Bible.

This month’s favorite Bible verse is:  1 Peter 5:7

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”


If you were asked to write down your top-ten favorite places, it’s hard to imagine a landfill making anybody’s list. There’s nothing pretty about a landfill. There’s nothing attractive or inviting about a place where trash is piled high and deep. It’s no fun to be at a landfill; all you can do is watch the pile get bigger. And you certainly wouldn’t want to take home any souvenirs!


But in 1 Peter 5:7, God is inviting us (if it can be said this way) to treat him like a landfill. “Pile it up!” he says. “Keep it coming! I can take it! Cover me with it!”


What kind of trash is God asking us to cover him with? Anxiety. Worry about the future. Stress of the present. Burdens from the past. All the things that pile up and make life feel like an endless slog through a murky, mucky swamp. All the things that press hard and cause pain, on the inside and the outside.


God says, “Throw it all on me!” He wants to take away all those burdens. He wants to remove the guilt from the sins of the past. He wants to hold us up under the stress of the present. He wants to assure us about the future.


But, as ugly as it sounds, he does this by taking our burdens onto himself. In fact, he already has taken our burdens when Jesus Christ bore the sins of the whole world. He carried all of them when he died on the cross. He didn’t drop anybody’s burden of sin. He didn’t leave anybody out so that now they’re stuck carrying their own.


Do you know people who help others so much that they hardly have any time left for themselves? You can marvel at how much they give of themselves, how many burdens they carry for other people. But if you would ever ask them how they can possibly do so much to help others, the answer might come back so plainly, “I just love them.”


God’s attitude toward you is so full of love—so overflowing with love—that no matter how many of your burdens you pile on him, his love will still spill out for you through Jesus. So take out the trash! Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.




Upcoming Events at St. John:

Worship Services: Sunday 11:00 AM.

Adult Bible Study 10:00 AM.


Visit our website at

For more information or to unsubscribe go to or call us at 651-771-6406


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Special Voter's Meeting - Vacancy Pastor

Vacancy pastors are given a Divine Call for a one-year term, unlike permanent calls.  Pastor Berg's call as St John vacancy pastor expires on Nov 30.  It is still the responsibility of our Circuit Pastor and MN District President to provide a Call list to St John for a Vacancy Pastor.  Unlike permanent calls, they ask pastors in our area if they are willing to accept this Vacancy Call before it is issued to them.  Pastor Schleusener from Mt Olive has agreed to fill this position at St John effective Dec 1.  To make it official, St John will hold a Special Voter's meeting on Nov 1 in the church sanctuary after our worship service.   

Letter from Bob & Julie Averbeck


Dear members of St John,

After having given much thought and consideration to our church membership, we have decided because of mobility issues to ask that as of October 31 our membership be transferred to New Life Lutheran Church, 180 County Road F, W Shoreview, MN.

We would like to thank the members of St John for all their support during the years we were active in St. John Lutheran Church and School.  We are thankful for all the friends who have shown their care and concern.

I will especially miss playing organ for services and directing St. John choir.  I have appreciated the faithfulness of choir members and will miss working with each and every one who gave of their time and talents to sing God's praises in our various services.  The music ministry here at St. John has always been important to me, and I consider it a blessing to have been able, through organ selections and choir numbers, to praise God through music.

I will still have the opportunity to play for services at New Life.  The advantage there is that there is no balcony with 21 stairs.  Everything is on one level - the organ being located in the back of the church.

These are difficult times for St. John as you struggle to reach a decision about the future of the congregation.  May the Lord guide you as you come to a conclusion which will be to His glory.

I will play organ at St. John for the last time on Sunday, Oct. !8th.  After that, if the need arises, I may still be able to help out now and then at St. John.


Julie and Bob Averbeck

We appreciate the dedicated service that Bob and Julie have given to St John over the years as teachers, principal, music director, organist, and choir director.  We would like to honor them for their service, but since Covid, we can not have cake and coffee fellowship with them.  You can call or email them to show your appreciation.  We are planning to give them a monetary gift from St. John and you can give to that as well.   Pastor Berg is in the process of locating a music director to coordinate the hymn selections each week.  If you know anyone who could help fill that need contact Pastor Berg.

Family Communion on October 29

 Pastor Berg will be distributing Holy Communion at St. John on Thursday, October 29 from 3:00 PM-6:00 PM.  One family (or individual) at a time will come into church to receive communion.  Each family will have ten minutes.   Please enter through the main church doors and exit through the link door.

You can register for a time  here.    It's really easy to use and saves me time.  If you have a problem with that you can call me on my cell phone to schedule a time.  651-448-0770

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

SCLA - Stories Under the Big Top!

SCLA drama students are presenting an outdoor theatre this year on Saturday, October 31, and Sunday, November 1 at 2:00 p.m. More than a theatre performance, there will be games and activities for all the kiddos that come. Kids are encouraged to wear their costumes from Halloween (if that was something they took part in). Tickets are moving fast so reserve your free spot soon. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Good Newsletter


September 2020


Sure and Certain of the Unseen


This year in our monthly articles we are considering favorite verses from the Bible.

This month’s favorite Bible verse is:  Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”


It is amazing that with only a few clicks on a computer, we can dramatically alter photos. Such capabilities have led us to be a bit more wary. We find ourselves saying, “Unless I see it with my own eyes, how can I believe that it hasn’t been touched up? I’ll believe it when I see it.”


Often this cynical attitude can touch our spiritual life. How can I believe that God loves me and knows what is going on in my life considering all troubles and disappointments I have to deal with?


The Bible tells us, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” How can we be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see?


Think of a father and child playing the game where the father stands behind the child and tells him to fall backwards. The child, unable to see his father, still trusts that he is there and is certain that his father won’t let him hit the ground. The child leans back and falls, fully convinced that his father will keep his word and catch him, because his father has always proved trustworthy.


This is the kind of trust we can have in our heavenly Father. Though we did not see the creation or the crucifixion, though we were not present to witness Jesus rising from the Easter tomb, though we have not heard his actual voice forgiving our sins and promising his return, we believe.


How can we be so sure and certain? Because God’s Word is true and trustworthy. Our forgiveness is certain because Jesus did die and rise from the dead. God’s love for us today and every day is sure. Every promise our Father has made about our eternal future, he will keep.


Faith is sure and certain of unseen things because it takes God at his word.




Upcoming Events at St. John:

Worship Services: Sunday 11:00 AM.

Adult Bible Study 10:00 AM.


Visit our website at

For more information or to unsubscribe go to or call us at 651-771-6406


Sunday, September 6, 2020

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Ken Bahneman Obituary


Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather

Age 95, of Woodbury, Proud Navy veteran passed away peacefully on Monday, August 24th.

Preceded in death by loving wife of 66 years, June; son, Craig; and sister, Lorraine Krueger.

Kennard is survived by his children, Mary (Dan) Hart and Brian (Jennifer); eight grandchildren; twelve great-grandchildren; and sister-in-law, Doris Schultz.

Evening visitation Wednesday, August 26th, 5 PM – 8 PM at Wulff Woodbury Funeral Home 2195 Woodlane Dr, Woodbury.

Funeral service Thursday, August 27th, 10 AM with visitation 1 hour prior at St. John Lutheran Church 765 Margaret St, St. Paul.

Interment at Elmhurst Cemetery, St. Paul.

Wulff Woodbury 651-738-9615

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Open Forum - Ministry Planning - This Sunday

In July and August, we collected member input on four ministry options through a series of listening sessions, phone calls, and paper surveys (it is not too late to provide your input if you have not already) and answered the questions:

  1. As we seek to grow the Kingdom of God, what are the benefits (pros) and drawbacks (cons) of each option?, and 

  2. What open questions do you have about each option that would help in evaluating what is best for God’s Kingdom?

This coming Sunday, there will be an Open Forum to review and further discuss the input we captured. Our goal is evaluate the four ministry options in order to work towards a consensus on which option would best grow God’s kingdom. 

The Open Forum will occur after the worship service, from 11:45AM to 12:30PM, and will include structured sections to review and discuss the input captured for each ministry option. The leadership council recently completed a similar small group forum and found it both beneficial and encouraging so we hope you can join us!

The Open Forum will take place in the sanctuary and will follow all safety guidelines in our public worship safety plan.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Good Newsletter


August 2020

Can God take my guilt away?

This year in our monthly articles we are considering favorite verses from the Bible.

This month’s favorite Bible verse is:  

2 Corinthians 5:21

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

“I wish I could take it all away,” Mom whispered to her suffering five-year-old son. He had the flu for a couple of days now, and Mom’s heart was broken. As he lay in his bed suffering from the chills and a fever, there wasn’t much Mom could do except give him some children’s flu medicine and just be there for him. Mom felt helpless and wished she could take it all away from him. She even wished she could have the flu instead of her son.

When children are sick, the love of Mom and Dad really starts to shine through. In a heartbeat, parents go to extra lengths to make sure their kids are feeling as comfortable as possible. If you’re a parent, you’ve been there. You make sure their pillow is extra fluffy. You bring their favorite juice box. You provide their favorite movie to watch. And any time you hear them call, you quickly respond with, “What can I do for you?” The love of Mom and Dad goes so far that if they could take the sickness away, even become sick instead of their child, they would. But they can’t, and it hurts.

Has there ever been a time when you wished you could take it all away? Not just a sickness of a child, but something you did that you really regret? Maybe it was something you did to end a close relationship with a friend. Maybe you said something to a family member that you wish you could take back. Maybe it was something that only you know about, but it haunts you each day.

It’s at moments like these that God’s love really starts to shine through. He knows your sin, your guilt, your regrets. But he doesn’t just wish he could take them away. He did take them away. He forgave them all! He took your sin and guilt away when he put them on his only Son, Jesus. He loves you so much that he had Jesus die for your sin so that you wouldn’t have to. God forgave your guilt and now considers you right with him because of what Jesus did for you.

Wish your guilt and regrets could be taken away? They were. In their place, he gives you forgiveness and eternal life. Now that’s a love that shines through!

Upcoming Events at St. John:

Worship Services: Sunday 11:00 AM.

Adult Bible Study 10:00 AM.

Visit our website at

For more information or to unsubscribe go to or call us at 651-771-6406

Dedicated Funds Letter

 Dear St John Members:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Hope you and yours continue to be safe and healthy during this time.  

At our Council meeting on August 10th, a member sent a letter wanting to know why when there are repairs or projects to be done around the church, why we don’t use funds that are in the Dedicated Funds list to do the projects.  When someone is called home to heaven, family members may decide to give memorial money in their memory and they designate it for a certain project or fund.  We are always going to satisfy their wishes and designate that money for the purpose that they desired and nothing else.  If the church were to spend the money on some repair or project that they want, then people in the future will not be inclined to give memorial money because they will feel that the church is going to use it for whatever they want and not for what they designate it for.  Even if a family were to give memorial money for something that may never develop, the church will still not use it for anything else.   As an example, someone once gave money to start a handbell fund hoping that someday St. John would have a handbell choir.  Some have said we will probably never have a handbell choir, and that may be true but we still are not going to use the money for something else.  If the family who gave the memorial money would come to the Council and tell the Council that they could use the money for something else, then we would do that but that would be the only way it would be used for something else.  

August 16 worship

 You can watch this week's worship here.

God will bless you through his Word!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Minutes from Voter's Meeting-July 19, 2020



St. John Voter’s Meeting – July 19, 2020

1.            Council recommendation to approve budget for 2020/2021 in the amount of $195,290.

2.            Elmhurst Cemetery update

3.            Crossroads Consulting update

Opened with prayer.

33 people present.


Treasurer Jim Connolly presented the budget

St. John has resumed Sunday services and plan to continue moving ahead.

Not sure how Covid-19 will impact us.

CLUES wants to rent ball-field in addition to the rental of the garden property.

$500 per month through October for the garden.

Updates on the irrigation system were paid for by CLUES and will then be billed by St. John for the water used at the end of the growing season.

There is little change in expenses from the previous fiscal year. 

A Called Pastor salary was addressed which varies by the number of years as a minister – (plus health insurance can be an additional $20,000 a year).

Addressed lightning strike but all has been repaired ($25,000 in losses) - $3,500 increase to insurance budget.

Budget carried – A motion was made by Tom Koepsell, seconded by Alan Salchow, approved and carried by the members of St. John in the amount of $195,290.


Jim Connolly gave an Update on Elmhurst Cemetery

Talk about Jerry’s retirement and training Jay as his replacement. Jay took over as the Superintendent but has now left the position.

Jerry has now agreed to temporarily come back and help again after 44 years of service with Elmhurst.

It takes a unique individual to run a cemetery with many skills including diplomacy, and able to manage grieving families and emotions that arise during their time of loss and planning a burial.

Accounting background is needed and understanding of State Statutes/Payroll.

Accountant was hired to keep thing in order (at a cost of $2,000-$3,000 a year).

Revenues will be going down with less casket burials (no interment fee, no marker, etc.).

Property sales are down – more cremations are the norm.

Public assistance pays $750 for the individual.  Per Ramsey County the additional cost of a grave site now cannot be passed on to the family as was done in the past which reduces revenue. 

Capital improvements = $85,000-$100,000 primarily for maintenance on the cemetery roads.

600 plus grave plots are still available to sell/purchase.

Drainage and sewer line to Rice and Larpenteur discussed which may impact expansion of the cemetery.

A cost of $9,500 for tree removal after last winter 2019/2020.

Hard to find workers beyond the general maintenance of the property (they have to take breaks from the other tasks that need to be accomplished like simply cutting grass).

Insurance discussed.

Security issues – parties on the grounds – gun issues in the past years – neighbors complain to police about what is happening. BUT all has now been peaceful for the past two years!

No one living in the house on the property to watch and guard the cemetery.


Sell? There will be a discussion at the Elmhurst Board Meeting on Tuesday July 21st   as a possible option because  “the world is changing”.

Crown of Life is also included.  Jim Haberkorn is the President of the Board and is the contact person.

Meeting was then opened for questions and comments (nothing to document).

Non-binding vote was taken for board members to consider:

               Show of hands to sell – 10 men (including members of the council) raised their hands to sell.

               This gives Cemetery Board an indication on what St. John thinks.

Business Closed.

 Derek Meyer gave an update on Crossroads Consulting

Derek has evaluated our ministry at St. John and continues to work towards options for St. John.

Overview of Listening Sessions.

Next Wednesday and Sunday there will be Listening Sessions.

Phone call is option for those unable to attend.

Paper copy is also an option if so desired.


Tony Wimmer asked if there were any more questions and Closed the Meeting with a blessing.

“May the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)


Update On Elmhurst Cemetery

 Dear St John Members:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Hope you and yours continue to be safe and healthy during this time.  

I think you would agree with me that we are living in a changing world and uncertain times.  The only thing that we are certain of is that the Lord is in control and we have to have faith in Him.  It seems like we seem to be facing different challenges daily.  As many of you know, St John along with Crown of Life Lutheran Church owns Elmhurst Cemetery.  Originally, in 1858, Trinity Ev. Lutheran Church purchased property and started what is currently Elmhurst Cemetery.  When St John was started as a daughter congregation of Trinity, they sold ½ interest in the cemetery for $1.00.  That is how St. John became half owner of the cemetery.  In the past 18 months there have been various changes at the cemetery both within the operation and outside of the operation.  In December of 2019, Jerry Krieger who was the superintendent for the past 44 years, decided to retire.  Being the superintendent of a cemetery is not an easy job nor is it is easy to find someone that can fill the position.  First of all, as you may expect you have to be someone who can deal with many different emotions.  Each situation is different and you have to be able to react to whatever the situation is.  It is also someone who should have some knowledge of accounting because you have to prepare monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports as well as you have to prepare payrolls.  We have been very very fortunate to have had Jerry for all those years.  He did a great job of running the cemetery.  Jerry had informed the Board about a year before his retirement that he wanted to retire in December of 2018 and he was going to start looking for a replacement.  Training for this job requires an extensive training time frame before someone is up to speed.  When a replacement could not be found, he asked Jay Kemp who was the lead person in the yard crew and who had worked at Elmhurst for 8 years if he would be interested in being the superintendent.  When Jerry was gone or on vacation, Jay would come into the office so he was somewhat familiar with what needed to be done.  Jay agreed to take the superintendent’s job and has been doing it for the past 18 months.  In May he decided that it wasn’t for him and he unexpectedly resigned.  Fortunately, Jerry agreed to come back and run the cemetery but he made it clear that he didn’t want it to be long term.  The Board decided to have a special meeting to discuss what options we had.  We basically came down to two options.  We could try and find a superintendent to run the cemetery or we could pursue trying to sell it.  If we decide to find a superintendent to run it, there are some major decisions that have to been addressed going forward.  First of all, in the next couple of years, there are a couple of roads that will need to be replaced and that is expensive.  There are also some trees that have become diseased and will need to be removed and replaced.  Because of the age and size of the trees, the yard crew is not able to remove them because they don’t have the equipment required.  This too is expensive to do.  There is a section in the northeast part of the cemetery that can be developed for additional graves but this too will require a landscaping company to come in and develop the area.  

The cemetery is financially strong but the capital improvements that are needed will require a lot of resources.  One of the trends that we are seeing is that more and more people are opting for cremation instead of the traditional in-ground burial.  Probably the major reason for that is cost.  The cost of a niche at Elmhurst is about the same as a single grave lot for an in-ground burial but the rest of the traditional cost of a funeral has become expensive.  This can have an impact on revenues for the cemetery.  At the quarterly board meeting on July 19th, the Board decided to pursue the sale of the cemetery.  The time seemed right to do this.  With the development of the property that I had mentioned before, there would be approximately 650 graves available.  This would be a positive situation for someone who was looking to purchase the cemetery.  One of the major reasons that the Board decided not to pursue finding a new superintendent, was that in the next couple of years, there are 3 other superintendents of cemeteries that are going to retire and so they too are looking for replacements.  Selling the cemetery will require some time because before we can even think about putting it on the market, we will need to have a commercial real estate agent appraise it to see what it is worth.  I can assure you that it won’t be a fire sale or we are not going to give it away.  Also, there are state statutes that governs how a cemetery is run and requires reporting to make sure they are doing things correctly.  Any one who has purchases property at Elmhurst would continue to own that property just as they did when they purchased it.  Nothing would change.  The net proceeds from the sale would be split 50/50 between St. John and Crown of Life.   I know there may be some questions that you may have about this decision and what will happen.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

God’s Blessings

Jim Connolly


Friday, July 24, 2020

COVID 19 Update

On Wednesday, Governor Walz ordered that all residents of Minnesota are now required to wear face masks in all public places effective this Saturday.  St John will follow this mandate for all church services and meetings.  For any other activities where there is only 1 person performing work, it will not be required. Based on the language of the Order, it appears that members could still receive communion by temporarily removing their masks to receive communion and then putting their masks back on.
We will continue our other Covid-19 prevention procedures and masks are available to our members and guests.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Good Newsletter!

July 2020

A Gift to Enjoy
This year in our monthly articles we are considering favorite verses from the Bible.
This month’s favorite Bible verse is:  Romans 6:23
“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

My first paycheck.  $100! A ONE with two zeroes behind it! It didn’t matter that I spent a week pulling weeds with thistles in a 45-acre field. It didn’t matter that I sweltered under a hot July sun. It didn’t matter that I earned minimum wage. It had my name on it. I earned it.

There is another paycheck that I’m not so excited about. It comes in the form of guilt pricking my conscience far deeper than a thistle could ever penetrate my skin. Sometimes I see it when my temper flares hotter than the summer sun. I feel it when I know I should be more considerate, more caring, more loving toward others around me. So I work harder to do what’s right and try harder to do better than before, but still, it never seems to be enough. And it isn’t enough, because the Bible tells me the wages of my sin is death—and it’s your paycheck, too.

But, thank the Lord, the Bible also tells us that God is not going to give us what we have earned with our sins. Instead, he gives us something we have not earned—eternal life. It’s a gift that has been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus and earned by his death on the cross.

That takes all the pressure off, doesn’t it? Instead of the failures of our past, we can look to Jesus’ perfect life of love. Instead of the pressures of tomorrow, we can look to the promise of eternal life that is already won for us by Jesus’ dying and rising from the dead. As a result, life is not a burden, but a gift to enjoy always.

Upcoming Events at St. John:
Worship Services: Sunday 11:00 AM.
Adult Bible Study 10:00 AM.

Visit our website at
For more information or to unsubscribe go to or call us at 651-771-6406

Sunday, July 12, 2020

July 12 worship

You can watch this week's worship video here.

I will be gone the next two weeks.  Worship videos will still be posted on Youtube but you will not receive this email.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Note from Pastor Berg

I will be on vacation from July 13-27.  Pastor Dustin Sievert from SCL will preach on 
July 19.  Pastor Moua will preach on July 26.

For any emergencies requiring pastoral care

· call Pastor Al Schleusener from Mt. Olive in St Paul at  651-202-1924 from July 13-19

· call Pastor Jon Hackbarth from Salem in Woodbury at 651-894-2156 from July 20-27

Ministry Planning - Listening Sessions

This Sunday will be our first small group Listening Session, which is the next step in our ministry planning process. The Listening Sessions will be used to gather member input on our ministry options. 

Earlier this week, more detailed information was emailed and mailed to members, including an agenda of items that will be discussed. If you did not receive an email (check your spam/junk mail folder too) or a letter, or you’d like another copy, please email or call the church office.

We care deeply for your health and safety and are offering four different ways you can participate including two different in-person sessions on July 12th and 26th, a virtual meeting conference option on July 22nd, individually scheduled one-on-one phone calls, or a paper copy to fill out. We hope these options make it possible for every single member to participate and strongly encourage you to participate in one of the interactive options (in-person, virtual, or phone discussion).

This Sunday there will be a shortened worship service to accommodate the listening sessions after worship. In the session we’ll consider as we seek to grow the Kingdom of God: (1) What are the benefits (pros) and drawbacks (cons) of each option?, and (2) What open questions do you have about each option that would help in evaluating what is best for God’s Kingdom?

May God bless our efforts!

Ministry Planning Guiding Coalition

Ellen Mueller

Tamara Julian

Jill Abrahamson

Steve Ross

Derek Meyer

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Congregation Meeting

A voter's meeting will be held on July 19, 2020, following our church service in the sanctuary.
This will be an abbreviated meeting and the topics are budget approval and an update on moving forward with Crossroads Consulting.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Continuing Ministry Planning - Listening Sessions

With the state of Minnesota starting to lift restrictions, planning is underway to pick back up our ministry planning process. As we plan, we are keeping several core principles at heart:

  1. We recognize all good things come from God and ask Him to bless our efforts!

  2. Ministry planning is an urgent item. Souls are at stake and we should urgently pursue our ministry planning process.

  3. We care deeply for the safety of others. This means we will likely have to do things differently to ensure the safety of our members.

  4. Your involvement and contributions to this process are critical to the success of this process.

  5. We strive for a Kingdom mindset, expanding our sights to what is best for God’s family of believers while recognizing that God has a plan for the members of St. John.

Isaiah 49:6 “It is too small a thing for you to”... “bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”

1 Chronicles 16:11 “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”

With those principles in mind, we are in the midst of planning for Listening Sessions, the next step in our ministry planning process. Need a refresher on Ministry Planning? Refer to this blog post and other eNews posts (just search for “Ministry”). 

Listening Sessions are intended to gather a deeper level of member input on our ministry options. While we don’t have all the details yet, we wanted to share the information we have. Here is what we know today:

  • We will offer multiple ways to participate so you can choose the option you are most comfortable with (in-person, virtual, paper input, or one-on-one phone discussion)

  • We are targeting July to conduct the listening sessions.

  • Discussion items will be provided to members in advance so you know what will be discussed and to allow you to collect your thoughts. We’ll email it to members who have provided an email address and mail it to all others.

  • In-person sessions will be conducted after a shortened (30 min) worship service and will follow the same safety guidelines outlined in our Public Worship Safety Plan.

Look for more information in the coming days and weeks. Should you have any questions you can reach out to any member of the Ministry Planning Guiding Coalition (Ellen Mueller, Tamara Julian, Jill Abrahamson, Steve Ross, or Derek Meyer) or call the church office and Jan will direct your question to the right person.