From the Pastor...
“When can we reopen?” That question is on everyone’s mind. Before President Trump last week ordered churches to begin public worship, our council (wisely, I think) voted to continue online worship at least until June 18th, the date of the next council meeting. Right now, however, we have no date certain to share with you.
We have considered some ideas for what worship will look like when we do come back together:
* We may try to worship outside, if the weather cooperates. Outdoors, with the proper physical distancing, minimizes the danger of infection.
* We will probably continue to offer our services in some sort of virtual form even when we can gather again. We know some of our people may be reluctant to be in a group as long as this pandemic remains even a minimal threat.
* We may schedule multiple services so that we can maintain smaller gatherings.
These are only a few considerations among many. Please be assured that your council and I will do everything in our power to care for you and for our neighbors. Believe me, I know that worship in front of a digital device is less than satisfying. But I also know that God hears and understands. Meanwhile, stay safe.
Grace and peace! Pastor Steve Mindrup
An Update from our Seminary Graduate, Maria Bonine!
By the Grace of God and the help of St. John's, I made it! On Sunday, May 17th , I graduated from Wartburg Theological Seminary – virtually, from the comfort of my living room through Zoom. (I know some of you attended. THANK YOU!) Naturally, the question of 'what next?' has been at the heart of my thoughts and conversations. The best way for me to describe this time period is "in the holding tank."
I have begun the interview process, and I am in conversation with a congregation in Southern Illinois. With the pandemic crisis, the process is not able to move at the pace the congregation or I would prefer, thus "the holding tank." Not being able to meet in person creates a whole new level of exercising faith, while waiting to take the next step. When the time does arrive for a church to extend a call to me, I will discern if it is the right call for me. After being offered and accepting a call, ordination will follow. I am hopeful that this special service will be able to take place at St. John's. The timeline is uncertain. In the meantime, being in "the holding tank", allows me time to rest and plan for the future.
I am where I am right now because of the church. Each of you has played an essential part of my faith formation as a beloved child of God and as one called to the ministry of Word and Sacrament. Your encouragement and support made it possible for me to discern God's call, accept that call, and journey the path to seminary. Your prayers, cards, and financial support sustained me for four years of intense study and travel to and from seminary commitments.
As I continue to be in awe of the beloved people of St. John’s, I give thanks to God for your faithfulness. I trust that while I wait in “the holding tank” God continues to be at work in my preparing me for first call and is preparing the community I will serve.
In Christ, Maria Bonine
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