December 2014

We wish God’s
blessings on you and your family
during this
Christmas season.
St. John’s staff

Welcome Interim Pastor Phil and Sue Blom!

We are pleased to announce that the Synod has assigned Pastor Phil Blom to be our Interim Pastor. Pastor Blom and his wife, Sue, currently reside in Neenah, Wisconsin. They were with us on November 23rd to lead worship and meet with the Church Council. Pastor Blom will officially begin his ministry here on December 14th.
In his 35 years of ordained ministry, Phil has served a rural four-point parish; an ecumenical Presbyterian/Lutheran parish; he was a pastor developer; he has served in medium and large churches; and in interim ministries.  Phil’s service also includes 28 years as a military chaplain in the USAF Reserves, teaching Core Values for Leadership at the U.S. Air Force Academy.  Phil has earned the nickname “Disaster Pastor.”  He personally endured the floods of ’97 in the Red River Valley; after 9/11 he was called to Washington, DC to serve as the Crisis Action Team Chaplain at the Pentagon; after Hurricane Katrina he served during the Gulf Coast recovery effort; followed by other disasters (the Duluth flood in 2012; tornado in New London, WI in 2013; Colorado flood in 2013; tornado in Washington, IL in 2013 and more). Phil’s hope is to bring “Good News in the midst of Bad News in the News.” Prior to retirement, Phil served the Healthy Leaders Initiative.  His motivation and inspiration came from 3 John 2 “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and you may have good health just as it is well with your soul.” Instead of being retired which means “tired twice” Phil prefers to say ReInspired (Inspired for what comes next). What comes next always includes Sue, his marriage partner of 39 years, and their two grandchildren (their parents too) living in Galesburg, IL. We look forward to serving with you, Pastor Blom!

Calling All Angels!

We invite you to come to the church library any time before December 14th to see the return of the Angel Tree. Once again, you can help brighten the lives of residents in the Mendota Lutheran Home and Heritage Health with gifts listed on the Angel Tree tags. Items needed include unscented lotion, name-brand tissues (they’re softer!), Shower-to-Shower powder, plain envelopes, stamps, soft candy (regular and sugar-free), microwave popcorn, large-print word search books, men’s and women’s socks, adult XL sweatshirts, all-occasion cards, and memo pads. Instructions can be found by the Tree. Please bring your unwrapped items to the large box in the Fellowship Hall marked “Angel Tree” before December 14th. And then count yourself as a Christmas angel!

St. John's is continuing its Mission Work Days.  

The primary activity of the group is making quilts for Lutheran World Relief (LWR). The group is on target to complete 200 quilts in 2014. There are many steps that go into completing a quilt; not all steps involve actual sewing: Quilt Assemblers - put the three parts of the quilt together and pin the edges for stitching (3 layers = top, filler, bottom); Tiers - "quilt" by making yarn ties on the quilt which secure the three layers together; Sewing Ladies - sew/stitch around the edges to finish the quilt; Cut Ups - cut material into squares for those who sew the quilt tops; Kit Organizers - takes the cut squares and organize the squares into a "kit" which contains enough squares for making one quilt top.  The squares are organized by rows (8 rows with 6 squares per row) and placed in a ziploc bag.
Mission Work Days are scheduled for the 4th Tuesday of every month.  The next Work Day is December 23rd, from 9am - Noon in the Parish Hall.  Look over the list of activities that are of interest to you and then join us for fellowship as we continue to make quilts for LWR. If you are not able to come to the church for the Work Day but would like to contribute to the projects and sew a top at home, the quilt top kits can be found in the brown cabinets in the north end of the Parish Hall.  Completed quilt tops can be returned to this cabinet. If you have any questions, please contact Fran Pinter.
Thank you for your continued support of Mission Work Days at St. John's.  GOD'S WORK, OUR HANDS

Christmas Eve Cantata

Our choir and praise band are joining voices to present a Christmas Eve Cantata for 5pm worship on December 24th.
Anyone interested in singing with us is invited to attend practices on Tuesday evenings in December, beginning December 2nd at 6:30pm. We’d love to have you join us for this very special event! If you have any questions, please speak to James Younger or Susan Garner.

A Message from Church Council

St. John’s Church Council and Finance Team would like to make you aware that we are operating at a deficit for this year.  The main issue is our offerings have not met our budgeted goal.  We would like to ask you to consider helping us make up this deficit so that we can end the year on a positive note. Your financial contributions support many worthwhile ministries within and outside our walls.

Christmas Season Schedule

December 20 - NO Saturday worship

December 21 - 10:30am worship ONLY

December 24 - 5pm Christmas Cantata

December 24 - 10pm Candlelight service

December 27 - NO Saturday worship

December 28 - 9am worship ONLY

January 3 - NO Saturday worship

January 4 - 9am worship ONLY

Many Hands Make Light Work!

We are assembling a crew of people to help move furnishings from the church into the parsonage on Monday, December 8th at 9am and/or 4pm (weather permitting). If you are available to help, please contact the church office. Pastor Phil and Sue Blom will be moving to Mendota on Tuesday, December 9th and we would like to have the parsonage all set up for them.
Additionally, if you are able to donate or loan any of the following items, please contact the office: 2 full-size mattresses; 2 full-size bed linens (sheet set, comforter); 1 king-size bed frame; 1 king-size blankets and comforter; new bed pillows (approx. 6); assorted lamps (desk lamps, floor lamps, table lamps, etc.); assorted rugs (doorway/entry, kitchen, bathroom, etc.); occasional tables; dresser/chest of drawers; buffet table/credenza; toaster; coffee maker. Thank you!

St. John’s Youth News

"Growing Together in our Faith as We Serve Others"

Confirmation Class News & Information
Several of our Confirmation students (and some friends) had a great time together at Sky High Sports recently! Thank you to Susan Ambler, Steve Brown, and Laura Glazebrook for helping transport and supervise our kids.
The 7th and 8th grade Confirmation students continue to meet in the Fellowship Hall every other Wednesday evening for Bible study, service work, fellowship, food and fun. On December 3rd we will meet from 4pm to 8pm (come when you are available) to do some of the preliminary work for the upcoming Spaghetti Dinner. Our high school students and any parents are encouraged to join us!
Please turn in your Confirmation Camp registration form by January 18th. The non-refundable deposit of $100.00 is due March 8th. Camp is set for June 14th to 19th.

We are excited to announce that we have 13 youth signed up and looking forward to serving with YouthWorks in St. Louis, Missouri from July 19th to July 24th. Please keep our students Brady Bonnell, Grace Brandner, Amy Devitt, Jared Fritz, Joey Meyer, Cameron Schumacher, Brock Sutton, Gillian Sutton, Jacquelynn Wendel, Bethany Wohrley, Katherine Wohrley, Melissa Wohrley, and Mark Zimmerman and the St. Louis community in your prayers.

Annual Spaghetti Dinner
Our annual Spaghetti Dinner will be held on Sunday, December 7th from 4pm to 7pm. We are preparing a delicious dinner of spaghetti with meat sauce, breadsticks, salad, and dessert. Our junior high and high school students are looking forward to serving you at your table again this year. Please invite your family and friends to join you for this freewill offering meal. All proceeds will go to support our 2015 Mission Trip to St. Louis. The MHS Madrigals are unable to join us this year, but we hope you will support them at their performances at MHS on December 6th and 7th.

Mrs. Claus Bake Sale
We will be participating in the Mrs. Claus Bake Sale on Saturday, December 20th beginning at 9am at Midland Bank. All 5th-12th graders are invited to a cookie baking day on Friday, December 19th at 2pm in Norma’s Kitchen.

The Sunday School Christmas Program
“Hear Ye, Hear Ye, A Child Is Born” will take place on Sunday, December 21st during the 10:30am worship service and will include students from our youngest preschool class through sixth grade.  Some of our High School students will also be involved.  If any of the 7th or 8th grade Confirmation students wish to participate or help out with the program, there are positions available. Contact James Younger (( if you have any questions.

We will be rehearsing the program only during the Sunday School Opening and the Sunday School Hour. Therefore, it is very important that your child attends Sunday School these next few weeks leading up to the program so they are able to practice. The younger students will not be wearing costumes for the Christmas program. They are welcome to wear their regular Sunday School attire, or can “dress up” in their holiday clothes if you wish. Following the program, we will all gather in the parish hall for a light lunch and cookies. If you would like to donate cookies for the Christmas program reception, please let the office know that you will be bringing them to the kitchen at 9:15am or earlier on December 21st.

The Sunday School teachers will be giving to the Mendota Food Pantry again this year rather than buying gifts for their students. We would like to suggest that our students do the same. There will be collection boxes and a shopping cart located throughout the church to put your canned/boxed food items in during this Christmas season of giving.

© St. John's Lutheran Church, Mendota, Illinois  (815) 539-5626