St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church and School

1530 South Main Street, Lake Mills, Wisconsin 53551

St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church Newsletter
1530 S. Main Street 
Lake Mills, Wisconsin 53551
Pastor Bruce A. McKenney   920-988-9500
Pastor James E. Rath  920-648-8033
Pastor Douglas C. Tomhave 920-723-9806
Principal Steven J. Gartner  479-200-6626
Church-648-2235; School–648-2918
Principal James Grasby LLHS 648-2321 

JULY 2015

Dear Friends in Christ,

            What national holiday will we be celebrating this month?  It’s  the 4th of July, of course!  It’s a holiday to which we look forward because it means time off from work, parades, fire works, picnics, and family gatherings.  We look forward to it even more when it falls on a Friday or Monday because that means there will be a longer “4th of July” weekend.
            But the midsummer national holiday wasn’t always called the 4th of July.  In fact, I don’t even believe that that is the official name.  It’s really called  “Independence Day,” because on July 4th, 1776 our founding fathers signed the “Declaration of Independence.”  Ever since that day we have not only celebrated independence from England but also precious freedoms articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The most precious freedom of all, of course, is the freedom of religion.
            As important as our national independence is and the celebration of it, there is another independence that is even more important and whose celebration will be even grander.  It’s the “independence day” about which Paul wrote in Romans 8:18-21: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought in to the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
Ever since the fall into sin, man, animal, and nature itself have been subjected to sin’s consequences such as death and decay.  But one day, there will be total freedom from all that. That will happen on the last day when Jesus comes back.  On that day Christ will free us from the grave and from all the sufferings that we endure in this life.  Even nature looks forward to that day because it too will be liberated as Jesus ushers in the new heavens and the new earth.  In that perfect paradise there will be no more sin, suffering, death or decay.  It will all be gone.  When that happens, we will enjoy a celebration that will be far more glorious than any 4th of July fireworks display in the sky.  Our hearts will be pounding with more joy and excitement than any earthly parade could cause as we ourselves march through the gates of heaven!  There, the family gathering and food will be better than any 4th of July picnic, too.  In heaven we will be with Jesus and with all believers enjoying the wedding supper of the Lamb. 
            May God bless us as we celebrate our earthly freedom this Independence Day.  May the freedoms we enjoy and celebrate be preserved for us and for future generations to come!  But more importantly, may God continue to bless our faith in Jesus through whom we look forward to the greatest Independence Day of all—the day we get to go to heaven.

Serving You in Christ,

Pastor Bruce McKenney

The summer months are disappearing fast. As pastors, we are meeting weekly to help plan for the fast approaching fall and upcoming school year. We will set up our Sunday morning curriculum of Bible Studies, midweek classes, Bible Information classes and a calendar rotation for confirmation classes. As the new pastor, I am asking a lot of questions and slowly getting up to speed on everything that is happening here at St. Paul and together we are hoping to offer more into the future.
On a personal note, my family and myself would like to offer a heartfelt “thank you” to more than we could list here at St. Paul. We hope to be moving into our new home in early July. So many gifts of labor, talents, supplies and donations have gone into our new home from several members - it is truly humbling. Also, thank you so much for your smiles, hand shakes, conversations and well wishes each week. Our whole family feels truly welcomed here. God is so very good! Have a blessed 4th of July celebration and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Serving the Savior together,
Your Pastoral Staff

St. Paul’s church picnic will be held on Sunday, August 2. The outdoor worship service is at 10:00 am. We would like to arrange some special instrumental music for that service.

We are looking for instrumentalists (band/orchestra) to form an ensemble that will accompany the service. The music is in hymn-form and not difficult to play. Experienced youth, high school, and adults are encouraged to sign up. Here is your opportunity to get out your band instrument and play again!

If you are willing to get on the “band wagon,” please sign up on the sheet in the lobby and indicate which instrument you play. You can also email (loismckenney@gmail.com) or call/text (920-988-0177) to sign up. You will find music in folders on the sign-up table in the lobby.

            Band practices will be held between services (9:05-9:55) on Sundays, July 12 and 19 in the gym and at 9:05 am before the service begins on August 2.  If you have any questions, please speak with Mrs. McKenney (920-988-0177).

The budget for fiscal year 2015-16 was the major item of business for the voters’ meeting held June 10.  Approval was given to move toward the synod schedule for the salaries of our called workers.  A few years ago that schedule began to include a housing allowance.  While our previous salary code was set to provide some consideration for housing costs, we had fallen behind by a significant amount, which was a concern for the district president when providing graduate assignments.  The new budget increases salaries to provide 50% of the recommended housing amount with the intent to reach the full amount by 2018.  In making the change the motion was approved that no worker would receive less than a 2% increase in total compensation in this budget.  The budget was then adopted.  It seeks an increase of offerings of at least 8%.

Also approved at the meeting was a principal payment of $80,000 on the mortgage, using $70,000 from the Mortgage Fund (from Stolzman house sale) and $10,000 from Directed School memorials and payment from Directed Church Memorials of moving and installation expenses for Pastor Tomhave (beyond what had been offered in the special offering envelope).

Church council members reported on the work of their boards.  The Elders report noted 25 contacts with people absent from worship. The financial report noted that our Bountiful Blessings offerings for the building mortgage are falling short by $2000-$3000 monthly.  A third envelope will be included each month in our offering packet.  The envelope for the Lakeside mortgage will be discontinued as their new Ministry Partnership program includes debt reduction.  Information on that program is available in the kiosk in the lobby.  The Worship Board continues with usher recruitment and training.  The Stewardship Board will present a time and talent focus in August.  Parish Education noted preparations for Vacation Bible School, to be held August 3-7.

Mr. Kyle Seim, seventh grade teacher and athletic director for St. Paul’s School, has received a call to teach in the middle grades of St. Marcus Lutheran School in Milwaukee.  We pray that the Lord will lead him to a decision about where he can best serve.

WELS Night at the Brewers is Friday, August 14 (7:10 p.m. game time).  While you may order tickets individually, placing a group order (20 minimum) eliminates the handling charges and lists our congregation on the scoreboard.  We will conduct a sign up through July 15.  Ticket prices:  field outfield box $21, loge outfield box $17, terrace reserved $9.

We join in praising God for blessings received with these couples who are celebrating special wedding anniversaries (multiples of 5 years) this month.  We ask for his continued blessings on all of our families.

Jeffrey & Sally Davis

July 12

35 years

Michael & Carrie Struck

July 13

25 years

Arvid & Bonnie Pufahl  

July 19

40 Years

Matthew & Jill Doering

July 22

20 Years

Jason & Jennifer Wensel

July 29

15 Years

This month it is our privilege to introduce EMILY SCHMIDT.  Although born in Portland, Oregon, she grew up in Wisconsin, mostly in Lake Mills.  She graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a degree in psychology and works as director of business affairs for MK Cellular.  Emily was recently married to ANDREW.  She enjoys sports.  Welcome back to our family of faith!

We continually rejoice in God’s blessings in our individual lives and as a congregation.  Among the evidences of his goodness to St. Paul is the support of our members in carrying out his work.  Offerings for the operating budget in recent weeks are listed below.  The May 31 figure includes electronic gifts received in the month of May.  Average weekly needs of the current budget are $19,760.

May 31

$ 20,253

June 7

$ 15,234

June 14

$ 18,347

June 21

$ 16,748

Also received during those weeks were gifts of $8,138 for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings), $341 for the Improvement Fund, $1,455 for the special Thankoffering, $2,068 for the Lakeside mortgage and $235 for Wisconsin Lutheran Child and Family Service.

We acknowledge with gratitude these recent special gifts for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings):

In honor of the 56th wedding anniversary of RON & CAROLYN KOENIG, $56
In honor of the 50th anniversary wedding anniversary of DEAN & CAROL SCHNEIDER, $50
In honor of the 47th anniversary of STEVE & BONNIE SPENCER, $1000
In honor of the 90th birthday of RUTH WOLLENBURG, $10

The local chapter of OWLS invites members and guests to their annual picnic on Tuesday, July 21 at 12:00 noon. Come to Watertown's Aero Park at 907 Boomer Street. Bring a dish to pass, your tableware and beverage. Brats, hamburgers and buns will be provided.    The Organization of WELS Seniors (OWLS) provides meaningful activity for those retired and/or 50 years and older. Come enjoy opportunities for spiritual growth and fellowship with other WELS and ELS Seniors.

Lakeside Lutheran is currently seeking applicants for 2 part-time permanent positions: one is a food service position during the school year. Qualified candidates need to be able to stand for extended periods of time, lift 40 lbs., pass a background check, work as a team member and be willing to complete training hours required by USDA. The second position is for a Maintenance Assistant. Successful candidate will assist our maintenance department with building and grounds maintenance for 20 hours per week, approximately 10 am to 2 pm, with some flexibility. Download a fillable application for either position at:
www.llhs.org/about_llhs/information.html and e-mail completed form to grundman@llhs.org, or pick-up/drop off an application at LLHS offices weekdays from 10am-2pm (office is closed 6/29-7/10).

In this month’s newsletter and subsequent issues, the Stewardship Board wanted to share excerpts of a paper they are studying.  It was written by Professor Emeritus John Jeske.  Its purpose is to remind God’s people that Christian stewardship is all about taking God at his Word.  We hope you enjoy the 37th installment.

Your Personal Righteousness:  Active or Passive?

It’s not easy to help people see God’s biblical stewardship plan in a world where the Enemy’s attacks are so persistent.  Luther speaks of how Satan introduces himself into our minds as “the white devil.”  He is not immediately ugly or threatening, but ever so attractive and comfortable and logical.  And all the while so vicious, that, if it were possible, the very elect would be deceived.

Therefore I admonish you, especially those of you who are to become instructors of consciences, as well as each of you individually, that you exercise yourselves by means of study, by reading, by meditation, and by prayer, so that in temptation you will be able to instruct consciences, both your own and others, console them, and take them from the law to grace, from active righteousness to passive righteousness, in short, from Moses to Christ.  In affliction and in the conflict of conscience it is the devil’s habit to frighten us with the law and to set against us the consciousness of sin, our wicked past, the wrath and judgment of God, hell and eternal death, so that thus he may drive us into despair, subject us to himself, and pluck us from Christ.  It is also his habit to set against us those passages in which Christ himself requires works from us and with plain words threatens damnation to those who do not perform them.  If here we cannot distinguish between these two kinds of righteousness; if here by faith we do not take hold of Christ, who is sitting at the right hand of God, who is our life and our righteousness, and who makes intercession for us miserable sinners before the Father (He 7:25), then we are under the law and not under grace, and Christ is no longer a Savior.  Then He is a lawgiver.  Then there can be no salvation left, but sure despair and eternal death will follow.

Therefore let us learn diligently this art of distinguishing between these two kinds of righteousness, in order that we may know how far we should obey the law.  We have said above that in a Christian the law must not exceed its limits but should have its dominion only over the flesh, which is subjected to it and remains under it.  When this is the case, the law remains within its limits.

But if it wants to ascend into the conscience and exert its rule there, see to it that you are a good dialectician and that you make the correct distinction.  Give no more to the law than it has coming, and say to it:  “Law, you want to ascend into the realm of conscience and rule there.  You want to denounce its sin and take away the joy of my heart, which I have through faith in Christ.  You want to plunge me into despair, in order that I may perish.  You are exceeding your jurisdiction.  Stay within your limits, and exercise your dominion over the flesh.  You shall not touch my conscience.  For I am baptized; and through the gospel I have been called to a fellowship of righteousness and eternal life, to the kingdom of Christ, in which my conscience is at peace, where there is no law but only the forgiveness of sin, peace, quiet, happiness, salvation, and eternal life.  Do not disturb me in these matters.  In my conscience not the law will reign, that hard tyrant and cruel disciplinarian, but Christ, the Son of God, the King of Peace and Righteousness, the sweet Savior and Mediator.  He will preserve my conscience happy and peaceful in the sound and pure doctrine of the gospel and in the knowledge of this passive righteousness.”

When I have this righteousness within me, I descend from heaven like the rain that makes the earth fertile.  That is, I come forth into another kingdom, and I perform good works whenever the opportunity arises (Luther’s Works: Vol 26, Galatians. 1535, pp 10,11).