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 648-8033
Principal Steven J. Gartner 479-200-6626
Principal James Grasby LLHS 648-2321
“And she gave birth to her first born, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and place him in a manger.” Luke 2:7; “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
Did you ever notice how things settle down around the house when the baby is asleep in the crib? The door slams shut and the pushing and shoving to get to the afternoon snack first sounds like a noisy battle as the older kids come running into the house after playing outside. Dad hollers up from the basement for someone to turn the light back on that mom turned off because she forgot that he had finally gone down to fix the leaky washing machine hose. All the noise could wake the dead, and so mom has to tell everyone, “Quiet, please. The baby is sleeping.” And then what happens? The house quiets down as everyone settles down. A sleeping baby has a way of slowing down, settling down life that can be busy and noisy.
Did you ever stop to think that that is what the baby Jesus does? As we enter the month of December and anticipate all the activities this busy time of the year demands of us, there is a place that can bring quiet and peace, not just to our busy schedules but also to our hearts. It’s the manger where the baby Jesus was sleeping. As we see him lying and resting in the manger, we know why he came. He came to bring peace on earth, good will to men. It’s not the peace that the world gives, but peace with God through the forgiveness of sins. Only the good news that our sins are wiped away from our record can bring real rest to our souls and quiet our accusing conscience. Only through that forgiveness can we look forward to the eternal rest and peace of heaven. Only the baby Jesus can bring that kind of peace and quiet to your heart and home.
During this month of December we will have many opportunities to gather at the manger and receive the peace and quiet only the baby Jesus can give. It starts with the midweek Advent services. It continues on with Advent by Candlelight and the children’s Christmas services on Sunday, December 15th. And then on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we will celebrate the great miracle of our Savior’s incarnation as we join in singing,
“Away in a manger no crib for his bed,
the little the Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky look down where he lay.
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.”
Oh, by the way, “Quiet. The baby is asleep!”
May you have a quiet and restful Christmas celebration in the Holy Christ child!
Serving You with Pastor Rath,
QUARTERLY VOTERS’ MEETING
St. Paul voters met on November 3 for the fall quarterly meeting. A Task Force has been formed as we look to adding to the church staffing. Its current work is matching gifts with needs in order to prepare job descriptions and accountability structure. Pastor Elton Stroh of Crossroads Consulting Ministry is assisting the group.
The School Board has approved a school wish list. Technology study is underway. Enrollment is 168 in K-8, with 43 in early childhood programs. Sunday school attendance has averaged 50, with 15-20 teens meeting fro Bible classes. Auxiliary/Services board is conducting a clothing drive for the Thorman family. Third quarter attendance dropped to an average of 479 per week. The treasurer reported that offerings were 14% behind budget in the opening quarter of the fiscal year, which leaves us behind on our commitments to WELS and Lakeside. The mortgage stands at $ 2,484,768. With sadness the assembly voted to remove eight members who have been absent from worship for several years and would not meet with the elders. Membership now stands at 1583 souls, 1227 communicants.
The Lakeside report announced the upcoming retirement of Dr. Dennis Gulczynski, hosting of the national choral fest, a strategic planning initiative and $2.9 million balance remaining on the building debt. WELS report noted dedication of the new Early Childhood facility at Martin Luther College and the 150th anniversary services at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.
The pastors meet monthly with the other pastors of our Lakeside Circuit. At each meeting one of the pastors presents a sermon study and the other study for this year is the Formula of Concord, one of the Lutheran confessional writings. Your pastors welcome you to take advantage of the book signing of Behold I Am Coming Soon on December 4 along with Jon Meyer. They look forward to the next Pastor’s Day at Lakeside on December 5. Reviewing leadership studies with the Task Force consultant is another ongoing activity.
As the new church year begins with the Advent season we hold midweek services on December 4, 11 and 18. Service times are 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Theme for these services, as well as the four Sundays of Advent, is Behold I Am Coming Soon, considering several texts from the book of Revelation.
A light supper is served in the school gym from 4:30-6 p.m., with a freewill offering to cover expenses.
St. Paul Mission Society holds its Christmas meeting on Monday, December 2 at 7 p.m. in the school library. Come for Christmas readings and carols and enjoy fellowship. Bring an appetizer to share.
LADIES OF ST. PAUL
The Ladies of St. Paul meet on Tuesday, December 3 at 9:30 a.m. at the apartment of Marie Burrow, 203 South Oak Street. Come for fellowship and Bible study.
We celebrate the birth of Jesus with several special services. The Children’s Christmas Service is Sunday, December 15 at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. Students of St. Paul’s School participate. The 3K and 4K children take part only in the 10:30 a.m. service. Both services are in the gymnasium. Please note the later time of the early service. Christmas Eve services are at 3:00, 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24. The Sunday School children participate in the 3 p.m. service. Christmas Festival services are on Wednesday, December 25 at 8:00 and 9:30 a.m.
New Year’s Eve services are Tuesday, December 31 at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m.
Wisconsin Lutheran College
Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary
3:00 & 7 PM
Lakeside Lutheran High School
Luther Preparatory School
Several years ago Pastors McKenney and Rath, along with Jon Meyer, then our staff minister, prepared devotions for the Advent season based on the book of Revelation. Northwestern Publishing House has recently edited and published them as the book Behold I Am Coming Soon. Copies have been made available and purchased by many of our members (cost is $ 8). We have invited Pastor Jon Meyer to preach for the December 4 Advent services. After each service the three authors will be available for signing your copy of the book if you so desire.
Watch your mail for the Christmas card from the congregation (signed by the pastors). For the last several years students at St. Paul’s School in grades 7-8 have prepared designs. The card chosen this year was designed by seventh grader Hannah Tucek. Thank you for your creativity!
The past two years many of our families have put up yard signs announcing the birth of our Savior. Be sure to do so again if yours is in good condition. We will have some more available in mid-December. They may remain up for 30 days according to local ordinances.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!
This month it is our privilege to introduce M/M Justin Grant and family and M/M Dan Plitzuweit and family. Welcome to St. Paul!
JUSTIN and KIMBERLY GRANT both grew up in Beaver Dam. They attended Moraine Park Technical College, she in the administrative assistant program and he studying electrical power distribution. Justin now works for the City of Lake Mills as an electrical lineman. Kimberly is a homemaker. Daughter MORGAN is age 4 and son NOLAN will soon turn 2. Favorite pastimes have included the outdoors and hunting, but now focus on family activities.
DAN PLITZUWEIT is a Watertown native, while REBECCA was from Lake Mills. Both attended MATC, where she studied marketing and he received a degree as a funeral director, which is his occupation. Rebecca is a homemaker. Daughter KAITLYN is a sophomore at Lake Mills High, AVA is age 5 and attends kindergarten at Prospect School, and ELIZA is in 3K at St. Paul’s. The family enjoys watching basketball, both on the college level and locally.
WITH THE LORD
SOPHIE GRUENENWALD departed this life on October 30 at the age of 99. Her funeral was November 1.
LEROY PIERCE entered life eternal on November 19, at the age of 70. His funeral was November 22.
NORMA NELSON passed away on November 23, at the age of 77. Her funeral was November 27.
May God bring comfort to their families through his Word.
Congratulations to our couples who are celebrating special anniversaries (multiples of 5 years) this month. May God continue to bless you and all our couples!
Mike & Monica Ponyicsanyi December 7 25 years
Larry & Karen Hafenstein December 8 40 years
Mike & Norma Garman December 14 50 years
Vernon & Melody Wolff December 15 45 years
With thankful hearts we bring our offerings for the Lord’s work. Amounts received for the general operating budget in recent weeks are listed below. The average weekly needs are $20,277.
Also received during those weeks were amounts of $12,309 for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings), $480 for the Improvement Fund, $375 for Mission Festival, $606 for Tuition Assistance, $1,244 for the Lakeside mortgage, $41 for Wisconsin Lutheran Child & Family Service, and $32 for Camp Phillip.
We acknowledge with gratitude several recent memorial gifts, all for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings).
In memory of CAROL GRONERT, $10.
In memory of SOPHIE GRUENENWALD, $30.
In memory of DAVID KASSUBE (brother of Sharon Guenterberg), $25.
In memory of MARIAN MANSKE, $105.
In memory of JOHN OURADNIK (father of Lonnie Schmidt), $10.
LAKESIDE LADIES’ GUILD
The Lakeside Ladies’ Guild will meet on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. The Lakeside Swing Choir will entertain. This is a special meeting since it is the final gathering of the Guild members as the group will dissolve the organization as of December 31, 2013 with all records and assets to be turned over to Lakeside Lutheran High School. Please join us for a time of fellowship, sharing memories and thanking our dear Lord for all the blessings received during the 56 years the organization served Lakeside Lutheran High School.
SEND ONE SISTER – LWMS CONVENTION
The Capitol Circuit of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society will help send one first time attendee to the 2014 International LWMS Convention, to be held next June in Dallas, Texas. If you are interested, contact Ginny Glock for a form. The delegate supported is asked to provide a short report at the fall rally in October.
ROC ANNIVERSARY OPEN HOUSE
Watertown’s Recreation & Outreach Center for Youth (213 N. 3rd Street, Watertown WI) will hold an open house in celebration of its tenth anniversary on Sunday, December 8th, 12:00 - 3:00 P.M. If you wish to provide refreshments for the open house, please call Sue Mueller at 920-206-9581. Members of our churches who are accomplished musicians and/or singers are also invited to call Pastor Mueller (206-9581, email@example.com) to be a part of the entertainment.
Abiding Word, the Christian book store in Watertown, is offering holiday specials: 20% off Christmas gifts during December; buy 3 cards and the fourth one is free; spend $20 and get coupons and entry into a drawing for a gift certificate.
REFORMATION LANDS TOUR
Here is the announcement corrected from last month:
You are invited to join a Sept 1, 2014, 10 day tour of Germany which will highlight the places of the Reformation which celebrates its 500th Anniversary in 2017. Beat the crowds and maybe the prices by going now. In addition to the places of the Reformation (Eisleben, Eisenach, Erfurt, Wartburg, Worms and Wittenberg) you will also visit Munich, Oberammergau, Rothenburg, Berlin and more. The tour will be hosted by retired pastor Eugene Kock who will be making his 9th tour there. For more information, contact mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 608 318 1079. Large discounts for early enrollment.
TAKING GOD AT HIS WORD
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 17th installment.
Institutional or Personal?
Why do you suppose it is that churches are often crying for money? Is it because God hasn’t given our people earthly possessions in the amounts they need to survive in addition to maintaining God’s work through the church? Surely there’s not a man among us who’d want to say that. Is the reason why the church seems perpetually short of funds that it’s been trying to do too much? That explanation seems awfully unconvincing when one compares what our congregation is doing with what, say, Park Street Church in Boston does each year. Park Street, a Presbyterian church with a little over 2000 members, supports 65 world missionaries by itself. Let no one argue that operating deficits and budget shortfalls in our congregations, conferences, districts, and synod result from trying to do too much – to shoot for the moon.
What, then, is the reason why churches are constantly crying for cash? The crux of the problem is the clash between our Old Man and our New Man.
The Old Man/The New Man
The Old Man is greedy, covetous, idolatrous, envious, this-world-minded, self-centered, materialistic, more concerned about getting than giving, selfish, and desirous of self-glory. Whatever motivates the non-Christian to be a careful manager of his time, his abilities, his money also motivates the Old Man of the Christian.
The New Man is generous, content, satisfied, spiritual-minded, God-centered, more concerned about giving than getting, desirous of God’s glory, rather than self-glory. Growth in sanctification, hence also in Christian stewardship, occurs as the New Man gains ascendancy over the Old Man. Such growth is effected through a proper use of law and gospel.
The law can never, with all its commands, threats, and promises, produce a single good work. The Old Man can only be put to death, not reformed (Valleskey, The Theology and Practice of Stewardship, 1993).