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 920-397-8043
Principal James Grasby LLHS 648-2321
“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him (Jesus) receives forgiveness through his name.” Acts 10:43
Dear Friends at St. Paul and Heirs of the Reformation,
Every time we enter a new year, there is something exciting about it as we think about the prospects of what the year will be or what the year will bring. Sometimes we look forward to the New Year because we are celebrating something special in it—a golden birthday; a graduation; a wedding; the birth of a child; a silver or golden wedding anniversary; a retirement. This year, 2017, will be special for all of us as Lutheran Christians. Of all the generations that have gone before us or will come after us, we will be part of the generation that will be able to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation!
Do you remember what the Reformation was all about? It had to do with the life and work of a man named Martin Luther who lived in the 1500’s. Although Martin Luther was a mighty servant of God’s Word and the human instrument God used to bring about the Reformation, it is not primarily a celebration of a man. Although the events of the Reformation had a great impact on world events, it is not a celebration of a social movement. Although Germany was the land of the Reformation and many of us have German roots, it is not a celebration of any one nationality. What the Reformation was all about is the forgiveness of sins!
Why would I say that? Recall that on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the castle church door in Wittenberg calling for discussion and debate about the church selling indulgences. Indulgences were a piece of paper that one could purchase and which the church said gave forgiveness of sins or relief from punishment for sin after death. But Luther opposed the sale of indulgences because he found nothing in the Scriptures that taught such a thing. What the Bible teaches is this: God declared all sinners forgiven on the basis of Jesus’ death on the cross and God gives that forgiveness as a free gift to all who believe it. What Luther learned and taught about the forgiveness of sins is the same thing the Apostle Peter proclaimed in the book of Acts: “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him (Jesus) receives forgiveness through his name.” Think of what that means for us in this New Year! Every time we sin against our God and one another in the coming months, and we will surely do that, God’s forgiveness will be there! And should this year be our last on earth, it will be our first in heaven. So you see, it’s all about the forgiveness of sins—our Reformation celebration, our peace with God, and our hope for heaven!
Happy Reformation Anniversary,
Pastor Bruce McKenney
Your pastors and their families express sincere appreciation for the warm greetings and generous gifts received during the Christmas season. We look forward to our exciting work together in the New Year and ask for your prayers as we serve you with the message of Jesus.
Because our call for a fourth grade teacher was declined, a special voters’ meeting will be held on Sunday, January 8 at 9:15 a.m. to extend another call.
In preparation for our annual meeting we produce an Annual Report containing statistics of the past year and summaries of activities by the boards of the church council and other groups. We ask for reports to be submitted to Pastor Rath by January 17.
A Facilities Study Committee has been appointed to look at space needs for our programs. You have been receiving some messages from them called “Fascinating Facts… Did You Know?”” Have we reached the point that it is necessary to expand? What are the immediate and long-term needs? An open forum to discuss findings and recommendations will be held on Sunday, January 22 at 9:15 a.m. Everyone is welcome to participate.
The annual voters’ meeting will be held on Sunday, January 29 at 11:30 a.m. Elections of several church council and board positions are part of this meeting. Several other items are in preparation: a new facility use policy, school enrollment policy, Purpose, Values and Vision statements (see later item from the Vision Planning Committee) and recommendations from the Facilities Study Committee. If preparations are complete there will also be a recommendation to begin calling a new pastor to replace Pastor Rath, who will be retiring at the end of 2017.
Our worship services of January 28-30 will have an outreach focus. Guest speaker will be Rev. Donn Dobberstein from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Port Orange, Florida. He serves as chairman of our synod’s Commission on Evangelism. He will also share a special presentation between the Sunday services.
SYNOD CONVENTION DELEGATE NEEDED
Our congregation has the privilege to send a lay delegate to the 2017 WELS Convention, to be held at Luther Preparatory School July 31-August 3. Interested individuals should contact one of the pastors. We need a delegate and alternate registered by mid-January.
A recent Sunday when worship services were canceled drew attention to the importance of having e-mail addresses for our members. While the cancellation was also posted on area media, a mass e-mail brought a personal message. If the church office does not have your address we cannot reach you. If you did not receive that message, please send your address to email@example.com. Remember to keep us updated if you change either your e-mail or telephone number.
This year of 2017 marks a special event: the 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 Theses by Martin Luther on October 31, 1517, the act that sparked the Lutheran Reformation. As heirs of the Reformation we will observe this anniversary in several ways as the year progresses. The opening devotions in our monthly newsletter from now through October will highlight important issues or results of the Reformation. Special Bible classes will be held. Worship services will use many of Luther’s hymns. Our Northwestern Publishing House is printing a number of new publications. A festival service will be held at Madison’s Alliant Center on October 29. Join us in praising God for his blessings through the Reformation.
St. Paul Mission Society will meet one week later in January: Monday, January 9. The meeting begins with snacks and fellowship at 7:00 p.m., followed by a Bible study. All ladies of the congregation are invited to attend.
WELCOME, NEW MEMBERS!
It is our privilege this month to introduce M/M Chad Butzine and family and M/M Blair Ward and daughter. Welcome to St. Paul!
CHAD and CHRISTINE BUTZINE are both natives of the area: he from Waterloo and she from Ixonia. Chad is an assistant fire chief for Waterloo and Christine works in a trauma center. They also volunteer as firefighters and EMTs with the Waterloo fire department. They have three sons: COLRON, a student at Waterloo High School, GAVIN in grade 1 and ZANE in 3K, both at St. Paul’s School.
BLAIR WARD hails from DePere, while RACHEALE was from Sheboygan. Both have degrees from UW-Green Bay. Racheale majored in business administration and is now a homemaker. Blair went on to Thomas Cooley Law School in Michigan. He is the corporation counselor for Jefferson County. Their daughter JOSALYN is in 2nd grade at St. Paul’s School. The family enjoys camping and biking and Blair likes running.
WITH THE LORD
DANIEL GRAUNKE departed this life on November 22 at the age of 37. His funeral was on November 29. We pray that the Lord will comfort his loved ones with his Word.
We join DALE & SHARON GUENTERBERG in thanking God for blessings received as they celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary on January 28. May God continue to bless you!
VISION PLANNING UPDATE
Previously, we have talked about the issue of possibly updating the mission statement for St. Paul’s as a key part of the planning process. This was recognized as a critical part of the planning process. The committee worked on this task utilizing a model that started with a purpose statement, values statements, vision statement and mission statement. This is a great way for a church to set forth what and who they are. The two statements, purpose and values are things that should never change, while vision and mission should change.
Using this model helped the committee really develop a new purpose statement. The purpose statement defines who we are and why we exist and why we come together for activities. It is the very basis for our church. The next thing defined were our key values. For us this meant looking at our doctrinal statements as the source of our values. Values are defined as: “A small set of vital and timeless guiding principles for your organization…These core values define your culture and who you truly are as people. When they are clear you will find that they will attract like-minded people to your organization.” Traction, by Gino Wickman, p35.
Next the committee worked on vision statement. Think about a ten-year target that we want to achieve. Vision is future looking. It gives us a glimpse of an unrealized future. Visions should be challenging and inspirational.
Finally, we have the mission statement. Think of this as the how do we accomplish the vision. John F. Kennedy gave the country the vision of going to the moon. The mission statement was how we got there.
At our December meeting the committee finalized the wording of the Purpose, Values and Vision statements. A working mission statement has been developed, which the committee knows will change as more details and areas of focus are identified.
All of these have been given to the Church Council which is being asked to approve them at their January meeting. Those will then be presented to the congregation at the January voters meeting.
As God’s loving concern for mankind was reviewed again in the Advent and Christmas seasons we were truly reminded of how important he is to our existence. What reason we have to respond to his goodness with generous gifts for his work! Recent offerings for the general operating budget of our congregation are printed below. Please note that the first week in December includes electronic giving for November and that the Sunday services were canceled December 11. Each date includes the midweek service prior to it.
December 4 $ 27,547
December 11 $ 6,171
December 18 $ 32,821
December 25 $ 46,829
Also received during those weeks were gifts of $355 for the Improvement Fund, $14,634 for Bountiful Blessings, $1,500 for Tuition Assistance and $3 for Mission Festival.
TWICE IS NICE NEWS
Shop: Clothing sales begin Tuesday, January 3, 2017! First up will be all “Jeans”—just $1.00 per pair! Other clothing types are planned for this clearance sale in January; stop in early in the month and see the sale schedule. We’re easy-to-find and open Mondays-Saturdays from 9-5 PM: just a minute east on the Hwy 18 exit off the 26 bypass at 907 W. Racine St., next to the Jefferson Piggly Wiggly. (Note that the store will be closed January 2.)
Volunteer: New volunteers include LLHS students from St. Paul: Emma Guld, Abby Hackbarth, and Rebecca Lang. Join the crew! Could you donate a Saturday a month, or is yours a congregation who could provide a team volunteer one Saturday a month? Are you computer savvy enough to help with marketing items for us on Craigslist or checking inventory to see if it is on a recall list? These are jobs that could be done from home. Call 920-674-6868, ask for the day manager.
ROCK RIVER AREA OWLS
The area OWLS chapter next meets on Tuesday, January 17 at St. John Lutheran Church in Juneau, starting at 1:30 p.m. St. John is located at 400 South Main Street. Rev. Karl Walther of Watertown, who is among the WELS clergy working on a new Bible translation, will present "The Wartburg Project - an Update." Ladies of the congregation will serve refreshments. Come and learn more about the Organization of WELS Seniors (OWLS), which provides meaningful activity for people retired and/or 50 years and older. Here is a wonderful opportunity for seniors to grow spiritually and enjoy the fellowship of neighboring WELS and ELS members. Bring a friend with you. All are welcome.
PEBBLES FROM THE ROC—Watertown Teen Center
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). At THE ROC we have at least 15 teen names on a list to be baptized. The teens want to be baptized but many parents have forbidden it. Todd Morris, an adult ROC volunteer and one who opens THE ROC on some Tuesdays, was talking to a teen about being baptized. Todd asked the teen why he wanted to be baptized. The teens said that he wanted God's promise in Baptism of forgiveness and eternal life. The teen told Todd that after giving that reason to his parent, the parent said, "That's not good enough". May God also give us opportunities to share Christ with the parents also so that the Gospel is not foolishness to them but rather the Wisdom of God.
We transported a record number of teens from THE ROC to our Live Nativity at St. Luke’s. What a blessing to have so many unchurched teens hear about their Savior in such a unique way. The teens were deeply touched by the birth of their Savior.
THE ROC Annual Meeting will be held on January 23rd at 7:00 p.m. Everyone is invited. All volunteers and board members are also invited to a Volunteer Appreciation Celebration held before the meeting from 5:30-7:00 p.m.
RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE
Tuesday, January 10 is the next Red Cross blood drive in Lake Mills, held at the Community Center from 12 noon until 6 p.m.