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
Dear Fellow Members of St. Paul,
What do you think of when you think about the month of February? Do you think of “Presidents’ Day?” Or is it Valentine’s Day? (Husbands, don’t forget!) Or maybe you think of the shortest month of the year? Some might think of “leap year” which comes around every four years when we add one. Or maybe you think of Lent because Lent often starts in the month of February.
When I think of February I often think of hope. By the time February comes around people are usually tired of winter. But as the sun rises higher in the February sky and the days get longer, one starts thinking about spring. Yes, I know that winter can stay for a long time after we turn the calendar to February, yet, to me, it’s a bridge that leads to spring time and the end of winter. February gives “hope” that spring is on its way!
As I think about the end of winter and the hope that spring is on its way, I’m reminded of the hope we have as Christians. In the 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews we read, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for; certain of what we do not see.” What is it we hope for? Of what are we certain that we cannot see? You know! It’s the sure and certain hope that through faith in Jesus we will go to heaven!
That raises an interesting question. “If we can’t see heaven, how can we be so certain that we will go there when we die?” No, maybe we can’t see heaven but we still can be certain that it is ours! If you want to see the proof, God has given it. Look at Jesus in the pages of Scripture! He lived a perfect life for you. He died to take away your sin. He rose and conquered death. He has promised that all who believe in him will never perish. Look at your baptism! In your baptism God gave you his Holy Spirit and put faith in your heart to receive the blessings of forgiveness of sins. Look to the Lord’s Supper! There he gives assurance of your salvation in his body and blood given under the elements of bread and wine. God has given all the proof we need that heaven is ours! That is the hope we have and in that hope we will never be disappointed!
So as we enter the month of February enjoy the longer days and the warmer sun. Know that as we travel through this month we are not only getting closer to spring, we are getting closer to home in heaven!
Serving You in Christ,
Pastor Bruce McKenney
ANNUAL MEETING REPORT
The annual voters’ meeting on January 25 approved projects totaling $9,595 from the Trust Fund. Included were funds for stage risers, pastoral stoles, Tuition Assistance, shredder, granite bench for the garden path and the MAP counseling program. Several items enable completion of projects that were partially funded by special donations. Directed church memorials were also approved for the remainder of the purchase of stoles and pulpit paraments.
The 2014 annual report reviews the work of each board. Be sure to pick up a copy at church. The treasurer noted offerings for the first half of the fiscal year were 7% short of the budget but also 7% higher than last year. A meeting will be held February 12 at 6:30 p.m. to plan upgrades to the church website. Tech Board chairman Damon Tracy welcomes suggestions in advance.
Elected to positions were Todd Gade, Treasurer; Gregg Tucek, Property Board Chairman; Paul Enger, Greg Haasch, Mike Schumacher, Elders Board; Regi Dremler, Property Board; Nick Robinson, Joshua Schultz, Fellowship Board; Ben Hoppenrath, Finance Board; Phil Battist, Larry Hafenstein, Stewardship Board; Kyle Indra, Parish Education Board; Justin Storlie, School Board; Ken Gernetzke, Arvid Pufahl, Worship Board; Scott Gronholz, Personnel Board; Marty Hagedorn, Dave Smith, Outreach Board; Matt Wilson, Technology Board; Dan Schultz, Lakeside General Board. These men will be installed at the early service on February 1. Outgoing board members were thanked for their service as well as all who had accepted nomination.
Our congregation will observe Outreach Weekend in the services of January 31-February 2. Guest speaker will be Rev. Jonathan Bauer of Good News Lutheran Church in Mount Horeb. This past July he was installed at this new mission congregation. Pastor Bauer will preach for the services and also conduct a Bible study on witnessing opportunities between the Sunday services. Pastor Bauer is a son of our congregation. He previously served in Tempe, Arizona.
MIDWEEK LENTEN SERVICES
Our 2015 midweek Lenten services begin on Ash Wednesday, February 18. Service times are 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Theme for this year is “Names of Wondrous Love”. The sermons will explore various names that express the love of our Savior and his work for us.
Light suppers will again be served in the gymnasium between the services (4:30-6 p.m.) by various groups of the congregation, with a freewill offering received to help cover expenses.
TOMHAVE CALL ACCEPTED
Rev. Douglas Tomhave of Hampton, Georgia has accepted the call to join our pastoral staff. He and his wife Kelly and their family will make plans to move here in the spring. Details are yet to be arranged. We look forward to his service in our midst.
THORMAN RELEASE FROM CALL
Susan Thorman has asked to be released from her call as our fifth grade teacher in order to devote more time to her family. She had been on a leave of absence since September 29. We thank Sue for her years of service to our congregation and its lambs and pray for God’s guidance in the future.
This past month your pastors attended the meeting of the Central Pastoral Conference, where the topic was a study of the three ecumenical creeds (Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian). In February we again meet as a circuit, where we are reviewing the Augsburg Confession and one of the brothers shares a sermon study. Locally we are preparing for the upcoming Lenten season. We had the opportunity for a brief meeting with Pastor Tomhave as he was passing through the area.
The February meeting of St Paul Mission Society will be held on Monday, February 2 at 7 p.m.
Following dessert and fellowship, Pastor Jon Bauer will give a presentation on the work being done at Good News Lutheran Church in Mt Horeb. This is a new mission church started by Resurrection, Verona. All ladies are invited.
The new greeter schedule is being prepared. Those members currently serving will be repeated unless you have notified the coordinator, Kris Schneider. We welcome more people to take part. If you are interested contact Kris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 920-988-6987.
Congratulations and God’s continued blessings to the following couples who are celebrating special (multiples of five years) anniversaries this month. May God’s love fill all of our homes!
Stuart and Judy Haberman February 8 40 years
Tim and Shelly Kexel February 18 20 years
WITH THE LORD
LUCILLE SMITH departed this life on January 13 at the age of 95. Spring burial will be held.
JEANNETTE GRANDT entered life eternal on January 21 at the age of 87. A private funeral will be held on February 7.
WELCOME, NEW MEMBERS!
It is our privilege this month to introduce Kaitlyn Seim and Jason Wensel. Welcome to our family of faith!
KAITLYN SEIM is a native of Kenosha. She attended Martin Luther College and then went to UW-Parkside, from which she has a degree in psychology. Kaitlyn married our seventh grade teacher, Kyle Seim, in November. She is currently coaching B girls basketball for St. Paul’s School. She enjoys sports like volleyball and softball and of course, “hanging out with Kyle.”
JASON WENSEL grew up in Columbia Falls, Montana. He has a degree in health and human performance from the University of Montana and now teaches physical education and health for the Milwaukee Public Schools. He has now joined his family as a member of St. Paul. They are Jennifer, his wife, and children Logan in grade five and Caleb in grade two at St. Paul’s School. Jason enjoys playing basketball and spending time with his family and their two new dogs.
We continually give thanks for the response our family of faith has to the goodness of God in worship, service and offerings. May our response ever be joyful! Gifts for the operating budget in recent weeks are listed below. Average weekly needs of the current budget are $19,760.
December 31 $ 38,914
January 4 $ 12,727
January 11 $ 14,068
January 18 $ 56,521
January 25 $ 14,606
Also received during those weeks were gifts of $21,144 for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings), $596 for the Improvement Fund, $11,088 for the Lakeside mortgage and $5 for Wisconsin Lutheran Child and Family Service.
We acknowledge with gratitude these memorial gifts received recently for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings).
In memory of JOHN JESKE, $10
In memory of HAL LEE, $10
Three employment opportunities at LLHS:
1. Substitute kitchen workers: These are paid positions that involve 4-4.5 hours on days needed (through lunch hours). Must be able to lift 40 lbs. Contact Vicki Sukow ASAP (ext 2215).
2. Evening Custodian: The evening custodial position is week days approximately 6-10pm. (Some flex depending on scheduled events)
3. Extended Learning Center Aide: Up to 30 hrs/wk during school year.
Position descriptions and application form are available at www.lhs.org or from the Lakeside school office during office hours (7:30-4 regular school days).
Pops Concert February 1
An upbeat, popular line up of choir and instrumental selections are lined up for the LLHS Pops concert this Sunday, February 1 at 2 PM. Come early and browse the hundreds of outstanding artwork by our Federation grade school students. 8th grade families who are interested in summer marching band (traveling to the Cherry Fest in Michigan in July) are strongly encouraged to attend the brief Music Parents Organization meeting held immediately after the concert in the gym.
Grand Event needs decor help
The 4th annual LLHS Grand Event theme for March 28, 2015 is a nautical one -- "Anchored in Faith." The decorating committee has a wish list for decor.
If you are willing to lend any of the following, please contact Missy McKenna (email@example.com | 920-901-0111) or Lisa Lindert (firstname.lastname@example.org | 920-988-7005): Wish list items: starfish and sand dollars, fine sand, nautical netting, glass fishbowls, rope (raw, natural rope, not colored or plastic-looking), ship's wheel, blue wine bottles (rinsed clean), clear wine bottles with corks, lanterns, round logs that could be used to make pilings. We'd also appreciate hearing from some sewers who would be willing to make several plain curtains from materials we would provide.
On Sunday, March 1, we celebrate Mr. James Buege's 40 years in ministry, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Farmington, in the 10:15 a.m. service. A Cappella sings, Pastor Jerry Ewings preaches -- all who know Jim Buege are encouraged to join in celebrating the ministry of our LLHS Director of Choirs.
The Rock River Chapter of the Organization of WELS Seniors holds its next meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 17 at St. John, Newville. Rev. Thomas Schmidt will share the topic “Preaching Christ in Alaska”.
The Memory Café of Heritage Homes meets at 10:00 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at Connections Café, 1308 West Main Street in Watertown. The café offers social fun and support for people with early to middle stage dementia and their care partners. Heritage Homes, a ministry of the Lutheran Home Association in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, offers this activity at no cost. For further details please contact Heritage Homes at (920) 567-2001 or email@example.com.
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 31st installment.
Cutting Corners = Good Stewardship (?)
One final comment about this matter of supplying yardsticks to help Christians as they determine the level of their giving. Have we given the impression that to be faithful stewards we must cut every economic corner in the Lord’s work? I find Scriptural support for this in the personal realm, but not in the Savior’s work program. Indeed, here I find the apostle urging Christians to bring generous, liberal gifts to God-dare I say extravagant? The two Old Testament sanctuaries that were built at God’s directing were stunningly beautiful, lavishly decorated and appointed. In the temple designed by David and built by Solomon, the Most Holy Place (a 30’ cube) was overlaid with 23 tons of gold! And why not? God is the only God there is, the only Savior you and I are ever going to have.
When we use the Scriptures to help disciples measure their giving, does it follow that their goals should be minimal ones? We care for ourselves extravagantly, don’t we? VCRs and microwaves and high performance automobiles are no longer considered luxuries. How many of you consider cable TV to be a need, not a want? Many of God’s people are squirreling away thousands of dollars in IRAs each year. Why should it be a different standard when considering investing in the Lord’s work, the only cause that’s going to make a difference the day after judgment? Has the idea of lavish giving for “our Savior, who has destroyed death” (2 Ti 1:10) given way to survival programs, pygmy budgets, average gifts? Isn’t it possible that if you ask for average gifts of $10 or $20 per communicant per week you may well be stifling gifts of $200 or $2000? Is there anything specifically Christian about that? Or can the greedy and covetous Old Sinner in my heart also use the phrase “But God tells me to be a careful steward” as a cloak to cover evil? “But it’s a sin to tempt God!” cries my Old Adam. What’s the difference between tempting God and trusting God? Answer: the presence of faith. And “faith is always trust in a specific word of God” (Dr. Becker on Romans 4).