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 920-397-8043
Church-648-2235; School–648-2918
Principal James Grasby LLHS 648-2321 


When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy (Titus 3:4-5).

Dear Friends at St. Paul,

How many Christmases can you remember?  Whether it is scores of them or just a few, I hope your memories are pleasant.  Christmas is a special time of year.  Over the past several months I have been reading diaries that my father kept over nearly 65 years.  They have jogged my memory of some items I had forgotten and rekindled warm thoughts of others.  Whether you can remember details of where or how you celebrated Christmas in years gone by or what you received, I hope our annual review of the miraculous event is etched on your heart.  As Paul put it above, Christmas celebrates the kindness and love of God for our fallen world of sinners that appeared when Jesus came.  He overcame the ways of nature that he had set up in order to bring his divine Son into the world in human flesh.  Jesus came, not on a vacation or victory cruise, but to take our place in living and in dying as the sacrifice for our sins.  He set aside the use of his divine powers and privileges and went through our experiences so we might have eternity in heavenly glory.

That’s the gift of Christmas, the one that the gifts we share with each other can never equal, no matter how carefully chosen or beautifully wrapped.  It meets the greatest need and supplies the greatest good.  It is yours, whether there are any other gifts under your tree or not.

Cherish the gift of Jesus in this Christmas season and always.  Celebrate God’s love as you gather with your fellow believers in his house and grow in your faith.  Share the gift of Jesus as you serve and witness for him.

May God bless you with more than fond memories of the past.  May he grant you a joyous and Spirit-filled Christmas in 2016 as you once again review his love in sending you the Savior!

In his name and service,

Pastor James Rath

In this special season we rejoice at our opportunities to share with you the Good News of Jesus and his coming to our world to rescue us from sin.  That message is ever needed in a fallen world; it never grows old.  From our families to yours, greetings for a most blessed Christmas.

The fall quarterly voters’ meeting on November 6 issued a divine call to Luther Curia to serve as fourth grade teacher beginning next school year.  He currently teaches at St. Paul Lutheran School in Howards Grove, Wisconsin, where he has served since graduating from Martin Luther College in 2003.  Please keep Mr. Curia in your prayers.  The call was issued because Mrs. Pufahl will be retiring June 30, 2017.  Mrs. Gartner will move to the first grade position.

Scott Filter was approved to serve as the new treasurer, replacing Todd Gade, who resigned earlier this year.  Daniel Bleecker and M/M Travis Loften and family were removed from membership as they are living out of the area and did not respond to a series of letters from the elders.

Reports shared at the meeting noted the large participation in Power Hour and the increase in 3K, 4K and child care. Volunteers are sought to help organize teen activities.  New volunteers have begun working with the English as a Second Language program.

As we are in the Advent season we are holding midweek services to prepare our hearts not only for the celebration of Christmas but to welcome him as he comes to us now in word and sacrament and will come again to welcome us into heaven.  The services began November 30.  December 7 and 14 are the December dates for the remaining Advent services.  Theme for this year is “The Long Road to Christmas” and explores texts from the prophet Amos.  Service times are 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.

At this point in time we do not have anyone to serve a supper on December 7.  If that changes there will be an email message.  On December 14 the Mission Society will serve, with a freewill offering received to cover expenses.

St. Paul Mission Society will meet on Monday, December 5th at 7:00 pm.  This will be our Christmas party.  All members are to bring hors d'oeuvres.  All ladies are welcome to attend.

Children’s Christmas Services  
            Sunday, December 18, 8:30 & 10:30 a.m.
Christmas Eve Services            
            Saturday, December 24, 3:00, 5:00 and 9:00 p.m.
Christmas Day Service             
            Sunday, December 25, 9:00 a.m.
New Year’s Eve/Day Services - with Holy Communion  
            Saturday, December 31, 6:30 p.m.,
            Sunday, January 1, 8:00 & 10:30 a.m.,
            Monday, January 2, 6:30 p.m.

Wisconsin Lutheran College                 
            Thursday-Saturday, December 1-3 7:30 p.m.
            Sunday, December 4             2:30 p.m.

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary  
            Sunday, December 11  3:00 & 7:00 p.m.

Luther Preparatory School                    
            Sunday, December 11  3:00 p.m.
            Thursday, December 15            10:00 a.m.

Lakeside Lutheran High School
            Sunday, December 18  7:00 p.m.

At the annual meeting early next year we will be electing numerous positions on our church council and its boards.  Voting members interested in serving (or if you want to recommend someone) should contact Mike Shiels (920-723-5401; shiels@tds.net).  You may also discuss the positions with one of the pastors or council members.  Positions on the church council that are up for election:  President, Vice-president, Elders Board chairman, Fellowship Board chairman, Worship Board chairman, School Board chairman, Stewardship Board chairman and Technology Board chairman.  Positions are open on the following boards:  Elders, Fellowship, Worship, School, Stewardship, Parish Education, Personnel, Property, Finance, Outreach and Auxiliary/Services.  Most terms are for three years, but there are also some positions that are finishing an uncompleted term.

Members of St. Paul have likely already received a Christmas card from the congregation, signed by the pastors and including a schedule of special services.  The cover of the card was the work of Lydia Buxa, an eighth grade student at St. Paul’s School.

We rejoice with the following couples as they celebrate special (multiples of five years) wedding anniversaries this month.  May the Lord continue to bless you and all of our families!

Jeff & Dawn Drews                   December 27                25 years
Dan & Tara Topel                      December 28                20 years

This month we have the privilege on introducing M/M George DeNoyer and Jonah Hood.  Welcome to our family of faith!

GEORGE DENOYER started life in Rhinelander, then moved to Los Angeles, CA for many of his growing years. HELEN grew up in Watertown.  They both attended Dr. Martin Luther College.  George taught in WELS schools in Neenah, Oconomowoc and at Trinity in Waukesha for the last 38 years of his ministry.  Helen became a nurse in later years.  They have four grown sons (including Kirk, our member) and 19 grandchildren.  George likes to read and Helen is a crafter.

JONAH HOOD is a lifelong resident of the Johnson Creek area.  He is a student at UW-Whitewater, majoring in international business.  He plays on a club soccer team there and also enjoys snowboarding.

Last month’s newsletter included commitment forms for our families to consider their worship, communion and Bible class participation, as well as planned offerings for the general operating budget and Bountiful Blessings (mortgage reduction).  We ask that those forms be returned by December 11.  Additional forms are available at church.  Thank you for your cooperation!

Coming off the time of Thanksgiving and entering a new church year, we are certainly aware of the constant goodness of our Lord.  As we praise him for his blessings we also respond with gifts for his work.  Offerings in recent weeks for the operating budget appear below.  Average weekly needs are $23,110.  The figures for October 30 include the electronic giving for the month of October.

October 30                   $ 26,192
November 6                  $ 26,006
November 13                $ 17,715
November 20                $ 18,147
November 24 & 27        $ 28,644

Also received during those weeks were gifts of $15,531 for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings), $489 for the Improvement Fund, $75 for Mission Festival, $80 for Tuition Assistance, $212 for Camp Phillip and $669 for the Blackhawk Lutheran Chorale.

We acknowledge with gratitude recent gifts of $50 in memory of MARY TOPEL and $35 in memory of DONALD JAEGER, both for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings) and $50 for a Processional Cross in memory of KARON YADEN (aunt of Bob Brassfield).

The Lakeside General Board met on November 22.  Gayle Bauer has announced her retirement as of June 30, 2017.  A call was extended to Jennifer Krauklis to serve as physical education teacher.  There may be need for an additional faculty member due to anticipated increased enrollment.  The Board approved participation in the Wisconsin Parental Choice program for the coming school year.  Contact Principal Grasby to see if your family qualifies for consideration.

Volunteers: Lisa Tucek is among the new volunteers at the store, as well as members of the Lakeside National Honor Society.

Shop:  Remember Twice is Nice as you shop for Christmas gifts and decorations.  Store hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  Twice is Nice is located at 907 W. Racine Street (Highway 18) on the west side of Jefferson.

The next monthly meeting of our local OWLS chapter will be on Tuesday, December 20 at 1:30 p.m., hosted by St. Paul Lutheran Church in Marshall.  There will be a Christmas Party, with Ellen Geiger and Naomi Plocher providing a fun program to fit the holiday season. Refreshments follow. Come and enjoy spiritual growth and the fellowship of neighboring WELS and ELS members. The Organization of WELS Seniors (OWLS) provides meaningful activity for those who are retired and/or 50 years and older. St Paul's in Marshall is located at 204 Deerfield Road (Highway 73), just one block south of Highway 19. The church has handicap access in back.  You are invited to bring a friend along to the party!

Our Watertown Recreation & Outreach Center for Youth (THE ROC-213 N. Third St.) will be featured in Watertown’s 2016 Holiday Parade of Homes on Sunday, December 4 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Tickets for the tour are available for purchase in advance at Tribeca Gallery Café & Books, The Willows Home and Boutique, and Piggly Wiggly for $12.00. Tickets may be purchased for $15.00 at any one of the homes the day of the event.  What a wonderful opportunity to show the community our excellent youth center and how we care about the eternal life of all young people!


The committee has now received all of the input from the congregation which was gathered through the brainstorming exercise April/May and the Pulse Survey.  The committee will be evaluating this data to help in developing the strategic plan.  One of the major concerns for the committee is how we can help our congregational become more missional.

“Missional” may be a new term to many of you. The idea being that for a congregation to remain healthy and vital, it needs to be about the mission of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others who do not know or who have turned away from Jesus.
We tend to think that most of our neighbors and friends are Christian.  According to a Barna organization survey 73% (71% in Wisconsin) of Americans identify as Christian.  But further studies show that only 25% (University of Maryland and Bureau of Labor Statistics Research) attend church on a regular basis. The Pew research firm shows that in Wisconsin regular church attendance is 27%.  There is a huge gap between regular attenders and those who identify as Christians. It gets even bigger when you take in the 29% who are not Christian or have no religious identification.

 Statistics grow much worse when we look at younger generations and their identification and church attendance.  On top of that these younger generations are not really even looking to affiliate with a church. Whereas previous generations sought out churches, not so today.  This means that we need to look at meeting people where they are or providing what they need in life to have the contact to share the Gospel. This is a complex issue and one on which there will be more discussion in coming months. There are missional activities taking place which are helping to bring new people to church and our facility. We encourage all of our members to welcome and greet these visitors.  Please ask their name, share yours, guide them to a cup of coffee, or a Bible class. Remember their name and try to greet them by name the next time you see them.  We should do this so that we can share the love of Jesus Christ with them.  All roads of our future plan revolve around the idea of St. Paul’s being a missional congregation.

Ted Vratny, Facilitator

THANK YOU to the lawn mowing crew who so graciously gave of their time this summer. We had an exceptional growing season and their efforts were greatly appreciated.