April 2015

“Discerning Your Call” Visit to Wartburg Seminary
— Prayers Needed

On March 14th to 16th I found myself in a peaceful place, both physically and spiritually. My initial view of “The Wartburg Castle” caused some great emotions to surface, as tears of joy, anxiety and peace ran down my cheeks. During my visit I was able to interact with seminary students and their families, faculty, staff and others having traveled to discern their call to ministry. We worshipped together, ate together, laughed together and shared our “call stories” (the sense of feeling lead to full time rostered ministry-by God and by others) attended a class, and met with admissions and financial aid staff. It was great to be in the presence of those struggling to move forward in their call, those having thrived - being on the home stretch of completion of studies, those accepting first calls, and those just beginning the process. The weekend was filled with encouragement, prayers, and magnitudes of information on how to proceed.

Seminary is different from traditional higher education. The process to be accepted to seminary first requires completing the candidacy process through our synod office. The candidacy process through the ELCA is a minimal year long process before acceptance is permitted to seminary (often longer). Prerequisites like previous education, church involvement, discernment time, background check, psychiatric evaluation, interviews, etc. will determine the pace of the process. Wartburg Seminary has several different programs available for those called to ministry. Some students go the “ordained pastor/word and sacrament” route and some go the “lay minister-deaconess/word and service” route. At this time, I am discerning the strong call to the ordained route in which some studies may be completed online. The bottom line is that I am choosing to walk forward in obedience to God’s call and will be applying for the candidacy process. However, my timeline for the candidacy process, and completion of studies will be a long journey (years). I do not plan to vacate my position here at St. John’s during this time. In fact, one of the programs that I may qualify for may allow for me to continue to serve here even after completion of studies (if called and accepted here). The bottom line is that I want to listen to God’s voice and be obedient to His call while continuing to provide ministry support here at St. John’s. I would greatly appreciate your prayer support, and your encouragement; especially as I continue to discern and move forward with the candidacy process. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to give me a call or let’s get together and chat!
Walking in faith,
Maria Bonine

Finance Team Report

The Finance Team would like you to know that we are running somewhat behind on our Regular Offerings year-to-date. For March 1st through 22nd we have received $24,125. The year-to-date total is $76,565. This puts us behind our budgeted offerings for the year at ($ -2,722).
In case you did not know, St. John’s offers ACH Giving (Automatic Withdrawal). If you would like more information regarding giving in this way, please contact Susan in the office. A number of our members participate in this giving program.
A reminder, too, for those of you that have funds with Thrivent Financial. Please make sure that your Thrivent Choice Dollars are designated to St. John’s, Mendota. So far this year we have received $1,155 in Thrivent Choice Dollars. At this time these funds are designated towards the Youth & Family Director salary.

2015 Holy Week Schedule

*March 29th - Palm Sunday worship at 9am; Sunday School at 10am.

*April 2nd — Maundy Thursday worship at 7pm.

*April 3rd — Ecumenical Good Friday worship service at Zion Methodist Church at 7pm.

*April 5th — Easter Sunday worship at 9am; No Sunday School; Easter Egg Hunt for our youngest members following worship.

2015 Highway Clean-up Dates

The Saturday pick-up dates for 2015 are as follows: April 4th, June 6th, August 1st, and October 3rd. We will meet in the church courtyard at 9am to issue safety vests, litter bags and to organize into groups. Our route begins at the US 251 South viaduct and travels 2 miles south on both sides of the road. This is a great volunteer/service project for kids, too. We require that students be at least Confirmation age in order to participate. We are usually done in an hour with 8-10 volunteers — hope to see you on April 4th!

Upcoming Pulpit Supply

While Pastor Blom is out of town in April we will have Maria Bonine filling the pulpit on the weekend of April 11th and 12th. On April 25th and 26th, we welcome Rev. Robin Brown from ELCA World Hunger. Rev. Brown is the mother of our member, Liz Miller.
Be sure to mark your calendars now for Sunday, May 17th when we welcome artist and pastor Paul Oman to St. John’s for a very special worship and artistic experience.

Are you interested in becoming a member of St. John’s?

A New Member Orientation will be held on Thursday, April 9th at 6:30pm in the Fellowship Hall just prior to the All Teams’ meeting. We will have a time of fellowship and refreshments and you will have the opportunity to meet members of our church leadership and staff. New Members will be officially welcomed during 9am worship on Sunday, May 3rd. Please contact the office if you would like to attend.

Council Report

The Council is calling for a brief congregational meeting immediately after worship on Sunday, May 17th to approve the 2015 Ministry Enhancement distribution
Council members would also like you to know that they appreciate the feedback, comments and concerns they are receiving during this interim time.

Committee Report

The Call Committee continues to meet regularly and is currently in the process of tallying your responses to the “Your Wishes For St. John’s Minister” survey. Thank you for participating in the call process.

St. John’s Youth News

"Growing Together in our Faith as we Serve Others"

Service Opportunities for
Confirmation and High School Youth

Highway Clean-up on Saturday, April 4th — Meet in the church courtyard at 9am. Wear long pants, closed toe shoes and bring gloves.
Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 5th — Meet in the Fellowship Hall after receiving communion. We will be hiding the candy-filled eggs in the courtyard and church grounds for the little children to hunt for after worship.

~ Current 5th through 7th Graders ~
Junior High Mission Trip

Friday, June 5th - Sunday, June 7th
Have you been praying about joining us for “Poured Out 2015”, the junior high mission trip to Belvidere planned for this summer? Information and registration forms are available in the mailbox outside of Maria’s office. Your registration form and $25.00 deposit payable to “St. John’s” is due by Sunday, April 26th. If you have any questions, please speak with Maria.

Baccalaureate Service
There will be a planning meeting on Sunday, April 19th at 2pm in our Library for the upcoming Baccalaureate Service. All interested high school seniors and their parents are encouraged to attend.
The Community Baccalaureate Service is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, May 17th. (The location and time are yet to be determined.) Everyone is invited and welcome to attend!

Please keep our 8th graders in your prayers as they prepare for their day of Confirmation on Sunday, May 10th (Mother’s Day) during the 9am worship service. We will have practice during Sunday School on May 3rd. (Parents… if you have any questions about Confirmation, please speak with Maria.)
— Confirmation Students —
We welcome our new student, Les Reed!
Don’t forget that you are responsible for “Stripping The Altar” at the Maundy Thursday worship at 7pm on April 2nd. Plan to wear black clothing. (We will practice during Sunday School on March 29th.)
Let’s get together on Thursday, April 2nd at 4pm to prepare the eggs for the Easter morning Egg Hunt and enjoy dinner together. We will then attend Maundy Thursday worship.

Donations of plastic eggs and individually-wrapped candies are needed for the Easter Egg Hunt. If you are able to help out, please bring your eggs and/or candies to the office. Thanks!

All 3 to 11 year olds are invited to participate in an Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday, April 5th following 9am worship. We will meet in the Fellowship Hall then head outside for an egg-citing time together!

If you are graduating from High School or College this spring, we will be honoring you on May 10th at the 9am worship service. Please submit a photo and information regarding your future plans to the office by Monday, April 27th.

Our high school mission trip to St. Louis is only 3 1/2 months away! Please keep our team - Brady, Grace, Amy, Jared, Joey, Cameron, Brock, Gillian, Jacquelynn, Bethany, Melissa, Mark, Maria, Don & Karen - in your prayers.

© St. John's Lutheran Church, Mendota, Illinois  (815) 539-5626