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Sunday Worship Worship 99 a.m. a.m. Sunday Kids Worship Worship 9:20 9:20 a.m. a.m. Kids Christmas Eve Worship 7:00pm New Year’s Eve Service 6:30pm Our Mission Statement: Our the Mission Statement: “Bringing Healing Love of Christ “Bringing the Healingfor Love Christ To Our Community the of Glory of God”for the Glory of To Our Community God”

DECEMBER 2013 Vol..110

St. John United Church of Christ is an open and affirming congregation who is welcoming and embracing of every person, of every race, age, nationality, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, as a child of God. We invite all to join and fully participate in the life and ministry of this church.



OFFICE HOURS MONDAY– FRIDAY...…8:30 A.M. TO 12:30 P.M.…&.1:00 TO 4:00 P.M.

Church (815) 235-2824

E-Mail: 2


This morning, I received an email from a member who responded to my announcement, yesterday, of my future retirement date. The person expressed some concern and fear for the future of the church.

Maybe I have been part of the cause of the person’s fear, because of my telling the church, many times, that we need to lower the average age of the congregation. But I need to share my response to the person with you. I did not take the time to make a calculated response, nor was it “political spin.” It was automatic response that flowed from my heart. Here it is:

“I know there are challenges before our church, but that is true for every other church, even the mega-churches in our midst. Being super-sized for churches is not always a sign of health and vitality for churches, any more than McDonald's french fries or people who are super-sized are automatically healthy.

“I have a strong, deep confidence that St. John will face the challenges of the future in positive, life-sustaining, life-renewing ways. There is a large, strong core of members whose commitment to St. John is surpassed only by their faith in God, respect for God, and love for one another. St. John will face and get through the challenges before her, continuing the heritage that has been entrusted to her.

“I believe in this church and its people. I believe in God's power and Spirit in our midst and leading us forward. I believe God wants this 3

church to be a strong presence of God's love, grace, compassion, mission and welcome long into the future; and St. John will be. “In the meantime, we will continue to do the work and ministry necessary over the next 13 months to prepare St. John to move into the transition and future with renewed strength, confidence and vitality, so St. John looks to the future with confidence, strength and excitement. “We will also take time to appreciate and celebrate that which we have known, together, over the last 14+ years.” I also feel the connection between these words and the AdventChristmas season that is immediately before us – the season of God’s promise.. of God coming to dwell among us .. of being our Emmanuel, God-with-us .. going before us and walking with us into a yet great future, yet to be fully realized and fulfilled, but within our grasp because of God’s power, presence, promise and love with us and guiding us. This Advent-Christmas season, welcome and celebrate the promise, presence and love that is ours in Jesus Christ, God-with-us.

May it be a blessed and joyful season for you, yours, and St. John UCC!

REMINDER Year end Contribution due in office by December 30th at noon. Please pick up your 2014 Giving Envelopes


As I write this I’m thinking about my upcoming National Youth Workers Convention. Over the last few years the NYWC has included open conversations about ministering to the same gender loving community (LGBTQ). This year I will spend 8 hours in an intensive learning workshop on specifically addressing Sexual Identity issues of Teens. I’m also scheduled to participate in several other workshops on staff development and ministry idea development. One workshop entitled Criticism Bites promises methods for receiving criticism and ways to give it, which reflect grace and compassion. I’m looking forward to worshiping with 4000 + people twice a day. All the singing and preaching really recharges my batteries and inspires me to make a difference all year long. I have had some conversations over the years and I’m told people just don’t know how much I do here at St. John UCC. I’m super uncomfortable “tooting my own horn”. I’ve always felt drawn to Ministry work and I use my talents as often as I am able. Mostly I have a skillset that allows me to figure stuff out and get the task at hand done, whatever it might be. This year has been very rewarding for me. We have seen a 50% increase in our Sunday Kids Worship Ministry. That is awesome!!! Our Three Youth Ministry Groups continue to grow regularly. Donnley asked me to put some numbers to the growth. In the last three months I regularly minister to 65-70 different kids in my Helix programming each week. Including my Sunday Kids Worship Service that number goes over 80 per week. My ministry is the largest it has ever been. Praise God! I’m extremely thankful that God has blessed my ministry with tremendous growth. I’m also thankful that St. John UCC has continued to make youth ministry a priority in the life of our church. Please continue to pray for my staff and myself, as I work to train the new staff and prepare lessons for the 4 group gatherings each week. It is a challenge but it is so worth it. 5


NEW YEARS EVE PRAYER SERVICE 6:30PM DECEMBER 31ST MERRY CHRISTMAS ST. JOHN MEMBERS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY! May your holiday season be blessed with the seeking-wonder of the Magi and the grace of God’s love in His son Jesus Christ. St. John Staff Office Holiday Hours December 24th December 25th December 26th December 31st January 1st

Office will close at noon Office will be closed Office will be closed Office will close at noon Office will be closed


ADVENT DEVOTIONALS AVAILABLE IN THE NARTHEX The Bright Star of Bethlehem by Mitri Raheb Living The Gospel Life by David Mead

YAHOOs CHRISTMAS GET-TOGETHER Saturday, December 14, 6:30 p.m. Please join us for an evening of fellowship and fun at Tim & Lisa Ebbers’ home, 7190 E. Brick School Rd. featuring our (almost) famous white elephant gift exchange. Please bring a dish to share and gift/s to exchange. We encourage not spending money on the gifts! Please sign up on the narthex bulletin board. If you have questions, please see Tim or Lisa Ebbers. Hope you can join us!

SPIRITUAL RETREAT We have reserved rooms at Sinsinawa Mound Center for Friday evening, January 24th, through Saturday afternoon, the 25th for our next spiritual retreat. This is a beautiful place for rest and spiritual rejuvenation. Please speak with Pastor Donnley if you have questions about or interest in the retreat. A sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the narthex. 7


Honor, Engage, Listen, Include, eXample MIDDLE SCHOOL Tuesdays (5th and 6th graders) 3-5pm Thursdays (7th and 8th graders) 3-5 pm Sundays ( 9th-12th) 6-8pm (No Middle School Helix if there is a half day or no school)

BIBLE STUDY We meet at 9 a.m. Wednesdays, in the Chapel Hearth. We are discussing the book Rummaging For God by Melanie Svoboda. All are welcome!

PING PONG We meet every Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. in Fellowship Hall. We would love to have more men & women join in on the fun!

CARD CLUB Join us for Euchre the first Monday of the month, in the Chapel Hearth. See you December 2nd at 1pm.


“MISSIONS” RED CAN SUNDAY We will be receiving monetary donations on December 1st for the FACC emergency fund. $270.45 was collected in November.

FOOD FOR FACC In December our food item to collect is 250 cans of mixed vegetables. If you are looking for sales, our item for January will be Macaroni and Cheese.

FACC PASTA Christmas will get here faster than you think and FACC needs 250 –2 pound boxes of spaghetti from St John UCC. The pasta boxes are put in the Christmas Boxes that FACC gives out to 250 families in the Freeport Area. We will be collecting the pasta until December 16th.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR FACC The list of Christmas gift needs is up on the bulletin board in the Narthex. Please take a name and make a child’s Christmas a little more joyous by giving them a gift they would otherwise not receive. All gifts must be wrapped and labeled with the name and number of the individual, and in the office by December 16th.



We are collecting mittens, hats and gloves for the schools to give to the children who are in need of items to keep them warm this winter. We have expanded the donations to include sweaters, sweat-shirts, sweatpants, winter coats and even boots. Bring new or slightly used items to the Narthex and place in the boxes by the tree. The less fortunate people of Freeport are counting on us to help keep them warm this winter.

O N G O I N G WAY S T O PA R T I C I PAT E I N THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH S.O.S., BELL CHOIR &CHANCEL CHOIR Practices are Thursday evenings. S.O.S. 5:30pm, Bell Choir 6:30pm, and Chancel Choir 7:15pm. If you have a love for music, we would like you to join us! Contact Gina Bertram. All are invited.


RESOURCE GROUP Join us on Thursdays at 9 a.m. for coffee, treats, friendship, & to do volunteer work! We will assemble the January Tidings on December 19th.

MEN’S GROUP We’re having a great time! Come join us! We’re not “holier than thou,” nor is all the talk just “God-talk.” It’s a wonderful blend of maleness, conversation, laughter, the spiritual and the unspiritual. Our next gathering is Saturday, Dec. 7th at 8 am. We meet until about 9:30 a.m. Come check us out!

Prism Lighthouse

LGBTQ Ministry Group The LGBTQ support group will meet at 6:30 pm on Monday, December 30th at 6:30pm. This is a group for teens and adults that are Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Bisexual or those Questioning their sexual identity. This is also a safe group for allies, friends and family, of the LGBTQ community. Childcare is provided.

SERVING Being a servant of the church is a great way to get to know fellow members. If you’re interested in serving please call the church office or speak with Pam Wessel.


Before and after service we gather for coffee and treats in the Narthex area with room to mingle and socialize. If you would like to find a place to sit and talk there is plenty of room in the Chapel Hearth and Fellowship Hall is always open. Please, if your name is on the list (dates are assigned alphabetically by the directory) for this month, bring in a treat to share. Some ideas are... cookies, bars, mini muffins, bagels etc. or please consider bringing fruit to share. If you do not wish to be on the list for treats, please contact the office and we will remove you.

December—Church Growth Ministry—Set Up/Serve 12/01

Kevin & Kirsten Eckert, Arnold & Mary Edler, Holly Edler, Brian & Kim Evans, Michael & Susan Feagan, Thomas & Melinda Ferguson, Jack & Diana Fox, Don & Vickie Franz


Mary Frazee, Clyde Fruth, Melinda Fruth & Greg Ware, Dennis & Judy Garkey, Jack & Jill Gastel, Bonnie Gennusa, Audrey Gianquinto


Brian & Mary Hamon, Debra Hartman, Richard & Mary Heffner, John & Betty Heiden, Linda Heidenreich, Diane Heilman, Eunice Hildebrandt


Keith & Cherryl Hinrichs, Vanessa Hughes, Shirley Ifert, Sally Kahler, Shawn Killingbeck,& David Crowell, Della Kirkpatrick, Zael & Donna Klapp


Hugh & Sarah Knapp, Jeanne Koch, Daniel & Marla Kreeger, Lyle & Jane Krug, Jill Kuntz, Larry & Lana Kuntz, Doris Last

January — CE Ministry — Set Up/Serve 01/5

Ben & Lucille Lee, Jane Lehman, Scott & Lannie Lehman, Bob & Barbara Luedeke, Shan & Vicki MacAdam, Jean Mahon, Dennis & Pam Manus, 12

Diixie Marklund GREETERS 12/01

Lorraine McMurray & Jeanne Koch


Mavis Clark & Eleanor Chance


Monty & Carolee Dietmeier


Zael & Donna Klapp


Tim & Lisa Ebbers (7pm)


Steve & Lisa Schubert


Ray & Jeri Nieman


Carol Ahrens & Betty Carpenter


Marilyn Ruthe & Donna Ruthe


Bonnie Gennusa & Dorothy Ditsworth


Stan & Carol Smith


The Newkirk Family


Carla Meyer & Bonnie Gennusa


The Priewe Family


Jill & Logan Kuntz


Marla Kreeger & Olivia Shaffer

SHUT-INS: The following is a list of people that can’t get out and may love a visit or a card from those thinking of them. Deloris Burkhalter at Oakley Courts 13

Claire Biesemeier, Dorothy Miller and Laura Uthlaut at Parkview Nettie Hendren at Manor Court, Liberty Village June Nagel, Joyce Kaiser and Holly Genant at Stephenson Nursing Center Katherene Benson, Dorothy Fox at Provena Evelyn Dworak in Kewanee Provena In their homes are, Kathryn Cramer, Karen Salter, Vivian Pals, Esther Dickman, Maida Gimple, Shirley Durrstein, Harold Reints, and Ardath Lei. PLEASE INCLUDE IN YOUR PRAYERS Tyler Hand, Dottie & Fran Crothers, & Sara Dislinghoff PLEASE SAY A PRAYER FOR THOSE IN THE HOSPITAL Dorothy Albrecht, Karen Smith


10/20 10/27 11/3 11/10 11/17

155 125 175 178 160

The deadline for submitting articles in the January Tidings is December 10th. “MAINTAINING GOD’S HOUSE” 14

CAPITAL CAMPAIGN Thanksgiving is here! It’s only on the calendar one day of the year, but most of us give prayers of thanks and gratitude to God every day. We express our special thanks to each of you who have done your part in helping fund the kitchen and classroom updates and the replacement of the front sidewalk. It would not have happened without your financial contributions and the hands-on work of the many quiet volunteers. The kitchen is beautiful, very functional and is being used by the Culinary Class of CareerTEC and us. The classrooms are clean, inviting and “a-buzz” each school day. The finishing touches on the front sidewalk will be completed when Spring breaks forth. We fell short of our $60,000 goal; but the work went on as planned because of the great support of our Endowment Board. We will be repaying the fund, over time, so you may continue to contribute to the capital campaign if and when you are able. As of Sunday, Nov. 17th, we received contributions totaling $35,525.00. Again, we express our gratitude to each of you for your participation. May you be blessed with a healthy, happy Thanksgiving Day! God has blessed us all!

Jeannie Cross, Judy Garkey, Shan MacAdam, Jeri Nieman, Patty Weik ___________________________________________________ _ 15

Behold the Child Behold the child in the manger bed — His grip is strong, His cheeks so red. Behold the star in the sky tonight — It just appeared And shines so bright, Behold the host of angels there — Who is the child They come to woo? Behold the gifts these wise men bring! A child so poor . . . Is he a king? O holy night! O Bethlehem! Behold the child — Come worship him! Clay Harrison 16

Dear Members of St John Church, Thank you so much for your generous donation of $700 for our mission work at St. John United Church of Christ. You are an incredible blessing to us as you are helping to keep our mission work alive here. It is appreciated more than we can express to you. Many Thanks, Rev. Dr. Charlotte Nold, Pastor And the Congregation of St. John Church in Chicago ******************************************************************* Thank you for all the assistance at the funeral luncheon and for the beautiful service. You greatly helped ease our minds and hearts through this difficult time. Sincerely, The Charles Lei family *****************************************************************O Cookie Walk was another HUGE success! Thank you to everyone who contributed in any way: making phone calls, setting up, making those delicious cookies, candy and snack mixes, The Peanut Brittle Crews, The Resource Group, working during the cookie walk, providing supplies or with your monetary donation. And a special “thank you� to anyone we forgot! ALL were greatly appreciated. Pam & Vicki



FACC CLOTHING ROOM THANK YOU to Connie Orde, Carolyn Moyer, Bonnie Gennusa, Donna Klapp and Carol Smith for working in the FACC Clothing Room. The hours spent over at FACC are very much appreciated. Again, thank you for your gift of time!


PEANUT BRITTLE MARKS 20TH YEAR! We experienced another wonderful year making delightful peanut brittle. Thanks to this years fantastic crew - Betty Pruitt, Edith Rosenstiel, Carolyn Moyer, Vicki MacAdam, Donna Klapp, Carolee Dietmeier, Sharon Simler, Marilyn Underwood, Marilyn Ruthe, Donna Ruthe, Lorraine McMurray, Melinda Ferguson, Eleanor Chance, and Sandy Dutcher. (A Special “thank you” to Jack Gastel for his quality control efforts!) . . . May the many wonderful memories of the 20 years of making peanut brittle live on for years to come! Till next year …! Ruth Olson, Chair **********************************************************************

“. . . Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1Cor. 10:31 (KJV)


PRESIDENT Tim Ebbers VICE PRESIDENT Joyce Robinson S E C R E T AR Y Deb Hartman T R E AS U R E R Ulan Price C H R I S TI AN E D . Marilyn Ruthe CHURCHGROWTH Deb Hartman FELLOWSHIP Jane Krug MISSIONS Dennis Manus PROPERTY M AN AG E M E N T Shan MacAdam S T AF F R E L AT I O N S Keith Hinrichs S TE W AR D S H I P Ulan Price WORSHIP Tim Ebbers BOLD TE AM Mar ilyn Rut he

St. John UCC Council Minutes 11-11-13 Members Present: Tim Ebbers, President, Deb Hartman, Keith Hinrichs, Jane Krug, Dennis Manus, Ulan Price, Joyce Robinson, Marilyn Ruthe, Pastor Donnley, ex-officio. Opening Prayer: Pastor Donnley October Minutes: Previously approved via email. Response to letter sent to absentee members: Letters were sent to over 100 members who had not contributed in 2013 through September 30th. Fifteen to twenty responses were received, some with contributions and others transferring or removing their membership. Book Box: Christian Education Ministry proposed the idea of installing a book exchange box on St. John’s property near the walk on Park Avenue. Discussed adding a bench and making it a seasonal project for the warmer months of the year. Council supports this project and would like to find someone or a ministry that would take ownership of this.

Front entry patio area: Discussed purchasing patio furniture to make this area a gathering place during coffee hour or other times during nice weather. Ideas on making the furniture secure and protected were included in the discussion. Financial Report: Clarifications were made and it was noted that Totenfest Sunday and response to the Stewardship letter showed a significant increase in giving in the last couple of Sundays. Motion to accept the report as presented was made by Deb, 2nd by Dennis. Discussion followed and motion was carried. 19

Budget/Health Insurance: There was a lengthy discussion about Kevin’s health insurance and how to present this in the budget to be voted on at the following Sunday’s congregational meeting. Mark Swanson is working on some more options to find adequate, affordable coverage for Kevin and family. We still don’t have a clear or reasonable idea on how much this may cost. It was decided to put an amount of $12,000 in the line item in hopes that this will be a close estimate of the cost. Tim will speak to this issue at the congregational meeting. Pastor’s Report: Straw vote results were as follows with 150 votes total: 52% voted to stay at 9:00 am service time 22% voted for a 1 year trial period 26% voted for the 10:15 am time change It was decided that it is clear what the wishes of the congregation are based on these results and there will be no change to Sunday service time. Keith made the motion for Council to reauthorize the B.O.L.D. team to continue to meet and envision a plan for the next several months as we move into the next phase of St. John and the changes following. Jane 2nd. Discussion followed, motion carried. For the vote on the constitutional amendment at the congregational meeting, we will have written ballots ready if necessary. Jane made the suggestion to review the constitutional requirement of 2/3 majority in our voting process at the next Council meeting. Adjournment: Motion to adjourn made by Marilyn, 2nd by Deb. Adjourned with the Mizpah Benediction. Respectfully submitted, Deb Hartman Council Secretary


December Scripture Readings 01

Matthew 24.29-44


Isaiah 62.1-12


Matthew 25.1-13


Malachi 3.1-12


Matthew 25.31-46


Malachi 3.13-4.6


Psalm 24


Mark 1.1-13


Psalm 29


Luke 1.1-25


Psalm 81


Luke 1.26-56


Psalm 84


Luke 1.57-80


Psalm 93


Luke 2.1-20


Isaiah 11.1-16


John 1.1-18


Isaiah 35.1-10


John 1.19-34


Isaiah 51.1-23


Luke 2.21-52


Isaiah 52.1-12


Philippians 1.1-30


Isaiah 54.1-17


Philippians 2.1-30


Isaiah 55.1-13


Philippians 3.1-21


Isaiah 60.1-22


Philippians 4.1-23


Isaiah 61.1-11 21

GOD’S BOXES I have in my hands two boxes, Which God gave me to hold, He said, “Put all your sorrows in the black box, And all your joys in the gold.” I heeded His words, and in the two boxes, Both my joys and sorrows I stored, But though the gold became heavier each day, The black was as light as before. With curiosity, I opened the black, I wanted to find out why, And I saw, in the base of the box, a hole, Which my sorrows had fallen out by. I showed the hole to God, and mused, “I wonder where my sorrows could be!” He smiled a gentle smile and said, “My child, they’re all here with me..” I asked God, why He gave me the boxes, Why the gold and the black with hole? “My child, the gold is for you to count your blessings, The black is for you to let go.”


FINANCIAL STATEMENT Beginning Balance January 1, 2013


11/01 General Fund Beginning Balance



GF Income



GF Income



GF Income


Less 11/18

GF Payroll & Compensation



GF Other Checks

$ 4,071.41


GF Current Bills Outstanding

$ 1,545.54


Ending Balance



Beginning Balance January 1, 2013


11/01 Building Fund Beginning Balance



BD Income



BD Income



BD Income


Less 11/18 BD Checks


BD Currrent Bills Outstanding 11/18 Ending Balance

$0.00 $4,066.25



December 2013  
December 2013  

St. John United Church of Christ December Newsletter