Lutheran Life Newsletter Lent Edition

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Children and Youth Ministry …………….……………….. page 4 “GET CONNECTED” Online Ministry listings .……... pages 6 & 7 Introduction to the Vision Team …………..…...………. page 13 Birthdays ………………………………………………...…. page 15

LENT 2021

LUTHERAN LIFE “That’s gonna leave a mark.” I uttered these words recently when I caught my lower right thigh on the corner of our bed’s footboard. The accidental bump brought tears to my eyes, and the subsequent bruise became a rather grim reminder of some of the dark colors of 2020.

“That’s gonna leave a mark.” Pastor John and I have shared these words as yet another challenge presented itself. The surprising development brought a poignant awareness to my heart, and the resulting need for flexibility and innovation and patience and stubborn hope gave rise to our Lenten 2021 theme. “That’s gonna leave a mark,” is a hallmark joke of current movies and TV shows; in fact, an exhaustive search by a guy named Shawn turned up 105 references. So how in the world does a catchphrase direct us into the contemplative season of Lent? The reality is COVID-19 has changed us forever, leaving its mark on who we are individually and corporately. This could a proclamation absent of hope, but when we introduce a Christ-inspired twist and invite the church family to consider the marks of discipleship, the shadows we will encounter in this season promise to give way to the Light of Easter. “That’s gonna leave a mark.” Pray daily … that’ll leave a mark of peace. Worship weekly … that’ll leave a mark of commitment. Read Scripture … that’ll leave a mark of wise understanding. Serve others … that’ll leave a mark of humility. Be in spiritual friendships ... that’ll leave a mark of hope. Give extravagantly … that’ll leave a mark of generosity. As we move toward the hope-filled realities of spring, we invite you first to a season of reflection; by the grace of God, the marks left behind will tell resurrection stories!




t’s been nearly a year since the world was turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID fatigue and mental health issues are on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 41 percent of the population is experiencing anxiety, depression and substance use disorders. There is also a profound sense of grief for all that has been lost: loved ones, holiday celebrations that were significantly altered, life events that were cancelled, and so much more. The Stephen Ministry at St. John’s Lutheran Church offers a helping hand for those who need one. Stephen Ministers will pray with and for you, listen and talk to you about your situation for as long as you need someone. We can help anyone dealing with loss of a loved one, diagnosis of an illness, change of life situation like divorce, end of a relationship, loss of job, etc. Stephen Ministers can meet with you using technology, after all we’ve all gotten used to Zoom meetings. We can also meet in person while masked and safely distanced. To be matched with a Stephen Minister, please contact Pat Krogmann, Michael Holtz or Pastor Amy. Remember, whatever you may be facing, you don’t have to walk alone. As the song goes:

“Walk on through the wind, Walk on through the rain. Though your dreams be tossed and blown, Walk on, walk on, With hope in your heart And you’ll never walk alone.”




ollowing three Zoom meetings in January, we have some plans in place for our Children’s and Youth Ministries based on input around these specific points of conversation:

> Events we can do via technology until it is safer to gather in person > Events we can plan for outdoors, probably beginning in April once winter gives way to the warmer temps and sunnier skies of spring > Hopes and dreams for where we would like to be five years from now > Feedback on the first draft of our Faith Formation Director position description

Building blocks will include Faith Formation on Sundays, supplemented by events that build friendships, nurture faith, develop leadership, and engage St. John families in ministry in our community. Please put the following dates on your family calendars: February


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10:00 AM 1:30 PM 10:00 AM 12:30 PM 10:00 AM 1:30 PM 6:30 PM 10:00 AM 12:30 PM

Children’s Zoom Story Time … Whoever You Are Children’s Zoom Faith Formation Children’s Zoom Story Time … God’s Dream Middle School Zoom Lunch Bunch Children’s Zoom Story Time … I Am Enough Children’s Zoom Faith Formation Bob Ross in a Box Zoom Youth Family Event Children’s Zoom Story Time … When God Made You Senior High Zoom Lunch Bunch

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10:00 AM 1:30 PM 10:00 AM 12:30 PM 10:00 AM 1:30 PM 10:00 AM 12:30 PM

Children’s Story Time …. Brave Ballerina Children’s Zoom Faith Formation Children’s Story Time …. Little Dreamers Middle School Zoom Lunch Bunch Children’s Story Time …. She Persisted Children’s Zoom Faith Formation Children’s Story Time …. Malala’s Magic Pencil Middle School Zoom Lunch Brunch

Additionally, we will be working together over the next two months to share our gifts with the world. Families with children are invited to make fleece tie blankets for the animals at the Humane Society of Tennessee Valley, and families with teenagers are invited to create care packages for our college students. We will share our gifts on Sunday, March 21 (Children) and Sunday, March 28 (Youth). Details will follow. Pastor Amy and the Faith Formation Team will need LOTS of volunteer help to facilitate these activities. Please be thinking of how you can share your leadership skills!




n honor of Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, we will be gathering for a special edition of Children’s Story Time. Pastor Amy will be inviting special guests to read the following books:


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10:00 10:00 10:00 10:00


Children’s Zoom Story Time … Children’s Zoom Story Time … Children’s Zoom Story Time … Children’s Zoom Story Time …


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10:00 10:00 10:00 10:00


Children’s Story Time … Children’s Story Time … Children’s Story Time … Children’s Story Time …

Whoever You Are God’s Dream I Am Enough When God Made You

Brave Ballerina Little Dreamers She Persisted Malala’s Magic Pencil

Please plan to tune to see who is reading each week!

We will be considering the gift of the Trinity during Noon Bible Study through Tuesday, February 23. Here are the specifics: What: Bible Study and Discussion of Richard Rohr's The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation When: Tuesdays at 12:00 noon through February 23 Where: Zoom … Meeting ID: 817 6774 8995 and Passcode: 711345 We will read using the following schedule: February 16... pp. 70-89 February 23 ... pp. 90-117 March 2 ... pp. 121-141 March 9 ... pp. 142-163 March 16 ... pp. 164-181 March 23 … pp. 185-194




e continue to find different ways to connect and experience community together here at St. John’s. Here is a snapshot of the ways we are providing ministry opportunities and creating connection for ALL AGES!

NoonDay Prayer Weekly prayer at 12noon will be broadcast via FACEBOOK LIVE every Wednesday. Access by going to the St. John's Facebook page at

NoonTime Bible Study Tuesday 12Noon Bible Study continues via ZOOM. The virtual meeting is easily accessed by logging on to, then entering a Zoom Meeting ID number which we share on the home page of our website at and our Facebook page.

EVENSONG Thursday 5:30PM (eastern) Pastor John leads an service of sung and spoken evening prayers. You can join live or find them archived on his personal Facebook page and the St. John’s Facebook page.

CHILDREN’S STORYTIME w/ Pastor Amy Saturdays 1:30PM (eastern) Pastor Amy spends time with our kiddos via ZOOM with a read story and some fun interactive activities. Zoom information can be found on the St John’s Facebook page and website.



Sunday Worship Online Sunday at 9am. We provide a LIVE worship experience led by our Pastors at 9am on Sunday mornings on our YouTube Channel and our Facebook page. The service is archived & can be viewed at any time after the service. Log onto and search for St. John’s Lutheran Knoxville.

Sunday Faith Formation Sunday at 10:15am and 11am. Join us for Faith Formation via Zoom on Sunday mornings. There are two offerings, the first at 10:15am and the second at 11am. Join us for one, or both. The Meeting IDs are shared on our website and Facbook page.

I’m frequently updating the website and posting to our Facebook page, so I suggest you make regular checks to both places for updates or changes to scheduled events/ connections. As Communications Director of St. John’s, I’m happy to assist in getting you connected with any and all these options. Reach out via email at or you can call or text me at 404-246-2795 and I’m happy to troubleshoot any problems or simply help you GET CONNECTED! Director of Communications and Technology




e’ve been through a lot of worship changes together, this past year. We’ve done our best to balance a sense of familiarity with enough newness to help our hearts, minds, and bodies be guided into awareness of the presence of God. For sure, we don’t worship the worship space or the things or the people in it. We also don’t worship technology or innovation or tradition for that matter. Rather, we worship God who gives us all these things and is the Love that speaks through these things. The altar and altar cloths and candles reflect the care of generations of hands, cleaning and polishing, ironing and setting out, as well as some of our youngest people carrying the light to each candle. Each tiny plate or cup or box (paten or chalice or pyx) holding bread or wine or gluten-free wafers was donated and dedicated to God’s service by someone, in memory of someone else who served lovingly at St. John’s. And yet, again, it’s not the plate or the cup or the bread or the wine or the person remembered that we worship. It’s God, who is the Love, in the midst of these things. We are in a strange time for reflecting God’s Love, when notably, due to a pandemic, especially when active cases surge, we show love of neighbor by not meeting in this space, not handling these things. As a pastor who has been shown so much love in this space, by God, through these things and these people, I feel my heart constrict a bit as I type that last sentence, but I know it’s true. God’s love demands that we show God’s love differently now. If your heart is constricting too, I invite you to take a deep breath before reading on. And another breath. And another. Already, before the pandemic, God’s love began to be shown through a camera, a computer, and a WiFi link, as we sought to include in our worship those who could not be present, due to illness or other limitation. Little did we know, God was preparing us all to be included this way. One of my strongest memories of Communion last year was driving on the interstate, as I heard, “Take and eat, this is my body, given for you,” sung from St John’s, through my car speaker. Misty and I had pulled over at a gas station to join the service, but there was no signal, so it was on the highway that Jesus’s promise was sung to us. Right now, the United States and Tennessee in particular are in a viral surge that dwarfs July. As a result, there’s no way to know, day to day, when one or more of our worship leaders will need to quarantine. Additionally, there will be times when we need to keep the number of worship leaders in our sanctuary to a minimum. And yet, as we approach the year mark of the pandemic, we need to see each other’s faces and hear each other’s voices all the more. To make it so our worship leaders can lead from quarantine when necessary, and so more of our people can participate in leadership, lighting candles, reading readings, offering children’s sermons and music and other gifts, we will be growing our approach to online worship. On one Sunday — Transfiguration Sunday, February 14, when Jesus is on a mountaintop, his face shines like the sun, his disciples ask, “Shall we build a tabernacle here to worship like we usually do?” and Jesus says, “No, I have something else in mind” — we will lead more of our worship from home, with some parts, like pipe organ, coming from the sanctuary, some parts from worship leaders’ homes. Some will be live, some pre-recorded, much as we do now, but with more people of St. John’s included in leadership and fewer people in the sanctuary. I’m guessing another deep breath might be helpful. It really is okay. It’s Love we’re following here.


LUTHERAN LIFE Sundays after Transfiguration, during Lent, the season of preparation for Easter, we will return to our current, live-streamed format. Wednesday evenings during Lent, including Ash Wednesday, February 17, we will follow the new ‘more from home’ format. Our hope and prayer is that this will allow more of us to be included, not only in worship, but in leading worship, which is part of the growth in faith and development of leaders that is such a signature of St. John’s, as well as a way we experience God’s Love. And, as always, Lent is intentionally a time to be a little uncomfortable, for the sake of something good, trusting that God will lead us through that time, to a glorious Easter.

Christian-to-English Dictionary (with Dates) Transfiguration (Feb. 14): “a complete change of form or appearance to a more beautiful or spiritual state” (google definition); the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday, when Jesus is revealed to us in new ways. Ash Wednesday (Feb. 17): a tender day when we are marked with ashes and hear the words, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return;” the beginning of Lent. Lent: a forty-day season marked by fasting (giving something up), discipline (taking something on), and self-examination, to prepare our hearts for Holy Week and Easter.

Holy Week (the last week before Easter) Palm Sunday (Mar. 28): we wave palms and sing hosannas (“save us’) as Jesus enters Jerusalem; then the crowd turns, and we sing of Christ’s trial, death, and burial. Maundy Thursday (Apr. 1): we gather with Jesus and his disciples in the upper room; knowing they will betray and abandon him, he begins a meal of forgiveness that becomes Communion. As they go out into the night, the altar is stripped. Good Friday (Apr. 2): with readings, song, and silence, we enter deeply into Jesus’s betrayal, crucifixion, and death. The service ends with the strepitus, a slamming door to represent the closing tomb. Easter (Apr. 4): Resurrection! P.S. Late breaking news from Pastor Amy — after conversation with the COVID Response Team and responding to numerous requests for additional worship opportunities, we will begin outdoor worship on Sunday, February 21. Our criteria include temps at 40 degrees or above and use of the new portable sound system when there is no precipitation."




uring the Lenten season, Adult Faith Formation will offer two concurrent series: A Close Look at the Book of John led by Dick Krogmann, and A Discussion Series based on Michael Foss’s book, POWER SURGE: SIX MARKS OF DISCIPLESHIP FOR A CHANGING CHURCH.

"The Fourth Gospel” — A Bible Study The Gospel of John has been described as the pearl of great price among the writings of the New Testament. This Gospel has been the focus of immensely fruitful research — which has appreciably changed the direction of the study of John’s writings. The Bible Study that will begin on the First Sunday of Lent and continue through the Lenten Season will likely provide a more detailed understanding and commentary than is usual. Indeed, this may not be a Bible Study for everyone — but it WILL provide insights and learnings that promise to significantly deepen participants’ knowledge regarding John’s writing of the Gospel message! We will look at questions of authorship, composition, dating and the relationship of John to the three synoptic Gospels: Mark, Matthew and Luke. This option for Adult Faith Formation will be led by Dick Krogmann. It will largely follow a translation which is part of The Anchor Bible — Volume 29, authored by Raymond Brown.

POWER SURGE The second option, still in the planning stages, will be a discussion series based on Michael Foss’s POWER SURGE. Here’s a quotation from the book that offers something of its focus: “Evangelism and stewardship, women’s and men’ ministries, youth ministry, Sunday school, worship, social justice ministries, and even pastoral care must be held accountable to this one question: how does what we are doing encourage and enable others to live lives of active faith?” Those interested in this option may want to purchase a copy of Foss’s book; you can get a flavor of the book and, if you wish, order a paperback or ecopy by going here: Power Surge: Six Marks of Discipleship for a Changing Church: Michael W. Foss: 9780800632649: Books. Both of these options will begin on the First Sunday of Lent at 10:15 a.m. on Zoom. Until that time, the Bible study at Ephesians, led by Nancy Friedrich, and the movie discussion series, led by Chuck Maland, will continue.




ishop Kevin Strickland invites everyone to join him in walking a mile every day over the forty days of Lent, and raising through sponsorship or contribution, $40 for ELCA World Hunger.


DIGITAL gathering of all youth, especially those from Georgia is planned for Saturday, February 27.

The theme is ACCEPT. EMBRACE. SPREAD GRACE. Registration will be $20 per person. Each participant registered will receive an event t-shirt and supplies for the event.. Register at


movie viewing and discussion is scheduled for Sunday, February 21, 2021. Movie viewing will begin at 3pm EST / 2pm CST, with discussion to follow. The Southeastern Synod Diversity & Justice Task Force is sponsoring a movie viewing and discussion with the movie Selma. Please join us for this important conversation. Register at



Jordan Baker

Kris Hepler

Laura Trout

Amy Hamer


he St. John’s Lutheran Covid Task Force continues to meet to consider recommendations for safe worship during the Covid 19 pandemic. We are look closely at the number of infections and positive test rates in the Knoxville community, and we follow CDC and our ELCA synod guidance. We are open to the concerns of our members and church staff as we navigate specific challenges of serving during this difficult time. We welcome your questions, concerns, and prayers. While we all look forward to the COVID vaccine being increasingly available this spring and summer, it is important to know that the vaccine will only be effective in reducing spread when the majority of our community is vaccinated . The rates of Covid in Knoxville show that the pandemic continues to cause significant illness and suffering in our community. It may be difficult to understand why many businesses and churches are open for indoor gatherings and St John’s has continued streaming video worship services. The SJLC task force has heeded sound public health guidance, and we have considered that as Christians we want to show God’s love for us through how we love our neighbors . We have chosen to recommend following the most safe path to care for the weakest of those amongst us. We also recognize the toll of social isolation and encourage each other to seek ways to continue to participate, join in, and reach out to all of our church members. The Covid task force currently recommends limiting indoor meetings to no more than 10 individuals. We encourage continuing to focus on streaming video worship services , safely visiting individuals confined to home, and looking forward to gathering for outdoor worship as the weather allows beginning February 21st..



Peyton Hairston

Greg Kidwell

Benny Smith

Nancy Freidrich

Jessica Bocangel

Neil Fischer


Chelsea Kyle

Angie Hamstead

Michael Holtz

Jessi Grieser

lease welcome these folks to the Vision Team; they join Pastor Amy and Pastor John in this exciting journey in which we articulate our Mission Statement (who and where we are now), Vision Statement (who and where want to be in five years), and Ministry Goals (steps that will take from here and now into the


Peyton and Jessica will serve as Team Co-Leaders; Michael and Neil will serve as Advisors; Jessi will serve in an ex-officio capacity representing Church Council. Details about the exciting ways you can join in will follow!


LUTHERAN LIFE Volunteer Ministry Center: Our Neighbors The Volunteer Ministry Center remains open and as busy as ever supporting our neighbors experiencing homelessness during this time of COVID. The number of physical volunteers is lower, but there are still lots of opportunities to give. > Providing food for a meal at the Resource Center > Packing weekly Sack Lunches for Street Outreach > Providing cards and treats for residents at Minvilla Manor > Helping plan creative Fundraisers If you have an interest, contact me! Nancy Friedrich 865-659-0161, STREET OUTREACH VMC has 6 staff members serving as Street Outreach workers. VMC received funds from the City of Knoxville to expand the street outreach program in order to reach and engage more individuals experiencing homelessness who are camping and living on the streets in various areas of the City. THE GUEST HOUSE At the request of the Knox County Health Department, VMC continues to provide oversight and management of the Guest House, a COVID-19 quarantine/isolation facility for the homeless. In 2020, 103 individuals were served with an additional 28 for the month of January, 2021. VMC staff members provide on-site management of the Guest House. 2020 IMPACT 46 individuals moved into a permanent residence, of which 32 were formerly chronically homeless. · Housing Retention Rate since June 2007 is 96.4% · 221 individuals received services in the Resource Center. · 10,622 meals served in the Resource Center. · 849 patient visits in the Dental Clinic. · 1,550 dental procedures in the Dental Clinic. · 227 homeless prevention services in the Bush Family Refuge. · 2,043 people served by the Bush Family Refuge · 72 residents lived in Minvilla Manor in 2020. · 379 individuals in overnight shelter at the Foyer. · 420 individuals engaged through Street Outreach Finally VMC has purchased property at 1501 E. Fifth Ave and will be building a Permanent Supportive Housing facility (similar to Minvilla) called Caswell Manor. You can visit the VMC webpage for more details.

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he St. John’s Lutheran Knoxville Facebook page and Youtube channel streams our worship services live and archives them -- so you can re-visit a worship


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Gary Morgan Sonya McWilliams Jill Rosberg Brad Parman Laura Trout Erin Ramsey Parker Hamer Kelly Parman

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Jessi Grieser Kris Hepler Jim Ley Joe Brown Jane French Angela Long Sonja Krautner Virginia Shaffer Connie Burkhalter Angie Hamstead Ashley McDermott Nathan Miller Frederick Perkinson III Kylie Shattuck

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Henry Holt Adam Krogmann Bailey Morgan John Lawhon Haley Bernard Tony Harris Robin Leib Ruth Petersen Sandra Jessel Dan Bernard Amy Figg Ley Emelia Lewis Ashton Roberts Alexandra Bernard Peyton Hairston III Spencer Bernard Dan Lee

Kaye Bultemeier Elizabeth Menendez Kelley Westphal LaReau Carlson Mary Kline Ryan Sweany Linda Godden Kristen McFarland Asha Warren Dianne Eichenberg Ella Gibson Bob Metelka Michael Holtz Lucy Page Emily Sousa Emily Bast John Jessel Anna Elizabeth Lee Karen Bertollini Beverly Martin Larry Seivers


ST. JOHN’S LUTHERAN CHURCH 544 Broadway, NW Knoxville, TN 37917


The artwork on the cover of the newsletter is a painting by African American artist LEWIS BOWMAN. The painting is entitled “Transfiguration.”

CHURCH LEADERSHIP & STAFF Amy Figg Ley Senior Pastor

John Tirro Pastor of Worship & Campus Ministry

Christopher Clay Director of Communications

Deborah Dunne-Sousa Minister of Music

Darrell Murrell Facility Staff

Thea Peterson Kids Hope USA Director

Phone:: 865.523.3330

Toni Denton Administrative Assistant Mary Elizabeth Peterson, Lisa Minton & Bailey Morgan Nursery Assistants

Fax: 865.524.7895 Email: Website:

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