the congregational newsletter of
St John‘s Lutheran Church
St John’s Lutheran Church
2016 ADVENT/CHRISTMAS issue
aint Paul begins his letter to the church of God at Corinth by saying, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of all compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort others in their sorrows with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” There is nothing about belonging to Christ in a community of faith that is especially comfortable. Beyond the multiplicity of accidents, sicknesses, disease and death, there are always challenges of brokeness that come in day to day relationships. Many folks feel the constant demands of time, talent and treasure as we try to keep up with our call to ministry. How can we best be faithful? In the season of Advent, the stress and emotional anxiety that result from being overbooked and distracted can create a climate of confusion and chaos. We can become confused about who we are as we get caught up in a noisy, uncomfortable culture. Honestly, there are very few “Silent Nights” and even fewer “Holy Nights”. All is not calm; all is not bright. The prophet Isaiah offers these words of encouragement, “Comfort, comfort my people says your God.” We are all in need of God’s comfort and we are all called to comfort one another in times of suffering and struggle. Maybe this is our Advent opportunity to experience Christ transforming our suffering into tidings of comfort and joy. The angel says, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be made known to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord!” The only way I know for tidings of comfort and joy to be “made known to all people” is for our suffering to be transformed by Jesus into a meaningful message that overflows from God in Christ to us and to the world. Our call to ministry is for us to become tidings of comfort and joy! Sunday and Wednesday worship with music, Word and sacrament promise to carry this theme “Tidings of Comfort and Joy” into every day of Advent, filling our lives and those around us until our cups of comfort overflow with a Spirit of joy… joy to the world. Now that would certainly make Christmas more than merry… it might even be meaningful. In Christ,
“The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised. The conductor has raised his baton. In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart…The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.” With these poignant words, Frederick Buechner captures the essence of Advent. We joyfully celebrate the coming of Jesus, the baby King born to live and die so we might see the full and final revelation of God’s love. With the celebration, we acknowledge all the hopes and dreams and comfort and lack of comfort it brings. At the same time, we contemplatively anticipate the coming again of Jesus, victor over death whose life again proclaims Love, always, ALWAYS wins! Our Advent color is a deep blue, the color of the clear, predawn sky, the color that covers the earth in the hours before the sun rises in the east. Most of us are not looking at the sky at that hour – perhaps we’re still asleep, or too weary to notice it as we get into our car for our commute. Nonetheless, a deep, dark blue is the color that covers us in the dark, cold hours before the dawn. Thus we use deep blue for Advent to shade the season with a hint of expectation and anticipation of the dawn of Christ. We light candles. We sing songs of Jesus’ coming and coming again. We give voice to our hearts’ hopes of the world turning toward the justice of God’s kingdom. We draw near to one another and make room for others. And in it, we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!” On Christmas Eve, we will change the paraments to white, and rich Christmas carols will fill our hearts. Candles will glow as we hear the story of a world changed by Love wrapped in swaddling clothes. Lurking at the edges and sometimes moving to center stage, the story will be tempered by a struggle for power by a threatened king, the wisdom of the Magi, and darkness that threatens to overtake the light of Christmas. And yet we know the baby, who was also called the Light of the world, shines in a way that darkness CANNOT overcome it. THIS is “tidings of comfort and joy!”
Faith Formation on Sunday Mornings at SJLC After an incredibly faithful season of learning together, we will switch gears during the holidays to nurture relationships through shared celebrations and opportunities for fellowship. Here is our Faith Formation schedule: Sunday, December 4
First Sunday Brunch for All Ages (Sparks Fellowship Hall)
Sunday, December 11
Christmas Pageant Preparation (Preschoolers through High Schoolers in Sparks Fellowship Hall) Refreshments and Fellowship (Adults in the Welcome Center)
Sunday, December 18
Christmas Pageant for All Ages
Sunday, December 25
One Worship Service at 10:00 and No Christian Education
Sunday, January 1
One Worship Service at 10:00 and No Christian Education
Sunday, January 8
First Sunday Brunch for All Ages (Sparks Fellowship Hall)
Beginning on Sunday, January 15, we will begin a new year of fabulous Christian education offerings for ALL of God’s people. Check out the Epiphany newsletter for exciting details!
Adult Faith Formation "The Big Thank You" is a gratitude study. During the study, church members and guests will write a thank you note every day for two weeks. Then, on Sunday, November 27, we’ll share what they experienced in their own lives as a result of personally expressing gratitude. Pastor Amy says, "We hope this will give all of us an opportunity to slow down, make space for ourselves and be intentional about recognizing everything for which we have to be grateful, from the people in our lives to the tangible gifts loved ones may give us. Contact Michael Holtz for details or meet us Sunday mornings at 10am in Sparks Hall.
dvent, from a Latin word meaning “arrival,” is a time when the church anticipates the arrival of Christ. Most centrally, we anticipate Christmas, the celebration of Jesus’s birth, but our readings—especially this Advent as we begin reading Matthew—“prepare us to receive not only a new baby, but a new world where God’s justice and mercy reign” (Sundays and Seasons: Year A 2017, p. 2). Sunday Mornings Sunday mornings we will gather at our usual times of 9 and 11am in our sanctuary, freshly decked with greenery and Chrismon trees representing new life. We will sing "O Come, O Come, Immanuel" as a prayer to Jesus to make a new world where God's will is done, in us, and we will anticipate Christ coming to answer that prayer. Tidings of Comfort and Joy: A Midweek Advent Series - Nov. 30th, Dec. 7th, 14th, 21st Wednesday evenings at 6:30 we will gather in our newly renovated Fireside Room for an art installation to help us envision God's coming reign and cookies, wassail, and music to help us relax, catch up, and prepare for worship. At 6:45 music will lead us into the sanctuary for Tidings of Comfort and Joy, a service focusing on emotions related to change (Zechariah's fear, Joseph's confusion, Mary's doubt, Shepherds' curiosity) and God sending angels to help people through. Our music, which will include a beautiful jazz setting of Mary’s “Magnificat,” will be led by St John's instrumentalists, choir, and guest musicians. We are Excited to be welcoming renowned Knoxville jazz vocalist Kelle Jolly and Knoxville Jazz Orchestra woodwind player (and Kelle’s husband) Will Boyd.
tidings A Midweek Advent Series featuring a jazz setting of Mary’s “Magnificat”
with special Musical guests Kelle Jolly & Will Boyd Wednesdays, Nov 30, Dec 7,14 & 21 6:15pm
t’s that time of year … time to make our church especially beautiful and prepare for the arrival of Christ! The Hanging of the Greens will be Sunday, November 20th! We will have a light meal and fellowship at 5:30 and begin decorating at 6:15; and we will have lots of fun in the process! Everyone is encouraged to come out and participate in the evening as many hands make light work! It’s a great time to meet new folks and strengthen relationships while we prepare our sanctuary and building for this wonderful season! If you have any questions, contact Lindsay Cook, Clarke Hinkle or any of the Pastors! It will be a great time of fun and fellowship!
magine you were an Old Star tasked with telling a Young Star all about the First Christmas. What pictures would you paint? What characters would you describe? What songs would you sing? The St. John’s Christmas Pageant on Sunday, December 18 at 10:00 AM in Sparks Fellowship Hall will set just such a scene. As the Old Star and New Star converse, we will see parts of the Christmas story unfold, as well as enjoy some “star” humor. Could it be that the Old Star was actually the ORIGINAL Christmas Star? Join us for fun, fellowship, and refreshments as we celebrate the true reason for the season! If your child would like to participate, please contact Karalyne Ley at 865.389.3438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
festive Katie’s Sisters event, “Advent By Candlelight” will be held on Monday evening, November 28th from 7pm 9pm in the Sparks Fellowship Hall. The program this year, “A Way in a Manger,” will offer examples of ways to love, serve, and give. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us for an evening of fellowship, beautiful music and delicious desserts as we prepare our hearts for the seasons of Advent Christmas. There is no charge for the program, but as a service project, we are collecting warm, gently used, or new scarves, mittens and gloves (Adult sizes, please). Reservations are currently being taken for table hostesses, as well as for individual seats. Please extend an invitiation to your sisters in Christ and make plans to be a part of this special event. The deadline for signing up to host a table is Sunday, November 20th and the deadline for signing up for the program is Sunday, November 27th. Sign up sheets are available in the Welcome Center. As a special treat, valet parking will be available beginning at 6:30pm with retrieval following the program by simply driving your car to the portico in front of the Welcome Center. For more information, please contact Ruth Crowley at 8650405-3727 or via email at email@example.com.
SENIOR ADULT MINISTRY The SAMs Christmas celebration happens on Wednesday, December 7th beginning at 11:30 in Sparks Fellowship Hall. Wonderful food, fellowship, and the sounds of the season highlight this month’s gathering. Mary Sophia Hawks will be our soloist for the event and our own Chris Clay will accompany her and provide some wonderful Christmas music for the celebration. Find out more from Mary Cole and make plans to join us!
We Need YOU! We need your gifts for the life and health of our family of faith. Ask Ministry Coordinator Chris Clay about your talents and how they can be used here at St. John’s.
his year’s Choir Christmas Party is scheduled for Saturday, December 10th at our Minister of Music Debbie Sousa’s home. The festivities begin promptly at 6:30pm.
Stephen Ministry Luncheon & Service of Remembrance Henri Nouwen writes: “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” Grief is a living reality, even during the holidays. And sharing that grief can be a gift you extend to yourself. Imagine the mix of emotions during this holiday season: joy of family gatherings tempered by the aching loss of one who is not sitting at his or her place at the table, hope for the new year dashed by the end of significant relationship, gifts wrapped in bright paper dimmed by the gray shades of depression, the anticipation of gifts given drastically minimized by a job loss and the subsequent financial strain. Your Stephen Ministers understand and invite you to the 17th Annual Service of Remembrance, Sunday, December 4th, beginning at 12:15pm. Together, we can remember the completed lives of so many cherished family members and friends. Sometimes through tears and other times with a gentle smile, we can think of those who filled our lives with such precious memories. At 12:15, the Stephen Ministers will host a light lunch in the Sparks Fellowship. At 1:00, the St. John’s family will remember those who completed life during the past year, celebrating the promise of resurrection in worship. We will light a candle in memory of those who enriched our lives by being present and who now remind us of a hope-filled eternity: parents, children, siblings, extended family members, and friends. Please plan to join us for a gentle time of reflection. RSVPs for lunch are requested; please contact Toni in the church office at 523-3330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RAISING THE ROOF Our “Raising the Roof” Capital Campaign is now a year old as of November 1st. The primary goals of the three-year $1 million capital campaign are:
Capital Improvements Saint John’s Endowment Debt Reduction
The RtR Team is proud to announce the following progress of the campaign that includes 114 pledges for nearly $720,000. In addition, we are thankful for your commitment and spirit filled generosity resulting in $320,000 in campaign funds, which has allowed us to make all the Capital Improvements without any additional debt. St. John’s has seen significant progress in year ONE of Raising the Roof. We’ve indeed “Raised the Roof” and replaced our 103-year-old sanctuary roof! In addition, we have completed and are underway with several interior improvements including: plaster repairs and painting in the Fireside Room and Sanctuary, new floor covering in the children’s classrooms, and a complete remodel and transformation of the Kindergarten Room with more to come! We have purchased a new audio system for the sanctuary and a new lighting control system with LED’s thoughout the sanctuary. We have also made a debt reduction payment out of capital campaign funds. Our next focus for the campaign will be on the kitchen expansion and renovation. We will need your continued prayers, support and generosity to see this exciting project take shape in the New Year and move to completion. We are thankful that God is revealing His Spirit with your continued faithfulness and commitment. On behalf of the RTR Campaign and the Follow-Up team, thank you for your generous support and commitment to the Ministries of St. John’s.
December Birthdays 1
Al Gill Nicki Nye Beth Callo
Sue Fischer Sam Hancock JC Miller
Mary Elizabeth Peterson
Shirley Fogarty Floyd Daniels Dick Fahringer
Christine Jessel Lee Sinnott
Dotty Barnhill Jennifer James
Rose Perkinson Brooke Bohannan
Velma Hendrix Pat Hunsicker Greg Stafford
Jo Anne Roning Tanner Jessel
Keith Solt Debby Jones Landry Bernard
Neil Fischer Todd Sharp Michael Westphal
Lisa Kalmon Joseph Ray
ST. JOHNâ€™S LUTHERAN CHURCH 544 Broadway, NW Knoxville, TN 37917
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ADVENT & CHRISTMAS Worship Services ADVENT MIDWEEK WORSHIP Wednesdays, Nov 30th, Dec 7th, 14th & 21st 6:15pm CHRISTMAS EVE WORSHIP Saturday, December 24th 5:30pm & 8:30pm CHRISTMAS DAY WORSHIP Sunday, December 25th
Senior Pastor - J. Stephen Misenheimer, email@example.com Pastor of Faith Formation & Leadership Development - Amy C. Figg, firstname.lastname@example.org Pastor of Campus Ministry - John Tirro, email@example.com Minister of Music - Deborah Dunne-Sousa, firstname.lastname@example.org Ministry Coordinator & Director of Communications - Christopher Clay, email@example.com Youth Ministry Associate - Isaac Taylor, Isaac@sjlcknox.org Administrative Assistant - Toni Denton, firstname.lastname@example.org Kids Hope USA Director - Thea Petersen
Latest Edition of the St. John's Lutheran Church Lutheran Life Advent 2016