June 28, 2020

St. John will gather again as church on Saturdays and Sundays, beginning Saturday, July 11 and 12.  Saturday worship is at 5:30 p.m.;  Sunday worship is at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m.;  with the following caveats:

All services will be outside, weather-permitting, in either the parking lot on the east side of St. John or in St. John’s Memory Garden, on the west side of St. John’s sanctuary.  Precipitation at service-time cancels the meeting.  Please park on the north side of the church and in spaces in the east parking lot not immediately in front of the east entryway drive-up/drop-off, which will be needed for seating when worship is offered on the east side. 

  1. Because we love our neighbor, all participants shall wear a face-covering and all who gather shall practice social distancing, assuming a six-to-ten-foot buffer between participants.  Please stay home if you’re not feeling well or if you’ve been exposed to COVID19. Please refrain from all physical contact (handshakes, hugs, etc.) during worship with anyone beyond your immediate family.  Masks will be available for those who forget to bring them. 
  2. Please bring your own lawn chair.  A limited number of folding chairs will be available for those unable to provide their own seating.  (Please place chairs six to ten feet apart.) 
  3. Services will be 35 to 45 minutes in length.  There will be no coffee hour before or after worship.  While special music may be provided, all congregational singing will be suspended for the time being.  When and how we’ll be able to safely distribute the Sacrament of Holy Communion will be determined as weeks unfold.  Worship is the first and best work of the Church.  As we gather this summer, expect worship to be a work in progress.  Thank you for your patience.
  4. Online worship will still be available for those who are out of town or who are not yet comfortable with worship in a congregational setting.  Check us out at www.stjohnlutheran.net or on Facebook. 

With gratitude for each and all as we begin this new chapter…

Pastor Paul

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May 28, 2020

St. John Friends,

            We yearn to gather, we yearn to hear the Word in person, we yearn for the cure of COVID-19.  During this difficult time of uncertainty, we must determine what is in the best interest of our congregation as a whole to return to service and activities at St John. Therefore, a Wellness Committee*, consisting of health professionals has been created to provide guidance to our Executive Committee and Council as far as suggested reopening dates and preparations for when we meet again.  We ask for your continued patience, grace and flexibility as we strive to make the most appropriate decisions for our entire congregation.  At this time, we will not be meeting in person for services or activities in June. We will continually monitor the state and federal guidelines for a phased approach to reopening.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact me.

                                                                                            Kari Clark, St. John Council President                                                                                                                                           (605) 351-4785, kaclark74.1@gmail.com

 *Our Wellness Team: Travis Spier, Chair; Marty & Jan McDonald; Steve & Beth Matson; Jeannette Stowsand 

 

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April 28, 2020

Dear friends;

Our Executive Committee, taking to heart the wisest guidance we’re all afforded by the CDC, has concluded that we as a congregation must remain in our self-imposed hiatus and continue to refrain from all public gathering for worship, fellowship, and/or service through the month of May.  Should it become abundantly clear to St. John’s leadership that it will be safe beyond a reasonable doubt to resume congregational worship and programming before then, we will announce at first opportunity.  At this particular moment, it doesn’t seem that this will be the case. 

What can we do as we await the Day?

Keep our distance.  This is how we take care of our community, our church community and our larger community. This is the sacrifice that’s asked of all of us.  And this we can do.

Call and/or write one another, being, I’d suggest, particularly mindful of those who are homebound, especially those who are prohibited from having visitors. Take this opportunity to tell or write people what can never be said enough, and what never stays said however often it’s repeated, that they’re remembered and loved.  I can’t think of a better time in all my life, personally, to tell the people who bless me every day how grateful I am for each and all of them. Please begin writing and calling, using your church directory. 

Let’s learn the lessons this moment means to teach us.  I can’t say for sure what that meaning will be for you, though I’d certainly like to hear what you’re thinking.  I’m not even sure there are any right or wrong answers, just your answers, and mine.  Thinking all this over, I like to keep keep in mind something Churchill said in the throes of national crisis:  “People occasionally stumble over the truth about themselves and their world, but most of us just pick ourselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”  Just saying:  this time in which we’re living definitely presents a teachable moment; those who have ears to hear and eyes to see, let her hear, let him see.

Be kind. For the fun of it, especially try to be kind in one of those places kindness isn’t often anticipated or expected (driving in traffic, waiting at the checkout, meeting complete strangers along the bike trail…  It will bless you as much as it will bless them. 

Observing social distancing, watch for opportunities to pray and Commune with your St. John family via St. John’s website (www.stjohnlutheran.net) and on St. John’s Facebook page.  New opportunities are presented on almost a daily basis. 

                                                                              Pastor Paul

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AS OF APRIL 16, 2020

Dear Members and Friends of St. John;

We are writing to make you aware of a recent change. Due to the continued growth of COVID- 19 in Minnehaha County, the church office will now be closed until further notice. Joanne will be working from home and will have access to the church voicemail and email. Please leave a voice mail message at 336-3253 or email her at stjohnlutheran1912@msn.com. Pastor Paul plans to keep pretty regular office hours but, heeding the wisdom and dictates per social distancing, is discouraging all face-to-face meetings. Feel free call him at the office (336-3253, ext. 2) to talk.

We will continue to offer online opportunities for devotional moments and other messages of encouragement from St. John, news from and prayer requests for members and friends of the congregation, as well as daily updates per ongoing ministry opportunities through St. John. All updates are available at St. John’s website: www.stjohnlutheran.net.

Thank you for your continued financial support of St. John’s mission and ministry through your regular giving. Your gifts are very much needed to continue our congregation’s many commitments, and for sustaining St. John’s goals, mission, and operations. Options for making offerings include:

—Personal checks to St. John American Lutheran Church, 1912 W. 13th Street, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57104.

—Or call the church office (336-3253) to sign up for St. John’s monthly Automatic Electronic Funds Transfer.

—Watch for details regarding online giving opportunities in the near future.

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March 30, 2020

Dear members and friends of St. John;

This letter is to confirm what most of us have already surmised per all the latest reporting related to the emergency with which we’ve all been met, nationwide, in the COVID-19 pandemic.  Using what lights are ours and the best recommendations of those we all depend upon for our Nation and State’s safety and success, the leadership of your congregation has authorized the continued suspension of all of St. John’s worship, fellowship, and service work, which. put into play mid-March, will now continue through the entire month of April, to be reviewed by Leadership at month’s end, at which time we’re all hoping St. John may resume its work and worship, that outcome, of course, remaining to be seen. 

I am deeply grateful to St. John’s Council, particularly the leadership it’s afforded by Council’s Executive Committee and many Board reps, chaired, all of it, by our very able President, coworker, and friend, Kari Clark.  I have appreciated so much Leadership’s willingness to meet and address pressing exigencies presented to it in these uncharted waters with faith, with hope, with an openness to new ideas demanded by novel problems, only always with an abiding care of the People of St. John, the work of their calling, and their mission.  I am also deeply grateful for our congregation, it’s faith, it’s prayers, it’s willingness to sacrifice even important things for the good of its charges and the noble work of Christ.

What this means for St. John this April:

  • No worship at our regularly appointed times Saturdays and Sundays, nor special services of worship pertaining to Lent, Holy Week and Easter, including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.

Plans to produce an Easter Service from St. John, including the distribution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion, are currently underway, and will be disseminated to St. John members and friends in time for Easter Sunday, April 12, accessed by members electronically or hopefully otherwise available via DVD.    

  • No public activities associated with the work of the church through St. John.  Out of an abundance of caution, all meetings, work groups, Sunday school and confirmation classes, Bible studies, music ensembles, Men’s groups, Women’s groups are cancelled.
  • No public activities not directly associated with the church which St. John avails its facilities to, such as A.A., NAMI, Neighborhood Watch, the Boy Scouts, not including the April 23, distribution of food to St. John neighbors by Food-to-You Mobile Food Pantry, which will be organized from St. John’s parking lot.
  • Office Hours, normally 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., may some hours of somedays, have to be adjusted.  The entryway of the church being locked for security reasons at all times, please call the church office (336-3253) in advance of any visit to assure your access to the building.  If you need immediate support from Pastor Paul or Intern Pastor Rebel, please contact them by phone or e-mail, and do be sure to leave a message.
  • Pastor Paul / 605-595-6313 / pastormatchan@msn.com.
  • Intern Pastor Rebel / 605-956-2687 / rhurd001@luthersem.edu.

Online opportunities for devotional moments and other messages of encouragement from St. John, news from and prayer requests for members and friends of the congregation, as well as daily updates per ongoing ministry opportunities through St. John, are available at St. John’s website, which is: stjohnlutheran1912@msn.com

Thank you for your continued financial support of St. John’s mission and ministry through your regular giving.  Your gifts are very much needed to continue our congregation’s many commitments, and for sustaining St. John’s goals, mission, and operations.  Options for making offerings include: 

  • Personal checks to St. John American Lutheran Church, 1912 W. 13th Street, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57104.
  • Or call the church office (336-3253) to sign up for St. John’s monthly Automatic Electronic Funds Transfer.

OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE:

  • If you would like to help with the delivery of food or medications to homebound friends of St. John or are without transportation and need help with the delivery of food or medications, please call Joanne at the church office (336-3253).
  • ST. JOHN IS COLLECTING FOOD FROM APRIL 1 THROUGH APRIL 8 FOR FEEDING SOUTH DAKOTA / THE SIOUX FALLS FOOD PANTRY.  Gifts of non-perishable food items may be left in the box at the drive-up/drop-off of St. John’s entryway weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Coffee and a Prayer is shared with passersby from St. John’s drive-up/drop-off every weekday morning, from 8:00 to 8:30 a.m.  Swing in on your way to work for a cup of Joe and a blessing.
  • Have you time to sew?  Would you like to sew protective nose and mouth masks for residents and patients in local doctors’ offices and nursing homes?  Call the church office for contact information (336-3253).
  • While minding the space necessary to effective social distancing, don’t miss an opportunity to ask a neighbor across the back fence how they’re doing.  Per friends and members of St. John, please, by all means, pick up the phone and give them a call, if for no other reason to tell them that they’re remembered and missed.  Now is the perfect time to tell folks you know and love how grateful you are for them.  (If you don’t have a church directory, please call the church office to pick up a copy or otherwise have it e-mailed or delivered to your doorstep.)

Finally, let’s begin every day with a hope and prayer. We have a loving and gracious God. We have so much to be grateful for. 

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.  Where there is hatred, let us sow love;  where there is injury, pardon;  where there is discord, union;  where there is doubt, faith;  where there is despair, hope;  where there is darkness, light:  where there is sadness, joy.  Grand that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;  to be understood as to understand;  to be loved as to love.  For it is in giving that we receive;  it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;  and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  Amen.   – A Prayer Attributed to St. Francis

With gratitude for your friendship 

& partnership in ministry, always,

Pastor Paul

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