Connections by Pastor Jon Haug
Our thematic focus for the year at St. John’s is CONNECTIONS and that led me to thinking about religion. It’s not a popular word today, religion, I know. The culture is much more comfortable with spiritual. We hear people today say things like, “I’m not much into organized religion, but I am deeply spiritual. I just don’t think I need that from church anymore. I get it in nature and my life.” Sound familiar? Maybe too familiar?
Have you ever had a torn ligament? Athletes dread the diagnosis of a torn ACL. It can be career ending. The tear of ligament from bone in the knee is a fragile connection at best that can be altered forever with just the wrong angle or contact. The word religion in its etymology has connection to ligaments. The Latin, ligare, is the root. Religion broken down means a re-ligamentation. In the word roots itself is the understanding that you and I have been disconnected from the Holy and long to be reconnected, or re-ligamented with the Divine. This is a more ancient understanding of the word religion than our cultural understanding today. This begs some questions like: How does God connect to you? How will you (re)connect with God?
My experience is that the greatest tool we have been given to connect to God is—each other. There is a vulnerable and deep longing in us from birth to be connected with each other, a primal calling in each human heart. That connection was altered and realigned even more closely through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The opening of our Lenten journey was a reawakening to this connection to God through the cross and resurrection. It saved us from our own sin of thinking we can go it alone, or shoulder the whole cost ourselves, or thrive while disconnected from God and community. It saves us from ourselves and gives us new life.
So in this year of CONNECTIONS I invite you to do just that. Find a small group of people to meet with and connect with. St. John’s is a large enough church that you can come for years and never really know anyone or be known. Will you commit to changing that for yourself at St. John’s? God wants to know you and reconnect. Allow yourself to be open to God and the community here. Connecting to you might just be a lifeline for someone in our community longing for connection too. Commit to getting to know some others through an existing or new small group. You will know you are more connected when you come to church and know the name of six people and they know yours. Oh, and bend at the hips, not the knees—it’s better on your ligaments.
Saint John’s Program for Real Change
by Pastor Frank
As you remember, our Christmas Gift for the Christ Child last year went to Saint John’s Program for Real Change. A personal thank you from me for your overwhelming generosity, and a message of thanks from the Program’s CEO, Michele Steeb:
“What an incredible gift and boost to Saint John’s Program for Real Change in a time of great need. We are so incredibly grateful for your donation of $52,610 to help us maintain our capacity while we work with the County of Sacramento to get them to more highly prioritize women and children who have become homeless and fund programs that meet their unique needs.
We would not be here without you and the vision of your congregation. Our thousands of success stories are tied directly to your continued support.
On behalf of all of us at Saint John’s Program, especially the mothers and children, thank you!
Chief Executive Officer”
Don’t miss the next Council Chat/State of the Church – April 8, 10:15, Oehler Hall
-Meet the newest Council Members
-Time for Q&A
See you there!
Gwynnae Byrd, Council President
Meet the Staff – By Lisa Berg
I have had the privilege of getting to know Linda Baldwin for the past two years, ushering together at the 11:30am service. Linda, a lifelong Lutheran, was Ryan Eikenbary’s colleague at UC Davis. He invited her to a service at St. John’s, where he was singing in the choir. Linda was greeted by our own Rhonda Holmen, who asked about what kind of church she was looking for. She felt a wonderful connection here, and has been attending ever since!
Since participating in Luminaria and becoming a member, Linda quickly became enmeshed within the St. John’s family through Altar Guild, Ushering, Lector, Eucharistic Server, and her favorite, becoming a part of the Luminaria Leadership. And now, she has stepped in to take the role of Acting Executive Director of Administration in our church office, having previously served as the Executive Coordinator to that position.
Prior to working with us, Linda served UC Davis for 22 years, in the Office of the Chancellor, the School of Education, and the Office of STEM Strategies. One notable project was helping to establish the School of Education itself. As a Land Grant University, UC Davis wanted to better serve the K-12 population of California. Linda participated on the original planning team, and ultimately helped conduct the search for the founding dean. Upon his arrival to Davis, he asked her to come and help build the School. Linda utilized her skills in many ways at the School of Education, including a proposal to develop a UC Davis campus in Madrid.
Last summer, Linda traveled to Sweden to visit family, and upon her return learned that several staff were departing St. John’s. Feeling compelled to help, she contacted Pastor Frank; and the rest is history! Linda emphasized how blessed she feels to have this opportunity to serve St. John’s in this way. Some of the strengths that Linda brings to this new position are her ability to listen, and to focus on bringing together staff to work as a team and honor each other’s responsibilities. Her goal is to promote a happy and rewarding work environment.
Aside from St. John’s, Linda is also a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Foster Youth in Sacramento County, which she finds deeply rewarding. For fun, Linda enjoys adventures with her daughters and granddaughters.
First Communion by Pastor Jon Haug
Our annual First Communion classes will begin Sunday, April 8th at 1pm in Oehler Hall. First Communion classes are a chance each year for our young people to gather to learn more about God and the Sacrament of Communion as they prepare to receive it. They come together in an open classroom setting with a parent or guardian, read a book on communion together titled, A Place for You, participate in activities, and get to know each other more and our youth staff, including the pastors. It’s a joy every year! Typically, second graders are invited, but we lean into the idea that parents can determine with their child when they are ready so we have a diversity of ages and grades participating every year. Classes this year will be held on Sunday the 8th, 15th, and 22nd from 1-3pm and each child should attend each class and must attend with an adult. Students will culminate their experience and receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion on Sunday, April 29th at the 9am service. Questions, comments, want to sign up? Please contact Amy Paulson at firstname.lastname@example.org .
ST. JOHN’S SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS
DEADLINE: April 22
Two $2300 scholarships are available for new and continuing college students for the 2018-2019 school year. For details and instructions, visit the church website (www.stjohnslc.org) and look for the scholarship link. Completed applications must be received by April 22.
St. John’s Senior Concerns Task Force – Speaker Series!
“Planning for the Rest of Your Life...Now”
A speaker series helping families understand how to prepare for the future for themselves and their loved ones.
- April 22 – 9:00 am and 10:15 am – Oehler Hall
Navigating the Senior Maze
Carol Kinzel, Speaker
- April 29 – 9:00 am and 10:15 am – Oehler Hall
What is a Fiduciary?
Lisa Berg, Speaker
-May 6 – 9:00 am and 10:15 am – Oehler Hall
Live, Love, and Let Go
Dr. James Abshire, Speaker
Save the dates and join us!
How is your Spiritual Health? By Cindy Carroll, Parish RN
How Is Your Spiritual Health?
May our Risen Lord bless you with peace and joy! It is through His resurrection that we are able to be victorious over the many struggles and difficulties we face. Last month we talked about physical health and exercise so this month we would like to take some time to consider spirituality and spiritual health. Just like our body, our spirit needs special care and feeding in order to stay healthy.
The concept of spirituality is found in all cultures and societies. We don’t know exactly how spirituality is related to health, but it seems the body, mind and spirit are intertwined. The health of any one of these three can affect the health of the others. Spirituality is based on a dependence on God and it concerns the relationship with God, self, others, the environment, work, and our past, present and future. A healthy spirit exists when these relationships are in balance and support one another.
What are the benefits of a healthy spirit?
• Has a positive effect on health making it easier to cope with illness, depression and stress.
• Helps overcome hardships, making it easier to enjoy life.
• Helps decrease the risk of self-destructive behaviors.
• Enhances the ability to think clearly and positively.
• Restores our sense of purpose and meaning in life.
• Improves the function of our immune system.
• Improves longevity, reducing mortality up to 18%.
How can you nourish your spiritual health?
• Identify the things in your life that give you a sense of inner peace, comfort, love, strength and connection to God and others.
• Set aside time to do things that help you spiritually – prayer, meditation, yoga, reading the Bible or inspirational books, journaling.
• Engage in community activities and volunteer work.
• Cultivate empathy and compassion by listening deeply, taking others perspectives into account and looking for the good.
• Practice forgiveness.
• Be good to yourself!
We hope you will spend some time considering your spiritual health and set aside time every day to do the things that help you spiritually. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of us.
Connections Fair Update
by Rebekah Turnbaugh
A couple of months ago we had our first Connections Fair. We will be having another one during the education hour on Sunday, May 27 and hope to be able to connect more of you in small groups. If, however, you are unable to attend on that date but are still interested in joining a small group, please contact Rebekah Turnbaugh at email@example.com or 916-444-0874, and let her know what your idea is. We’ll be able to indicate your interest at the Fair and see if there are others with similar interests!
Rev. Janelle Neubauer visits from YAGM Rwanda on April 22
By Rebekah Turnbaugh
“The first time I set foot in the Kigali Lutheran Parish last May, I was taken aback. Everything simultaneously looked so very similar and so very different. The pews, the altar, the pulpit: everything and everyone gathered together for the purpose of worshipping and serving God in new shapes and forms but with the same purpose. As I sat and worshipped in English and Kinyarwanda, the global church manifested anew.
As partners in faith, the Sierra Pacific Synod and the Lutheran Church of Rwanda seek mutuality and interdependence as we accompany one another. As different parts of the one body of Christ in the world, we each hold our place as proclaimers of the gospel, making room for the work of the Holy Spirit in our communities and our world. As an ELCA missionary and the coordinator of the YAGM Rwanda program, I have been witness to the incredible work of these communities and partnerships in Rwanda. Now, it is my joy to join you for a time of witnessing and sharing the work we do together in the Sierra Pacific Synod!
After meeting Pastor Frank and Rhonda in Rukira, Rwanda, I'm grateful for the invitation to join you at St. John's for a potluck presentation on the Lutheran Church of Rwanda, the experiences of the YAGM volunteers in Rwanda, and our participation in ministry together (Sierra Pacific, YAGM, and the LCR) as a global church. I hope to see you there!”
We will be hosting a potluck dinner to be able to meet and hear from Rev. Janelle on April 22 at 6pm in Goethe Hall. To help us plan for the amount of people who will be attending, RSVP at https://tinyurl.com/YAGMRwanda and let us know what you might be bringing! For any questions, please contact Rebekah Turnbaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-444-0874.
ST. John's Lutheran Church April 2018 Calendar