The Pursuit of Inspiration Sparks Passion

By Steven Johnson, Director of Worship and Music

Over the course of the past year or so, I had been seeking a meaningful connection with an artistic soul whose insights would bring a greater and more fulfilling awareness into my own musical realms that were, until now, unspoken and unrealized.

Then last October I attended Gregorian Institute of America Fall Institute, a Music and Liturgy Conference, where I had the distinct privilege of meeting Dr. James Jordan from the Westminster Choir School.

Well guess what? After one “Skyped” conducting lesson with Dr. Jordan, I knew he was “the one” to provide new insights that will light the way for an extraordinary musical journey and soulful transformation. His more than 40 books explore both the philosophical and spiritual basis of musicianship, as well as aspects of choral rehearsal teaching and learning. They are considered to be essential books in the conducting profession, and I am gradually working my way through them.

Now, I am happy to report that I’ve been accepted into the 2018 Choral Institute at Oxford where I will be immersed in a 12-day, 12 hour a day, series of workshops, lectures, and master classes in discovering plainchant, pedagogical training and insightful conversations with conductors from around the world.

It all will culminate in a concert where I will have the thrilling and joyful honor of conducting the Westminster College Choir at the concluding celebratory concert, the same choir that Dr. Jordan conducts. While we are unable to have guests for the duration of the course, you are all invited to the concert, Thursday, July 12th at 7PM at Oxford University Chapel at St. Stephen’s House. (This is Harry Potter territory. Magical things happen there I am told.)

Last spring, while in South Africa, I visited the Mandela House and the Apartheid Museum, both of which left a deeply meaningful imprint on my being. And I find it serendipitous that Dr. Jordan quotes Nelson Mandela in his book, Discovering Chant: “Mandela brilliantly distills for us that ‘honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others - qualities that are within reach of every human soul - are the foundation of one’s spiritual life....’ These very qualities need to be at the center of any music pedagogy that hopes to teach not only skill but artistry and resonance with one’s own soul.”

I am looking forward to my musical journey that is but a few weeks away, and even more so, to the impact it will have on our musical paths together in the months and years to come.

In Celebration & Song,

Steven Johnson

Click here for insights and information about Dr. James Jordan.​

Welcome Statement

At its May meeting, the Congregational Council voted unanimously to adopt this new Welcome Statement for St. John’s.

Welcome may seem like a simple, secular concept, but really, it is an expanding and dominant theme of the Holy Scriptures, and absolutely a constant topic and teaching moment for Jesus. Why is that? I think it is because Welcome at its core is where the rubber meets the road in our lived out life of Christian faith – especially a Welcome that is aspirational, that stretches beyond “all the old familiar faces!” An expansive Welcome like that is how God stretches us to truly live divine Love into the World – a world just waiting to have a loving word spoken to it!

Oh, yes, there was also a pragmatic reason or two for the timing of this new Statement of Welcome. Charged by the Council to draft a new Vision Statement, or to reconfirm our now more than 10 year old one. It became clear to me and other key leaders that a massive aspect of our vision is actually and radically “To Welcome.” And so, to make this Welcome absolutely clear, a broad, stand-alone and aspirational Welcome Statement made the most strategic sense for us – to let people know who we are, and for us to live into who we most faithfully want to be.

And secondly, the clear drafting of a Welcome Statement for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters was urged to confirm our affiliation with a key ally – “Reconciling Works.” Almost seventeen years ago, on September 18, 2001, our affiliation with Reconciling Works’ predecessor body, “Reconciled in Christ,” was voted into existence by a bold and daring St. John’s Council. We give thanks for, and pray blessings upon such forward-thinking and visionary leaders as that long ago council. We have endeavored to live faithfully into this full relationship with our LGBTQ members and friends, a life and a journey that has included the blessing of same gender unions and marriages, and also the calling of a LGBTQ pastor. Our stretching into this welcome has been a huge blessing for us, and undoubtedly, we as a congregation have received far more than we have given in this expansion of our understanding of divine grace! But there was a glitch, a small but impactful one – it turns out we never properly registered our Reconciled in Christ affiliation, or, if we did, the appropriate record was lost – yet another lesson for us all that the job is never completed until the paperwork is done (and in)! And so, with this Welcome Statement, we are fully a Reconciling Works congregation, and now (and finally) have properly registered as one!

One last word – one of our significant learnings as we have endeavored to become a more inclusive congregation is that self-understandings and language describing same are always in constant flux. We believe that some of the ways we describe the “Who” of who we welcome will continue to adapt and change. Therefore, in approving this statement, our Council has understood it to be a living document that may (and should) be subject to subtle (and perhaps not so subtle) revisions and adaptions as we live into this core understanding of who we are as the Body of Christ here at St. John’s – a congregation of previous “others” now joined with a heart to welcome and serve all others!

Respectfully submitted,

Pastor Frank Espegren

Meet the Staff

By Jon Haug

No two staff members have a longer tenure at St. John’s than the parish nurses, Cindy Carroll and Suzi Taylor. Each has worked for almost 22 years in this role. They have been friends and colleagues for so long that they can finish each other’s sentences!

So that you get a clearer understanding of their work at St. John’s you need to know that a Parish Nurse is a Registered Nurse who is specially trained in whole-person care; care of body, mind and spirit. This specialty care is provided to individuals, families, and groups within a faith community. Their goal is to make St. John’s a place where health and wholeness are valued. They are committed to the intentional care of the spirit as well as care that promotes whole-person well-being. The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognizes Faith Community Nursing as a nursing speciality.

Their connection to the church began before their work as parish nurses however. Cindy has been a member here since 1977 and was married here in 1985. Suzi grew up in Sacramento going to St. John’s all her life. Their experience, expertise, ministry, and commitment to the church have been long and exemplar.

They actually started the Parish Nursing program here with the support of Pastor Carlos Schneider and the Council in June of 1996. Every week they gather with Pastor Jon and Pastor Frank on Tuesday morning, in their role as Congregational Care Coordinators, to go over our prayer list, which is the ministry tool used to determine who needs a visit, a phone call, a contact, or a prayer. They collectively are paid to work 22 hours per week, Cindy for 15 and Suzi for 7, but accomplish so much more, often volunteering their time. Their responsibilities include our Bereavement Ministry, Eucharistic Ministry, and Prayer Ministry. They also serve as Worship Assistants and Stephen Leaders. If your life has been touched by their compassion, listening, advice, or expertise, you are in good company along with many other members of St. John’s.

And, not surprisingly, this is not all they do. Cindy is an avid quilter and teaches classes locally. She also had a previous career as a Surgical and Cardiovascular ICU nurse and was the head nurse for a large cardiology practice. She enjoys reading, cooking and baking, and traveling and looks forward to doing more traveling when she retires. She also holds the position of President of the Greater Sacramento Health Ministry Network and in 2014, Cindy received the Granger Westberg Leadership in Faith Community Nursing Award from the National Health Ministries Association.

Suzi has a passion for genealogy, a passion that stems from growing up with stories about relatives that she never met. She has utilized family resources and modern technology like Ancestry.com to keep up on her ancestors who were Germans from Russia. Suzi also works for Dignity Health as coordinator of the Mercy Faith and Health Partnership, which is a program of Community Health and Outreach. She is a speaker for the Greater Sacramento Speakers Bureau for Advance Health Care Planning. She sits on the board of the Greater Sacramento Health Ministry Network and served as VP of the national Health Ministries Association (HMA) from 2012-2016 and remains a lifetime member.

When Cindy was asked what she loves about her ministry she responded, “One of the best parts about being a parish nurse at St. John's is being able to work with an individual or family and walk with them through a transition in their life and then be able to continue to connect with them at church.” When Suzi was asked the same question she responded, “One of the best parts of being a parish nurse at St. John’s Lutheran Church is having the time to really listen to someone when they are hurting. Allowing a person to feel they are being heard at a deep level and to feel God's presence with each encounter, I have with a member.” It is clear that in Cindy and Suzi we have dedicated parish nurses who love what they do, have been long time friends and colleagues, do their work through a deep sense of faith and Christian compassion, and who love St. John’s. We thank God for our parish nurses!

Breakfast with Sacramento City Councilmember Eric Guerra at St. John's

We are church together: this is our neighborhood. All are invited to breakfast hosted by the Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California, on Saturday morning, June 2, 7 a.m., in Oehler Hall. Councilmember Guerra grew up as a child of farm workers in Yolo County. Info and sign-up link: www.loppca.org. Guerra was featured in Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Bretón’s heart-warming column published on May 20.

ELCA Youth Gathering 2018!

By Sarah Street

On June 26th, 19 of our young people and 4 eager adult leaders will be leaving to go to the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston. This group has been preparing for this journey for several months now-- gathering together to study the Word, connect as a community, and learn about the details of their time together. Our group will join together with 30,000 other Lutheran youth in Houston as they partner in service, worship, learning and fellowship. They will begin and end each day in a time of study and reflection as a group-- lifting up one another in prayer and coming together as a community of believers.

This trip would not be possible without the support that our young people receive from the congregation at St John’s. Your generosity at the Crab Feed and Pancake Dinner allow for us to go on this trip without much impact to the general fund. We could not do this without you. Please lift up our youth and the adult leaders in your prayers as they take part in this life changing experience. Encourage them as they grow in faith and trust in the Lord. We are all blessed to be in community together.

St. John's Organist Ryan Enright will be performing a recital Sunday, June 3 at 2 p.m. on the Bedient organ, Opus 80. Tickets are available online and will also be available during the Coffee Hour on Sunday morning, June 3. Adult tickets are $20 at the door ($17 purchased in advance), tickets for students and seniors are $15 at the door ($13 in advance). Children 12 and under are free. Parking will be available in the church garage at 18th and K Streets, and there will be a reception following the concert.

On June 1-3,The Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel here in Sacramento. Volunteers are needed to help with registration, hospitality, providing directions to participants, and assisting with setting up communion services. If you are available on any of these days to assist, please 1. Call the church office and leave your name, email address, and best phone number 2. Visit the Sierra Pacific Synod website, click on Synod Assembly, and look for the volunteer signup page. 3. Call Mary Wiberg at 916-284-5908 and leave a message re volunteering along with your phone number and an email address


By Pastor Jon Haug

The Scholarship Committee is delighted to award the annual William and Donna Morgan Awards for 2018 to Rachel Cooper-Huber and Anna Huber! These awards are given in the memory of William and Donna Morgan, long-time members at St. John’s. Bill was an educator and principal of McClatchy High School, where both he and Donna supported the Scholarship Fund from its infancy.

Recipients of this award must:

  • Be graduating seniors from high school

  • Be nominated by someone in the community of St. John’s

  • Show outstanding service to our church and the community

  • Demonstrate a commitment to “Live God’s Love in the World”, the mission of St. John’s.

Each student will receive $100 and a one-of-a kind gift.

This year’s recipients will each receive a St. John’s sweatshirt. This fall, Rachel plans to attend Dominican University in San Rafael, CA. Anna plans to attend Wheaton College in Norton, MA near Boston. Congratulations to both of these deserving young women who have long been involved in the community of St. John’s. God bless them in their futures!

The Scholarship Committee is proud to announce the recipients of the 2018 St. John's Scholarships. This year Ruby Lindgren and Anna Huber will each be the recipient of a $2,300 scholarship. Congratulations to Ruby and Anna! Both Ruby and Anna displayed a deep commitment to service and the church as well as financial need, among other considerations. Ruby will be a sophomore at the University of Portland where she is a German studies major and will be studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria next year. Anna just graduated from St. Francis High School and will continue as a student athlete at Wheaton College near Boston in the fall where she will study and play soccer.


Saturday, June 9

The St. John's Property Committee will be holding their work day on Saturday, June 9, that's this coming Saturday.

We have lots of projects both big and small that we need help with! If you can come and help, even for an hour or 2, please contact Linda Baldwin at the church office!

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We are attentive to God's word, prayerfully discerning God's will to do God's work with grace, in trust, by faith, through action.

st. john's lutheran church

1701 L Street

Sacramento, CA 95811
916-444-0874 | contact@stjohnslc.org

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