October 2018 SPOKESMAN

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Reformation 501

By Pastor Frank Espegren

After our celebration last year of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, complete with all the pomp and circumstance such a monumental event deserves, one wonders, “What could we possibly do with our Reformation worship services this year to top that??! Maybe we should just skip it?!?” Our answer to that is an emphatic “No!” It is good and right to gather on Sunday, October 28th to mark this anniversary again.

Reformation 501 is worthy of our attention as the church is always called to reform. This year though, let’s have a little fun with it!

After all, 501 is a classic. Here in northern California, we know this better than anyone else, anywhere else, in the world – for we live in the land of Levi’s 501 jeans! That is why this year, on the 501st anniversary of the Reformation, we are asking that you not only wear the customary red to church, red being the church color for Reformation Sunday, but we want you to pair that red with a pair of jeans –Levi’s 501’s if you have them!

I’m not sure what Martin Luther would look like, trading in his medieval cassock for jeans, but he definitely was game to mix it up, more than a little bit! So we’ll see you on Reformation Sunday, October 28 h , at any of our worship services – 8, 9 & 11:30 am. No matter what you’ve been previously taught, “Sunday Best” on this 501st Reformation Sunday is jeans!

This Reformation, we don’t care about your “Lutheran genes” – it’s all about Lutheran jeans!


Pastor Frank Espegren

Call Committee Update – 3rd Pastor

By Joel Kimmelshue

Call Committee Chair

The Call Committee has been working diligently in the call process of the 3rd pastor. At this time, we have completed the following milestone tasks:

  • Developed and put together the committee itself through formal approval of the Council.

  • Conducted multiple staff and congregational interviews in various environments (e.g. individual, group, walk up/open door, phone, and informal).

  • Summarized/discussed all comments from the staff and congregational interviews

  • Completed the Ministry Site Profile (MSP)

  • Submitted the MSP to the ELCA

  • Received notification that the MSP is available for review by prospective candidates

  • Developed our interview questions for the future candidates

We are now awaiting our list of candidates from the Sierra Pacific Synod office. Once we receive those names, the committee will review, rank, and begin the interview process of our top candidates.

As a reminder, the Call Committee is made up of the following members:

  • Joel Kimmelshue, Chair and Church Council Representative

  • Frank Espegren, Sr. Pastor and Church Council Representative

  • Jim Kuhl

  • Catherine Zanzi

  • Ashley Ford

  • Maryann Hanner

  • Jon Haug (Pastor Jon is replacing Jessica Knudtzon who will be leaving Sacramento for new job in Colorado Springs). The Council has approved addition of Pastor Jon Haug to our committee as a non-voting member.

If you have any further questions or thoughts, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or anyone else on the committee.

Many thanks to all of you for your prayers and patience as we move through this important process.

God bless,

Joel Kimmelshue




By Rebekah Turnbaugh

Director of Community Organizing

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 (NIV)

I love this verse because it locates the life of faith out in the world that God loves so much. One way in which I would like to challenge us to imagine living out this call is to work to see our own need, and not only the needs of others.

If I begin to understand need as mutual--that I have both gifts for sharing and need, just as every other person, I can open up space to see others more fully and, as I have often found, see myself more clearly. God can work powerfully when we learn to see each other more fully and allow ourselves to be transformed by others. When this happens, new possibilities open up for movement toward peace and wholeness in our communities. Now my neighbor’s need for justice is linked with my own need for liberation. In my own life, oftentimes the liberation that I have needed was freedom from the weight of judgments that I carried around, and shedding those has only come through knowing my neighbor more fully.

I hope you will thoughtfully consider making a deep commitment around loving your neighbor in the coming year. If you would like to talk about this with someone as you consider your commitment, please set up a time to talk with me or come visit with me at the ministry fair on October 7. We will be making these commitments during worship on October 14. I would be happy to discuss ideas with you!


By Cindy Carroll, RN

Parish Nurse

“God graces us with rest; and, as we respond with our gratitude, receiving the gift, we begin to enter into that balanced life which is our destiny as the people of a loving Creator.”

- Elizabeth J. Canham, A Rest Remaining

In the unrelenting busyness of modern-day life, we have forgotten Sabbath. What do you think about when you hear the word “sabbath”? “Sabbath” comes from the Hebrew verb, sabat, which means to stop, to cease, to keep. Sabbath is a gift from God, a promise that unfolds the more we participate in it. It is all about relationship, with God, with others, with the created world and with our inner self.

Sabbath does not have to be a complete day of rest. It can be a few hours, minutes or even just a moment in your day. It is an opportunity for us to clear the distractions from our life. It is a time of silence for reflection, a time to focus all five senses and to draw into thankfulness for the world God made and also for who he made us to be. In Don Postema’s book, Catch Your Breath, he describes Sabbath as mindfulness, rest, refreshment, receptivity, release and refocusing.

In Wayne Muller’s book, Sabbath, he says, “Sabbath is not only for ourselves; rested and refreshed, we more generously serve all those who need our care.” We ask that you prayerfully consider committing to some form of Sabbath-keeping this year. A time to rest, to let go of perfectionism, to clear away distractions and become intimate with God.


By Larry Stenzel

Church Council

A good while back I was talking to a friend about a tough stretch of time I'd had in my younger days. I said to him that I wondered how I had ever made it through. "Baptism," my friend said without ever missing a beat, his tone very matter-of-fact. His blunt meaning, I guess, was that our baptism in Christ can protect us and our souls even when our human hearts and minds are not enough with God as they should be. (Pardon my paraprofessional theology.).

I like our baptisms here at St. John's. This version, the third service: The music director is at the keys. The Celebration Singers are at the front of the sanctuary, spread across almost its entire width, their voices giving emphasis to the drama of the moment. A preacher holds the baby to be baptized, reading the liturgy from a book being held up by a young, robed acolyte, and then later singing out the words of baptism as he gently cups water onto the infant's forehead....."I baptize you in the name of the Father.....and of the Son.....and of the Holy Spirit." The glad parents and sponsors look on.

Sometimes the baptized baby is carried out into the congregation, a few steps up the middle aisle. She or he might be alert or sleeping, crying, happy, or indifferent. We welcome the baptized child into our midst and into the larger Kingdom of God.

I suppose or can imagine that a time or two in the future a little baby baptized in our church will grow up and go out into the world and might run into a tough stretch of time. After she survives it she might say to a friend that she wonders how she ever made it through. "Baptism," her friend might answer.

Pledged financial giving allows St. John's to offer strong and caring education, music, and recreation programs for our congregation's children and young adults.

Council Update: Strategic Planning Recap

by Gwynnae Byrd

Church Council President

Last month, the Church Council and the Wonderers met on a Saturday to explore where God is leading us as we plan for the next 150 years and beyond. Some of the prompts that our facilitator, Kathy Sorensen, gave us to answer were:

“Before we make our next move, we cannot neglect to…”

“What I find challenging in our current situation is…”

“Something we are willing to let go of so the mission can continue is…”

“A big opportunity for us is…”

“A bold idea I recommend is…”

“A courageous conversation we are not having is….”

Some clear themes emerged from our answers to these prompts:

1) We cherish our welcoming and inclusive spirit;

2) We take seriously our mission to Live God’s Love in the World;

3) We want to prioritize addressing homelessness;

4) We want to maintain and grow our connections – with God, among ourselves, and with our community;

5) We must learn to accept and adapt to change (staff, membership, society);

6) We want to maximize the use of our facilities to carry out our mission and values.

Pastor Frank also shared his goals for the upcoming year, which include facilitating “powerful spiritual experiences and deep commitments” for our members, seeking a response to homelessness, and reviving a campus planning process. It was exciting to watch our individual voices coalesce into a consensus around certain priorities for St. John’s. As a result of these inspired discussions, the council will oversee the formation of 2 task forces – one on homelessness, and one on campus planning. Please join us at our next Congregation Matters meeting November 4, where we will be discussing these and other emerging issues.

Nursery Book Drive by Amy Paulson Youth and Family Ministry Assistant

As many of you know, I first came to St. John’s 8 years ago, when I was hired as a nursery attendant, and even now, the nursery holds a very special place in my heart. During my four years in the nursery, it underwent some major changes, including being moved to into a much larger room and getting a new paint job. One of my favorite additions to the new nursery were the bookshelves, which we made from IKEA spice racks. We painted them the colors on the rainbow and put them low on the nursery wall. The bookshelves allow for small children to see and reach any book (and without toppling the rest over!) We created a reading corner by putting pillows, and now beanbag chairs, in the area next to the shelves. It was a huge hit!

But now, most of our books have disappeared, and those shelves are pretty bare. I want to revive our reading corner, but I can’t do it without your help, so we are having a book drive! I have created a wish list on Amazon of carefully chosen, age appropriate books. I have included many faith-based books, something the nursery has been lacking for a long time. Most of the books are under $10 and many are around $5. Please consider purchasing us a book or two! Purchases made through the Amazon wish list can be sent straight to St. John’s. If you do not have Amazon Prime, there may be shipping costs. If you prefer to make a monetary donation instead, we can order the books through our own Amazon Prime account, but please be sure to specify that the donation is for the book drive.

Thank you on behalf of the St. John’s Youth and Family Ministry and the many young children who will enjoy reading these books in the coming years!

Amazon Link: http://a.co/30Nn6OE

Senior Concerns Task Force Presents: Speaker Series II
Presenter: Denise Davis
Date: Sunday, October 28
Location: Oehler Hall
Time: After the 8am and 9am services
Currently in America, an estimated 5.7 million people of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s disease. It is the 6th leading cause of death for all age groups; and the 5th leading cause of death for those 65 or older.
Denise Davis, program coordinator of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California/Nevada chapter will be joining us here at St. John’s on October 28, 2018 to discuss with us the early detection signs of Alzheimer’s and the benefit of the early detection. Including in her presentation will be family resources, support avenues and medical information to assist us in our understanding of this disease.
Denise’s expertise in this field spans from her own personal experience as well as over 20 years as a practitioner working with individuals with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias.


Date: Sunday, November 11
Location: Oehler Hall
Time: After the 8am and 9am services

Navigating the legal as well as the financial avenues related to aging is no easy task. Mr. Timothy P. Murphy, attorney at law, will be joining our faith family here at St. John’s on November 11th to help us make sense of it all! Mr. Murphy’s legal practice centers in elder law, insurance, estate planning and minimizing death taxes. His knowledge in this area is invaluable as each of us plans for the “third stage” of life.

Tim’s experience includes his practical knowledge form over 30 years of experience, but also his community involvement in organizations serving seniors. He has served on the board of Agency on Aging Area 4 and a member of the Yolo County commission on Aging and Adult Services.

New Acolyte Training

By Don Dean, Ph.D.

Acolyte Service Advisor

How can the church attract today’s young people to actively participate in worship services? One answer has been to invite teenagers to be helpful and to use their gifts and talents to serve at the altar of God.

Young people have proven to be extremely capable and, when asked, willingly step up to play a critical supporting role each Sunday. They ring the bells, lead processions, assist with communion, present the banners, receive the offerings, hold altar books, lead the kids to music practice, and perform countless other tasks to assist the pastors each Sunday. We call these helpers “acolytes.”

As worship assistants, acolytes have a long tradition in the church to enhance our worship service. At St. John’s Lutheran Church, the acolytes are organized as “The Order of St. John.” During the past year, 54 youth members assisted in Sunday worship services, representing the largest membership for the Order in the past 30 years! Experienced acolytes also provide leadership as Senior and Master Acolytes.

On November 4th, young persons in grades 7 through 12 are invited to receive special training as acolytes. This training covers all aspects of acolyte service and digital acolyte guidebooks will be made available to participants for reference.

Interested? Contact Pastor Jon or Dr. Don Dean (ddean@softcom.net).

A New Roof for Our Church Home

By Linda Baldwin

Executive Director of Administration

On Sunday, September 23, a special congregational meeting was held for the purpose of approving the plans for a new roof as well as the funding for the construction project. Our project architect, Kevin Pressey, was on hand to answer questions.

St. John’s Lutheran Church is a City of Sacramento historic site, as you may remember from our remodel 10 years ago. A replacement material for the roof must mirror the original roof. We uncovered a photograph of our original roof that proved to be metal diamond-shaped shingles. Our new roof will be copper diamond-shaped shingles that will provide a roof with a lifetime warranty.

The Congregation Council approved and recommended congregational approval and acceptance of the bid proposal by Waterproofing Associates to remove and replace all roofs on the church building located at 1701 L Street, for a total cost of $761,400. The motion was made and seconded by the congregation and unanimously approved.We are securing and have been approved for a building loan from Mission Investment Fund.Included in this loan will be the amount needed to complete the drainage and asphalt work on the parking lot, as well as plaster repair on the interior of the sanctuary that occurred due to our current leaky roof.

Scaffolding and construction are due to begin in early October with a projected completion date of Thanksgiving. The parking lot will serve as the staging area for all construction. We will have parking passes for the parking structure for visitors and members during our office hours.

We are confident that this is the right decision for us and are thankful that we can leave this legacy for future generations at St. John’s.


St. John's Ministry Fair

Sunday, October 7

The annual St. John's Ministry Fair will be in Goethe Hall on October 7 during the education hour between the 9 and 11:30am services. This is a time to learn about the many opportunities to serve within this faith community and have conversations with ministry leaders about ways that you can get involved. This may be a time to spark ideas for making a deep commitment around loving your neighbor, and opening up to the powerful ways that God works through our encounters with others!

SPSYC Middle School Retreat

November 9 - 11

Registration for the Sierra Pacific Synod Youth Committee (SPSYC) Retreat at Mt. Cross is now open to students in grades 6-8. For more details, contact Amy Paulson at 916-444-0874 or email her amy.paulson@stjohnslc.org.

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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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