Weekly News from St. John’s and St. Paul’s for April 5, 2020

A Note from Pastor Will: 

Dear Church members and friends,

Because of the current crisis that our world is facing, it is now clear that we will not be able to worship together in person for Holy Week and Easter. As I mentioned in the April Parish Twine, that does not mean that Easter will not happen. We remember that the wonderful promise of the resurrection does not depend on circumstances in our world being perfect.

It does, however, mean that this year Holy Week and Easter will be different than what we’re used to. We will have the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil services live streamed on the church Facebook page at their scheduled times. The services on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday will also be streamed live on Facebook at 9 a.m., or you can reach it through a program called Zoom, which allows a more interactive experience, including conversation with one another through video chat after the service. Join us for Sunday Worship, 9:00am by clicking here. The Sunday services can also be reached by calling 646-558-8656 and entering code 887 508 411#. This is particularly helpful information to share with family members and neighbors who might not have access to the internet. 

Finally, there are ways that we can connect that do not require any technology at all. Those of you who live near enough to either St. John’s or St. Paul’s to hear the church bell will have heard it ringing each evening at 8:00 p.m. This is a reminder to join in prayer, and also a reminder that, though we are physically separated from one another, we remain united with one another in Jesus Christ. I also encourage you to consider the practice of worshipping at home. The ELCA has put out some wonderful resources for worship at home. You can find them by clicking by visiting https://blogs.elca.org/worship/

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me by phone, text, or email at any time if you need someone to talk to, prayer, or if you need help with anything. Several church members have also volunteered to run errands for folks who are at a higher risk and unable to leave their homes. 

These are strange times, but we will get through them together with God’s help. 

Pastor Will 

In our prayers: Judy Ambrosy, Jane Barnes, Christine Burns, Shirley Busch, Mary Ann Clasen, Erwin Felderman, Janice Felderman, Reese Felderman, Roger Hanselmann, Tom Harmon, Ruth Hingtgen, Mary Kay Hobart, Elaine Hueneke, Joy Hueneke, Richard Hueneke, Lorraine Knief, Kielyn Pitts, Rev. Duane Priebe, Abraham Saraka, Lorna Swehla, Kemora Von Thun, Diane Wallace.

Our sympathy and prayers are with the family of Sue Hanselmann (Bob Cartigny’s sister-in-law) who died April 3 at Manor Care in Dubuque.

Church Bells: Along with other churches throughout our region, we will begin ringing the church bells at 8:00 p.m. every evening as a reminder to gather together in prayer. As you hear the bells, you are invited to pray and remember that, though distant, we are never truly separated from one another.

Pastoral Visitation: Local hospitals and care facilities have suspended in-person pastoral visitation in most cases at this time. Pastor Will does plan to check in with church members over the phone during this time, so please continue to keep him informed about pastoral needs. 

Women of ELCA Cluster Gathering scheduled for April 25 is cancelled.

Every day is Earth Day! The St. John’s Sunday School will be collecting used markers and batteries between now and Earth Day, April 22nd.  

Hold the date for VBS 2020:  Saturday, June 28, at St. John’s. Watch for details.

Support St. John’s Through Your Purchases! Are you an Amazon shopper?  We have signed up with the Amazon Smile Foundation to offer a program by which a percentage of your purchases with Amazon will come back to St. John’s.  It’s super easy. When you first start out, you have to use the following link:  https://smile.amazon.com/ch/421101128  You will use this link each time you want to shop and support!  This link still will work with your regular Amazon account but will direct link to St. John’s.  It asks if you will be supporting the church through this link, and you do have to use it every time you shop.  I’ve bookmarked it on my computer for easy access, and it shows the organization we are supporting right underneath my search bar on the site. It does say Bellevue, which is our mailing address, but we are linked correctly, and it’s all ready to accept contributions. If you have any questions, please let me know!  Happy shopping and supporting! – Julie Busch, Treasurer

Electronic Giving

During this time that we are unable to gather in person, you can still support your congregation through electronic giving. 

St. John’s* has signed up with Tithe.ly and now offers a way you can do electronic giving right from the convenience of your home. 

On the giving form, you can also choose to cover that additional fee. You can also set up an account, where you can instantly see your personal giving statements and other information.

To get started, visitstjohnsandstpauls.org/give/  

If you have any questions, please contact Julie Busch @ jkb2280@gmail.com or call 563/599-5968.

*St. Paul’s has not yet set up this program. St. Paul’s members, please contact Pastor Will or church treasurer Ruth Hintgen for information about ways to contribute during this unusual time. 

Readings for This Week: Palm Sunday, April 5th 2020

A Simple Palm Sunday Liturgy for Worship in the Home: 

Set out on a table in front of you a green branch, a house plant, or simply a drawing of a leaf or branch. Then speak this acclamation:

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Processional Gospel  Mathew 21:1-11

The holy gospel according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.

1When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And they will be sent immediately.” 4This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

About this reading:

When in the past we have read this text in church and carried the palm branches, we were celebrating the presence of Jesus Christ coming among us as we began all the services of this Holy Week. But you may trust that Christ comes also now to your home, to be with you as you begin this week of prayer, apart from others but still together with the whole church. Blessed indeed is the One who comes!

If you have a hymnal (or using the link below), you might now sing or read “All Glory, Laud and Honor.” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 344)

All Glory, Laud, and Honor

The Prayer of the Day may be prayed.

Let us pray.

O God of mercy and might, in the mystery of the passion of your Son you offer your infinite life to the world. Gather us around the cross of Christ, and preserve us until the resurrection, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.


First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a

4 The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. 5 The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. 6 I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. 7 The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; 8 he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. 9 It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?


Psalm: Psalm 31:9-16

9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also. 10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away. 11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. 12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. 13 For I hear the whispering of many— terror all around!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. 14 But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. 16 Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.


Second Reading: Philippians 2:5-11

5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 


Gospel: Matthew 27:11-54

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. 15 Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. 17 So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. 19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” 24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. 32 As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36 then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37 Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, “I am God’s Son.’ “ 44 The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way. 45 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46 And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48 At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

Weekly News from St. John’s and St. Paul’s for March 29, 2020

Church Activities: As ordered by Governor Reynolds, all in-person church activities will be canceled through April 7th, including Wednesday night worship and Sunday services. We hope that we can be together again in person soon, but that will depend on the advice of federal, state, and local officials. In the meantime, Wednesday night worship will be offered electronically on the church Facebook page. A joint worship service with other Dubuque area Lutheran churches, in partnership with Wartburg Theological Seminary will be offered Sunday at 9 a.m., through a video chat service called Zoom. This service will also be live streamed on the church Facebook page. 

You can reach the interactive online version of worship Sunday live at 9:00am by clicking here. If prompted to “Download and run Zoom,” simply follow the instructions given to get started. 

You can also reach it from any phone by calling 646-558-8656 and entering code 887 508 411#. Do note that this is not a local number, so it may be preferable to use a cell phone rather than a land line for those who would be affected by long distance charges.

Announcements: While we are unable to gather in person, weekly announcements and the Parish Twine will be distributed via email. If you do not wish to receive weekly announcements, or have received this email in error, please contact Marge at margefelderman@netins.net

Church Bells: Along with other churches throughout our region, we will begin ringing the church bells at 8 PM every evening as a reminder to gather together in prayer. As you hear the bells, you are invited to pray and remember that, though distant, we are never truly separated from one another.

Pastoral Visitation: Local hospitals and care facilities have suspended in-person pastoral visitation in most cases at this time. Pastor Will does plan to check in with church members over the phone during this time, so please continue to keep him informed about pastoral needs. 

In our prayers: Judy Ambrosy, Jane Barnes, Christine Burns, Shirley Busch, Mary Ann Clasen, Erwin Felderman, Janice Felderman, Reese Felderman, Roger and Sue Hanselmann, Tom Harmon, Ruth Hingtgen, Mary Kay Hobart, Elaine Hueneke, Richard Hueneke, Lorraine Knief, Kielyn Pitts, Rev. Duane Priebe, Abraham Saraka, Lorna Swehla, Kemora Von Thun, Diane Wallace.

Thrivent:  We are thankful to our Thrivent members who have directed their Choice Dollars to our church. If you have not directed yours for the past year, you may do so until March 31 either responding to their email or call a Customer Care professional at 800-847-4836, and say “Thrivent Choice” when prompted.

Every day is Earth Day! The St. John’s Sunday School will be collecting used markers and batteries between now and Earth Day, April 22nd.  Watch for more information.

Support St. John’s Through Your Purchases! Are you an Amazon shopper?  We have signed up with the Amazon Smile Foundation to offer a program by which a percentage of your purchases with Amazon will come back to St. John’s.  It’s super easy. When you first start out, you have to use the following link:  https://smile.amazon.com/ch/421101128  You will use this link each time you want to shop and support!  This link still will work with your regular Amazon account but will direct link to St. John’s.  It asks if you will be supporting the church through this link, and you do have to use it every time you shop.  I’ve bookmarked it on my computer for easy access, and it shows the organization we are supporting right underneath my search bar on the site. It does say Bellevue, which is our mailing address, but we are linked correctly, and it’s all ready to accept contributions. If you have any questions, please let me know!  Happy shopping and supporting! – Julie Busch, Treasurer

Electronic Giving

During this time that we are unable to gather in person, you can still support your congregation through electronic giving. 

St. John’s* has signed up with Tithe.ly and now offers a way you can do electronic giving right from the convenience of your home. 

On the giving form, you can also choose to cover that additional fee. You can also set up an account, where you can instantly see your personal giving statements and other information.

To get started, visitstjohnsandstpauls.org/give/  

If you have any questions, please contact Julie Busch @ jkb2280@gmail.com or call 563/599-5968.

*St. Paul’s has not yet set up this program. St. Paul’s members, please contact Pastor Will or church treasurer Ruth Hintgen for information about ways to contribute during this unusual time. 

Readings for This Week

Gospel: John 11:1-45

1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6 after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10 But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” 11 After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” 13 Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” 28 When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” 38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” 45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.


First Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14

1 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” 7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. 11 Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”


Psalm: Psalm 130

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. 2 Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! 3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. 5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. 7 O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. 8 It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.


Second Reading: Romans 8:6-11

6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Weekly News from St. John’s and St. Paul’s for March 22, 2020

Church Activities: As ordered by Governor Reynolds, all in-person church activities will be canceled through March 31st, including Wednesday night worship, Sunday services, and the scheduled congregational meetings on Sunday, March 22nd. We hope that we can be together again in person soon, but that will depend on the advice of federal, state, and local officials. In the meantime, Wednesday night worship will be offered electronically on the church Facebook page. A joint worship service with other Dubuque area Lutheran churches, in partnership with Wartburg Theological Seminary will be offered Sunday at 9 a.m., through a video chat service called Zoom. This service will also be live streamed on the church Facebook page. 

You can reach the interactive online version of worship Sunday live at 9:00am by clicking here. If prompted to “Download and run Zoom,” simply follow the instructions given to get started. 

You can also reach it from any phone by calling 646-558-8656 and entering code 887 508 411#. Do note that this is not a local number, so it may be preferable to use a cell phone rather than a land line for those who would be affected by long distance charges.

Announcements: While we are unable to gather in person, weekly announcements and the Parish Twine will be distributed via email. If you do not wish to receive weekly announcements, or have received this email in error, please contact Marge at margefelderman@netins.net

Church Bells: Along with other churches throughout our region, we will begin ringing the church bells at 8 PM every evening as a reminder to gather together in prayer. As you hear the bells, you are invited to pray and remember that, though distant, we are never truly separated from one another.

Pastoral Visitation: Local hospitals and care facilities have suspended in-person pastoral visitation in most cases at this time. Pastor Will does plan to check in with church members over the phone during this time, so please continue to keep him informed about pastoral needs. 

In our prayers: Judy Ambrosy, Jane Barnes, Christine Burns, Shirley Busch, Mary Ann Clasen, ErwinFelderman, Janice Felderman, Reese Felderman, Roger and Sue Hanselmann, Tom Harmon, Ruth Hingtgen, Mary Kay Hobart, Elaine Hueneke, Richard Hueneke,    Lorraine Knief, Kielyn Pitts, Rev. Duane Priebe, Abraham Saraka, Lorna Swehla, Kemora Von Thun, Diane Wallace.

A special Thank You to all for the many birthday cards and greetings that I received for my 80th birthday.  They were very much appreciated.  God bless you all.  Arlice Heacock

Temporary address:  Elaine Hueneke is at Grand Meadows Luther Manor for therapy.  Her address is 5300 Grand Meadow Dr., Rm. 119, Asbury, IA  52002.  Her phone number is 563-543-3633.

Thrivent:  We are thankful to our Thrivent members who have directed their Choice Dollars to our church. If you have not directed yours for the past year, you may do so until March 31 either responding to their email or call a Customer Care professional at 800-847-4836, and say “Thrivent Choice” when prompted.

Every day is Earth Day! The St. John’s Sunday School will be collecting used markers and batteries between now and Earth Day, April 22nd.  Watch for more information.

Support St. John’s Through Your Purchases! Are you an Amazon shopper?  We have signed up with the Amazon Smile Foundation to offer a program by which a percentage of your purchases with Amazon will come back to St. John’s.  It’s super easy. When you first start out, you have to use the following link:  https://smile.amazon.com/ch/421101128  You will use this link each time you want to shop and support!  This link still will work with your regular Amazon account but will direct link to St. John’s.  It asks if you will be supporting the church through this link, and you do have to use it every time you shop.  I’ve bookmarked it on my computer for easy access, and it shows the organization we are supporting right underneath my search bar on the site. It does say Bellevue, which is our mailing address, but we are linked correctly, and it’s all ready to accept contributions. If you have any questions, please let me know!  Happy shopping and supporting! – Julie Busch, Treasurer

Electronic Giving

During this time that we are unable to gather in person, you can still support your congregation through electronic giving. 

St. John’s* has signed up with Tithe.ly and now offers a way you can do electronic giving right from the convenience of your home. 

On the giving form, you can also choose to cover that additional fee. You can also set up an account, where you can instantly see your personal giving statements and other information.

To get started, visitstjohnsandstpauls.org/give/  

If you have any questions, please contact Julie Busch @ jkb2280@gmail.com or call 563/599-5968.

*St. Paul’s has not yet set up this program. St. Paul’s members, please contact Pastor Will or church treasurer Ruth Hintgen for information about ways to contribute during this unusual time.

A Message on Church Life Together During a Time of Pandemic Disease

Dear friends in Christ, 

I’m writing to let you all know that as your pastor, I am closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The only change currently planned to church activities is that the meal at St. Paul’s on Wednesday, March 18th, will be cancelled. We will still gather for worship that evening at 7:00 p.m. During this time we will be following the latest advice from the Iowa Department of Public Health regarding best practices for health and safety at worship services and other gatherings. While some may feel that these measures are extreme or unnecessary, it is important to keep in mind that our congregations include many older members who are more vulnerable to infectious disease, as well as those whose immune systems are compromised due to things like cancer treatments. I encourage those of you who are not especially concerned for your personal well-being to still take steps to ensure the health and safety of your fellow church members who might be at greater risk. 

As a congregation, we will be encouraging the following practices, as advised by the Iowa Department of Public health: 

Wash your hands frequently: It is recommended that you wash your hands frequently with soap and water, being sure to lather your hands for at least 20 seconds (about how long it takes to say the Lord’s Prayer). Those preparing or serving communion are asked to wash their hands before handling the communion ware, bread, and wine. Communion servers can do so in the sacristy at St. John’s or the restroom at St. Paul’s during the offering. 

Stay home if you need to: If you are not feeling well, have a compromised immune system, or have recently been around someone known to be infected, please stay home. This is hard for a lot of you, I know, but again, it’s not just about your own health. Be assured that you are still a part of our community even if you aren’t able to physically gather with us for a time. Our prayers during worship for the duration of this pandemic will include a petition for those unable to be present with us. 

I am working on figuring out a way to share our worship services with those at home via technology, but until that is in place, there are several opportunities to hear God’s Word on TV or the radio. Dubuque Mediacom Cable customers unable to be present in worship are encouraged to watch worship from St. Peter Lutheran Church on Public Access Channel 81, Sundays at 8:30 a.m. & 7:15p.m., Mondays at 10 a.m., Tuesdays at 6 p.m., Wednesdays at 8 a.m., Thursdays at 4 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 5 p.m. Bellevue cable customers can watch the service from St John, Bellevue Sundays at 10 a.m. and during the week at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 7 p.m. First Lutheran in Maquoketa broadcasts worship services on KMAQ Sundays at 9 a.m. Salem Lutheran Church in Andrew broadcasts worship services on KMAQ Sundays at 5 p.m. 

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow. 

Greeting and Passing the Peace: The IDPH recommends discontinuing handshakes or hugs. Greet each other verbally and/or in another manner, such as a bow or fist bump. Pastor Will will continue to greet worshippers in the back of church following the service, but will discontinue shaking hands for the time being. 

Offering:Ushers will carry the offering plate down the aisles for worshippers to contribute their offerings, but will not be passing the offering plates down the pews. If the COVID-19 virus is confirmed within our community the offering plates will be placed in a stationary location rather than being gathered by the ushers. 

Holy Communion: For the immediate future only, on the advice of church members who are medical professionals, we will distribute only the bread during communion services. This allows only one person to handle the communion elements, helping to prevent spread of disease via contact with potentially contaminated surfaces. For Lutherans, being able to receive the body and blood of Christ in both kinds was an extremely important point in the Reformation. While for health and safety of church members, we are distributing only the bread during the service itself, for those who feel it is important for your spiritual life to receive both the bread and the wine, please see me following the worship service, when wine may be distributed individually. 

Be kind to one another: Social distancing does not need to mean social isolation. Call fellow church members, friends, and neighbors, especially those who are elderly or who have health concerns. Let them know that you care about them, and that you are praying for them. 

Pray: Pray for all those suffering the effects of infectious diseases, for the medical professionals, healthcare workers, and family members caring for them, for scientists and researchers seeking vaccines and cures, for public health officials and elected leaders, for those unable to attend worship due to the disease, for those whose employment is threatened by the ongoing crisis, and for all those mourning the loss of loved ones.

As we receive more guidance from the IDPH or the office of the Bishop, especially if it affects worship services, that information will be shared on the church website and Facebook page. 

Although these are anxious times, we remember that God is faithful, and now as much as ever we need to support one another, hear God’s Word of grace, and be strengthened in faith at the Lord’s table. I pray that during this time we all will continue to do what the church does best: share the love and hope of Jesus with a world in need. 

In Christ’s service, 

Pastor Will Layton 

April 2019 Newsletter

Click on the image below to read the April 2019 issue of the Parish Twine:

Click here to read the April 2019 issue of the Parish Twine.
Click this image to read the April 2019 issue of the Parish Twine.