October 19th 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,


Fall is definitely here.  Traveling from seeing my grandson and picking up my wife from the airport, (J) I see a lot of fields that were full of corn and soybeans simply gone.  I hate to think that winter is not too far away. 


I am sorry for waiting so long to cancel service on Sunday.  With the congregational vote after words, and the importance of getting work going if approved, I was hoping that we could get worship and the vote in.  Next week we will try again. Worship outside at normal time then congregational vote afterwards. 


I am going to try to explain this as best as I can.  If you have any question, please free to call the office or myself.  It is turning cold.  I thought we could wait to move indoors the first full week of November, but it is getting cold.  We are going to move indoors November 1st.  No more outside service until the spring.  Then we will evaluate where we are with COVID-19 and state health regulations.


Saturday at 5:30 p.m. we will be in the church.  We also will be recording during this time.  On Sunday at 10:15 a.m. we will be worshipping in Fellowship Hall.  Pretty much the same guidelines will be in place for both: masks must be worn, social distancing will be maintained, and you must call to reserve your spot for worship.  In the Fellowship Hall, we will provide chairs.  Tables will be removed.  Blue squares will be the area in which you and/or family will sit. 


Sunday will be a little different than Saturday.  If you have a hymnal with you can you turn to page 92-93.  This is the order of liturgy put out by the National Church of the ELCA.  What I would like you to notice is some of the items are in bold print, while others are regular print.  Everything in bold print is what they call essential for a liturgical service.  So, what we are planning is an essential worship service.  The question may be why?  We are dealing with a much smaller area than the church.  Air flow is different.  Music and Worship would like to keep the service shorter in the Fellowship Hall to reduce the risk.


We realize that this setup will not make everyone happy.  I am not sure with this pandemic that we can.  For those who do not feel comfortable coming into our church building, we will still offer the remote service.  If you want to be in the sanctuary, then come on Saturday, otherwise, it will be in Fellowship Hall on Sunday. We need to remember that church is not a building.  God is not housed in a specific place.  God will be found in both.  The reason why we do not worship in the same place both times is because we cannot turn it around fast enough for cleaning and it is not safe to come into a previously occupied area for 24-48 hours.  Once we use the area, we are planning to close the doors until Melody and Tonya can clean.


There is a suggestion about flip-flopping every week.  Since we record on Saturday in the church, it would add more of a burden onto the worship team to pack everything up and move it over to the other area.  All worship team members are working extremely hard, some not receiving  a weekend off since the beginning of July.  I do not want to add more of a burden to this group. 


I am just trying to lay the facts out to you and explain the situation.  This is all new to us.  We do not have a book of instructions to look at.  Heck, we are writing the book as we go along.  Sure, mistakes are being made and I apologize for them.  Please, extend a little mercy and grace to the Church Council, the Music and Worship team and your Pastor.  I am not sure what things would look like without them. I am very thankful for their help.


Okay, what is happening at the church this week?

         Saturday, October 24th from 1:00 – 3:00 we are hosting a Trick or Treat party for all the young children. All are invited.  Thank you to all those who have donated candy but we still need more. We will have approximately 20 tables spread out on the property of the church and the parsonage.  Masks must be worn by everyone (age appropriate). We will need people at each table.  It’s the perfect opportunity for confirmation students and high school students to pick up service hours. Please call the office if you can volunteer.

         Women’s Bible Study will meet at church at 10:00 in the learning center.  They will also be on Zoom at this time.  Women will have the option of either/or, depending on their comfort level.  If you are planning on coming, masks must be worn.

         Thank you to everyone who has donated to our young family.  Your response has been so overwhelming.  It is amazing but that is what this church does.  Thank you.  We will go through all the materials Sunday and pare down the list to see what we still need.  Again, thank you so much for your open hand and heart.

         It’s never too late to join us in the journey through the New Testament.  Call Eloide, if you want to come walk with us.


         All Saints Day is coming in less than two weeks.  The church wants to honor what the Apostle Paul described as the “cloud of witnesses.”  We will recognize those who have gone before us at both services. If you want to add a loved one’s name, please call the church this week. 


         Church Council is meeting Tuesday, October 20th.  If you have any concerns or questions, please contact your council members.


As you can see, your church is alive and active.  May the peace of the Lord be with you always.


Pastor Tom




The Women’s Bible study will be in the Fellowship Hall  and NOT in the Learning Center since we want ample social distancing space and it is too small for times when we have a bigger turnout.

october 13 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

O’ my goodness. Hard to get any work done when the weather is like this. However, I know one group of people who are working very hard. All you have to do is to look out in the fields. Let’s pray for a safe harvest.

Two dates you need to remember:

1) Sunday, October 18, after the outdoor service (10:15 starting time), we will have a congregational vote for approval to fix our plumbing issues. The estimated cost is approximately 54,000 dollars. Jeff Hickey will explain the financing issues and then we will have a vote. Remember, our constitution states that you must be present to vote.

2) Our Inaugural Trick or Treat at the church and the parsonage hosted by the Evangelism committee. All the children of the congregation and their friends are invited. Grandchildren are also invited. We will have approximately 20 tables spread throughout our property (including the parsonage). Masks most be worn for all age appropriate children. All are welcome. Donations of candy would be greatly appreciated. I would like to put at least two bags at each table. Please bring them to the office ahead of time. We also need volunteers at each table. Please call the office if you can help out.

The church council approved moving our outdoor service to the fellowship hall when the weather becomes not conducive for you and our worship team. We have a set of guidelines similar to the indoor service that one must follow. A common question is can we flip-flop days, alternating being in church one day and fellowship hall the other. It seems to be easy compromise but remember, we record Saturday night. It would be too hard to move equipment every other week. (Maybe we can look at it for doing it a month at a time.)

We still are in desperate need for volunteers for all services. If you are comfortable, please prayerfully consider helping out. I would hate to cancel service because we do not have the people needed. However, it is getting closer to the reality of the situation.

FYI. In November, would you consider bringing your mulched leaves to cover the garden. We would like to replenish the soil for next year. We actually have bigger plans for the garden. More of a spiritual and prayerful place. Information will come in the future. Love to have help from anyone who has knowledge in this area.

Your church is not sitting still. Affirmation of Baptism and Sunday School have completed their first couple of weeks. Couldn’t believe that most of the A of B students and their leaders did not know how to play Red Light / Green Light. Did you have to be raised Catholic to know how to play? Next week I am going to teach them SPUD. I actually broke my arm playing this (It was tough in my neighborhood J).

It is never too late to join any of the Bible studies that are occurring. Sunday’s Bible study is on Zoom starting at 5:00 with Paul Baker. Pastor Tom’s is throughout the week. We are looking at the platform Google Docs for those who want to be interactive. This week I will set up Google Docs and as well as regular email. If you know how to use Google Docs try it out when you get the email from the church.

It is too nice out. I am going to go out and play.

The peace of the Lord be with you always.

Pastor Tom



September 28th 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

No baby yet L. Stronger contractions but nothing. Baby has dropped but we are still waiting. They know that it is a baby boy. Xavier, his big brother, occasionally goes up to his mother’s belly and says, “Come out brother, it is fun out here.”

I hope that this letter finds you well. We had our first indoor service since mid-March. It was so nice to have bodies in the church. Do not forget, if you feel comfortable going indoors, you need to call Eloide by Thursday to reserve your spot. We had fifty people including the worship team. That is very close to the maximum allowed. Make sure you call each week! I was very proud of your Music and Worship committee who planned a beautiful service for indoors. Thank you. Also thank you for all who were present, following the guidelines that were created for everyone’s safety.

Big change in the Outdoor service. First, new time change. We will being worship service at 10:15 a.m. Do not forget to print off the new worship service for the month. We have been blessed with beautiful weather lately. We will continue being outside until we can no longer tolerate the weather.

I heard that the work on the air conditioner should be finished this week. I think it is in the electrician’s hands now. As I said before in a previous letter, as we fix one thing, another thing breaks. Our sixty-year old galvanized water piping is beginning to leak. This will be another expensive fix. The problem is besides the leaking, the pipes are behind walls of cinder block and concrete. One cannot simply work on them without busting what is protecting them. This was awesome sixty years ago but not so now. The bill to replace the water piping comes close to 54,000 dollars. Without going into specifics here, our Council Treasurer, Jeff Hickey, feels confident with your support and with money that we already possess, we can fix this problem. More details will follow. We will be meeting after the Outdoor service on October 18th, as a congregational to discuss and to vote to fix this problem.

Affirmation of Baptism (Confirmation) class starts this Monday, September 28, at 6:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. Students, please bring your mask.

The garden continues to produce. Need fresh tomatoes or basil, please help yourself.

The sermon last weekend encourages all to be life-long learners of the Bible. Devotions are good. But there is opportunity to go deeper in the Word. Join the Woman’s Bible Study on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on Zoom or join Paul Baker’s Bible Study at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, also on zoom. If you need help to learn more about Zoom, please call the church. We can help you.

Pastor Tom, starting October 1st, is going to journey through the New Testament. I will not use Zoom but email and snail mail as my learning platform. Please call the church if you want to join us in this journey. The first assignment is to read through the gospel of Mark by Monday, October 5th. Just read it like you are reading a book. You do not have to underline anything or understand a particular passage. If you can do it in one sitting – great, but try not to take anymore that 2 days reading through it. This way, you can feel the rhythm of Mark as he writes this gospel

With a sad heart, I share with you the passing of Anne Baker on Sunday afternoon. Services will be held sometime this week as plans finalize.

The peace of the Lord be with you always.

Pastor Tom Redig



September 21, 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

What a special day Sunday was for eight young men and women, their parents and family, Lori and Jeff, all of their Sunday School teachers and Saint John’s Lutheran church. It was a beautiful day, a beautiful ceremony and a big milestone for these young adults to affirm their baptism. I want to thank all who played a part in their faith journey.

Our new year of Affirmation of Baptism will start Monday, September 28th at 6.00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. We look forward to a great year of learning. You should be getting more information from Jeff and Lori Whalen.

Important change in your calendars. Starting October 4, our outdoor Sunday service will start at 10:15 a.m. This is our normal time for our Sunday morning service. Instead of avoiding the heat, we will be searching for it. Look for the attachment for the outdoor service. Please print it before you come.

Our first indoor service will be held Saturday, September 26th at 5:30 p.m. Please also see the attached guidelines below. Remember, you must call the church by Thursday to reserve your spot. One of the biggest reasons we are doing this is to gauge interest in this service. We also need a record of people who attend.

Sunday School will start Sunday the first week of October. We will start this year virtually. Look for an email from Missy detailing Sunday School.

The air conditioning unit is here. It is sitting nicely on the pad where the old one was housed. It is quite large. Lots of banging going on downstairs. Much work is being done. Thank you to all those who were capable to help us fix our air conditioning with your donations… however, as one thing is fixed another seems to break. Sixty years of galvanized plumbing is showing its age over the past year or two but now it seems to know that the air conditioning is almost done. (Isn’t this how it works at your house?) Water leaking into our circuit breaker cannot be good. We will be talking about this at our next church council meeting. This will also be a very large expense. More information will follow.

Rats! No baby yet. Any day now. If my daughter does not deliver by October 1st, they will induce. I would appreciate prayers for her (Kira) and her family (Alan and Xavier) and her new son.

I will be doing some continuing education on Zoom Monday and Tuesday morning. I probably will not be in the office those two days. Of course, you can always call or text, and you know where I live. Please feel free to contact me if you have and concerns or need pastoral care.

The peace of the Lord be with you always.

Pastor Tom



September 14th 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Wow. What a beautiful day for a Sunday worship in the parking lot, and then to be officially installed as your pastor. This was a huge day for me. Trust me, during the ceremony I was thinking of all those who came before me. To think that I am part of the lineage of St. John’s Lutheran. I am so glad that it is not me and my feeble efforts that make me worthy. It is God that makes all of us worthy. Worthy not only to do His work, but also of His love. I hope you feel the same. Thank you for all who attended.

Did you see the pile in front of our altar? You all are amazing. I should never be surprised by your generosity. I received a very pleasant call this week. Two of our members, who cannot drive, called me and said, “Pastor, can you stop by sometime? We have a bag of food that we want to donate to the blessing box.” I truly love running those errands. Thank you all for sharing in the many ways that you do.

Next Sunday is an exciting day in our church. We will be confirming 8 young men and women into our church family. Confirmation is now called Affirmation of Baptism. This is really a better description of what is happening. At this time, they will publically proclaim their love and faith in Jesus Christ. No, they are not getting baptized again. Most of them were baptized as infants. At that time, it was their parents and/or sponsors that made this proclamation for them. Now it is their turn. After this ceremony, they will be welcomed as full voting members of our church body. We need to thank Lori and Jeff Whalen for their faithful instruction of these young adults over the last year. However, we also need to thank our Sunday school staff, as well as their parents, who helped guide them along the way. This is your day also.

Please note: If you plan on attending this service and you usually park your car in the lot and then sit on the sidewalk or grass, please park your car in the south lot and walk through the church and find your usual spot. We plan on having another large crowd, especially friends and family of the confirmation students, and this will free up space. Thank you.

I am very much looking forward to worshipping in our church building. We will be having our first in-church worship service Saturday, September 26th at 5:30 p.m. Let’s talk about your level of comfort. All of you need to decide how comfortable you are in regard to entering our church. One of the many things I am pleased about is your church is now offering three different kinds of worship services, and you need to decide which one best fits your comfort level. We will continue to record our worship service. Our recorded service will move to Saturday night (the same time we offer our in-church worship service). Because of this change, you will not be able to access the recording until Sunday morning. We will continue to offer our outdoor service until weather forces us to change. Please come worship with us in the way that suits you the best.

Below and attached are the guidelines for our indoor service. Bottom line – your church loves you! We want everyone to be safe. We ask everyone who wants to come to this church service to follow these guidelines. Some key points:

· You must wear a mask over your nose and mouth at al times.

· Social distancing will be maintained at all times.

· If you plan on attending, you must call Eloide by Thursday to reserve your spot. We are limited to 50 people, which includes volunteers and the worship team.

· Please use the hand sanitizer on your way in and on your way out.

· Your temperature will be taken as you enter the church building.

· Please, if you do not feel well, do not come.

Please read the full guidelines before coming to our indoor service.

Odds and Ends:

· Patty and Pastor Tom are expecting our third grandchild any day now. Please pray for Kira, Alan and Xavier as they soon welcome a new child of God.

· Sunday evening Bible Study continues with Paul Baker at 5:00 p.m. Please feel free to join him on Zoom.

· All are welcome to join our discussion on Wednesday nights at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom. I think we are now calling it “Down the rabbit trail.” We will continue to explore equality issues that face us today, but please feel free to bring other topics to the discussion.

May God’s love and grace shower you like a fire hose. The peace of the Lord be with you always.

Pastor Tom



August 3, 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I am not sure if you were with us in the outdoor service. It was a beautiful morning, especially for the first weekend of August. And at the end of the service, we were walked (drove) out by Marilyn singing Beautiful Savior. What a blessing! I was thinking how lucky we are to have talented singers, like Sarah and Marilyn in our midst. Then joining them, Pam, Bridget and Wally, this church is truly blessed. Thank you all who lend their talents to these services.

Did you notice? Your church answered my plea for help. We had a new reader on our recorder service. Our outdoor service had a mixture of old and a whole lot of new. And we did it! No one got hurt. No cars got in an accident. Thank you all for answering the call for help.

Odds and ends:

· Work on the air conditioner has already begun. No going back now. The company was waiting in our parking lot on Monday. Much work needs to be done before the new unit can be put in place. This is good, because we are waiting for the new unit. Before the pandemic, they would just pull it off the shelf. That is not the case now. We are stilling looking at six-seven weeks for completion of this project. We will keep you informed.

· The Church Council is already putting plenty of work in to open our church for worship. Here are some of the highlights:

- It will depend on how our state is doing and the guidelines put forth by our Governor. As you know, last week, the county of LaSalle was going in the wrong direction. We will continue to stay the course, following the guidelines that we have been following since the beginning of March.

- When we enter our church again, you will find a number of individual hand sanitizer stations. They have been purchased by the council in preparation for our opening.

- Council has also purchased a hand-held sanitizer for our church. It reminds me of a fogger for spraying for bugs. Instead of wiping down each pew and exposing our staff to this virus, all they will have to do is to fog(spray) the area. No rubbing is necessary. This also will be good for when we open our building to greater use such as sewing club. Some great forward thinking by our council.

- The council also began a three-phase purchase of audio and video equipment to upgrade not only our recorded service but to upgrade the whole system in itself. It has been something you all have been talking about before I came here. The first purchase is for video equipment and installation of this equipment. It will cost approximately 12,000 dollars. The purchase came from the Memorial Fund.

· We will begin preliminary talks about what to do with Sunday School either this week or next. Thank you for your patience.

· The family of Viola Strout will have a private memorial service on August 9th. For those who knew her well, it might a good time to write the family a note.

· Does anyone know how to grow pumpkins? We have vines and flowers but no fruit. Any suggestions?

· Don’t forget our contest regarding decorating your sidewalk or driveway using chalk. We already have our first entrants. Take a picture then email the church. They must be turned in by August 9th. Pizza dinner for the family is the 1st place prize.

· Your Pastor will be taking a vacation from August 12th through the 18th.

I am truly blessed to be serving as your Pastor. I continue to ask, not only for your prayers, but for prayers for this church. My new favorite Greek word is “pas.” It is an inclusive term meaning “everyone” or “all”. May we continue to be a church for pas.

The peace of the Lord be with you all.

Pastor Tom



July 28 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

With a resounding “Yes” from our congregational vote, we will be fixing our air conditioning unit in the church. And talking about a fast turnaround. The HVAC truck was waiting in our parking lot Monday morning to take final measurements. What I was told is it will take 6-8 weeks for everything to be up and running. If anyone watches HGTV, you know problems will pop up. It certainly gives us something to look forward to. We will try to keep you informed. I want to thank all who have donated to help in this project. I also want to thank all of you who continue to give to St. Johns. With that thank you, I also want to extend a hand to anyone who is in need of help. Your church is ready to help. Please let us know.

Am I the only one who feels they are in the “dog days of summer?” Temperatures in the 90’s wear me down. I did take a peak and I hope the temperatures in the low 80’s is true for next week. You can tell it is a slow week if I am talking about the weather.

Odds and ends:

· We have a Church Council meeting tonight (Tuesday). If you have anything that you want us to discuss, please contact me or any of the council members.

· Vacation Bible School is actually coast-to-coast this year. We have two from New York and one from California who have signed up. It is still not too late. Make sure you give a shout out to Missy next time you see her. She is working tirelessly to get everything organized.

· The garden is still growing. We have been picking squash, beans and cucumbers. It is open to everybody. Watermelons are about the size of a softball. Nothing on the pumpkins. Cherry tomatoes are beginning to turn but regular tomatoes are still very green. We even have broccoli growing. Yum!

· Our Wednesday Zoom meetings at 7:00 will be back up and running. We are exploring the topic of social inequality. All are welcome to join in the conversation.

· Please, we need volunteers especially for our Sunday service. If you are able to help we would appreciate it. As always, we continue to need readers for both the recorded service as well as our outdoor service. Please let Eloide know if you are interested.

· Have you checked out our website? You will find devotionals from the first two reading for each week. You will find children stories read by a variety of people. You will find “God Science” performed by your Pastor with help from people young of age and young of heart. I am also wondering how many people are joining us doing the devotions that Jan Delvallee has created.

****Ok, it is time for another contest. I will give you two weeks to accomplish it. All entries must be turned in by August 9th. You can work individually or as a family, but the first place prize is a large pizza of your choice for the entire family (Second and third place will be gift cards). Here is the contest: Using sidewalk chalk, you must decorate a portion of your driveway or individual squares of your sidewalk. You can draw anything, but you are limited to using sidewalk chalk. Multiple entries are encouraged. You can decorate as many squares of your sidewalk or driveway you want. If you don’t have a sidewalk, be creative. Maybe decorate your neighbor’s driveway or your grandparents if they live close by. Send pictures of your creations to the church. Make sure you add your name to your picture. A panel of judges will award first through third place. One award per family. Make sure you take a picture of it before it rains L.

Hoping all are staying safe. If you ever want to talk, give me a call. May the peace of the Lord be with you always.

Pastor Tom Redig



July 14, 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Wow! My ordination blew me away. It was a very special night. Thank you to all who made the trip to Lockport. It meant a great deal to me. There were many things that made the night special. Still processing all of it. The setting was beautifully fearful. We beat the heavy storms probably by thirty minutes. We had fireworks going off in the background and an outdoor cover band playing across the street. If we were indoors, it would have lost some of its beauty and appeal. Many of my friends from my home-church of Shepherd of the Hill were present. I also had a great many family members joining me in the celebration. All of it felt like one big party until I knelt down and the Bishop placed his hands on me. Then part of the weight of the day came down on me. Five times I prayed “I will, and I ask God to help me.” Then, more than ever, I felt the awesome privilege but responsibility to be the Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church. I will need God’s help, but I will also need yours. Please continue to pray for me that I would continuously be filled by the Holy Spirit, listen and hear God’s call and obey it.

Odds and Ends:

1) We are looking for volunteers to help on Sunday for our outdoor service. Our current group have been at it for a month now and I would like to give them a break. Wondering if you can help for the month of August? (Or even part of it?) We need help parking cars and making sure everyone has what they need for the service (i.e. attendance cards, communion cups, mask, etc.). Please let Eloide know if you can help.

2) Please make the correction on the date for the congregational vote for the repair of our air conditioning unit. It will take place after the service on July 26th. Members must be there in person to vote.

3) The deadline is approaching for signing your children up for Vacation Bible School. If you have not already, please register your children ASAP by calling the church.

4) Monday, July 13, we started our new devotion written by Jan Delvallee. It is not too late to start. If you need materials, contact the church.

5) Just wondering who reads this letter? Does everyone in your family know what is going on at church? Think about reading this letter to your children also so they too know that their church is still open and working during this time.

6) This Sunday, we have the baptism of Levi James Martin to the parents of Nick and Brittany Martin. Because of COVID-19, it will be a closed celebration. But as a congregation we are called to pray for Levi and promise to help his parents teach Levi the love of Jesus Christ. I hope and pray that we take our roles in the baptism of Levi seriously.

That is it for now. Stay healthy. Stay cool. Please, if you need anything let your church know. The peace of the Lord be with you always.

Pastor Tom



July 8th, 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I want to share a devotional with you. In the feeding of the five thousand, we tend to focus on Jesus’s miracle. I know I gloss over the action of the little boy, the one who brought the five loaves of bread and two fish. Skeptics then and now would say, how can so little feed so many? A similar question can be asked, what can I do with all the things we are facing today? But here is the lesson, if the boy did not give this little thing, five thousand would have gone hungry that day. In this miracle, then and now, Jesus declares, it is enough. Do not ever underestimate the impact you are having, yoked with Jesus, on the lives of others. How about if we try to be like this little boy and let Jesus be Jesus.

Mostly odds and ends this week:

1) Thank you for all who helped and attended our second Drive-In Worship. Do not forget that it is at 8:30 a.m. now. We have shifted to the north a little to continue to have parking but also allow people to safely sit under shade. Thank you to all who are following guidelines. I am very proud of you! You may want to bring umbrellas for your own shade.

2) If all goes well, next Saturday, at my home church of Shepherd of the Hill in Lockport, IL, Bishop Clements will ordain me. It will be different then what I first had planned, but it will still be GOOD!

3) Keep your eyes open for a letter coming from Greg Yuvan, our church council president, about fixing our air conditioner in the church. According to constitutional guidelines, you will receive a letter and we will have a congregational vote. I have no details yet. Consider this an FYI.

4) Our very own Jan Delvallee has put together a devotion packet. It is already to go but I have not put it in your hands. I am sorry about this. We will start our next devotional series on July 13th.

5) Do not forget about Vacation Bible School. It will be held virtually from July 27 through the 31st. Spread the news. The good news is that the child(ren) do not even have to be in the same state. Come and join us. Look at the website for more information. We need to mail things out so there is a deadline.

6) Thank you for your continuous giving. Because of you, this church is able to pay all the bills and continue to offer help to those who need it. Please, if you need anything, let us know. Give me a call or your church.

7) We continue to meet at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday night and talk about the systemic racism in our country and what we individually and a church can do, about bringing about justice for all. All our welcome.

The peace of the Lord be with you always.

Pastor Tom



July 1st 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,


Tuesday was a busy day.  Had three meetings.  Several of the items we discussed have an effect on you.  Some you need to know right away while others are for your information in which you will have to act upon in the near future.  Here we go:


1)       Meeting with Music and Worship along with Church Council, we have decided to move the Drive-In Worship Service from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The reason why we made this change is to get ahead of the heat in July and August.  Please spread the word.  We have listened to your ideas.  Other changes may occur in terms of location and parking.  Thank you for being flexible.


2)      My ordination is coming up.  Right now, it is scheduled for Saturday, July 11 at

8:00 p.m. It will be hosted at my home church of Shepherd of the Hill in Lockport, IL. The concern is the number of people who will come to the event.  I know it is a late start.  It will be an outdoor service. Hopefully, we will have means to record the event.  If you are interested in coming, please let Eloide know by July 7th.  I need to give Shepherd of the Hill numbers on how many plan on attending.


3)      This is the big one.  Please keep an eye for more information. The Church Council put forth a motion to go ahead with repair of the air conditioning unit for the church.  The cost is approximately 36,000 to 38,000.  The church has an estimate, but it is a couple of months old.  We plan on requesting a new estimate immediately.  With the heat of July through the early part of September, we really cannot entertain worshiping in the church building until this is fixed.  Because of the amount, the church cannot proceed without a congregational vote.  As soon as we receive a current estimate, you will receive, by constitutional guidelines, a notice of when that meeting will occur.  I really cannot give you any more information on the date until we get the estimate.  This is a heads up of what is coming.  More information will come.  Be patient.


4)      A bonus:  Our garden is beginning to produce.  Peas are almost ready, and squash is very close.  We have decided to put a table for produce by the mask bench for anyone who would like some fresh veggies.  It will be open to everyone in the community.


Peace of the Lord be with you always.  Stay cool.  If you need anything, please do not hesitate to reach out to your church.


Pastor Tom



June 29, 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,


I realized Sunday morning that being a Pastor is like being a parent.  Every parent dreads those telephone calls that don’t occur in the normal time.  I received one of those calls this morning.  With a sad heart, I need to inform you that Viola Strout passed away in her sleep.  In many ways, she was the matriarch of our church.  She was 102 years young.  I can only imagine the history and the stories she has about St. John’ church.  I was lucky to hear a few of them.  It still feels like a kick in the gut.


An hour later, I was helping to set up for our first Drive-In worship service.  To be honest, I was trying to stay out of the way.  Had a chance to talk to a few people before the start of the service.  I had a chance to talk to Richard and Betty Manahan who were celebrating their 56th Wedding Anniversary.  How exciting is that?  Celebrating a couple who have taken their vows seriously. 


In a matter of a couple of hours, I experienced a high and a low.  Sound like parenting or being a part of a community.  There is a cost.  Not only is there a cost of following Jesus but there is a cost of being part of Jesus’s family of believers.  There is a danger when we expand our family. However, this is exactly what Jesus wants us to do.  If you have children, you know the roller coaster ride of highs and lows that occur.  If you have living siblings and/or parents, you know the same.  The joys are wonderful, but the sorrows can really hurt.  As we expand out into our church, as we let more people into our lives there is simply going to be more highs and lows.  But Jesus does not want us to stop there.  We need to feel the pain of our brothers and sister in Christ in the world. For our black brothers and sisters in our country. This is what it means to be the body of Christ.


Yesterday, we had our first worship service outside.  Thank you to all who made this possible. You all were awesome. I hope you all found it a meaningful worship service.  It was a joy to worship with you in person.  We will talk about changes, especially maybe a change in time.  (I already peeked, next Sunday’s high 91 – Yikes). If you have any thoughts, make sure you talk to a council member.  We want to hear from you.  Did you know that we had at least three people “walk off the street” to come join us?


Odds and ends:

·         Virtual Vacation Bible School is coming to St. John’s. Information was sent to Sunday school parents.  Call the church office for more information.

·         Devotional transition – We will finish up Reading through the Psalms this Tuesday.  We will take a break until July 6th and start up with a new devotion created by our own Jan Delvallee.

·         All are invited to join us on Zoom to gain understanding about racial inequality in our country.  All are welcome.  We meet on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

·         Pastor Tom will be ordained July 11 at 7:30 at Shepherd of the Hill in Lockport of IL.


I am so proud and amazed the kindness that you extend to our community.  Please continue to look for opportunities to spread kindness in this world.  Don’t ever take for granted what even a cup of cold water can do.


The peace of the Lord be with you always.

Pastor Tom