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