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December 27, 2023

Church Council Meeting Report – December 2023

The Church Council met last Tuesday for the final time in 2023. There were positive things to report, some information shared, and thoughts for the coming year.

The first positive is that the request to fund the repairs to the organ has received a great response. Cash and pledges of almost $12,000 have been made by a broad group of people. The company who will do the work (and now tunes the organ) have been asked to update their June bid which expired this past Fall. They promised to work with us knowing we were seeking the funds. Their updated price is only a 5% increase to cover labor and parts and is $18,550 for 2024. As a result, the pledge deadline has been extended because we are so close. Those interested in participating are asked to complete the form in the narthex and put it in the offering plate or at the church office soon so we can move forward. Thank you to all who are making this possible!

The second positive is that we have interest for members to serve on the Council for the coming three- year term. More information will be coming. Eloide is asking for biographical information now so the candidate information will come out soon. We thank Carlene Focci and Chris Westphal for serving the past three years and Karen Sohl for filling Jeff Whalen’s position when he left with Lori to lead the churches in Manlius and Ohio.  There will also be a two- year role to fill as Sandy Baumgartner asked to leave her position in January. Anyone interested in filling this position should contact Eloide in the church office.

The third positive is that more people signed up to join committees at the Stewardship Event in November. Chris Westphal reported that it was well attended and church committees had the chance to share their messages. And the chili was awesome again!

The fourth positive is that a Health and Safety Committee is being implemented. The Building and Grounds Committee suggested this as there are a growing number of things that fit into this category beyond the expertise of Buildings and Grounds. The most recent example is the installation of the defibrillator in the narthex. Maintaining and creating health practices to protect members is a growing need. Monitoring and testing emergency equipment is mandated by our insurance carrier. More will be shared as this is developed.

The Building and Grounds Committee have been hard at work. Working from top to bottom, temporary repairs to roofing in the tower and filling gaps to seal water leaks in the Fellowship Hall have been going on thanks to Gregg Flaherty and Don Anderson. The recommendation for the Spring is to cover over or replace the 1992 membrane roofing on the tower and to fix the conduit and electrical wiring to the parking lot lighting in the tower at the same time. Some painting will also be done up there. Don said there is a need for a flexible person with a slighter build to paint a few spots that are tough to reach for a person with a larger build (and older joints). This search is not limited to males.  Pipe bleeding and training has been going on with the assistance of the Boiler company. The Ladies Room is proving to be heat challenged.  The defibrillator system has been installed in the narthex by Dan Kutter and Alice Mueller and plans are being set to teach as many members as possible how to use them. This may result in an abbreviated sermon weekend early this Winter. Safety caps have been purchased and installed in the sanctuary on the piping brackets. Thank you, Don Anderson & Monica Nedza. And the carpeting in the parsonage goes back several decades and the plan is to replace it with waterproof vinyl flooring planks this coming year.

To assist Custodian Monica Nedza, and give her the opportunity for days off, Donna Ristau was hired by the Personnel Committee and approved by Council to serve as Assistant Custodian. They may periodically work together if there is a big event at the church but typically one or the other will be at the church.  Donna is also preparing to take over as Sunday School Superintendent for Missy Pinter next year.

Monica suggested this week that while pews are being moved out of the sanctuary in February/March for the new lighting fixtures, it may be a good opportunity to sand and refinish the back pews since good Lutherans don’t sit up front. Food for thought…

The Finance Committee presented information to the entire Council as the 2024 Church Budget is being prepared. Special building projects mentioned above, salary raises, and estimates for the coming year were presented. Council members asked questions and made suggestions. This ministry involves being good stewards of the monies entrusted to the church and communicating with the other committees to make sure they have sufficient funding to conduct their ministries. Treasurer Jacob Adams will present the completed Budget for congregational approval at the Annual Meeting on January 28.

Which brings the final item for this letter. The Annual Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 28. The amended Constitution for the church, which was overwhelmingly approved in November, is to receive a ratification vote at the Annual Meeting. The Budget for 2024 will be presented for approval. The ballot for candidates for membership on the Church Council will be held. And summaries of 2023 and goals for 2024 will be shared. All congregation members are asked and encouraged to attend. Typically, the meetings are fairly brief (and there will be snacks).

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a Happy New Year as Children of God.

Dave Kromphardt

Church Council President  


**Note, due to the holiday and pastor on vacation this week, there will not be a letter next week.

December 18, 2023

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples”

John 13:35

Proclaim the Gospel

Grow in Love

Serve One Another

St. Johns’ Mission Statement


Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,


Patty and I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas.  We pray that it is safe and meaningful this year.  If you are going to visit family or if family is coming in, let it be a joyous time.  Don’t forget to share God’s love even to those who you really don’t want to.  May hope, peace, joy and love shower on you this season.


It has been a great musical couple of weeks.  December 9th & 10th we had the musical Cantata and the adult choir sounded great.  Last Sunday, we had our Sunday School classes bless us with their voices.  All age groups did such a great job.  Thank you for sharing your musical voices with us.  Also, thank you to Missy and all the Sunday School teachers who practiced with them for the last couple of weekends during class.  I love this time of year because of the many voices being shared with us.  Thank you too.


I think I shared a milestone with you a couple of months ago.  To marry a couple and then to baptize their son a few years later, that was pretty cool.  I thought of another milestone which I am not sure I am going to be around to witness.  To see some of these young children go from singing in Sunday School to years later, singing with Barb in the adult choir.  That would also be cool. 


Thank you for all your prayers for our meeting on Tuesday.  It was very much a Spirit driven meeting.  It had a nice flow to it.  I really appreciate all of you that helped me through this day.


I read somewhere that 92% of things you worry about either don’t happen or they will happen regardless of all the worrying you do.  Jesus’s words in the Gospel of Matthew, urges us not to worry.  “Look at the beauty of the flowers…. see how the birds don’t worry about their food… Doesn’t your Father love you more than these?”  I’m not sure if I was worrying about the meeting but maybe I was a little anxious, wanting to make sure our church shows well.  It did.  I should not be surprised.  I also want to thank Monica, Eloide and Karen for all their work behind the scenes.  They do so much for our church that most of us don’t notice.  Make sure you say thank you to them.  I am sure they will appreciate it.


We are getting closer.  Still time to do some act of kindness for Advent.  The manger could use more straw.  But Christmas is coming.  A time of worship and singing and remembering God’s promise that God’s Son will return.  Christmas worship will have a little twist this year.  I need you all to bring your inner child to worship.  We will need your help.  Enough said on this.


Just an FYI.  I will be out of the office from December 25th to the  29th. If you need anything, Dave Kromphardt will handle any kind of pastoral duties needed.  Of course, you can always call the church office.  We will be open December 27th through the 29th.



Schedule for Christmas:

-          Saturday, December 23rd will be the last day of Advent.  We will be celebrating Advent, not. Christmas on this worship service.

-          Sunday, December 24th, will be our only Christmas worship service at 5:30 p.m.

-          Monday, December 25th, there will be no Christmas service on Christmas day.


Cross-marked, Spirit-sealed. Forever!


Pastor Tom



Readings for the weekend of December 23rd & 24th   - 4th  Week of Advent and Christmas

4th Week of Advent2 Samuel 7:11-16       Luke 1:46b-55     Romans 16:25-27      Luke 1:26-38

Christmas – Isaiah 9:2-7         Psalm 96         Titus 2:11-14               Luke 2:1-14[15-20]    


December 11, 2023

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples”

John 13:35

Proclaim the Gospel

Grow in Love

Serve One Another

St. Johns’ Mission Statement


Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,


Many thank-yous need to be mentioned.  Not in any order but Patty and I want to thank all of you who were praying for us last week.  Two and a half weeks ago a couple people and I were boasting that we never had COVID.  Well, I can’t say that any longer.  Ours were not the mild strain.  It hit us pretty hard.  I got it first, then Patty from taking care of me.  I pray that you never get it.  Get your booster shot.


I want to thank all of you who made and/or decorated cookies on Sunday.  We made twenty containers for our homebound and the ladies stuffed them.  We also had extra that we were able to take to PADS.  What a great holiday treat!  Thank you ladies who came at 8:00 a.m. to start baking.  Great work.


And a huge thank you goes out to all those who participated in the Musical Cantata.  Stacy, Maggie and Pam you did a great job.  Thank you: Carol, Sandy, Bob, Jan, Gary, Kelly, Paul, David and Linda, you all sounded great on both days.  Also, a huge thank you goes out to our choir director Barb.  Thank you all for your efforts.


Next week, our children sing on Sunday.  That should be a great day also.  I was actually dreaming when I was talking to the children on Sunday, how cool would it be to sing as a child and then after a couple years and move to the regular choir.  Barb said she would take you.  Let’s make sure we come on Sunday to support our children.


If you come on Saturday, you have to listen to me instead.  Hmmm?  Listen to the pastor or listen to the children.  I will let you decide but I know what I would do.


I would like to briefly talk about one of my visits last week.  I asked this woman if she was secure in her faith, that she knew where she was going after her death.  She was absolutely sure that she will go to heaven.  I love that kind of faith display.  In Hebrews 11:1 faith is defined “as to be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we can’t see.”  “Sure” and “certain” are pretty strong words describing that it will happen.  “Hope” and things “we can’t see” are definitely not as strong.  In other words, could we all be wrong?  Can this woman be wrong?  Absolutely! But see, that is why it is called faith and not fact.  We are certain and sure of things we hope will happen.  And this woman was basing her eternal life on it.  I think we would be wise to do the same.


How is Advent going?  Is it any different from last year?  Is it making any difference in your life now?  I hope so.  Can you just stop for a moment and just feel God’s presence.  Be quiet.  You need no words.  Just stop and feel.  I pray that you will make it a habit.


On Tuesday, your church is hosting the Southern Conference of Pastors.  We usually meet at 1:30 p.m. and have a worship service.  I get to deliver the message.  I’m feeling a little intimidated speaking to fellow pastors.  Oh, by the way, I forgot to write that the Bishop will also be there.  For you teachers out there, it is like the principal coming into your room.  No pressure.  We will be meeting at Liberty Restaurant to have lunch beforehand.  We do this every month and we rotate churches.  


It has been a quiet activity by our Evangelism group, but we have a manger sitting directly across from the Christmas tree. You will see some straw in it, however, it could use more. It is our kindness manger. But not just kindness but acts of kindness that you don’t normally do.  Our church decorated the cookies on Sunday. Each one of the children who helped, were able to put a piece of straw in the manger because I would imagine that they don’t normally decorate cookies, especially for the homebound. 


It is one of those activities that everyone can do. It doesn’t matter if you are homebound, watch us on TV or come to worship service, you all can do special acts of kindness.  It might be a call made or a card sent.  It might be helping someone who is having trouble opening a door (I love that), or maybe you send some cookies to a neighbor.  Just send me or Eloide a email and we will happy to put a piece of straw in for you.


A few dates to remember:

-     Sunday, December 17th, our children will be singing songs for us.  Always an enjoyable time to hear their young voices.  This will only occur on Sunday.


Schedule for Christmas:

-          Saturday, December 23rd will be the last day of Advent.  We will be celebrating Advent, not. Christmas on this worship service.

-          Sunday, December 24th, will be our only Christmas worship service. I  know there are a lot of times floating around but this service will be at 5:30 p.m.

-          Monday, December 25th, there will be no Christmas service on Christmas day.


Do something special this Advent season.


Cross-marked, Spirit-sealed. Forever!


Pastor Tom



Readings for the weekend of December 16th & 17th  - 3rd Week of Advent

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11           Psalm 126   1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 John 1:6-8, 19-28



December 4, 2023

There are lots of good things happening at St. John’s to share with the congregation!

The Council approved the purchase and installation of AED equipment to provide electric heart shock if needed to revive someone. Thanks to the Building and Grounds Committee for installing this in the narthex on the north wall. The next step is training for congregation members who are interested in learning. Having on site CPR training was also discussed and is being investigated. Are there any members who are nurses certified in this training? Please let me know if you are interested in sharing this knowledge with us.

This brought a discussion, also from Building and Grounds, about establishing a Health and Safety Committee independent of them. The issues involved with resuscitation and other emergency procedures, proactive disease prevention practices, and other health related subjects are different from those of Building and Grounds. Please share your thoughts with members of the Church Council. We will continue to investigate this.

Greg Flaherty and Don Anderson spent time on our roof to evaluate its condition and identify some areas of weakness. The flat roof is covered by a membrane that was installed in 1992 and has areas that leak or are worn through. The roofing around the third story peak needs repairing and they noticed that the electrical conduit needs fixing. This explains the intermittent failure of the parking lot lights. Council has asked that they ask professional roofers for their assessments anticipating bids for repairs.

Time for a special request. These gentlemen have good analytical skills but not as good joints and bones. There is a definite need for folks- men and women alike- with younger bones to join our building and grounds committee. This is a hardworking skilled group already in place that enjoys their tasks but there’s plenty to do. Please consider this ministry!

One last thing from Building and Grounds- replacing the electrical fixtures in the Sanctuary. Fixtures were ordered from Revere Electric ahead of Dec 1 price increases, and Elmore Electric was engaged to install them. Some of the fixtures will not be shipped here until the beginning of February so this looks to be a February/March project. In our discussion it was pointed out that some of the kneelers are in need of repair and this may be a good time to replace some of the older hardware. So, ladies and gentlemen, this could be a fun (translated low impact) task we can all help with!

We celebrated the passing of the amended Constitution with the votes at the November meeting. Sixty voting members overwhelmingly passed the revised document. A ratification vote will be held at the Annual Meeting in January.

We also celebrated the skilled artwork by the tree carver in turning a broken tree into a witness of our faith to the community. In addition, we thanked Altar Guild for replacing frayed altar linens with new ones with a fabric that is easier to administer. And we appreciated some behind the scenes work by the Endowment and Finance Committees for recordkeeping changes to separate and simplify our financial processes.

Speaking of Finance, we are seeking two individuals to conduct the year end audit of our books for 2023 for reporting at the Annual Meeting in January. Please see Dave Kromphardt if you wish to help.

Our Personnel Committee reported that all church job descriptions have been updated. The next project is a Personnel Manual that puts our church practices and policies in printed form. A template has been received so we will not be “reinventing the wheel.” The other task is creating a Job Description for the Financial Secretary role established in the new Constitution. Synod has provided the names of several other congregations that are willing to share their description as well as Best Practices they use.

Not reported at the meeting- the phone setup can again identify incoming phone numbers, somewhat. The cordless phone (not our full system) now shows a number, but to be sure, if you call the church PLEASE LEAVE A MESSAGE so Eloide or Pastor Tom can return your call. We are still working with the telephone company to restore this feature so it’s integrated with the rest of the system. Thank you for your patience.

This was not discussed at Council but some feedback has been received that indicates more information is needed about the organ restoration project. Specific details about the work to be done, information about the one item that has been fixed already, and thoughts about organist availability in the future after Pam retires way down the line are all good questions. The company we are working with has committed to work with us and understands that we are being prudent in moving forward. The short term pledge date of December 17 is being extended as to provide this information for people to evaluate and decide if they wish to be part of this project.

The Church Council is a ministry devoted to hearing about the present and thinking into the future. I have enjoyed working with the Council members this year, thank those completing their terms next month for a job well done, and look forward to the next steps for our congregation. Would you be interested in being a part of this ministry, even if you may have served in the past? Please pray on whether this ministry is something meant for you. Elections are held at the Annual Meeting in January and candidates are being sought now.

A recurring theme this year in these Council reports has been a focus on processes and practices. But one of our biggest challenges as a congregation is reengaging members after COVID. This is not unique to us; leaders of other congregations and service organizations have told me this is a challenge they have, and national church periodicals are featuring articles about this challenge everywhere. Please give thought as to how we can help some of our members become comfortable and safely active again. We miss having them join us in person. This is part of our being a Christian Community.  

May everyone have a joyous Advent as we prepare for Jesus’ Second Coming and celebrate His first coming at Christmas.


Dave Kromphardt, Council President