St. Stephen’s New Web Home: ssbdwels.com

Our new website is up and running. www.ssbdwels.com has many new features.

  • Sermon and news blogs are now part of the website, not external. So that means that ststephensnews.wordpress.com has served its purpose. Go to www.ssbdwels.com and click on “Church News” for newsletters, weekly updates and special news items.
  • Sermons and radio services are now set to update when new material is published.
  • WELS Daily Devotions (very similar to Meditations) are now incorporated into our website, and include audio so you can listen to the devotions.
  • Better functionality on phones and tablets. www.ssbdwels.com is built with adaptive web design that automatically scales the screen and its contents to the size of your device.
  • The web calendar draws information from our Google calendar, and always has coming events listed on the front page, and as a sidebar on many of the pages.
  • We will also be adding new photographs of our events, and we will expand other features as we learn more about how the new system works.

The old website, www.saintstephen.org, is now set up so that it automatically redirects your broswer to www.ssbdwels.com. The school’s new website is still under construction, so www.saintstephen.org/school will still be the school’s homepage for a while.

We thank Rochelle Stibb and Design Advertising for all their hard work in developing our new website.

Come join us at www.ssbdwels.com!

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Mission Festival October 1

St. Stephen’s Mission Festival will be Sunday October 1 in all services. The emphasis this year is on training the missionaries.

Souk.pngOur guest speaker will be Prof. Souksamay Phetsanghane from Luther Preparatory School in Watertown. Special music will be provided by the Prep Singers in all Sunday services. The St. Stephen’s Junior Choir will also sing.

At 12:00 noon there will be a potluck meal. After the meal, Prof. Phetsanghane will give a presentation on Luther Preparatory School and its ongoing mission of preparing pastors and teachers to serve our churches, schools, world and home missions.

 

The Service

The following is an explanation that was printed in the folder for the opening service at this summer’s Synod convention. That service used the same text and order that we are using in our field test. Some of the changes in order are explained below.

The Service

The Common Service has been the standard liturgical rite in Lutheran congregations in North America since the dawn of the 20th century. Relying on models from Lutheran history and the wider Christian Church, the Common Service offered an authentic form of the Christian liturgy as well as a complete set of introits, collects, and graduals. Often borrowing from the Book of Common Prayer (Church of England), the Common Service provided not only liturgical structure but also a worship language: the language of the King James Version. Along with worshipers in the LCMS and the ELS, WELS members became accustomed to a musical setting composed in 1901.

Every Lutheran hymnal published since 1888 has included a version of the Common Service, and it remains the standard for Lutheran liturgical worship. At the same time, however, every hymnal committee has analyzed the value of the Common Service to provide worship forms for new generation of worshipers. For example, the language of the service is no longer that of the KJV, and composers have produced new musical settings. Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal illustrates the results of that kind of analysis.

The WELS Hymnal Project has taken on the same task: to assess the standard Lutheran liturgical service and offer a version for 21st century worshipers. Several overriding principles emerged:

  • There is value in providing a standard liturgical rite so that worshipers can make it their own.
  • There is value in providing a variety of musical settings.
  • There is value in assessing liturgical revision in other confessional Lutheran churches to gain from their insights and experience.

The result of this study is a liturgical order entitled The Service. This rite, used in today’s service, is both a text—a set of words—and also a progression or order of these words; Absolution follows Confession, the Psalm of the Day follows the First Reading, etc.

As one might expect, The Service shares similarities with the orders in The Lutheran Hymnal and Christian Worship. As it assessed these rites for worship today, however, the committee authorized several modifications.

  • Lord, Have Mercy (Kyrie) takes on a form which is not connected to Confession/Absolution (CW p. 15) but follows the more historic and widespread pattern as a responsive prayer for our Lord’s many mercies.
  • The Nicene Creed follows the sermon and enables worshipers to confess their faith in the Word proclaimed in the day’s Proper (i.e. Prayer of the Day, readings, psalm, Verse of the Day, Hymn of the Day, sermon).
  • The Service retains the historic texts of Glory to God (Gloria in Excelsis) and Holy, Holy, Holy (Sanctus) which had been changed in CW’s Service of Word and Sacrament (p. 26).
  • For historic and practical considerations, The Service reverses the order of the Prayer of the Church and the Offering. Worshipers are seated during these longer prayers and during the offering in anticipation of the long stand in the Communion service.
  • The Communion liturgy includes the Lord’s Prayer and a Prayer of Thanksgiving. WELS worshipers became familiar with these prayers as they used Divine Service II in Christian Worship Supplement. Thanksgiving prayers were part of the earliest forms of the liturgy but were eliminated at the time of the Reformation because they had come to echo false theology. As Jesus “gave thanks” when instituting the Sacrament, worshipers give thanks in these newly composed prayers as they anticipate our Savior’s marvelous gift.
  • The new rite returns to a more historic version of the Christian/Lutheran service with the elimination of the Offertory (Create in Me) and Song of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis), both of which have liturgical origins no earlier than the 19th century but had been inserted by the framers of the original Common Service in 1888. The Song of Simeon retains its traditional place in evening worship.

Recent Lutheran hymnals have seen the wisdom of offering several musical settings to accompany the liturgical text. This is the plan also for the new WELS hymnal. Some musical settings will appear in the print edition of the hymnal; others will be available as digital resources. While the Kyrie is spoken in today’s service, it too will have musical options.

The theology of the Christian/Lutheran liturgy is established by the Scriptures. Liturgical forms and their progression are based on the experience of past believers and on the needs of worshipers today. May the Spirit bless our worship as we gather around Word and Sacrament offered in this rite, and may The Service provide a path for us to praise and proclaim the love of Jesus.

Field Testing Worship Materials

St. Stephen’s has been asked by the WELS Hymnal Committee to field test some service materials. This is a privilege for several reasons:

  1. In the research that happened over thirty years ago for Christian Worship (yes, it has been that long), the hymnal committee field tested services with The Sampler and other materials to learn if the materials would meet the needs of WELS congregations and worshipers. This time around they have asked us.
  2. The Committee wants our input. There may be items that we think could be done better or differently. They want to know. They value our opinion. A survey will be available to the congregation after each phase of the field test.
  3. We will be able to see first hand what our hymnal committee is doing to preserve, improve and enlarge our Lutheran worship heritage.

What we will be testing is not all new. Most of what we do will be familiar. The most important thing being tested is the service text and outline. We want to preserve the Lutheran liturgy tradition as we have come to know it in The Common Service (and in the old p. 5 or 15 in The Lutheran Hymnal). The parts sung or said every week must serve to teach, proclaim, and confess our Triune God and Jesus Christ as our Savior.

The idea for liturgies in the new hymnal is to have a single text and a single service outline, but with several different musical settings. This may help in increasing familiarity with the service and knowing the words. Even with new musical settings, the texts and outline will all be familiar.

There are two phases:

Phase 1: Testing the service text and outline with familiar tunes. For the first six weeks, we will use the service with tunes from The Common Service in Christian Worship. There is a new setting of “Lord, have mercy” with short responses, similar to what is in the Service of Word and Sacrament, but all the other liturgical songs, “Glory Be to God,” “Holy, holy, holy,” and “O Christ, Lamb of God” will be sung to the tunes we know. Phase 1 will begin September 10.

Phase 2: Testing the service text and outline with new tunes. In the second six weeks, we will learn and use the new service setting. The music is similar in style to the Service of Word and Sacrament. The basic text will be the same as in the first six weeks. Phase 2 will begin in mid-October.

Please remember:

  • The members of the new hymnal committee are doing their best to be good stewards with the musical and liturgical treasures of our Lutheran heritage.
  • Our church musicians are putting in extra efforts to learn new music.
  • The Christian music heritage is something that is constantly growing. In our Lutheran musical heritage, we are following in the footsteps of Martin Luther, Johann Sebastian Bach, Kurt Eggert and many others who all sang to the Lord new songs (Psalm 96:1).
  • What is old and familiar to us now was once new.

The new hymnal is scheduled to be released for use in Advent of 2021.

For more information go to http://welshymnal.com/

Worship This Weekend: August 17 & 20, 2017

Worship:

The Christian trusts God to provide. God feeds hungry mouths and hungry souls with his gifts of grace. When we bring our problems to Jesus, he will richly supply all we need. Gospel: Matthew 14:13-21, First Lesson: Isaiah 55:1-5, Second Lesson: Romans 8:35-39, Psalm 42-43

Summer Sunday Morning Bible Class:

Our Sunday study will be a shorter (1/2 hour) study between the worship services. We’ll start at 8:45 and end around 9:15. In connection with this 500th  Anniversary Year of the Lutheran Reformation we’ll use a study titled “Reformation: Grace, Faith, Scripture.” It makes use of 3-5 minute clips from the new Martin Luther movie (Return to Grace) to teach and apply some of the bible doctrines emphasized in the Reformation. Watch the trailer below.

August 20th’s lesson will be “Our Christian Vocation”

MARTIN LUTHER PROMO_WELS_SHORT from WELS on Vimeo.

August 2017 Newsletter

sethdorn1

“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” (II Thessalonians 2:15)

Around this time of the year many parents load up the car in order to drop off  their child at college. The first year of doing this brings a unique set of emotions. On  the one hand the parent feels proud and happy for their child. On the other hand fear  and concern fills their mind. No longer will their teenager be under the watchful parent’s  eye. The newly minted college student will have to shop for themselves and maybe even  cook for themselves. For the veteran parents dropping their kids off, maybe those emotions are not as strong, but they are still there.

In order to help alleviate some of those fears, parents will give a little pep talk to their child. It will go further than making sure that they separate the whites and darks while doing laundry or keeping junk food to a minimum in the dorm room. The parents will remind their child to keep their values. At most colleges those values will be challenged. The student will experience new cultures and worldviews, and some might threaten the values they learned at home.

Christian parents might worry all the more. Will my child continue to attend church? Will they be able to fight off the temptations Satan places before them? Will they find friends that share their beliefs? The fears can go on and on.

At this moment we need to keep these words of Paul in mind. Paul urges us to stand firm and hold to the teachings passed on to us. Preparation for these moments took place a long time ago in the child’s life. It all started as the cleansing waters of baptism washed their sins away. It continued as parents make use of our Lutheran Elementary School and Sunday School. Lakeside Lutheran High School and Luther Preparatory School continue building up teens in their faith, so they will be ready to face the world firmly standing on God’s Word. These are the teachings that need to be grasped from an early age.

This means these teachings need to be emphasized at home. Are we, as parents, building on the firm foundation? Are we making sure God’s Word takes precedence over sports, recreation, hobbies, and all other things? Is our church attendance something to be joyful about or embarrassed about? Parents need to be built on the firm foundation. It is then, and only then, it can be passed down to future generations.

When we pass these teachings to our children and build on the foundation of God’s teachings, our fears can subside. God will be with them as they face challenges from friends. The firm foundation of his Word will guide our children in the decisions they make. We pray so that children may continue to grow in their faith and stand up for what is right in the face of doing wrong.

The best part of this foundation is that it does not go away once we have a college degree. This foundation, all the teachings we hold to, will be with us all throughout life. We will continually grow in our faith all our days. From the time we enter this world until the time God calls us home to heaven, we will hold onto those teachings. We will build on the foundation of Jesus and him alone!

Pastor Dorn

SEPTEMBER – Christian Education Gets Back “In Full Gear”!

 

St. Stephen's Logo Window SqSchool Year Sunday Worship Schedule

Our summer schedule of two (2) Sunday worship services continues through Labor Day weekend. Sunday, September 10 we will resume our “school year schedule” of three (3) services as listed below. Worship with fellow believers is Christian Education, too! Let’s all be there!

Thursdays: 6:30 P.M.
Sundays: 7:30, 9:00, 10:30 A.M.
Sunday Bible Hour (Sunday School & Adult Study): 9:15 A.M.

“Christian Education Sunday” is Sunday, August 27.

Our worship that day, as we near the beginning of school, sort of “kicks off” another year of spiritual growth activity. The focus of our worship will be the truth that every one of us needs to be regularly learning and applying from God’s Word the truths we need to remain his children forever by faith in his promises in Jesus. Below are a couple other things that will be taking place that day.

  • Installation of Teachers – New teachers in our school, Mr. Joshua Schmidt (6th Grade, upper grades English, Athletics) and Mrs. Tiffany Vanderhoof (new position) will be installed into their called positions. Returning Lutheran Elementary School teachers and Sunday School teachers will renew their promises to faithfully represent our God as they teach.
  • Joint Church Picnic – At 11:30 A.M. we will join our brothers and sisters in Christ from Good Shepherd for the picnic at Lakeview Park (eat at noon). It will also provide a chance to meet and welcome Mr. Schmidt and Mrs. Vanderhoof. Everyone is asked to bring a side dish, salad, or dessert. Brats, hot dogs and drinks will be provided by our coordinating groups – Lutheran Teens, Lutheran Explorers, and Parent-Teacher Society. A free-will offering will be received to defray some of the food expenses. Various games will follow the meal. In case of bad weather, we’ll use the school gymnasium.

Sunday School Begins Sunday, September 10

20431634_10155552117826740_3881288879999334685_nSunday School is the Christian Education program for our children ages 4 through Grade 8 (3 year olds are welcome if they can be attentive for a 10-15 minute lesson, before there is a lesson-related activity). Sunday School is especially important for our children who do not attend the Lutheran Elementary School. Classes are held Sundays 9:00 – 10:00 A.M. in the school building. No registration is needed; just bring your child(ren) that day to the room for their age / grade.

Catechism / Confirmation Classes for Public School Students

  • NEW THIS YEAR! 7th & 8th Grade Catechism classes will be conducted together with Good Shepherd. They will meet Wednesdays only, 3:30 – 4:45 P.M. Classes begin Wednesday, September 6. Students will be contacted with details.
  • Public School 6th Grade Catechism will begin September 13 at 3:30 P.M.
  • Questions? Call Pastors Dorn, Heyer, or Stratman.
  • Specialized Programs can be worked out for special needs students who may need specialized instruction. Parents may contact one of the Pastors.

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION … It’s Not Just for Kids!!!

For all adults …

On Summer Sunday mornings we’ve been going through a study called “Reformation: Grace, Faith, Scripture”. It employs scenes from the recently released movie, Return to Grace: The Life and Legacy of  Martin Luther. With the short Bible class time, we were using the abridged version of the study. There are 12 lessons in the series, and during the summer we will use only 8 of them. Our plan for September and early October is to present the remaining expanded lessons in all of the Bible Class times – Sundays (9:00-10:00 A.M.), Mondays (7:00 – 8:00 P.M), and Wednesdays (11:00 A.M. – Noon). So, pick your time and attend! New study series will begin in October. Watch the Sunday bulletin announcements for those studies.

For Women …

20258473_1593447197394605_6536951106543146686_nThe Women’s Bible Study group meets Wednesdays, 6:00 – 7:15 P.M. in the room above the church office (we will not meet on September 6th but all Wednesdays after). It’s open to all women of the congregation. The current study is called “Golden Fruit: Living the Fruit of the Spirit through the Best Times of Your Life”. Questions about the group or the study may be directed to Bonnie Wagner (326-5872).

For Men …

The Men’s Bible Study began a couple years ago and meets Sunday evenings, 6:30 to 7:30. We will also meet in the room above the church office. Last year we worked through the book of Genesis. This year’s study is yet to be determined, though a possible study of the book of Romans has been considered. Our study resumes Sunday, September 10.

For “Seekers” …

Our Bible Information Class (BIC) is geared toward people who are not members of our congregation who are seeking to know what the Bible teaches (and therefore what we teach). It’s also open to any St. Stephen’s member who wishes to take a “refresher course” on basic Bible teaching. If you know someone who might be “seeking” to know what God has to say to them, please invite them and give their name to one of the Pastors. The tentative plan is to meet on Thursdays at 7:30 P.M. (after the Thursday worship service). We would also offer it at 11:00 A.M., if this better fits someone’s schedule. The course, entitled “The Wonders of God” has 20 lessons that we cover in about 15-16 weeks.

For Teenagers …

text94574_2Lutheran Teens exists for our young people grades 7-12. Their gatherings aren’t formal Bible Classes. Rather, they are activities in which our Christian teens can encourage each other in their faith through some Bible study and other fun activities. Our big activity this summer was the annual trip with teens from our sister WELS churches to Six Flags – Great America. Our next activity will be a trip to Knuckleheads in the Dells. Pricing and times will be coming soon.

A Message to All Parents with Elementary School Age Children

St. Stephen’s Lutheran School provides an affordable, quality, Christian education for all of your children. There is no tuition charge. Families pay only a $510.00 per child/per year Registration Fee that covers technology and consumable materials costs (Chromebooks, software licenses, computers, paper, copier costs, etc.)

If in the past you have not enrolled your child(ren) for fear of the cost, please reconsider. This quality, Christian education is affordable for about $2.80 per school day. The majority of the cost of operating our school where Jesus is at the heart is born by our congregation through the generous thank offerings they (you) bring to Jesus.

For more information about our Lutheran school check out the website: www.saintstephen.org and click on the “St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran School” tab of the opening page. You may also call the School Office at 885-6484, and I will gladly discuss our school with you.

Also, check out the excellent Good Shepherd Pre-School program for your K3 and K4 children!

Jared R. Brennan, Principal

School News …. It’s that time again!!

Vacation Bible School is over, and our teachers are now busy making their lassrooms ready for the coming school year. What a blessing to be able to share our Savior Jesus with the children each day!

Registration packets were distributed on Picnic Day in May. Please be sure to examine all the information in them and bring the completed forms when you register. If you’ve lost yours, or if you have any questions, please contact Mr. Brennan (885-6484 or jbrennan@saintstephen.org). Registration has been on-going throughout August. If you have not yet registered, please do so soon!

The complete school year calendar is up on the school website: www.saintstephen.org/school. Please note a couple calendar adjustments since it was first posted:

  • No School – February 15 & 16
  • School in session – February 22.

School Supplies: Classrooms will be open and teachers available August 30 & 31, 5:00 – 7:00 P.M., for parents and children to bring supplies to school and to visit with the teachers.

First Day: School begins Tuesday, September 5th at 8:00 A.M. Our year will begin with a brief worship service at 8:30 in the church.

Help our School by saving labels, cards, and boxtops!      We collect…

  • Boxtops marked for Education * Used greeting cards for Bethesda.
  •  Milk bags or bottle caps (Kwik Trip)
  • Our Family Brand UPC (proof of purchase label). Cut off proof of purchase bar code and place in the slot for St. Stephen’s at Rechek’s Food Pride, or bring them to school. The bar code # should key in with #70253. Only Our Family bar codes are accepted.

There are also containers in the church basement for some of these items.

Reminder: We no longer collect Piggly Wiggly or Kemps receipts, Campbells labels, stamps, or ink jet cartridges.

Ushers’ Meeting

Annual Ushers’ Meeting will be held Wednesday, September 13th at 6:30 P.M. in the church proper. At this meeting we review our duties, emergency procedures, etc. We are always looking for more of our confirmed men to serve the Lord and his people in this way. If interested, contact Head Usher Del Winning at 887-1411.

Lutheran Explorers

text94541_2Lutheran Explorers is a fellowship and learning group for children Pre-K through 6th Grade conducted jointly by St. Stephen’s and Good Shepherd congregations. Our purpose remains:

  • To promote Christian fellowship among the children of our congregations.
  • To promote Christian citizenship as our children live as “salt and light” in our world.
  • To learn useful life skills to glorify God and to serve our neighbor.

Our first meeting will be Tuesday, September 12th at 6:00 P.M. at St. Stephen’s .

We will register the children and have games at this first meeting. Please enter by the church office and come to the basement.

St. Stephen’s OWLS

owls_logoSt. Stephen’s OWLS (Organization of Wisconsin Lutheran Seniors) attempts to fulfill our motto: CARING FOR OTHERS. Presentations keep us informed of the work carried on by our Synod and about interesting activity in our community. The Owls Convention will be on October 10-12 at Country Springs Motelin Pewaukee, WI.

The next Owls meeting at St. Stephens’s will be on Tuesday October 17th. Pastor Brett Brauer will report on the Wartburg Project. Please join us for the noon potluck in the church basement. The presentation will follow. Everyone is welcome to join in this fellowship.

 

Join the Handbell Choir!!

Playing handbells is fairly simple; the most important “skill” is to be able to count! You don’t necessarily have to read music to play. Our practices resume Wednesday, September 20th. We meet Wednesdays at 7:15 P.M. in the church balcony. Throughout the school year we play for worship services the last Sunday of almost every month, as well as for the annual Advent by Candlelight program, and perhaps a couple other special occasions. If interested or if you have questions, call Ranee Welch (887-1624) and leave a message.

 

Lift Up Your Voice with Senior Choir!!

Senior Choir provides the opportunity for any confirmed member to combine your singing voice with others to provide music for our worship that glorifies God and brings his soul-saving message to the congregation in song. Rehearsals begin Thursday,  August 24th at 7:30 P.M. in the School music room. At these early rehearsals we will prepare music for Reformation and Thanksgiving. We’d be happy to have you add your voice! Contact Mr. David Schulz (920-344-9435) if you’d like more information.

Worship This Weekend: August 10 & 13, 2017

Worship:

The Word of God is wisdom from on high. It answers our questions ‘Why?’ by telling us that God has a plan to work all things, good and bad, for our good. It is our priceless treasure.

 

Summer Sunday Morning Bible Class:

Our Sunday study will be a shorter (1/2 hour) study between the worship services. We’ll start at 8:45 and end around 9:15. In connection with this 500th  Anniversary Year of the Lutheran Reformation we’ll use a study titled “Reformation: Grace, Faith, Scripture.” It makes use of 3-5 minute clips from the new Martin Luther movie (Return to Grace) to teach and apply some of the bible doctrines emphasized in the Reformation. Watch the trailer below.

August 6th’s lesson will be “Join and Sing to the Lord: Congregational Worship”

MARTIN LUTHER PROMO_WELS_SHORT from WELS on Vimeo.

Worship This Weekend, August 3 and 6, 2017

Worship:

Our Vacation Bible School theme was “Build on the Rock.” Jesus is the solid foundation of our faith. He illustrated that with his parable of building the house on a rock. The house with the solid foundation stood through the toughest storms. The house built on sand collapsed.

Guest Artist:
Image may contain: 1 person, indoor

Chris Driesbach will lead the music in our worship this weekend. He will also sing some songs with our Vacaction Bible School children in the 9:30 service on Sunday. Chris is a member of Lamb of God Lutheran Church in Madison, Alabama. Since 2006 he has been on many musical tours, playing concerts at over 750 WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) and ELS (Evangelical Lutheran Synod) churches in 41 states from Anchorage, Alaska to Orlando, Florida. His songs are all original Christian music and he loves to tell the story of my journey to faith. To learn more about Chris, check out his website at:  http://www.chrisdriesbach.com/ 

Summer Sunday Morning Bible Class:

Our Sunday study will be a shorter (1/2 hour) study between the worship services. We’ll start at 8:45 and end around 9:15. In connection with this 500th  Anniversary Year of the Lutheran Reformation we’ll use a study titled “Reformation: Grace, Faith, Scripture.” It makes use of 3-5 minute clips from the new Martin Luther movie (Return to Grace) to teach and apply some of the bible doctrines emphasized in the Reformation. Watch the trailer below.

August 6th’s lesson will be “Witness Together: Augsburg Confession”

MARTIN LUTHER PROMO_WELS_SHORT from WELS on Vimeo.

Worship This Weekend, July 27 and 30

Worship

The Christian is planted by the Word and produces fruit.

Lessons: Gospel Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23, First Lesson Isaiah 55:10, 11, Second Lesson Romans 8:18-25, Psalm 65

Summer Sunday Morning Bible Class

Our Sunday study will be a shorter (1/2 hour) study between the worship services. We’ll start at 8:45 and end around 9:15. In connection with this 500th  Anniversary Year of the Lutheran Reformation we’ll use a study titled “Reformation: Grace, Faith, Scripture.” It makes use of 3-5 minute clips from the new Martin Luther movie (Return to Grace) to teach and apply some of the bible doctrines emphasized in the Reformation. Watch the trailer below.

July 30th’s lesson will be “Forgiven but Not Perfect: Saint and Sinner”

MARTIN LUTHER PROMO_WELS_SHORT from WELS on Vimeo.