“The kingdom of God is near,” Jesus said. “Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15 and Matthew 4:17).
When Martin Luther in 1517 questioned the value of indulgences being promoted and sold as part of the Roman church’s sacrament of penance, he picked up on the words of Jesus above. Luther’s first “thesis” of 95 regarding the value of indulgences that he desired to discuss said, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said ‘Repent’, he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” 500 years ago Luther put out those “theses” and when they were spread around, a reformation of the church of the day began. We are heirs of that reformation. The truth he put out is and always has been so.
In a variety of ways during this 500th anniversary year of Luther’s 95 theses we will be refreshing our minds and souls on the truths of God brought to light that had for a long time been hidden. One way is in our special midweek Lent services, under the general theme of “Repent! Turn to Jesus.” Through events that took place during the suffering and death and resurrection of Jesus, we are being refreshed in the understanding that repentance is indeed a daily, life-long activity in a believer’s life.
Repentance can be summed up as a three step spiritual and life activity:
- Step 1 – recognize, acknowledge and confess my sins before God.
- Step 2 – seek and receive God’s forgiveness for Jesus’ sake,
which then provides the motivation to ….
- Step 3 – turn away from the sin, and to honor God with a life guided by his perfect and loving commandments.
Luther’s, really Jesus’ point was that this repentance ought be a constant attitude and activity in a believer’s life because we still offend our God daily with our sin. And our loving God is here daily with his grace and forgiveness in Christ which is ours by faith!
His resurrection assures us of this!
In the season of Lent as we zero in on the suffering and death of Jesus our Savior we see what sin earns. Of great comfort during this season, and then in the Easter season to come, we see what Jesus has earned for us – new life, eternal life, joyful life!
That’s repentance. Repent! Turn to Jesus!
HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE
Holy Communion will be offered throughout Holy Week and Easter (in the 7:30 and 10:30 A.M. services) to give everyone the chance to receive this personal assurance of Christ’s presence and forgiveness. Plan to commune at least once.
Decorating for Easter will take place Saturday, April 15, at 9:00 A.M. We need at lest 30 lilies to be donated or loaned for the cross and elsewhere. You may purchase a plant through a florist and have it delivered tor purchase one anywhere and bring it yourself. They should be here by 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, April 15th. This year we’d like the container wrapped in purple paper with a white ribbon (ribbon can also be supplied by the decorating committee.). Lilies “on loan” may be taken Sunday, April 23. A sign-up sheet is in the church entryway so w can now how many lilies will be supplied.
PALM SUNDAY SERVICE
On April 9th our Sunday School students will take part in our Palm Sunday 9:00 Service and Lutheran Explorers in the 10:30 Service. They will proceed into the church bringing palms and then offer their song of praise to Jesus, our King. The Sunday School will return to Sunday School for a lesson on Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. Palm Sunday begins our Holy week journey with Jesus to his cross.
HOLY WEEK TUESDAY
A Confessional Communion service will be held at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11.
Maundy Thursday Worship with Communion will be held at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 13.
GOOD FRIDAY MID-DAY
Good Friday Mid-Day Worship will be at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 14.
Our Tenebrae Service will be on Good Friday at 7:00 P.M. Tenebrae is an ancient service order of increasing darkness. By extinguishing candles and gradually dimming lights we “sense” the darkness that surrounded Jesus as the burden of the world’s sin rested on him. This service is different from the afternoon service. Come to one or better yet, come to both, to appreciate Jesus’ sacrifice for you!
Thank you to Matt and Lindsay Wietzke for coordinating this year’s Easter Breakfast! They need your help in making it a wonderful time of joyful Christian fellowship. As in past years, our 8th grade Confirmation Class and parents are being asked to be the core group of helpers. More help is needed, though, for set-up, serving, and clean-up. A sign-up sheet is on the church entryway table for you to offer your assistance.
- Also, bakery goods are needed. They may be dropped off on Saturday, April 15th, between 10:00 A.M. and 1:00 P.M. Kitchen carts will be at the Ramp and Church Office entrance for drop off of bakery donations. Or bring them directly to the school/gymnasium kitchen.
- Breakfast will be served continuously from 7:00 A.M. until 9:00 A.M. Easter morning. See you there!
OWLS will meet at noon on Tuesday, April 18th, for a potluck dinner in the church basement. The program will begin at 1:00 P.M. and will be presented by the students from our school who participated in the Lakeside’s Fine Arts Fair. This will be a great opportunity to support these students in their individual and group involvement with the music program. Everyone is welcome to attend.
LWMS SPRING RALLY
The LWMS Spring Rally will be on Saturday, April 22nd, at Good Shepherd in Beaver Dam with Grace, Waupun as co-hosts. We are collecting items for the Lighthouse Youth Center.
- 9:30 A.M. Registration Begins
- 10:05 – 10:45 A.M. Rally Opens and Bible Study
- 10:45 – 11:15 A.M. Business Meeting with elections
- 11:15 A.M. Lunch
- 12:10 – 1:25 P.M. Devotion / Pastor James Buske – Lighthouse Youth Center
- 1:30 – 2:00 P.M. Rally concludes with installation of newly elected officers, closing remarks and prayer.
All ladies of our congregation are considered members of LWMS and are therefore invited and encouraged to take part in the rally.
The teens continue to meet monthly for various activities. Next up is an Un-Lock-In on Friday, April 21st, from 3:30 – 9:00 P.M. Pizza, games, and all sorts of fun will be had. May plans are still in the works. June 21st will be our annual trip to Six Flags. Keep your eyes open for information coming next!
The Explorers will have a pine car derby race on Sunday, April 23rd. It will kick off with a pot-luck lunch at noon followed by the races. The kids work really hard on these cars, and they look forward to showing them off. May we will bring our season to a close with a regular Explorer meeting.
THURSDAY EVENING WORSHIP SERVICE
This service will resume the Thursday after Easter, April 20th, at 6:30 P.M. with the same readings and sermon as Sunday, April 23rd.
We had our Roundup back in January and we have 5 students planning to attend next fall. If you have a child who will turn five before September 1st, 2017, and would like to enroll, please contact Mr. Brennan at 885-6484 or firstname.lastname@example.org. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old; he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
The school will be having a few programs in May. The first being the “Art Walk”. We invite you to come this Mother’s Day (May 14th) and see our gym transformed into a gallery of the students art. We look forward to being able to show the artistic gifts God has provided our students. We will continue celebrating the gifts God has given our students on May 17th at 6:00 P.M. when we have the PTS Awards Night to honor all of our student’s extracurricular achievements and efforts in the 2016-2017 school year.
SUPPORTERS OF ST. STEPHEN’S SCHOOL
Thanks to the support of church members and the congregation we get to share the Word of God with our students every day and for that we are extremely grateful. In the last year donations have helped see the gym floor refinished and our internet network has been upgraded to be able to support our technological advances we’ve made and into the future. We are in need of a few things and always appreciate donations. Recently we’ve had water fountain issues and are looking to replace and update to combine water fountain and water bottle fillers. We would also like to renovate our front door to allow for a more secure entrance. We hope that through this renovation we can prevent using the church office as a main school entrance. This would be a $5,000 renovation part as the doors are due for replacement. In keeping with security updates we would like to invest in Nightlocks for the classroom doors to make classroom doors impossible to open from the outside in case of an intruder situation. To obtain enough of these would cost roughly $1,000. If you would like to donate to any of these projects or to anything for the school we ask it be done by check, payable to St. Stephen’s and placed in a sealed envelope addressed to Mr. Brennan.
Track and Field has started and will culminate with 3 meets. BLAC Division Track Meet at Lakeside on May 6th and at Fort Atkinson High School on May 13th.
“Showers of Blessing” Gala XII will be Saturday, April 22nd. Contact Sue at (920) 262-8104 with questions.
Lakeside will present “Is there a Doctor in the House” a medical comedy, on Friday and Saturday April 28th & 29th, at 7:00 P.M. For reserved seating call (920)648-2321. St. Stephen’s graduate, Malachi Mortensen plays the role of Tom Sawyer.
- This year the Examination Service of the 2017 Confirmands will be held on Friday evening, May 5th, at 7:00 P.M. Anyone who wishes to attend this service is most welcome. The purpose of this service is two-fold. First, it gives these young people the opportunity to confess their Christian faith and share the saving truths of God’s Word with others. Secondly, it affords all of us an opportunity to review the fundamental doctrines of the Bible.
- The Confirmation Service will be held on Sunday, May 7th, in the 10:30 Service. Please keep these young people in your prayers asking the Holy Spirit to continue to work faith in their hearts so that they grow in their Christian faith and one day wear the crown of everlasting life!
- The Confirmation Class will take their First Communion on Sunday, May 14th, at 9:00 A.M.
STAY CONNECTED TO JESUS, …AND TO ST. STEPHEN’S
Nothing is better than gathering together in worship to stay connected to Jesus. There we connect with our Savior when we hear his Word and receive his Supper. There we also connect with one another, share our joys and sorrows with one another, pray together, and unite in the Lord’s work. We can and should study the Word of God on our own—but gathering together also gives us encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ.
In our time, we have many other ways to stay connected, and our church is making use of them to keep our people connected to Jesus, and to the work and mission of St. Stephen’s. Through our web page, www.saintstephen.org, we have many links:
- Online bibles and devotions can be accessed under the link Bible Reading / Devotions:
- Clicking on the Sermons link will take you to our sermon blog, saintstephenspulpit.wordpress.com.
- Clicking on Calendar will take you to our Google calendar that is always being updated. You can even merge events with your own calendar if you use Google calendar.
- Clicking on Radio Service will take you to a page where you can listen to streaming audio of our radio services. The radio programs are uploaded month by month.
- Clicking on News will take you to our news blog, which has an online version of this newsletter, and other news updates.
- We are also on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ststephensbd), and many of these features automatically connect with Facebook.
- News items on Facebook also automatically post to Twitter.
- Occasionally we also post videos on YouTube.
All these are accessible through www.saintstephen.org. Stay connected to Jesus first of all! Stay connected with your brothers and and sisters in faith and mission at St. Stephen’s, too.
Ash Wednesday March 1 Repent: Turn to Jesus; He Changes Your Life Luke 7:44-50
Wednesday March 8 Repent: Turn to Jesus; Do Not Turn Away Matthew 27:1-5
Pastor Schupmann, St. John’s, Juneau
Wednesday March 15 Repent: Turn to Jesus; He Longs to Forgive You Luke 23:32-34
Pastor Vander Galien, Salem, Lowell
Wednesday March 22 Repent: Turn to Jesus When You Face Temptations Mark 14:32-38
Wednesday March 29 Repent: Turn to Jesus; He Holds the Key to Heaven Luke 23:35-43
Wednesday April 5 Repent: Turn to Jesus and Not to Yourself Luke 18:9-14
Pastor Vanderhoof, Good Shepherd, Beaver Dam
Holy Week Services
Tuesday April 11, Confessional Communion Service, 1:30, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday April 13, Maundy Thursday Communion Service, 1:30, 6:30 p.m.
Good Friday April 14, Midday Worship, 1:30 p.m.
Service of Darkness (Tenebrae), 7:00 p.m.
NOTE: This year the purple Lenten envelopes are designated for the General Fund. If you wish your offering to be directed to Missions, please make a note on your envelope. Thank you!
- Mr. Jared Brennan’s call as principal has been made permanent.
- Beginning February 12, Sunday services will go back to the old schedule of 7:30, 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. An adult Bible Study opportunity will be still be offered at 9:00 a.m. in the “Upper Room.”
- Council: Mark Paul, Del Winning, Roger Leland
- District Elder Area Chairman: Dale Grulke, Tim Welch
- Board of Education: Erv Loest, Josh Voelker
- Board of Property and Maintenance: Jack Rhodes
ANNUAL VOTERS’ MEETING date has been set for Sunday,January 29th, at 1:15 P.M. The annual report of congregation activity for 2016 will be reviewed, and elections will take place for congregation boards. All men 18 years and older are urged to take part in this leadership activity of our congregation. Every member is welcome to attend and listen in on the business.
Nominees are: *Incumbents
For Church Council: Roger Leland, *Mark Paul, Gary Pepin, David Schumann, Duane Swenson, *Del Winning
For Board of Education: *Erv Loest, Aaron Milan, Rudy Sennhenn, *Josh Voelker
For District Elder Area Chairmen: Dale Grulke, William R. Hemling, Rick Stibb, *Tim Welch
Board of Property Maintenance: Tim Alderden, Jack Rhodes
- Upon receiving more feedback through our District Elders and doing an analysis of attendance, the Church Council will make the recommendation to discontinue the experimental 2 service Sunday worship schedule and to return to the previous schedule of 3 Sunday services (7:30, 9:00, 10:30) with Sunday School at 9:00 A.M., effective mid-February.
- Also, the voters will act on the Board of Education’s recommendation that Mr. Brennan’s Call as principal be made permanent.
Dear Members of St. Stephen’s,
After prayerful deliberation and conversations with family and friends, it pleases me to inform you that the Lord has lead me to accept your call to teach in the upper grades, and serve as your school’s athletic director, beginning the 2017-2018 school year. I am looking forward to the opportunity the Lord has placed before me to serve St. Stephen’s church and school, and most importantly, blessing me with the opportunity to bring the students of St. Stephen’s the saving message of salvation they have through their Savior Jesus Christ.
On behalf of my entire family, we are looking forward to becoming part of the St. Stephen’s family. Thank you for all your prayers during my deliberation, and I ask for your continued prayers as I finish out my current call at Riverview in Appleton, and begin making preparations for our move and transition to St. Stephen’s and Beaver Dam. Have a blessed Christmas season!
In Christ’s humble service,
Mr. Joshua Schmidt
Photo from http://www.riverviewlutheran.org/
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.
Luke 2:11, 12
Imagine under your Christmas tree a flat, light gift to you wrapped only in a bag from the “Dollar Store.” So you open the bag to find a previously used, coffee-stained envelope. What might you think about the gift and the giver? Cheap gift? Cheap giver?
“Oh, this is going to be great,” you think sarcastically as you begin lifting the envelope flap. From the envelope you pull two official looking documents. One is a deed to a newly built $500,000 house on lakefront property! And your name is on the deed! The second document is a Certificate of Deposit with a handwritten note attached. The note says,
“This CD for $1,000,000 should be enough to pay the utilities and outrageous property taxes on the house for the rest of your life. Love, Mom & Dad.”
Do you think your thoughts about the gift and the giver might change?!
When our heavenly Father gave the great Gift of his Son to be Savior to a world of sinners the process was reversed. Through his angel he told the Bethlehem shepherds what the outrageously valuable gift was: “A Savior, Christ, the Lord…peace…life…a perfect and eternal home.”
Then he told them about the gift wrapping: “A baby, wrapped in strips cloth, lying in a manger.”
This perfect gift to you of life eternal through God’s son, that Baby of Bethlehem, is still wrapped in relatively simple packaging. “You will find” this gift wrapped in the pages of your Bible. “You will find” your Father’s gift of forgiveness and life in the body and blood of that Son of his “wrapped up” in bread and wine. He offers his precious gift in the simple “wrapper” of fellow believers who share the message of the Gift with you.
This Christmas, and every day, go find that Gift of a Savior to you and “unwrap” that Gift. You know where to find him.
Pastor Philip Heyer
“O, COME, LET US ADORE HIM!” + Holiday Worship Opportunities
December 18, Sunday
- 8:00 & 10:30 A.M. Advent Song Service
- 2:00 P.M. Sunday School Christmas Service
- 4:30 P.M. Spanish Service at Good Shepherd
December 21, Wednesday
- 7:00 P.M. Joint Advent Service at Good Shepherd with St. John, Juneau, and Good Shepherd
December 24, Saturday
- 6:00 P.M. Day School Christmas Eve Service
- 10:00 P.M. Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
December 25, Sunday
- 8:00 & 10:30 A.M. Christmas Day Worship & Communion Services
- No Sunday School
December 31, Saturday
- 6:30 P.M. New Year’s Eve Communion Service
January 1, Sunday
- 8:00 A.M. & 10:00 A.M. New Year’s Day Worship Service
Special Christmas Worship Themes
While we celebrate only one event at Christmas – the birth of Jesus our Savior – the marvel, blessings and joy of that event will be presented during the season under a variety of themes.
- Our Sunday School Children, at 2:00 P.M. on Sunday, December 18 will present the message of Jesus’ birth through service titled “The Songs of Christmas!”
- Our Christian Day School Children, in the 6:00 P.M. Christmas Eve Service will lead us in a celebration of Jesus’ birth under the theme: “Mary, Did You Know.”
- Various Singers and Musicians will help us with our “quieter” service, the Candlelight service at 10:00 P.M. Through the traditional Christmas Gospel (Luke 2) and many of the familiar songs of Christmas we will quietly ponder the blessed event and what it means for us.
CHRISTMAS: A Time To Reach Out!
Share Your Savior With Others at Christmas!
What an opportune time to share the Christ-Child with the unchurched in our area! Soon you will be hearing radio spots and seeing newspaper ads inviting our neighbors to come and hear in special Christmas services the message of the Savior born for all people. Here at St. Stephen’s we are “steering” people toward our Candlelight Christmas Eve Service at 10:00 P.M.
You can be part of that outreach effort. Here’s how:
- Pray! Ask our Savior and King to bless our effort to reach people with the good news of His birth, life, and death for all people.
- Identify people in your circle of acquaintances who need the Good News of Jesus. Pray for them. Ask God to give you opportunities to talk to them about Jesus.
- Mention our radio or newspaper ads to them and use these as a springboard to invite them to the Candlelight Service. Or….
- Use the special invitations on the table in the church entry to invite someone to join you at the Candlelight Service to hear about the birth of their Savior.
- Lakeside Lutheran High School, Lake Mills Sunday, December 18th, 7:00 P.M.
- St. Stephen’s Band Tuesday, December 20th, 7:00 P.M.
- Luther Prep, Watertown Sunday, December 11th, 3:00 P.M. Monday, December 19th, 6:00 P.M.
- St. Stephen’s Piano Recitals in the Gym Thursday, December 15th, 10:00 A.M.
SUNDAY SCHOOL STUDENTS
will be rehearsing for their Christmas Program on Saturday, December 17th, 9:00 – 10:15 A.M. There will be no Sunday School on December 25th or January 1st. Classes resume on Sunday, January 8th, at 9:00 A.M
ST. STEPHEN’S CHRISTIAN DAY SCHOOL
- Practice Thursday, December 22 & Friday, December 23….8:10-10:00 A.M.
- Christmas Eve, December 24…6:00 P.M.
- Day School dismisses at 10:00 A.M. on Friday, December 23rd.
- Classes resume at 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday, January 3rd.
- Kindergarten Round Up – Monday, January 30th, 6:00 P.M. – More information later.
- Check out our web-site http://www.saintstephen.org/school.
YEAR-END HOLY COMMUNION SERVICES
In all our services on Sunday, December 25th, the Lord’s Supper will be offered. We also have the opportunity to close the year 2016 not only worshipping in our Savior’s house, but also with the assurance of His grace and forgiveness through His supper in our New Year’s Eve Service at 6:30 P.M.
If you have been neglecting this gift of your Savior throughout this year, why not take these opportunities to be assured of His forgiveness and to receive the Savior’s strength to make 2017 a year full of His grace and blessing through regular worship and communing!
PUBLIC SCHOOL CONFIRMATION CLASSES
Classes will resume on Wednesday, January 4th, for 5th – 8th. We’ll pick up with our lessons on the Creed and Commandments.
Organization of WELS Lutheran Seniors (OWLS)
Our Lutheran Senior’s group will be starting our 23rd year of fellowship, encouragement and service in 2017. Our bi-monthly programs cover topics ranging from social to historical to community to religious; hopefully, something for everybody. If you are 55 years or older, check us out! Watch Sunday Bulletins for programs planned for 2017.
BIBLE STUDY OPPORTUNITIES IN THE NEW YEAR
Bible Information Class A new course of instruction in basic teachings of the Bible will begin Thursday, January 5th, meeting at 11:00 A.M. (if needed) and at 7:30 P.M.(after worship). The class is open to anyone, as informational for people who would like to learn about the Bible and St. Stephen’s and as review for St. Stephen’s members. If you know someone who would like to learn more about Jesus and His word, please give their name to one of the pastors and/or invite them to take part in the class.
Sunday Bible Class The Sunday Bible Hour will finish up the current study of selected Psalms. There will be a 2 week break in the class (no class Christmas Day and New Year’s Day), resuming Sunday, January 8th, when we’ll begin a new topic. Why not take the opportunity for a little more spiritual feeding on a Sunday morning?! The class is held in the basement at 9:15 A.M. a pot of coffee is usually on, as well!
Weekday Bible Class After a one week break (no class the week after Christmas) the Monday/ Wednesday class will continue through February with the current study of the book of Leviticus. Feel free to jump in if you haven’t been able to take part previously. This class meets Mondays at 7:00 P.M. and Wednesdays at 11:00 A.M.
Women’s Bible Study During the busy time leading up to Christmas we arenot meeting. We’ll get together again on Wednesday,January 4th, at 6:00 P.M. to continue our study, Coffee with Jesus. We meet in the room above the church office.
Men’s Bible Study We are presently going through a study of the book of Genesis.Each week we take a short section of the book, no more than a chapter. It’s alright to jump in anytime. Men, if you’d like a little fellowship and spiritual growth time with brothers in Christ, join us Sunday evenings at 6:30 P.M. We’ve been meeting in the church basement. We also are suspending our study until after New Year’s. We meet again Sunday, January 8th.
GETTING MARRIED NEXT YEAR? BEEN MARRIED FOR MANY YEARS?!
Each year our Pastors lead a Marriage (Enrichment) Seminar for couples planning to be married and for married couples wanting to be refreshed on what God says in his Word about marriage and family life. Our next “seminar” is set for Saturday, February 25th, 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. Using the study-discussion guide “Building the Christian Home”, we will touch on God’s “blueprint” for marriage, the foundation and structure of a Christian marriage, finances in a family and the growing family. A sign-up sheet will be available at church in January to help us have an adequate supply of study guides and refreshments. Or you may call the church office to RSVP (885-3309).
As of January 2017, we will have been broadcasting our Radio Service on WBEV for 44 years! Our homebound members are thankful for that opportunity to hear God’s Word in sermon and song every Sunday. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HAVE BEEN PART OF THE “Radio Choir” over the years! New participants are always needed and welcome. Recording takes place the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month, 7:00 – 8:00 P.M. in the church. The most recent radio services can be listened to any time via audio streaming on the church website www.saintstephen.org. Click on Radio Service in the menu and follow the instructions.
A special one hour service of lessons and carols from St. Stephen’s will be broadcast on WBEV AM 1430 on December 25th at 12:00 noon. The service features the children of our school and our Senior and Handbell Choirs, with our pastors and special guest pastors giving devotions.
Monetary gifts to the Radio Fund are always needed and welcome, too. Each ½ hour Sunday service costs about $70.
The Explorers continue to hold monthly meetings. We have a full slate of things planned for the new year. All kids from 4K- 6th Grade can join us the second Tuesday of the month
Teens will take the month of December off. In January we planon going tubing on the 14th. Watch for more information.
STEPHEN’S & GOOD SHEPHERD COOPERATIVE MINISTRIES
For too long the two Beaver Dam WELS congregations have been carrying out Jesus’ mission in our community as if we are two almost totally unconnected groups of believers. As such, we have been duplicating a lot of mission and ministry efforts that could be more effective and beneficial if done together. We are one in faith and teaching! We are one in mission!
The Pastors and Executive Committees of our two congregations have met a few times in the last year to talk about this. Pastor Vanderhoof (Good Shepherd) and Pastor Heyer and St. Stephen’s President Tal Diekvoss recently attended a WELS Multi-Site conference to learn more about congregations in close proximity working better together.
Leadership of the two congregations will be meeting more in the next months to improve our ministry relationship. Already, however, some ministry activities are being carried out jointly, such as the Lutheran Explorer program for younger children, Teen activities, Jesus Cares Ministry to develop-mentally disabled, and some Catechism instruction. A closer relationship between St. Stephen’s Lutheran Elementary School and Good Shepherd Pre-School is developing.
A joint outreach effort to the Spanish speaking population of our area is being pursued, with the help of Pastor Dale Hella (St. Peter’s, Oak Grove). A couple more joint worship services are in the works, as well. We plan to share more about these discussions and efforts in the future.
SAVE LABELS, CARDS, BOXTOPS
- Boxtops marked for Education, used greeting cards for Bethesda
- Milk bottle caps or bags (Kwik Trip)
- Our Family UPC (proof of purchase labels). Please cut off the proof of purchase bar code and place it in the slot for St. Stephen’s at Recheck’s Food Pride or bring them directly to the school. The bar code # should key in with the #70253. Only Our Family Bar codes can be accepted.
- There are containers in the church basement for these items or send them to school with your children.
Thank you for your help!
We no longer collect Piggly Wiggly or Kemps receipts, Campbell soup labels, or postage stamps.
2017 OFFERING ENVELOPES
New envelopes are available for pick up in the church basement. To pay for them, please use the initial offering envelope in the front of your packet and place it in the collection plate or in the box in the basement. Thank you for your cooperation!
As we enter this season of celebrating how our Savior God GAVE His only Son for us, may he grant us all joyful, thankful and gracious hearts that recognize His many gifts to us and hearts that generously distribute them to his church and to others in our lives, all to His glory! Now is an appropriate time to make special gifts of love and to make a plan for regular, generous thank offerings in the New Year.
In His Service,
Pastors: Seth Dorn, Philip Heyer, Paul Stratman
Even though the weather might not feel like it, a look outside the window reminds us of what is coming. The leaves turn various colors displaying their beauty. Piles of leaves stand by the side of the road waiting to be picked up and taken away. Darkness comes all too soon leaving us long for those nights in the summer when we stayed outside soaking up the warm weather. Yes, all signs point towards fall.
The fall season also brings with it a celebration of something very special (Even though many almost make it something special, I am not talking about deer hunting. Sorry hunters!). We soon will be celebrating a very special time of the church year. Starting on Reformation Sunday the season of End Times is upon us.
So, let me ask you, “Are you ready?” Thanksgiving is still a month away, so I have plenty of time to get those things ready. The Christmas crunch time still is far away. I guess I am ready. Are you really ready?
God does not want us to only be ready for the busy holiday season coming up. The season of End Times focuses on our readiness for Jesus’ second coming. Our lives are busy. We run around from one thing to the next. Rest might not even be in our vocabulary at times during the year. The only thing we are ready for is a vacation.
All this running around leads many people to forget about the Lord’s coming. They think they have plenty of time to come back to God. Many think it is okay just to be baptized or confirmed, but they do not need to continually strengthen their faith through regular use of God’s Word in church.
Paul tells us, “But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief…So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled” (I Thessalonians 5:4, 6 NIV84). Christians keep their eyes heavenward. We constantly stand ready just waiting for Jesus to return as judge of the living and the dead.
This does not mean that we need to be scared. Far from it. This is the day all the faithful have been waiting for. Jesus will say to those who believe in him, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34 NIV84). Do you hear the joy in those words? We will be home in heaven for all eternity.
Are you ready? Let us make preparations that are truly needed. We never want the things of this world to cloud out our heavenly home. Let us make Christ the first priority in our life. Let us take God’s Word seriously and make church and Bible Class a priority.
The season of End Times gives us a chance to focus on what is important. We can focus on our life of faith. We examine our heart and our lives of faith. We get to look forward to the eternal joys of heaven God has prepared for us.
May God find all of us ready when he comes again, so we can hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21 NIV84).
FESTIVAL OF THE REFORMATION
The end of October brings us to the beginning of the season of End Time in our Church Year. It begins with the celebration of the Reformation of the Church that took place at the time of Martin Luther (1500’s). Martin Luther’s emphasis was on the Word of God, not on traditions and teachings of people in the church. Sola Scriptura was one of his Latin mottos – by Scripture alone. By Scripture alone do we know what God wants us to believe and to do. By Scripture alone do we know and believe the grace and promises of God in Christ. In the end times in which we live, only by God’s Word do we have his promises and guidance that will bring us safely to and through that day of judgment when Jesus returns to judge all people, living and dead.
Special opportunities for this celebration will be:
- In our worship services on Sunday, October 30th, at 8:00 and 10:30 A.M. (and the preceeding Thursday) we will give thanks for those blessings and be encouraged to hold to the truths of God’s Word and to share them.
Other special opportunities for celebration of the Reformation of the church are:
- At Lakeside Lutheran High School with area WELS churches on Sunday, October 30th, 4:00 P.M.
- In our school’s Children’s Service, Monday, October 31st, at 8:30 A.M. in the church.
2016 ADVENT BY CANDLELIGHT
Save the date! It’s never too early to mark your calendar for an important event! St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church will hold the sixth annual “Advent by Candlelight” event for ladies of the congregation, their female family members, friends, and neighbors on Sunday, December 4, 2016, at 2:00 P.M. in the school gymnasium. This is a wonderful time of gathering around the Word, music, and fellowship to help you prepare your hearts for the Advent Season before the holidays get into full swing! If you would like to help out on a committee, call Linda Kroeger at 885-0442 or Jane Winning at 920-344-0400. Would you like to be a table hostess this year? Watch the October bulletins for contact information about this great opportunity.
The teens will meet next on Saturday, November 12th, starting at 11:00 A.M. We will have a presentation on drug abuse and its dangers. After the presentation we will have pizza and play games. We will finish at 4:00 P.M.
Since 1973 St. Stephen’s has been airing a radio worship service, especially designed for homebound members who can’t get to church for worship. Recording of services for this year has just begun. We gather on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month to record two half-hour services each time. Our recording begins at 7:00 P.M. and we are usually finished by 8:10. We meet in the church. We’d love to have you join us!
The Explorer program exists for our youth to grow in their faith and Christian service. It is open to kids from pre K to 6th grade. Once again we have joined forces with Good Shepherd in order to promote our activities at both churches. Every month we have a meeting on the second Tuesday from 6:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. Our next meeting is Tuesday, November 8th, at St. Stephen’s. We will be making items to hand out when we go caroling in December.
In the parking lot you might have noticed a trailer with the sign “Cans for Kids.” We are accepting aluminum cans. Once a month the explorers will be taking the cans in for money to help with our activities. Feel free to bring all your cans here.
BIBLE CLASS OPPORTUNITIES (Seize them!!!)
Bible study opportunities are available for all ages. Sunday School for our children ages 4-13, Catechism for Middle School aged children, Lutheran Teens activities for grades 6-12.
- Bible study on Sunday mornings is at 9:15 A.M. Our study through Christmas will center on the Psalms.
- The men meet at 6:30 P.M. on Sundays. They are studying the book of Genesis.
- Adult opportunities are available Monday evenings at 7:00 and Wednesday mornings at 11:00 A.M.
- Beginning Monday, November 7th, we will be taking a look at the book of Leviticus. Many of us might never have gone through this Old Testament book, or if we have, wondered what are all these things about. In this class we will examine the various sacrifices and festivals of the Israelites. We will look at the importance of these things for them, and how Christ fulfilled them for us.
- Studies geared especially for the ladies of St. Stephen’s is held Wednesday evening at 6:00 P.M. Their study book is “Coffee with the Savior”. The purpose of this study is to help you see Jesus as your best friend.
Please join us to study God’s Word!
QUARTERLY VOTERS’ MEETING
Wednesday, December 18th, at 11:40 A.M. On the agenda the main item will be the adoption of a financial ministry plan (budget) for 2017. There will also be the regular reports of the various committees and boards. Updates on projects will be given. All male communicant members 18 years and older are encouraged to take part in this leadership activity in Christ’s Church. All other members are welcome to come and listen to the reports and discussion.
ST. STEPHEN’S ONLINE!
- SERMONS: Since August 2014 sermons have been published online at http://ststephenspulpit.wordpress.com Sermons are printable. You can also enter your email address and subscribe to weekly emails of our sermons.
- NEWS: We also have a news blog where you can read an online version of this newsletter, and other news items at https://ststephensnews.wordpress.com
- FACEBOOK: Our Facebook page is www.facebook.com/ststephensbd and features verse of the day (from http://BibleGateway.com), daily devotions from WELS similar to Meditations, WELS Connection, and news items and special announcements from St. Stephen’s and WELS.
- AUDIO: Streaming audio of our Radio Services is available on our radio page: http://www.saintstephen.org/radio.cfm. An archive of radio services goes back several months.
- CALENDAR: A calendar in an agenda format is available on the calendar page: http://www.saintstephen.org/calendar.cfm. If you use Google calendar, you can merge events from St. Stephen’s Church and School calendar with your own!
- YOUTUBE: Video from our church and school will be viewable on our YouTube channel. Window on St. Stephen’s, our own video connection, can also be viewed here! http://bit.ly/2esfQit
All of these pages are linked to our main webpage, www.saintstephen.org.
STUDENTS PREPARING FOR CHURCH WORK
We are happy to report that these students from our congregation are enrolled in our Synod schools and are preparing themselves to enter either the teaching or preaching ministry. The Lord willing, they will one day be a part of Synod’s full-time work force. May the Lord be with them and bless their study and preparation for this important work.
Martin Luther College – New Ulm, MN
- Matthew Behm – Senior (Randall and Bev Behm)
- Nathan Hildebrandt – Sophomore (Nathan Hildebrandt and Stacey Hildebrandt)
- Jamie Stibb – Freshman (Rick and Rochelle Stibb)
- Jessica Stibb – Freshman (Rick and Rochelle Stibb)
Luther Preparatory School – Watertown, WI
- Alyssa Hildebrandt – Junior (Nathan and Stacey Hildebrandt)
- Emma Zellmer – Junior (Erich and Rebecca Zellmer)
In addition to the students at WELS Worker Training Schools, 11 St. Stephen’s members are attending Lakeside Lutheran High School in Lake Mills. May the Savior’s rich blessings be on them as they receive a high school education based on God’s Word. Several of these students are also considering full-time service in the church.
- Ashley Koltz (Kory and Cindy Koltz)
- Malachi Mortensen (Marvin Mortensen and Mara Mortensen)
- Chris Schuman (Mark and Tina Schuman/Frances Johnston)
- Philip Seim (Steve and Julie Seim)
- Katrina Stratman (Pastor Paul and Corinne Stratman)
- Sarah Taylor-Evert (David and Jennifer Taylor-Evert)
- Mariah Mortensen (Marvin Mortensen and Mara Mortensen)
- Dustin Schulz (David and Amanda Schulz)
- John Schuman (Mark and Tina Schuman/Frances Johnston)
- Anna Swenson (Duane and Kathy Swenson)
- Joshua England (Lee and Patricia England)
The Lord blessed St. Stephen’s again this year by allowing us to open our doors for another school year and the opportunity to teach young children about Jesus as their Savior. Our theme this year is: “Growing in Faith.”
We opened the year with an opening church service. Teachers, parents, and students were excited as we listened to the pastor encourage us to appreciate each day we get to learn and grow with fellow Christians. Our enrollment presently stands at 136. We are going through many changes this year, some planned, and some not. We approach each new task keeping in our hearts and minds that the most important thing is teaching our student’s about God’s Word. We accept the challenge of integrating God’s Word into all our subjects and strive to provide the best education we can offer each day. We ask that you keep the students, the faculty, and your school in your prayers.
In addition to the regular school curriculum, we have many outside activities for the children. Our band, piano and Junior Choir and Children’s Choir programs teach the children to use their musical talents to the glory of God. Our Forensics team improves each day their ability to speak of the richness of God’s blessings. Our athletic teams represent their Savior, using their physical abilities, as they compete against other schools and teams in cross country, volleyball, and soon basketball. The coaches and directors of these groups serve as examples as they coach and direct these events keeping Christ as the central focus.
Remember to continue saving, milk labels, caps and box tops for education. Thank you for your support with these programs in the past.
During the past summer we improved our playground by recoating the parking lot. We painted the 4th grade classroom and the conference room. We had the gym floor refinished, which has received many compliments. Technologically, we had our network professionally set-up to perform at optimal levels. We are grateful to have had the ability to improve our school this summer.
Mr. Jared Brennan, Principal
October 7, 2016
Dear friends in Christ our Savior,
I have a desire to serve our Savior with my life, but have come to the realization that teaching is not the best way for me to do that. I had hoped it might be, but struggles I have had within me as I have begun this vocation cause me to know it is not. It would not be beneficial for your children, your congregation or me to continue to try while struggling within.
That being the case, with a heavy heart but for the good for the gospel ministry at St. Stephen’s, I tender my resignation from the teaching ministry among you. Thank you for being so welcoming and making me feel apart of the St. Stephen’s family. I pray that our Savior God bless your ministry to your children and the community in the future. God’s richest blessing today and always!
Your fellow brother in Christ,
A Note from Mr. Brennan
It is with a heavy heart that I share the following news. Mr. Andrew Schoenfeld will be resigning his call to teach at St. Stephen’s Lutheran call. This is his decision that goes back to the fourth day of school. After encouragement to continue he came to a certain conclusion. He no longer wishes to serve the Lord as a teacher, and he has stated that if he doesn’t feel in his heart he should be teaching and the desire is not there, he cannot ignore that. He is very aware that the timing is not great but, he is very correct that for the benefit of the students we should have a teacher who wants to teach with their full heart. We wish him God’s blessings on his future. For the benefit of stability for the students, and for Mr. Schoenfelds sake, we made a decision not to disclose Mr. Schoenfeld’s resignation until we had a plan in place. Mr. Schoenfeld agreed to stay until we had achieved a proper replacement plan. I will share with you his resignation letter in its entirety later tonight.
The school board, the pastors, members of the faculty and myself have discussed and planned for the remainder of the school year. We spoke with available teachers and have established a plan. We will be moving forward with 2 teachers filling Mr. Schoenfeld’s teaching duties. Mrs. Tiffany Vanderhoof will be teaching from 7:30-10:45 each day. She will teach 5th and 6th grade Language Arts each day and 6th Grade Christ Light on Tuesday and Thursday. Mr. Thomas Heuer, a retired teacher and member of St. Paul’s Ixonia, will be teaching from 10:45 – 3:10. Mr. Heuer will be taking the 7th and 8th Grade Language Arts, Study Hall supervision, and 5th – 8th Grade Spelling. Mr. Heuer has served as a long term sub in several schools and has great references. His area of focus as a teacher is the Language Arts, so we have no fear he will be more than adequate.
Several other teachers will be switching classes to accommodate our new situation. Mrs. Dorn will now be teaching 4th Grade social studies instead of Mr. Brennan. Mrs. Dorn will also be teaching 5th-8th grade Computer/Technology instead of Mr. Brennan. ( Mr. Brennan will remain involved) Mr. Schoenfeld’s Physical Education classes (5-8) will be assumed by Mr. Brennan. Mr. Brennan will also assume the Athletic Director role for the remainder of this year.
Neither Mr. Heuer nor Mrs. Vanderhoof will be given extracurricular activities.
Going forward, we have reserved Mr. Heuer and Mrs. Vanderhoof through the remainder of 2016. Each school board meeting will dedicate some time to discussing the effectiveness of our new situation. At which time we may decide to extend our subs to longer terms. We will also give much thought to placing a call from the field, the possibility of a winter assignment from MLC, or using a different long term sub if needed. What is important first and for most is the Christian education of our students.
I am aware this news is a bit startling and that it is very much a question provoking situation. I hope I have explained our plans for the future effectively. However, I urge you to call me, email me, text, me or find me to ask or discuss anything you need to. God’s Blessings on your day, and if you see Mr. Schoenfeld please wish him the same, this has not been an easy decision for him.
Mr. Jared Brennan