Together we have embarked on a year long emphasis of Welcoming: Providing Hospitality & Extending Invitation. Every committee, every small group, the choir, the band, the handbell ensemble, and every member of this congregation is encouraged to explore ways that our congregation might provide that deeply authentic sense of hospitality and extend an invitation to your neighbors, co-workers, and friends to become a part of what God is calling us to become. This year is shaping up to be a very exciting year. Here are few highlights:

The Mission Statement Taskforce continues to meet every two weeks with Rev. Glenn Taibl on the establishment of a solidifying Mission Statement for our congregation and its ministry in the world. Thank you to Elaine Taylor, Clara Willette, Bergit Nerheim, Patrick Coveney, Jon Dosdall, Ron Hasselmann, and Sarah Tellijohn for your exceptional work!

On October 31st, 1517 an upstart Augustinian monk in Wittenberg, Germany posted 95 statements of needed reform of the medieval Roman Catholic Church. Every other person who had stood up to reform the Catholic Church in the previous 100 years had been silenced; often in very violent methods. But, in an era when writing a book had taken years to finish, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses were subsequently applied to a brand new invention called a printing press and those 95 Theses spread like wildfire across Europe. In fact in a recent documentary on PBS, church historian Dr. James Nestingen reported that 10 days after the original posting date The 95 Theses were disseminated in Spain! This year, October 31st, 2017 is the 500th anniversary of that moment. The whole world is paying attention to this moment because it is not just an event that happened 500 years ago, but it is still having an effect on our life of faith today. As a congregation we will be celebrating the Reformation Celebration on October 29, but many events throughout the Twin Cities are also happening in churches on Tuesday, October 31st. Watch the bulletin board and website for events.

On October 29 Clara Willette will be confirming her faith at St. John’s. We as a congregation will be joining Clara and her family in their joy of her affirming her baptism. Congratulations, Clara!

Starting on Wednesday, October 4 at 6:30 PM and Thursday, October 5 at 10 AM for 1 hour I am teaching an 8-session forum on Rev. Martin Luther and the Reformation. These studies are specifically to help us build more familiarity with who Luther was, what he taught and why it is not just a story from 500 years ago but also how he is still influencing our lives today 500 years later. Together we’ll explore: 1. Jesus is God’s Best Idea Ever (Luther’s “Salvation by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ”) 2. The Bible Is God’s Word for You, But It Isn’t Your God (Luther’s “The Word of God”) 3. Church is Messy and Holy (Luther’s “The Church and the Christian Life”) 4. Forgiveness Will Change Your Life (Luther’s “The Forgiveness of Sins”) 5. Finding God the Last Place You Would Look (Luther’s “Theology of the Cross”) 6. Guess Who’s Coming to Worship?! (Luther’s “The Means of Grace and Christian Worship”) 7. Telling the Truth Twice (Luther’s understanding of the Law and the Gospel) 8. You Didn’t Choose me, I Chose You! (Luther’s understanding of “Election”)

Please let your friends, neighbors or anyone who is interested in joining St. John’s that the next New Member Class will be on Monday, October 16 at 6:30 PM. The New Member Sunday is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, November 5.

Exploring Welcoming: Hospitality and Invitation, 500th Anniversary of Reformation, forming a meaningful Mission Statement with articulated Core Values, celebrating a Confirmation, a Baptism and welcoming new members into our life together (and Messiah rehearsals beginning) all within this month of October means that we will be busy! But it also means that God is breathing life into us and moving amongst us still. And that is ALWAYS a good thing.

That’s what I believe. Pastor Mark