December 21st, A new service, The Longest Night, at 5:30pm and followed by refreshments

December 24th, the 4th Sunday of Advent: Worship at 10:00 am.

Christmas Eve:     7:30 pm for hymns

                                     8:00 pm for service, Rev. Ken Toven, celebrant

Christmas Day:    10:00 am, Rev. Randy Welsand, celebrant


Advent has been observed as a time of preparation for the birth of Jesus as far back as the 4th century and is identified by the 4 weeks preceding Christmas.  It is a time of preparation, expectation, and reflection; a time to renew our connection to Christ.

The readings this season begin quietly with the lesson of the fig tree and a warning to “keep alert.” We are then directed to “Prepare the way of the Lord” as John the Baptist enters the scene and begins to baptize in the Jordan River. Finally, the angel Gabriel appears to Mary to announce God’s plan for her and proclaims the impending birth of the Son of God.

Advent is also the beginning of the church year which identifies and provides directions for the observance of principal feasts, Sundays, Holy Days of Special Devotion, and Days of Optional Observance. The Lectionary uses a three-year cycle and this year we begin Year B. You will find the Gospel readings during this cycle to be predominately according to Mark.

The frenetic pace of the holiday season is a striking contrast to the quiet reflection and patient waiting that characterize the days of Advent. The balance between the religious significance of Advent and the consumerism of secular Christmas can be very difficult to find.

This season take time for quiet reflection.

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Prayer Shawl Ministry  

Shawls have symbolized shelter, peace, and spiritual sustenance. In a Prayer shawl ministry, people pray as they create hand-knitted and crocheted shawls for those in need of care and comfort. The creation and presentation of a prayer shawl, like all acts of generosity, enriches the giver as well as the recipient.

The Prayer Shawl Ministry at St. John’s started in December, 2016. Members gather to knit, crochet and pray as they make prayer shawls, filling each shawl with prayer.  Completed shawls are usually blessed and presented to recipients during a Sunday service, or delivered to the recipient as soon after the service as possible.

In its first year, our prayer shawl group has already  distributed many shawls.

We accept individual requests for shawls through the church office.  Shawls are freely given in love, but we do accept donations for the purchase of yarn.

If you like knit or crochet, or would like to learn to knit or crochet, please join us.


Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 11, 2017 @ 7:00PM in the church library.  We also schedule meetings at members’ homes, and much of our work gets done outside our meetings, wherever members are comfortable knitting or crocheting.

If you would like to find out more about this ministry, if you would like to join us now, or if you or anyone you know would benefit from a prayer shawl, please attend our next meeting or contact the church office, or phone 320-251-8524.

SJEC Members on Path to Ordination

St. John’s Church has been fertile ground for raising up people for Holy Orders.  Joe Hopwood, Linda Maloney, Rob Cavanna, Patricia Gillespie, Bruce Henne, Shannon Preston, Randy Welsand and Priscilla Gray have all begun their journey to ordination here.

Today, SJEC members Patricia Benson, Nancy Dyson and Tom Roy are on their own ordination journeys; Pat and Nancy to the deaconate and Tom to priesthood.  Each of them began by asking the vestry to meet with them in an “Assembly.”  The Assembly meets once with each individual using the Discernment Wheel, a tool that highlight and discuss one’s gifts, strengths and calling.  The Assembly decides whether that person will continue the process by spending a year in formal Discernment. 

Those who continue select a “companion” and a sponsoring priest, neither of whom need be from our church. The discerners and their companions become part of a Discernment Group formed by the ECMN, consisting of a priest, deacon and lay person who are not from the discerners’ own church.  They meet monthly for one year. 

The Discernment Group leaders then determine who may return to their own faith community’s vestry and ask for continued support to advance to the next step in formation.  Some discerners leave the process at this time.  Those who continue become Postulants and enter formation training.

In ECMN, deacon and priest postulants can attend the School for Formation here in Minnesota.  Some, who can attend and afford school full time, may attend a seminary instead.  The School for Formation route generally takes deacon postulants an additional two years, and priest postulants an additional three years, including coursework, mentoring, testing, interviewing and residency to complete formation and become ordained.

While it is the Bishop’s purview to assign clergy to churches where they are most needed, I hope that our faith community will be able to welcome Pat, Nancy and Tom back as ordained clergy right here after they complete their formation journey. 

Deacon George has invested more than a few sermons, eNews articles, conversations and adult formation sessions explaining this process to us over the past three years and he is a knowledgeable resource for anyone with questions about the process.  Your current vestry can also provide additional information.  And Canon Karen Olson, the Missioner for Ministry at ECMN, is always available to answer questions.

Please mark your calendars for Sunday, September 3 at our 10 a.m. service, when we will send Patricia Benson, Nancy Dyson and Tom Roy, with our prayers and support, to continue on their respective journeys.