Wishing you the joy, hope and peace of this Christmas season as

Rev. Joseph E. McInnis, Lead Pastor
Rhonda Pruitt, Pastor of Youth and Family
Faith Formation
Robert McConnell, Music Director and
Janis B. Wendel, Administrative Assistant
1235 Wilmette Avenue
Wilmette, Illinois 60091
phone 847 251 1730
fax 847 251 5336
web stjohnswilmette.com
e-mail [email protected]
St. John’s Lutheran Church is a caring place
where everyone can live, learn and grow together in Christ.
Wishing you the joy, hope and peace
of this Christmas season
as we joyfully celebrate the coming of our Savior!
Rev. Joe McInnis
Robert McConnell
Rev. Rhonda Pruitt
Jan Wendel
Mike Olson
I’ve heard it said that the opposite of love isn’t’ hate, but, indifference.
In Christ, God has given us the gift of himself. I don’t often think of Jesus this way.
However, this being the season of gifting and giving, I’m thinking of him that way now. I’m
imagining the infant Jesus as God himself, the eternal word incarnate, all wrapped up in flesh
inside swaddling clothes, a gift for all of us.
Of course, we know where the story goes from here, and it’s not all pretty. Some
accept Jesus, some reject him, and others simply ignore him. They could care less one way
or another. And according to the word of the prophet, Zephaniah, it’s the people in this
latter group that anger God the most.
“Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is at hand!
At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the people,
who rest complacently on their dregs,
those who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will he do harm.’
Their wealth shall be plundered, and their houses lay waste.
Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them;
though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them!” (Zeph 1:7, 12-13).
Throughout his oracle, Zephaniah emphasizes emphatically that the day of the Lord is a
day for taking a stand. The day of the Lord is all about calling out those who are full of
indifference and complacency, and conclude that God probably is too. But God’s word
indicates the exact opposite. God is not indifferent. God is not complacent. God is actively
working to ensure that there will be an ongoing relationship between God and God’s people.
God is not indifferent, and neither are we as God’s people to be indifferent about our
relationship with God, about politics, about the social well-being of all, or about anything
else that God cares about.
So let people love God or hate God, but don’t think, don’t ever let them think, that
God is of no consequence one way or the other. Let them love him or leave him, but do not
let them ignore him or the love which has been poured out for the world in Christ our Lord.
Let this be our message to the world as we journey through Advent into the Christmas season.
Pastor Joe
Music Director’s Top Picks for Christmas Music
At this time of year, people always ask me what are the best Christmas concerts to attend, so I
thought that it would be a good idea to share my top picks publically this year. December is a busy time
for everyone, but I sincerely encourage you to take some time to attend one or more of these concerts.
Performing arts institutions save some of their best work for the holidays, and music adds immeasurably
to the richness of the season. Check online for details and ticket information. Hope to see you out there!
Robert McConnell
Music of the Baroque: Christmas Oratorio by J.S. Bach
Nov. 30, Skokie Center for the Performing Arts
Dec. 1, Harris Center (Downtown)
“A Chanticleer Christmas”
Dec. 2 & 3, Fourth Presbyterian Church Chicago
Chicago A Cappella: Holidays a cappella
Dec. 5, St. Michael’s Catholic Chicago
Dec. 6, St. Clement Chicago
Dec. 7, Pilgrim Congregational Oak Park
Dec. 12, Fourth Presbyterian Church Chicago
Dec. 13, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel (U of C)
Dec. 20, Nichols Concert Hall (Evanston)
Northwestern Symphony Orchestra: The Nutcracker, Act I
Dec. 6, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall (Evanston)
Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble and University Chorale: Winter Wildness
Dec. 7, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall (Evanston)
Music of the Baroque: Holiday Brass and Choral Concert
Dec. 18, Grace Lutheran Church River Forest
Dec. 19, St. Michael’s Catholic Chicago
Dec. 20, Divine Word Chapel in Northbrook
Dec. 21, Divine Word Chapel in Northbrook
Apollo Chorus: Handel’s Messiah
Dec. 6, Orchestra Hall (Downtown)
Dec. 20, Harris Center (Downtown)
Join with your St. John’s family in celebrating the joy and hope of our Savior. Bring
friends and family!
5 pm
10:30 am
5 pm
Join us as we prepare to ring out the old calendar year and ring in the
new year together.
10:30 am
7 pm
With God’s word of forgiveness and absolution ringing anew in our
ears, we look forward to the year ahead with new hope and
Come and see the Christmas story presented by St. John’s members –
young and old.
9:45 pm
Candlelight service with choir and handbells.
10 pm
A service of lessons and carols
Do you miss the children’s sermon? Then please join us at 10:10 am in the big room on the
lower level. We open Sunday School with a short introduction on the Bible lesson for the day.
In the past month the kids have been reacquainted with Sebastian and Ludwig. Last week
they met the sassy Aussie Capt. Harry and a few more of Pastor Joe’s puppet friends.
As we enter the Advent season, our lessons will also turn to the anticipation of the birth of
our Savior. We will learn about A Ruler from Bethlehem, Angels Visit and Mary Visits
Elizabeth. There will be no class on Dec. 28th!
The Christmas Pageant is in the works and once again the whole congregation is invited to
participate. The pageant will be performed on Christmas Eve at 5:00 pm. If you or someone
in your family is interested in participating in the pageant, please let me know and I will
forward your information to the pageant committee.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas
Laura Witt
Assistant Sunday School Director
Holy Family School
Christmas Gift Collection
We have been asked again if St. John’s, in partnership with
Edison Park Lutheran, Trinity Lutheran and Holy Comforter,
would take part in helping make a very Merry Christmas for
these inner-city children. Sign up for as many kids as you’d
like. Gifts for each child should be in the $25 range. (No
cosmetics, violent-type items, please) Please sign up in the
gym, take a gift tag and return the gifts by December 7. See
or call Cindi Rachowicz 847-491-6265 if you have any
It’s an age-old Christmas tradition, and on Sunday, Dec. 14, we
will be recreating it with family and friends. This is an outreach event
for all ages. Bundle up and join us as we go about sharing the joy of the
season with our neighbors.
December 14 at 5 pm
The plan is to meet at the church and then walk to a nearby health care facility for a
half-hour or so of caroling to the residents. Then we will circle back to the church for some
delicious hot cocoa and a sugar cookie or two. Okay, maybe three!
After our snack, those who wish to will set out for another hour of caroling to friends in
the neighborhood. The first half-hour may be all our little ones can take.
If you will be joining us, please contact the church office or add your name to the sign
up sheet in the gym on Sunday morning. We want to make sure we have plenty of cookies,
cocoa and song sheets.
“Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous:
for the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” (PS 118:15)
‘Tis the season… for giving and receiving every blessing that flows from the throne of
God. In the course of your receiving and giving this month, please consider blessing your
church with a special holiday gift. It will help make the season a little brighter for all of us.
It’s more than just encouraging to see our annual budget meet or exceed expectations.
It lifts our spirits! It boosts morale. It generates positive energy and hope for the year ahead.
So, my hope and prayer is that, when all the year-end numbers are tallied, there will
indeed be shouts of joy and victory resounding in the tents of the righteous!
Pastor Joe
Tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la la la, la la, la, la! Join us for an old-fashioned
potluck chili supper and Christmas sing. Come prepared to hear and sing carols and other
holiday favorites. Hear the reading of the Christmas story. It’s a community happening, so
invite your friends and neighbors. Save the date.
December 20 at 5 pm
This event will take place entirely indoors. If you would also like to brave the cold and
go caroling around the neighborhood, please come bundled up on Sun., Dec. 14 at 5:00 p.m.
(See article in this issue).
If the Lord smiles upon us, we will be sampling at least two different chili recipes, one
red, with beef, and one white, with chicken, corn bread, salad, other tasty potluck sides,
desserts and a warm beverage or two, like hot cider!
Please look for the chili potluck and Christmas sing sign-up sheet in the gym and add
your names to it. The more the merrier!
The Dream Team has been working with Council representatives and our architect, Paul
Barribeau, over the last couple of months in crafting a Phase 1 development plan than
addresses the priorities identified in the feasibility study within an attainable development
budget. As you may recall, the study results revealed a clear understanding on the part of the
congregation that our facilities need to be updated. Spaces should be tailored to better serve
our ministries and programs while making needed improvements in the areas of code
compliance, energy efficiency and way-finding.
Paul has updated the Program Scope Summary and Preliminary Floor Plans and has shared
them with a general contractor for preliminary pricing. We will be meeting with Paul again in a
couple of weeks to discuss the proposed program and recommend a first phase of development
that addresses the Congregation’s priorities. In general, you should expect to see:
Life Safety and other Code required improvements
Exterior lighting, landscaping and parking improvements
Accessible, code-compliant bathrooms on the main floor
An improved nursery space for family needs
Multi-use carpeting, acoustical wall treatments and stage removal in the gym to give the space a
fellowship hall feel while retaining its large, versatile attributes
We look forward to sharing the resulting vision with the congregation in December.
Alan Swanson
Dream Team Chair
Having just concluded a series exploring Muslim faith traditions and beliefs, the Adult
Forum will feature individual topics the first three Sundays in December. The topics and
titles will be announced in advance in the Sunday newsletters. There will be no Adult Forum
on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year.
There will be a lot of friends and family getting together to celebrate the holidays in
December. There will also be a lot of hostess gifts given. I can't think of a more useful and
healthy gift than a bottle of fair trade Palestinian extra virgin olive oil. It will not only please
the host who receives it, but it will help sustain Palestinian growers, some of whose olive
trees are being bulldozed and pulled out to acquire more land for illegal Israeli settlements.
Look for the olive oil table in the gym.
ALL women in the congregation are included in the Women of St. John's group. There are no dues,
meetings or other requirements for membership. Our primary goal is fellowship.
Join us for lunch…
December 11 at 12:30 pm at Hackney’s on Lake, Glenview.
The decorations are delightful and the company can’t be beat.
RSVP’s appreciated, but not required to:
Nancy Anderson 847-446-6135 or [email protected]
And as always…
We are quilting December 18 from 10 until 1:30 pm.
Watch for our next Book Club selection date and title in the Sunday bulletin.
Lucas Oreskovich received his first communion at the late service on Reformation
Sunday, Oct. 26. He was joined by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Greg and Eva Oreskovich and his
brother, Gabe. Congratulations, Lucas, and thanks be to God!
Charitable bequests and estate gifts to the church are a great way to help your church family
for years to come.
In recent years, St. John’s has received generous bequests from Charlie and Gladys Troester,
Diane Getschow and the estate of Carol Danielson. These bequests have been a great blessing to us
and have come just when we needed them. The Troester bequest ($25,000) helped provide the
master plan for our Dream Team project, the Getschow bequest ($10,000) helped fund our feasibility
study and the Danielson bequest ($90,000) funded our youth and family faith formation ministry for
over two years! Where would we be now without these generous and thoughtful gifts?
Charitable bequests and estate gifts have a long and distinguished history at St. John’s. Major
gifts from the estates of Ruth Gockel and Matilda Kempe were combined in 2003 into what is now
known as the St. Johns’ Extended Ministry Fund. The EMF has paid out just under $209,000 in ministry
grants since the fund’s inception and has a current value of approximately $325,000.
Charitable bequests and estate gifts make ministry happen and keep on making it happen for
years to come. The renovations to our building will be here serving Christ and this community long
after we’re gone. The faith formed through our youth and family ministry will be passed down from
generation to generation. The Extended Ministry Fund will go on making grants to change lives in this
community and all over the world. I can say this with all confidence, because that’s what charitable
bequests and estate gifts do. They make good things happen long after we’re gone.
So, as your lead pastor, I ask you to please remember St. John’s with a charitable bequest or
estate gift. It will do more good for God than you will ever know.
Pastor Joe
God’s blessings to the following members who are celebrating special days during the month of
Happy Birthday to:
Hazel Treumann (12/1)
Michel Hauser (12/4)
Lorraine Beutelspacher (12/4)
Bob Oyasu (12/4)
Toril Fitzgerald (12/5)
Jeff Danielsen (12/6)
Ruth Reblin (12/6)
Samantha Wilson (12/6)
Grant Pollock (12/16)
Jeff Kvam (12/17)
Juliane Whitehead (12/17)
Happy Anniversary to:
Ken & Ingrid Johnson (12/15)
Michael & Joanni Kric (12/27)
Karina Cano (12/18)
John Adkisson (12/19)
Sue Stanfa (12/26)
Betsey Kvam (12/27)
Ron Witt, Sr. (12/28)
Thank you, St. John’s! “This year’s Oktoberfest was the most fun ever!” That’s what
people are saying about our Oktoberfest fundraising gala on Saturday, Oct. 18, and we have
the photos to prove it! And when all the bids and receipts were tallied, we raised $6,423 for
mission and ministry. Thanks be to God!
At Oktoberfest, everyone is a winner. The silent auction tables were filled with over
80 goods and services donated by parishioners and local merchants. The white elephant prize
went to Linden Hardware for their donation of an electric cookie press.
The live auction was a blast, too, with everything from an eight-pound smoked pork
shoulder to a pair of Cubs tickets to eight hours of professional handy man service donated by
our congregation president. Miss Natalie’s cookies also brought out the high bidders.
There were three Pick Three winners, and the winning 50/50 raffle ticket was worth
$850. Little Ada Beckers was the last one standing in the children’s version of Heads & Tails.
There were many other highlights including free hay rides, face painting, bratwurst,
knockwurst and sauerkraut, German beer and keg root beer, and one lead pastor in
lederhosen. But none was more enjoyable than the sing-along. The gym was alive with the
Sound of Music!
On All Saints Sunday, we paused to remember our friends and loved ones who passed
away in the last twelve months. In a special rite called, “The Procession of The Roses,” a
family member or representative was invited to come forward and place a red rose on the
altar in their memory. In the second movement of the rite, a family member or
representative was invited to come forward and place a white rose on the altar in
thanksgiving for those baptized in the last twelve months. Thanks be to God for all the saints!
On Sunday, Nov. 2, we remembered: Mr. Clarence “Bud” Adkisson (Oct. 16, 2014),
Mrs. Rosemary Eggert (Oct. 12, 2014), Mr. Quddus Khan (Mar. 14, 2014),
Mrs. Elizabeth Petersen (Jul. 23, 2014), Mrs. Christina Manoogian (Nov. 18, 2013),
Mr. William Sharp Sr. (Sept. 11, 2014), Mr. Ted Traugott (Mar. 24, 2014),
Dr. William Wehrmacher (Jan. 30, 2014), Mr. George Wendt (Jun. 13, 2014), and
Mrs. Elizabeth White (May 24, 2014).
Almighty God, by the death and burial of Jesus, your anointed, you have destroyed
death and sanctified the graves of all your saints. Keep these your beloved saints in
the company of all the saints, and at the last, raise them to share with all your
faithful people, the endless joy and peace won through the glorious resurrection of
Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
On Sunday, Nov. 2, we remembered these children who received the gift of baptism
here at St. John’s in the last 12 months: Jack Loesel (Mar. 30, 2014),
Frances and Agnes Peterson (Aug. 17, 2014), and Beatrix and Linus Peddinghaus
(Apr. 6, 2014)
Merciful God, we thank you for these children whom you have made your own by
water and the word in baptism. You have called them to yourself and enlightened
them with the gifts of your Spirit. Uphold them in the gifts and promises of baptism
and unite the hearts of all whom you have brought to new birth. We ask this in the
name of Christ.
Below are the figures for the general operations of St. John’s as of October 31, 2013 and 2014:
Envelope & Loose Offerings
Other Revenues
Program Expenses
Property Maintenance
Deficit from General Operations
Apartment, net
Deficit at October 31
Our “Close the Gap” appeal has managed to eliminate $6,500 from the deficit. Lots of work still to be
done. Will you be able to help?
Our Oktoberfest was a great success this year. The silent and live auctions brought in $3,403. Ticket
sales from the 50/50 raffle, beverages and admissions were $4,365. Our net proceeds were $6,423!
Thankful People, our 2015 Stewardship Program, presents us with the opportunity for all of us to sit
down and write one big thank you for all that God has blessed us with. What are you most thankful for?
A God who loves you? A faith that saves you? The gift of forgiveness and eternal life? Good health? A
loving spouse? Family? Friends? A good job? A great and rewarding career? The opportunity to make
a difference? Whatever we are thankful for, we are encouraged to give with a truly thankful heart.
“O give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his steadfast love endures
forever!” (Psalm 107:1)
A meeting will be held with Paul Barribeau on November 24 to discuss the next steps in the
Master Plan.
A new visitor hospitality bag is being assembled. The target date to have them ready to
distribute is December 15, in time for Christmas.
Commitment Sunday is November 16.
A maintenance schedule is being created for keeping content updated on our website and
Facebook page.
Two sets of walkie-talkies have been purchased for building security. Training, usage and a
maintenance protocol is being developed.
Candidates for Council secretary were discussed.
The Budget Committee will meet in December.
Revenues are at 96% of budget while expenses are at 97%. Deficit of $(51,391) for general
operations and $(29,762) including the apartment. Cindi forecasts a deficit for the general
operations of $(53,467) and $(27,500) with the apartment. The Close the Gap appeal has
generated $6,557 to date.