May 2023
“Going to Church”
Good Reasons, Bad Excuses, and Practical Considerations

Dear Saints in Christ,

So far in these articles we have seen the command and promise of God for His people to gather. That simple reality of attending church, providing witness to the world, and also how it prepares us to share our faith. This month, it’s the brass tacks, the nitty gritty. The devil, the world, and our sinful nature do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come. They don’t want us to go to church or grow in Christ and His forgiveness. This means that, this side of Christ’s return, there are times when we can’t get to church.

The reasons then are somewhat varied according to these three enemies. The devil will fill our minds with lies about attending church. “The roof will cave in,” “I am too far lost, too long absent to be able to come.” “I’m not worthy to come into the presence of God.” In one respect the devil is correct. His lies are always “half-truths”. We are unworthy. We may very well consider the wrath of God to come crashing down on us. But the truth of God’s work among His people is that he has come for sinners. He delights to forgive sinners. So when you hear or tell yourself these lies you do well to remember the promise of God to forgive and grant you life through the living work of Jesus. This is why we Christians confess our sins every week. We aren’t worthy and we turn to our Lord for His grace and mercy.

We also have to be honest that it is our sinful nature. Sometimes our failure to attend worship is simply because of our own sinfulness. Our tendency to say, “I’ll skip because God will forgive me,” “I believe in Jesus and don’t have to go,” “I’m doing fine on my own.” Our arrogance and sin prevent us. Here too we do well to remember the purpose for worship. God calling us to repent and find our life and well, being only in Him and not ourselves. Jesus is the only thing we have going for us.

Finally, life in this world means there are times when our lives become disrupted. The brokenness of the world means we get sick, we must work in order to provide for our families, we age, and we cannot be everywhere and do everything. While this circumstance may be exacerbated by our sinful nature and the lies of the devil; here to some extent, we are victims of the effects of the fall even as those redeemed by Christ and given a new life in Him.

So, then what are some of those times that life in this world gets in the way? It is really rather practical. Are you able? You see, if you are in the hospital, you are sick, if there is a no travel advisory, if you have to rotate weekends at work, if you are unable to get around, if your children are sick and you must care for them or remain with an ill spouse. In these cases, it just makes sense as we live in this World. In these circumstances the question spiritually is “will I get to church again?” This takes some real honesty for some of us. We may want to return, but will we? For those on rotating schedules, suffering from a cold, or a little time in the hospital the answer is easier. In those cases, while you want to be at church there is the recognition that things will change and you will get there again.  However, other circumstances arise and people continue to hold out hope that they will get to church, but never do.

Maybe you were sick and never fully recovered, maybe age is catching up with you and getting around isn’t what it used to be, maybe that rotation doesn’t seem to rotate. What now? Now being honest with your situation is very helpful for you and your spiritual wellbeing. There are far too many Christians wandering around “hoping to get back to church” and in so doing are having their faith choked out by the things of the world. Now it is time to call the church, call the pastor, and have the Word and Sacrament delivered to you or to come in and receive it another day. I don’t know of a Lutheran pastor who would get upset at a person asking for the sacrament. Instead, it fills them with joy! We will drop writing our newsletter article that few people read to feed a hungry lamb of God! When we talk about pastors being servants this is just it! It isn’t pastors’ doing dishes, helping with the bake sale, or being in the community. It’s about being a servant of the Word and Sacrament of Christ to His people.

What then is a bad excuse? Basically, not being honest or acting out of convenience. For instance, I know there is habit for quite a number of Christians to not attend worship when on vacation or traveling. The classic service time debate is an issue as well. Some will not attend church at certain times. Here too is a check for our human pride. If attending church is purely about when it works for me, we have much bigger matters spiritually. The gifts which God offers in and through the Divine Service are treated like just another “activity” or work rather than the gifts Christ freely gives to you and me for our forgiveness, life, and salvation.

Attending church is sacred blessed work commanded by God. It is a command with promises as we gather in faith to receive from God the forgiveness of Christ. We gather to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit by the Word preached and absolution proclaimed. We gather to be reminded we are not alone, but gather as the whole body of Christ around the World, united in Christ, participating in this foretaste of the feast to come. God help us in these last days “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24).
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Andreasen
 Our Savior
                      MAY BIRTHDAYS

  3  Ian McHenry                23  Cherise Johnson                    
  3  Caiden Siebert             24  Joshua Meier
  3  Doris Vilhauer             25  Teigan McKown
  9  David Johnson             25  Raymond Pomplun
10  Vicky Baumgartner      26  David Hopfinger
10  Amanda Dahme           26  Briella Klipfel
12  Anita Small                  29  Chelsea Fryer
13  Eric Johnson                31  Charlotte Bohling
14  Ella Brick                     31  Leroy Fryer
22  Troy McKown        
12  Dave & Brenda Taffe
15  Fred & Linda Rauscher
16  Mark & Kathy Wendt
25  Raymond & Wilma Schnabel
26  Melvin & Martha Mullner   
27  Terry & Anita Small
Meetings in May
LWML – Mon May 1st at 3:30 pm
Board of Elders – Thur May 11th at 5:15 pm
Church Council – Thur May 11th at 6:30 pm
Nursery Circle – Sun May 14th after the service
Board of Ed. & VBS Staff – Sun May 21st after the service

Elders for May – Russell Brandt & Brandon Christianson

Acolyte Schedule:
May 7 – Tristan Tschappat & Tucker Brick
May 14 – Rhylan Tschappat & Dalton Lee
May 21 – Teigan McKown & Raylee Brick
May 28 – Abigail Andreasen & Jayda Siebert

LWML will begin meeting on the first Monday of the month at 3:30 pm, after Mat Ladies. The next meeting is May 1st.

The Senior Potluck will be Tuesday, May 9th at noon.  Join us for good food and fellowship!  We will not have a senior potluck in June, July, or August.

Grocery Receipts – It’s time to turn in your grocery receipts from Ken’s and Kessler’s! We can only use receipts from the current school year, Sept. 2022 – May 2023.  Place them in the container in the narthex.  Thank you!

The Rite of Confirmation will take place during the Divine Service on Sunday, May 7th at both congregations. Our Savior has three Confirmands this year: Raylee Brick, Briella Klipfel, and Jayda Siebert. St. John’s has two Confirmands: John Bisbee and Lucas Daggett. 

Graduate Recognition will take place during the service on Sunday, May 7th at both congregations.   Congratulations to Gabriel Johnson, Avery Lee, Jacob Lee, Jasa Mayer, Lexi Pietz, and Bethany Severson of Our Savior, and to Cole Bisbee and Zachary Daggett of St. John’s!

Ascension Day – Thursday, May 18th at 7:00 pm we will celebrate the fullness of Easter and the Lord Jesus’ ascension back to His throne, in a circuit-wide service hosted by St. John’s Lutheran Church in Groton, with Rev. Jeremy Yeadon presiding and Rev. Jacob Smith of St. Paul’s Aberdeen preaching.

Vacation Bible School 2023 is June 4 - 8 this year and our theme is “River of Life”. Water, water everywhere... and through it, we learn of God’s plan for salvation! Five favorite Bible accounts are featured: Creation, Noah and the Ark, the Crossing of the Red Sea, Jonah, and the Baptism of Jesus.
Hours are from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, with time for a sack lunch from 5:30 to 6:00. Registration forms will be in the Sunday bulletins soon.  Friends, neighbors, and relatives are welcome also!
The Board of Education needs teachers and helpers in all areas. There is a sign-up sheet in the library area.  Please consider your talents and how you can help serve.  

VBS Materials Needed – Do you have any of the following supplies we can use for VBS this year? 
- unused canning lids (not rings)
- small pieces of 2x4 lumber (4x4 would be perfect)
- magazines with colorful pictures
- battery tea lights
- paper doilies
If you have any items, please place them in the box labeled ‘VBS supplies’ in the fellowship hall by May 31. Thank you! 

Tuesday Bible Study at 6:30 am is now called “Coffee & Confessions” as we continue to look at the Lutheran Confessions. All are welcome!

Wednesday Bible Study at 6:30 pm – For about 6 weeks, we will be reading and discussing Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. If you need a book, they are available in the office.

Help Wanted: The Board of Evangelism and Social Ministry is looking for anyone who would be willing to take the opportunity to help get people to church.  We would like to get a small list of people to take turns driving the church van.  Please contact the church office or Amy Johnson 605-216-6775.

Need a Ride?  Anyone looking for a way to get to church on Sunday mornings or special occasion services, please contact the church office or Eric Johnson at 605-216-6701.

Rummage Sale – The LWML is planning a rummage sale fundraiser to be held on Saturday, July 8th in the fellowship hall. If you have items to donate to help us raise funds for our missions, please set them aside, and they can be brought to the church shortly before the sale. A date and time for drop-off will be announced later. Thank you so much!

LWML Convention
Now is the time to make plans to attend the 40th Biennial LWML Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 22–25, 2023. “Celebrate the Lord of the Nations,” is the convention theme, based on Psalm 33:12–13.
Take the opportunity to participate in servant activities. By participating you will fulfill one of the convention's objectives, to “Honor God by serving our neighbors.” On Thursday, June 22, from 9 am–3 pm,  attendees will have opportunities to assemble meal packs for Food for Kidz through Orphan Grain Train; assemble school backpacks for Orphan Grain Train; make no-sew fleece blankets for Phil’s Friends; color and write cards of hope for Phil’s Friends; make witness bracelets and puppets for MOST Ministries; assemble Braille books and calendars for Lutheran Braille Workers; create encouragement cards for Refuge for Women; and create and write cards for mission workers. Come and serve the Lord with gladness!
This year registration will be entirely online. Read all the details in the winter issue of the Lutheran Woman’s Quarterly or on the LWML website at

St. John’s - Columbia
       2  Dean Ringgenberg
       3  Heather Neubauer
       4  Irelande Podoll
     13  Joshua Larson
     13  Payton Podoll
     17  Bryton Larson
     20  Roger Zastrow
     23  Karl Eichler
     25  Larae (Tootie) Podoll
     25  Leroy Podoll
     28  Collin Eichler

                     14  Scott & Carla Meints
                     23  Mark & Joleen Christianson
                     31  Tony & Amanda Bisbee
St. John’s Usher List
        May 7     Mic & Jen Daggett
               14     Roger & Sharon Zastrow
               21     Dean & Lorie Ringgenberg
               28     Cole Bisbee & Logan Ringgenberg
        June 4     Collin Eichler & Josh Larson
                11    Brent & Barb Miller
                18    Ray & Cyndy Larson
                25    Karl & Val Eichler  
St. John’s will be honoring our confirmands and graduates on Sunday, May 7th with a breakfast reception. Ladies of the church will be serving rolls, fruit and coffee following service. Our four honorees are from two families. John Bisbee and Lucas Daggett will be confirmed on May 7th and Cole Bisbee and Zachary Daggett will graduate on May 14th, Cole from Groton High School and Zachary from Roncalli High School. Please join in honoring these young men.


Click on the "Calendar" tab on the website to see the May Calendar.