Here you will find updates from our council
ST. JAMES CHURCH COUNCIL PRESIDENT’S REPORT
AUGUST 21, 2023
With Summer drawing to a close and the Fall schedule beginning soon, it is time for an update to the St. James congregation from the Church Council.
This year, the Church Council and its committees have made good communication and coordination of their efforts a priority. To accomplish this, several actions have been taken. To exchange ideas and look for ways to work together, committee chairs meet jointly every two to three months. Additionally, a financial oversight committee has been formed to facilitate discussion, planning and coordination of the various aspects of our church finances. Finally, council committees take turns in the Narthex after worship services to share information and answer questions so that our members can be aware of all aspects of St. James programs.
Church Council committees organized two summer activities that were well attended. Thanks to the Evangelism Committee, a well-attended “Family Fun Fest” was held August 5th with a variety of fun activities including filling back-to-school backpacks for COOL Ministries. The Education Committee held a “Faith In Action” week (formerly Vacation Bible School) in conjunction with Grace Methodist Church August 7-11 for children and youth. The program included the youth meeting with several of our older members to learn about faith experiences in their lives. The week was a great success. Many thanks to all of our members who volunteered their time and talents.
Changes in the church office personnel have occurred over the summer. Joan Krikau has assumed the position of Church Office Coordinator. We are glad to have her onboard. Carol Bennett has retired from part-time Office Administrator to become the volunteer church bookkeeper and will work from home. We appreciate her continued efforts. Kristin Haverkampf has resigned from the part-time position as Media and Communications Manager. We wish her the best in her future endeavors.
St. James’ fall schedule of activities will begin September 10th. This is “God’s Work, Our Hands” Sunday throughout the ELCA. Church service time at St. James will return to 10:00am. The church bulletin will return to an enlarged and more comprehensive format. A congregational service project will be set up in the Narthex after the worship service, followed by the annual Kickoff Sunday picnic.
Sunday School will begin September 17th at 8:45am followed by the children’s choir practice. This will allow both the children and adults to attend the 10:00am service every Sunday.
The St. James Stewardship Campaign will occur in October. Over the years, our congregation has been blessed by the generosity of its members. We have been able to help start and grow local ministries as well as contribute to the ELCA’s Gospel outreach and social ministries. God has abundantly provided for all of us. We ask our members to prayerfully consider increasing both their contribution of time and talents at St. James as well as their monetary contributions so that we may continue to grow our ministries. Additionally, we encourage you to invite your family and friends to join us both in worship and in our mission endeavors.
As your Council President, I welcome your comments and questions at any time. May God continue to bless St. James.
Ronald Koepke, President
St. James Lutheran Church Council
May 10- Dave Moore, President
It has been another busy and energizing month at St. James. The inspirational leadership of Pastor Amy, along with the collaborative efforts of the staff, council, committees, and volunteers, is making such a positive difference. Many wonderful things are happening and much to look forward to as we move to the Annual Governance Meeting on June 4.
Here are some highlights from the past month and takeaways from the April Council Meeting:
The season of Lent and Holy Week has to be the #1 highlight! If you have not seen Pastor Amy’s eloquent and thorough summary in the April 13 message, I recommend going back and reading it. We have much for which to be grateful.
It so great to see Worship Service attendance continue to grow. It feels good to see so many familiar faces each week and to be able to enthusiastically welcome visitors.
Each Sunday individual Committees / Ministries have been hosting the fellowship period following Worship Service. Please stop by their table to learn more about their ministry.
The Nursery is now available for families with young children. Many thanks to the volunteers who are staffing it each week. Please contact Linda Berner if you would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer.
A major THANK YOU to the Property Committee all those who participated in the Spring Clean-Up Day on April 22 and subsequent “mulching” days.The property looks fantastic and welcoming.
This past week the Committee Chairpersons got together for their quarterly meeting. It continues to be a great format for keeping everyone informed about upcoming events and uncover collaboration opportunities amongst the committees. Additionally, there was much discussion about how to better utilize the narthex to keep members informed and welcome visitors.
As mentioned in last month’s update, a top priority for Pastor Amy and the council is revitalizing our children and youth ministries for the spring and summer. This includes the Faith in Action Week scheduled for August 7 – 11 in partnership with Grace United Methodist Church.
Also, from last month, the trial for the state-of-art speakers in Sanctuary ended with a recommendation to make them a permanent addition. Council approved and we are pursuing the next steps to acquire them. An anonymous donor is covering the cost.
Finally, I appreciate all the questions, recommendations, and feedback directly and via the firstname.lastname@example.org for the Council. They also serve as a good reminder of how many wonderful things are happening – how much more we can do to serve God daily.
April 4- Dave Moore, President
Spring has officially arrived. It's a season that is all about new beginnings and transformations. After months of cold temperatures that often result in many of us feeling the winter blues, spring reawakens us and our surrounding environment, bringing everything back to life. Spring represents the newness of life. Easter, which is in the spring, also gives us a time in a year to study and reflect on our humanity and the newness of life that is promised to us through Jesus Christ.
Pastor Amy has made such a positive impact since her arrival. Supporting her as she works to understand the needs and wants of our congregation and community and how to utilize the resources available best has been a significant focus of the Council. We are so blessed to have her leading our congregation.
Here are some takeaways from the March Council Meeting:
Revitalizing our children and youth ministries for the spring and summer is a top priority for Pastor Amy and the Council. This includes preparation for the Faith In Action Week scheduled for August 7 – 11 in partnership with Grace United Methodist Church.
Congregation volunteers will staff the nursery. Volunteers are required to complete a background check. Additional volunteers are needed – contact Linda Berner for further information.
We have engaged an audio consulting firm to address sound quality issues in our Sanctuary. Based on their assessment and recommendations, we have refined our current system and are trialing some state-of-the-art speakers (that would replace the current speakers installed around 1990). The feedback from worship service attendees has been overwhelmingly positive, but we are still in the evaluation period.
The property committee is planning a Spring Clean-up day for April 22 – weather permitting. Additional information will be shared as we approach the day.
Many opportunities are available for members to share their time and talent via the committees and ministries, sign up for worship service roles, and participate in fellowship events. Please reach out to me or any council member for additional information.
Finally, it has been so wonderful to see several visitors along with many familiar faces at Worship Service these past few weeks. This is an exciting time at St. James. The Council appreciates any feedback and recommendations you may want to share. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
February 26- Dave Moore, President
May this Lenten season be a blessing to you. As we experience the depth of Jesus’ obedience to His Father’s great love to redeem a world so desperately in need of salvation.
It was so great to have Pastor Amy officially installed as our Senior Pastor on February 12! It is so wonderful to have her leading our congregation and Jacob, and Maya a part of our community. A special “thank you” to Pastor Kyle Severson for leading the service and presiding over the installation.
The Council continues to make progress on our top priority of engaging the congregation in worship, ministry committees, and fellowship opportunities. Here are a few updates:
A joint Committee Chairpersons and Staff meeting was held on February 15 with the goal of coordinating schedules and improving overall communications. There are many good things happening and it is important that resources are available and organized for effective execution. Going forward the meetings will occur each quarter.
There are opportunities for congregation members to lead and assist in worship service. Leading and assisting worship is the work of many, not just pastors. We have a need for acolytes, assisting ministers, communion assistants, greeters, lectors, and ushers to help us offer to God the most complete worship. Training will be provided. Click HERE to get started.
We are still looking for a full time Nursery Coordinator. Please refer candidates to the office and we will take it from there. In the meantime, if you're looking for a chance to serve and positively influence the children and families of St. James, please consider volunteering in the church nursery. Please click HERE to volunteer.
We are excited about the new Health and Safety Committee chaired by Michael Montalbano. The committee’s primary goal is to “inform and educate our members, staff and visitors about safety issues and health opportunities”. The focus will be on keeping our members and visitors safe and healthy. And to ensure that the members of the congregation are prepared to respond quickly to the various types of emergency event (fire, tornado, active shooter, etc.).
The inaugural “Chili-Tasting and Game Night” organized by the Fellowship Committee was a huge success and enjoyed by all. Congratulations to Marty Morgan whose Chili was voted #1 by the attendees. I highly encourage everyone to attend upcoming events that are highlighted in Connections or in the Narthex.
I have repeatedly said that this is an exciting time at St. James. And I pray that everyone can experience all that is happening by participating in worship service, getting involved with a committee, or volunteering for a service opportunity. The Council appreciates any feedback and recommendations you may want to share. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 26- Dave Moore, President
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. The Council kicked off the year with a strategic planning session/retreat held at St. James. The retreat was originally scheduled for November but had been postponed until Pastor Amy was fully on board. It was a packed day-and-a-half of sessions that included:
Review of the proposed 2023 budget that resulted in a unanimous agreement to bring it to the congregation for approval at the January 29 Annual Financial Meeting.
Assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of St. James as it relates to congregation engagement in worship services and programs. And how to get achieve greater congregation participation in worship services, worship service roles, committees, service opportunities, and fellowship events.
Focus on how to better meet the needs of members of the congregation who are not able to attend worship service consistently.
How to get better participation in our children and youth programs - and how to make sure they are compelling for young families (both current and prospective members)
It also proved to be a great opportunity for Pastor Amy to get to know the council members better and vice versa. The discussions were lively with the members sharing their perspectives and challenging the status quo. All for the betterment of St. James.
This is an exciting time for our community of faith. We will be sharing additional takeaways and next steps. In the meantime, we appreciate any feedback and recommendations. I can be contacted at email@example.com
December 20- Dave Moore, President
As we wind down 2022, we are blessed to have Pastor Amy Gillespie fully on board and recently completing her first month as our senior pastor. She, Jacob, and Maya, have moved into their new home and are settling into the community. It has been a great pleasure both getting to know her better and working with her. I see wonderful things ahead with her as our shepherd and leader.
From the financial perspective, it has been another good year with member-giving on track to exceed budget. This has enabled us to continue our benevolence giving as we had planned while overcoming some unexpected expenses. We are truly blessed by the generosity of our members and the steadfast work of our staff.
In-person worship attendance has continued to climb, and it has been great to see more and more coming early or staying after service for fellowship. We have also had the pleasure of greeting visitors most every Sunday and appreciate the efforts of so many members who make them feel welcome.
As we move into January, our priorities are to have the 2023 budget prepared for approval at the Annual Financial Meeting (January 29), and the committees off to a strong start for the new year. We also have our council retreat planned for January 13 & 14, and I will be reporting on the highlights in my next update.
Finally, I again want to express appreciation for the faithful work of our staff, council, committee members, and all volunteers. This is an exciting time for our community of faith. Please feel free to contact me or other Council members for feedback and ideas.
May the Joy and Blessings of the Christmas Season be with you now and throughout the New Year!
November 17- Dave Moore, President
What a busy and exciting last 30 days since the last Council update. The priorities of engaging members, attracting visitors, and bringing on new members continue to drive our initiatives. Here is a summary of significant events – in no particular order:
Pastor Amy’s first official day at St. James is November 16!
Incredible welcome brunch for Pastor Amy at the Deer Path Inn that was attended by over 130 St. James members along with Pastor Amy’s extended family.Special thanks to Annie Moss and Shelly Holmstrom for all the planning to make it such a special event.
A major “thank you” to Pastor Mark Sundberg for his warm presence and spiritual leadership over these past 10 and half months.A wonderful farewell reception was held following worship service on October 31 where many members were able to express their appreciation.
Although it was a little more than 30 days ago, we welcomed our newest members Emily and Tom Bohac; and the growing Musser family of Margaret, Jack, James, AND their very recent addition Christian.Please continue to welcome them.
The “Faith Responds” stewardship campaign that asked us to consider serving God at St. James in new and life-enhancing ways, as well as continuing to give generously a portion of what God has given us, has culminated with pledges and interest surveys being submitted on Commitment Sunday.Thank you for your responses!
The St. James Brass Ensemble, led by Ryan Ringnalda, thoroughly entertained members and visitors during their free concert on October 31 in the Sanctuary.
I also want to express appreciation for the faithful work of our staff, council, committee members, and all volunteers. This is an exciting time for our community of faith. Please feel free to reach out to me or other Council members with feedback and ideas.
October 13- Dave Moore, President
What an exciting time at St. James! Following our congregation’s nearly unanimous vote to call Rev. Amy Gillespie as our new Senior Pastor at the September 25 meeting, I am happy to announce that her first official day will be November 16. She will be officially welcomed at the all-congregation brunch at the Deerpath Inn following the worship service on November 13. We are now working on the onboarding process to help her get off to a positive, productive, and comprehensive start. Her installation date is still being finalized by the Synod and is expected to be scheduled for early December.
I cannot thank the Call Committee enough for their faithful and diligent work in representing our congregation through the process. The committee, including Chairperson Andrea Taylor and members Mike Bennett, Linda Berner, Hans Bodine, Doug Gerber, Gail Morgan, and Mark Wanda, by the grace of God used their gifts to discern which pastor God has set apart to serve this congregation.
I also want to express great appreciation to Pastor Mark Sundberg as he continues as our interim pastor through November 13. There will be opportunities for members to say “thank you” for his exceptional contributions and overall shepherding - including a farewell reception after the worship service on October 30. I know I speak for many others when I say we were truly blessed to have him as our pastor.
The stewardship campaign, Faith Responds, was launched on October 3. Please consider serving God at St. James in new and life-enhancing ways - as well as continuing to give generously a portion of what God has given you. Give thanks. Be generous. Serve.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the steadfast work of our staff, council, committee members, and all volunteers for supporting the needs of our communities, working to engage our members, and reaching out to attract visitors.
Again, this is an exciting time for our community of faith. We welcome feedback and ideas. Please feel free to reach out to me or other Council members with feedback and ideas.
September 13- Dave Moore, President
It has been a busy and productive time for the Council as we moved from summer into fall. The leading priorities of Engaging Members, Attracting Visitors, and Acquiring New Members continue to drive our initiatives.
In support of those priorities, we have many exciting things happening:
First and foremost, the Call Committee recommended a pastoral candidate to the Council which was reviewed and approved – and a special meeting of the congregation has been called for September 25 immediately following the 10 AM Worship Service for the sole purpose of electing the candidate. All voting members may attend (including those who will be confirmed during the service that day) Additionally, a Meet and Greet event is scheduled for September 24 from 11:15 to 1:15 (including lunch) for the congregation to meet and engage with our pastoral candidate. It is our hope that all members will be able to attend. Click here for more information.
To better support participation, growth, and development of our Sunday School, the Sunday schedule has been adjusted with Sunday School beginning at 9 AM and Worship Service at 10 AM. Additionally, Sunday 9 AM – 10 AM will be a time of fellowship, adult education, and music rehearsals. All members are encouraged to come early and participate in any (or all) of these activities prior to worship service. Also of special note, this does not preclude our ability to add a second service when the timing is right to do so.
Kick-off Sunday, September 11, was a wonderful event! In addition to the start of Sunday School, it was highlighted by a Ministry Fair which featured all Committees engaging attendees with their plans and initiatives for this next year. Special thanks to the planning committee, Committee Chairpersons, Committee Members, Council Liaisons, and all attendees for making the day such a success.
Facilities Manager, Pete Clemens, and the Property Committee has been working diligently to make our church building and surrounding property look fresher and more inviting to members, visitors, and passersby. You may have noticed the trimmed trees, refreshed parking lot, and overall attention to maintenance and tidiness.
This is an exciting time for our community of faith.
We welcome feedback and ideas. Please feel free to reach out to me or other Council members with feedback and ideas.
July 28- Dave Moore, President
As we move through the summer, the Council has been busy advancing opportunities and listening to ideas for the leading priorities of:
acquiring new members
These priorities are exciting and challenging – and involve every function and every committee in our church. As referenced in the previous update, the Exec Committee has been attending committee meetings to find ways to provide support and collaboration across the other committees. A recurring theme is: Every Sunday could be someone’s first Sunday – or first Sunday in a while - at St. James, and how can we make sure it is a positive and memorable experience from the time they pull into the parking lot until the time they are heading back home. Of course, that same goal for positive and memorable experiences is for all members - all the time. Here are a couple of highlights from the committees:
Christian Education Committee – is working hard on Sunday School and Youth Programs for 2022-2023 and beyond. Much more to come on this topic. Many thanks to Linda Berner, Debbie MacAyeal, Barb Davoux, Amy Marsch, Kathy Lowell, Doug Gerber, Mary Anne Larson, Doug Dusthimer, Wendy Wiegers, Pastor Mark, Shelly Holmstrom, and Ron Koepke for their engagement and efforts.
Worship and Music Committee – Mark Taylor and the committee continue looking for opportunities to improve the worship services for the congregation and visitors.
Additionally, I want to acknowledge the tireless work being done by the Call Committee: Andrea Taylor, Linda Berner, Mike Bennett, Hans Bodine, Doug Gerber, Gail Morgan, and Mark Wanda. Their commitment to representing our congregation and faithfully following the process as they assess candidates is greatly appreciated.
Finally, a major THANK YOU to Chris Meyer for her exceptional work and dedication as she retires from the Business Manager position effective July 31.
July 7- Dave Moore, President
The 2022-2023 Council had its first meeting this week. The Council is committed to putting
forth our time, talent, energy, leadership, problem-solving, and collaboration skills in support of
the Congregation. We look forward to an exciting year ahead.
The Council has established leading priorities of engaging members, attracting visitors, and
acquiring new members. Early initiatives include:
“7 Ways Your Church Can Reach More People” which are best practices used by other congregations. Copies are available in the narthex.
Facebook and Instagram ads targeting new movers to the area and young families along with new signage to create awareness of the June 26 Outdoor Service.
Scheduling meetings with each Committee Chair to identify opportunities to support the priorities.
Council Liaison assignments were finalized and are as follows:
Christian Education – Barb Davoux and Amy Marsch
Evangelism – Denise Norberg-Johnson
Finance – Bob Kenehan
Fellowship – Annie Moss
Property – Bob Narlock
Social Ministry – Shelly Holmstrom and Ron Koepke
Stewardship – Michael Montalbano and Dave Moore
Worship and Music – Greg MacAyeal
Youth Ministry – Sue Ebert
The newly created Facilities Manager position posting and hiring process has been completed.
Effective July 1, Pete Clemens will officially begin in that role.
As always, the Council appreciates all congregation feedback, suggestions, and engagement.
June 2 - Tom Meyer, President
The Nominating Committee submitted its slate of candidates for positions opening this coming year. All names are listed in the Nominating committee's report for the annual meeting. Council approved all candidates. As to the Council positions only, beginning with the June meeting of the Council, David Moore becomes president, Ron Koepke is Vice President, and Shelly Holmstrom will become the Secretary.
Effective 7/31/22, with the retirement of Chris Meyer as Business Manager, her position will be divided into two positions: 1) a Bookkeeper position, to be assumed by Carol Bennett as an additional part-time position; and, 2) a newly created position of Facilities Manager, which will also encompass the sound system. The facilities manager position will be posted internally.
In addition to the above staff changes, the Administrative Assistant position, shared by Kristin Haverkampf and Carol Bennett, will be renamed Administrative Services Manager, to reflect the additional duties acquired from the Business Manager position.