In many of our churches, October begins with a Mission Festival and ends with Reformation. There is a connection between the two.
Reformation is not just a day to remember our history, but to remember that by the grace of God we have the truth of God’s Word, the Gospel, that tells us what God has done for us, making us his own by the life, death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ.
Mission festival is not just a day to think about missionaries sharing the gospel in faraway places, but it’s a time to reflect on how we are sharing that precious truth we have—sharing it both near and far.
Martin Luther wrote a hymn about missions. It’s based on Psalm 67:
1 May God bestow on us his grace,
With blessings rich provide us,
And may the brightness of his face
To life eternal guide us
That we his saving health may know,
His gracious will and pleasure,
And also to the heathen show
Christ’s riches without measure
And unto God convert them.
2 Yours over all shall be the praise
And thanks of ev’ry nation,
And all the world with joy shall raise
The voice of exultation.
For you will judge the earth, O Lord;
You will not let sin flourish.
Your people’s pasture is your Word,
Their souls to feed and nourish,
In righteous paths to keep them.
3 Oh, let the people praise your worth,
In all good works increasing.
The land shall plenteous fruit bring forth;
Your Word is rich in blessing.
May God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit bless us.
Let all the world praise him alone;
Let solemn awe possess us.
Now let our hearts say Amen! (CW 574)
The hymn is about receiving God’s grace and reflecting it. Also, that the sharing of the gospel and the results of its work are all to God’s glory.
This year, we’ve been highlighting the gospel of Jesus in Word and Sacrament: Look at What We Have! Looking at what we have should also consider God’s grace: Look at What God Has Given Us! It also should look outward: Look at the Gifts We Can Share!
First Friday Communion
The pastors often hear from our homebound members how they miss being with God’s people in God’s house. Some can still get out, but may not able to get to an early morning service or sit for a whole hour. We now have a brief (20-25 minutes) Communion Service on the first Friday afternoon of the month. Our First Friday Communions for the next months will be:
- Friday, October 5 at 1:30pm
- Friday, November 2 at 1:30pm
The ramp and elevator entrances will be open.
Mission Festival, October 7
Our Mission Festival focuses on home missions, especially on mission work to the mentally challenged. Our speaker will be Rev. Joel Gaertner, who serves are Vice President of Ministry and National Director of Jesus Cares Ministries, which is a ministry of The Lutheran Home Association, providing Bible study and worship opportunities to the mentally challenged. Pastor Gaertner joined TLHA in October 2013. He continues to serve as chairman of the WELS Intellectual and Developmental Disability Ministry Committee. He has served churches in Kentucky, Algoma, Wisconsin and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin before joining TLHA. He will lead us in a sample Jesus Cares service, and will give a presentation after the fellowship meal which will be served at noon.
Joint Reformation Festival at Luther Prep, October 28
The Central Conference Reformation Festival at Luther Preparatory School this year Sunday, October 28, 2018 Festival Service at 4:00 p.m. The preacher will be Prof. Joel Otto from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. We might call this year “Reformation 501.” A very crucial meeting took place in 1518 which produced a document that some historians deem just as important, if not more important, than the 95 Theses of the previous year. That document had only 28 theses to it, but it helped sharpen Luther’s message of the theology of the cross which was first enunciated the year prior. It’s called The Heidelberg Disputation. As Prof. Otto (professor of church history) preaches a Reformation message on Scripture, he will help us all value what this meeting at Heidelberg meant to the development of the Reformation proclamation.
Thanksgiving Worship, November 21-22
Thanksgiving worship will be Wednesday, November 21 at 6:30 p.m. and Thursday, November 22 at 9:00 a.m. Special music will be provided by the Junior and Senior Choirs.
Christian Education Opportunities
For all adults…
Our Monday and Wednesday classes continue the Bible study Lord, Teach Us to Pray, looking at what the Bible teaches about prayer and the practice of prayer. We will meet Mondays at 7:00pm and Wednesdays at 11:00pm.
The Women’s Bible Study group meets Wednesdays 6:00-7:15pm in the room above the church office It’s open to all women of the congregation. We will be completing “The Beatitudes – A Study of Matthew 5:1-16.” This is a study of the message of the Beatitudes as it applies to the 21st century. It is written to elicit discussion to enhance the understanding of the precious words of Jesus. Both of these studies are provided by the WELS Women’s Ministry. Questions about the group or the study may be directed to Ranee Welch at 887-1624.
The Men’s Bible Study meets Sunday evenings, 6:30-7:30pm. We will meet in the room above the church office. We are studying Jesus’ parables and word-pictures with the stud “19 Minutes with the Messiah.” We will take a break for Mission Festival, and resume October 14,
St. Stephen’s 1st Annual Fall Festival is coming October 28th from 2-4 in our west parking lot. Join us for trunk-or-treating, caramel apples, hot apple cider and more! We are looking for families to decorate a God pleasing, kid friendly trunk and hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. You can also help out by welcoming our community visitors, help out refreshments or donate items for the event. More information is forthcoming in the church bulletin and in the back of church. Please plan on attending this fun, family friendly event.
Advent by Candlelight, December 2
This is a program of worship and fellowship to prepare us for the Christmas season. There will be sign-up sheets in the narthex for quests, table hostesses, male servers, set-up and take-down. Announcements will be in the church bulletin also. All women of the congregation 18 and older are invited to be table hostesses or to come as guests. We also could use more singers for Candlelight Choristers who will sing anthems during the program. Rehearsal times will be in the church bulletin. The title of the program this year is An Evening with Isaiah. The event will begin in the church basement at 2:00 p.m. with registration, meet and greet until 2:20 when dessert and coffee will be served. At 2:50 we will go to the sanctuary where the program will take place. The program will start at 3:00 or when all are seated. Please join us! Be a table hostess, guest, or volunteer. If you have any questions please call Sue Luckow at 920-219-0218 or Jane Winning at 920-344-0400.
Explorers is for children from Pre-K – 6th Grade. Although we are no longer affiliated with the national Pioneer groups, we continue to have the same purpose.
- To promote Christian fellowship among the children of our congregation.
- To promote Christian citizenship as our children live as salt and light in the world.
- To learn useful life skills to glorify God and serve our neighbor.
The Explorers will kick off their year on Tuesday, October 2, at 6:00 PM, in the church basement. All kids from preschool through 6th grade can come! Please enter by the church office (entrance S1) and come to the basement.
St. Stephen’s OWLS
St. Stephen’s OWLS (Organization of Wisconsin Lutheran Seniors) attempts to fulfill our motto: “Caring for Others.” Presentations keep us informed of the work carried on by our Synod and about interesting activity in our community
The 2018 OWLS Convention will be October 10-12 at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. It’s open to all WELS and ELS retired seniors. You need not be an OWLS member. Details and other promotional materials are available at csm.welsrc.net/owls-convention-2018.
The next OWLS meeting at St. Stephen’s will be on Tuesday November 13th. Mr. James Moeller from Trinity in Watertown will present the topic “Tell Your Story: How Do You Want to Be Remembered.” Please join us for the noon potluck in the church basement. The presentation will follow. Everyone is welcome to join in this fellowship.
Lutheran Teens exists for our young people grades 7-12. Their gatherings aren’t formal Bible Classes. Rather, they are activities in which our Christian teens can encourage each other in their faith through some Bible study and other fun activities.
The teens group will be going to a corn maze and having a family cookout in October. Dates and pricing are still being worked out. Keep an eye out for more information soon. The teen group is open to everyone in 7th-12th grade.
Watch our Facebook page for announcements for fall activities.
Our mission is, and has been since our inception in 1906, to assist the congregation in maintaining and furthering the program of the Kingdom of the Lord.
Today that service includes:
- Each month, a member of the Society volunteers to supervise special events held in the church basement: for funeral lunches, she works with a family member to plan the meal. Makes calls for volunteers to set up, serve, and clean up the day of the event.
- Supervising the kitchen when used for bridal showers, wedding receptions, baby showers, baptism, etc.
With donations from services provided, we:
- Maintain the church kitchen and its equipment.
- Purchase kitchen equipment and supplies as needed.
- Provide funds to church groups upon request.
- Donate annually to WELS organizations.
Other philanthropic services include:
- Sending cards and monetary gifts to our college age students and our military service men and women.
- Collecting monetary gifts for LWMS Spring and Fall projects for our Beaver Dam circuit.
- Sending birthday greetings to our 85 and older congregation members.
- Visiting elderly congregation members who are hospitalized or in rehab.
This year, our membership includes 13 active participants and 10 honorary members. In years past, we have had membership numbers exceeding 100 women.
We welcome new members! Consider this a personal invitation to join us at one of our monthly meetings. We meet the 1st Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. in the church basement. Enjoy a 30-minute bible study by one of our pastors, a business meeting followed by fellowship and a light snack. For more information please call Bonnie Wagner at 326-5872 or Bev Haas at 382-7680.
We work, we laugh, we sing, we enjoy, and we would love to see you!
“O Lord, in your mercy, bless these gifts, receive our offerings, and make us living sacrifices to you; through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.”
Lift Up Your Voice with the Senior Choir
Senior Choir rehearses Thursdays at 7:30pm after the worship service. We meet in the band/choir room of the school. During October and November we will work on music for Reformation and Thanksgiving and we will also look ahead to Christmas. If you are a confirmed member and love to serve your Savior through song, we would be happy to see you join us. Bring a friend and come to the first practice to learn more about what’s happening this year. If you would like more information about Senior Choir, contact Mr. David Schulz at 920-344-9435.
St. Stephen’s Radio Service
Since 1973 St. Stephen’s has provided a half-hour radio worship service primarily for our members who are homebound and in nursing homes, but also as a tool to share God’s Word with many others. This service provides the opportunity to hear God’s precious word and to sing with fellow Christians the hymns of the faith. It airs every Sunday at 9:30am on WBEV (1430 AM).
These services involve many people – our pastors, organist, and very importantly a volunteer congregation. We record two half-hour services on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month (September – May). We start at 7:00pm and finish around 8:10. It’s a simple and pleasant way to serve Jesus and his people. We record in the church. The Maple Ave, church office and ramp entrances will be open. Please join us! Another way to support this ministry, if you can’t participate, is with an offering. Each half-hour Sunday service on WBEV costs about $65.
You can listen to our radio services over the internet. Go to our Radio Service Page and listen by streaming audio.
Culver’s Shares Night for School
Culver’s of Beaver Dam will be sponsoring a Culver’s Shares Night for St. Stephen’s Lutheran School. Students, faculty, & parents will be working at Culver’s from 5:00-8:00 pm on October 1st. The School receives a higher percentage of the proceeds the higher the sales are during that time as a donation from Culver’s. What does this mean for you? Treat yourself to a dinner at Culver’s on October 1st and know that by doing so a percentage of your sale will go to benefit St. Stephen’s Lutheran School. We will be applying the donation we receive towards tuition assistance and science / technology. Spread the word that Monday, October 1st, 5-8 pm would be a great time and day to have dinner at Culver’s. Thank you.
Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction
8th Grade Washington DC Trip Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction will be held Sunday, October 14th from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm in the church basement. The freewill offering received will help the 8th grade class offset the cost of their trip to Washington DC. Please join us for a great meal, great fellowship and great cause! Many silent auction items will also be available. Come join the fun and support our 8th graders! Take-out meals will also be available.
Help Our School by Saving Labels and Boxtops
- Boxtops for Education
- Milk Moola bottle caps or bags (Kwik Trip)
- Our Family UPC (proof of purchase labels). Please cut off the proof of purchase bar code and place it in the slot for St. Stephen’s at Recheck’s Food Pride or bring them directly to the school. The bar code # should key in with the #70253. Only Our Family Bar codes can be accepted.
- There are containers in the church basement for these items or send them to school with your children. Thank you for your help!
- Reminder: We no longer collect Piggly Wiggly or Kemps receipts, Campbell Soup Labels, postage stamps greeting cards or ink jet cartridges.
From the Church Office
Update Your Information for Our Records
Has your address, phone, or email changed? Help us update our records by filling out our online form at https://goo.gl/mUoZnX, or ask one of the pastors for a paper form.
Stewardship and Finances Update
We want to update everyone on the “progress” our Lord has given us since we began this effort to eliminate our deficits and to reduce our debt in connection with the loan taken from Horicon Bank to finish our Window / Phase I Restoration Project.
We began this effort in mid-June with a goal of eliminating our $81,000 General Fund deficit carried over from 2016 and our current year deficit, which at the time was about $30,000. The other part of the effort was to significantly reduce the balance owed on our loan, which then was $140,000.
As of September 20 generous gifts totaling $29,239 have been offered for the deficit reduction, and $13,384 for the Restoration loan reduction! But our generous and gracious God was at work through a St. Stephen’s member whom Jesus called home to heaven 15 years ago! Mrs. Edna Lechner had established a trust that was to remain in effect until her only daughter, Carol, would be called home to heaven. Edna’s will stated that 1/3 of whatever remained of the trust at the time of Carol’s death should be given to St. Stephen’s. Jesus called Carol home to heaven in May, and in mid-September we received a bequest from the Edna Lechner Trust for $93,773.00! Beyond that, Carol Lechner established in her will that her cash assets at the time of her death should be given to St. Stephen’s: $5,633.53! And even beyond that, Carol established in her will that when her estate is settled St. Stephen’s Congregation should receive a portion and St. Stephen’s School a portion! (The settlement of Carol’s estate will take a while.)
Our Church Council decided to place the $93,773 into the deficit reduction, which eliminates the 2016 deficit and some of the current year deficit, thereby replenishing some of the Dedicated Funds from which the General Fund had borrowed (a large portion of which is the Window/Restoration Fund). The second part of that decision was to then make a $70,000 payment on the Horicon Bank loan balance, reducing the balance owed to $68,000.
As things stand now, our current year deficit has grown – regular offerings have not kept pace with expenses. As we move forward we need to grow in two areas:
- Regular, ongoing offerings for General Fund (Current Expenses)
- Special gifts for deficit reduction
If we eliminate the deficit we will be replenishing the Window/Restoration Fund (a Dedicated Fund) and will be able to almost pay off our loan balance.
Rejoice! Give thanks! Grow! Be generous! We have Gospel work to do that is supported by our gifts!
* Regarding General Fund – if you are a regular contributor to the Building and Debt Fund, understand that for the last 20+ years that fund has been strictly a Debt Fund, it covers our General Fund debts at end of year; there is no building going on. Perhaps consider contributing to the Current Expenses what you have been giving to the Building and Debt Fund.