St. Johnís History Ė 1991

The Sunday School report showed the following: Ron Brandís class meets in the basement kitchen. Pastor Paulís class meets in the front room of the house. Garry Bennerís class meets in the room behind the sanctuary. Lyle Schmidtís class meets in the sanctuary. Chris Comisford and Karen Holbrookís 5th & 6th grade class meets in the church basement. + A first communion training class was offered in the sanctuary in February for both children 8 years or older and their parents. + A Crisis Fund for emergencies was available to members of St. Johnís and members of the community within a certain radius of the church. Monies came from designated contributions from the congregation and from the interest of the Motherspaw Estate. + A Board of Elders was formed to assist the pastor in calling on the sick, inactive and prospective members. + A concern was voiced in council that no volunteer help had been offered to repair the oil tank in the house. If the problem was not resolved, someone would be hired to fix the tank. + Members belonging to the prayer line, a group of about 8 or 10 prayer warriors, devote themselves to interceding for many spiritual and physical needs each day.††††

Pastor Paul summarized the reasons St. Johnís may consider leaving the ELCA. A concern was raised on whether the church building would need to be vacated in that case. Pastor pointed out that according to the constitution if the congregation voted to re-associate with another Lutheran body, the building and other assets would not be lost (unless it voted to re-associate with a non-Lutheran body). A motion was called for to take the first steps to bring the matter before the congregation; including educating the congregation with Temple Talks, newsletter articles, cottage meetings, and any means necessary to inform.

Council authorized themselves to take turns helping the counters every Sunday. + No Lenten services were offered this year due to lack of interest. + A motion was passed that whatever individual, organization or agency St. Johnís supports with its tithe fund must include the written or spoken Gospel of Jesus Christ and be distributed quarterly. + Phyllis DeWolf, pianist who together with Donna Jean inspired the congregation weekly with their piano/organ duets, retired in May. + Nine of our youth knelt before the altar with lighted candles and confirmed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Hearst were warmed as 2 of them were baptized with their classmates surrounding them at the baptismal fount. + VBS was held in July with the theme, ďJesus and You at Camp Can-DoĒ. + In a special project the Via de Cristo Reunion Group mailed both new and used bibles, books and clothing to 2 churches in Nigeria. + Council voted to contribute $300 to the Crisis Pregnancy Center. + Six new members were received into membership in June. + Weekly outdoor services were held during the summer. + Pastor Paul & Bonnie provided melons and outdoor worship at 3-church farm to say ďthank youĒ to all who have been so supportive. AAL representative, Diane Paetz presented a check toward materials needed to construct the new shelter house at the farm. + Spencer House sent a thank you for the $300 donated from our tithe fund. + St. Johnís continues to donate funds and labor to Habitat for Humanity projects. + St. Johnís sponsored a caravan type trip to Living Word Drama in Cambridge in July.

In an historic vote on August 12, 1991, 122 members of St. Johnís cast the first of two votes required to withdraw its membership from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America due to theological and biblical differences. The vote was 119 yes, two no, and one abstention. The majority vote thus began a 90 day process leading to a second identical vote during which the Bishop consulted with the congregation and attempted to change our views.

While celebrating our 174th birthday with an Ice Cream Social, hundreds of guests savored our famous homemade ice cream, desserts and other delicious morsels. Craft booths staffed by members featured both 175th Anniversary plates and new St. Johnís cookbooks to be sold throughout the Jubilee year. + The Reverend Fred Luthe of AALC preached under the tents the day after the ice cream social with convincing and sincere faith. The members were informed and encouraged as he also answered questions and shared that over 100 congregations were members of the AALC and another 30 or so in the process of joining. + Volunteers were honored at September potluck followed by the first All Committee Night of the new volunteer year. + St. Johnís served 150 homeless men at Faith Mission in Columbus providing already prepared food, dishes and utensils. + Five St. Johnís members are active in the Kairos Ministry which provides a 3-day intensive retreat within the walls of selected prisons, demonstrating the unconditional love of Christ and visiting selected prisoners during the year. + Thanksgiving funds purchased dinners for 10 area families. + The Crisis Fund is operated by a committee of three, who must discuss and be in prayer and unanimously agree to provide assistance where it is needed. Help is provided through food certificates or a check written directly to the landlord, utility etc. Funds are audited regularly. + St. Johnís donated funds to a coalition being formed in Licking County made up of churches and human service agencies to provide help for the homeless. + Members attended the annual hayride hosted by Ron & Kelly Walsh, roasting hot dogs and singing songs around a campfire. + St. Johnís hosted a Via de Cristo Ultreya for those who have completed the 3-day weekend retreat for members of several area churches. + Bishop Sauers met informally with members of St. Johnís in regard to the decision to leave the ELCA. Though he expressed remorse he respected our right to do so. + A Progressive Dinner was held in November with appetizers at the Oberfields, candlelight dinner at church, and dessert at the Kishlers. + A 10-week bible study on ďEnd TimesĒ was conducted by Lew Hildreth. + Members & Youth gathered to go Christmas caroling, serenading members at local nursing homes; then returned to church for a chili cook-off. + St. Johnís was approved as one of 5 new distribution centers in the Licking County Food Pantry Network. + St Johnís members purchased Christmas gifts for 40 children in the community which were distributed by Licking County Human Services.

In another historic vote on November 10, 1991, (the 2nd required vote) St. Johnís members voted to withdraw from the ELCA with 109 yes votes and 4 no votes amid resounding applause. This action enabled St. Johnís to join the AALC.ďWe praise God that He has been faithful to His promise in Proverbs 3:4-5 that when we trust Him with all our heart and acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will direct our path.Ē