St. John’s History - 1996

A grateful thank you letter was received from seminarian Tom and wife Kari Hilpert for continued support together with an announcement of the birth of Noelle’s baby brother, Isaac. + Continued organization of the “Young at Heart Club”. + The congregation unanimously approved the budget at the January meeting with 78 in attendance. It was reported that the deficit had been eliminated with a surplus of over $7000. The youth budget was increased to provide 3 training retreats for about 35 teens in Jr. and Sr. high school ministry. A Millersburg company is preparing drawings according to code to be presented to the congregation to build a new fellowship hall.

The newsletter is now called “Good News of St. Johns”. + Thursday evening Lenten series focuses on New Testament cassette tapes, and Sunday sermons will be preached on “The Power of His Word”. In his Sunday School class held in the house, Pastor Paul will offer training on how to mentor a new Christian using a Billy Graham series called “A Call to Joy”. Pastor Paul, as Regional Pastor and Wendell Shelly, as a board member will attend the AALC Joint Council meeting in Minneapolis.

Council president, Don Paynter invites all to the monthly council meetings and all-committee nights. Council meetings will be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order per our constitution. Council approved buying hearing impaired receivers to be paid out of the Motherspaw fund. Also approved securing a Nursery Supervisor and the purchase of a new printer for the office.

The group of seniors attending “Young at Heart” meetings is growing in number and fellowship. In March they met for prayer and lunch, followed by an old hymn sing in the sanctuary. +  Social Ministry is collecting items for the LC Housing Coalition.

Congregational president Don Paynter is encouraging support for 6 team members for the upcoming men’s Via de Cristo weekend plus 5 candidates that are planning to attend. It was noted that St. John’s has 55 people who have made their Via de Cristo weekends, and a plan is in process to re-establish the 4th Sunday evening Ultreya. Pastor Paul’s newsletter article compared the springtime development of trees and flowers to his observations as a member of the Via de Cristo team for the men’s weekend. A group of men began to meet as barren and frozen church goers. As they continued to meet, he watched the Holy Spirit melt and mold them into loving, blossoming, fruit bearing servants.

Wednesday night support groups will begin for parenting, grief, stress and 4 others. + A “Witness Stand” will be placed in the church at which members can give personal testimony. + The Caring & Sharing committee continues to plan events for members to grow in fellowship through a Mother and Child Banquet, an International Dinner, campouts, pot lucks etc. + St. John’s old organ has been donated to the Marne Methodist Church after theirs was destroyed by fire.

A special meeting has been called on May 19th to present plans for the fellowship hall. Pastor Paul called for prayer and fasting prior to a special congregational meeting for further discussion about the fellowship hall on June 30th at 6 p.m. The building/finance committee will survey the congregation in order to make a presentation at this meeting.

The AALC unanimously reaffirmed its stand on abortion at its annual meeting in Minneapolis, supporting a ban on partial birth abortion and treating a fetus like an individual rather than just an extension of the mother.

A new ministry is being developed to the 300 + teens residing in the vicinity of St. John’s. The ministry to Buckeye Lake children is going strong. Volunteers welcome between 30 & 40 kids at Ryan Park in Buckeye Lake with food and games.

Members of St. John’s decided to do needed repairs and improvements to existing property before beginning construction of the new fellowship hall. A fund transfer from the building fund was approved for this purpose. Improvements include waterproofing the church basement, installing a water purification system, repaneling the basement, constructing a garage/storage building, razing the Quonset hut, and resurfacing the blacktop drive.

“Camp Courageous” was the VBS theme this year. An outdoor prayer and praise service was held on St. John’s grounds on Wednesday evenings followed by bible study and support groups.

An all St. John’s garage sale was held and other fund raising events with proceeds to be used for our fellowship hall.

The 3-Church Farm held an annual pig roast with a worship and praise service and games. Improvements to the property continue.

Advent sermons were focused on God’s peace. Promise Keepers of Licking County wrapped Christmas presents with residents of the county jail. + A kids party with Santa was held on December 22nd.  + Pastor Paul reviewed his 21st Christmas Eve with St John’s, first stopping at the nursing home to pray with long-time member Mariam Rinker, having his grief for her turn to awe as he stood before teens dressed as wise men and shepherds and a “honkey” that took the place of a donkey shivering in 10 degree wind chill in the parking lot of the church, then watching the Christ filled children’s pageant, then baptizing a 3-year old with a thankful heart for her father who had traveled the long journey from life on the streets, Harleys and hangovers to the baptismal font, and also having a thankful heart for seeing Christ’s peace in the eyes and face of a woman who had learned to forgive and finally conducting the candlelight service with a heart overflowing with peace and love and memories.