3rd Quarter Newsletter

Oct 20, 2018

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A Note from the Pastor

What brings you JOY?

I ask that question because the theologian Frederick Buechner says: “The place God calls you to – is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

So then, what brings you deep gladness? What brings you JOY? Because joy is an indicator of what God is calling you to do in your life.   Deciding what your joy is begins the first step to knowing what God wants for your life. The next step is to figure out how your joy can be matched to a place where the world is hungry. For example, if you love to cook, then you would probably love to prepare meals for a homeless shelter or Meals on Wheels. If you love to sing, you should probably find a choir to join (ours is hungry for new members, hint hint). Finding God’s calling for our life helps us to find happiness, peace, and contentment in your personal faith journey. Connecting into a good volunteer experience helps us to feel connected into our spiritual walk.

Why are we talking about connecting and calling though? Because there is so much going on a church lately, we really need to find more people to help out! When you look through the newsletter you will see just all the things we have going on.

  • The farmer’s market had a record-breaking year, both with the number of customers, and the amount of money we raised. (A huge thank you to the Market Committee!)
  • Pajama Story time continues to have 12+ kids each month, and needs more adult helpers.
  • Book Club continues to draw new faces interested in going deeper with lively discussions.
  • We continue to reach out to our community with the Pork Chop dinner, the Veterans Program, and our donations to Central schools.

So, I will ask again, what brings you joy? And I wonder how you could share your joy with St. John’s UCC? Maybe you would be willing to cook dinner for PJ Story time? Or donate some time to do building repairs? Maybe you want to sing in choir or volunteer with Sunday school? God doesn’t expect you to do everything…. Only to find what brings you joy, and then to offer your deep gladness to help meet the church’s needs. How might you do that in the year to come? Maybe it’s accounting or secretarial work, maybe it’s supporting our technology needs, maybe it’s having a dance party with the young kids as they learn new music.

If you are looking to find a way to connect on a deeper level with our church community, let’s find a way for you to bring your JOY to share with us.

Blessings and peace, (especially to our farmers this harvest season!)

Pastor Cathy

Note from the President

From the President   Hello Everybody!

It has been a busy year for up keep project’s, gutter cover’s for the house in April.  Waxed basement floor in March, wood chip’s around the house and church in May.  A new inside panel installed on the east side on the 212 sign, we also purchased a spare for the west side when that get’s too bad in June. The parsonage east side roof, was Shingled as well the south dome area on the church in August. RO system and water softener drained cleaned and new filter’s installed in late September.

And last but not lest, the county is making us put in a new mound system for our wastewater. I am hoping the contractor starts this week yet. Now you can see for yourself when this is all itemized it takes a lot of money maintain a church and parsonage. Anyway enough about work, this last Sunday we Welcomed two new members Kay and Joe Clay we are glad to have you both.  Finally we will need 3 new consistory member’s for the year’s 2019,2020,2021 if you want to join the fun. Let myself know.

Mark Polzin

Something new from Kay Clay

Wanted: You to Usher/Greet at worship in January or February. Yes that is several months away but time seems to slip away quickly! In December we will post a sign up sheet in the narthex area. Pick a Sunday you are available to serve.
Kay Clay


Choir has started practicing again and will be singing several times each month.  If you would like to join us, we always need more members.  With Thanksgiving and Christmas not too far away, we will be concentrating our practices on those events in church.  Please watch the bulletin for practice times

Penny Rolf 

 ST. JOHN’S UCC Fall Program Calendar 2018

6th — Consistory Meeting, 4:30pm
7th – Pajama Story Time, 5-8pm
9th – Sunday school Kick-off
10th – Women’s Guild, 6:00 pm
16th – Pork Chop Dinner 10:30 am – 1:30pm
27th – Book Club, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
30th – Coffee Hour + Faith and Fellowship Committee Meeting

3rd – Consistory Meeting, 4:30 pm
5th – Pajama Story time, 5-8 pm
7th – World Communion Sunday
8th—Women’s Guild, 6:00 pm
14th – New Member Sunday
21st – Baptism Sunday
25th – Book Club, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
27th – Little Dresses for Africa 10 am — 2 pm
28th — Coffee Hour + Faith & Fellowship Committee Meeting

2nd – Pajama Story time, 5-8pm
7th – Consistory Meeting, 4:30 pm
11th – Veterans Day Luncheon, 11:30 am
12th – Women’s Guild, 6:00 pm
18th – Pie Social, following worship
29th – Book Club, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

1st – Hanging of the Greens, 9:00 am
5th – Consistory 4:30 pm
7th – Pajama Story time 5- 8 pm
9th – Guild Christmas Party, following worship
18th — Blue Christmas service, 4 pm
24th – Christmas Eve Pageant & Worship
27th – Book Club
30th – Coffee Hour


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2018, 11:30 AM at St. John’s UCC



Through a series of 12 short profiles and a feature-length documentary, Twin Cities PBS producer Luke Heikkila unpacks the personal narratives of family members and Minnesota veterans who endured one of the most unsettling chapters in American history: the Vietnam War.

These stories reveal the unexpected ways that war forever changes someone.  Please join us as we view segments of this important work, and discuss with the producer how this project has changed him as well.



This event is co-sponsored by the St. John’s UCC Women’s Guild and the VFW Ladies Auxiliary

Women’s Guild

Sewing dresses for Africa is set for Saturday Oct 27th we need to iron, sew, and put patterns together. This is a great get together!

Watch for information about possibly getting a bus and going to Mankato to see the Christmas lights.

Sunday Nov. 11th – Veterans Day Program-Speaker at 11:00 AM with a pop luck to follow.

Farmers Market

Bongards Farmers Market 2018

In our 6th season, we hosted a total of 16 different vendors with an average of 7-8 vendors each week. Vendors offered a variety of products. Locally grown fruits (strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, melons, apples, plums, etc.) and a variety of vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, cabbage, okra, squash, sweet corn, asparagus, pumpkins, etc.) were available each week. Gladiolas, honey, maple syrup, mushrooms, herbs, perennials, jams and jellies, pickles and relishes, fresh baked cookies, cupcakes and pies made their appearance. Food vendors included Fireman’s BBQ and Nestor’s Authentic Mexican burritos and tamales. Clothing, paintings, rugs, and jewelry were available for the style and art enthusiasts. Additionally the Carver County Park Systems demonstrated some activities (solar cooking and archery).

An average of 150 shoppers visited each week with a high of 227 (when the fabric sale was going on in the church basement).

The second year of the Power of Produce Club Program was a success. Total child participants increased from 70 in 2017 to 109 this summer. Total visits increased from 212 to 289 with a weekly average increasing from 13 to 21. Thanks to Kwik Trip, the University of Minnesota and Carver County Health and Human Services who helped to sponsor the PoP Club this year.

Our first year of participating in the Shoe Away Hunger Program was also a success with many shoes collected and many happy shoppers when the Shoe Bus visited the Market.

Thank you to our volunteers, vendors, sponsors, and shoppers. You are all essential to making this community market thrive. The market is growing. This year we took in over $1800 between the market stall fees and the donated product sales.

There are a variety of ways our church members can get involved to support the market: volunteering to help on market day, donating excess garden produce, becoming a Cottage Food Producer and contributing baked or canned goods, getting the work out to neighbors and friends, or just coming by on market day to shop local products.

Pork chop Report

What a wonderful Sunday for our pork chop dinner on September 16. The attendence was down due to 5 other functions on the same day in our communities. Even though those other functions had been going on we served 255 dinners. Some of the tickets have yet to be turned in or just forgot to bring them back.

The day went wonderful and thanks to all worked 1st or 2nd shift, it seemed everyone knew what they were doing, so again thank you to all. All the pork chops were served and very little of the other food was left as well. We must have had a good group of eaters!

The quilt was won by Baylor Kohl’s, Bernice Kohl’s great grandchild, she is about 6 or 7 years old. What a gift at that age, She will always remember that gift from Great Grandma.

Thank You to all again with out your help it would not be possible.

Orlin and Kathleen

Sunday School Updates

It’s hard to believe it’s October already!  Sunday School kicked-off in September with Bless of the Backpacks.  This year, we’ve made some changes based on feedback from families.  We’ve also added more teachers.  Thank you Sarah and Kay!

1st Sunday – No Sunday school.  Attend worship together.

2nd Sunday – Michelle

3rd Sunday – Sarah

4th Sunday – Kay

5th Sunday – Toss up

Mark your calendar for Sunday, December 9th.  We will have a Sunday School Christmas party in lieu of Sunday school.  Please RSVP to Michelle by December 2nd.

Dear Parents With Young Children in Church

By Jamie Bruesehoff

“You are doing something really, really important. I know it’s not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.

I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant car seat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them

And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper. I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet as you feel everyone’s eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.

I know you’re wondering, is this worth it? Why do I bother? I know you often leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But what you are doing is so important.

When you are here, the church is filled with a joyful noise. When you are here, the Body of Christ is more fully present. When you are here, we are reminded that this worship thing we do isn’t about bible study or personal, quiet contemplation but coming together to worship as a community where all are welcome, where we share in the Word and Sacrament together. When you are here, I have hope that these pews won’t be empty in 10 years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship. I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it’s too late. They are learning that worship is important.

I see them learning. In the midst of the cries, whines, and giggles, in the midst of the crinkling of pretzel bags and the growing pile of crumbs, I see a little girl who insists on going two pews up to share peace with someone she’s never met. I hear a little boy slurping (quite loudly) every last drop of his communion wine out of the cup, determined not to miss a drop of Jesus. I watch a child excitedly color a cross and point to the one in the front of the sanctuary. I hear the echoes of “Amens” just a few seconds after the rest of the community says it together. I watch a boy just learning to read try to sound out the words in the worship book or count his way to Hymn 672. Even on weeks when I can’t see my own children learning because, well, it’s one of those mornings, I can see your children learning.

I know how hard it is to do what you’re doing, but I want you to know it matters. It matters to me. It matters to my children to not be alone in the pew. It matters to the congregation to know that families care about faith, to see young people… and even on those weeks when you can’t see the little moments; it matters to your children.

It matters that they learn that worship is what we do as a community of faith, that everyone is welcome, that their worship matters. When we teach children that their worship matters, we teach them that they are enough right here and right now as members of the church community. They don’t need to wait until they can believe, pray or worship a certain way to be welcome here, and I know adults who are still looking to be shown that. It matters that children learn that they are an integral part of this church, that their prayers, their songs, and even their badly (or perfectly-timed, depending on who you ask) cries and whines are a joyful noise because it means they are present.

I know it’s hard, but thank you for what you do when you bring your children to church. Please know that your family — with all of its noise, struggle, commotion, and joy — are not simply tolerated, you are a vital part of the community gathered in worship.”



2nd Quarter Newsletter – 2018

A Note from the Pastor


On May 20th we once again celebrated Pentecost…. That moment when the Holy Spirit came rushing down onto God’s people in the form of a “mighty wind” and touched them with “flaming tongues.”  We celebrate this day as the birthday of the modern church so… happy birthday!  If you were in church on Sunday, you know that Spirit is still moving in the church today.  We are a church that is blessed with the Holy Spirit.  I felt it moving, in our singing, in our prayers, and in our tears. What about you? Did you feel it?

How do I know that the Spirit is moving?  Because kids spent Sunday morning jumping and playing together, because Sunday afternoon a couple stopped by to tell me how much they loved driving by our beautiful building (and how much it has touched their lives), and because our calendar is full with activities that bring us together as a community of faith.  Pentecost also marks the movement in time from spring to summer, and we are noticing that the days are getting longer.  With the onset of summer also comes the Farmers’ Market, which is shifting into high gear and has lots of fun activities planned.  In addition to all that will be happening at the Market, we also are continuing Pajama Story Time throughout the summer, have a Twins Game planned for July, are co-sponsoring Community Grief Support meetings, and are partnering with The Quilting Grounds to sew dresses again this summer.  There are so many ways to connect and be connected to God and the community this summer.

But an even greater question might be: how do you feel the Spirit moving in your life?  Where do you see the motion of the Mighty Wind or feel the heat of the Flaming Tongue?  Know that just as God is at work in the church, so too is God at work in your life.  My prayer for each of us, as we move into the sacred Sabbath time called summer, would be that no matter where you spend these months – at the lake or the cabin or the church parking lot – that you would feel the Holy Spirit moving in your life and nudging closer to our God.

Blessings and peace,

Pastor Cathy

Sign Up Today!


Twins VS. Orioles
Sunday July 8th 1:30pm
Bus will leave from the church parking lot.
50 tickets available, sign up today
Call Pastor Cathy for details.

Note from the President

Hello all, at the 2018 annual meeting for year 2017 the new columbarium by-laws were presented. There had to be some revisions done and a second draft was made and presented on April 29th at a congregational meeting after church and was approved. The new approved by-laws for the columbarium are on the next page of the newsletter.

Carver county sent us a letter a few months ago that we need to upgrade our new septic mound system. We have a contractor, engineer and permits to get done this is all in the works. Which was approved at the annual meeting in January. By getting application done before April 15th we get a kick back from the county of $2000 to help pay for the system. The project is to be paid for from the endowment funds that are available.

Also new gutter covers are to be installed on the parsonage in the next month or so. New signs for the highway sign have been purchased which was approved at the annual meeting.

We need to shingle the east side of the parsonage roof as they are in really bad shape and expect this to happen this summer some time.

As you can image with these up keep expenses our church treasure fund is taking a hit.  So any and all donations will be greatly appreciated at this time.

One last thing have a safe and happy summer.

Mark Polzin

Columbarium by-laws in conjunction with the cemetery by-laws of St Johns UCC of Bongards

There are 24 single niche and 24 double niche compartments. You or your family will choose which side of the Columbarium your remains will be placed in and in which row; top, middle, or lower row.  

Each nameplate has a cost and is the responsibility of the family for each name. These plates come through Cold Spring Granite Company of Cold Spring, MN. Order forms are in the church office. 

The choice of which row and which side (east or west) of the columbarium is yours or your family’s choice. The row chosen starts from the south and fills in accordingly. If a double niche is first and a single niche is needed you skip over the double niche compartments to get to that single in that row. It is true if singles niches are first and a double niche is needed you skip over the single niches to get to the double niche compartments in that row. 

There will be no skipping of open niches in a row; they fill in from the south end until that row is filled.

Families have the right to remove remains to another location other than St Johns but no refund will be granted. That niche or niches will be forfeited and become property of St. Johns church of Bongards MN.

Bongards Farmers Market Update

The world is greening up after a long cold winter. Pear and apple blossoms are out and bees are beginning their job of pollinating. Minnesota gardeners are tilling the soil and planting potatoes, onions, peas, and radishes. Tomatoes and peppers are waiting to be transplanted into their permanent garden spots.  Asparagus sprouts and rhubarb are joining tulips in popping out of the warming ground. Spring has sprung and Bongards Farmers Market is preparing for another great summer.

Bongards Market will be open on Wednesdays beginning June 6 and running through September. Operating hours are 3pm to 6pm. We are located in the parking lot of St. John’s United Church of Christ, Bongards. (The market will not be open Wednesday July 4th.)

Last year we participated in the Power of Produce Club (PoP) and had excellent feedback from our vendors and from the families who participated.  We will again offer the program, which is a farmers market incentive program for children ages 4 to 12. Each week the children receive a $2 token to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables and food plants.  The aim is to empower the children to make healthful food choices. An additional plus is that it encourages children and families to attend the market every week. This year the University of Minnesota Extension Service and Kwik Trip is sponsoring the program.

Our aim is to coordinate with our vendors and customers to create and grow a fun, educational, community oriented, revenue producing, sustainable market. We are delighted to have interest from a variety of vendors and want to welcome and encourage all to take part in our market this summer.

Since word of mouth is often the best way to advertise please pass the word about Bongards Market to all your relatives, friends and neighbors. We are also looking for volunteers to assist our vendors and customers and help with the PoP Club activities. A sign-up sheet is posted on the St. John’s UCC bulletin board.  Whether as a vendor, customer or volunteer join us this summer!

Contact Vicki Moteelall, Larry Bachmann, Sarah Schneewind or Pastor Cathy Kolwey for additional information.


Our choir will be taking a break during the summer and resume just prior to Labor Day. Thanks to all the people who give their time and voices to bring music to our church service.

Feed my starving Children:  8 people from our church worked at the Feed My Starving children on May 4th. Even with a smaller group that night, almost 13,000 meals were packed. We are proud to be a part of supporting this organization. Special thanks to Michelle Bachmann for organizing this.

Sunday School Updates

This Spring, we have been using worship bulletins from which sync with Pastor Cathy’s scripture lessons.  I also ask the children for their input on activities to keep things interesting and keep them engaged. This seems to work well with our small group.  Formal Sunday School ended for the season on May 20th.  We had a “Spring Fling” with pizza, games, and a bounce house.

During the summer month, children can attend worship with their parents.  There are activity bags in the Kids Space in the narthex, which contain crayons and coloring books.  The Kids Space is also available to be used at any time.  There are games, books, a child-sized table with chairs, and space for children to play so families can still be engaged in worship s.

Faith and Fellowship Committee Updates

I have been reading, “Get Their Name:  Grow Your Church by Building New Relationships” by Doug Farr, et al.  This passage resonated with me:

“We, the church in America, used to exist at the center of culture.  In other words, we lived in a church-centric world.  Today, we are in a secular world where the church no longer plays a central role…the church has become a generational entity.  We have passed down from one generation to the next.  We have not reached outside our families.”

In today’s world, the need to connect with one another and connect others with God is greater than ever.  We all know someone who could benefit from connecting with others and/or with God.  St. John’s is a warm and wonderful church home for us.  We don’t have to be Billy Graham, but we can just talk with others, connect with others, and when a church activity or worship service comes up that you think may interest someone, invite them to join you.  God will do the rest.

This spring, we sponsored a packing event at Feed My Starving Children, which is always a rewarding experience.  Our Game Night will be rescheduled for Fall or Winter season.  There are some fun activities planned over the summer.

  • June 13 – “Shoe Away Hunger” Shoe Collection and Shoe Bus Sale at the Bongards Market
  • July 8 – All Church Fellowship Event – Twins Game
  • July – Little Dresses “Sew In” Partnered with The Quilting Grounds
  • August – Faith and Fellowship Yearly Planning Session

Our committee loves to plan activities that are fun for all ages, and also give folks the opportunity to invite others to St. John’s to make new connections.  However, we can’t do it without you…Thank you for attending our events!

If you have an idea for an event or activity, please let us know.

–DuWayne, Shirley, Penny, Sarah, Pastor Cathy, and Michelle

4th Quarter Newsletter – 2017

St John’s United Church of Christ Bongards

4th Qtr. Newsletter – December 2017

What’s Inside?

  • Consistory Notes                                                    
  • Choir Notes
  • Sunday School Notes
  • Faith & Fellowship Preview
  • Farmers Market Review
  • Women’s Guild Notes
  • Pastor’s Note
  • Greeter Schedule

Consistory Notes

This was truly a fall to remember with all the cold weather (really cold) we experienced this fall. It certainly made the harvest a thing to remember or should say one to forget for the future.

St John’s did have a wonderful fall despite the weather as the annual Pork chop dinner was a huge success and all had fun serving the dinner. We installed the new 72 vault Columbaria in our cemetery and will be discussing the dos and don’ts for usage at the annual meeting. We finally had all the trees right around the church trimmed up and this really open up the view of our church and campus. It also gave better protection from wind damage to the church and house during storms.

Speaking of the annual meeting, this will be held the third Sunday in January right after the morning church service. If for some reason the weather is bad, like a snowstorm or really cold it will move to the next Sunday. One of the things that we will be discussing is the installation of a new septic system that the county is requiring us to do. We’ll be voting on taking the funds from the endowment fund or looking for fundraisers to accomplish this requirement. We do have a plan in place with the county so we can get a grant from them for doing this improvement already. Yes a lot of things happen this last year but remember we are 150 years old and things do need to be repaired and updated to meet today’s requirements. Other issues have popped up this year that needed repairing or updating but for this letter those things will be shared at the annual meeting.

So how’s has this affected the budget and your guess is right; it has put a strain on our finical needs. Yes, we are still in the black but we have reduced our rainy day fund and need your support to bring this back to more of a acceptable level for the slower months coming up. So thank you in advance for all you can do!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year God Bless

From the Consistory – Woody Prehn

Choir Notes

St. John’s Choir members are practicing again and will be singing at some of our church services.  We don’t practice every week (generally 2 times a month) on Wednesdays at 6 PM.

Anyone who loves to sing is welcome to join us as we try to “Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord.”

Penny Rolf

Sunday School Notes

This fall, we have been keeping the children busy with a variety of activities, which they seem to enjoy. It sure different when we went to Sunday school, but with a small group with various ages, our goal is keeping everyone engaged, having fun, and learning together.

We have covered stories from “13 Awesome Promises…. And How God Always Keeps Them.”  Some lessons include stories about Noah & Abraham. We have also watched Veggie Tales and Moly Holy video clips. There are also game sheets and coloring pages to go with each lesson.

In our winter quarter, we plan on having the same variety lessons and an activity, including some new video clips from whirl, the producer of the Holy Moly series. We’re also planning on a Sunday school event, which will be either a game night or movie.

Please check Facebook or the web site for Sunday School Schedule changes. Michelle and family will be on vacation for part of January, so we will be mixing it up a bit.                                                 Michelle Bachmann

Faith and Fellowship Committee Preview

The committee is busy planning fun and engaging activities. We don’t have a meeting scheduled for Dec but a list of coming events is listed below.

2017 & 2018
Dec 17th 4PM Blue Christmas Pastor Cathy Community / all ages
Dec 24, Sun. 6:30 PM Christmas Eve Service Michelle/

Pastor Cathy

Community/all ages
Feb 4th Soupier Bowl Michelle Community
March 1st to the 31st Food shelf Drive

150th Anniversary Books

Please see Sarah or Michelle to pick up your 150th Anniversary book. We have allotted 1 book per family. Due to the printing and ordering process, we have about 25 extra copies. We will charge $5 for a additional book for members if they want extra and non-members will be charge $10. An Electronic version of the book is on the website https:/

Bongards Farmers Market Review

Bongards Farmers Market wrapped up another successful season on September 27th. We had 14 total vendors for the season with an average of 5 vendors each Wednesday. Getting help setting up and taking down the tents and displays was mentioned by vendors as a positive reason for selling at our market. Vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables also appreciated our participation in the Power of Produce (PoP) Program. This year our PoP Club was sponsored by the Carver County Public Health Department as part of its Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) activities.

In our inaugural season of participation in the Power of Produce (PoP Club) children ages 4 to 12 received a FREE $2 wooden token each Wednesday to buy their choice of fresh fruits and vegetables. 33% of the children who signed up for the program came 2 or more times to the market. It was exciting to see some of our “regulars” (adults and children) returning each week.

Participants in the PoP program (and anyone else interested) were also offered a weekly recipe featuring fresh seasonal produce. Some of the recipes were: Oven Roasted Asparagus, Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade, Garlic Spinach, Grilled Radishes, Honey Mustard Green Beans, Raspberry Blackberry Smoothie, and Watermelon Salsa. Are you hungry for some more of that fresh produce? Sorry, you will have to wait until June 6, 2018.

We send a sincere “Thank You” to all our volunteers, market vendors, visitors and guests who supported the market.

Meanwhile we are already planning for an even more successful 2018 season. More vendors, onsite food sales, fruit and vegetable sampling, musicians, and kid friendly activities such as face painting are just a few ideas. Have some suggestions or just interested in joining the fun? Contact Larry Bachmann, Sarah Schneewind or Vicki Moteelall. 

Women’s Guild Notes

Sunday Dec 10th is the Guilds Christmas party with a potluck lunch after the morning service. There is a $20 gift exchange that will take place at the event if you would like to participate. This event is open to the entire to the congregation so all are invite to partake of this annual event. (There is always way to much food to eat so come hungry). Lunch group 2 is serving the lunch.

January is vacation month so no meeting is planned.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year                        Karen Otto


LIVING ABUNDANTLY this holiday season

Dear Friends and Family of St. John’s UCC,

When my friend Ruth was visiting for worship in October, she was so very complimentary of our faith community. She absolutely gushed about how beautiful the music was, and said that we sounded like a congregation of 300 voices when we were singing! I feel it too – when we sing together it often sounds (and feels) as if we are surrounded by the heavenly voices of our ancestors, whose presence I often feel during worship. And as we were talking, what I said to Ruth was this…. This church has an abundance of blessings! And I feel so very blessed to serve here.

Visitors to the church often remarked about the abundance of blessings here — from the rich dark soil of Carver County farmland to the beauty of our sunrises and sunsets. We are blessed with a beautiful, historic church building that is in pristine condition.   We are blessed with a friendly crew of vendors at our farmer’s market. They even comment about how nice our parking lot is. The MN Conference UCC Board of Directors said that our church was an absolute “gem.” And with each comment that I hear, I am grateful for the abundance that I see while I serve this church. We are truly a blessed community.

Do you feel blessed? Do you notice the abundance that is all around us? This Advent season, as we wait for Christ to come into the world once again, we will be focusing on living abundantly. Advent is a season of preparation and waiting, and as we do, we will focus our attention on how to count our blessings and appreciate the abundance that we have.

We are a community blessed with abundance. Let us live into a mindset of gratitude for all that we have and all that we are this Advent season. Count your blessing, be grateful, and live abundantly this holiday season…. And let us journey through Advent with grateful hearts together.

Blessings & peace,

Pastor Cathy 

Greeters List for December

Dec 12/3/17 Wesley & LaVonne Koepp
  12/10/17 Woody & Sandy Prehn
  12/17/17 Neil & Rayna Mellgren
  12/24/17 Brant & David Moteelall
  12/31/17 Consistory

Greeters list for remainder of 2017 and if you’re unable to do that Sunday please call Mark Polzin.  Thank you

3rd Quarter Newsletter

St John’s United Church of Christ Bongards – 3rd Qtr. Newsletter

Sept. 15th, 2017                      

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What’s Inside?

  • Consistory Notes                                                       
  • Choir notes                                                                                              
  • Faith & Fellowship preview
  • Farmers Market review                                                                                    
  • Pastor’s Note
  • Information from synod
  • Upcoming sermons                                                                  

Consistory notes

Yes, it’s Pork Chop dinnertime already and Kathleen is working her tail off getting everything ready for Sunday’s dinner. If you have a chance, it’s time to say a Thank you to her for her many years of organizing the dinner. “See you there she says”

You notice that it looks more open around the church and that’s because we have had a tree trimmer cleaning up the trees and removing bad parts of the trees. 3 trees had to be removed due to either leaning towards the church and one by the house had somewhat died. Per some members it has been a very long time since this had been done. The consistory felt this needed to be done before a it fell on to the church or house causing damage as it did to our storage shed.

Speaking of storage shed it’s been repair and we got it done by salvaging most of the material and getting it done for material and labor for about $1200. Our tree removal project is going to cost us around $3000 which is a lot cheaper than having to pay for repairs to our church or house if they had fallen down. We tired to get the electric company to save us money by taking the tree down by the house as it was near the wires but they claimed it wasn’t close enough for them to do the job. One more project we have completed is updating the plumbing in the house and church that supplies water to our church. Some of the lines in the house & church were undersize causing flow to be slowed the flow of water. It could be notice in the bathrooms and by kitchen sinks of the church. The plumber also state as old as the pipes were they might even have been reduced in size due to rusting of the pipes. This has an estimate cost of around $600 to $800 and just done and have not received a bill yet. Again a needed repair that has been postponed long enough.

With all of this our building fund does not have the funds to support these necessary needs we are having a congregational meeting on the 24th of September after the church service. We are request funds from the endowment fund to pay for these expenses.           From the Consistory Woody Prehn 

Choir Notes

St. John’s Choir members are practicing again and will be singing at some of our church services.  Even though Thanksgiving and Christmas are a few months away, we will be starting to practice songs for those services.

We don’t practice every week (generally 2 times a month) on Wednesdays at 6 PM.   Anyone who loves to sing is welcome to join us as we try to “Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord

Penny Rolf



Faith and Fellowship Committee Update

We met in August after our summer break.  We’ve planned for the following events to finish out 2017:

Oct 1, Sun. 915am World Communion Day Pastor Cathy All ages
October Chamber of Commerce Scarecrow Michelle Community
Oct 27, Fri. 630pm Halloween Truck or Treat and Games Michelle All ages
Nov 5, Sun. 915am Veteran’s Recognition Service    
Nov 19, Sun. 1015am Pie Social-Give Thanks Sunday Consistory Open Table-Community
Dec 17, Sun. 4pm Blue Christmas Pastor Cathy Community
Dec 24, Sun. 630pm Christmas Eve Pageant and Candlelight Service Michelle/ Pastor Cathy Community

Watch the bulletin, Facebook, or online for more information.  Our next meeting will be Sunday, October 8th after worship.  Anyone is welcome to join us.  If you have an idea for an event, please contact Michelle Bachmann

Bongards Market for 2017

  • Rain or shine what a fabulous 5th season
  • Good news –some vendors will be here through September
  • We averaged 4-8 Vendors per week
  • Our attendance was between 60 to 140 each week depending on weather
  • Over 100 kids ages 4 to 10 signed up for power of Produce program
  • New friend ships occurred
  • Lots of smiles
  • Knowledge was share each week
  • And just loads of fun for all attending


This achievement of our successful market has been a team effort “Thank You”

  • To all who visited & support our local vendors
  • To Kathleen for manning our church booth each week and promoting the quilt raffle
  • To co-manager Larry Bachmann for his dedicated loyalty for setting up & taking down each week
  • To co-manager Vicki Moteelall for organizing and running the POP program and her and Sham donation of Sweet Corn and the sales to the church
  • To Michelle Bachmann for market web site updates
  • To Sam & Pastor Cathy for the live shots of the market on face book
  • Last but not least our Vendors!
  • We’ve learned so much from you and hope to see you back next year

Spread the word we have room for more vendors.  God Bless

Co-manager Sarah Schneewind



Back to school means back to routines, back to bedtimes and sports practices, back to the very basics of life. As we start to feel the Fall weather settling us into a new season, it is time to prepare our hearts for some “back to basics” reminders of what it means to lead a Christian life. Upcoming in the next few weeks, we have the annual Pork chop dinner, and Rally Day for Sunday school. We will kick off youth group, and continue the farmers market through the end of September. All of these events can remind us to get back into the routine of church as well.

In addition, our sermon series for this Fall will be “Operating Instructions: Life lessons from the gospel of Matthew” which will bring us back to the basics of what it means to live a Christian life.   Let us make these next few months a time when together we remind ourselves of the “basics” … whether it be drink lots of water, or take a walk every day, we can use these next few months to get into new routines that include reminders of the very basics of faith practices: forgive generously, live abundantly, and love one another ceaselessly. May the joy of “back to school” and the coming Fall harvest bring you God’s riches blessings and peace.

May it be so!

Pastor Cathy



About the 3 Great Loves Initiative

The United Church of Christ has a vision of a just world for all. In this world all are welcomed, everyone is loved and justice is inherent. The 3 Great Loves is the denomination’s opportunity to express how our Love of Neighbor, Love of Children, and Love of Creation work together to address the inequities in our current world.

Beginning at Synod 2017 and ending at Synod 2019, through the lens of the 3 Great Loves, the United Church of Christ in its many settings of ministry will discern and lift up how we act upon these 3 Great Loves. As we do so, we will tell the story of how we are impacting and transforming the world, as covenantal partners united in common purpose and mission.

During these upcoming two years, there will be moments of special invitation to participate in this denomination-wide undertaking. One by one we will focus on each of the 3 Great Loves in service to our communities.

Fall Middle School Youth Event  October 6-8, 2017 at Pilgrim Point

Amid the excitement and anxiety that comes with the beginning of a new school year, we can sometimes forget to notice and be grateful for the ordinary wonders we encounter each day. Conference middle school youth (grades 6-8) and their leaders are invited to spend a weekend at beautiful Pilgrim Point Camp – a time apart to pay attention to, celebrate, and offer thanksgiving for the simple and profound gifts that surround us in each moment of our lives. As we mark the changing of the seasons, you are invited to add your presence, your voice, your story, to this bountiful harvest of gratitude. 

For more information or register, go online to or contact Pastor Cathy.


At our MN Conference Annual Meeting in June, Conference Minister Rev. Shari Prestemon shared an exciting new strategic plan, “2020 Vision”, developed by staff and recently adopted by the Board of Directors.  This bold set of strategic objectives will be implemented by the year 2020.   We want to be sure we communicate our 2020 Vision to as many of you as possible, and invite you to consider where you and your congregation can engage in this important work.  The 2020 Vision has 8 strategic priorities:

  1. Identify and support two or more post-modern, “3.0” communities of faith by the end of 2019.
  2. Engage at least 3 congregations in each of 2018 & 2019 in an intentional revitalization/renewal program.
  3. Engage at least 10% of our congregation in use of the UCC’s “white privilege” curriculum, 2018-2019.
  4. Launch a lay leadership development program that grows our capacity across the Conference for strong lay leadership, provides for multiple paths to authorized ministry, and invigorate/equip the Church of the future.
  5. Identify and develop resources to support and train those in governance leadership roles in congregations.
  6. Engage up to 5 congregational leadership teams in a 12-month coaching/mentoring process.
  7. Launch a 6 month leadership formation initiative for up to 25 faith formation leaders.
  8. Recruit and support a network of content creators from across the UCC of theologically progressive faith formation resources and launch an accessible distribution platform of these resources.


Lessons on how to live from the gospel of Matthew

Fall 2017 Sermon Series 


There is one thing every person must do to achieve real freedom in this world. It all comes down to one act: forgiveness. (Matthew 18: 21-35)


What causes us to get jealous of another? The idea that we don’t have enough. But we don’t need to live with a scarcity mentality, we can live from a place of abundance. (Matthew 20: 1-16)


Jesus asks the timely question, “by what authority do you do this?” It is with God’s sustaining presence that we thrive and live in community. (Matthew 21: 23-32)


In God’s kingdom, it is the stone that the builders have rejected that becomes the cornerstone of the church. The Pharisees are threatened by this idea… are you? (Matthew 21: 33-46)


Like guests invited to a wedding banquet, we must remember that the invitation to the Christian life is both a privilege and a sacrifice. (Matthew 22: 1-14)


Jesus reminds us to separate what is earthly and what is Godly, and then challenges us to lead a Godly and compassionate life. (Matthew 22: 15-22)


When challenged with a question of what is most important, Jesus reminds us that love conquers all. (Matthew 22:34-46)


Jesus reminds us that those who are exalted will be humbled, but those who are humble will be exalted. In doing so, he gives us the recipe for servant leadership. (Matthew 23: 1-12)


When God comes, will you be ready? Part of living a life of faith is being attentive and waiting on God. This parable will challenge us to think: do you have enough oil in your lamp to get you through the night? (Matthew 25: 1-13)


Whether we are blessed with a little or blessed with a lot, we have a responsibility as people of faith to be good stewards of God’s resources, multiplying the gifts for others. (Matthew 25:14-30)


In the end, we will be judged by how we have lived a life of faith. Have we lived in community, protected others, shared our resources, and forgiven freely? These are the keys to a life of faith (Matthew 25: 31-46)

Greeters List for the rest of 2017

Sept 9/3/17 Robert & Judy Schneewind
  9/10/17 Orlin & Kathleen Schneewind
  9/17/17 Brain Schneewind Isabel Moffat
  9/24/17 Geoff & Chrissy Moffat
Oct 10/1/17 Consistory
  10/8/17 Bradley & Angela Erickson
  10/15/17 Sarah Shneewind & Andrew
  10/22/17 Duane & Betty Schneewind
  10/29/17 David & Julie Scott
Nov 11/5/17 Donald Scott & Mark Polzin
  11/12/17 Jan Olson & JoAnn Wolter
  11/19/17 Neil & Rayna Mellgren
  11/26/17 Kevin & Jean Kohls
Dec 12/3/17 Wesley & LaVonne Koepp
  12/10/17 Woody & Sandy Prehn
  12/17/17 Neil & Rayna Mellgren
  12/24/17 Brant & David Moteelall
  12/31/17 Consistory

Greeters list for remainder of 2017 and if you’re unable to do that Sunday please contact Mark Polzin.  Thank you