S . J ’ N

November- 2014
A publication of St. John’s United Church of Christ, Niles, Michigan
As John gathered the fish of the sea, so we gather the news of the church
Pastor’s Column
Let me share with you some of
my vivid memories from 50
years as a pastor and a chaplain.
The ecumenical prayer service
I organized on the evening of 9
My first Christmas Eve Candle
Light service.
Conducting a funeral in a sanctuary decorated for Christmas
for a 17 year old girl who had
been killed in an automobile
At the conclusion of the wedding, after I said “Ladies and
Gentleman, may Introduce Mr.
& Mrs. ______,” the members
of the wedding party shooting
off party poppers and sending
streamers out over the congregation.
waiting room and was trying to
light it.
the surgery to remove a tumor
from my chest.
Baptizing and confirming my
two children.
Receiving a call from a man
whose wife had just committed
suicide. I had conducted their
wedding one year earlier.
Hearing that one of the leaders
of the congregation I was serving twenty-five years ago,
who wanted me to resign, was
telling people that I was the
third choice of the pulpit nominating committee.
Listening to Gloria Cooper,
Rev. Eisen’s daughter, tell
stories of growing up in this
church at our congregation’s
150th anniversary dinner.
Reading Matthew’s account of
Jesus trial and crucifixion
while Samuel Barbers “Adagio
for Strings” was playing over
the sound system.
When asking why he wanted
to join the church a member of
the confirmation class, who
was retarded, saying, “At
school I am teased and rejected
- in this church I am loved and
Leading an Easter Sunrise Service in a cemetery.
A surprise 30 anniversary
party for Nancy and I given by
the members of the Pottsville
Discovering, just as I started to
preach in the Edwardsburg
Church, that I had half of last
week’s sermon and half of this
week’s sermon in front of me.
Working as a counselor or
camp director at Camp Saugatuck one week each summer
for ten years.
Being called into the emergency room when a man had
splashed gasoline all over the
Leading our yearly memorial
service, assisted by Rev. Janet
Van Lear, a few months after
At lease twenty-five church
picnics and outdoor worship
Leading a service where at
least 30 couples individually
renewed their wedding vows.
Singing in the choir of the
Berwyn church as we performed a contemporary cantata.
I can honestly say that over the
years I have sometimes been
exhilarated and content, and
sometimes angry and frustrated - but I’ve never been bored!
St. John’s Net
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November 2 - Luke 21-1-4 Communion Sunday
November 9 - Mark 5 21-35
November 16 - Matthew 25:31-46
November 23 - 10:30 AM
Thanksgiving service
November 23 - 7 PM
Candlelight Memorial Service
Worship Schedule
November 30 - Mark 13:24-37
Communion Sunday
Tired of the consumerism that has come to define Christmas? “Advent Conspiracy” invites
families, home groups, and churches to restore
the heart of the Holiday. Unwrapping four simple but powerful concepts, this stirring book,
complete with study guide, invites you to celebrate Jesus' birth more meaningfully by giving
relationally to family, friends,
and the less fortunate.
Rick McKinley and Chris
Seay know they’re not the only
ones who are tired of how consumerism has stolen the soul of
Christmas. In Advent Conspiracy, they invite individuals,
families, home groups, and entire
churches to join the groundswell of
Christ-followers who choose to make Christmas
what it should be—a joyous celebration of Jesus’ birth that enriches their hearts and the
world around them, not a retail circus that depletes their pocketbooks and defeats their spirits. Through this engaging, four-session DVD
curriculum and stand-alone book complete with
study guide, Advent Conspiracy shows how
readers can substitute compassion for consump-
tion by practicing four simple but powerful,
countercultural concepts:
1) Worship Fully—because Christmas begins
and ends with Jesus!
2) Spend Less—and free up resources for things
that truly matter
3) Give More—presence: helping hands, healing words, humble hearts
4) Love All—the poor, the forgotten, the marginalized, the
sick, in ways that make a difference.
Christmas can still change the
world when people, like Jesus,
give what matters most—their
This class will take place on the following four
Thursdays at 10:30 AM - November 20, December 4, 11, 18.
If you are interested in being a part of this
class, please sign up in Fellowship Hall so we
will know how many books to order.
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A Time to ‘Give Thanks’ . . .
As we transition from summer to fall and then to
winter we experience many changes. We watch
as the tree foliage changes from green to the vibrant autumn colors of red and gold. We then
watch as the leaves fall and the trees become bare.
We realize that we will soon transition from fall to
winter and then possibly see some snowflakes.
Each of us has a favorite season of the year but we
seem to adjust to change. With Pastor Harry
Clark’s letter announcing his December retirement, we realize as a congregation that there will
be a time of transition. As
we adjust to the change it is
my hope that we look at the
positives of St. John’s and
give thanks for what we
St. John’s Net
Harry came to us with experience and enthusiasm
to serve St. John’s. As he retires after 50 years
in the ministry, we give thanks for the time he
spent with us.
How could we not be thankful for our church
neighbors. Robert from across the street is the
first to come to mind. He has no qualms about
telling kids and adults that what they are doing is
disrespectful to the church. I watched him one
day when he asked a man who was consuming
alcohol on the front steps of the church to move.
He did, however, suggest to the man. “You
come back to the church at
10:30 Sunday morning and
you can drink wine with the
church members inside the
church.” Who could forget
the frustrations with our outdoor sign this past winter
and early spring. We are
I am reminded of a favorite
thankful for another Robert
song of ours, “Give
who lives a block from the
church. He came with his
metal detector to find the underground wires to
“Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the sign. Within 5 minutes he identified not one
the Holy One, give thanks because he’s given Je- wire, but two and it took only a couple shovels of
sus Christ his Son. And now let the weak say “I dirt to find the wires. And then there is electrician
am strong.” Let the poor say “I am rich.” because Jesse who volunteered his time to troubleshoot
of what the Lord has done for us.”
and then replace the underground wire to the
sign. What a plan God had. Jesse volunteered at
St. John’s has been blessed in many ways. God
a Habitat house and I happened to see him at
seems to know what we need and when we need Lowe’s. I asked him a couple of questions
it. How fortunate to have Pastor Harry a few
about our sign and he said he would check it out.
blocks down the street from the church at a time
He did. He fixed it! And then there is Al who
when we were searching for a new pastor. Pastor for the past few years has faithfully mowed our
St. John’s Net
lots every week. He does it because “that’s what
good neighbors do.” And then the phone call
from Kevin who had made some bad choices and
needed to give back to a non-profit. God sent him
to the right place and at the right time. Half a city
block was cleared of vines and brush, the church
garage was painted and other tasks around the
church completed. Thank God for special people!
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need a word of encouragement. It is who we are
and we should be thankful for this. We give
thanks for our office administrator, Kaye who
plans ahead, sets deadlines for us and runs an efficient office. Her expertise in this time of transition is very important to us.
Each Monday I receive three sayings for church
signs via e-mail. Sayings such as: “A thankful
I reflect on the comments that we receive from
heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent
folks who come to our fish fries. Comments such of all the other virtues.” “Thank God for dirty
as: “The food is great and we’re amazed at the
dishes-at least we have food to eat.”
way the people of this church work together. The “Thanksgiving is not a day, it’s a lifestyle.”
atmosphere is welcoming from the time you walk “THANKSGIVING - It’s not just about a great
into the building. It’s nice to see people talking, meal. It’s about A GREAT GOD.”
laughing and having a great time. It seems that
this church understands and knows what it means
to be a Family of God.
St. John’s has a rich history . We started as a
German church and then transitioned to the
church as we know it today. Not many churches
have a Paul Asmus who not only knows the history of this church but has taken the time to write it
down for all to enjoy. What a blessing! Thank
you, Paul.
Thoughts from the perspective
of Council President,
Joan Schmidt
Do you have any thoughts? We encourage you to
We remember and thank those people who have
share your thoughts and feelings with your St.
devoted hours to serving on committees, keeping
John’s family.
our finances in order, fixing faucets, toilets, lights,
etc., planning and cooking meals for funerals and
other special events, teaching Sunday School and
being faithful financial supporters of St. John’s.
We are here to provide support and prayers for
those in need, those who are sick, those who are
grieving the loss of a loved one and those who just
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St. John’s Net
We are grateful for donations received in memory
of Carolyn J. Asmus, who passed away Wednesday, October 8, 2014. Thank you to the following
individuals who donated in her memory.
Margaret Hunerjager
Betty and Don Kirkendall
Joan Schmidt
Emma Jean Schrumpf
Judie and David Vinnedge
Joyce and Bill Saunders
Pam and Jeff Snyder
Innovative Products Unlimited Inc
National Standard
Jean and Curt Loutzenhiser
Thank you to my St. John’s family for your condolences and thoughtful cards on the death of my
father, Robert Farr.
Melissa (Farr) and Kevin Asmus
Tyler and Elizabeth
Carolyn Asmus
Grief Support Group
The Grief Support Group held at
St. John’s (601 Sycamore, Niles)
will meet the first Thursday, November 6 in the church Library
from Noon to 1:00 p.m. The
group is designed to accommodate people who
may be working and have a lunch hour available, or those who do not want to drive after
Speakers needed!
We have acquired all kinds of
audio-visual equipment over the
last few months – amplifers,
VCRs, CD players and so on.
We could still use a couple of
pair of stereo speakers. If you have any and
would be willing to donate then to the church,
contact Pastor Clark.
Thanksgiving Dinner
St. John’s will be hosting its
annual Thanksgiving dinner
on November 23rd at 5:30
pm. We would like to encourage everyone to come
enjoy good food and even
better company! In order to
make sure we have enough
food, we are posting sign up sheets in the Narthex and Fellowship Hall. We ask that you sign
up by Wednesday, Nov. 19th. There are three
convenient ways to sign up!
1) E-mail [email protected]
2) Sign up by Wed., November 19th.
3) or call the church - 269-683-4420
Please bring a side dish or dessert to share with
your friends and your own table service. Turkey with all the trimmings and beverages will
be provided. Plan on joining us to celebrate the
blessings of the past year and to look forward to
the year ahead.
The Candlelight Memorial Service will be at 7
pm following the Thanksgiving Dinner. A letter
was sent with the information on this very special service. Please use the envelope enclosed
in the recent letter to commemorate those who
have gone before us—family, friends and all the
faithful or to honor someone special. Please return your envelope to the church by Tuesday,
November 18th.
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Page 6
November Women’s Fellowship
Women’s Fellowship will meet Tuesday, November 11 at 1:00 p.m. for an Executive Board
Business Meeting and Program Planning for
All are welcome to join us for our annual
of the Greens"
Pray for:
Joyce and Robert Simanton
Paul W. and Tina Asmus
Brad Benjamin
at 10:00 A.M.
Melissa and Kevin Asmus
Ann Zimmerman
Erica Gaul
John Horner
George and Lola Schrumpf
Angela Villwock - Tyler and Kara
Shari and Dave Ahlgrim and Family
Reg Haas
Gina and Jeremy Langdon
Keith Lant
Sprenger Health Care
60257 Bodnar Blvd. Rm. 226
Mishawaka IN 46544
Dorothy Thompson - Savannah Healthcare & Rehab
1645 Florence Road
Savannah TN 38372
June Walters -
Week of:
Our Shut-ins:
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each
other so that you may be healed. The earnest
prayer of a righteous person has great power and
produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16 NLT)
Saturday, November
The Hanging of the Greens is a service
where our church home is decorated with
the symbols of Christmas. Coffee and rolls
will be served. The committee planning this
year’s Hanging of the Greens are: Jason
Fletcher, Dianne Todd, Betty Reichanadter,
Jean and Curt Loutzenhiser.
Lois Asmus
The Elders will choose two or
three members/friends and
families for prayer each
week. Prayer is a vital part of
everything we do. Please pray for these families
during the week. Let us also pray for those not
mentioned who are facing difficult times.
Silverbrook Manor
911 S. Third St. RM 503-2
Niles MI 49120-3636
Pray for Peace . . .
. . . and for the men and women
stationed throughout the world in
service to their country. Pray for
their safety.
The brave men and women who are recovering
from their tours, the nurses, doctors and therapists
who care for them, and their families; family &
friends of all the men and women in uniform who
have made the ultimate sacrifice.
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Life’s Greatest Privilege
The bible says, “Jesus and the people he makes
holy all belong to the same family. That is why
he isn’t ashamed to call them his brothers and
sisters.” You are a part of God’s family, and because Jesus makes you holy, God is proud of
you! The words of Jesus are unmistakable:
“[Jesus] pointed to his disciples and said, “These
are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does
The Church Mouse
Has anyone got a morsel of cheese? I have been
so busy trying to keep up with all the activity at
the church, I haven’t had time to eat!
On October 10, I almost got stepped on by the
number of people enjoying the famous St. John’s
Fish Fry. If it wasn’t the customers, it was the
many workers diligently doing a myriad of duties
in order to put on the ‘friendliest and best Fish
Fry’ in town. You could see the disappointment
in customers faces when they asked when the next
Fish Fry was going to take place, and being told
‘Not until the Spring’
. It is so gratifying to hear the positive comments
on the food, friendly and efficient workers and
even one customer said they were amazed how
everyone works together and were so happy. Another quote was we were better than any of the
upscale restaurants in comparing food and service.
During the month the church has been fortunate to
have a Community Service worker doing many
clean up tasks including the church lot, the chairs
in the Fellowship Hall, as well as washing the upper windows in the Fellowship Hall. The church
garage was also painted.
St. John’s Net
the will of my Father in heaven is my brother
and sister and mother!” Being in God’s family
is the highest honor and the greatest privilege
you will ever receive. Nothing else comes close.
Whenever you feel unimportant, unloved, or insecure, remember to who you belong.
Your Stewardship Committee
On Sunday the 12th of October, the worship service consisted of a Hymn Sing. In all, nine hymns
were enjoyed by all.
On October 16 a group of 27 caravanned to the
Round Barn Theater to see “Joseph and the
Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. Before the
play the group stopped for a luncheon buffet. Imagine a table of 27!!
Well, this is it. I have to go out and jump in the
colorful leaves that are cascading from the trees. I
am in constant wonder of the beauty God has created on this earth. God Bless until next time.
St. John’s Net
Page 8
Our mitten tree will stand at the
front of the Sanctuary during the
season of Advent. You are invited to attach pairs of new mittens, caps and scarfs until the
tree will be in full bloom. The
Called to Care Committee will determine the best
way to get the mittens and caps to children in the
community who need them. If you knit or have a
family member/friend who does, please plan to
make a pair of children's mittens or a cap. The best
mittens are either fleece, or a blend of wool and
nylon; acrylic is not very warm, especially when
wet. If you are not a knitter, please consider purchasing either for the tree.
It is time to order Poinsettias to decorate the sanctuary for Christmas! Use the order form below.
Plants may be purchased in memory or honor of a loved one. Following the Christmas Eve service,
the poinsettias may be taken home or left to decorate the sanctuary. The deadline for orders is Friday, November 21st.
We will be ordering poinsettias from Martin’s. Please fill out the order
form and enclose it along with a check made out to St. John’s UCC.
(Mark the check ’Poinsettia’ ) place in the offering plate, or mail it to the
church. Please have your order in to the office by Friday, November 21.
______$6 each for single
I will take my plant.
______$12.00 each (3 plants per pot)
I want to donate my plant.
Total $______
Name: ______________________________________
In Memory of: ____________________________________________________________________
In Honor of: ______________________________________________________________________
For Blessings Received: ____________________________________________________________
Page 9
St. John’s Net
Cancellation of Worship Service Due to Bad Weather
If the weather is bad on Sunday morning and you want to know whether or not our
service has been cancelled, tune your television to WNDU (NBC) Channel 16.
There you will find a comprehensive list of cancelled events, including church services.
St. John’s Net
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10:30 am—Worship Service
11:30 am—Fellowship Hour
November 2014
Gratitude is
the memory of
the heart.
~Jean Baptiste
During the month of November, at the end of
each day, write down something that blessed
you or something which you are thankful.
Noon to 1 pm
6:30 pm
5:30 pm
7:00 pm
No duty is
more urgent
than that of
~ James Allen
Give thanks for
a little and you
will find a lot.
~ Hansa Proverb
7:00 pm
Deadline for
Sign up for
Family Dinner
10:30 am
Advent Study
Deadline for
Saying ‘Thank
You’ creates
~Daphne Rose
10 am
First Sunday
Of Advent
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.
~Melody Beattie
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St. John’s Net
Missy Villwock
Barbara Haas
Ed Geideman
Angie Geideman
Mary Meyer
Ed Meyer
11-3 Vaughn Asmus
11-4 Reginald Haas
11-4 Jeremy Langdon
11-8 Debra Steuber
11-10 Elizabeth Asmus
11-13 Kathy Asmus
11-14 Kaila Johnson
11-16 John H. Horner
11-16 Scott Saunders
11-16 Carly Fletcher
11-18 Marcia Villwock
11-18 Laurie Yeung
11-21 Bradley Easton
11-21 Jeremy McCombs
11-24 Rev. Kyle Gardner
11-28 Kevin O. Asmus
11-28 Virginia Asmus
11-28 Mary Coleman
Fellowship Hour
Terry Paquette
Charlene Fein
Please call the
office to let us
know what you
would like printed
in the bulletin.
Karen Lovitt
Betty Reichanadter
Jeff Snyder
Flower Committee
Virginia Radewald
Virginia Asmus
Paul O. Asmus
11-01 Shari and David Ahlgrim (22)
11-16 Charlene and Ted Krause (46)
11-21 Deanna and Bill Braun (44)
11-23 Amy and James Beaird (29)
Mary M. Williams
Joan Schmidt
Margaret Hunerjager
Jean Loutzenhiser
St. John’s Net
St. John’s United Church of Christ
601 Sycamore Street
Niles, MI 49120
Niles, Michigan
Permit No. 355
Rev. Harry Clark. . . . . . . . . . . . Home - 269.687.9242
Cell - 269.240.4421
E-mail . . . [email protected]
Church Phone: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269.683.4420
E-mail address: [email protected]
Website: www.stjohnsniles.org
Worship Service:
Sunday, 10:30 a.m.
Church office hours: 10 a.m.—1 p.m.
Council Officers:
President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Joan Schmidt
Vice-President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Matt Bair
Clerk/Secretary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marilyn Leiler
Financial Secretary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Betty Kirkendall
Asst. Financial Secretary. . . . . . . . . . . . Bart Benjamin
Treasurer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Joyce Saunders
Council Members:
Lois Asmus
Ed Geideman
Margaret Hunerjager Judie Vinnedge
Office Administrator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kaye Shrider
Organist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mike Stanley
Custodian . . . . . . . . . . . Shelley Motts/Jason Fletcher
Our Affiliations:
Berrien County Association of Churches
Southwest Association, Michigan Conference
Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ
Pastor’s Column
November Worship Schedule and Advent Study
A Time to ‘Give Thanks’ by Joan Schmidt
Memorials and Thank You
What’s Happening at St. John’s
The Church Mouse
Poinsettia Order Form
Kids’ Page
Church Calendar
Serving Schedule
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Flower Chart
This newsletter of St. John’s UCC of Niles is published monthly. The deadline schedule for the
December newsletter is Friday, November 14th.
The editor welcomes submissions and suggestions. Please send to attention of Kaye at St.
John’s or e-mail:
[email protected]