August Pastor's message

Dear members and friends of St. John’s:

On Monday, July 20th, I received this email from Nikolas Katrick. “Hi dad. Did you get a chance to see the comet? We went up to Hogback Mountain and got a pretty good view. (picture attached)

And oh what a picture. It was breathtaking! The comet to which my oldest son was referring is Neowise. It’s been putting on a dazzling display throughout the month of July.

“What’s especially cool is that Neowise can be seen with the naked eye, below the Big Dipper” writes Doyle Rice in USA Today. The comet that looks like a “fuzzy star with a tail, survived a close approach to the sun and is now headed back to the outer solar system.”

Nick’s message made me long to be there with him. With a good set of binoculars and Hogback’s 100-mile view, you could have reached out and touched this visitor from outer space.

There are plenty of other heavenly bodies out there to gaze upon this summer, including the Big Dipper. Currently, Venus and Jupiter appear as two bright beacons in the early morning sky, visible roughly one to two hours before the sun rises in the east-northeastern sky.

On space.com, Denise Chow points us to, “the cosmic trio of Saturn, Mars and the bright star Spica,” as they do “their heavenly dance shortly after sunset.” And if that isn’t enough to get excited about, the next full moon (also known as the Full Sturgeon Moon, Barley Moon, Fruit Moon and Grain Moon) will occur on August the 3rd.

Nick, my daughter Robin, and my youngest son, Alex liked to have a book read to them called, Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, by Eric Carle. It’s about a little girl named Monica, who wished to play with the moon and her loving father who did his best to make her dreams come true.

Whether our wish is to play with the moon, ride the rings of Saturn, take a drink of cool water from the Big Dipper or catch a comet by the tail, we are greatly blessed by a Heavenly Father who does his best to make our dreams come true.

The sunset is a beautiful gift that God unwraps every night from our front porches and backyards. The Good Shepherd says, “Do not be afraid,” but embrace the dark, “little flock.” In Luke 12:32, Jesus speaks of a Heavenly Papa (Abba) that gets the moon for you and so much more. “It gives your Father great happiness to give you the kingdom,” says Jesus.

Can you imagine what it will be like when Neowise returns in 6,800 years and our view will be from the heavenly home that Jesus has prepared (John 14:1-3)? Can you envision a “Son” rise that overcomes all darkness within, and a sunset that lights up a hundred, thousand, million billion stars to wish upon?

A little girl did this kind of imagining when she was taking an evening walk with her father. Wonderingly, she looked up at the stars and exclaimed; "Oh, Daddy, if the outside of heaven is so beautiful, what must the inside be like!"

In Christ’s love,
Rev. Mark

Guidelines for the Reintroduction of Indoor Worship
at St. John’s United Church of Christ

Adopted at a meeting of the Church and Ministry Committee on Tuesday, June 16, 2020

  • A social distance of at least six feet will be maintained at all times. Families and friends who have come to church together, may sit together maintaining that same distance from other worshippers.
  • Every other pew will be roped off.
  • Wearing face masks is highly recommended. (Now Required)
  • Bulletins will be available on PDF and at both entrances. There will be plates set out for offerings. Hymnals and Bibles may not be used.
  • Ushers will be available for assistance, to light/extinguish candles and ring bells. They will be required to wear masks and gloves.
  • Access to the church is ONLY through the south entrance (wooden doors). Doors will be locked during the worship service.
  • The elevator entrance will be open. The elevator may be used, one person at a time. A family member or friend may ride along. Masks are required.
  • The fellowship room is closed except for access from the elevator. The ramps will also be closed.
  • The two restrooms off the hall to the sanctuary will be available for use. The restrooms below, near Hermann Hall, may also be used.
  • Doors will be propped open before and after the service to limit touch.
  • Worshippers will be dismissed by pews.
  • There will be no nursery during any of our worship services.
  • Rev. Mark Katrick