Friends in Jesus,

         “Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord” (2 Timothy 1:2). That ancient Christian greeting from the Apostle Paul to Pastor Timothy still proclaims the Good News of Jesus today. I pray as you read this letter, that you remember and trust God’s amazing grace, mercy, and peace toward you through your Savior Jesus!

         I’d like to share some updates and invitations with you about our life in the Lord at St. Matthew. In just a matter of days, we will enter the season of Lent. Lent is a 40-day time of preparation for our remembrance of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection which we celebrate during Holy Week and Easter. Lent begins this year on Wednesday, March 2, also known as “Ash Wednesday.” We’ll have a 6:30pm communion service on Ash Wednesday. I pray that this Lenten season will be for you what it has been for Christians for centuries: a time of renewal in your faith in Jesus and a time of preparation for the “high points” of our church year: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. 

         In our Wednesday midweek services during Lent (March 2-April 6), I’ll be sharing a sermon series called “The Gospel in Seven Words.” This series will be to help us as we learn to confess the Good News of Jesus in our everyday lives in simple, sharable ways – literally as short as seven words. I invite you to join us for Wednesday services this Lent as we renew our focus on what Jesus has done for us and consider how we can share Jesus with those in our lives.

         Lent is a great time to begin, renew, or continue your devotional Scripture reading. In the church entryway we have Lenten bookmarks and Lenten family calendars, each with daily Scripture readings for you and your family to use as you draw near to the Lord this Lent.

         On another note, I’d like to update you about our new church pictorial directory. This directory is being put together “in-house” at St. Matthew. We are asking each household in the congregation to have your picture taken at church or to submit your own photo for the directory. We will continue taking and gathering photos through Easter. A draft of the pictorial directory is available now in the church entryway. We encourage members to take a look at this and verify that your contact information is correct. 

         I hope that our updated pictorial directory will be a helpful tool for members as we re-connect with one another in post-pandemic times. Speaking of that, our ministry theme for this year at St. Matthew is “Connecting with Christ and One Another.” We thank God that He graciously gives us the gift of connection! Through sending His Son Jesus, He reconnects us with Himself and opens the way to eternal life. By gathering us together in His church, our Lord also connects us to one another as members of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). May we all seek greater connection this year – first with our Lord (through worship, communion, prayer and reading and hearing His Word), and second with one another (through fellowship and care for one another). 

         Here are some updates and reminders of upcoming services and events in our life together at St. Matthew:

  • Ash Wednesday Service – March 2 at 6:30pm
  • Wednesday Afternoon Service – March 16 at 1:00pm
  • Midwinter Blues Raffle Drawing – Sun, April 3 after the service (This is a fundraiser for our Vacation Bible School & Sunday School.)
  • Spring Cleaning Volunteer Day at Church – Sat, April 9
  • Maundy Thursday Service – April 14 at 6:30pm (followed by the annual pie and ice cream social)
  • Good Friday Services – April 15 at 1:00 and 6:30pm
  • Easter Sunday Services – April 17 at 7:00 and 9:15am
  • Confirmation Sunday – May 1 at 9:15am
  • Vacation Bible School – August 8-12

Finally, please let me know if you’d like to visit about anything, share a prayer request, or have any personal updates or pastoral care needs. I also encourage you to make use of our church website and Facebook page to stay informed about our ministry.

The Lord bless and keep you this year as you continue your journey of trusting and serving Him!

Peace in Christ,

         Pastor Kory Janneke