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Notes from the Flock

There's always something happening at Saint John's! Read on to keep on top of activities, signups and other opportunities.

LWM Sunday (Service of the Word)

We celebrate the work of our Lutheran Women in Mission (Mission Guild) and of the Lutheran Women in Mission organization, who give their mites and tireless service to mission and ministry around the world. Sunday, October 9, at 9:00 AM in the Worship Center. Lutheran Women in Mission (Mission Guild) meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 10:30 AM and all women are invited to join them for fellowship and service.

Wednesday Divine Service

The Divine Service is being offered monthly for those who would like to worship in the Lord's house and receive the Lord’s Supper in a smaller setting. Wednesday, October 12, at 1:00 PM in the Worship Center. To register (required), visit < > or call the church office (970-482-5316).

Annual Women’s Retreat

All women, including congregation members and their friends and family, are invited to join us at the beautiful Primrose Studio in Northwest Fort Collins for “Fill Your Cup”, a retreat for rest, laughter, sharing and growing closer to each other and God. Saturday, October 15, from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM at 4300 Michaud Lane (off Overland Trail). Please sign up at the Welcome Center or call the church office if you plan to attend.

Celebration of the Life of Ed Prill

Please join Pat and her family as they celebrate the life of her husband, Ed Prill, who died September 16. Saturday, October 29, from 1:00 to 3:00 PM in the Large Fellowship Hall.

Reformation Sunday (Divine Service)

When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Chapel door in 1517, he set in motion a reform of the church through the rediscovery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a reform that brought the truth of Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice on the cross to all people. Sunday, October 30, at 9:00 AM in the Worship Center. It’s traditional to wear red on Reformation Sunday, to symbolize the renewing fire of the Holy Spirit and the martyrdom of Luther’s contemporaries who called for the reformation of the church.

Wedding of Sam Gardner and Tom Miles

Sam and Tom are overjoyed to invite all of their Saint John’s family to join them in December for their wedding service and the cake and punch reception that will follow. There will also be an open house at the home of Eric and Sue Gardner the day after the wedding to which you are all invited. Friday, December 30, at Wedding December 30, 4:00 PM, in the Sanctuary (reception will follow in the Large Fellowship Hall); Open House December 31 from Noon to 7:00 PM in . Visit for photos and more information!

Food Pantry and Clothing Closet

We very much appreciate food and clothing donations, especially as the number of families seeking assistance increases; watch the list posted by the donation bin outside the south entrance to the Worship Center for specific needs!

Our volunteers distribute non-perishable food and clean, gently-used clothing 9:00 to 11:00 AM.

Help Make Blankets for Missions

Anyone with sewing skills is invited to help make blankets and quilts for Lutheran World Relief and other community and international needs. Thursdays at 9:00 AM in the Small Fellowship Hall.

Choir, Bell Choir and Band Rehearsals

Share your musical gifts with the congregation by adding your voice to the choir, bell choir or band. Contact Tom Miles for more information and a rehearsal schedule.

Join the Prayer Chain

Join the chain and commit to praying for our congregation members facing illness or hardship; messages are passed by phone from person to person or via email. To join, contact the church office.

Blessing Bags

The Woman-to-Woman Bible study has assembled bags of food that you can take to hand out to those standing at street corners seeking temporary assistance, and invite you to take as many of the pre-filled bags as you would like to hand out! The bags are located in the Kitchen.

Chancel Flowers Sign-Up

Recognize a loved one or remember a special occasion with flowers on the altar; flowers are $40 per Sunday, and yours to take home after the worship service. Sign up at the Welcome Center.

Missing a Dish? It Might Be in the Kitchen

Come downstairs and see if you’ve left behind a pan, dish or container after a recent potluck or event; we always seem to have quite a collection!

Open Arms Fundraiser

Direct a portion of your Amazon purchases through “Amazon Smile.” Set up giving and then update your bookmarks/favorites to Amazon to “” to give 0.5% of every Amazon purchase you make to Open Arms Christian Preschool. Go to to set up giving.

Thrivent Members Needed

If you are a Thrivent member and have not been involved in an Action Team project, please contact Jeannie or Tom in the church office for information on how to get involved. We have a lot of project ideas and want to put your Thrivent membership to work! Also: eligible members of Thrivent Financial, don't forget to direct your Choice Dollars for last quarter to Saint John's, the Foundation, the Preschool or the organization of your choice. Stop by the Welcome Center for a form, call Thrivent or visit to make sure that this money doesn't just disappear!

Bulletin Deadline

Announcements for the weekly worship bulletins are due by Wednesday at Noon. Submit items to the church office (482-5316;

U.S. and International Disaster Relief

LCMS Disaster Response is on the ground or working through partner organizations around the world, from California fires and Midwest tornadoes to international earthquakes and tsunamis Ida and Haiti amidst political unrest and the recent earthquake, to provide damage assessments, purchase and distribute clean-up aid and bring short-term financial relief. You can support these efforts at 888-930-4438 or

Worship Stream Available

If you are sick, stuck at home or on vacation, you can still join Saint John's worship services via the internet! Go to and click “Worship Stream” to watch the service live.

Electronic Giving

Thanks to the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, we are able to set up recurring automatic offerings from checking/savings accounts. Visit the Welcome Center, click the link on the sidebar of or contact Tom or Jeannie in the church office for application materials.

Newsletter Publishing/Article Submission Schedule

This newsletter is published ten times per year. The first issue of the year is the late-January/February issue, published January 15 with articles due January 1. The March, April, May and June issues are published the first day of the respective month, with articles due the fifteenth of the prior month. For the late summer, we run a combo July/August issue published July 1, with articles due June 16. The September, October, November and December issues are back to the normal publication schedule of the first of the month with articles due by the fifteenth of the prior month. Photographers, we’re always interested in using members’ photos for our newsletter covers!

Tom Miles is the Parish Administrator at Saint John’s. You can reach him at the church office Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to Noon and 1:00 to 4:00 pm, at 482-5316 or at

Christmas Comes to Home and a Danish Lutheran Church

Decembers in Michigan are anything but pleasant. Heavy clouds with promise of snow are common. One arises in the dark and cold of impending winter and returns from school or work in the same dark bone-chilling dusk. Into such a dreary time comes the promise of Christmas, with the warmth of home, of joy and of lights and love. Mothers have been busy for a month with preparations for this most happy day. The delicious smells of cakes and cookies or favorite meats and sausage await children and fathers alike as they enter the home from outside. Handmade gifts have been sewn or knitted and secreted in favorite hiding places. Final preparations for the big day culminate in the cutting or selection of the evergreen tree soon to be hung with ornaments, some hand-made, in the evenings of mid-December. All is in readiness for the coming, once more, of the blessed Christ child.

In the week before Christmas the elders of our congregation would set a large spruce tree, carefully selected from the forest, in the chancel area of the church. On its very tip would be placed a silver star. Red bows were tied strategically to outer branches and candlesticks firmly attached to other carefully chosen locations, making sure the area immediately above was clear of needles. Fire was an ever-present danger when the candles were lit on Christmas Eve. Each candlestick had a short section of wire and weighted ball on the lower end to assure that the candle would be absolutely upright. Pure white wax candles were then inserted into their sockets. No other decorations were placed on the tree. The altar rail was draped in a garland of evergreen boughs and red bows and on the end of each pew was attached a bit of the same greenery and a red bow.

Our Christmas Eve service began at five in the afternoon. Stores, businesses and shops in Manistee closed at three that day, allowing personnel to prepare for the holy event. Snows came early in Michigan, so the ground normally had its mantle of white by the end of November. Often snowflakes would fall as we trudged through the snow in the half-light of December 24. As we approached the church we could see the multi-colored glow of light escaping through the stained glass windows. It was a welcome and warming sight.

The service was not a long one. Waiting back in each Danish home was the already-prepared Christmas Eve dinner featuring roast goose and rice pudding. We sat quietly in the pews—contemplation of the holy birth was as important as the short sermonette prepared and delivered by the pastor. An opening hymn, the brief liturgy and sermon, a second carol sung and the service neared its close. One highlight remained. The church was darkened and the elders lit the snow-white candles. All attention focused on the tree with its flickering candle light. The organist softly played the introduction to our most beloved Christmas hymn. Then as we sang the familiar words to “Silent Night”, the dying candles, one-by-one, would be snuffed out. When the last one had been extinguished, the church lights would come on, the pastor would extend the blessing and we would quietly file out of church. Once out of church, Christmas greetings would be exchanged. Then each family would depart for home to the festivities awaiting them there.

+ Carl Jens Christian Jorgensen was born in Manistee, Michigan, in 1914. Carl was a member of Saint John's from 1970 until his death earlier this year.

Carl Jorgensen’s Irises

RoxAnn Karkhoff-Schweizer has been tending several of the church’s flower beds for several years. This summer she decided to do something extra special and plant irises developed by member Carl Jorgensen when he was a horticulturalist at Colorado State University.

RoxAnn went to Phil Phelan, a manager at Jordan’s Flowers in Fort Collins. He had worked with Carl and thought he might be able to find bulbs. Last summer (2014), he did! The irises that have been blooming in the brick planter by the north entrance are Carl’s hybrids “Summit Sol,” “Summit Snow” and “Summit Sunrise.”

RoxAnn asked Phil to provide a little background on how he knows Carl and where he found the irises. Here's what Phil shared:

I first met Carl in 1988 as he was tending his Iris gardens which were located just SouthWest of the Hilton on Prospect. For many wonderful years I assisted him in caring and breeding his irises, poppies and daylilies. Visiting the gardens in bloom was a yearly ritual for locals and garden clubs who knew about it and Carl always enjoyed showing it off.

For years Carl had placed many of his iris varieties at Longs Gardens in Boulder, which has a large collection of irises to sell. I contacted them and they provided a few of the remaining varieties that they had.

As you know, Carl is a retired CSU Horticulture Professor and had extensive knowledge spanning fruits, greenhouses and trees both locally and globally. Carl was instrumental in developing the city of Fort Collins’ Forestry Department and has his hand in many of the older tree plantings around town.

Carl is also an outstanding watercolor artist capturing many flowers and landscapes from his travels around the world. We developed a friendship that lasts to this day and I count myself lucky to have gotten to know him and appreciate his many talents and contributions! Phil Phelan

Thanks to Phil for finding these flowers for us to enjoy and to RoxAnn for the idea and follow-up!

RoxAnn Karkhoff-Schweizer has been Saint John's gardener for the last few years. She generously volunteers her time to tend many of the flower beds around the church and the the interior plants (those that aren't artificial, of course).

Seeking Newsletter Covers

You may have noticed that the beautiful cover of this month's Eagle is a photo by member Les Smith. Les has been taking photos for Saint John's for several years, now, and we thought it was about time we featured one of his pieces here!

In fact, we'd love to showcase the work of all of Saint John's hobbyist photographers on newsletter covers. If you have an image (or images) that you think would fit well for a particular month, please send it to Tom for potential inclusion in that month's newsletter, or a future edition. The photo needs to be high resolution (or a large print image that we can scan) and be something that was shot or can be cropped to the upright (tall and narrow rather than short and wide) format of the front cover.

Think along the following month themes when looking through your photography collection:

  • January: New Year
  • February: Love
  • March: Lent
  • April: Easter
  • May: Pentecost
  • June: Missions
  • July: Independence Day
  • August: Summer
  • September: Christian Education
  • October: Reformation
  • November: Thanksgiving
  • December: Christmas

Get out that camera and start shooting! We're looking forward to seeing more stunning works from our members. If you have any questions, please contact Tom in the church office!

Tom Miles is the Parish Administrator at Saint John’s. You can reach him at the church office Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to Noon and 1:00 to 4:00 pm, at 482-5316 or at

“Carl Jorgensen, Longtime Resident and City’s First Arborist, Turns 99”

Reprinted (with permission) from the January 27 Fort Collins Coloradoan

If you ask Carl Jorgensen what year he moved his family to Fort Collins, his answer will be quick—and right. Want to know about his time as a professor of horticulture at CSU? Oh, he hasn’t forgotten a thing. What about the homes he raised his family in? He can give you the exact addresses. Sitting in his apartment’s living room on the eve of his January 17 birthday, it was hard to believe Jorgensen was just one day away from turning 99.

Jorgenson was the city’s first arborist, and he was key to introducing irises to the community through a number of gardens. Jim Klett, a current horticulture professor who started at CSU the year after Jorgensen retired in 1979, said Jorgensen is known to have been instrumental in the planting of trees along College Avenue and also was active in the International Society of Arboriculture.

His second legacy to the Fort Collins community was in the form of irises. After developing an interest in irises around 1963, Jorgensen started hybridizing them and ended up introducing about forty varieties, some of which he named for his daughters and granddaughters. The university’s iris gardens, where most of Jorgensen’s breeds were planted, have either been wiped out by floods or just discontinued, though some can still be found in the Denver Botanic Gardens or CSU’s Annual Flower Trial Garden.

When asked about hobbies or his active lifestyle at The Winslow, the independent living community he’s been at since 2005, Jorgensen responded with humor. “I don’t have much of a hobby now,” he said, laughing. “My hobby’s getting up in the morning and realizing I’m still alive.” He added, “I don’t get around much anymore.” “Oh, yeah, you do,” his son Sonny, who was sitting opposite him, playfully interjected. “He goes to bible study every Wednesday and teaches bible study here [at the Winslow] every Thursday.”

And even though he doesn’t get to enjoy many of the things he used to—fishing, cluding his 66 years in Fort Collins, has been characterized by his constant activity and commitment to his family, job, church and city.

Jorgensen grew up in Michigan, where he met his wife, Margaret, at a dance in 1935. After graduating from Michigan State University and teaching horticulture for a few years in high schools, Jorgensen received his first college job offer from Colorado State University. In 1947, he moved his wife and children to Fort Collins. “We actually found his first offer letter for his first contractual year at CSU,” Sonny said. “His year’s salary was $3,100.” “$3,400,” Carl corrected. From 1947 to 1967, Jorgensen worked as a professor of horticulture before taking a two-year assignment in Colombia, where he worked on an agricultural mission for the University of Nebraska.

Coming back to CSU in 1969, he taught for another decade while also raising seven children with Margaret and freelancing for Fort Collins as the city’s first arborist. “While I was city arborist, we planted 2,000 trees in Fort Collins,” Jorgensen said. “We had a plant unit development program, which means you can’t build without being within a certain code and so we managed to keep all the residential areas residential and all the commercial areas commercial.”

After retiring, Klett said Carl and Margaret could still be found attending annual horticulture department events. They also regularly cheered on the rams at CSU football games until Margaret’s death in 2007. Sonny said his father still had season tickets until last year.

Now, Jorgensen dedicates most of his free time to his family, which includes seventeen grandchildren and 26 greatgrandchildren. Looking at a note pad with lines and lines of names and birthdays, he can tell you how old each one is. The oldest great grandchild is grown and out of college. The youngest just got baptized at Saint John’s Lutheran Church, where Carl has been a member since 1947.

After the baptism, Jorgensen said he and his family—a total of 39 people who traveled from across the county to celebrate his birthday—were planning a big lunch outing. “I feel good about it (turning 99) and I’ll tell you why,” Jorgensen said. “I’ll have all of my children and their spouses here and some of my grandkids and great-grandkids.”

“My family is my first love,” he added. “That’s my hobby: my family.”

Get to know your family at Saint John’s! Each month we interview another of our long-time members to find out about their life, their Christian journey and their history at Saint John’s Lutheran.