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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.

Now Hiring Part-Time (Four Hours a Week) Cleaner

We are seeking interested candidates who can spend a maximum of one hour per evening Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays checking and cleaning high-use areas of the church, including the entrances, preschool and restrooms. Additional hours may occasionally be assigned to prepare the sanctuary and Large Fellowship Hall for special events. Applicants should send their resume to Tom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please share this with anyone you think might be interested in the job! For more information, please contact Tom Miles in the church office.

Saint John’s Giving Tree

The tree is up by the Welcome Center; the opportunities for giving include gifts for needy families at Laurel Elementary, gift cards for Alpha Center. Please come take an ornament and return the corresponding gifts or cards (with ornament tag attached) by Sunday, December 15.

“Behold the Child” Midweek Advent Services

“God’s own Son is born a child … God the Father is reconciled” proclaims the refrain of “The Quempas Carol.” The words of this fifteenth-century carol announce the essence of the Advent Christmas season. Christ’s birth reconciles us to the Father, to the world and to each other. Wednesdays, 11:00 AM and 6:30 PM, with meals at Noon and 5:45 PM.

Children’s Program Rehearsal

The children of the Sunday School will meet to rehearse their Christmas program. Saturday, December 14, at 10:00 AM in the Worship Center. The rehearsal will be about an hour-and-a-half long.

Sunday School Christmas Program

During the service, the children of the Sunday School will proclaim the Christmas story, the birth of Jesus. Sunday, December 15, at 9:00 AM in the Worship Center.

Open Arms Christian Preschool Christmas Program

The preschool classes celebrate Christmas by sharing the songs they’ve been practicing through the fall—come see the fun! Thursday, December 19, at 6:30 PM in the Large Fellowship Hall.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (Divine Service)

We gather in the light of candles to hear the great Christmas story, witnessing once again the birth of our Savior and the proclamation of the angels: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you!” Tuesday, December 24, at 6:00 PM in the Worship Center. Holy Communion will be celebrated.

Christmas Day (Divine Service)

Christ, the Savior, is born, and we proclaim the wondrous birth with Word and Sacrament. Wednesday, December 25, at 10:00 AM in the Worship Center. Holy Communion will be celebrated.

Service of Carols and Lessons (Divine Service)

In scripture readings and favorite Christmas hymns and carols, we follow where the great Christmas story leads, from the promise revealed to sinful Adam and Eve to the great Christmas proclamation that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Sunday, December 29, at 9:00 AM in the Worship Center.

Epiphany Sunday (Divine Service)

Epiphany is from a Greek word meaning to “reveal” or “make manifest,” and the season of Epiphany is our time to focus on the revelation of “who” Jesus is: true God and true man. We celebrate the Festival of Epiphany with readings of the visit of the magi (Matthew 2:11). Through these foreigners, who acknowledged that this infant was the Son of God, God was showing us that Jesus was the Messiah and Savior of not just the Jewish people, but of all people, around the world. Sunday, January 5, at 9:00 AM in the Worship Center.

Christmas Cleanup

Epiphany Sunday marks the end of the Christmas season, so it’s time for us to gather to take down the decorations of the season—but don’t worry: we get to enjoy each others’ company at the Eat and Greet potluck lunch, and many hands make the work go quickly! Sunday, January 5, at 11:30 AM in the Large Fellowship Hall.

First Sunday “Eat and Greet” Potluck

Bring a dish to share and come enjoy good company at this monthly potluck lunch. Sunday, January 5, at 11:30 AM in the Large Fellowship Hall.

Baptism of Our Lord (Divine Service)

In the waters of the Jordan, Jesus takes His place among sinners and takes all the sins of the world upon Himself. Though He has no sin, He undergoes the Baptism of repentance in order to fulfill all righteousness for us. He submits Himself to the curse of sin and death in order to redeem us! As we share His Baptism and are “united with Him in a death like His,” we also share His resurrection unto newness of life. Sunday, January 12, at 9:00 AM in the Worship Center.

Men’s Night

All men are invited to gather with their brothers in Christ to support and encourage (and pray for) one another in their God-given vocations. Tuesday, January 21, at 6:30 PM.

Subscribe to “The Lutheran Witness”

The magazine of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (including updates from the Rocky Mountain District) is just $22.56 for the year: start a subscription today! Find the signup sheet at the Welcome Center; new subscriptions begin with the March issue.

Egg Carton Fundraiser

Don’t throw away your old egg cartons, donate them! The Woman-to-Woman Bible study is collecting clean used egg cartons of any size or material to sell online. Money raised will be used for special congregation needs or missions. Drop donations off at the Welcome Center..

Food and Clothing Bank

Volunteers serve those in need of food or clothing; we appreciate donations of non-perishable food and new or gently-used clothing and household items. Tuesdays at 9:00 AM in the Small Fellowship Hall.

Help Make Blankets for LWR

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.

Direct Your Thrivent Choice Dollars

Eligible members of Thrivent Financial, don't forget to direct your Choice Dollars for the last quarter (or year) to Saint John's or the organization of your choice. Stop by the Welcome Center for a form, call Thrivent or visit www.Thrivent.com to make sure that this money doesn't just disappear!

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.

Missing a Dish? It’s Probably 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 Fundraisers

Pizza Palz cards are available in the Church Office. For just $11, you can purchase a card good for an Old Chicago pizza of up to $25 while supporting the preschool! Call or stop by the church office to purchase.

Direct a portion of your Amazon purchases through “Amazon Smile.” Set up giving and then update your bookmarks/favorites to Amazon to < smile.amazon.com > to give 0.5% of every Amazon purchase you make to Open Arms Christian Preschool. Go to < http://smile.amazon.com/ch/84-0450786 > 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 www.Thrivent.com 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; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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 (articles due by January 1). The cover theme is “Love” (unless Lent begins early).
  • The second issue of the year is the March issue, published March 1 (articles due by February 16). Cover theme is “Lent” unless Easter is in March.
  • The April issue is published April 1 (articles due by March 16). The cover theme is “Easter” (if Easter is in March, the theme will be “Spring”).
  • We publish the May issue on May 1 (articles due by April 16). The cover theme is “Pentecost.”
  • The June issue comes out June 1 (articles due by May 16). The cover theme is “Missions.”
  • For the late summer, we run a combo July/August issue published July 1 (articles due by June 16) with a cover theme of “Summer.”
  • The September issue is published September 1 (articles due by August 16). It’s back-to-school time, so the cover theme is “Christian Education.”
  • We publish the October issue October 1 (articles due by September 16). The cover theme is “Reformation.”
  • The November issue covers the end of the ordinary church year and the beginning of Advent. It is published November 1 (articles due by October 16). The cover theme is “Thanksgiving.”
  • The December/Early January issue is the last issue of the year, and covers Christmas celebrations and the new year. It is published December 1 (articles due by November 16). The cover theme is “Christmas.”

We’re always interested in using members’ photography for our newsletter covers. Please submit any picture you think would fit these themes!

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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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 Floral Gardens 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“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.