People of God!

First, I want to say "THANK YOU!" to YOU, our beloved congregational family! You have graciously and generously stepped up to continue supporting our congregation during these months of frustrating lock-down. You have, in so very many ways, shared your love and support and encouragements for us your staff here at St. James. We love you! We miss you! We appreciate you! And we are so very thankful for you!

Second, if you haven't been able to see our Worship opening guidelines that I presented on our Facebook page you will find it here in this Newsletter. Please read it carefully. I so hope and pray you will come back to worship again soon!

Here we are, about to enter our incredible summer months -- June, July, and August -- in Magnificent West Michigan! Have I ever mentioned how blessed we are to live here?

I encourage you to GET OUTSIDE for some fresh air, exercise, and to enjoy it all! Go golfing. Go to the beach. Go for a walk. Go for a drive. Do something outside! I am so looking forward to our Men's Canoe Trip in July as we head on our annual Expedition north to the Boundary Waters! It will be great to be out and disconnect from civilization for a while!

With Northern Michigan being opened for business, we hope and pray that we won't be far behind!

Sunday, May 31st, is CONFIRMATION SUNDAY. Our online service will start at 10:00 am that day. Please tune in as we confirm six of our awesome youth!

We are opening our worship service, with an EASTER CELEBRATION, on Sunday, June 7th, on our summer service schedule of 8:00 & 10:00 am. Due to restrictions, we will only be able to accommodate 50 people per service. I encourage you - and remind you - that you need to contact Terri in our Church Office (894-8471) by Wednesday of every week to let her know you plan on attending and which service so she can reserve your seating. Please be patient with this process. I am excited to see many of you in God's House again soon! This won't be forever!

We are celebrating GRADUATION SUNDAY for our wonderful High School Grads on Sunday, June 14th. We have to do things a bit differently this year. I am not having them gather together as a class to process in and sit together, but we will be showing our PowerPoint presentation of those who participate.

On a personal note... 1st year Seminarian son, Micah John Brooks, has successfully completed his first year of Seminary education at our Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. And he has done very well! We are proud of him! And we are very proud and thankful of his loving helpmeet, Audrey, who encourages him and focuses on taking care of the family during this time. Micah will be learning how to read and translate Hebrew during his summer class so he can read the Old Testament Scriptures in the language they were written in. This time next year, he will be going out somewhere for his one year Vicarage experience! It will be exciting to see where God places him for a year! Maybe somewhere out West where we can elk hunt!!! What will be most important is that he has a great and loving Supervising Pastor who guide and mentor him for that year.

Our youngest daughter, Michaela, and her family - the Yoopers, eh! - will be visiting for a week in July! We so look forward to seeing them and being beach bums and enjoying all the other activities here in Magnificent West Michigan together!

Daughter Annie, and her family, hope to visit for a week in July when I am on our Men's Canoe Expedition. It will depend on Lucas and how he is doing. He is such a loving, very active and smart little boy! He still has seizures and struggles with awake times during the night. Lucas can blurt out words but cannot yet speak in a coherent sentence. But he is able to communicate in other ways. Thank you for your inquiries about him and your prayers!

Daughters Beky and Sarah and their families will hopefully visit over the summer months as well. We all enjoy going to the beach to hang out for an afternoon. One thing we really enjoy is taking the troops to the fantastic Ludington playground near the Marina to work them out, watch the Badger come in on their evening return, and then going out for ice cream at the House of Flavors or DQ!

I will be going on my second Canoe Trip with my friend, Wes, the first week in August. He and I have been paddling together for almost 20 years. It will be great for us to get out together again!

And then, looking ahead into September, I have a 45th Class Reunion I hope to attend - if it’s still on - somewhere in the Detroit area. I am a 1975 graduate of Lutheran High School East, which, sadly, no longer exists. It will be great to see some of my friends and classmates, some of whom I haven't seen in a very long time! Immediately after that Deb and I are pondering a trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to visit some cousins we recently re-connected with and haven't see for over 30 years! We shall see.

I am so very thankful for all of you. I look forward to seeing some of you in worship soon for our Easter Celebration Service on Sunday, June 7th. If you are not able to come to service for whatever reason, I would be happy to commune you by appointment at church. Just call and let’s set something up!

God is Good!!!

  ~ Pastor Brooks

Baptisms 0
Confirmations 6 Adalynn Dean, Michael Fekken, Carson Johnston, Hailey Jones, Wolfgang Koenig, Chloe Stout (5/31/20)
Weddings 0
Funerals 1 Cieolla Cousins (5/6/20)

Hello friends and family of St. James. It is exciting to say that we made it to the summer months of 2020. I feel like a lot of people are probably thinking, I’m ready for this pandemic to be over and to enjoy a free summer. Let’s just be done with the past two months and move forward.

But in reality, things have really slowed down since March 20th. It’s been 62 days since writing this that we have been in lockdown… SIXTY-TWO DAYS! Sixty-two days without Pizza Ranch for my wife and I. Sixty – two days of wondering what will happen next. Sixty- two days of confusion and a little chaos. Sixty-two days of online learning. It is so surreal putting what seems like such a large number on how long we have been in social distancing/shutdown.

I want to encourage you throughout this summer to be in prayer and devotion. I have shared this before but it is so good, I want to share again. I want this to be my summer 2020 motto...

“Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it for the glory of the LORD.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.

This summer, I want to honor God with how I live my life. I am going to try my best to give Him the glory, share the Gospel with as many people as possible, and serve with my whole heart. This is for HIS glory. I encourage you, share, love, and serve. It’s all for HIM.

This summer looks a little different in terms of a calendar. I can try my best to put things up, but reality says that things will change... a lot.

Senior High youth will be meeting every other Sunday throughout the summer. Activities will be on the summer calendar.

Junior High Youth will meet the other every other Sunday. Please refer to the summer calendar. SENIOR HIGH YOUTH ARE ENCOURAGED TO JOIN our junior high youth. I’m always looking for help, or just a quick “put them in their place type of deal” when it comes to large group games.

As of writing this newsletter, VBS is currently scheduled for July 26th. Please talk to Sarah Bernhardt or myself to see how you can be involved.

Emilie and I have been doing prayer and praise every Sunday evening for the past 2 months. We want to continue this tradition into the summer. So, with that, we want to invite you to come on Sunday nights at 6:30 pm for a campfire and s’mores. This is open to whoever wants to come. We will sing play yard games, and have s’mores.

Please check out the Facebook page and bulletin for announcements. Things are changing a lot and it is hard to set anything in stone right now.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers.

Your Family Life Director,
  Russell Baumann

John 3:30 ~ "He must become greater, I must become less."

Congratulation to our 2020 Confirmands!

Adalynn Dean
Michael Fekken
Carson Johnston
Hailey Jones
Wolfgang Koenig
Chloe Stout


I’m always a bit sad to say goodbye to preschoolers moving on to Kindergarten. I’m grateful for the time spent together growing, laughing, and learning. But this year is just SO different. No goodbyes is even harder! It’s always difficult to put into words how we feel about our families. We truly love you all!

Our plan is to have an outdoor gathering when it is safe to do so. This will occur on a Monday evening that remains to be decided. This special night will include a sing-a-long with Mr B, certificates, and some fun games! We will keep everyone posted regarding our plans. Take care, stay healthy, and have a great summer!

M-W-F Program for 4-5 yr olds $140/month
T-Th Program for 3-4 yr olds $105/month

Please call Ellen Grimm at 231-730-1726 for registration information. I would be happy to answer any questions.
  Blessings, Ellen Grimm

Sunday School News

See you at Rally Day on Sunday, September 13th! The official kick off for Sunday School!

Midweek Classes

We look forward to seeing you back in the Fall of 2020!

Sr. Youth News

Every Sunday, Sr. Youth Zoom Meeting at 4:00 pm.
See the summer calendars for our Sunday events!

The District Youth Gathering on Mackinaw Island that was scheduled for 6/28/20 – 7/1/20 has been cancelled.

Jr. Youth News

See the summer calendars for our Sunday events!

Scrip News

Why is Scrip the best fundraiser? Because you don’t have to buy any stuff. You earn money while you shop. Scrip means earning money shopping where you normally shop- at places like Wesco, Walmart, Montague Foods and Meijer. Over a hundred stores donate a percentage every time you purchase gift cards through the Scrip program.

We have expanded to include online ordering from your computer or smart phone and electronic debiting from your checking account. Many stores and restaurants offer card reloads and electronic scrip while donating the same percentage to the church. More opportunities to earn money while you shop! The first step is to set up your online account at using the code for our church: F33BE4F34514. Details about online ordering and electronic payment are available at the scrip table. Stop by and ask for a packet!

The Scrip program will be running through the summer. Any funds earned through Scrip purchases from January – May will be available in June. Look for statements in the narthex in June.

What’s new:
Subway: also available electronically as ScripNow, rebate 5%, $10 gift cards that are reloadable at
Burlington Coat Factory: now open in Muskegon, $25 gift cards available, 8% rebate, also available as ScripNow
Panda Express: available in $25 gift card, 8% rebate available in $25 or $100 gift cards or as ScripNow, 2.25% rebate- can be combined with the Amazon Smile program which donates 0.5% to a non-profit of your choice
Bob Evans: available in $10 or $25 gift cards, 10% rebate, now reloadable at
Logan’s Roadhouse: no longer available

* If you order online, you can now pay with a credit card for a 2.6% fee

In Christ's Service,
  The Scrip Committee

Love Family Donations

Love family summer donations continue to be meals delivered/sent, gift certificates for gas stations, grocery stores, and local restaurants. (address: 128 Tulgeywood, Whitehall, off Mears Ave.)

Come August, school supplies will also be very welcomed! Thanks!

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1)

150th Anniversary Committee News

From your Anniversary Committee. Another month and still social distancing. On a bright note, church is gearing up to reopen in June, with some modifications. Hopefully we will be able to meet together soon as a committee and do a reset and get back to work. For the immediate future, keep thinking about a slogan and a logo and if you come up with one, send it in to the office. As things start to resume we will pick up where we left off and get back to planning the best 150th Anniversary celebration ever. Just as a reminder we are still looking for a photographer and a media liaison and someone to head a subcommittee to plan our German festival. Anyone interested please contact the office. Stay tuned and we’ll let you know when we can meet as a committee again.

Basket Auction for His Arms Kenya!

A big thank you from the children of His Arms! Over $800 was raised through the basket auction! Your donations will have a big impact on the children of Maseno, Kenya. We appreciate your support!

Online Service Directions!

How to watch our services online step by step: on Facebook Live on Sundays at 8:15 am
  1. In the top search bar... Go to
    (You do not need to have a Facebook account page to access this)
  2. Close the popup box asking to login to your Facebook account.
  3. Scroll down through the Facebook page until you come across the most recent videos
  4. Click on the Live video of the church service.
  5. Explore the rest of the Facebook page and watch other videos. 😊

How to watch our services online step by step: on St. James Montague Website
  1. In the top search bar... Go to
  2. The first window will show our updated status for Covid-19 and our daily updated videos from St. James Facebook page.
  3. Scroll down to see our latest service from Sunday.
  4. Explore the rest of the page to see any newsletter information, calendar information, or fun extras. 😊
  5. To view previous services, follow this link

Father's Day ~ June 21st

Thank you to all of the fathers out there!

Happy Birthday America!

We celebrate our Nation’s Independence on Saturday, July 4th! Give thanks for the blessings we have living in a free country and for the sacrifices of so many...

VBS "Two by Two"

Summer is rapidly approaching! Save the dates for July 26th - July 30th for our VBS programs! Follow St. James Facebook page for more updates!

Greetings Fellow Children of God, I've long began the process of Vacation Bible School preparations and, even though it’s still up in the air, it is that time again. As of right now the current dates and times are:
Sunday July 26-30(Thursday) 5:15-8:30
I will need volunteers to help, of course, BUT we're trying something new this year so I will need another handful of new volunteers also. Instead of a snack time we will be starting every night off with dinner together as a whole crew. Which means I'll need at least 5 people to help prep, cook, and serve food plus clean up. All of the regular volunteer opportunities are still available. Here are just a few:

Once we are able to resume regular church services I will have the information and signup sheet in the Narthex on the Midweek/Sunday school board. I pray you see the opportunity and privilege of helping teach the love of GOD to the next generation in our congregation and signup. Many hands make for light work. The children are just AMAZING and I look forward to this week all year long. If you know of a position you would definitely like to sign-up for, you can text, call or email me and I'll put you down on the sheet before it goes up. I ask that those who volunteer for me on a regular basis consider doing so again this year and I challenge you to bring a friend to help too.

On another note, the craft and decoration preparations take me a lengthy amount of time and I would love help from anyone available, even if it’s just for an hour here and there. I plan to start prepping things at church in May. If you are interested please let me know. For right now, I'm putting out this general schedule of meeting times but I foresee changing them once the lock-down is over. I'm currently working 3rd shift but hope to return to my regular shift on the weekends; if that's the case then I'll need to change meeting times to during the week, but for now I'll plan on this:

Friday May 8th 4:00 til ? Going over general ideas for decor and crafts, start prep
Saturday May 9th Noon til 4 (I'm sure I'll be there longer if you'd like to stay longer/over) Decoration Prep

Friday June 5 4:00 til ? Start craft prep, continue decor prep
Saturday June 6 Noon til 4 Continue craft prep

I'll just schedule for a month now and see what June brings about and go from there. Much of the work will be preparation and the things we get done will be stored until it’s time to actually set them up. No heavy lifting required. 😉😉

God Bless,
  Sarah Bernhardt
(231) 903-5353

Life Insurance is Integral to a Good Financial Plan

It’s always important to be safe and protect your family. Having adequate life insurance coverage is integral to a good financial plan, and there are many reasons to choose life insurance. First, it can serve as the foundation of a strong financial strategy and offer a sense of security for the future. Depending on the life insurance you choose, it also can provide growth opportunities and benefits that you can use throughout your lifetime. And, it’s also a way to leave a legacy for your family or the causes you care deeply about.

Thrivent is an A++ A.M. Best¹ rated company. As of Dec. 31, 2019 we have over $12 billion in surplus, which makes us well capitalized to deliver on our financial promises to our customers. This allows us to offer life insurance that is highly competitive with all carriers.

You can determine if you qualify for life insurance with a no-cost, no-obligation application. This can be completed virtually. Life insurance applications for up to $1,000,000 may qualify for accelerated underwriting. With accelerated underwriting, there is no medical exam and applicants can be approved in as little as 3-5 business days. If your application requires an exam, then our providers can come to your home for convenience. These are qualified medical professionals that conduct their work ethically, safely, and with universal precaution.

If you are interested in applying, please email us at, or call the Thrivent Whitehall Office at 231-894-8886.

You will be contacted with instructions for completing an application. Upon approval, Marci or Tony will reach out to explore options to customize your life insurance plan to meet your needs and budget. Premium is due only upon acceptance of your insurance contract.

Thrivent is strong and stable; we’ll be here to deliver on our promises. Our capital and surplus positions are strong, allowing us to deliver on our past, present and future commitments.

Thank you for your careful consideration. We are here for you, ready to help with reassurance and financial guidance that can help you navigate your financial goals.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Your Whitehall Office Financial Professionals
Marci L Bentz FIC, CLTC and Tony De Nicolo CFP, FIC

Ping Pong Ball Request

We are looking for bulk ping pong balls for the Youth House! When we are able to gather again, there will be a drop spot for donations! Thanks for your support!

150th Anniversary Needs Promotional Coordinator and Photographer!

We are looking for some additional volunteers to help with our celebration. Specifically, we are looking for a promotional coordinator. Someone to prepare articles and press releases for The Lutheran Witness, M-Live, The Beacon and other publications. We are looking for a person to head up our German festival. Plans are very preliminary so here’s your chance to get in on the ground floor and help plan a special celebration. We are also looking for a photographer to capture the sights of our celebration.

Unity Fest 2020 has been cancelled...

July Birthdays
06/02Aiden Buchberger06/17Betty Hager
06/02Harper Seymour06/18Jase Lohman
06/03Char Dean06/19Brianna Bentz
06/03Joel Best06/19Hannah Jandt
06/04Roger Smith06/20Paul Schultz
06/05Royce Kroll06/22Jacob Hayes
06/06Bob Stevens06/22Olive Oquist
06/07Emily Luce06/23Adam Bluhm
06/07Robin Owends06/23Courtney Friday
06/08Lynn Pastras06/25April Lipka
06/08Riley Mulder06/25Isaiah Towne
06/09Bob Wackernagel06/25Kendall Rachow
06/09David R. Ramthun06/26Carrie Strahl
06/10Alyssa Goodrich06/26Jared Justian
06/11June Buchberger06/27Amy Urban
06/11Leiv Deremiah06/28Gail Treptow Crane
06/14Adalynn Dean06/28Karissa Tryska
06/14David Campbell06/29Jesse Campbell
06/14Stacy O'Connell

July Birthdays
07/01June Halgren07/17Elizabeth Birkhofor
07/01Melinda O'Connell07/17Genevieve Kroll
07/03Odin Oquist07/17Kyle Stevenson
07/05Carol Towne07/18Henry Schultz
07/05Jeremy Turpin07/18Sue Streblow
07/06Bob Dean07/19Zachary Buchberger
07/06Cameren Cooper07/21Delaney Hopma
07/06Carl Timmich07/21Henry Friday
07/06Carol Crevier07/21Teddy Huls
07/07Briann Justian07/21Wayne Hughes
07/07Lauren Caris07/22Corbin Schumm
07/07Michael Moschke07/24Alex Goodrigh
07/10Brent Rogers07/25Gerry Hissong
07/10Leif Oquist07/25Kristy Walsworth
07/10Wolfgang Koenig07/25Peyton Schultz
07/11Charlotte Rice07/25Randy Zeller
07/11Lillian Stevenson07/27Henry Bailey
07/11Marilee Bailey07/27Jack Bailey
07/11Mark Ramthun07/27Julie Grow
07/12Tara Sikkenga07/27Olivia Johnston
07/13Angela Bluhm07/28Grady Schmidt
07/13Nikki Seymour07/29Alaynah Smith
07/13Ty Aguirre07/30Rhianna Sheesley
07/15Eric Vanderlaan07/31Marsha Schlager
07/16Vicki Vanderlaan

August Birthdays
08/01Mike Griffith08/16Pam Kroll
08/02Tim Hanson08/17Cashton Chamberlain
08/03Beth Meacham08/17Rusty Streblow
08/03Ruth Ann Francis08/18Drew DeRose
08/04Art Jones08/18Killian Nordlund
08/05Shelby Fridy08/18Lee Strahl
08/06Oliver Bantien08/19Faith Mayville
08/06Ryan Bluhm08/20Amber Mayville
08/07Keira Lindstrom08/20Stephen Stout
08/07Lolita Silvis08/20Virginia Roesler
08/08Gloria Alvarez08/21Rich Canniff
08/08Grace Meacham08/22Bonnie Ingersoll
08/08Mary Ann McPheron08/22Julia Hasenbank
08/08Matthew Hedges08/24Brooke Sheesley
08/09Ben Stevenson08/24Janet Gifford
08/09Bethany Hayes08/24Penelope Mayville
08/09Martin LaFever08/25Vicki Schultz
08/10Becky Winters08/26Evelyn DeLong
08/11Cathy Hissong08/26Kelsen Bluhm
08/12Dale McKenzie08/26Rich Kessler
08/12George Fulljames08/26Willa Mills
08/12Ruschel Friday08/28Angie Wigren
08/13Judy Landis08/28Deb Brooks
08/14Ron Barrs08/30Dylan Hopma
08/15Sarah Justian08/30Tracy Sheesley
08/16Elizabeth Shannon08/31Maggie Huls
08/16Eloise Baxter8/11Kelly Bantien

ELDERSGreg NeubauerRusty Streblow
TRUSTEESJen HuizengaCasey Seymour
ACOLYTESHailey Jones
ALTAR CARESue Griffith & Marsha Schlager
PRAYER PARTNERS2ndMatt SchroederHenry Friday
9thMatt SchultzArt Jones
16thBob StevensCasey Seymour
23rdBob WackernagelEric Deremiah
30thJake WackernagelBrian Bentz
MULTI-MEDIA2ndJeri WondersJackson VanBergen
9thAlicia KoskiMarek Bernhardt
16thEric LindstromFriday Family
23rdApril LipkaEric Deremiah
30thJeri WondersLizbeth Bentz
ALTAR FLOWERS2ndJeff & Melinda O'Connell
9thScott & April Lipka (28 yrs)
16thRex & Pat Allen
30thDave & Tina Ramthun (41 yrs)

Funeral Families
If we have a funeral, Eileen Schroeder, our Luncheon Coordinator will contact you for help. Each funeral luncheon requires table/chair set up, food donations, food servers (kitchen staff), and table/chair take down. Eileen will let you know what is needed.

If you are unable to fulfill your assigned duty, please make arrangements with someone before or after you on the list. Thanks!