People of God!

The fall months always pass quickly for me as we lead up to the Holiday Season.

As we enter November the first thing to remember is the TIME CHANGE on Sunday, November 1st! We gain an hour so set your clocks back and enjoy that extra hour sleep!

On Thursday, November 26th, we celebrate our National Day of Thanksgiving! We had an excellent suggestion regarding our Thanksgiving Worship at our last Congregational Meeting. We changed our Thanksgiving Worship on Wednesday, November 25th, from 7:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. I encourage you to come to worship as we give thanks to our good, gracious, and Almighty God for all His abundant blessings on you and me!

And who can forget our National Election Day on Tuesday, November 3rd! I realize that most of you have long made up your minds as to who you will vote for. As your pastor, I remind you that as God's people, Christians who are to influence our society for good, I encourage you to vote for state and national candidates that hold and promote values that are reflective of our Christian faith and God's Word, the Bible. Do you take God into the Voting booth with you or have Him wait outside? Voting is one of our primary privileges and responsibilities as God's representatives in this world around us.

It has been great to see more and more people coming back to worship! As always, wear a mask in the sanctuary if you want to. I hope to see you soon as we worship our King together!

  ~ Pastor Brooks

2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and self-control." With everything going on, it is really easy to be fearful. Fear comes in many different forms. Today, I want to share two ways in which fear comes over us.

1) We know the story of when Jesus calms the storm. The disciples are in the boat and the storm is coming. Jesus is sleeping and the waves are rising. The disciples, in a panic, wake Jesus up and plead with Him to do something. Jesus, in His power literally just says “BE STILL” and the storm stops. The disciples are relieved, and their trip continues.

Jesus calming the storm helps us better understand our innate fears. Fears that literally can do bodily harm to us. We are dealing with basic survival skills here. These fears help us to a degree to avoid physical pain or even death! The disciples in these verses were fearful for their lives. They turned to the one they knew could handle the storm.

2) The feeding of the 5,000. (I know what you are thinking, how is this about fear. Just wait...) The story is very simple, people are hungry, so Jesus provides through two fish and five loaves of bread. But before that miracle happens. Jesus asks a question to His disciples. Luke 9:13 says, Jesus told them. "You give them something to eat.”

This passage helps us better understand Identity Fears. These fears manifest themselves when we feel we will fail or mess up within our community. The responsibility or job that Jesus had asked the disciples to do seemed impossible! The disciples here just wanted to send all these people home. Just imagine, here’s a task that is just too big and it is your job to make it happen. You would probably begin sweating buckets too if this responsibility fell into your lap.

Jesus just looks at things so much differently than we do! In both these passages, Jesus takes on the fears of his disciples. He demonstrates how much he cares for them by providing in unique ways. Calming the storm or feeding the people, he takes these jobs and does it!

I think that this is really important to look at right now. We have so many things going on that really make us fearful for the future. The responsibilities that we have taken on can really overwhelm us. Raising a family, doing your best at your job, and caring for your schools to just name a few. It would be nice to just say, JESUS, HELP ME!

Jesus knows what we are afraid of. He says, “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” He is right there with us in the storms of life, through all the responsibilities that are on our plate. He tells us to not be afraid. He gives us a spirit of boldness and power. We know that whatever the future holds, Jesus will be right there with us. The same Jesus who calms storms and feeds thousands is with you and He is with me.

In Christ,
  Russell Baumann

Recent Survey Results

Thank you to those who took the time to participate in our survey concerning our return to in-person worship. There were over 80 surveys returned and your comments were appreciated.

Of the surveys returned almost 2/3’s were from people not attending Sunday morning worship. The reasons varied from being cautious, to illness or surgery, work or being out of town, forgetting to call in for a service reservation or concerns that protocols, primarily mask recommendations, were not being followed.

A majority of the people surveyed said they were watching on Facebook if not attending.

As to when people thought it would be safe to return, the answers were varied. Some felt soon, some when there is a vaccine, when everyone wears a mask, when there are zero deaths in West Michigan, to right now and they have always felt safe.

A large majority of those surveyed felt we have done enough to keep our worshippers safe following the recommendations of Synod. However, a few thought we could do better with the masks.

Replies to the question of two services, one with masks and one without, were pretty evenly split.

Finally, for the additional comments. Twenty percent of the comments were concerning the wearing of masks. Some voiced disappointment that pastor and the elder did not wear masks while serving communion. Some are ready to have this whole thing over and want it to be time to get back to normal.

So what happens next? We will continue to hold services as we have been. Pastor has already stated he will wear a mask when distributing communion and the elders have been asked to do the same. We have already removed the requirement to call in reservations. We revisited the distancing requirement and now use every other pew instead of every third pew while still asking people to distance within each pew. Masks continue to be recommended but no one will be turned away for not wearing one. Finally, we will continue to clean between services and continue to follow the guidelines we receive from Synod.

We look forward to the day when all of this is behind us and once again we can worship together the way we have been accustomed to for the past 150 years here at St. James. While none of us know what tomorrow might bring, I am reminded of a verse from Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” In Him we place our trust.

  Keith Ramthun, Elder


Thank you to all who participated in our Cookie Dough Fundraiser. In these uncertain times your support means a lot. We raised over $1500.

As we look ahead to the Holidays, we are working out the details to still have a Christmas Program. It will look a little different, but I think it is essential to still involve the Children of our preschool in a Christmas Celebration. The excitement, joy, and love for Jesus shown by His precious little ones is needed now more than ever. Please pray for our efforts to continue to spread His love through His children.

As we look ahead to Thanksgiving, we have many gifts to be grateful for. I am grateful that through this challenging year I have continued to flourish and will continue to praise His Name. Praise God! A Blessed Thanksgiving to you all!

  Blessings, Ellen Grimm

Eye Glasses Donations

Unfortunately the trips to Honduras and Mexico for year 2020 had to be canceled due to the timing of the pandemic. There are also concerns that future trips may have to be cancelled. Meanwhile we are still collecting and processing glasses so donations are greatly appreciated. We encourage your members and friends to continue to donate their used glasses! Thanks, Douglass Totten OD, MBA

Midweek Events

Wednesday, November 18th ~ Thanksgiving Party

Looking ahead...

Wednesday, December 16th ~ Christmas Party

Sunday School News

Hi Moms & Dads... Great News... The Sunday School Christmas Program is ON!!!!

Saturday, December 12th, at 6:30 pm!

Because of seating arrangements due to Covid-19, we have to limit the number of guests to Parents, Siblings, and Grandparents only.

The program will be held in the sanctuary and we will assign pews to families. Unfortunately, we will not be able to gather and celebrate with refreshments as previous years.

The Christmas Program needs commitment. It is important to have your child at Sunday School for practice. If you already know you have other plans for this date, please let one of the Sunday School Team Members know.

We have been talking about love and giving and the joy it brings to others as well as ourselves. I spoke to the kids about the Christmas Shoe Boxes. Sarah Bernhardt has put together a great board of gift ideas. The display board is in the narthex….check it out! Have your child pick a tag and donate a gift. This is a great way to show love and giving. We have also been coloring pictures and making cards for the elderly in nursing homes. We want them to know we are thinking about them and praying for them.

The kids as well as the Sunday School Team are having great fun. We are so happy to have things back the way they should be downstairs!

  Grateful to Server, Angie Wigren

Sunday School

Every Sunday at 9:30 am. There is a sign in table just inside the back preschool doors!

Jr. Youth News

Jr. Youth Bible Study every Sunday at 9:30 am.

Jr. Youth Activities

Sunday, November 1st, 6:00 pm ~ Trust Activities (group building)
Sunday, November 15th, 6:00 pm ~ Thanksgiving Celebration

Sr. Youth News

We will have Sr. Youth Bible Study on the 1st, 3rd, & 5th Sundays of each month.
On the 2nd & 4th Sundays we are encouraging our Sr. Youth to help with Sunday School.
Sr. Youth Events - 2nd & 4th Sundays at 6:00 pm!

Sr. Youth Activities

Sunday, November 8th, 6:00 pm ~ Nerf Wars (pizza party)
Sunday, November 22nd, 6:00 pm ~ Thanksgiving Celebration/Pie Day

Confirmation Classes

Wednesdays at 6:30 pm.

Midweek Classes

Wednesdays at 6:30 pm.

Adult Bible Study

Sunday Mornings at 9:30 am
Tuesdays at 5:00 pm ~ Bible Refresher Class in Youth House

Pew Sisters Study

Thursdays at 3:30 pm.

Women’s Bible Study

Wednesday at 6:30 pm.

Men’s Bible Study

Monday mornings at 8:30 am, in the café area!

Love Family

November donations are Thanksgiving Dinner supplies and stuff to stock the pantry such as paper products, cleaning supplies and canned goods! Tags for the dinner will be on the sign-up board or text Kim at 231-730-0735 if you would like to donate something. Thanks so much!

150th Anniversary Committee

Our next Meeting is: Monday, November 2nd, at 7:00 pm

The Anniversary Committee is holding a slogan/logo contest needed to kick off our 150th Anniversary celebration. An example might be “Rooted in Christ” or whatever you come up with. The slogan ideas must be received by Sunday, November 8th, and the congregation will have until Sunday, November 22nd, to vote. The winner will receive a $100 gift card for their entry. Using that slogan we would like you to create a logo. These will also be displayed, and the congregation will select the winning logo. The winner of the logo contest will receive a $250 gift card. So get those creative minds in gear so we can make 2022 a real year of celebration!

Congregational Meeting

Wednesday, November 18th, at 7:30 pm. If you would like to get something on the agenda, please contact the office at 894-8471 by November 16th!

Red Cross Blood Drive

Wednesday, November 25th, noon to 5:45 pm. Sign up today!

Thanksgiving Worship Service

Wednesday, November 25th, at 6:30 pm (Note the time change!)

Church Decorating

Saturday, November 28th, at 9:00 am All are welcome to join in!

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

November Birthdays
11/02Jay Mulder11/17Gary Schlager
11/02Ron Bailey11/17Louie Mayville
11/03Heidi McLaughlin11/19Kaelyn Lohman
11/06Rex Allen11/19Wesley Hasenbank
11/08Jeremy Goodrich11/21Jeff Stevens
11/10Lauren Mills11/22Casey Seymour
11/10Paul Schroeder11/22Ellery Mayville
11/11Casey Huizenga11/23Marge Babcock
11/11Tom Kring11/27Brad VanBergen
11/13Janice Lohman11/27Hailey Jones
11/13Susan Lohman11/28Dianne Lohman
11/14Lisa Siedenstrang11/29Ken DuBois
11/15Bruce Baxter11/30Jim Eppard
11/15Judd VanBergen11/30Sue Miller
11/16Carolyn Koski

Happy Birthday to you...!! ~ 2020 ~ A Christmas Journey

Our Annual Christmas Cantata has been given a new look for 2020….instead of canceling the event, we decided to reshape it!

Please join us on Sunday, December 13th, for a service of praise and worship! We will walk through the Christmas story together... singing our favorite hymns, and hearing Bible readings, and special music!

Here is where we need your help:

Because of seating, we are looking at possibly having (3) services that morning so we don’t have to turn anyone away. If you are planning on attending, you need to sign up on the bulletin board or call the church office at 894-8471.
We are discussing: 8:15 am, 9:30 am, & 10:45 am

Please watch your bulletin or our Facebook Page for updates.

It’s that time of year again ...packing time!

Visit the Operation Christmas Child display in the Narthex to learn more about the program. There are lots of donations needed so be sure to check out the donation tree to find out how simple it can be for you to help.

I’ll be collecting donations until Friday, November 13th, with a Packing Party to follow on Sunday, November 15th, at 12:30; lunch provided.

Monetary donations can be given to Terri in the church office. Any questions please contact Sarah Bernhardt (231)903-5353.

ELDERSBob WackernagelRusty Streblow
TRUSTEESJames RamthunJoel Best
ACOLYTESNo one assigned for November
USHERSSam WackernagelArt Jones
Jake WackernagelJason Rice
ALTAR CARESue Streblow & Karen Neubauer
PRAYER PARTNERS1stJosh HulsBrian Bentz
8thJordan LohmanMerle Bernhardt
15thAlan MayvilleJeff Boulet
22ndLouie MayvilleJim Campbell
29thGeorge McLaughlinEric Deremiah
GREETERS8thNo one assigned for November
MULTI-MEDIA1stEric LindstromFriday Family
8thApril LipkaMarek Bernhardt
15thJeri WondersEric Deremiah
22ndAlicia KoskiLizbeth Bentz
25thEric Lindstrom (6:30pm Thanksgiving Service)
29thEric LindstromFriday Family
COFFEE1stNo one assigned for November
NURSERY1stNo one assigned for November
ALTAR FLOWERS1stVirginia Roesler
22ndSandy Veltman & Jeri Wonders

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!