People of God!

It is the NEW YEAR OF 2021! AND WE MADE IT! We survived. We came through this previous year of many challenges. We didn't all come through unscathed. There were painful, difficult, hard things many of us or our loved ones and friends faced. But we got through it. And every step of the way, JESUS, our God who loves YOU and who loves ME, was with us. He has promised to ALWAYS be with us as we enter this New Year of unknowns ahead.

I don't know what the coming year will bring. I'm not concerned or worried about it. How would that help? We will take each day, each week, each month, as it comes. And all will be well. Why? Because of our Emmanuel! I encourage you to walk closely with the Lord our God. He gives us HOPE, STRENGTH, and CONFIDENCE. Walk closely through your daily personal devotions, coming to in-person worship, worshipping with your church family online, and participating in whatever Bible Study or fellowship activities you can.

I want to thank you for supporting your congregation and staff during this challenging year behind us. Your staff who loves you struggled at times, too. It wasn't always easy. But we are all in this together because we are a family together. I thank you for understanding when we asked that you follow protocols during worship like spread out seating and wearing a mask. I know many of you hate wearing a mask, especially in worship. I hate wearing a mask, too. But we did it for our members who needed to be assured. It wasn't about us. It was about our church family. And I thank you for financially supporting our congregation's mission and ministry. You are very gracious and incredibly generous!

So here we go! Into January. We are starting up our educational ministries again beginning with Confirmation Classes on Wednesday, 1/6. Sunday School Jr/Sr Youth Classes and Adult Bible Study will resume on Sunday, 1/10. Midweek Classes will resume on Wednesday, 1/13. We will work to resume other activities as soon as we can. We will follow protocols, so please be prepared for that. I am confident, that as time goes on, and the vaccine is more readily available, and as more people have Covid and emerge from it, we will get back to our normal ministry routine here at St. James. So don't despair and keep at it!

On a personal note... I am thankful our family at large are all healthy and well. Our little Lucas, now 4, still struggles with intermittent seizures. Grandma Deb and Grandma Mary rotate every other week in Traverse City to help care for him much to the relief of Annie and Wes. Family takes care of family. Son Micah, now half-way through his second year at our Ft. Wayne Seminary, is doing extremely well in his classes and his helpmeet, Audrey, does an excellent job managing the home front. He is beginning to think about and get excited about his coming Vicarage assignment which he will learn WHERE sometime in May. The Lord has been watching over Micah and his dear family all through his time at the Seminary and I am confident he will have an outstanding Vicarage and Mentoring pastor to teach and guide him for that year!

We keep at it! God is good!

  ~ Pastor Brooks

Happy New Year
This is the day that the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

If there is one thing that every single Lutheran has heard at least once in their lifetime, it’s this... LUTHERANS DON’T LIKE CHANGE!

I write this with confidence... people are glad that 2020 is over. I’m sure a lot of you are thinking the same way. So many things changed for everyone this past year. Just to list a few things:
Honestly, the list could go on and on. Restaurants, schooling, sports, work, relationships, mental health, physical health, screen time, travel, the prevalence of Amazon, and so much more has changed this past year.

But let me tell you one thing that hasn’t changed. Christ.

Hebrews 13:8 says this, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

This is incredibly important! Jesus made us some big promises. He told us that He would never leave us or forsake. He told us that His love will never fail. He told us that He is our Helper and our Guide. He told us that when we are weak, then He is strong.

I take comfort in the fact that what Jesus says, He does. He doesn’t surprise us and say, oh, well things are different now and you can’t do that anymore. His grace is eternal. The words He spoke give life, the promises He shares bring hope, the life He lived showed us love. Those things will never change.

I encourage you to go into 2021 and have hope! Breathe life into others by sharing the Gospel and reaching out.

Sunday School, Midweek, and Confirmation classes will be resuming this January! Rally day is January 10th. Come to worship this day as we kick off our Winter classes. We are jumping back into our Bible Studies and classes. All with precautions of course. Youth ministry is still changing. More information will be given as we go through each week. Ideally, we will be meeting for our annual youth tubing night at Double JJ’s and I am still planning on a Lock-in. But things are changing. We are trying to find creative ways to connect.

Things will be on the calendar but planning a month in advance is tricky. For the most up-to-date information, the weekly bulletin and Facebook updates will be your best friend.

As always, St. James staff cares about you and if you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to call or email.

Jesus loves you!

In Christ,
  Russell Baumann


Much excitement in our classroom for Christmas. “It’s Christmas time”, “Look, it’s snowing!”, “How many days til Christmas?” These statements are heard often in our class. But at the same time, these same 3-4 year olds know that Christmas is Jesus’ Birthday! What a joy it is to share the story of Jesus’ birth with our students. Sharing the excitement with them is indeed a blessing to us.

As we move from Christmas to the New Year, what we know for sure is that our Lord will continue to walk with us on this journey of life. Because He was born for US - you and me!

Blessings in the New Year,
  Blessings, Ellen Grimm

Rally Day

Confirmation Classes (6th-8th) resume on Wednesday, 1/6/21, at 6:30 pm. Join us for RALLY DAY on Sunday, 1/10/21, as we kick off our Winter classes here at St. James! We will be back in the swing of things! Sunday School, Jr. & Sr. Youth Classes, and Adult Bible Class will resume on Sunday, 1/10, at 9:30 am. Midweek will resume on Wednesday, 1/13, at 6:30 pm. Please watch the bulletin or Facebook page for schedules and updates!

2021 Flower Chart

The 2021 Flower Chart has been posted. If you have a special date you would like to sign up for, you can call the church office at 894-8471 and we will sign you up, or you can stop by and sign up!

2022 Anniversary Committee

2021 has been a strange and challenging year. We as a committee have been mostly on hold. Thankfully we still have a year to go before we start our celebration. Time however is drawing close. The council is meeting early in January to determine how we as a church are going to go forward in 2021. Whatever the decides, we as a committee need to start firming up plans for the celebration. So watch your bulletin, Facebook and the church website for announcements of meeting times as we kick off the New Year.

Prayer Chain Update

To start a prayer request call: Doris Grover (894-4753) or The church office during office hours.(894-8471) To join the prayer chain or make changes please call Doris for the phone list or email Jeri Wonders ( if you chose to be contacted by email. Prayer is stepping into the presence of God. We know he hears and answers every prayer in His time and His ways. "Ask and it shall be given".

HAPPY NEW YEAR from your Whitehall Office of Thrivent Financial!

Charitable Individual Retirement Account (IRA) rollover gifts

Donors over the age of 70½ can make tax-free Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD) of up to $100,000 directly from their IRAs each year.

Donors who have reached age 70½ can direct amounts (subject to the aforementioned $100,000 limit) to charity in satisfaction of their minimum required distribution as long as the following requirements are met:
The contribution allows taxpayers who use the standard deduction to reduce taxable income.

Call the Thrivent Whitehall office at 231-894-8886, to learn more about Charitable IRA Distributions. Marci Bentz and Tony DeNicolo, your Thrivent Financial Professionals

Happy New Year

Author ~ Catherine Pulsifer (Inspirational Words of Wisdom)

Happiness depends upon your outlook on life. - Find the good in all situations.
Attitude is just as important as ability. - Keep your attitude positive
Passion, find yours this year! - Do what you love and you will never work.
Positive thoughts make everything easier. - Stay focused and stay positive
You are unique, with special gifts, use them. - Never forget you have talent.

New beginnings with a new year.
Enthusiasm, a true secret of success.
Wishes, may they turn into goals.

Years go by to quickly, enjoy them. - Wisdom from your elders, listen.
Energy, may you have lots of it. - Take care of yourself.
Appreciation of life, don't take it for granted.
Relax, take the time to relax in this coming year. - Keep a balance in your life

Online Service Directions!

How to watch our services online step by step: on Facebook Live on Sundays at 8:15 am (and 6:30pm on Wednesdays during Advent)
  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

January Birthdays
01/02Alec Muyskens01/19Tom Sheesley
01/02Cheryl TenBrink01/21Annlyn McKenzie
01/03Sue Griffith01/21Rick Stegenga
01/03Tonya Landis01/22Gene Rollenhagen
01/05Janice Schiller01/23Leda Rabe
01/05Katy Turpin01/23Lizbeth Bentz
01/06Connie Aerts01/24Jeff Boulet
01/06Kristina Schmidt01/25Anita Rademaker
01/06Will Ramthun01/26Eilene Cober
01/07Jody Johnston01/26Henry Mayville
01/07Roger Buchberger01/26Nicole Oquist
01/12Allison Best01/27Kristin Schultz
01/12Megan Ramthun01/28Barb Robinson
01/14Ann Ely01/28Judy Blink
01/14Duncan Miller01/28Todd Tryska
01/14Wendy Kessler01/29Alaina McCormick
01/15Al Ely01/29Ellianna Hedges
01/15Jordan Lohman01/29Erika VanBergen
01/15Tanya Simon01/29Ethan Koski
01/17Jake Blink01/29Jane Osborn
01/17Jeff O'Connell01/29Russ Mock
01/18Lois Hickman01/30Dante Richards
01/18Sean Zeller01/30Marci Bentz
01/19Morgan DeRose01/31Lucas Schumm

ELDERSE. Paul SchroederGary Mason
TRUSTEESJames RamthunChristian Mason
ACOLYTESNo acolytes for January
USHERSJim SilvisBrian Bentz
Rich KesslerAvarie Bentz
ALTAR CARENancy & Sarah Bernhardt
PRAYER PARTNERS3rdTodd RachowBrian Bentz
10thJay MulderEric Deremiah
17thMatt SchultzJeff Boulet
24thBob WackernagelHenry Friday
31stJake WackernagelMerle Bernhardt
MULTI-MEDIA3rdApril LipkaMarek Bernhardt
10thJeri WondersEric Deremiah
17thAlicia KoksiLizbeth Bentz
24thEric LindstromFriday Family
31stApril LipkaMarek Bernhardt
ALTAR FLOWERS3rdCall the church office at 894-8471 or
10thstop in and sign up for your favorite
17thdates in 2021!

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!