People of God!

First, I say "THANK YOU!" to all who sent me cards, called, or texted me during my total right hip replacement recovery. I appreciate that and I appreciate you! I am on the mend and am very thankful for my personal Physical Therapist Assistant wife, Deb, and her skills. I have tried to be a good patient and do what I am told to do! But what I am going through is so very minor compared to what many of our members have experienced or are going through now! My first Sunday back in worship I even told some of them they are "my heroes!" I applaud them for their strength, persistence, and attitude to keep at it! Every week will be better for me.

Ash Wednesday this year is on February 14, which also happens to be Valentine's Day -- don't forget to let people in your life know you love them very much! We will be celebrating communion on Ash Wednesday as we have done in the past. Our Midweek Lenten theme is "Return from Exile." In coordination with Pastor Willenbrock from Faith, Whitehall, and our Vicar, we will be rotating the services and sermons during the six weeks of Lent. Sometimes Pastor Willenbrock will be at St. James, as sometimes Vicar and I will separately be at Faith during these weeks. There will also be a time of refreshments and fellowship after each service.

As I write this I am looking forward to the Summer Men's Canoe Trip Expedition organizational meeting on Sunday, 1/28. I don't yet know how many will be going this summer but I do know we will be entering the BWCA through the Ely/West End this year. We will be determining a route and date at this meeting. I will be publishing information in the bulletin the Sunday of February 4th.

God Bless You!

  ~ Pastor Brooks

Funerals1 Sharon (Sherri) LaFrance (1/20/18)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Christmas season was a very enjoyable time for Kati and I here in Montague. It was good experience working through this busy time of the church year with Pastor Brooks, helping share the load of numerous services the weekend of Christmas and through advent. Kati’s parents came up from Indiana to celebrate the holiday with us for our first time hosting family together.

Kati and I were able to take our honeymoon the first week of January, to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It was incredibly relaxing, we spent most of our time by the pools or ocean in the 80 degree sun. The resort we stayed at was very safe and friendly, as well as our time spent downtown in the tourist areas.

Having had a good opportunity to relax, Kati and I are both ready to jump back into our activities the rest of this year, especially with Lenten and Easter seasons coming just around the corner

Sunday School - I spent my first week observing and helping with the elementary classes on Sunday mornings. This is an especially helpful opportunity for me, I haven’t had much experience working with those age groups.

I’m also providing material for the Sr. and Jr. youth Sunday school to walk chapter by chapter through Mark’s gospel. The goal here is to familiarize them with a whole account of Jesus life and ministry and its flow, as well as focus on and discuss major parts. It works well as our Gospel readings for this year will mostly come from Mark

High School Youth Wednesday - Pastor Willenbrock (from Faith Lutheran Whitehall) and I are continuing to lead the high school through themes and structure of a different book of the bible each week (Wednesdays 5-6p). I’ve been extremely pleased by the response from them, they’ve seemed to enjoy learning more indepthly about each book, as well as how they all in their own way are pointing towards our salvation through Jesus Christ. Attendance has been low lately - it’s hard to find a good time to meet where we aren’t conflicting with school activities. But it’s important that we have an opportunity to have more fellowship together with other Christians their age, as well as having a time to learn more. If you are interested in helping provide meals or snacks for this group, please contact my cell #(308)882-6015

Book Club - My new book club started has started, we’re reading through. “Has American Christianity Failed?” by Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller. The title is a little misleading. Primarily it will teach us why we hold on to tightly to what we believe as LCMS Lutherans, and how it differs from a lot of newer American denominations, all based on the Bible as our ultimate authority. This will be excellent for you if: 1. You have questions about what we believe as Lutherans and why. 2. You have questions about other denominations, why we disagree, and why it's important. We still have a few books available (paid for by Thrivent Action Team) if anyone is interested in joining late. Classes started on Mondays from 7-8 PM, January 15th.
In Christ,
  Vicar Paul Gaschler

A Note from the Gaschlers

On behalf of Paul and I, I would like to express how thankful we are to all of you. Your generosity during the Christmas season was very much appreciated. We loved receiving your cards, gifts, and kind words. We'll cherish all these things for years to come when we remember our time here at St. James.

Good Shepherd Preschool

Fall 2018-2019 Registration
Now registering for next year’s preschool classes. Please call school at 894-8471 or my home at 744-3408. I would be happy to answer any questions regarding our programs.

MWF Program for 4-5 yr. olds is $140/mo. from 9-11:30 am
T-Th Program for 3-4 yr. olds is $100/mo. From 9-11 am

We have registration forms and pamphlets outlining our program on the counter outside our classroom. We look forward to hearing from you and encourage you to help spread the word by sharing our pamphlets with friends and family. These are located on the counter outside our classroom. Thank you for your help!
Open House
Tuesday, March 20th, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Stop by and visit our Preschool!

  Ellen Grimm

Sunday School News

I would like to thank everyone that helped with candy donations for the parade and to all who were there to help with the Sunday School! We had a great time!

Also, a BIG THANK YOU to all the families that had their children participate in the Sunday School Christmas Program. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedules! Your children are such a blessing to have. Sunday School resumes on January 7th, at 9:30 am. We will return to regular curriculum and hope to have a great start to the new year... See you there!

Current Studies...

Vicar’s Book Club ~ Mondays at 7:00 pm
Women’s Study ~ Wednesdays at 6:30 pm
Pew Sisters ~ Thursdays at 3:30 pm

Sr. Youth

Remember to pick up your subs on Super Bowl Sunday, 2/4! They will be ready between services out in the Youth House!

Love Family

Donations for our Love Family are gift cards for Meijer, gas stations, Montague foods, or if you would like to donate money toward bills; you can put it in your giving envelope and mark the amount "love family". Thank you!

Trustees Committee Projects

Is there an area in the church building that needs work; a little or a lot? The Trustees are asking for your help. If you have an idea or you see something that needs the Trustees attention, please email the church office at, write it down and turn it in to the church office basket (outside the office door), or call the church office at 894-8471! Please include your name! The information will be added to the Trustees “To Do” list and the Trustees will check in with the office! That way things don’t get overlooked. The Trustees are in need of more members willing to join “Team Trustee”!! If you are interested, please contact Ron Bailey at 893-5008 or the church office at 894-8471!

Usher Training

The Elders will be hosting a breakfast meeting and training for all ushers on: Saturday, March 3, 2018, at 8:30 am. Please put this event on your calendars. Watch for more info to follow in the coming weeks.

Scrip News

Greetings St. James Family! The money earned through the Scrip program from June 1st – October 31st of 2017 has been calculated and paid to the ministry groups. Each family that purchases Scrip is able to designate a ministry to support with the Scrip earnings. Currently, the Scrip program is supporting the youth group, the Love families, the quilters, Good Shepherd Preschool, the men’s ministry, and individual family accounts to be used toward church trips. If your family took advantage of the Scrip program during the period of June through December, you should have a statement of your earnings available at the Scrip table. You supported the youth group with $73.37; the Love families with $46.15; the men’s ministry with $63.82; the Preschool with $1.76; the quilters with $141.17; and family accounts with $1501.21. Please make sure you have an updated enrollment form on file to be sure that your Scrip earnings are supporting your designated ministry group.

The Scrip program has grown! We will continue to sell gift cards in the narthex, but we are expanding to include online ordering from your computer or smart phone and electronic debiting from your checking account. Many stores and restaurants are offering card reloads and electronic scrip while donating the same percentage to the church. More opportunities to earn money while you shop! We’re excited to offer these new options and can’t wait to see the program grow.

The first step- set up your online account at by clicking the green “Get Started” button in the top right corner of your screen. The code is F33BE4F34514. Details about online ordering and electronic payment are available at the scrip table. Stop and ask for a packet!

What’s new:

150th Anniversary St. James Lutheran ~ 2022

Preparations have already begun for this milestone! One activity that has started is the collection of all available confirmation groups pictures. We are looking for pictures prior to 1966, also for the years 1970, 1986, 1994, 2005, and 2012 to the present year. You may have to put your “thinking caps” on and check with the likes of grandparents, etc… If at all possible identify each row, we do have the names of each class. The pictures may be dropped off at the church office. The photos will be scanned and then returned back to you.

If you have any questions, please phone and leave a message with this number:
231-894-9459. The call will be returned!

Your Anniversary Committee
Judy Best and Marge Block

Library News for February

The Peoples Bible Commentaries are coming in! These easy to read books are published by CPH. They open up the books of the Bible to greater understanding to questions ranging from why are there so many numbers in Numbers, to what is David saying in some of his Psalms, to exactly what is Paul saying in his letters.

Thanks to the Bernhardt Family for this wonderful gift!

February Birthdays
02/01Bob Meacham02/18Jim Sweeney
02/01Jackson VanBergen02/20Elijah Buchberger
02/07Claude Babcock02/21Jillian Sommerfield
02/07Jeri Wonders02/22Christian Lipka
02/07Madeline Turpin02/22Daniel Lipka
02/07Pastor John Brooks02/22George Lohman
02/09Susan Gittins02/22Matthew Lipka
02/10Janet Kittridge02/23Louisa Nichols
02/14Grace Stout-Kring02/24Aspen Chamberlain
02/14Jim Silvis02/25Wyatt Davis
02/14Sherrie Ramthun02/26Ethan McKenzie
02/15Bill Van Frank02/26Gage Smith
02/15Ron Cober02/26Jen Huizenga
02/16Charlie Eilers02/26Rick Gifford
02/16Loraine Wilkinson02/27Jase Moore
02/17Fay Townsend02/27Maggie Eilers
02/17Kim DuBois02/29Carol Hanson


Many residents of Albuquerque, New Mexico, were unhappy with a billboard that was put up shortly before Christmas. The controversial billboard, sponsored by an atheist group, has a picture of a Nativity scene, but with these words next to it in large letters: “JUST SKIP CHURCH. IT’S ALL FAKE NEWS!” Below that it said, “Happy Holidays from American Atheists.”

Really? That’s the best they can offer this world – to do their very best to undermine the Gospel? They are saying that Christianity is false, that the Nativity is a farce, that the Church and everything we stand for is a lie. Fake news? The truth about our God coming into this world and dying on the cross for our sins is anything but. It is the truth that sets us free.

There are many things in this world we can call fake news: Such as the “fake news” of evolution – that blind chance produced the complexity we see in the universe, or the “fake news” that a baby in the womb is not a human being fully deserving of the right to life, or the “fake news” that marriage can be anything we want, instead of what God states that it is – the union between one man and one woman.

It has been 45 years since the Supreme Court stripped away any rights to our unborn children. During that time there has been an amazing amount of “fake news.” Everything from trying to convince people that the “fetus” was only a “blob of tissue” to making the abortion argument simply about “women’s reproductive rights.”

But the truth is still there and cannot be hidden. Life begins at conception. The science of genetics even admits that. And this country’s founding documents state clearly that we believe that every individual has bestowed on them certain unalienable rights by their Creator – most chiefly the right to life. As Christians, we also know the value of each human life, including that of our unborn children, as well as those weakened by age, or disease. Each life has intrinsic value because God is the author of life. To judge one person as less valuable than another has led to genocide throughout history. While many shudder at the ethnical genocide that often occurs in other nations, they often turn a blind eye to the genocide happening right here in this nation – and that is the war against our own children.

But thanks be to God! We have a God who became flesh and blood – a human being - because He loved us enough to save us even from our own sinful and rebellious nature.

A God who was willing to stoop down not only to enter His fallen creation, but to do what needed to be done to save it. That meant He had to suffer and die for our sins, and He did. ALL of them. That is not fake news. THAT is Good News!

And God takes hold of us – by means of faith, by which we grasp onto who Jesus is and what He has done. God picks us up, wipes away our tears, heals our broken hearts. Jesus is there with us always, and though we must suffer in this life, yet He always helps us and comforts us, and reminds us that in Jesus Christ the victory has been won. Death shall not destroy the believer in Jesus, but eternal life has been given them in Christ’s name.

So, dear people, take a stand for your brothers and sisters – yes, even those tine little ones in the womb. Our Lord is the Lord of Life. Our sins are forgiven. We are His people, called to serve our neighbor in love. Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners. He came to save you and me. That is NOT fake news. That is GOOD NEWS.

Pastor Paul Clark
LFL-MI Spiritual Advisor,
Legislative Reporter, &
President Pro Tem

ELDERSE. Paul SchroederGary Mason
TRUSTEESRick StegengaBecky Winters
ACOLYTESHenry BaileyClaire Meacham
USHERSJim SilvisMerle Bernhardt Jr.
Bill TreptowGreg Neubauer
Jason CooperJim Campbell
Rich LaFranceDave Campbell
Bruce Wackernagel
ALTAR CAREBecky Winters & Angie Lindstrom
PRAYER PARTNERS4thEric LindstromRusty Streblow
11thJosh HulsBill Van Frank
18thJordan LohmanTodd Tryska
25thAlan MayvilleBrian Bentz
GREETERS4thDoris GroverM/M Jared Justian
11thM/M Rick Kessler Jr.Amy Urban
18thM/M Frank MorningstarM/M Tom Mott
25thJim NeubauerM/M Greg Neubauer
MULTI-MEDIA4thEric LindstromFriday Family
11thZach BuchbergerEric Deremiah (EL)
14thAlicia Koski (Lenten Service)
18thAlicia KoskiJackson VanBergen
21stJeri Wonders (Lenten Service)
25thJeri WondersMarek Bernhardt (EL)
28thApril Lipka (Lenten Service)
COFFEE4thSusie Albrechtsen & Eloise Baxter
11thKelli Rachow & Girls
18thAlicia Koski & April Lipka
25thPat Smith & Carolyn Koski
NURSERY4thLauren Mills
11thno one scheduled
18thJill Squire
25thno one scheduled
18thKaren Chamberlain & Carolyn Koski
25thPhil & Mary Albrecht
18thKaren Chamberlain & Carolyn Koski
25thPhil & Mary Albrecht

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!