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St. John's
United Church of Christ

216 North Street
PO Box 418
Brighton, Illinois 62012


Rev. Laurie Crelly, pastor

Sunday Worship:  10:15 am
Sunday School:  9:15 am

The Caller Newsletter 

September 2016

A Word From Our Pastor

"Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:1

Have you ever had a stranger cross your path, a chance acquaintance, and afterward you wondered if that was an encounter sent by God? I have had a few in my life. One memorable one was on my first trip to Germany. I was very nervous about traveling alone at the age of eighteen, especially after I arrived in Frankfort and did not know how to find my train. After unsuccessfully using my broken German at the ticket counter to try and get my ticket, I stood there scared and tired. Eventually I found myself staring at the schedule board trying to make sense of it when a young black man, an American, came up to look also. I asked him if he understood it, and he said yes. He proceeded to ask where I was going and quickly helped me find the right train and purchase my tickets. He was also riding that train to the main station where I needed to switch to the next train. He helped me get onto the system and when we got to the connecting station I had just minutes to get across the station to the right platform. The young man, quickly grabbed my two bags and ran ahead as I struggled to keep up with my heavy backpack. As I watched him go up the steps and around a corner, I quickly prayed, "God, I hope he is an honest person." As I came to the top of the steps, he was there at the train begging the conductor to wait for me to board. He helped me settle in, told me to stay on this train to my destination and then got off a few stops later. Yes, he became my unexpected angel that day. But more than that, it became a sign to me that God was with me during this new adventure and that even when feeling lost, God is with me. 

I have learned over the years to look at new people in my life as gems sent by God. Sometimes I get to be a blessing in their lives, showing God's grace and love. Other times they come to teach me something new that I need for my own life. Once in a while they can be life changing forces that redirect the future in unexpected ways. 

It can be a challenge to not let our guard fly up when a stranger invades our space or to keep from having our initial impressions of someone put us off from striking up a conversation. I have learned to see those moments with a little curiosity and wonder - wondering what little surprise God may have tucked into this chance encounter. Wondering how this will change me and maybe also change them.

So the next time you have a chance encounter that leaves you wondering if God had played a hand in that, say a little prayer. "God thank you for that encounter today. Help me to look back and see the hidden blessings you intended for me in that. Help the other person feel your blessings also as they journey with you. Amen."

Pastor Laurie

Vacation Bible School - Go for the Go!

We had 10 kids total involved in Vacation Bible School. The kids loved all of the great activities and learning about what it takes to be on God's Team. A special thanks to all of the volunteers that came to help make this a great event. An extra special thanks to Brittney Gilleland for coordinating and leading the three days of FUN!!


Lippert Scholarship Award


Congratulations to Ashley Oertel, our 2016 Lippert Scholarship recipient. Ashley was awarded $400. Ashley is starting her first year of Nursing School at Lewis and Clark College and is grateful for the help of the scholarship to help cover her costs. 

Donations for the Lippert Scholarship Fund are collected every month and the scholarship is awarded every year in August. Applications are available online or through the church office. 
Thank you for contributing! 


Remembering Bill Jones

Feature Image

William (Bill) Jones, a lifelong member of St. John's UCC, died on August 2nd, 2016 at the age of 82. His loving and gentle presence in our community is sorely missed. The family will be holding a memorial service at St. John's UCC on October 29th in the morning (details are still being arranged). The St. John's Choir is also planning on singing some of Bill's favorite hymns when we gather to celebrate his life and express our love for the family. Please save the date and watch for more details to come. 


Upcoming Events

Sunday School Starts September 11th



We have a fun and interactive Sunday School program for children ages 4-12. Join us starting Sunday, September 11th at 9:15 a.m. in our upstairs Education classrooms. New children are always welcome and children of all ages are welcome to join us to worship.

We love the presence of children during worship. Older children are encouraged to help lead worship - collecting the offering, help with readings, light candles, etc. 


Ham and Beans Dinner September 23rd


Join us Friday September 23rd for our Ham and Beans Dinner Fundraiser from 4 - 7 p.m.


$7 for adults and $4 for kids under 12. 





Blessing of the Animals Sunday,
September 25th 10:15 a.m. 

This is one of the most fun worship services we have. Bring your dog, cat, pet snake, cow, horse, even your pet turtle or chicken to be blessed. We pray a blessing over each animal. We even pray over photos of your beloved pet or livestock if it's too much for them to come.
Weather permitting it is held in our church parking lot or in the church basement if it is raining. 

The Patchwork Youth Gatherings

We started a new youth drop in night at St. John's UCC to offer a safe, fun and supportive place to gather and make new friends. Our first gathering was held August 19th and eight youth attended, eating dinner, playing games and just hanging out together. This is open to all youth from the Tri-county area - Macoupin, Jersey, and Madison counties. Anyone aged 13-20 are welcome to attend. Adult sponsors are also needed - contact pastor Laurie if you are interested.  

Next Gathering is scheduled for
Sunday, September 18th 5-8 p.m. Visit their Facebook page if you want to see the latest updates. Find them at THE PATCHWORK on Facebook


Monthly Meeting Schedule

Women’s Fellowship 
First Thursday 
of the month at 1:30 p.m.

Loyal Daughters
First Monday
of the month at 6:30 p.m.

Ad Team 
Third Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m.

Every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Worship and WOW Team 
First Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m.

Prayer Requests

Josephine & Mickey H, Debbie C,
Taylor R, Bill O, David S

Jerseyville Rehabilitation - Barb S

Liberty Manor - Dottie Lou A

Ken E – Brother in Law of Marcia, Guy and Pauline B –Jason, Don G – Bill J Friend, Joyce W – friend of congregation, Stacy Gibbs – Ryan’s Grandmother, Mary C & Joyce O– Janet S, Randy H– Ruth G Brother in Law, Pam G – Friend of Marcia and Lonnie, Joe P – Friend of Pastor Laurie, Amy – daughter of Pam G.

In Mourning
William (Bill) Jones Family, Mary Busch Family – (Pastor Laurie's family), Jackson Austin Family, Jeanie Bott Family, Bernice Meier Family, Marie Nurnberger Family, Harvey Schroeder Family

Have a Prayer Request? Let us know.

Other Events of Interest

Community Meals at the Municipal Building


Sometimes budget cuts can make things better.
Our Community Meal program is now planning and cooking our own menu.
Join us every Wednesday at 11:45 a.m.
Cost is $3 for seniors and 5.00 for people under 60. 
Please call Billie to reserve a meal - 618-372-8860

Transgender 101:
Cultural Competency training!

Sponsored by:


And the Metro Trans Umbrella Group



Where:       St. Paul United Church of Christ

                   115 W B St., Belleville, IL 62220


When:        September 1, 2016   7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

PFLAG is the organization for parents, friends, allies and LGBTQ people united for equality. 

For more infomation about these groups visit:  or


Check us out on Facebook or our Website:
Copyright © 2016 St. John's United Church of Christ, All rights reserved.

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