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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 

March/ April 2017

A Word From Our Pastor

One of the most profound verses attributed to Jesus is this one: "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12:25) I have often pondered over this text to understand the significance of this teaching. Of course, we know in part that Jesus is talking about his death and the significance of it, but he is also saying it to us, his followers. It echoes John the Baptist's words, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) and Jesus' own words to us, "Take up your cross and follow me." (Luke 9:23) All of these verses talk about the sacrifice, the cost of seeking after the Kingdom of God in the world. These verses re-focus our attention off of ourselves and our own preservation and call us to follow Christ, even to the point of death. 
As we continue on this Lenten journey, this transformative work of dying to self so that the new life of God can be born in us is our struggle and our calling. As we look at the topic of Change in our worship series it reminds us that we are called to be transformed, renewed, and reborn in Christ so that the Kingdom of God can be made visible in our world. In faith, we continue to follow this path to the cross with our hearts fixed on the Joy of the Resurrection found in Christ. 
Lenten Worship Series:
Time for a Change

“Hear the promises of God: A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” 
Ezekiel 36:26
Lent can be a time of taking inventory of our lives. Themes of repentance became prominent as the church developed the liturgical year and Lent as a preparation for renewing dedication to the faith. To repent means literally to “Turn Around”, to find new direction. This concept of change and the change-making actions of Jesus will guide our spiritual journey this season and we will wrestle with our fear of change, the inevitability of change, the difficulty in changing and the life-giving new lease on life and call to service that change can bring.
Join us for one of the upcoming services - March 12 “Ruts”, March 19 “Everything Changes”, March 26 “Choices” April 2 “Solutions” Palm Sunday: April 9 “Into God’s Future” Easter April 16 “Living Transformed”. 

Holy Week Services

Here is a sneak peak of our Holy Week Services starting April 9th: 
Our Lenten Season culminates with our Holy Week services as we remember the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. It is a time to celebrate, mourn, and be filled with awe and wonder at the resurrection power of God's Amazing Love. Join us and the Brighton Ministerial Alliance churches in the following events. 

Palm Sunday April 9th, 10:15 a.m. - Join us for this Family celebration of Jesus Triumphal Entry.
Maundy Thursday April 13th, 7 p.m. - Easter Cantata - I am the Lord of the Dance. We are worshiping at St. Paul UMC (Main St and Vine).  We will also be celebrating Communion together.
Good Friday, April 14th, 7 p.m. - Service will be held at Brighton Assembly of God (1007 N. Main St. / Hwy 111/267) 
Easter Sunrise Service, April 16th, 7 a.m. - Service will be held at First Presbyterian Church in the Memorial Garden. Please dress accordingly. If the weather is wet, the service will be held in the church. 
Easter Breakfasts Following Sunrise Service:
Brighton Assembly of God  OR
St. Paul UMC in the Cartwright Building

St. John's Easter Egg Hunt at 9 a.m. on Easter Sunday

St. John's Easter Service April 16th 10:15 a.m. 

Highlights from January/February

Bott Cemetery Trivia Night

We had great turn out for our Annual Bott Cemetery Trivia Night. A special thanks to the Kolosieke family for the trivia questions and to the many volunteers helping making it a great success. We raised close to $1600 for the cemetery. 


The Pack-A-Sack Program

A special thank you to the Brighton Tiger Scout Troop (February) and the Brighton Girl Scouts (March) who came to pack bags for the Pack-a-Sack program. Join us for Packing during the Loyal Daughters meeting on the first Monday evening of the month at 6:30 p.m.

Upcoming Events

Sunday School Schedule

3/12 - Abraham's Visitors - Martins
3/19 - Rebekah and Isaac - Brenda N.
3/26 - Isaac's Blessing - Anne
4/2 - Jacob Wrestles - Retha
4/9 - Joseph and Brothers - Brenda
4/16 - Easter Egg Hunt
4/23 - Pharoah's Dreams - Brenda N.
4/30 - Joseph helps family - Janet S.

Our Sunday School Program is for children 3-12 years old. We are currently reading and learning about the stories from our Spark Children's Story Bible.  We also do various activities related to the story to engage the children in various ways. 


April 16th Easter Egg Hunt
For All Children


All Children are invited to our Easter Egg Hunt in the church Sunday Morning at 9:15 a.m. before worship.


The Patchwork Youth Gatherings
This is an LGBT friendly youth fellowship group at St. John's UCC to provide a safe, fun and supportive place to gather and make new friends.
This is open to all youth from the Tri-county area - Macoupin, Jersey, and Madison counties. Anyone aged 13-20 is welcome to attend.

Adult sponsors are also needed - contact Pastor Laurie if you are interested.  
The next gathering is scheduled for Sunday, March 12th at 1 p.m. We will be celebrating St. Patty's Day and playing games.
Everyone who wears green will have a chance to win the door prize. Bring a first time visitor/friend and double your chances. 

Visit our Facebook page if you want to see the latest updates. Find the Youth Gathering Page at
THE PATCHWORK on Facebook.
Monthly Meeting Schedule

Women’s Fellowship 
On Hold till Spring

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 6:30 p.m.
Cantata Rehearsals: 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul UMC

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

Volunteer Opportunities

Coffee Hour Hosts
Sign up in the Fellowship Hall to serve at Coffee hour following service. Hosts prepare coffee, set out snacks and, if needed, bring cookies or sweets to share.

Janitor Needed:
Volunteers needed for weekly cleaning of the church. Sign up in the fellowship hall. Duties include trash pick up, vacuuming or sweeping, cleaning bathrooms and occasional mopping, as needed. 

Other Events of Interest

Community Meals at the Municipal Building


Sometimes budget cuts can make things better. In September the Illinois Valley program cut our Community meal program to once a month. But the area churches did not want to lose this ministry so we are supplementing the meal program creating our own menu.

Join us every Wednesday at the Municipal Building at 11:45 a.m. for a hot meal and conversation. Suggested donation is $3 for seniors and $5 for people under 60 years old, and kids under 12 are free. 
Brighton Bistro
First Presbyterian Church in Brighton offers a free lunch on the third Saturday of the month at 11:30 a.m. All are welcome to attend. Meals delivered to the home are also available. Please call the church at 618-372-8241 during the week to sign up for delivery. 

Uni-Pres KinderCottage Night at the Improv
Saturday, April 1st, come on out for a night of fine dining and laughter in support of the KinderCottage featuring Ed Reggi and the Paper Slips Improv Theater. Doors open for a silent auction at 5 p.m. and for dinner and the show at 6 p.m.. This special event is being held at St. Paul UCC in Belleville and tickets are $40 each or $300 for a table of eight.

Call 618-874-6505 for tickets and information. 

Prayer Requests


Josephine, Micky and Lee H.
Debbie C.
Bill O. 

Relatives and Friends of Members
Pauline B –Jason
Don G – Bill J's friend
Joyce W – Friend of the congregation
Stacy Gibbs – Ryan’s Grandmother
Mary C & Joyce O– Janet S
Pam G – Friend of Marcia and Lonnie
Joe P – Friend of Pastor Laurie
Amy – daughter of Pam G
John C – Pastor’s brother

In Mourning
Jackson and Dottie Austin Family
Ken Erb Family
Donald Gray, Jr.
Donald Gray Sr. Family
William (Bill) Jones Family
Mary Busch Family – Pastor Laurie's Aunt
Guy Baker Family

Have a Prayer Request? Let us know.
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