St. John's Lutheran Church

In the City for Good!

St. John's Lutheran Church participates in God's mission to bless, save, restore and reconcile the world through meaningful worship and faithful witness in the city of Des Moines and around the world.

St. John's Lutheran Church invites and welcomes all people to experience the Good News of God's grace, forgiveness and unfailing love. The Good News calls and empowers us to share God's love in word and deed throughout our city, nation and world.

What's Happening at St. John's

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Capital Campaign Update

Thank you for returning your Bless This House capital campaign Commitment Cards! If you have not returned your pledge, please return it to the office as soon as possible!

Campaign update as of November 21:
Pledged to Date: $1,734,983.01  /  % of Goal 96.39%  /  Pledges Received: 268  /  Households Pledging: 76.35%

Year-End Giving: Make Note of December 31

Contributions placed in the offering plate on or before Dec. 31 or brought to the office prior to the end of the year will be included on your 2018 statement. Please note that the business office is closed on December 31. Checks mailed must have a postmark of Dec. 31, or prior. Online giving through our website dated prior to the end of the year will also be included on your 2018 statement. Please call Linda at 243-7691 x106 with any questions.

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Children's Ministry

The Children’s Advent Program is this Sunday, Dec. 16, at 9 a.m. in the sanctuary. Warm-ups begin in the chapel at 8:15 a.m. A celebratory hot chocolate reception follows the 10 a.m. service in the Fireside Lounge. All are invited to celebrate the coming of our King!

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Sunday Morning Education Forum

Dec. 16: No Education Forum. Please join us for the Children’s Advent Program in the Sanctuary at 9 a.m.

Dec. 23: “The Theology of Beauty” Part 2 with Dr. Mark Mattes, Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Grand View University. This past August Dr. Mattes had a book published entitled, Martin Luther’s Theology of Beauty: A Reappraisal. Dr. Mattes will analyze and discuss Luther’s theological insights of beauty and its “implications for art, music and the contemplative life.”

Small Groups

Mah Jongg: Dec. 17, 6 p.m. Meets fall and winter in Neumann.

Quilting: Dec. 18, 9:30 a.m. in Room 308.

Lunch Bunch II: Wednesday, Dec. 19, 12:30 p.m. If interested in joining, contact Ann Moeller at or 515-274-7339.

Recreational Book Club: Meet in Rose Holm on Dec. 19, 4:30 p.m., to discuss I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb, and look ahead to Jan. 23 to discuss The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Lunch Bunch I: Thursday, Dec. 20 at 11:30 a.m. Coordinators: December - Judy Munger (971-1549), January - Karen Schonenberger. With questions or to join the group, contact Mary Liechty (

WIRED January Service Project Meeting: Join WIRED (Women Interested in Renewal, Education and Discovery) on Sunday, Jan. 27 (11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.) in Weertz for a Service Project Meeting. Cost for the lunch is $10. Deadline to register is Jan. 20. Our speaker will be Rana Scarlett-Johnson of Mosaic, a faith-based organization serving people with intellectual disabilities. Mosaic provides a life of possibilities for people with intellectual disabilities; supports them and empowers the pursuit of their goals; and celebrates their successes. Prior to the event, we will be making lap-size fleece blankets to give to Mosaic. Participation by all church members is welcome! Watch for more information soon.

Midweek Music Series

The Midweek Music Series presentation on the Wednesday before Christmas traditionally features members of the St. John’s community, collaborating to bring a concert of vocal and instrumental music. The December 19 performance features vocalists Joel Gettys and Grace Johnson. Mike Elsbernd on organ, Pastor Rachel on piano, Sue Odem on oboe, and handbell quartet HeartBeat (including Beth Ann Edwards) will round out the program. Please join us in the St. John’s Sanctuary for 30 minutes of a unique selection of Advent and Christmas music. This performance is free and open to all. A light lunch, priced at $6 per person, will be served in Weertz Hall following the music.

Midweek Music Series will take two weeks off during the Christmas break, and return on Wednesday, January 9, when singer, guitarist, and song-writer Rob Lumbard returns with a concert of blues and other good tunes fit for a January afternoon

December Arts Events

These events take place in the St. John’s Sanctuary. They are free and open to all. For more information about these events, please contact Beth Ann Edwards (

  • Friday, December 14, 7:00 pm - Des Moines Concert Handbells Concert

    • Des Moines Concert Handbells (DMCH) is a collaboration of 17 advanced handbell musicians from the metro and surrounding areas. The group will offer its annual Christmas concert on Friday, December 14, at 7:00 p.m. at St. John’s. The performance, led by Beth Ann Edwards, Julie Murphy, and Patrick Gagnon, will feature transcriptions of holiday favorites as well as original music composed for handbells. The performance is open to the public and a free-will offering will be collected.

  • Saturday, December 15, 2:00 pm - TubaChristmas Concert featuring tuba and euphonium players from Central Iowa

    • Enjoy a beautiful, rich, organ-like sound from a mass low brass choir playing your favorite Christmas carol melodies. Over 60 tuba and euphonium players will gather in the St. John’s sanctuary for this unique sound. Low brass players are welcome to take part in a walk-in rehearsal, have lunch, and then play a concert. ALL ages and skill levels are welcome. This concert is free and open to the public.

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Artist of the Month: Becky Lau Ekstrand - Words of Prophecy Surrounding the Birth of Christ

Graphic designer and fine artist Becky Lau Ekstrand has created typographic treatments of texts from the Old Testament scriptures chosen for the Sundays in Advent. These prophetic words call on God’s people to rejoice and be glad, because God’s promise of being in the midst of God’s people are being fulfilled. These words are as meaningful today as when they were written. Additional designs include the prayer of the day for each Sunday. These prayers are derived from early medieval worship books and each includes the imperative to “stir up.” Rounding out the exhibit is the Magnificat, Mary’s song to God when she heard that she would give birth to Jesus..

Urgent Need at Beacon of Life

Beacon of Life, a women’s shelter in the Sherman Hill neighborhood, provides long-term transitional housing for up to 34 women struggling with issues such as homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse. A member of St. John’s who works there has reached out to us with a specific and urgent need for twin-sized sheets, pillow cases, blankets and towels. Used items are acceptable if they are in good condition and stain-free. Donations may be brought to St. John’s and we will deliver to Beacon of Life.

Please check your linen closets for items you may be able to donate – or consider doing a little early Christmas shopping to meet this need! Thank you!

 600 6th Ave. Des Moines, Iowa  50309 - 515.243.7691 - a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America