A letter from our Pastor, Cara Tanis
St. John's has been a humble church for people to gather in Bellingham for 125 years. From our early immigrant ancestors to the fast-paced, ever-changing lives of people of faith today, St. John's has seen great change. The important things have not changed and can be found here every week.
At the center of St. John's ministry is worship. The most important thing we do is celebrate the God who loves us, calls us, and sends us out with a message of good news. We believe God meets us in worship, loves us, forgives us, and desires for us to grow in our spiritual journey. The people of St. John's are warm and fun and deeply caring. We are not perfect, so you're not expected to be either. We would love to have you dine with us at the Lord's Table and at a social time after worship. Good food, laughter, and God's amazing grace are truly what feed us most.
May you know God's love and may it surprise you today... and every day!
Our worship is a blend of traditional Lutheran liturgy, contemporary music, and favored gospel hymns. The tone of our gathering is joyful and we come together to praise God, join in prayer for one another and the world, and are fed by the Word of God and the Lord's Supper. All are welcome to participate fully in worship.
St. John's is a congregation in re-development. What this means is that we realize we have changes to make. Changes that are necessary in order to more fully live into and live out our mission. Church members, Church Council, and pastor have a written covenant, a promise to discern God's call to our community, to guide us in this process, and to hold ourselves accountable.
About Our Congregation
St. John's Lutheran is a small church with many retired members and a growing group of young people of all ages. We are officially called a Church in Redevelopment, which means that we know we have work to do to continue to thrive in our community — and serve our community. It means that we know that we need to be open to change, while striving to be faithful with all that God has blessed us with.
God has been faithful to St. John's for 125 years through those who have served and continue to serve in this place. We have a deep and abiding trust in God's faithfulness. We believe God is always up to something new — and we want to be a part of it. And we hope you do to!
What We Believe
St. John's believes in the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In our preaching and teaching we trust that the Gospel shows the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. Our teaching or theology serves the proclamation and ministry of this faith. It does not, however, have an answer for all questions, not even all religious questions. Our teaching and theology simply prepares us to be witnesses in speech and in action of God's rich mercy in Jesus Christ.
SOME VALUES HELD BY ST. JOHN'S
From our worship, to our fellowship, to our service there is a spirit of joy. Laughter can be heard from children of all ages. We have fun together. We worship and pray together – joyfully. We call it spontaneity... it is sometimes barely organized chaos. We have heard and have seen that God likes to create in such places.
St. John's is a small church. The members and staff strive to care for one another like family. We want to know if members, relatives, friends are in need of prayers, a visit, or a call. Visitors are quickly invited to dine at our table and share in the community. We value being friendly and welcoming to all.
As people of God, we know that we have been blessed in order to be a blessing to others. It is our conviction that God has provided a beautiful space for worship and service. Sharing our space with community groups is an act of faithful stewardship. May God's house be a blessing to all who enter. May their work be a blessing to the community as well.
We have a variety of opportunities for you to get involved here at St. John's Lutheran Church.
Select an area of interest for more information.
+ Christian Education and Spiritual Practices
Faith Development and Spiritual Practices are vital for a healthy life of faith and a healthy congregation. St. John's supports members' own practices and aims to offer opportunities for growth. St. John's strives to train our next generation of disciples to be active in all areas of church life now—in worship, in education, in fellowship, and in service. We feel it is important for them to “own” their faith and grow in it.
Men's Bible Study: Offered the third Wednesday of each month at the Spring Creek Retirement Community (223 E Bakerview Rd, Bellingham) at 7:30am. Breakfast is provided. Topics are chosen by those who attend.
Women's Bible Study: Offered at one of our members home each one Monday each month. Topics chosen by those who attend. All are welcome to attend. Please contact the office for more information.
Spiritual Direction & Coaching: Please contact the church office for more information about these opportunities.
Book Club: Offered one Monday a month at one of our members homes. Books are chosen by those who attend, and reccomendations are always welcomed. All are welcome to attend. Please contact the office for more informaiton.
Bible Camp: St. John's sends all eligible youth to Lutherwood Bible Camp each summer, with the aim of providing scholarships to them all. Scholarship applications available in the church office, due March 15th.
+ Outreach, Social Ministry & Community Partners
Partnering with others is an important part of our mission and ministry. The Outreach Team coordinates regular and special service projects. Money and in-kind donations are collected. Many outreach projects also qualify for grants from Thrivent Financial. If you have a Thrivent Account, you may easily qualify for a grant to the ministry of your choosing. For assistance in applying, please contact Pastor Cara.
Below is a listing of some of our ministry partners:
Whatcom Food Bank & Salvation Army Foodbank: Our youth have joined the nationwide Souperbowl Sunday Food Drive and also sponsored a Baby Needs Drive.
Camp Lutherwood: Our local ELCA Bible Camp on Lake Samish. We have a long history of partnership with this great ministry. Summer camp scholarships are available, application forms available in February.
Lutheran World Relief: St. John's members have supplied Backpacks, School Supplies, and Refugee Comfort Kits through this Ministry of the ELCA.
CAST Ministry: (unofficially, Coffee And Sandwiches Together) is now housed at St. John's in partnership with the Interfaith Coalition (made possible by many community volunteers), preparing and serving simple meals to hungry people downtown Bellingham. Please contact Mary Ann O’hara to volunteer one day a month or to donate supplies.
The Interfaith Coalition of Whatcom County: We hold several collections throughout the year that help support the Interfaith Coalition including a winter coat drive, a holiday family gift collection, and summer collections for toiletry items.
Spring Creek Retirement Community: St. John’s hosts their Men’s Bible Study at Spring Creek and welcome all others to join. Generally on the third Wednesday of each month 7:30 – 9:00 AM. Please contact Bob Jacobson for more information.
The Agape Home: St. John’s members have collected for the Agape Home for Mother’s Day for the past several years. Our collection changes by the year depending on the need request from the Agape Home.
The Lighthouse Mission: : St. John’s members collect socks and underwear for ‘Unide Sunday’ in honor of Father’s Day for the Lighthouse Mission.
The Sunnyland Stomp: We have been a proud sponsor in our local Sunnyland Stomp. A neighborhood summer celebration which features games, art, food, activities, music and so many more opportunities for the members of not only the neighborhood, but the entire city. St. John’s has been a stop for the treasure hunt on the map for the children to search for.
The Parade: Members of St. John’s have made a tradition of spending the hours before the Memorial Day Parade/Blossom Time Parade/Ski-to-Sea Parade with our doors open for the public to use our restrooms and a refreshments and goodies table outside on our steps. We are located within the staging area of the parade, just north of the official start. Before you find that good seat for the parade, stop on by for some cookies, muffins, coffee or water.
AA, Al-Anon, OA: : St. John’s is delighted to be a space for groups of AA, Al-Anon, NA and OA to come together and hold their weekly meetings for several years at our location. Each group has weekly meetings within our building. For more information on a specific group and their meeting time and date, please go to the organizations website. Several of these groups currently or in the past hold their leadership meetings as well as other meetings within the building on top of their general meetings.
Bellingham Damekor: The Bellingham Damekor is a women’s chorus that sings traditional Scandinavian and American music in all the Scandinavian languages and in English. The Bellingham Damekor has used St. John’s as a space for practice and has several of their concerts at our building. We are also proud that one of the founding members of this group is a member of St. John’s.
Bellingham Mannskor: The Norwegian Men’s Chorus, has used our church as a place of practice weekly and held at least a yearly concert at St. John’s. They sing traditional Scandinavian and American music in all the Scandinavian languages and in English. They perform in nursing homes, retirement homes, and churches.
Bellingham Ukrainian Church: The Bellingham Ukrainian Church has become part our community partners in big ways. The church utilizes our building space regularly twice a week for their worship, languages classes, and for other special occasions. Members of the Ukrainian Church also help greatly when St. John’s members hold our semi-annual facility workdays. This amazing group has been a great contributor to St. John’s and we look forward to continued partnership with them.
Silverado Memory Care: Pastor Cara provides worship with the sacrament of Holy Communion for all interested members of Silverado two Thursdays a month. Silverado is a memory care focused community.
Our Visitation Committee and our Pastor provide home-bound members and other/non-members routine visits, check-ins and communion,. For more information and/or to schedule a visit, please contact the office.
+ Church Council
St. John's is governed by an elected church council. The following committees plan and oversee these areas of ministry. You may contact the Church Council President, Warren Fox who will direct your concern to the appropriate committee.
Worship and Music: Worship is the center of our community life...on Sunday Mornings and for special services. This team plans for worship. There are many opportunities for service including: assistants for worship, music, altar guild, singing, reading, and serving communion. Shared Fellowship Meals — At least one Sunday every month, St. John's gathers after worship for food and fellowship. All are invited. Themes often follow the liturgical church year, as well as other holidays. This team coordinates the schedule, but many cooks and clearers make it easier and more fun.
Congregational Care: The visitation team consists of members who are trained to visit the homebound, hospitalized, members in nursing homes and care facilities. Members can also sign up to receive special training to become Eucharistic ministers (bringing communion to those who cannot make it to church).
Property & Maintenance: The property team coordinates the use of the property by visiting guests and groups. It also facilitates regular building and grounds work days. These days are announced for anyone to join in the work and fun. This team responds to on-going and emergency needs and is involved in all special property projects.
Youth & Education: Classes, programs, service projects are planned for disciples of all ages. This team coordinates curriculum, volunteers, and teachers and others to support our youth programs.
Outreach: This team coordinates the service projects, social ministry, and outreach for the church. Find more information in the Outreach tab about our many projects and partners. This team also coordinates publicity, advertising, print and social media.
Finance: The Finance Committee overseas all donations, expenses, and memorial funds.
President: Warren Fox
Vice President: Judy Nelson
Secretary: MaryAnn O'Hara
Treasurer: Jane Christianson