St. John's Evangelical Lutheran church is located in historic downtown Oshkosh, WI. All are invited to join us for Sunday Worship at 10:15am, Sunday School, and all activities of the congregation. We celebrate our gift of fellowship and share our spiritual gifts with our brothers and sisters in the community and the world. It is important for us to reach across denominational boundaries and appreciate the common good we all share. We live in this commitment through our partnership with Immanuel United Church of Christ in Neenah, WI. and all those that we have the honor to interact with.
Pastor: St. John's has been blessed with Reverend Dr. Tom Fritz as our interim pastor for 2020. With over 40 years of serving throughout the Midwest he brings a wonderful perspective of steadfast faith and stewardship(bio below). In addition,we thank Pastor Stephanie Lorenz for her service and passion over the last several months .
Paula Steinert is the director of our musical program, using her significant talent to brighten our worship with music. She also regularly coordinates special musical events during our Sunday Worship.
Deb Angelo is our dedicated office volunteer and likely to be the first voice you will hear when contacting St. John's. She brings joy to her duties and welcomes all to our facility.
Dear Friends in Christ,
What a joy it is to serve as your Interim Pastor. I look forward to the challenges ahead as you prepare to open a new chapter of ministry with your next Settled Pastor.
As we begin walking together into the future, I thought it might be helpful if I shared a little of my past with you. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, met my first wife in high school, attended Elmhurst College and earned by BA in 1971, got married, and moved to St. Louis to attend Eden Theological Seminary. While there Darlene and I started our family, bringing Kelly into the world in my first year, and Jason in the second year.
After seminary I served two yoked churches in Iowa for almost ten years. Then the Spirit called us to serve a church in Appleton, Wisconsin, where I served for over thirty years and from which I retired in 2015. Since retirement I have done interim ministries when openings have presented themselves.
My first wife, Darlene, died in 2007 after battling ovarian cancer for over six and a half years. In late 2007 I met a great UCC woman from Madison, and we decided to get married in July of 2008. Diane and I have been together for over twelve years. She has three adult children but no grandchildren. (I think she married me just to get my two granddaughters in the process.)
I have a doctoral degree in stewardship, and I enjoy helping churches and individuals to learn about the joys and benefits of living generously. In addition to pastoring congregations, I have done consulting work with many churches across Wisconsin and have seen them prosper when they have embraced Christian stewardship with open minds, open hearts, and open hands. I look forward to serving for the greater good of God!
At St. John’s, we believe that God’s beloved includes all of God’s created children; therefore, we offer socially distanced Holy Communion every Sunday and all are welcome to partake. St John's also provides drive up communion every Friday on the east entrance from 10am-12pm for those that may be at increased risk. We understand that Holy Communion is God’s gift of strength to us. In the Sacrament of Holy Communion, we understand that all become one; united, not by our similarities or agreements, but by our common Creator, Savior, Love Giver.
We invite you to join in this unity with us and when you commune elsewhere in God’s world. Holy Communion instruction is offered for children in 3rd grade or older and we encourage our young people to learn about God’s blessing in this Sacrament through these classes.
When the Pastor hears a child fussing during the service, their heart lights
up with joy, as that is the sound of parents keeping their baptismal promises! Children of all ages are always welcome to participate in worship. Sunday School(off for the summer) and nursery are available during worship times as well, so parents can choose whether to enjoy worshiping with their children or rest assured that their children are learning about Christ downstairs, while they take an hour of adult time in worship.
St. John's has a Sunday School program for students from ages 4 through 8th grade at 10:15 am during service. Sunday School(off for summer) generally runs through the normal school year (Sept. thru May). All participants start in the sanctuary with their families. Shortly into the service, they are invited together for a Children's Message from the Pastor, then dismissed to class.
While children are ALWAYS welcome in church, a nursery with volunteer staffing is available for ages birth to pre-K during all Sunday worship services. No one in the nursery today? Find an usher and we will help you!
The gymnasium is open for children to play following Sunday Worship Services. Members may also use the gym by appointment when your family wants a safe place to run around, let the kids goof off, host a party, etc (this is especially nice during the Wisconsin winter months).
The colors serve to adorn the worship space, and to call attention to the nature of the season or festival being celebrated. A brief summary of their usage, according to the church year, follows.
Advent: Blue is associated with Advent, suggesting hope. Some assemblies use Purple in Advent, a color associated with royalty as the church awaits the newborn king. (note, this is a different meaning than when it is used in Lent; see below).
Christmas: White, calling to mind the purity of the newborn Christ, and to our light and joy in him. Some also use Gold.
Epiphany of Our Lord: White (see Christmas). Baptism of Our Lord: White (see Christmas).
Time after Epiphany: Green is used for its symbolism of our growth in Christ. Green, in a sense, is a "neutral color," used when more festive or more somber color is not appointed.
Transfiguration of Ash Wednesday: Purple is the preferred color as this is the first day of Lent. Historically, Black has also been used on this day, since it is the color of the ashes to which we will all return.
Lent: Purple is typically associated with Lent, suggesting repentance and solemnity.
Sunday of the Passion: Scarlet is the preferred color of this first day of Holy Week, as it suggests the deep color of blood. (Scarlet is to be distinguished from the brighter color of red, which is appointed for the Day of Pentecost, martyrs’ days, and certain church celebrations). If a parish does not have scarlet vestments, Purple may be used.
Days of Holy Week: Scarlet or Purple may be used for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week.
Maundy Thursday: For this fourth day of Holy Week, celebrated as the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Scarlet or White is used.
Good Friday: No vestments or paraments are used on this day, after the stripping of the altar on Maundy Thursday night. Vigil of Easter: White or Gold suggests of joy in the Resurrection is used on this night.
Easter Day: White or Gold is suggested for this day. The gold color symbolizes that this day is the "queen of feasts," unique in the entire church year. Sundays of Easter: White suggests the joy of the resurrection.
Day of Pentecost: Red as the color of fire is used on this day when we remember the tongues of fire descended on the crowd in Jerusalem. In contrast to the color of scarlet, Pentecost’s red is a bright color.
The Holy Trinity: White is suggested, the expression of joy in the mystery of the Triune God.
Time after Pentecost: Green is used, to indicate our growth in faith as we follow the teachings and ministry of Christ. Some assemblies use differing shades of green throughout the Sundays after Pentecost, a lighter green in summer and
a darker green in fall.