Tim and VBS
Tim and VBS

Psalm 112:4 Light shines in the darkness for the upright; He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous.

Robin Hood Festival and Oktober Festival are two gatherings we had been looking forward to this September and here were are ready to publish the newsletter and there is uncertainty as to what we should do. We have decided to send a survey out to see what you would like to do. The struggle is REAL ! We all continue to make choices everyday on how we are going to LIVE the one LIFE God has graciously given to us.

What are we to focus our energy on? What are we to do to Glorify His name? There is much to do and life finds a way forward. It was encouraging to see Jeff and Cindy Snyder at church last week, what courage, strength and grace they both exemplify. Showing up sometimes is all we can do and often that is enough. The enemy’s weapons are fear and uncertainty but our God has overcome these and gives us weapons to fight, to resist and to overcome the enemy’s evil skims. God gives us His Spirit with a bright light that shines in the darkness.

So we will continue to pray and seek His wisdom as to the way we should go. So what is happening? Where can you participate and contribute to growing His Kingdom?

***Now we have heard both have been cancelled for 2021***

Christian Education

We all need to be in His word on a daily basis, we also need to be gathering and studying His word as a church body as we were prior to the lock-down of 2020. Church council is dedicating the September meeting to re-establishing our adult and youth Sunday School Programs. Jennifer Gatke will be our superintendent for CE for the coming year. It is our intention to have have Pre-School, Elementary and High School Education initially starting in the Education Building with Adult classes in the lower level of the church. All interested teachers and parents should plan to attend and help us grow this important part of our community.

Rummage Sale

Cyndi Perone and company have been busy organizing donated items, etc. in the Connect Center and Old School Building. We are not accepting anymore donations at this time. The SALE is planned for two Thursdays and Fridays from 8:00-5:00 PM on August 26 and 27 and again September 2 and 3. If there are volunteers that would like to open and manage shop on Saturday or Sunday following those dates, please contact Cyndi.

Looking Ahead

Our Church Constitution and Bi-Laws indicate that in September our Vice President will form a committee of current board members to meet and identify candidates for the various offices and boards for the elections that are to be held in December. The group then establishes a list of potential candidates and agrees on a plan for contacting individual members of the congregation than at subsequent meetings the group meets and updates the list as to who is willing to serve. Well we have a problem, we don’t have a Vice President to perform this very import task. There is also a requirement that we have at least two candidates for each office.

Elections (cont.) This is very important as there is much to do and the current officers and board members need your help and support. Last year with Covid-19 and all that it brought, we had no new candidates for any of the boards or offices. This is a problem that must be addressed by the voters. Many of those currently serving are growing tired of the lack of respect and appreciation for those currently serving. Others need to come forward to share the load of leadership in the church body.

We have a Regular Voters’ Meeting scheduled for September 19, 2021 at noon and this will be the first item of business. If we have two volunteers for the position of Vice President, one of them will be appointed. The only other item of business for this meeting will be to review and discuss the church council meeting minutes from August 19, 2021. We anticipate that copies of the council meeting minutes will be available at the back of the sanctuary or downstairs on the table near the side door by September 12 the Sunday prior to the voters’ meeting.

Here is some encouragement from Isaiah 58:8-11

Then your light will burst forth like the morning, your new skin will quickly grow over your wound; your righteousness will precede you, and ADONAI’s (God’s) glory will follow you. Then you will call, and ADONAI (God) will answer; you will cry, and he will say, “Here I am.” If you will remove the yoke from among you, stop false accusation and slander, generously offer food to the hungry and meet the needs of the person in trouble; then your light will rise in the darkness, and your gloom become like noon. ADONAI will always guide you; he will satisfy your needs in the desert, he will renew the strength in your limbs; so that you will be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.

It's not morbid to talk about death and burial plans

It’s not morbid to talk about your death and burial plans.

Pastor Don Richard

As Christians, we have hope in eternal life and look forward to the resurrection of all the dead in Christ on the last day. Jesus takes the sting of death away, and we actually look forward to the time when we will know our God and each other in perfect peace and glory in the new heavens and the new earth. In the meantime, the cemetery serves an important function in our church. It is a holding place for us after we die and await the resurrection.


St Paul Lutheran Church is blessed to have its own cemetery. As a member of St. Paul Sherwood, you have the assurance of a burial space at a much lower cost than a public cemetery. You also have a say in how the cemetery is managed, maintained, and used. Like many other facets of the church, the cemetery is overseen by volunteers on a committee to oversee day-to-day operations, as well as long-term plans. The committee consists of a sextant, who has charts of the cemetery showing where each grave space is, who’s buried in it, and where available spaces are for future internments. There are also volunteers who do general upkeep of the cemetery grounds. While the church treasurer is responsible for tracking all monies coming in and going out, the cemetery committee pays close attention to donations and costs particular to it including maintenance, fees, trust funds, etc. Some of our current volunteers have devoted much of their lives in loving care to the cemetery because of its important purpose and legacy. We thank God for them and their faithful service to the church.

The St. Paul Lutheran Church cemetery has its own interesting history. I’ve been told it once had a fence around it, but I haven’t been able to find photographic evidence of it. In the old days, church members who were known drunkards, gamblers, fornicators and adulterers were denied burial in the cemetery. One can suppose this heavy-handed approach was to keep the cemetery untainted by the deceased’s moral depravity. But it may also have been out of loving concern for the brethren as a warning that if you live in a manner contrary to Christian principals, you will not receive the full benefits of the church.

One may wonder, how much money does it take to maintain a cemetery the size of ours—Maple Lane Cemetery included? That’s a good question. Our church is blessed to have funds available just for cemetery upkeep and unforeseen expenses such as damage from natural disaster or vandalism. Every so often the church receives generous donations given with the intent they will be used for the cemetery. These donations have accumulated over the years, and, as you can see on a financial report from the church treasurer, our cemetery funds would make other churches envious. Several years ago in fact, the voters approved the purchase of a columbarium to the tune of over $30,000 dollars. There was more than enough money in the cemetery coffers to pay for the thing outright—even have it emblazoned with our beloved Lutheran symbols. This large expenditure did not affect the regular church budget one penny. What a blessing to have this kind of financial luxury!

There are opinions that large expenditures may be in store for the cemetery such as some type of security wall or the return of the aforementioned fence. Time will tell. It is good to know however that our church has well over $150,000 dollars to deal with anything down the road concerning our two cemeteries.

A church member who is now buried in the cemetery herself, was fond of reminding me often that it was for church members only, and nowadays, “they bury anybody and his brother in there.” She was partly right; the cemetery is for members of the church only. Exceptions have been made however going as far back as the early 1900s. There are family names on tombstones which cannot be found in our church records including a young boy who died and was buried in 1921. My guess is, he was the son of a friend of a church member, and out of compassion for his family, he was buried here. This does not mean we bury “anybody and his brother.” Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis between the pastor, the elders of the church and the cemetery committee.

I hope you have found this information useful. I would encourage any member of our congregation to get involved with the operations of the cemetery. It serves an important function in our lives together as Christians, and is a major part of the legacy of our church in Sherwood. Please speak with me or an elder if you would like to know more.


In Christ,


Pastor Don










Greetings in Christ Jesus

but wait there's hope
But Wait…There’s Hope

Frustrated? Wondering what the future has in store?  The list is long as to how much evil exists.  No need to list it here.  The future May appear bleak.  But hold on! There is hope.  This source of hope is found in Jesus!  Jesus meets the deepest need of everyone.  We need to hear that Jesus loves me.  The Bible tells me the good news!  Are you reading and meditating on it? Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.  Let us turn to Him and put our trust in Him.  The solutions are not found in the people of the world, but in a changed heart.  We need each other for encouragement and support.  It is important that we worship and pray together. 

Senior Saints will begin weekly meetings starting September 8.  Join us for sharing hope and care for each other.  Bring a sack lunch and enjoy time with your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Here is how our weekly schedule looks.

      First Wednesday:  Regular meeting

      Second Wednesday:  Scripture, prayer, and Holy Communion

     Third Wednesday:  Regular meeting

     Fourth Wednesday:  Bingo Party.  Fabulous prizes based on a theme.  Bingo Beach party this month.

     Fifth Wednesday:  Pastor’s Surprise.  Come to experience it!

God’s Blessings as we continue to live in the Hope that Jesus gives.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Rich



ZekeHi Gang, 

Looking forward to seeing you each week.  Looks like the Governor is requiring masks.  We will keep you informed.  So far no mice requirement to wear one. Lucky me. 

The following has a warning:  if you are under 65, you may not understand what is being said.  Read at your own risk. Laughing makes you younger.  So decrease your age.  Tombstones tell stories.  There goes the neighborhood.  Here lies Lester Moore four slugs from a 44 no less no more.  It is dark down here.  I am Swedish, pass the Lutefisk. I am filling my last cavity. 

Here is a question: what do you call bears with no ears?  B

What do Alexander The Great and Winnie The Pooh have in common?    They have the same middle name.

I told the doctor I broke my arm in two places.  He told me not to go to those places.

That is enough.  Enjoy the last days of summer.

Love, Zeke

VBS 2021

What an amazing VBS we had this summer! 

Hello everyone and thank you for all your gifts, your time, and your prayers.

Pastor Don led a team of truly inspired teens who made every one of us laugh, dance, sing, and never want to leave. We were able to have our s’mores on Wednesday night and have hot dogs and snow cones on Friday too! I am so grateful that you allow me to run this camp every year! I look forward to seeing how God will touch the lives of every one of us through VBS. This year, 2021, we shared the love of Jesus with 90 kids and 40 volunteers!

Posted in VBS

Sunday School 2021

I am excited to start our Sunday school back up this fall! I need your help too. On September 16th at 6:30 PM, there will be a meeting to discuss what Sunday school needs to be during this pandemic and beyond. As of writing this, Governor Brown has issued a mask mandate for both indoors and outdoors regardless of vaccination status for ages 2 and up. Thankfully, God has given me 2 summers of VBS under strict COVID guidelines. I feel capable of putting together a flexible Sunday School program that will allow us to continue Sunday school as safely as possible. I cannot do this on my own. Please pray about becoming a Sunday School teacher, mentor, advisor, helper, and anything else the Lord puts in your heart!

 God bless you! Jen Gatke

I want to help with Sunday School




“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7


rocket launch


 (St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know)

 September 2021

Dear friends,

I hope this newsletter finds you well. I am maintaining my own wellness by taking time off from church work. Even on vacation though, it’s hard not to think ahead to all the challenges the new Church Year will bring under this continuing pandemic. For a while I was beginning to think things were looking better, especially being able to worship outdoors without facemasks; but, as you know, that didn’t last long. In the meantime, we must consider the things which are most important to us as a church. I believe one of those things is our Christian education. Some of it has continued during the pandemic such as confirmation and mid-week Bible study among the senior group and the women. But our main Sunday Bible study, Sunday School and youth group have been on hold since early last year. This has to change soon. The state can mandate this and that, but as long as we are able to meet in person while observing measures to mitigate the spread of Covid, we should be doing so. President Tim has already mentioned in his article the upcoming meeting where together, we will move forward with a plan to resume Christian education. I encourage you to attend as well. I do not recommend we have an Oktoberfest this year. If there is any question about risk of infection, it should only be considered for the most important functions of the church, that being worship and education. The non-essential stuff must wait until this is all over.


You’ve all been very patient and understanding during these times. It hasn’t been easy for some of my colleagues in the ministry; but here at St. Paul, I think we have taken what God has given us with a fair amount of acceptance. Who knows what He is teaching us through all this other than to turn to Him and rely on Him even more. To do otherwise is unfaithful, and that is certainly not what we wish to be.


I’ll see you soon. The Peace of the Lord be with you.


Pastor Don

S.P.A.R.K. (St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know)

 Summer 2021

questionsBy the time you read this newsletter, Covid-19 restrictions from the state will have been rescinded. It’s as if nothing ever happened! Well, almost. The memories of the last 15 months will be with us for a long time. And some things that came about because of the pandemic will remain such as our live streaming Sunday services. But for the most part, our church life is returning to the way it was before the governor’s stay-at-home order. Some things remain to be seen however such as in-person attendance (who will come back and who won’t,) long-term impact on our giving and finances, and new questions such as: how do we count membership in the congregation now that we have people joining us for worship who don’t live in Oregon? For example, my friend and his wife in Louisiana have participated in online worship almost every Sunday for an entire year. That’s wonderful; but does their faithful participation make them members? They aren’t confirmed, and I haven’t developed a new member class for those who live out of state, yet, we have several people connected to our church who fall into this category. Perhaps there needs to be a new category of membership status. These are just some of the things all our churches are experiencing since the pandemic started.


As far as this summer goes, you can expect some return to normal. Mission Festival will happen on Sunday, July 25 at 10:45 AM in the grove. Our theme this year will be “30 years of St. Paul Preschool,” and our guest of honor is Chris Cullen, the preschool’s first director. She is excited to share some stories of the early days of one of the most vital missions of our church. On top of that, we will have a potluck, then I’m off to Camp Lutherwood with three of our youth for Confirmation Camp. Vacation Bible School will happen August 2-6, and since Covid restrictions will be over, I expect there will be more than double the number of kids attending than last year.


Now that Covid restrictions are lifted, I encourage everyone to attend church in person if they are physically able. Unless we get another one of those miserable heat domes upon us, the mornings should be quite agreeable temperature-wise. So come to the 10:45 service and enjoy the short two months we get to worship outdoors. May God bless you, your families, and may He continue His blessings upon our church.


Pastor Don

We are blasting off on a Miraculous Mission

August 2-6, 2021

9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Join us as we learn how

Christ came to save us all with

His world-shaking Love!


Come with us as we blast off our rockets, play games, enjoy snacks,

laugh with Robbie the Robot, create beautiful crafts, and so much more.

Registration filling up quickly and we only have a few spots left!  https://vbsmate.com/StPaulLutheranSherwood

We are in need of volunteers!!

We desperately need leaders and helpers for the week of VBS.

If you are available to volunteer, please register with the link above.  

If you would like to help us prepare various items to be used during VBS,

reach out to me and I promise to find something for you to do. 

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!

God Bless you all!

Jennifer Gatke

Director of VBS

Cell: 503.550.9457

 Email: stpaulsaintsvbs@gmail.com

Posted in VBS

Summer GrandparentsGreetings in Christ Jesus

Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer.  This refers to the hot days of heat, thunderstorms, lethargy, mad dogs, and grumpy folks.  Some folks don’t like these hot days.  I like the summertime.  Lots of daylight and warm evenings.  It is also a time to have a change of pace.  Sit in your lawn chair, put some ice in a glass and sip your favorite beverage.  It is also a time to meditate on God’s Word.  It is a time to enjoy worshiping in the grove.  Hebrews 10:25, “Let us not give up meeting together,…but let us encourage one another.” I encourage you to use the Dog Days as time for spiritual renewal.  Jesus loves you! Have a blessed summer.

Senior Saints will meet only on the second Wednesday of July and August.  In August we will have our picnic.  In September we will be offering some new ways of growing together.  Stay tuned for more information.

In Christ’s love enjoy your blessings.

Pastor Rich


Greetings gang, 

 It is wonderful to see so many smiling faces on Wednesdays.


  I got some PJ from Paul and Karen.  Our thanks to President Tim and Ellen for fixing hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch.  These may be dog days, but they are also mouse days.  I am going to the beach and be cool.  Here are some summer smiles.

Warning, if you are under the age of 65; do not proceed. The following is for mature readers only who understand what follows.

  • The elderly grandmother always talked to the hens whenever she fed them. Her grandson asked why she did that.  She replied that she was just trying to egg them on. 
  • A state police officer pulled a car over. Five older ladies were in the car and looked in shock.  They were all very pale.  The driver asked why he pulled them over.  She said she was going the speed limit, 22 mph.  The officer said that was the route number, not the speed limit.  The officer said they looked unsettled.  We will be fine, we just got off route 119.
  • What do lawyers wear to court? Lawsuits


  • What do you call someone with no body and no nose? Nobody knows.


  • When you are 20 and drop something you pick it up. When you are 80 you decide you don’t need it any more.


If you were under 65 and read these and need help understanding, contact a Senior Saint.


Have a wonderful summer!

Love, Zeke

Declaring & Teaching – Jesus is Lord! 

Sunday School continues to meet at 10:00 AM on Sundays. We are using a combination of the three-year lectionary readings and literature from Concordia Publishing (CPH) for our lessons. It is fun to see the changes in the color-coded pie-shaped calendar and lectionary each week and looking forward to each new season.

We are just finishing up our lessons on the Conversion of Saul found in Acts 9:3-5; “Now as he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, Who are You, Lord?” And He said, I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,”

Striking how well Paul’s story resonates with Jesus’ words in John 3:3 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

We continue in the season after Pentecost, the readings have transitioned from the book of Acts and our study of the early church to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and the Gospel of Mark. Here’s the introduction to Paul’s letter.

Ephesians 1:1-14 

The Blessings of Redemption

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He favored us in the Beloved.

In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our wrongdoings, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight, He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He set forth in Him, regarding His plan of the fullness of the times, to bring all things together in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

In Him we also have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things in accordance with the plan of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in the Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Vacation Bible School is quickly approaching, basically, we are thirty days out. Our theme is Outer Space!  We will be doing Miraculous Missions based on John 3:16! We are changing lives, HOPE you can join us!  Please sign up to volunteer to HELP out during the week of August 2-6. Everyone should have plenty of vacation stored up from this past year when everything was closed down. 

Good News on masks! Recently our State Governor changed the Covid rules. That means social distancing will not be required; masks are not required for participants or youth volunteers, adult volunteers should be vaccinated or check with the VBS director for additional instructions. Morning drop-off will be similar to last year and will occur in the parking lots with pre-screening of participants. Parents will pick up and sign-out their kids at closing in the grove and will be able to share in the excitement of the closing each day.

Wednesday, August 4th in the evening we are planning to have a Camp Fire and S’mores and hope many of the church members will come out and join in the fun! We will have a special music program that will bring a smile to your face 😀.

On Friday, August 6th at the end of VBS, we will be having a special celebration following the closing that you will not want to miss. We are planning to have a combination of outside food brought in. Details are still being worked out but we would like to get food and refreshments from Poke Makana, as well as some tacos and a shaved ice vendor.  

Summer Camp: Check ✅ that happened June 22-24 and it was a BLAST, literally. Pastor Don shared his knowledge of model rockets and the kids had fun with water games. Hope the spirit of FUN continues for the rest of the summer!

Robin Hood Festival and the parade have been moved to September 24 and 25. This will be the same weekend as the church’s October Festival that will be September 26. Is the Spirit calling you? You know He is…

The Investment Committee will be meeting in July to make a recommendation to the Council of some appropriate investments for the LCEF Building Fund CD(s) that will mature on August 9, 2021. If you would like to participate, please reach out to Tim or Karen for additional information. We are always looking for new ideas and people interesting in serving. Please continue to pray for guidance and His protection for our congregation.


Tim Grace