S.P.A.R.K.  (St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know)  May 2023

Dear friends,

I’m excited about the ministry of our church! There’s lots of good conversation going on amongst our volunteers concerning the things we are doing in our community, and opportunities for change to carry out our ministry in the best way possible. I look forward to working with all of you in the coming months as we bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This month’s article is the first in a series I will be writing to help you learn more about the pastoral ministry here at St. Paul. I hope these articles will be informative and a pleasure to read. While I haven’t figured out everything I’m going to write about, the following are some of my initial thoughts:

  • What I am called to do
  • Ancillary duties
  • What goes into putting together a Sunday worship service
  • What goes into preparing a sermon
  • Continuing education and sabbatical
  • Why my family and I don’t live in the parsonage
  • How I work with my colleagues and the district
  • My relations with Sherwood pastors of other denominations

Regarding my call, these are the things you have called me to do at St. Paul Lutheran Church:

  • Administer to you the Word of God in its full truth and purity as contained in the Bible and as set forth in the Lutheran Confessions (Book of Concord)
  • Administer to you the holy sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper
  • To demonstrate to you the mind and spirit of Christ as I serve you, and equip you for Christ’s mission to save the lost
  • To equip and enable you to serve one another and those outside the fellowship of this congregation
  • To aid, counsel, and guide you; to visit the sick and the dying; to warn and firmly reprimand the indifferent and the erring; to support you as you extend the ministry to others
  • To see to the instruction of the catechumens, both children and adults, in the Word and thus prepare them for communicant membership in the church
  • To guide you in applying the divinely ordained discipline of the church according to the Word of God and to assist you in practicing the forgiven life with one another
  • To promote and guide the mission activity of the congregation as it relates to the local community and to endeavors of the Synod and the Northwest District
  • To serve as a resource and guide you as we participate in the ministry of Christian education, and to train parents to teach the Christian faith to their children
  • To assist you in adopting administrative policies and procedures that will help you carry out the mission of a Christian congregation
  • To serve you as an example of Christian conduct; to endeavor earnestly to live in Christian unity with you, my colleagues, and our sister congregations in the Synod; and do everything possible for the building up of the church

Next month, I will talk about the things I do in addition to the above which are not in my call, but do them anyways out of love, interest, and necessity.

The Lord bless you and keep you,

Pastor Don




Where are you on your journey in this life?  On the first Easter evening two disciples were walking to Emmaus.  Jesus joined them.  At first they didn’t recognize Him.  He explained the Scriptures to them.  They later recognized Him and said how their hearts burned within them when He shared the Word. 

Do you have a Burning heart?  We live in an insane world.  Insane means shocking, outrageous, madness.  We can survive and be sane. We can be kind, generous, and loving.  Why?  Because Jesus is not only Risen, but He is Alive! Because He lives, I too am alive forever.  How do I do this?  I make Jesus a priority in my life.  I pray.  I meditate on the Word of God.  I love others.  I fellowships and worship with others.  May Jesus give us all burning hearts! 

Want to experience a prayer style worship? On Wednesdays at 1:30 pm all are invited The Senior Center Chapel for a different way to worship through prayer.

May Jesus walk with you on your Easter Journey!

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Rich


Time for Bingo your friendly Basset Hound…

Bingo the Basset Hound
Bingo the Basset Hound

Greetings folks,

I am looking forward to summer temperatures.  Rabbits are more active and fun to chase.  That is the reason for Basset Hounds.  They give us a hard time by hiding in holes, while we give them a hard time by chasing them.  The Senior Center is a busy place with a number of different activities happening here. 

Hope to sniff you sometime.  Come see me.

 Time for smiles?  Here are some to keep you healthy.

What did the beach say to the tide when it came in?  Long time no sea!

What did the ocean say to the shore?  Nothing it just waved.

Why did the fish blush?  Because it saw the ocean’s bottom!

Why don’t fish play basketball?  They are afraid of nets.

Which fish are the most expensive?  Goldfish

What do you find in the middle of the ocean?  The letter e

What does the sun drink out of? Sun glasses

 In summer when do you go on red and stop on green?  When you’re eating a watermelon. 

That’s all, time to chase a rabbit.

Love from Bingo, your friendly Basset Hound.


S.P.A.R.K.  (St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know)                                 April 2023

Dear friends,

 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you have found our Lenten series Promised Treasures to be edifying for your faith and preparation for Holy Week and Easter. I know I have. Here are some important things I would like you to know about for this month:

  • Holy-Maundy Thursday Divine Worship at 1:30 PM in the Senior Saints chapel, and 7 PM in the sanctuary with communion.
  • Good Friday hot cross bun service at 1:30 PM in the Senior Saints chapel; 8 PM service of darkness in the sanctuary.
  • Easter sunrise service in the grove (weather permitting) at 7 AM. Easter breakfast served afterwards. Easter Divine Worship at 8:30 and 10:45 AM. Breakfast served in between.
  • We will be welcoming several new members to the church on Easter Sunday. Some are transferring from other Lutheran churches, and some have been through catechism class.
  • Our junior confirmand (D.J. Garstka) will also be confirmed on Easter Sunday.
  • Invite your friends to church!
  • The Gideons will be at church on Sunday, April 23rd.
  • We will have a special evening egg hunt for the youth on Sunday April 23rd. Young people, invite your friends to that too!
  • I will be attending the Oregon Pastors Conference at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hillsboro, April 25-27.

God bless and keep you,

Pastor Don

Greetings in Christ Jesus

What’s your response to Easter?  The response at the first Easter was fear and confusion.  When Jesus came out of the grave, the guards were terrified and ran.  The women who came didn’t believe.  When they told the disciples, they didn’t believe.  There were no Alleluias. 

This Easter we will declare our Alleluias!  Yet there will be many who will not.  Many do not believe in the Resurrection.  Fortunately, the women and disciples soon came to believe the wonderful news.  This Easter may the joyous good news of Resurrection give you hope that blesses you every day.  May we share this message with those who do not know what we have.  Jesus Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

Maxine and I pray that your Easter is joyful!

On Good Friday, there will be a special worship service at 1:30 pm. In the Senior Center Chapel followed by enjoying a Hot Cross Bun.  All are invited.  There will also be a Maundy Thursday Service with Holy Communion at 1:30. 

Time for Bingo your friendly Basset Hound..

Bingo the Basset Hound
Bingo the Basset Hound

    Hi Folks, Things are buzzing at the Senior Center.  Spring is in the air.   But where is global warming?  I am waiting for warmer temperatures.  It is easier to sniff out rabbits.  This month I have some Sunday humor for you.  Easter celebrates smiles. So here are some for you.

  • Here are some signs you may be in the wrong church. Everyone singing in the choir is an Elvis impersonator. 
  • You must ask the pastor for the keys to the bathrooms.
  • Service was supposed to start 10 minutes ago, still you are the only one there.
  • How did Pharaoh’s daughter come into financial gain? She found a little prophet floating in the Nile.
  • Did you know tennis was mentioned in the Bible? Joseph served in Pharaohs court.
  • A SS teacher asked her class, why should you be quiet in church?  A little boy said, because the people are asleep.


Keep smiling,


S.P.A.R.K. (St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know) March 2023

Dear friends in Christ,

May God’s grace and peace be multiplied to you.

 This whole month of March we are in the season of Lent. Since I outlined our Lenten worship series “Promised Treasures” in last month’s newsletter, I ‘d like to use this month’s newsletter to update you on the Firm Foundations Academy Northwest that is using our school classrooms. Along with our own preschool, I believe Firm Foundations operating on our campus is one of the best things happening at our church.  

Firm Foundations Academy Northwest was started last summer by Melissa Parmelee and Clare Kozushko, two educators who live in this area. Melissa’s children are alumni of our preschool. Melissa and Clare’s vision was to set up a Christian, hybrid homeschool in Newberg and Sherwood, to serve as an alternative to traditional home-schooling, public and parochial school. Students have in-person class three days a week with a teacher, and two days at home working on assignments. For their Sherwood operation, Firm Foundations is using our old schoolhouse and gym (Connect Center), one modular classroom and the adjacent playground. Plus, the kids have the whole grove to explore and play in. When the weather is warm and dry, they eat lunch in the grove. There are 32 students on our campus in grades K through 8th. The students wear uniforms and learn by the classical model of education: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Within that sphere they learn the classics of literature, art, languages (Latin, French) history, theology, and much more.

Firm Foundations is an impressive operation. The teachers are very professional, and the students are some of the brightest, most personable young people I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with. I am privileged to be able to have devotions with the 6-8th grade classes each Friday morning and afternoon. You can tell just by talking with the students that their parents are serious about a Christian education for them, in a safe environment. It is such a joy to see children playing in the playground and in the grove again. I am fond of mentioning that we haven’t had middle school students learning and playing on our campus since 1968. I hope it is a long-lasting relationship between our church and Firm Foundations. If you have any questions about this school or even if you’d like to walk through the classrooms and see what it’s about, I’d be happy to show you. Pastor Don

Greetings in Christ Jesus

Welcome to March,

The name March is derived from the Latin word Martius, the Roman god of war. In Ancient Rome, March marked the start of the military campaign season.  Today much of March is about Lent.  In Lent the church sets aside time to reflect on Jesus and His campaign to defeat sin, death, and the devil.  At the cross Jesus took our place and His sacrifice removed these enemies from us.  Lent gives us the opportunity to draw closer to God and His love for us.  In this month of March, rejoice in the victory won for you!

This Lenten Season the Senior Saints will study and meditate on the Hallelujah Psalms, 113-118.  These psalms were sung at the Passover meal.  Therefore Jesus and His disciples would have sang them the night He gave us the Lord’s Supper. 

Note:  Lenten worship is available on Wednesdays at 1:30 and 6:30.  The 1:30 Service is in the Senior Center Chapel.   God bless your life this month!

 In Christ’s Love,

 Pastor Rich


Bingo the Basset Hound
Bingo the Basset Hound

 Hi Folks,

Beware the Ides of March.  Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44BC.  It changed the course of Roman history.  Today it means look out for trouble that could change your life.  Have no fear, it has no power over us.  Strange how events in history are used today.  But I would warn all rabbits to beware, for Basset Hounds are getting ready to sniff them out.  I have sniffed some March smiles      for your good health. The bigger your smile, the healthier you will be.


  • How many seconds are there in Match? Give up?    March 2nd.
  • Why is March a good time to buy a mattress? It is when they are most springy.
  • Can February March? No but April May.
  • Did you know North Korea’s military marches to the left? They have no rights.
  • What’s Irish and comes out during March? Paddy O’Furniture
  • Why is everyone so tired on April 1? Because they just finished a long, 31 day March.


Your Basset Hound,                                                                        


Greetings in Christ Jesus


February offers a variety of days to celebrate.  You can check out the weather on Groundhog Day.  You can ask someone to be your Valentine.  You can listen to the State of The Union Address.  You can have ashes put on your forehead in the form of a cross.  A busy month indeed.  We are busy people.  I want to encourage you to slow down this Lenten season and reflect on the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Focus on what Jesus did for you on the cross.  He took all your sins upon himself.  He was sacrificed on your behalf.  You are free from condemnation.  Jesus loves you!   If you believe in Jesus, you can live in Heaven with Him.  It won’t matter what the groundhog says the weather will be.  He invites you to be His Valentine.  The State of The Union is in His care.  God bless your February.


 In Christ’s Love,

 Pastor Rich



Bingo the Basset Hound
Bingo the Basset Hound


Hi Folks,

 The daylight is increasing.  Yea!   I am waiting to see what my groundhog friend is going to predict.  As you know, we Basset Hounds prefer rabbits.  But since there are no rabbit days this month, I will share some groundhog smiles.  Remember the more you smile, the healthier you will be.


  • What do you call a pig with no legs? Ground Hog


  • What did the groundhog say when the wolf grabbed his tail?  That is the end of me.


  • What do groundhogs put on pancakes? Hog cabin syrup.


  • What do you call a groundhog laundromat? A Hogwash


 That is enough.  Have a great February!  Come see me at the Senior Center. 


Your Basset Hound,




S.P.A.R.K.  (St. Paul Church’s Announcements to Read and Know)      January 2023

Dear friends in Christ,

Despite the high amount of people experiencing Covid and flu, coupled with the extreme weather, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Sunday services at St. Paul were blessed with many people in attendance. The 3:00 PM Christmas Eve service had 150 people, mostly visitors whom I’ve never met before. In fact, at both the 3 and 7:00 PM services, there were more visitors in attendance than members. What can this tell us? It may be the case there were lots of people in the area visiting family and wanted to attend a Christmas Eve service. Countryside Community Church canceled their Christmas Eve services due to the storm, and there may have been a few others in town that did as well; so perhaps some of their people attended here. Whatever the case, the bad weather may have been a factor in our church being a vital ministry in our community during the Christmas weekend. There were a few preschool alumni families in attendance, which is always nice to see, knowing our preschool is also a vital ministry here. Regarding our midweek Advent services, I have prepared a separate article on that if you wish to read it.

Looking ahead at 2023, Lent starts on Sunday, February 26th! I hope we see as many if not more visitors this coming Easter as we did Christmas 2022—without the bad weather. And of course, I always encourage and pray for strong attendance from you, our members. There are a couple of special events happening during Lent I want you to get ready for: on Saturday, March 4, we are hosting the Kapelle choir from Concordia University Chicago. They will give a concert of sacred choral music in our sanctuary at 7:00 PM. The other event is an evening with our friend Yoel Ben David from Jews for Jesus. He will be here Sunday, March 26th at 5:00 PM to give us an update on his ministry. This event might include a potluck dinner – more on that as we get closer.

God’s blessings be upon you and your family as we enter the new year.

Pastor Don

Greetings in the Name of Jesus

Welcome to the Advent-Christmas Season!  We begin a new Church year.  From birth to Ascension, we will spend time absorbing ourselves in the life of God’s Son, the Messiah, Jesus.  My favorite hymn in Advent is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”  Emmanuel means God with us.   Indeed, we need God to be with us.  Whatever your struggle is now, you can invite Jesus into your life to help you.  Maybe you feel exasperated, fatigued, and frustrated about what is happening in your life now.  You can invite Jesus to come and save, restore, and transform you. Jesus is your help in time of need. He knows exactly how to help.  He loves you!  As the hymn says:  “And open wide our heavenly home. Make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to misery.  Rejoice Emmanuel shall come to thee.”

Do you avoid driving at night?  There will be three Mid-week Advent worship services on Wednesdays starting on Nov. 30, then December 7, and 14 in the Senior Center at 1:30 pm. You will discover how a love story in the Old Testament leads you to the love story of Jesus for you.  You will experience how this love story offers love that can change your life. 

Maxine and I wish all of you a joyous Advent-Christmas Season!  Thanks for being a blessing to us.  O Come, O Come Emmanuel!

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Rich


Bingo the Basset Hound
Bingo the Basset Hound

Greetings from your friendly Basset Hound,


Things are humming at the Senior Center.  We are happy for the repairs and painting of many helpers.  The Seniors will not meet on December 28 and January 4.  I plan to head south to attend the Basset Hound annual assembly.  We will explore new sniffing techniques to track down rabbits.  I hope to absorb some Sun to see me through the winter.

I have done some research on Christmas humor.  I hope this the following makes you smile! 

  • What happened to the person who stole an Advent Calendar? The person got 25 days!
  • Why was the snowman looking through the carrots? He was picking his nose!
  • Why does Santa have three gardens! So he can ho, ho, ho.
  • How did Mary and Joseph know Jesus’ weight when he was born? They had a weigh in a manger.
  • What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Snowflakes
  • Why are Christmas trees bad at sewing? They drop their needles.
  • Why did the Skeleton skip the Christmas party? He had no body to go with.
  • What did the wise men say after they offered up gifts of gold and frankincense? Wait, there’s myrrh.
  • What did the gingerbread man put on his bed? A cookie sheet.


That concludes my research.


Enjoy your Advent and Christmas Season.  Chat with you next time year.

Love, Bingo your Friendly Basset hound



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

     December 2022



A series of worship and preaching for Advent and Christmas

    Whenever I meet with a couple for pre-marriage counseling, I share this quote: “Every disappointment involves unmet expectations.” Then we talk about what expectations for marriage are realistic or unrealistic. I also let them know their spouse will inevitably let them down— sometimes multiple times a day! Marriage is not the only source of disappointment and unmet expectations. Every human relationship will deal with these issues. Have you been happy with every decision an elected official has made, even one for whom you voted? Does your boss ever let you down? Have your employees always done their job well? Do your friends always come through for you? Do your children always make good and wise decisions based on what you have taught them? Human beings will disappoint by failing to meet expectations. No wonder the psalmist tells us in Psalm 146:3–4, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.”

    Parents have hopes and expectations for their children. Sometimes these are healthy expectations. Other times parents place unfair or unrealistic expectations on their children. This Advent season, we will look at three different sons of men who were disappointments to their fathers. In the first week, we will be introduced to Cain, the son of Adam. No doubt Adam had higher hopes for Cain than for him to be known as the first murderer in history. But his murder of his brother reveals the murder lurking in all our hearts. In the second week, we will be introduced to Ishmael, the son of Abraham. Though it was not his fault, Ishmael was a disappointment to Abraham because he was not the child of the promise. Abraham’s efforts to take things into his own hands highlight our own tendency to do the same in our relationship with God. In the third week, we will be introduced to Absalom, the son of David. This rebellious son broke David’s heart and exposes the rebellion we display against our heavenly Father. But each week, we will also be pointed to a different Son. This Son is the true Son of Adam. He is the true Son of Abraham. He is the true Son of David. He is the Son who never disappointed His Father. He is the Son who never did any wrong. He is the Son of whom the Father spoke: “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5).

This true Man, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, is also the Son of God, the very Son of God now living in our flesh and blood. This Son is Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, who fulfills the hope of salvation “that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:5). He is the One whom the psalmist spoke of in Psalm 146:5: “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God.”

    During this series, entitled This Is My Son, you will hear again that your heavenly Father is not disappointed in you. Rather, through Jesus, He considers you to be His beloved child, with whom He is well pleased.


ADVENT 1 – Sunday, November 27. Cain, the son of Adam.

ADVENT 2 – Sunday, December 4. Ishmael, the son of Abraham.

ADVENT 3 – Sunday, December 11.  Absalom, the son of David.

ADVENT 4 – Sunday, December 18. Joseph, the son of Jacob.

CHRISTMAS EVE – Saturday, December 24. Jesus, the son of Joseph

CHRISTMAS DAY – Sunday, December 25. Jesus, the Son of God.

May God bless us this Advent and Christmas!

Pastor Don