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

Dear friends,


In last month’s newsletter I wrote about my obligations to you as pastor according to my call document. This month I outline things I do around the church which are not listed in my call document. Here are some of my ancillary duties in no particular order. I’m sure I’ve left some out, as there are too many of them to mention.

  • Conduct chapel for the preschool students on Wednesday for the 4s and Thursday for the 3s.
  • Participate in preschool functions and activities such as open house, end-of-year program, Christmas program, Jog-a-thon, family mixers, recess, meet-and-greet with the parents during pickup and drop-off, and daily visits to the classroom when school is in session.
  • Attend weekly evening board meetings such as the elder’s meeting on the first Tuesday of the month, council meeting on the third Thursday of the month, board of education meeting on the second Tuesday of the month, as well as meetings for the board of outreach and children, youth and family ministry.
  • Organize, plan, and lead events and activities for the youth of the church such as the LCMS National Youth Gathering, family camp at Camp Lutherwood Oregon, winter retreats, summer Bible at the beach trips, and mini camps.
  • Attend the senior saints’ luncheons on Wednesdays when time permits.
  • Conduct daily walk-around checks of the campus for anything out of the ordinary such as unsecured buildings, fallen trees after storms, vandalism, abandoned vehicles and other items, suspicious persons (yes, all these things have happened since I’ve been here and continue to occur.)
  • Assist the office manager in solving technology problems such as internet outages, computer hangups; light facility maintenance such as changing batteries and adjusting clocks, smoke detectors, light bulbs, and the occasional “cleanup on isle four” kinds of things.
  • Assist the office manager in receiving deliveries from UPS, FedEx, et al. Sometimes these items require multiple hands to bring into the education building, or a dolly.
  • Receive visitors (scheduled and unscheduled) for various reasons including tours of the sanctuary, cemetery, sales pitches, facility rental, facility maintenance, looking for a new church, just need to talk to a minister—you name it.
  • Friday morning and afternoon devotions (20 min. each) with the 6th through 8th grade students of the Firm Foundations Academy Northwest.
  • Participate in church events such as Oktoberfest, Easter egg hunt, live nativity, and other official activities for the community in which my involvement is expected.
  • Attend monthly circuit meetings with the other LCMS pastors in the area on the second Tuesday of the month. These are all-day meetings consisting of worship, Bible or Lutheran Confessions study, a book or commentary study, and collegial sharing of how things are going in the ministry, spiritual encouragement, praying for one another, and so forth.

I would like to talk a little more about the campus. I am on campus five days a week anywhere from eight to ten hours a day, sometimes longer if there are evening meetings. My office faces the east parking lot, and I have a good view of the grove from the library windows and balcony. On any day, a good portion of my time is spent monitoring the dozens of vehicles that drive through from Roy Rogers, people wandering through (usually with dogs) kids using the playground after school hours, people visiting relatives in the cemetery, parking lot sales transactions, people parking for hours while they talk on the phone or nap, and people wandering into the deep parts of the grove, sometimes not emerging for long periods of time. I have a good set of binoculars to watch what’s going on, but sometimes I can’t always see past the trees. When it involves teens or preteens, and I can’t see what they’re doing, I walk out and tell them they are being watched—always. Just letting them know this makes them leave. More than once, Tim Grace and I have observed preteen boys riding through campus on their bikes and skateboards, checking doorknobs on buildings to see where they might get in and do whatever. I am very surprised that in 14 years I haven’t found someone camped out in the grove or squatting in the parsonage basement which unintentionally gets left unlocked at least once a year. All this is to say that as your pastor, I am happy to be the main eyes and ears of the property you love and care for so much. Jennifer, in the office, also observes much of the same activity I do, but from a different angle as her office window faces the west parking lot.

Next month I will show you what goes into putting together the two Sunday worship services we use here at St. Paul. God bless you, and may you have a Spirit-filled month of June during this season of Pentecost.

Pastor Don  

They will bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green. Psalm 9214

Greetings in Christ Jesus

Welcome to summer.  I pray that it will be a special time for you.  The seniors will meet through June and then in July and August only on the second Wednesday.

 This month I will share some thoughts on Ageism.  Each day is another day in our lifetime.  As we enter the latter stages, we realize time is getting shorter for our time on earth.  Research finds that negative stereotypes can affect our wellbeing.  Perhaps you hear jokes about hearing loss or memory problems.  Comments can be harmful.  Older folks need more contact with others.  Older people need the ABC’s of successful aging:  Attitude, Balance, and Connection.  Our Senior Saints ministry offers this to our members.  At Senior Saints one can find fellowship, and above all God’s Word for meaningful living.  Psalm 92:14. They will bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.  Psalm 71:18. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake the, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation.

May God bless us all are we grow older!

A Joyful Summer,

Pastor Rich


Bingo the Basset Hound
Bingo the Basset Hound

Greetings Folks,


 Good old Summer Time!    If you travel this summer and worship, bring back your Bulletin.  Pastor Rich likes to see what is happening elsewhere. 


How about some summer humor to keep healthy.



  • Do fish go on vacation? No they stay in school.


  • Why do oysters keep their pearls? Because they are shellfish!


  • What do frogs like in summer?


  • What’s gray, has four legs, and a trunk? A mouse on vacation.


  • How can you tell the ocean is friendly? It waves.


  • Why do fish swim in saltwater? Because pepper makes them sneeze.


  • What did the dirt say to the rain? If you keep this up my name will be mud.


  • My uncle named his dogs Timex and Rolex. They’re his watch dogs.


Enough for now.

Love from Your Basset Hound



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