St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church Newsletter

Five Houses of WorshipOne Church

            2018 is the 125th anniversary of St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church in Lake Mills, WI.  During this 125th anniversary, we are reminiscing about past events, marveling at God’s amazing grace in the past and trusting that our Savior God will also provide for the future.  As we think about that future, we are hoping to build a new church.  Do you know how many other places of worship St. Paul has had in the past 125 years?

            Since its founding, St. Paul has had four houses of worship.  The first church building was an old wooden building purchased for $650.  It was located on Church St. near the current Lake Mills Middle School.   In 1902, St. Paul decided to build a bigger church for $7,000. On January 18, 1903, the new church was dedicated on the site of the original church.  On Saturday, July 13, 1912 the “new” church was struck by lightening and burned to the ground.  There were reports that some in the community believed that that was the end of St. Paul congregation and Lutherans in Lake Mills as they were too poor to rebuild.  However, eight days after the fire, the members unanimously decided to rebuild. Just over a year later, on August 31, 1913, St. Paul dedicated its new church on Madison St. which was built for $12, 400.  St. Paul worshiped in that building for almost 100 years. It was decommissioned in 2005 as we built our current facility which has been used for the fourth place of worship.

            What’s really amazing about this is that even though St. Paul has had four houses of worship, it was all about building another church, the Holy Christian Church to which all true believers in Christ belong.  Paul described this building process in Ephesians this way, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with Gods people and members of Gods household built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is being built together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.  (Ephesians 2:19-22)

            Here we are, 125 years later, talking about and working toward building the 5th church in which the members of St. Paul will worship. To think that God would give us the opportunity to build a new house of worship that might last another 125 years is breathtaking! And yet, putting up buildings is not what our real work is!  Our real work is building the Holy Christian Church.  The Holy Christian Church is not made of brick and mortar, but of eternal souls that believe in Jesus. The tools used for that building are not levels and trowels, blueprints and money, but the Gospel in Word and Sacrament.   That’s the real church that the members of St. Paul have been building for the last 125 years.  That’s the Church we also want to build in the years to come.  And we know how the members of St. Paul have done that in the past—connecting people to Christ by connecting them to the Word.  With God’s help and by his blessing may that be our continuing mission for the next 125 years—connecting people to Christ.

Serving You in Christ,

Pastor Bruce McKenney


This coming month we get to relive again the events at the heart of our Christian faith: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us and then rose triumphant from the dead. Join us as walk again to Jesus’ cross and the empty tomb in the upcoming Lenten season and Holy Week.


This Lent we want to highlight God’s generosity to us (he gave himself, his Son!). That’s the message that melts our hearts into generosity shown back toward him and toward everyone around us. Here’s what you can expect:

Lent 3 - Mar 3-5 John 2:13-22
Generosity: Requires Housecleaning

Lent 4 - Mar 10-12 John 3:14-21
Generosity: Love in Action

Lent 5 - Mar 17-19 John 12:20-33
Generosity: Sowing Seeds


Our midweek Lent this year will focus on the New Testament letter to the Hebrews. This letter was written to people with a strong background in the Old Testament, including the sacrificial system of worship God had used to point ahead to Jesus Christ. Our sins need to be atoned for. A sacrifice must be made. But the price for sin is too steep to be paid by our lives or the lives of any animal. That’s why Jesus came: to be the perfect priest offering the perfect sacrifice (himself!) so that he might once for all pay for the sin of the whole world. Here’s what you can expect:

Midweek 3

Jesus is Our Compassionate High Priest

Hebrews 4:14-16

Midweek 4

Jesus is Our Perfect High Priest

Hebrews 5:7-9

Midweek 5

Jesus Our Great High Priest Serves at a Great Altar

Hebrews 13:10-16

Midweek 6

Jesus Our Great High Priest Makes Us Priests

Hebrews 10:19-25

Maundy Thursday

Jesus Our Great High Priest is Mediator of the New Covenant

Hebrews 8:6-13

Good Friday

Jesus Our Great High Priest Was Sacrificed Once To Take Away Sin

Hebrews 9:24-28

Easter Sunrise

Jesus is Our Eternal High Priest

Hebrews 7:23-27


Maundy Thursday:  Thursday, March 29th at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. with Holy Communion
Good Friday:  Friday, March 30th at 10:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Easter Vigil:  Saturday, March 31st at 7:30 p.m. with Holy Communion
Easter Sunrise Service:  Sunday, April 1st at 6:30 a.m. 
Easter Festival Services:  Sunday, April 1st at 9:00 and 10:30 a.m.

There is no service on Monday, April 2nd and no Sunday School on April 1st.


Our 6th grade teacher, Mr. Dais, has returned his call to Morning Star Lutheran School in Jackson. We pray for God’s continued blessing on his service among us.

Our 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Gartner received a call to be a professor of special education at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. This would also affect our principal, Mr. Gartner. Feel free to give either Mr. or Mrs. Gartner any thoughts you might have as they deliberate where the Lord might have them serve next year. Above all, keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this time.


The February edition of the building project status update is available at St. Paul in the gathering area. If you aren’t able to pick up a copy in person or read it online, call the church office and we would be happy to mail one to you.


Mission Society meets Monday March 5th.  Come for fellowship at 7 PM.  Presentation and meeting follow at 7:30 PM.  Our speaker for the night will be Pastor Henselin, the executive director of WELS institutional ministries.  Come and find out how our synod is ministering to others through institutional ministries. 


Now that we are in the season of Lent, it is time to prepare music for our celebration on Easter Sunday, April 1. The Festival Choir will join with the Praise Singers as we did at Christmas. Practice for Festival Choir will be combined with Praise Singers practices on the following Tuesday evenings:  Feb 27, Mar 6, Mar 13, all from 7:00-8:00 and Mar 27 from 6:30-7:45. If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. McKenney at 920-988-0177 or


Preschool Registration for the 2018-2019 school year has begun! If you wish to enroll your child in our preschool program, please pick up a registration form in the office or register online at  Please feel free to share this information with your extended family and neighbors. If you would like additional information about our Christian preschool program please contact Early Childhood Director Allie Byers or Principal Steven Gartner at 648-2918. 


If you are interested in purchasing altar flowers for a specific Sunday, please check out the information and order form near the flower box on the table in the lobby. Flower arrangements can be purchased from Wine & Roses in Jefferson for $30.00 per vase. If you would like Wine & Roses to deliver your arrangement(s) to church for a $5 delivery fee, please indicate that on the order form.  Attach your check made out to Wine & Roses and deposit in the flower box in the lobby.


We’re creating a bulletin board in the St. Paul gathering area on which we’re all adding bricks to build a church. There are two questions on the bricks: “How has God shaped your life through the ministry of St. Paul?” and “How can God use you to extend our gospel ministry to the future?” If you haven’t written on a brick, we’d love to have you fill one out and add it on the wall.


Jessie Nass has volunteered to help coordinate our monthly blood pressure screenings as well as blood drives and any other medical events and services. Contact Jessie if you have medical skills you’d like to use to serve others, or if you have ideas about medical needs that could be met here at St. Paul.


Every week we record the sermon and service to broadcast on TV and to share with our members who can’t be with us. We now have those videos on our own YouTube channel and on our website. If you weren’t able to join us, or if you’d like to watch the sermon again or share it with someone, check out the “media” menu on our website or on our new app.


Download the St. Paul app on your smartphone to stay connected with directions, devotions, sermons, events, and giving ... now accessible with one touch!

Option 1: Text

Text "STPAULLM APP" to 77977
Follow the directions to download our app.

Option 2: App Store

Search for the "My Church by echurch" app in your app store.
In the app, connect to St. Paul with the church keyword: "stpaullm app"
Or, in the app, search for St. Paul by name.


We join the following couples in thanking the Lord for blessings received as they celebrate special wedding anniversaries (multiples of five years) this month. May God’s blessings continue on you and on all of our families!

Joel & Erika Haar       March 30         15 years
Ted & Becky Vratny   March 31         45 years


This month TAMARA GONRING has joined St. Paul by profession of faith along with her son BENJAMIN. She moved to Lake Mills in the last year from Watertown and connected to us through Power Hour. She has been worshiping with us regularly since moving here. Her husband John works for the UW Madison 911 dispatch call center. Tamara's work background was retail with jewelry stores, but now enjoys most of her time being home with Ben. We are so excited to add the Gonrings to our St. Paul family. You can usually find them sitting toward the front of church on Sundays, be sure to extend a hand of welcome!


“Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a tribute far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”  (CW 125 vs. 4) 

Average weekly needs are $26,400. 

February 5      $ 23,758

February 12    $ 14,419

February 19    $ 22,552

February 26    $ 14,385

In addition to those amounts there were offerings of $8,611 for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings), $663 for the Improvement Fund, $993 for the Scholarship Fund, $500 for Phase 2, and $160 for Tuition Assistance.


We give thanks for these memorials received recently for our Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings).

In memory of GARY SPENCER, $500

In memory of RUTH SIMDON, mother of Janet Peitz, $100

In memory of PATSY LUDEMAN, $25

In honor of the 45th wedding anniversary, $450 for the Trust Fund


We are almost ready to submit the contact information for our 2018 photo directory. A draft copy for review will be in the church office until Monday, March 5th. If you haven't checked your information for accuracy, you could still make a correction. The draft will also show which pieces of information will be printed. The default is to publish members' name, address, and home phone, as well as cell phone and email for adults unless you let us know that you would prefer that one or more of those would be unlisted. 

Did You Know? - Property Board
Part of our ongoing communication series

  • St. Paul has one full time facility worker on staff daily, Mr. Tim Kalata, who has been with us since the start of this school year.  He has been a great asset and has been able to help with day-to-day maintenance issues.
  • We’ve recently replaced the lights in the St. Paul road sign with LED’s.
  • All the large gym lights are scheduled to be replaced with LED fixtures soon. The Focus on Energy program of Wisconsin with help with the cost.
  • We’re looking to replace the countertops and automatic faucets in the lower grade bathrooms later this spring.

Did You Know? - Technology Board

Part of our ongoing communication series

 St. Paul's Technology Board maintains over 70 iPads, 90 laptops & 10 desktop computers.

  • All iPads and laptops are erased and re-imaged each summer.
  • We have eight mobile cabinets. Each holds from 10 to 40 iPads or laptops and is used to charge all units overnight for the next day’s class.
  • We get our internet access from Spectrum Cable by sharing an account with Lakeside using two roof-mounted antennas to link our locations.

Did You Know? – Worship Board

Part of our ongoing communication series

  • Our current organ has the ability to be connected with pipes and can be converted into a pipe organ.
  • All of our weekly sermons are available on the new St. Paul app. 
  • There is powerful symbolism behind the Processional Cross.
    • This cross is situated behind the Ambo (pulpit) in the chancel.
    • The cross has the symbols of four of the apostles.
    • At the top is the Eagle representing St. John which emphasizes the Divinity of Christ.
    • The left side contains the Winged Lion representing St. Mark which stresses the power and activity of Jesus.
    • The bottom of the cross is the Winged Man representing St. Matthew which stresses the humility of Christ.
    • The right side of the cross is the Winged Ox representing St. Luke which stresses Christ's blood sacrifice for our forgiveness. 
    • In the center of the cross is the Wounded Lamb which represents Jesus who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. 
    • This symbolism underscores the righteous and powerful truths proclaimed by our Pastors. 

Did You Know? – Stewardship Board

Part of our ongoing communication series

  • The Stewardship Board’s ongoing purpose is to educate and encourage the members of St. Paul as they daily practice stewardship of their time, talent and treasure in thanks to Jesus.
  • Our board members are currently involved with the capital campaign as St. Paul members consider how they can give beyond their first fruits.
  • If you are taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your IRA, you may consider using some or all of that money in support of St. Paul and avoid income tax on those dollars. Ask a Stewardship Board member if you have questions.


The major change in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) this year is that the income levels were raised. In fact, the state budget raised those cap levels by about 18%! The figure that the state uses as the measure of eligibility for the WPCP is the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). The AGI is found on line 37 of the 1040 long form and line 21 of the 1040 short form. The figures the state has set are:

Family size      Income          

         2             $35,244          

         3             $44,352

         4             $53,460

         5             $62,569

         6             $71,676

Add $9,108 for each additional family member beyond 6. If the student’s parents/legal guardians are married, the income level above is raised by $7,000. So, a married couple with two children may qualify for the WPCP with an AGI up to $60,460.

Many assume that the WPCP is only for low-income families. However, it is a tool that middle-income families can also use to pay the cost of a secondary Christian education at Lakeside. For more information how the WPCP may serve your family, contact Principal Grasby at Lakeside (920-648-2321).


The next meeting of our OWLS chapter will be on the third Tuesday, March 20 at 1:30 pm, gathering at Immanuel Lutheran Church of Johnson Creek (Farmington), where the congregation is served by Pastor Paul Burk. The topic is:  "Chaplain for Dodge County Sheriff," presented by Rev. Timothy Bauer who, as a retired WELS pastor, is still serving in this unusual and interesting capacity.


You’re invited to Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary on Saturday, April 28th for the “Seminary Scurry” – a 5k family run-walk and 1/2 mile kids dash. Look for more information on our bulletin board. Sign up at


Heritage Homes, a member of the Lutheran Homes Association, has an open position for a nurse. They are looking for a RN or LPN, 32-40 hours per week. This day shift position does not require scheduled weekend hours and only takes call every other weekend. No on call hours are required during the week. If interested in using your talents to serve others with Christ’s love at Heritage Homes, please contact Stephanie at (920) 567-2001, apply on-line at or in person at 700R Welsh Road in Watertown.

At this time, Heritage Homes has openings immediately available in our Assisted Living and Memory Care. We are honored to serve each member of our family with Christ centered love as we assist with their daily needs of living. Heritage Homes is blessed to have a full time chaplain. He leads our residents in weekly devotions, bible classes and hymn sings. A full church service is provided on the last Sunday of each month. If you are looking for further assistance in a warm and active community, please contact Kamilla at 920 567-2002. Tours and informational visits are always welcome.


All winter wreaths are to be removed by April 1.  If family members wish to save any decorations they should be removed before April 1.  Spring and summer flowers can be placed after April 16.  Items other than live, cut or artificial flowers and wreaths are not allowed.


Red Cross Blood Drive is scheduled for Tuesday, March 27, at the Lake Mills City Hall Community Room.  The hours are from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm.  Anyone wanting to make an appointment ahead may call 1-800-RED-CROSS or 1-800-733-2767. Everyone who is able to donate blood is always encouraged to do so, as the need is always great.


Shop: March is when we change to spring clothes! In preparation for this, 50% storewide clothes runs March 1-7. Our Bag Sale runs March 8-10 at 4 p.m.  Come find those winter super-bargains for next year! We’re easy-to-find and open Mondays-Saturdays from 9-5 PM: just a minute east on the Hwy 18 exit off the 26 bypass at 907 W. Racine St., next to the Jefferson Piggly Wiggly.

Volunteer: Talk to someone you recognize from the following list and ask how easy and fun it is to help. No expertise required. Thank you to recent volunteers, including Lakeside students Isaiah Coleman (St. Mark, Watertown), Charles Pingel (Peace, Sun Prairie), Trey Roth (St. John, Watertown), Madelaine Triebold & Lizzy Valerio (St. Matthew, Oconomowoc), Alyssa Zank (St. John’s, Juneau). Also Amy Stammen (St. Matthew, Oconomowoc), Brandy Grow, John and Karen Hupke, Harley Kim, Gary Mack (St. Paul, Fort Atkinson), Cheryl Peter (St. John, Jefferson), James and Jan Rath, Vicki Walta (St. Paul, Lake Mills), Larry and Marilyn Steinke (St. John, Milton), Natalie Tiegs (St. James, Cambridge), Barbara Zank (St. John, Juneau). Changeover begins at 4:30 p.m. March 10. The store closes for this, but we need many volunteers! Can you help this night? Call to tell us!

Donate! Big thanks to all who contributed to the recent "Stuff the Truck" held at LL. Students packed a 20-ft U-Haul to the brim with donations from families who came to campus for the grade school basketball tournament. Missed your chance? Another truck will be there the Saturday of Fine Arts Fest, April 14, from 9 am to 1 pm. Bring as much as your vehicle can carry, furniture, anything! Otherwise, donations can be brought to the door behind the store from 9-4:30 any day we are open. Questions?  Call 920-674-6868, ask for the day manager. Items that cannot be accepted are TVs, computer monitors and printers, appliances, console pianos/stereos/sewing machines, mattresses/box springs, organs and paint.



March 2018

“The righteous are as bold as a Lion.” Prov. 28:1

            Every once in a while people make very bold predictions. A famous football player once boldly predicted a Super Bowl upset victory; his team won. A famous boxer boldly proclaimed himself as the greatest boxer of all time; he held the heavyweight title for some time. Politicians often boldly predict victory as election night gets closer. What do all three examples have in common? Whether right or wrong, they are all passionate about what they have been given and therefore are able to speak boldly about their gifts. The football player didn’t wake up the night before and begin to play football, but rather he built up his football foundation each year. The boxer didn’t just wake up one day and win the title; he built his foundation each year. The politician didn’t just wake up one morning and win an election; he slowly built his base.

            The students here at St. Paul, Your School, are in a way much like these people. They don’t just wake up one morning knowing everything in the Bible, nor will they ever know it all, they slowly build up a foundation of head knowledge and heart knowledge so that as they leave the school after 8th grade they have a solid foundation built on nothing less than God’s Word fully equipped to boldly proclaim God’s Word to those who may not already know it. That is where we are different from most other schools. We can equip both the body and the soul for eternity; others can only equip the body for this life. If you would like more information on how your child can enroll in St. Paul for the upcoming school year, please don’t hesitate to contact the office and we will be more than happy to talk to you about what we have to offer you and your child.

There Still is Limited Room We are in the process of taking applications for both our preschool classrooms and our grades K-8. If you know of anyone interested in enrolling, please have them call the office at 648-2918.            

Spring Break for School is March 19-23. Both Lakeside & St. Paul share similar dates.  God bless your family time together.  There will be no daycare during spring break.

Lakeside Fine Arts Fair is Saturday, April 14 with a Sunday, April 15 concert.

Thanks for continuing aluminum can collections. Our last load netted about $85.  Members may drop off aluminum at the approach to kitchen & garbage corral. ANYTIME DROP-OFF is encouraged! Proceeds used for school.

Play Night April 20 – Come enjoy an evening of comedy as the students of grades K-2 put on the Play, “Go Fish” at 6:00 in the gymnasium. You won’t be disappointed!