Lomira, Wis., is a small town of about 2,500 people located approximately 50 miles northwest of Milwaukee. St. John has been a fixture in Lomira since 1863 and is the largest WELS church there with 450 communicant members. It maintains a school of about 85 children in grades K3-8 with a staff of 7 teachers.
About 18 months ago, the members of St. John discussed their worship plans and whether or not the new Christian Worship hymnal would be a good investment for them. Was there a reason to make the change from old to new?
Sharon Schwichtenberg, a lifelong member, expressed her thoughts, including, “Fresh approaches will keep worship up to date and recognize that there are always composers and hymnwriters that are pouring out their talents in new offerings. I want to take advantage of the gifts God gives us through these talented individuals.”
As questions about the new hymnal arose, answers were provided, and soon members of St. John embraced the idea of incorporating the new hymnal into their worship life. As Matthew Kiecker, pastor at St. John, notes, “Our congregation appreciates the old familiar and treasured hymns but agreed that new hymns and liturgies could add fresh life to our worship.”
Longtime member Johnna Manke adds, “Investing in our new hymnal is important because it is so versatile and serves so many purposes in the worship of our congregation. We are all unified here at St. John in our faith and beliefs, yet our individual habits, preferences, strengths, and weaknesses are very eclectic and wide-ranging. I think that the new hymnal will contain enough materials and styles that our members will find something in there for everyone.”
Shortly after the decision was made to adopt the new hymnal, the congregation created an opportunity to prepay for it. A budget was set to replace all the existing hymnals with new ones. Members made special gifts for the new hymnal. Some designated memorial money for the project. With such advanced planning and God’s blessing, they already have the money they need to pay for the new hymnal when it is released later this year.
“You don’t have to be the first to adopt the new hymnal,” Kiecker says. “Nor do you need to go wholesale and buy every resource. You can work toward it in steps. But this is an opportunity to invest in a rich and beautiful worship life for your congregation.”
Learn more about the new Christian Worship hymnal at christianworship.com.
Volume 108, Number 04
Issue: April 2021