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Rev. Stacy Lauer-Scovanner



Pastor Stacy and Family

Rev. Stacy Lauer-Scovanner was born in Gibsonburg, Ohio. She attended Capital University, Bexley Ohio where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She was awarded a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Bexley, and was ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has worked as a licensed social worker before serving five years as Pastor at Bethany Lutheran and Reformation Lutheran churches in Toledo, Ohio. She accepted a Letter of Call to Saint John's in September of 2016. Pastor Stacy is married to Ryan Scovanner. They have two children.


Finding the Right Lutheran College

Blessed Advent to you!

How are you preparing for the birth of the Christ child? Advent offers us a reminder of the importance of taking time to read Scripture and pray. In worship, we sing songs of preparation, we hear the Good News, we light the advent wreath, we receive the gift of Jesus’ body and blood in the sacrament of Holy Communion. Throughout this season, we hear of broken relationships being restored, and we are invited to repair those in our lives that have been damaged.

Each year as we approach the birth of our Savior, one of my spiritual practices is to spend additional time immersed in Scripture. As part of that, I consider the thoughts and feelings of the main characters in our Christmas story. This year, I once again wonder about their faithful response of “yes”.

  • First, we see Joseph as an angel appears to him in a dream. Did he have fear, joy, or hope as he stayed with Mary when the world told him not to? It couldn’t have been easy with society and the world going against him. And still, he follows the Spirit. Joseph says yes.
  • I listen to the story of Mary and ponder the many emotions she must have felt when she realized that she was to have a child, when she was young and not yet married. Confusion? Excitement? Fear? Does she realize that this child will grow to become the Savior of the WORLD but that he will need to give his life? I would be completely terrified. This is a dangerous task for her, but she says yes.
  • The shepherds and wise people are easy to forget, but also important in our story as Christians. They are everyday people, from two completely different parts of society, going about their ordinary lives just as we often do. The shepherds, outcasts in society, see a vision and follow it—they are chosen to be among the first to witness the Christ child. And the wise people are called by the powerful king to go and find this baby. But instead of reporting back to the king as their lives would have demanded, they gave Mary treasures and gifts for Jesus and advice to keep him safe. What did they feel? Fear? Joy? Despite any skepticism or disruption to their schedules or fear for their lives, still they said yes.
  • And then here we are. We, too, are part of this story as we prepare our hearts during this Advent season. How are we called to participate? What do we feel? Hope? Joy? Love? Peace? Doubt? Anger? Excitement? And will we, like the others, have the courage and faith to say yes to where the Holy Spirit leads us?

It is my hope for you that this Advent season is full of joy, love, excitement, and preparations for the Christ child to live in your hearts. Let us also say yes to whatever our Lord has in store for us, as we realize his love and know his healing presence.

Walking with you in Christ,
Pastor Stacy

Faith Lens


December 17, 2017–A Light in the Darkness

Posted on December 12, 2017 by faithlens

Andrew Karrmann, Bellevue, NE

Warm-up Questions

  • Many people are afraid of the dark and have anxiety about the time between turning off the light and getting into bed. What do you do when you have to turn off a light switch and then walk across the room to the safety of your bed?
  • Where else have you experienced darkness in your own world?

A Light in the Darkness

Daniela Schiller is an Israeli Professor of Neuroscience who runs her own research lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai in New York City.On June 3rd, 2010 she told a story about a darkness in her own life.

Daniela grew up in Israel with a father who survived the Holocaust in Germany

before settling in Israel to raise his family. Daniela visits her father once a year and often her visit coincides with Holocaust Memorial Day. On this day at 10 am, Israeli citizens hear a siren across the country which signals the time to stop everything you are doing and stand at attention for one minute of silent reflection on the horrors faced by Jewish people during World War II. But Daniela noticed that while this national moment of silence was happening, her father (who she thought would want to participate in this national moment more than anyone else) would remain seated at the table, sipping his coffee, and reading his newspaper as if nothing were going on. She always thought this was strange, but didn’t have the type of relationship with her father where she could ask him about his feelings.

Schiller was inspired by a movie called, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” in which the main character tries to remove the painful memory of his ex-girlfriend through a radical medical procedure. Schiller’s experience growing up with a father who couldn’t seem to acknowledge his most painful memories caused her to research a little bit more about the possibility of such a procedure. It turned out that the movie was based on actual science and there was a lab in New York City working on that specific idea. She immediately signed up and received a grant to study in the lab.

Schiller’s new colleagues had discovered that the simple act of recalling a memory left it vulnerable to influence while it was being loaded in the brain. They imagined allowing people to recall traumatic memories and while the memory was vulnerable, injecting a drug to block the memory from being formed once again, effectively erasing the memory permanently. This had been shown in mice, but now it was Schiller’s job to prove that it was possible in human beings.

Schiller began her experiments by using classical (or Pavlovian) conditioning to force her human subjects to associate seeing a blue square with receiving an electric shock. After a few trials, she was successful and she was able to measure a physiological response of fear in her subjects whenever they saw a blue square. Unfortunately, the US Government was far more lenient regarding the use of electric shocks on humans than with experimental drugs, so she had to come up with a new way to remove the association of fear with the blue square in her subjects.

While reviewing a similar study with mice, which seemed to fail, Daniela noticed that there was something different about this study. After implanting the negative memory in the mice, by mistake the mice were allowed to experience something pleasant in the subsequent iterations of the experiment. This seemed to alter the painful memory over time, and without the use of any drugs, the mice were cured of their irrational fear. So, Daniela began to try this in the people she was studying. By changing from an electric shock to the feeling of winning a prize, she was able to alleviate her subjects’ fear of blue squares.

The next year, while visiting her father, Daniela once again heard the sirens for Holocaust Memorial Day going off. As she looked over at her father, she began to understand what he was doing for the first time. The siren was his blue square and he was was doing something pleasant while his memory was vulnerable. So she poured herself a cup of coffee, borrowed a section of her dad’s newspaper, and sat down next to him.

Discussion Questions

  • What darkness do you think was being triggered in Daniela’s father’s mind when the sirens sounded on Holocaust Memorial Day?
  • What sorts of things trigger you to think about the darkness in your own world?
  • What did Daniela’s father do to shine a little light on his dark memories?
  • What can you do to shine light on your own dark memories?

Third Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

John 1:6-8, 19-28

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year B at Lectionary Readings

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

In the first couple of verses we find out who this John the Baptist character is. We are told very plainly that he is not the light (Christ is!), but that he is simply here to tell us all about the light so we can recognize it when it shows up.

This turns out to be very important because while John is going around telling people about Christ, there is clearly some confusion about who is doing what. The leaders of the Jewish community at the time have trouble keeping John and Jesus separate as they are hearing stories about the two of them. So, they bring John in to ask him a few questions. They want to know just who John thinks he is, causing all this confusion by baptizing people even though he claims not to be Christ, or Elijah, or a prophet. John let’s them know that he is just someone out in the world telling people what they already know: that they should follow the path of God just like Isaiah said and that they needn’t be worried about what he is doing because there is someone coming who even John wouldn’t be worthy of untying his shoe.

As we wait in the season of Advent, we often struggle with balancing “The Christmas Spirit” and the idea that we should be waiting for the light of Christ to shine in our world on Christmas Day. John is very careful to make a distinction between himself and the light. So, are we supposed to see ourselves as John, pointing to the light of Christ in the midst of a broken world? Or are we supposed to be the light ourselves, by being “little Christs” as Luther said in his Theology of the Cross? Is there room for both?

Advent is a season which reminds us that although we live in a world full of darkness and sadness, there is a light and that light comes every year on Christmas Day. Although we look forward to a day when Christ returns and fulfills his Kingdom, we must reconcile this idea with the fact that we live in a world unfulfilled. Can we still point to evidence of Christ in a broken world? Can we tell ourselves and others about the coming Kingdom, even if we can’t see it ourselves? Can we point to God’s light even in the darkest parts of our own lives? Can we take it a step further and be that light to others in their darkest moments?

As Lutheran Christians, we are daily forgiven and washed of our sins. This gives us the freedom to relive the darkest moments of our lives over and over without the fear that we might be forced to be stuck in the darkness. Each time we call on our own fearful and scared memories they are left vulnerable to God’s Word (which is Christ) saying, “I love you and forgive you not in spite of what you’ve done, but because of it.” Christ can keep shining that light through the actions of others (like friends, family, and church members), into our personal darkness. Eventually, this light shines so bright that others can see it in us, despite our own darkness and we become the little Christs that Luther talked about.

Discussion Questions

  • Can you point to evidence of Christ even in the broken world we live in today?
  • Can you see yourself as a little Christ even if you cannot be sinless like Christ?
  • How can you point to Christ in your own world like John the Baptist pointed to Christ in his?

Activity Suggestions

Make your own little Christ by drawing something that represents Christ to you. It could be a cross, a dove, a flame, a light bulb, a dude in a robe with a beard, or anything else you can think of. Then take your little Christ with you to a place where you see the light of Christ shining in our broken world. Take a selfie with you pointing to the little Christ and share it on social media with the hashtag #PointingToChrist. Try this more than once throughout your week and don’t forget to search your favorite social media platform for the hashtag to see how others have found the light of Christ in their lives.

Closing Prayer

Father, God, Lord,

Thank you for this chance to come together to learn more about you and your Word. Thanks, also for your willingness to enter into the darkest parts of our lives to shine your light and help us heal. Please walk with us in the weeks, months, and years ahead as we seek out the cracks in the darkness of our world where your light shines through. Allow us to point to that light so that others can see it as well. We lift up the darkness and light in our own lives and know that you hear our prayers, whether we shout them with joy from the mountaintops or hold them inside with sighs to deep for words. Thank you for listening. Amen.


The Love of Christ Through Action
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Faith Life Team
Leader, Paula Hoffman

The focus of the Faith Life team is to provide service opportunities for the members of St. John's. The team remembers our youth on their birthdays with a gift card. They sponsor our Supper Club, movie nights, serve dinners at CROSSROADS homeless shelter, twice a year place flags to honor our country's fallen at Ohio Veterans Home, sack lunches for Care and Share, and Giving Tree projects for our local domestic violence shelter. Each year new ideas.

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Worship Team
Leader, Sandy Thompson

The focus of the Worship Team is to assist the Pastor and the Music Director in planning of weekly worship services and to support them in new expressions of worship. The team meets monthly to share worship ideas, secure lay worship leaders, and maintain a calendar for Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Christmas, and Christmas Eve.

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Property Team
Leader, Jeff Justi

The focus of the Property team is to assist the trustees and to help with the many issues regarding church property, cemetery, and parsonage issues. The team is responsible for maintaining our buildings and facilities, and tracking the church's equipment and maintenance needs,

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Giving Garden Team
Leader, Jeff Justi

The focus of the Giving Garden Team is to provide fresh vegetables to those in need of food support through local food ministries. This has become a joint effort of FLAMe our Firelands Network of Lutheran Churches.

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Finance Team
Leader, Peg Kingsley

The focus of the Finance Team is to ensure financial accountability and transparency, and engage in the annual budgeting process which includes faithful handling of weekly offerings and monitoring of expenses.

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Good News + Amen
Leader, Barry Laird

The Good News + Amen team is leading our congregation in a deeper understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and extending the invitation to join God at work in the world. St. John's reaches out to both our church and our community. Through prayer and servanthood, people are lifted in prayer and supported in so many ways as shut-ins or in a nursing home.

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Helping Hands Team
Leader, Paula Hoffman

We care for families in our congregation and community that are in special need, as at the time of a loved one's death. A luncheon is prepared for the family and friends. This loving ministry extends that grace of God that this congregation has discovered in our extended family of the world.

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Youth Team
Leader, Pastor Stacy

We are starting a youth team! If you are interested in family gatherings, youth events, Bible studies, and prayer, please let Pastor Stacy know. There will be few meetings, but hopefully numerous events. Please call or text Pastor Stacy at 419-680-0358. 

Support

Enriching the Life of Seniors


Genacross Lutheran Services-Sandusky Campus↗

The Place to Make Home



Located in Erie County, our Sandusky Campus is dedicated to providing the highest quality care and services to people of all faiths. Our caring, dedicated staff creates a welcoming and homelike environment, with medical expertise and compassionate care that will exceed expectations. The Sandusky Campus features some of the largest private rooms in the Sandusky area, a chapel for worship, a spacious dining room, paved walking paths, and beautiful garden sitting areas. In additions to caring for the physical needs of residents through skilled nursing and rehabilitation services, we aim to enrich their daily lives with a variety of activities including, church services for many denominations, group activities and outings, one-on-one interactions, and parties to celebrate holidays and other special occasions. When you come to the Sandusky Campus for care, you become part of our family


There are no limits to caring


Crossroads↗

Essential Services for Homeless Individuals



Crossroads offers case management, support services, and supportive housing for homeless individuals and families. this facility is located in Sandusky, Ohio. Crossroads is an 18 - 30 bed, 30 - day homeless shelter (extensions can be granted) that also provides transitional housing up to 2 years. It serves anyone from anywhere except convicted arsonists and sex offenders.


Restoring the Community One Relationship at a Time


Nehemiah Center↗

Excited to see God move through this place and have His will be done!



Nehemiah Partners of Sandusky's mission is to encourage, empower, and educate young people to pursue the fullness of their God-given potential through a holistic programming approach. Since 2007 the Welcome to Nehemiah Partners have offered educational and faith services, age-appropriate activities, mentoring, and guidance aimed at spiritual, physical, and relational well being of the individual.


Working to Meet your Needs


Ability Works, Inc.↗

Our commitment is to services for those with developmental disabilities and to our corporate customers.



Ability Works serves two different audiences, with a strong commitment to both. Our corporate customers can choose from a broad range of products and services which is ever-evolving to meet their needs. Currently these include our sign shop, customized production, and subcontracting of employees. On the other hand, we also provide to those in our community with developmental disabilities. Our offerings include employment opportunities, an extended employment workshop, training, counseling and other services customized to their specific needs. We do all this while maintaining the necessary reasonable accommodations to individuals in accordance with the ADA guidelines.

 


152 Years  :  Rejoice, Renew, Reach Out  :  1865-2017

Saint John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Union Corners
106 Scheid Road, Sandusky Ohio 44870 : 419-625-2192
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