You are welcome here!
We hope that this will help you
to feel more at home...
We have a newly paved, large parking lot with plenty of space. Pick an open spot and it is yours. We have a couple of handicapped accessible parking areas right by both entrances that open into the sanctuary. If you are joining us for worship on Christmas Eve or Easter Sunday, please note that there is plenty of parking space as well. Our members will often double park at the end of our lot to make sure there is plenty of space for guests and visitors. Also our church is handicap accessible.
We are a laid-back congregation so you are welcome to wear what makes you comfortable and cool. Many of our men "dress-up" in Aloha shirts and shorts or pants on Sunday mornings and women often wear dresses with heels or dressy sandals. But you are welcome as you are!
We do not have air conditioning in our sanctuary where we worship. We do have air conditioning in Grace Hall (offices/kitchen/restrooms/Sunday school area). We use our covered lanai for coffee and conversation following worship...that often gets a nice aloha breeze. We do have low-energy, high-output fans in the sanctuary and worship with open windows and doors and hand held fans.
How are Guests Greeted/Identified?
As you arrive you will be greeting warmly by one of our members (or maybe several!) and asked if you are new. Since we are blessed to call Hawai'i home, we get many folks who visit us annually on their vacations for anywhere from one week to several months, so please excuse us if we forget you've been with us before! Guests and visitors are gifted shell lei both as an aloha welcome to St. John and as a subtle note to our members that you are visiting.
What Time is Worship? What if I'm Late?
Saturday Night Light (SNL) is at 5:30 pm on Saturdays. Sunday morning worship is at 9:00 am. We do our best to start the prelude at 9:00 am, but we are a church in Hawai'i and sometimes we run on island time...which means if you are running late, don't let that stop you from joining us for worship. Our greeters hang out in the back of the sanctuary and are always ready to welcome you with a bulletin and help you find a place to sit, if needed. The same is true for Saturday nights, our greeter always sits in the back and you are welcome to come and go as you need to.
What Should I Expect in Worship?
Can I Partake of Communion?
What if I Have Kids with Me?
We gather together each Saturday evening and Sunday morning to be reminded of God's blessings to us through Jesus Christ and God's continued presence in our lives through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Saturday evenings we don't have hymnals or bulletins; the music is on a screen and we have a group of singers and a pianist to help lead us. Saturday's center around music, the message, prayers and holy communion (served intinction style).
Sunday mornings we use bulletins and hymnals for worship. We follow a traditional liturgy with confession & forgiveness, prayers, readings, a children's time/message, sermon, communion and hymns. We share the peace at each of our services and at St. John Lutheran folks get up and walk around and there is lots of hugging and kissing as we greet long time members and welcome visitors and guests. This can surprise some folks! You are welcome to move around as many of our members do, but you are also welcome to stay by your chair (people will come to you!). If you prefer to shake hands, just hold your hand out as someone approaches you. We all understand that the way we share peace at St. John in Kailua isn't typical! During the school year months (Labor Day-Memorial Day) our adult choir sings during the offering.
Worship usually lasts about an hour and 15 minutes on Sunday's and 45 minutes on Saturdays.
You are welcome to sit anywhere. We do have a few folks who have their "preferred" place to sit, but our congregation is happy to find a new place to sit if you happen to be in the spot they usually take. We have chairs that are hook together, not pews.
We love kids!! Our pastor has spent her whole life surrounded by children so is very comfortable having them in worship. We have a special time set apart following the gospel reading each week for the kids to come forward and they are all welcome. Sometimes our pastor leads the kids in a somewhat silly or fun activity and sometimes the message is more serious and sometimes the kids listen really well and sometimes the kids are a little crazy! The congregation loves having kids in worship too and finds this to be one of the best parts of the service. Except for the summer months, following the prayer at the end of the Children's Time, the kids are invited into Grace Hall for an all-ages Sunday school during the Sermon time. Because we always have our doors open, if you need to take your child out at anytime during worship, it is very easy to do so without anyone noticing. Following worship, many of our kids head to the playground for fun and fellowship during the adult coffee time. This is a great chance to visit with other parents and grandparents and learn names and have fun.
Do I need to Put $ in Offering?
How will I know what to do during worship?
We use bulletins and hymnals for worship. Everything that you need to follow along is contained in the bulletin. We have large print bulletins available for your convenience too, just ask your greeters.Our pastor is good about announcing what we are doing next as we follow along in the bulletins, but we recognize that every community has its own language, and as much as we try to make it clear what we are about, sometimes things get overlooked. If you are ever unsure, just look at what your neighbor is doing, or ask someone, or simply sit where you are and someone will recognize you are guest and come over and say hi and help you out.
How Do I Become a Member? Will Someone Knock on My Door?
Not unless you want them to! We try to connect with everyone who is part of our worshipping community (there are typically 50-100 people in worship depending on the time of year) when we gather, so if you indicate in some way that you are new to the area and interested in learning more about our congregation, our pastor is more than happy to set up a time to visit with you. She can meet you in her office during the week, or for coffee around Kailua Town. Know that as welcoming as we try to be at St. John Lutheran, we also recognize that it can take time to figure out if you want to be part of a worshipping community and we do our best to respect that. Our congregation and our pastor are always open to conversations with folks, so just let us know if you'd like to learn more.
What Else Happens on Sundays?
Kids playground & Fellowship
If you've read through all the questions so far, you know we have fellowship with coffee and treats for the kids and adults and a playground for the kids following worship. Please join us so we get a chance to know you or feel free to leave as soon as worship is over for the day. As always, go in peace serve the Lord.
YES! We believe the sacrament of holy communion is a gift from God to us and because Jesus is the host (it is Jesus' body and blood in the bread and wine) everyone is welcome. On Sundays, instructions are printed in the bulletin, but if you follow the congregation you'll see that some folks come up first to drink wine from the common cup and others wait until later to receive the wine or grape juice in individual cups. We have a continuous gathering around our altar during communion. Some people kneel and some stand. If you have mobility issues, please speak with an usher or the pastor before worship and she will bring you communion where you are sitting. We have Gluten free wafers available as well. Some of our kids take communion and some receive a blessing. Our pastor is good about asking when she meets people for the first time, but you can also indicate when she comes around with the bread if you'd like your child to receive communion or a blessing. If for some reason you'd prefer a blessing, indicate that as well.
You do not need to "do" anything! Please feel free to come and worship with us as you are and be part of the gathered community of Christ. If you'd like to put something in the offering plate as it is passed around, know that the money goes to keep our congregation functioning and that our congregation is very careful with their budget. We support the ELCA through our synod office and we take up special donations at times when a situation in the world or community calls for it, but it is always clear that a particular offering is for that reason. To see many of the ways we support the community and world check out our "in the community" tab on our website. As always, if you have questions, ask a member (one of the friendly folks who greeted you as you arrived) or the pastor.