Study Opportunities in March

St. James offers a variety of options for adult learning and interaction, so take advantage of these that fit your schedule or interest.


Adult Forums on Sunday Morning — “Living Into the Gospel.”

For the season of Lent our Sunday Morning adult class will take the form of a dialogue with the preacher. The preacher lives with the bible lessons all week long and then crafts words to say something about them, or ponders what those stories may have to say to us today. Here’s your chance to engage in a deepened conversation. Bring your questions about the bible texts, or what the preacher said, and enter into a lively conversation of learning together.


“Coffee with Jesus” Wednesdays at 7 a.m. at Perkins on North Oak, or Saturdays at 9 a.m. at Green Acres Market in Briarcliff. It’s a little comic, a little scripture, and a few discussion starter questions that help us reflect on life, relationships, and reasons for doing the things we do. Come and join the conversation.


“8 Q Inquiries.” Second Monday of the month in St. Timothy Hall, 1:30 p.m. “The Gathering” women’s group meet in a bible study that takes a bible story, reads and listens to it, and then generates eight questions for conversation from the group about that story. Lively conversation, open format, a new story every month. Drop in as you are able.

Kitchen Equipment Needs for “The Gathering Table”

“The Gathering Table (formerly Children’s Memorial Church) is an integral part of support for the homeless community in their Northeast neighborhood.  They serve meals to about 100 individuals on Wednesday mornings and Saturday lunches as well as providing other necessary services.  Their kitchen is in need of some updating as appliances are outdated and operational funds are limited.  First Lutheran, a significant sponsor and coordinator of the Saturday lunches, has started a fundraiser for a new commercial refrigerator for their kitchen, which will cost about $3,000.  This is a worthy project and supported by your Church In The World Committee.  If you would like to contribute to this fund, please make checks payable to St. James with “Gathering Table Refrigerator” in the memo field.  If you have any questions, contact Norb Stracker or any member of the CITW Committee.”

Federal Employees, Contractors and Families Appreciation Spaghetti Dinner

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 2, 2019
St. James Lutheran Church
1104 NE Vivion Road
Kansas City, MO

Join us at St. James Lutheran Church for a spaghetti dinner to show our community’s support for public servants. There are no ticket fees though we ask that you please RSVP so that we know how many people intend on attending.

Cash or check donations will be accepted on behalf of and donated to the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund (

St. James Lutheran Church shares a campus with Metro Lutheran Ministry of Kansas City ( MLM has opened their pantry to federal employees on THURSDAYS from 1:30 – 3:00 pm for a special shopping session. Bring your government ID.

Please RSVP by clicking the “Going” checkmark. Adjust the number of people in your party. Enter your name and email address. The click the “Submit RSVP” button.

RSVPs are no longer available

A Message From Sarah

Thank you all for welcoming me to St. James! I’m excited to be here, to get to know you all as we worship and grow together. I look forward to this learning experience over the next two years. Currently, I am at the church during office hours on Wednesdays and Fridays, and on 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Sundays.

I am looking forward, as well, to working closely with those of you who will be serving on my internship committee. This committee will be comprised of 5 to 8 people who will meet with me regularly, to offer me guidance, support, and feedback, and to provide a safe and confidential forum where I can explore my learnings. Members of the committee will also be responsible for completing evaluations of my work as an intern, at a mid-point and at the culmination of my internship.

During my time at St. James, my experience will be shaped in several ways. I will walk with Pastor Merle as my supervisor and with my internship committee, providing oversight and feedback. I will work with Pastor Merle to establish a set of formal learning goals. With feedback from Pastor Merle and the internship committee, I will develop and complete an internship project.

I will also be shaped by my interactions with you all as we gather for worship and education on Sundays and at committee and council meetings, as we live the daily life of the church together, and as we serve Christ together. I believe that I will be deeply blessed by my time here; I pray that we will grow together.

Intern Sarah

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So

Happy ThanksgivingOh give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble, and gathered in lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.
— Psalm 107:1-3

Maintaining a sense of gratitude is hard these days. The messages we receive from the advertising world are tuned to make us consume, desire, and want “more.”

It is hard to live in gratitude when you are pressed to want more.

The messages sent from the political sphere are similarly degrading of our gratitude. Promised tax cuts, but look more closely and you see your few dollars right now are set to expire while the wealthy’s breaks are permanent.

Oh give thanks, for the economy is booming…. for those who have much. And, to whom much is given, much more will be acquired, rather than required.

It is hard to live in gratitude when comparison is the message and the norm.

I recently ran across a web site that will calculate where you stand in the realm of global wealth. I plugged in my salary and discovered where I sit in the realm of the richest people on the planet. Here is the link, go ahead and do it for yourself.

Global Rich List

Now, how do you feel about where you find yourself?



Wanting to justify or clarify?

The Psalmist is incredibly inclusive. He/She encourages everyone to be included in the expression of gratitude. All those who have discovered God from the four directions, all who are the “redeemed.”

But there is one thing more that those “redeemed” are to do rather than just basque in that goodness.

It is hard to live in gratitude without sharing. Even if you know about the “steadfast Love of the Lord that endures forever” personally, it is not enough to keep you grateful.

The redeemed must “say so” the Psalmist says.

Those who are aware of how blessed they are must speak of their blessing and of God.


Because so much of the messaging of the world is designed to strip a sense of thankfulness and gratefulness away from us. We need to hear it again and again, from those around us, to dwell in a sense of gratitude.

So, as we lead up to Thanksgiving here, and engage in our “As You Have Been Blessed” Stewardship emphasis, my encouragement to you as your pastor is to speak of God’s goodness.

Tell others those things for which you are grateful.

Be a voice in the wilderness of the messages of “not enough” and “watch out” and “be afraid of”, and affirm instead a view of abundance as you have experienced it.

Join the psalmist in reminding all whom you meet of God’s steadfast love.

That is what endures forever.

That is what will last.

That is what will bring peace and satisfaction to a hungering world.


Pastor Merle.

Stewardship Notes from the Pastor

As You Have Been Blessed.jpgSt. James Fall Stewardship Emphasis, Nov 4, 11,& 18.

“As you have been blessed…” is the theme for our 2018 Stewardship emphasis, and it promises to be a more “hands on” experience of sharing, learning, and receiving.

Week One begins on November 4th, where we’ll challenge ourselves to give 1000 blessings to the community. A “blessing” is what you choose it to be, so long as it is received as such by someone else. It’s an exercise in mindfulness, showing kindness to strangers, and envisioning a world where sharing is the norm.

Week Two will begin on November 11th, Armistice Day, and it focuses on the currency of truth and trust. We can trust a gracious God because this God intentionally connects us with others who are in need, and who supply our need in time of trial. It is a week long “one on one” with someone who will become your “Trust Buddy” for a week, someone in the congregation that you will get to know much better in conversation, prayer, and sharing.

Week Three will begin on November 18th, our “Bring Forward Your Gifts” day, as we gather in worship to do a “Joy Inventory.” This Sunday will be a visible time of bringing forward things that bring us joy, and reveling in God’s goodness. We’ll also have an opportunity to commit to some personal changes we have decided to make that will bring joy to our lives, and bring forward our “Joy Decisions” in worship.


St. James’ Trunk-or-Treat is a safe & fun trick-or-treating experience for kids. Our event takes place in our west parking lot where kids go car-to-car to get their treats.

This year we will have a food truck, crafts and crossing guard.  Why do we need a crossing guard?  Because our friends at Hillside Christian next door are having a trunk or treat, too!  That’s right… this is a 2-for-1 event!  Join St. James from 3-4:30 and head to Hillside across the street from 4-7 pm!

St. James’ Facebook Event:
Hillside’s Facebook Event:


Girl’s and Guy’s Night Out

Hosted by “The Gathering”

Everyone is invited! Never came to church here before?  You’re still invited!

Have a friend at work that has never had Cascone’s? Invite them!

In-laws, out-laws, friends, neighbors… invite them all!

October 16, 2018 at 6 pm
3737 N Oak Trafficway
Kansas City, MO 64116

You Have Been Blessed

Why is it that blessings are often so hard to keep in the forefront of our mind?

When an unexpected blessing comes our way, we are delighted, surprised, often flattered or we feel undeserving.

“Oh, you shouldn’t have…” we say.

“I don’t really deserve this, but thank you…” we respond apologetically.

For a brief moment the blessing, whatever it is, takes center stage and the world seems somehow a better place.

We like to hold on to moments like those.

But the emphasis here is on the “brief moment”, for it isn’t usually long before “the world” does its thing to us again, and we find we can’t “hold on” to it for long.

The blessing that was so vibrant becomes obscured or forgotten in the crush of other things that scream for our attention, our resources, or our energy.

It seems this way in the scriptures as well.

The bible talks a lot about blessing. God is blessing folks right and left with long life, freedom, a land flowing with milk and honey, “descendants as the stars in the heavens,” a name that will stand forever, “a child born unto you in the city of David”…etc.

You can’t turn a page in the bible without running across some form of “blessing” taking place or other. The word “Blessing” or “Blessed” itself is used over 400 times.

Of course, you also can’t turn a page in the bible without coming across something troubling, or difficult to understand, or a story about something that rends your heart and disappoints.

The failure of a character, from Adam to Abraham; Moses the Murderer to Peter the betrayer.

Or a picture of God that puzzles, us, that seems out of character with what we hope God to be.

“Wait, God was that wrathful? God killed the firstborn, sent his chosen people into exile, used a foreign power as a “rod” of punishment, and sent his own son to the cross?”

Maybe the picture of blessings layered between all the awful stuff should be our clue as to why blessings seem so ephemeral and fleeting to us.

Maybe the real issue is that thought that we need to “hold on” to blessings.

It’s not so much that the world “does its thing” to us to rob us of our blessings. It might feel like that sometimes, but truth be told, most of the “troubling things” in this world of our own doing, and they usually stem from us holding too tightly to something.

Human pride, greed, arrogance, forgetfulness of God’s call upon us to live as beloved — all those things enter in and make us forget about God altogether.

Those are all actions of “holding on.” Holding on to our pride, not wanting to share, holding on to our own self image, holding out for something from someone, some recognition, some gesture.. “I will after THEY do such and such….”

Blessing is the agent that God seems to pour into a troubled world to overcome this world, and to overcome our own natural tendency to hold on or hold out for something.

“You shouldn’t have…” we might say to God.

“I really don’t deserve this….” we might protest to God’s abundance, grace and blessing.

But that is precisely the point, for while God maybe shouldn’t have, and we don’t really deserve anything more… God pours blessings in anyway, and trying to “hold on to them” is our primary mistake.

God pours blessings into this world to “Prime the pump” a bit, and then God waits to see if we will catch on, and do what God has shown us how to do, to pour blessings out on others as well.

God’s cue to us is that blessings are meant to flow. They are meant to pour forth from the source of joy, love and hope that God is for us.

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” we sing, and maybe someday we will learn how to be good conduits for those blessings to flow even further.

You have been blessed, now pour it forward.

Pastor Merle.