A Sacred Invitation for the Village of Wilmette
By Pastor Allison

“It is not inclusion if you invite people into a space you are unwilling to change.” - Dr. Muna Abdi

On Monday evening, I addressed the gathered community at the Sesquicentennial Interfaith Prayer Service.  I was unusually nervous.  I had been asked to speak about the purpose of our gathering, which was more than simply to celebrate the history of Wilmette.  The purpose was also to acknowledge the way we as a village want and need to change in order to become more reflective of the kind of community our faith traditions envision for us.  I spoke about the white, upper-class culture of Wilmette and the northern suburbs in general.  I spoke about the way this culture demands that newcomers assimilate and also disconnects us from who we really are deep down as human beings.  I wasn't sure how people would respond.

I was pleasantly surprised and deeply encouraged by the feedback I received after my remarks.  So many people came up to me to thank me for speaking this hard truth, especially since it is so rarely named publicly and directly.  I am heartened to see that there are people in Wilmette who want to make change - who want to move away from a culture that focuses on achievement and surface-level success in favor of a culture that focuses on authentic relationships, equity, and sustainability. 

I invite you to watch the 75-minute service below, which begins at the 34-minute mark on the recording (the camera was turned on early).  The service includes an address by Village President Senta Plunkett, prayers and scripture from six different world religions, glorious music by an interfaith choir, an overview of the history of spiritual communities in Wilmette by Denny Roberts, and my reflection on diversity and inclusion (found at the 1-hour, 27-minute mark).  If you prefer to read my remarks rather than listen, you can find them here.  
Sesquicentennial Interfaith Prayer Gathering
Happy Birthday to those born 4/1-4/7:
  • John Witt, 4/1
  • Chad Johnson, 4/2
  • Scott Witt, 4/2
  • Madeline Flachsbart, 4/5
  • Erin Rasmussen, 4/5
Additions to our Prayer List:
  • Stephanie Gonder, recovery from oral surgery on 3/28
  • Craig Gonder, recovery from hernia surgery on 3/23
We apologize for any omissions. If your birthday, anniversary, or new intention on the prayer list is not included, please contact to be added. Please also let us know of any personal or family milestones, including happy occasions or serious lifecycle events that you would like to share with the St. John's community.
Mission & Vision Small Group Discussions
For four weeks during Lent, our Mission & Vision Team has been hosting small group discussions after worship from 10:45 am to 12:00 pm.  The purpose of these conversations has been to receive input from the congregation (both members and non-members) on our draft Strategic Plan, which includes a new vision statement, mission statement, core values, and goals.  This Sunday is the final meeting, which will take place in the lower level conference room (or via Zoom if needed), and you are encouraged to bring your coffee hour treats!  If you have not attended a meeting yet, you are invited to join Sunday’s small group discussion.  We are very interested in your perspective and feedback!
Easter Lily Orders
Easter lilies may be ordered in memory of a loved one, in celebration of an occasion or a person, or in thanksgiving for the abundance of God’s blessings. These beautiful plants will decorate the sanctuary on Easter Sunday for all to enjoy, and they may be taken home by their donors following the service that day.  Please complete the insert in Sunday’s bulletin and place it in the offering plate with your payment, or you may pay online at using the “Lilies” category. The cost of each plant is $12, and the deadline for ordering is Sunday.
Family Easter Vigil
People of all ages are welcome to join the Family Easter Vigil in person on Saturday, April 16th at 5 pm. Our Children, Youth, and Family Ministries Team will host this worship. If you'd like to volunteer to help with the service, email Student Pastor Derek at
First Communion/Thanksgiving for Communion Classes
Student Pastor Derek will be leading a three-week First Communion/Thanksgiving for Communion class with children and youth beginning after Easter. The class will meet during Children’s Church time on April 24th, May 1st, and May 8th, in person only. We will celebrate and receive first communion on May 15th during the 9:30 am service. All children are welcome and encouraged to participate regardless of whether they've received communion previously. If you'd like to volunteer to assist or have questions, please email

Final Lenten Wednesday Service
This Wednesday will be our final gathering for Holden Evening Prayer at 6:00 pm in the sanctuary, followed by a soup supper in the Fellowship Hall.  The service will also be streamed online for those who would like to participate on Zoom.
Visitors for Sarah
Sarah Rink, a regular participant at the Saturday service and now a participant in Sunday morning services, is looking for folks who would be willing to visit her in her home (1900 Wilmette Ave. #2F).  She is experiencing chronic pain, and having visitors would be a great blessing in her life.  She is open to hosting visitors at 4 pm or 5 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  Sarah is fully vaccinated and happy to wear a mask if that is preferred.  Please give her a call at 847-251-2758 to let her know when you can stop by!
From Holy Family Ministries: You are invited to A Hope and A Future 2022!
Each year, Holy Family Ministries raises funds to enable west side children to attend our programs through our Spring BenefitThrough the generosity of friends like you, we raise funds to support the more than 600 children who excel academically, grow spiritually, become effective leaders and expand their life experiences through Holy Family programs. You are invited to Holy Family Ministries’ annual Spring Benefit in celebration and support of the children of Holy Family. Join us online from the comfort of your own home and share with us in a very special evening Saturday, April 30, 2022. “Virtual Doors” open at 6:45 pm. Program begins at 7:00 pm.  Register for free here.
Sunday, April 3
9:30 am  Hybrid Worship with Hybrid Children’s Church
10:30 am  Coffee Hour
10:45 am  Hybrid Mission & Vision Discussion
Tuesday, April 5
11:00 am  Zoom-only Bible Study

Wednesday, April 6
6:00 pm  Hybrid Lenten Worship
6:30 pm  Soup Supper
6:30 pm  Confirmation Class

Thursday, April 7
12:00 pm  Zoom-only Men’s Lunch
Friday, April 8
2:00 pm  Handbell Choir Rehearsal

Sunday, April 10  Palm Sunday
9:30 am  Hybrid Worship with Hybrid Children’s Church
10:30 am  Coffee Hour
Sunday Sermon Video

If you missed last week's service or want to watch it again, you can view it here.
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Midweek Service: Holden Evening Prayer
Preaching & Presiding Minister:  The Rev. Allison Bengfort    
Assisting Minister:  Alan Swanson
Interim Music Director & Organist:  Christine Kraemer
Cantor:  Stephanie Chee
Carillon Ringer:  Jan Wendel
Minister of the Word:  Emma Radde
Children's Church:  Student Pastor Derek Stienmetz
Usher:  Peter Hauser
Altar Guild:  Susan Crist
Livestream Camera Operator:  Michel Hauser
Zoom Host:  Luke Rasmussen
Coffee Hour Host:  Jan Wendel
Through your investment in this community, we can continue to grow in love and life together. 
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St John's Lutheran Church
1235 Wilmette Ave. Wilmette, IL 60091

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St. John's Lutheran church · 1235 Wilmette Ave · Wilmette, IL 60091-2557 · USA

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