Family Ties July 2022

Youth Sunday

Father’s Day at First Baptist was extra special this year because it was also Youth Sunday – and the youth did a whole service to honor fathers. This was the first Youth Service that we’ve had since the pandemic. It was really wonderful to see all the youth back in front again and being able to appreciate what wonderful, talented, committed youth we have in this church. On top of that it was also the first Youth Sunday for our new youth director, Psaw Paw Kasuh. She did an awesome job – especially given that Pastor Bill was away that Sunday and Pastor Sheila was home sick with covid!

Seventeen youth participated in the service. They all stayed overnight on Saturday to practice and prepare. Everybody played a part! They led prayers, sang songs and read scripture. Three of the boys, Eh Say Ku, Gideon Si and Theo Kwe, sang Bless the Lord O My Soul, with each of them taking a solo. The scripture reading for the day was from the book of Proverbs. The first verse was: “My children, listen to your father’s teaching. Pay attention so you will understand.” (Proverbs 4:1)

They then did a skit (based on actual conversations they had in youth group) where some of the youth sat around a campfire and talked about their dads. They talked about the things they liked to do with their dads – like camping and fishing and going on road trips, and the things that they learned from their dads – like how to play musical instruments and how to pay attention and listen. Then they talked about how we call God our father because, “God will always be there for us and be patient with us. He forgives us not matter what and he loves us even though sometimes we can’t hear it or see it. Just like our dads.”

They ended with a benediction, based on a poem, that I would like to share with you here:

God took the strength of a mountain,

The majesty of a tree,

The warmth of a summer sun,

The calm of a quiet sea,

The generous soul of nature,

The comforting arm of night,

The wisdom of the ages,

The power of the eagles’ flight.

The joy of a morning in spring,

The faith of a mustard seed.

The patience of eternity,

The depth of a family need,

Then God combined these qualities,

When there was nothing more to add,

He knew his masterpiece was complete,

And so, He called it . . . Dad.

Judson Sunday

For about twenty years, First Baptist Church has been celebrating “Judson Sunday.” We commemorate the day that Ann and Adoniram Judson first sighted Burma from the deck of the sailing ship, Georgiana, on July 13th,1813. Their missionary work and the support of the churches in the US for their mission are both critical to our identity and development as a denomination (American Baptist Churches/USA). We thank the Karen members of our congregation for introducing us to this tradition.

People from the 10:30 am and 12:30 pm services and First Burma Christ Church will meet together at Keller Park, shelter #1 at 11:00 am for this outdoor worship. There will be a Karen text of the sermon available.

Quest Camp 2022

We are all so excited to be going back to Quest camp at Green Lake, Wisconsin this year. This is our first year back since the pandemic and the kids are so excited. There will be 17 youth and 3 adults going to camp this year – and 10 of those youth are going for the first time. We will leave on Judson Sunday, August 10 and return on Friday, August 15. The theme for camp this year is “Bright Morning Star” and the Bible verse for the week is John 1:5: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it.”

It sounds like it will be a wonderful week. Quest camp has had a powerful influence on our youth for over 20 years. We are so grateful to have a place like this where the youth can go and get closer to God and closer to each other. Please keep us all in prayer that God will do good things during this time.

Elders’ Picnic

The newly formed Care Ministry Team is planning their first event this summer – a picnic at Keller Park especially for elders and their friends and family. We know that many of our elders often feel lonely and isolated – especially since the pandemic – so this is a time especially for them to get together with others and enjoy some time of fun, food and fellowship. This picnic will be on July 30th and everyone is invited – but with elders as our guests of honor. We will have more information coming soon.

Hymn Sing Sunday

This summer we are going to try something we haven’t done in a long time – an old-fashioned hymn sing service – on July 31st.  For this service we will have some special music, a very brief sermon and a whole lot of congregational singing! We are asking people to let us know three of their favorite hymns and we will try to sing as many of them (one or two verses only) as we can! If you have hymns that you would like to suggest we sing on that day please let us know. You can e-mail your suggestions to

Noah Camp for Kids

Noah Camp for kids at First Baptist Church is returning this summer – August 8 -12, every day from 9 to 3. All kids from from pre-K through 6th grade are invited to participate. Kids will come every day to learn about God, make crafts, play games and sing songs. The theme this year is Passport to Peace. Children will listen to scripture and Bible stories to learn how to be peacemakers – by listening and learning from people who are different, noticing the needs of others and trying to help them, working to keep everyone safe and refusing to respond to conflict with violence. All of these things will help give children the tools they need to follow Jesus’ way of peace. The main Bible verse for the week is “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” – Matthew 5:9 (NRSV)

A Note from Pastor Sheila

This is the picture that I have on my computer desktop right now. It is a beautiful view of the prairie at Green Lake conference center. I put it on my computer a few weeks ago to help remind me of how excited I was to be going to the Women in Ministry Conference at Green Lake. I’ve been going to Green Lake with the youth for many years, but this was going to be the first adult conference I had attended since I first started working here way back in 2000! I was really looking forward to going to this conference and being with other women in ministry. But God had other plans.

The night before I was supposed to leave for Green Lake my husband tested positive for covid. The next morning, I was coughing and felt awful and I knew that I probably had covid too. So instead of heading off for beautiful Green Lake, Wisconsin, my husband and I were quarantined in our house! It was so disappointing!

But I kept reminding myself of one of my favorite scriptures: “God has given them a desire to know the future. He does everything just right and on time, but people can never completely understand what he is doing.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NCV)

Even though I didn’t get to go to the conference, I’m so grateful that I got sick when I did. I can’t imagine how awful it would have been if I had found out I had covid after I got there! It would have been miserable for me and I would have put other people at risk!

And now I will be going to Green Lake after all – with the youth! It turns out that we needed one more adult chaperone, so I will be going with the youth to Quest camp one more time. I’m not sure what God has planned for me there, but I’m sure that God is putting me where I need to be.

St. Paul attorney and civic booster Jack Hoeschler dies at 80

In 2011, First Baptist Church began its legal battle with the City of St Paul protesting the manner in which we were being taxed for street maintenance. We contacted Jack Hoeschler to represent us. He was greatly assisted by a member of the church at the time, Scott Nordstrand. We are grateful for the work of these two gentlemen working on our behalf. The City chose not to appeal a recent court opinion which sided with our arguments. We will be receiving back money which we were wrongly assessed and going forward the City will need to find other ways to collect money to pay for routine street maintenance. This has and will save the church (and other churches and non-profits) thousands of dollars each year. This is an important precedent-setting decision.

Jack learned of the City’s decision shortly before he died.

Thank you, Jack.

At St. Paul City Hall, some saw John Gregory “Jack” Hoeschler as the proverbial legal foil — a relentless attorney who returned to court, year after year, to press similar claims against the city on behalf of churches, nonprofits and homeowners concerned about their street assessments. Others considered him an important civic voice and arts maven who brought crusading zeal rather than legal remove to the many causes he fought for.

His 11-year legal odyssey against the city’s right-of-way charges would reach the Minnesota Supreme Court, which largely saw things his way in 2016.

Over the past 13 months, Hoeschler faced a far more difficult challenge against advanced prostate cancer. He died Wednesday in his St. Paul home, surrounded by family. He was 80.

He is survived by his wife, Linda Lovas Hoeschler, as well as a son, daughter and two grandsons.

“Even though he was on the other side of the issue, I respected him,” said Mannillo on Friday. “He was a person of great integrity. He looked out for the underdog on a number of things. And he was a fighter. He was tough. Usually you saw him standing up to government — the city — when it was not treating its constituents fairly.”

A celebration of life is planned for 10 a.m. on Aug. 22 at St. Olaf Church in Minneapolis, with a reception to follow at the Minneapolis Club across the street.

Obituary Written by Frederick Melo

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