10805 Main St. Huntley, IL 60142

September Note

From Pastor Mark

This is the year of Matthew in our Gospel readings for worship each week.  One of those readings coming up is from Matthew 16:21-28.  I invite you to read and ask yourself for a “price check.” 

Jesus is preparing his disciples for that which will come—his suffering, death, and resurrection. Often impetuous in his actions, Peter’s response indicates that he doesn’t understand God’s direction or Jesus’ actions to complete his mission as Messiah.

  • Do we see ourselves in Peter?
  • Have we too often responded randomly to a situation without looking to or listening for God’s leadership?

Peter’s response wasn’t evil; he spoke in love. However, if Jesus had not suffered and died, the resurrection would not have occurred. God’s Kingdom would not have been advanced.

Think of the grief in Jesus’ voice as he rebuked Peter. Just as Satan had tempted him in the desert, here was Peter wanting him to take the way of power. Do Jesus’ words remind Peter that the better way is to follow his leading? Do they remind us to listen for God’s leading before making decisions randomly? Do we grieve God when we make our decisions based on our world view rather than his?

Then Jesus goes on to tell the disciples that as he would suffer, so would they. Following him has a cost.

I am sure that through the years you have witnessed women and men who have paid a price for standing up for what they believed.

I sometimes wonder however if it is becoming less likely. We are living in times of great apathy.  A lot of people wonder what difference does it make for me to be part of a worshiping community?  Do our neighbors recognize or see anything in us that makes us a bit difference than what the world expect?  Beyond the fact that we went to church on Sunday, could they see a difference in our lives? Do we keep our faith so to ourselves that they weren’t even aware of it?

If there had been persecution in our land, would we have been worth persecuting? Would Jesus have recognized us as one of his followers?

Walking close with God should have a price. We must be recognized as Christians in order to be known as followers. And to be recognized, we must be listeners, in order that our random actions not be a hindrance to God’s purpose.

God’s Kingdom will grow on earth as in heaven; praise God that that we are invited each day to be a part in it.

As we begin another year of learning at SOTP ask for the grace to live our life closely connected to God’s Word.  What difference does that connection make for you and how are you living it out?

Pastor Mark

Email Pastor Mark:  pastormark@sotpmail.com

Small Groups

Our Small Groups including our 7s Groups will begin meeting the first week in October.

Our 7s groups will be resuming the first week in October. They are called 7s Groups because they meet for 7 weeks in the fall (finishing before Thanksgiving), 7 weeks after the holidays (finishing before Lent begins) and 7 weeks after Easter (finishing before Memorial Day). Some of our groups will be watching and discussing “The Chosen”, a video series on the life of Jesus and his followers. Another group will be talking about the readings for each Sunday and how they and the messages from our pastors influence their lives. More details are forthcoming.

We have two new groups this year. Next Step is a fellowship group that began over the summer and continues throughout the year. It is a fellowship group for single senior citizens. The second group is brand new and will begin in October. It’s a Book Club and they will meet once a month and will read a variety of  different genres of books. Check the newsletter, Friday Flourish and the website for more information.

So, consider becoming engaged in one of our Small Groups including our Ministry Teams. It’s a wonderful way to connect with other people here at SOTP to learn, grow and flourish in our faith.

Contact: Donna Kelly  donna@sotpmail.com

Saturday Night

Ushers Needed

Saturday night ushers needed for the 5th Saturday of the month. 
You would serve ONLY four times a year.  Wanted: two persons or a couple to fill this request.
Please join our Team.
Contact: Barb Hoppensteadt hoppen@sbcglobal.net

Vacation Bible School

Thank You!

VBS this summer was a huge success!!!  May be an image of 2 people and text that says 'Thank You SOTP! HP2024 TLOCO 2023 VBS Volunteers'

We had 90 kids, and over 40 volunteers, it was incredible. Ready, Set, Move! Following Jesus here, there, and everywhere was our theme. Kids had a busy adventure everyday singing songs, playing games, making crafts, eating delicious snacks, and hearing amazing stories about Jesus. (PLease include some pictures of vbs)

A special thank you to all of our volunteers that helped make our VBS this year unbelievable!



October Note

From Pastor Ryan

“Created to Be” The 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering

Prior to 2021, the ELCA hosted a massive Youth Gathering every three years. It moved from major city to major city, hosting more than 30,000 youth and adult leaders.

My first experience of “The Gathering” (as it is affectionately known) was in 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tara and I were asked by our pastor to serve as adult leaders that year and we accompanied 12 youth on a weeklong adventure that changed my life. Soon after, I became the youth leader for that congregation and would take two more groups to the Youth Gatherings in 2015 and 2018, in Detroit and Houston, respectively.

The 2021 Youth Gathering was supposed to be in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but was postponed, and eventually canceled, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, in 2024, we will be making a return to New Orleans for the first Gathering in 6 years! As always, the Youth Gathering is for all youth who are in 8th-12th grade this school year. The new twist is that a Young Adult Gathering will be running at the same time. This is for anyone who is 18-35 years old at the time of registration.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the Gathering, I wanted to share a little more about what makes it so special. The Gathering is a combination of worship, service, learning, fun, and relationship-building. Each night, all youth and leaders will gather in the Caesars Super Dome (home of the New Orleans Saints) for a concert-style atmosphere with a band and a series of speakers, with some worship blended in. The speakers are thought provoking and spirit stirring and the music is energizing and Spirit filled.

Each day has a different focus. One day will be spent performing some form of service to the city. In 2012, the Gathering service projects focused on the continued cleanup from the devastation of hurricane Katrina. Our group helped backpacks with school supplies to ensure that students would have what they needed to start the school year well. Another day will be spent in a convention center full of games and activities that teach us and remind us all of what life can be like, in the US and abroad, for people who suffer injustice or live otherwise difficult lives compared to our lives. Another day will be spent with youth from the Northern Illinois Synod as we spend time getting to know each other and sharing in a worship experience.

Within all of these events is the continued experience of coming together in community, forming deeper relationships, and growing deeper in faith.

No matter what I share with you in worship or in these paragraphs, I could never fully capture the excitement and power of this weeklong event. I encourage all of you, whether you have a child who is in 8th-12th grade or you or someone you know is 18-35 to strongly consider registering for this awesome event. For more information, reach out to me and/or check out https://www.elca.church/gathering .

Please register using our Church Center app or by scanning the QR code below by October 22 to take advantage of the reduced registration fee.


Pastor Ryan

Pastor Ryan

Email Pastor Ryan:  pastorryan@sotpmail.com

Link to summer of 2024 Youth Gathering website for those interested in more information:  https://www.elca.church/gathering