Lenten Services

Every year during Lent we have the opportunity to renew our relationship with God and with the people in our congregation. During Lent we prepare for the celebration of our risen Lord, Jesus the Christ. Lent can be a very meaningful time for us within the church year. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6th. On that day we will worship at 7 pm with our special Ash Wednesday service. During the next five Wednesdays of Lent you will hear faith testimonies from people in our congregation. Pastor Tom will also offer a short message. His topic this Lent will be: “Understanding the Bible.” Our worship services will be the beautiful Holden Evening Prayer Service. All services will begin at 7 pm. A delicious soup dinner will be served before worship. Come to the Lent services and find renewal for your faith journey.

Lent Schedule

March 6, 2019 @ 7 PM
Ash Wednesday Service

March 13, 2109 @ 6 PM
Simple Supper

March 13, 2019 @ 7 PM
Lenten Service

March 20, 2109 @ 6 PM
Simple Supper

March 20, 2019 @ 7 PM
Lenten Service

March 27, 2109 @ 6 PM
Simple Supper

March 27, 2019 @ 7 PM
Lenten Service

April 3, 2109 @ 6 PM
Simple Supper

April 3, 2019 @ 7 PM
Lenten Service

April 10, 2109 @ 6 PM
Simple Supper

April 10, 2019 @ 7 PM
Lenten Service

April 18, 2019 @ 7 PM
Maundy Thursday Service

April 19, 2019 @ 7 PM
Good Friday Service

April 21, 2019 @ 9:30 AM
Easter Sunday Service

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Voice of Praise

Pastor Tom has invited the Voice of Praise Chorus to join us on Sunday, March 17th for the 9:30 am worship service. The Voice of Praise is a local religious chorus. Their mission statement is to Sing God’s Praise, to Tell God’s Story, and to Sing God’s Praise. We will have a unity service on that day. There will be no 8 am worship. Come and hear this talented choir as we listen to and join in on singing God’s praises!

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Pastor Tom’s Mission and Ministry Report

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all the people of Williams Bay Lutheran Church.

(Here is my annual report to the congregation. God has truly blessed our congregation in 2018.)

This past year was filled with both challenges and joys. Overall, I am grateful for the many ways that we came together as a faith community in order to move our congregation forward in mission. Thank you to all the people of Williams Bay Lutheran Church! I am especially thankful to God for three surprises that happened this past year.

The first surprise was Vacation Bible School. We have not held VBS at our church for three years. This past summer the education committee decided to take a step of faith and plan for a week of VBS. When the week for VBS came thirty-six kids appeared! It was a fantastic week and the children were blessed by this ministry. As time goes on, and we continue building up our VBS program, I hope that we become known in the community for offering an outstanding VBS ministry.

The second surprise was all the new members that we received. I was filled with joy on New Member Sunday as twenty-one adults and children joined our congregation. It has been a while since we welcomed new members to our congregation. This past year God blessed our church with a large group of new members. We have been doing the work of evangelism! Already our new members are getting involved and are participating in the life of the congregation.

The last surprise happened at our Thanksgiving Service and our Christmas Eve services. This year I decided to invite the Chapel on the Hill congregation to join us for our traditional community Thanksgiving service. They welcomed the invitation! That evening we filled the church as we gave God thanks and praise. A very large ecumenical choir also sang during the Thanksgiving service.

For Christmas Eve we decided to bring back the 10:00 service. The attendance between the 5 and 10 service that night was one hundred sixty-seven people. That was the highest attendance for Christmas Eve worship in many years!

While there were challenges this past year I am so grateful for your enduring support and grace. One thing that I have learned, from my two previous congregations that I served, is that the work of a pastor is too great without the support of other people. I am grateful for your partnership with me in God’s mission and ministry work here at WBLC.

I especially want to thank Carol, Rebecca, and Chad. Thank you Carol, for your creativity and for your beautiful music. Thank you Rebecca, for your good work and for helping to promote our church within the community. Thank you Chad, for being such a faithful and dedicated church council president.

Lastly, I want to thank the church council for walking with me in both the challenges and joys of ministry this past year. Can the challenges and joys of ministry coincide so deeply? We discovered that it can! Thank you to those who are serving now on church council. Thank you for your leadership and for your love for our church.

As we look to a New Year I hope that we can, even more, awaken our love for God. In looking ahead to the coming year I have started planning ministry for 2019. I will soon be leading a Bible study on the Psalms. I will also be leading a class on a book that has greatly influenced my spirituality: Desiring God by John Piper. During Lent I will be inviting people to share their faith stories during the Wednesday Lenten services. I have invited the Voice of Praise, a sacred chorus, to come and to sing for us on Sunday, March 17th . This fall I am planning on leading a class on the topic of living out our faith in real and practical ways. In the fall I would also like to invite our congregation to participate, in some way, in our town’s Centennial celebration. Lastly, I am planning on working ecumenically with UCC and Chapel on the Hill for more ecumenical worship services.

Please continue to keep our church in prayer and to remember me in prayer as well. I will be praying for you and for our church in 2019. May God richly bless our congregation!

Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish those words over a lifetime. –Dale Carnegie

In Christ,
Pastor Tom Dowling

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Candlelight Christmas Eve Services


You are invited to join us for a Candlelight Christmas Eve Services on December 24, 2018. We will have two services so you can come to the one that best fits your schedule. Feel free to join us at 5:00 PM or 10:00 pM.


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Community Thanksgiving Service 

Come and give thanks to God!  Our community Thanksgiving service will be held at the UCC church in Williams Bay on Tuesday, November 20th at 6 pm.  The community choir practice will be at 5 pm.  Coffee and desert fellowship will follow worship.  This year is particularly exciting as the Chapel on the Hill congregation will be joining us.  Come and worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ! 

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Christmas Giving Tree

We are once again going to help needy families throughout the Walworth County Holiday Care Program. All our families are in the Williams Bay area and I hope we will be as generous this year as we always have in the past.

Each ornament has a number on it as to what family they belong to and whether it is for a boy, girl, mom or dad. On the ornament is a suggestion of what they would like and also sizes. If in doubt on the size for a child I always suggest going up one size rather than have it too small, or get a gift receipt and enclose in the package.

The ornament MUST BE SECURELY ATTACHED to the package. If you have gotten the gift and have lost the ornament contact me so I can hopefully give you the number that belongs on your package. It is not easy trying to guess what gift belongs to which family when I have 50 presents under the tree!!! an no family number on it.

If you are giving gift cards please put in a small box or bag or much larger envelope with ornament attached to it. The gifts MUST be returned to church by December 16th as they have to be delivered to Elkhorn on Dec. 17th. If you have old large paper shopping bags with handles on please bring those to church as it’s easier to transport when I can put several gifts in one large bag — they don’t have to be Christmas ones but — send what you have.

Thank you for your help and thank you for your generosity!!


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October – November 2018 Monthly Newsletter


WBLC - Pastor TomDuring the Sundays of October we will be focusing on stewardship. Stewardship is about how we manage what God has first given to us. Our theme this year for our stewardship season is “portion giving.”

What does it mean for us to give a portion of our money, time, and talents back to God in the form of an offering? Let’s explore that question together during the four Sundays of October.

“Remember this – a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, they share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, God will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.” 2 Corinthians 9: 6-10

May God bless you as you steward the gifts of God for the people of God.


This year we are asking you to fill out the time and talent survey online. Please visit http://wblc.org/time-talent to complete the survey.

If you prefer to fill out a paper version, you can pick up a copy on the Narthex table. Simply fill it out and place in the offering plate or drop off at the church office.

MUSIC NOTES from Carol Berndt

Here are some dates to take “note” of for the upcoming couple of months. October 7th our Sunday School children will be leading the congregation in the singing of “Jesus Loves Me”. On Oct. 14th the Sunday School children will be presenting the congregation with a special treat & song having to do with the stewardship theme of the month. Our Handbell Choir will be preparing for their concert at Christ Lutheran in Sharon on Oct. 21st at 3:00 PM (see separate article). On Tuesday, November 20th at 6:00 p.m., Chapel on the Hill will be joining us along with Williams Bay U.C.C. for our traditional Thanksgiving “Eve” service where there will be a combined vocal choir. Rehearsal time will most likely be at 5:00 pm. That evening at U.C.C., which is where the service will be held this year. We will once again present a Christmas cantata this year, which will be on Sunday, December 9th during our 9:30 AM unity worship service (no 8:00 am service on that morning). It will involve a Christmas Choir, Handbell Choir, Sunday School children, Confirmation students and Congregation participation. This year’s presentation is “Emmanuel—God With Us!” by Lloyd Larson, featuring songs such as Michael W. Smith’s “Christmastime”, Amy Grant’s “Breath of Heaven” & their combined song, “No Eye Had Seen” along with another favorite of many, “Mary, Did You Know” & finishing with a traditional Christmas Carol medley. If you are interested in joining us in this cantata, please contact me for a rehearsal schedule & music. I have made practice recordings that I can email to you for easy practice.


Our Williams Bay Lutheran Handbell Choir will be presenting a Handbell Concert at Christ Lutheran Church in Sharon on Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 3:00 PM. Pastor Kalen Barkholtz, Pastor Tom’s wife, and her congregation are looking forward to our musical presentation and are anxiously awaiting meeting members of our Williams Bay congregation. Refreshments will be provided after the concert to provide time for fellowship and a time to get to know everyone a little better.
We will be taking a free will offering at the concert that we will be donating to the Agape House in Walworth. I encourage you to visit their website for further details of their loving ministry. Agape House is a non-profit ministry which provides counseling services, mentoring, school and a safe home for girls and their families throughout Walworth County and the surrounding area.

It is our hope that this is just the first of many handbell concerts to come that we will be able to share our talents and abilities with others outside the four walls of Williams Bay Lutheran Church. We hope to see you there & thank you in advance for your support of our music ministry & mission to help the Agape House this year with our donation.


All WBLC women are welcome to join our Sally’s Circle meetings. Some of the participants knit or crochet prayer shawls or do other hand work while we talk. Our meetings are very informal and are a great way to get to know each other. We meet in the Hearth room in the lower level of the church. If you have any questions about where to get the book, please see Mary Mock or Cheral Sadler. Our next meeting is October 30, 2018. The book is “Home Front” by Kristin Hannah.


The 32nd Annual Crop Walk will take place on October 21, registration is at 12:30 pm, walk at 1 pm.

75% of donations go to world hunger relief through Church World Service, 25% stays local and is split between 7 food pantries in Walworth County.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Jim Pfeil for a walk packet.


Pastor Tom would like to formally invite our new members to Williams Bay Lutheran. If you are interested in joining the church please let him know. He is planning a “New Member Sunday” for the fall.


Our church supports many important ministries. One ministry that we support is Lutheran Campus Ministry. LCM reaches out to college students with the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. LCM offers a Christian Community on college campuses for students seeking to grow in their relationship with God.


Sunday school is at 9:40 am each Sunday morning during the 9:30 worship service. Confirmation is every Wednesday evening from 6:00-7:00. Please keep these ministries in prayer. Pray that God might bless and grow these important ministries in our congregation.


Pastor Tom is working on starting a mutual ministry committee. The purpose of this group is to offer support, to reflect upon the mission of Williams Bay Lutheran Church, to pray for our church, and to plan for future ministry. Please keep this committee in prayer as it begins meeting this fall.


An update from Ron Berndt, Church Council, Worship Committee Member: You probably know that I spend a lot of time in church as cantor, lector and choir member. I am always thinking about how we might enhance our worship experience and appropriately leverage technological and content resources available widely today. You may not know that I have spent many years of my professional life successfully enabling thousands of individuals and multiple businesses to present their messages in a more compelling and memorable way, with learning styles in mind. So, how does my experience apply to our church and our worship? I have been the proponent of exploring ways to add a visual element to our worship. I’d like to summarize our research, our findings, and how we’d like to move forward with this initiative…

Why add visual elements? (the research) Do you know that, according to the Social Science Research Network, nearly 65 percent of people are visual learners? People who learn visually need to see what they hear not only to comprehend, but also to retain information. When listening to a sermon, visual learners benefit from pictures, slides and live demonstrations. The visual aspects help people connect with what is being spoken or sung and reinforce the service in a positive way.

Our experimentation and findings so far: We have been experimenting with enhancing worship by adding a rich visual element, using a projector and screen, visual images, pictures, text and even short video. We did this during Lent and Vacation Bible School and we have spent considerable time and effort researching the best way to bring new visual elements to our service, yet keep intact, the word, music and flow that we cherish as a valued part of our Lutheran heritage. There have been questions, we’ve had a dialogue, and people are embracing the idea and the implementation. However, we thought it would be good to communicate the concept in writing, and the proposed way forward…

What will be different once we add this visual element to our church?  (The physical aspects) There will be one retractable projector screen measuring 45” x 80” in the front left side of the sanctuary mounted at a height where it will be visible to all, but not “block” the view of the altar area, window cross, pulpit and so on. The screen will be visible when being used and retracts into a thin case when not in use. The projector is small and will be mounted right above the screen and on the wall, no pipes or cables hanging down from the ceiling or other distractions. (This is the same type of setup thousands of schools use for “smartboards”.) Sourcing a locally recommended vendor, we have found a new, very capable but cost-effective projector that will be almost twice as bright as the one we’d experimented with (usable day or night) and has no expensive bulb to burn out. With our usage of a few hours a week, we calculate it should last us 128.2 years.

What will I experience in Worship? Think of it this way, the visual experience is “additive” to what we do today. It does not take anything away. The service, word, music, communion, having a bulletin, etc., do not change. Here are a few examples of what we may add to our worship experience:

  • Before the service, we could show announcements to save time and repeat the messages as people enter the church.
  • During a sermon, if Pastor referred to a painting of Jesus, we could see that picture on the screen.
  • As we are walking to the front of the church to take communion, we could continue to sing communion hymns from words displayed on the screen.
  • We might show a short video that reinforces the message of the day.
  • We may show pictures and even “home” video of church events for those who could not participate.

And the list goes on. I will continue to work with Pastor, our Church Secretary, the Church Council and anyone else who would like to guide how this evolves, and even help create or produce the visual aspects of our service, using a computer, projector, screen and carefully selected visual media. We seek your feedback and input as we explore new ways to learn and grow closer to God.

Thank you for your continued support in this effort to enrich our worship with the visual experience. Ron.


Starting on All Saints’ Day, the day we remember the whole company of God’s people, which is November 1st, Pastor Tom will be starting a new Bible study on the book of James.  We will be meeting on November 1st, 8th, 15th, and 29th over the lunch hour.  Bring your lunch to the Bible Study.  Pastor Tom ordered study guides by N.T. Wright for the James study.  N. T. Wright offers a refreshing and inspiring look at the book of James in the Bible.  Please let Pastor Tom know if you are interested.




My (Our) Gifts to Williams Bay Lutheran Church

In the Bible we are reminded that all that we have is from God. God is the source of all good gifts. As we give we remember this truth. Giving reminds us to put our trust in God and not in what we have or in what we own.

As we give a portion of what we have back to God in the form of an offering we connect our giving with our faith life. Giving is a faith practice and it can be a deeply spiritual discipline.

When we give during the worship service time we do so as an act of worship to God.

Giving supports God’s ministries here on earth.

Your offering gifts supports our congregation along with the many other ministries that our church supports including ELCA World Hunger, Lutheran colleges, Lutherdale Bible Camp, San Jose Mission Church, our local food pantry, Lutheran seminaries, and the work and mission of the wider church.

Thank you for your gifts that support the mission of God here on earth.

If you choose to pledge for 2019 know that your pledge is not binding. It is between God and you. Please return this form to the church office. Thank you for your support and generosity!

My (Our) commitment to give this coming year (2019) to WBLC is:

Per Week____________      Per Month _____________

Per Year _______________

Name __________________________________________

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August – September Newsletter

A Word from Pastor Tom

WBLC - Pastor TomThe month of August will mark two years that we have been together in our ministry with and for Jesus.  I had a seminary professor who once said that the first two years of a new pastorate in a church can be challenging as both the pastor and the congregation figure out how to do ministry together.

We made it through the first two years!  I am thankful for your grace, love, and patience as we figured out how to do ministry in our new life together.

You may have noticed that the name of this newsletter has changed to:  Life Together.  I felt that this was a good, new name for our newsletter.  In our life together in Christ we work and share life together in order to make Christ known here in this place and in this community.

Thank you for sharing your life with me these past two years!  Let us now look to the future and to the ways in which God will bless the ministry that we do together in Christ’s name.  I am looking forward in seeing how the Holy Spirit will move in year three of our life together.  Come and see!


Get prepared for some new worship music & worship experiences coming this upcoming church music season.  We have already begun adding some more contemporary songs to our services as well as adding some visual experiences to our worship services as well.

Our Chancel Choir will be returning to add their special messages generally on the first two Sundays of the month.  We welcome “older” youth thru adult to come & join us.  Our first rehearsal will be on Wednesday, Sept. 5th at 7:00 PM in the sanctuary.

Our Handbell Choir will be sharing their instrumental music generally on the 3rd Sunday of the month.  We still have openings for 3-4 more ringers. (You do not need to know how to read music, just know your left from your right hand & be able to count to about 4.  The music is color-coded for you.)  Our first rehearsal will be on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 7:00 PM in the sanctuary.  We hope to reschedule the postponed concerts from late spring to the end of October or beginning of November.  Please watch for further details regarding the specifics in our next newsletter or on our website.

We will be presenting the Christmas Cantata, “Emmanuel, God with Us”, which will feature our Sunday School Children, Handbell Choir, & special Christmas Choir.  The tentative date for that presentation will be at 9:30 AM during our worship service on Sunday, December 9, 2018.

With the introduction of “newer” songs to our worship services, we are looking for those interested in reading song introductions, persons who would like to play an instrument to accompany the new songs, such as guitar, bass, drums, flute or something else that would enhance the songs as well as those who might wish to assist as vocal song leaders.

If you have any questions, please contact Carol Berndt, Music Director choirdirector@wblc.org.


All WBLC women are welcome to join our Sally’s Circle meetings. Some of the participants knit or crochet prayer shawls or do other hand work while we talk. Our meetings are very informal and are a great way to get to know each other. We meet in the Hearth room in the lower level of the church. If you have any questions about where to get the book, please see Mary Mock or Cheral Sadler. Our next meeting is on September 25, 2018   “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” by Fredrik Backman


On Sunday, September 9, our church will be participating again in a meal packing event at Lutherdale Bible Camp.  This project benefits our local food pantry along with area food pantries.  Please let Pastor Tom or Jim Pfeil know if you are interested.  We will meet at Lutherdale from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.  All are welcome to join in on this mission work! 


Sunday School begins on September 9 during the worship service. All children ages 4 through 6th grade are welcome. If you are interested in teaching Sunday School or have any questions, please contact Kari Pfeil at 262-607-6166.


A huge thanks to all who helped to make this year’s Vacation Bible School a success!  Thirty-five kids attended VBS this past week!  The week of VBS ended up being a wonderful outreach ministry to the children in our community.  Praise God!


Pastor Tom would like to formally invite our new members to Williams Bay Lutheran.  If you are interested in joining the church please let him know.  He is planning a “New Member Sunday” for the fall.


On Sunday, September 9th Pastor Tom will offer a special blessing and prayer for all of our Sunday school children as they begin a new year of school.  He will also have a special gift for each child.  Children, please bring your school back-packs on that day.


This fall there will be a class on discipleship.  We will read the book:  Real Faith for Real Life: Living the Six Marks of Discipleship by Michael Foss.  During the class we will talk about what it means to live as disciples of Christ.  We will meet on Sunday mornings from 11:00 – 11:45 beginning September 16th.  All are welcome to join in on the discipleship conversation.


Pastor Tom is considering teaching a “Lunch Bible Study” this fall on Thursdays from 12:00 – 1:00.  We will meet at church with a sack lunch or maybe even, from time to time, a nearby restaurant.  If you are interested please let him know.


All are invited to attend the bishop installation service of Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld at First Lutheran Church (612 North Randall Ave.) in Janesville on Saturday, August 18th at 2:00 pm by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.  Our church was asked to provide four dozen ham and turkey sandwiches for the celebration.  Pastor Tom is planning on attending and Evie will be singing in the community children’s choir during the installation service.  Please let him know if you are interested or have questions.


Our church supports a variety of ministries.  One ministry that our church supports is ELCA World Hunger.  This world-wide Lutheran ministry supports communities impacted by hunger and poverty.  If you would like to donate to this life-giving ministry simply mark:  ELCA World Hunger on your giving envelope


This summer our outdoor worship service will be on Sunday, August 26th at Dr. Wayne and Susan Anderson’s home (7230 S&D Townline Rd. in rural Delavan).  We will have a unity service on that day at 9:30 am.   There will be a potluck after worship.  Dr. Wayne Anderson will be grilling and all are invited to bring a salad or desert.  Please also bring your own lawn chairs. Come, invite a friend, and enjoy worshiping God in the beauty of nature! There will be no 8 am worship on that Sunday.


The Church Council Minutes will now be posted on the WBLC website (http://wblc.org/church-council-minutes/). If you’d like a printed copy, feel free to contact the church office at secretary@wblc.org or 262-245-5995.

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God’s Work. Our Hands Sunday.

On Sunday, September 9, our church will be participating again in a meal packing event at Lutherdale Bible Camp.  This project benefits our local food pantry along with area food pantries.  Please let Pastor Tom or Jim Pfeil know if you are interested.  We will meet at Lutherdale from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.  All are welcome to join in on this mission work!

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Join Us for Sunday Worship

  • 8:00 a.m. Morning Prayer
  • 9:30 a.m. Traditional Worship
  • 9:45 a.m. Sunday School
  • 10:45 a.m. Refreshments
  • 11:00 a.m. Adult Bible Study