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Our Mission Statement

We of Joy Lutheran Church foster 
grace-filled relationships with Christ
through worship, fellowship, and service.

  • Providing for and raising children in the faith
  • Connecting to one another and providing support within our community of faith
  • Working toward social justice both locally and globally

Notes of Joy - Week of May 16
This week's Gospel is John 17:6-19
The gospel for Easter’s seventh Sunday is always taken from the long prayer Jesus prays for his followers in John’s gospel on the night before his death, and always includes Jesus’ desire that his followers will be one as he and the Father are one. This oneness is not mere doctrinal agreement or institutional unity, but mutual abiding, interpenetrating life, mutual love, and joy. This oneness is the work of the Spirit whom we have received but also await. Come, Holy Spirit!
Sunday, May 16 Worship
In-person and Online

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Our Sunday worship can be watched LIVE on the Facebook app at 9:30 am, or the recording on Facebook any time after 10:15 am.


As your Council president I’m so pleased to report that Pastor Sean Avery has officially accepted the call as our new full time pastor. He will begin his ministry with us on July 5th. Below is an excerpt from our May 4th email exchange. We continue to keep Sean and Becky in our prayers during this very busy time. 

Good morning Sue,

I hope this finds you well. 

It is with great joy and thanksgiving that I submit to you the signed Compensation, Benefits, and Responsibilities form.  I am very excited to be a part of this next chapter of Joy Lutheran's life together and ministry! I continue to pray for God to bless our work and worship in Eagle River. 

Becky and I are already packing and working on moving logistics. Seeing the moving truck on the wall at the church has warmed our heart - it's so creative and thoughtful. We are so grateful for all the people who have donated items to help raise funds. 

Graduation will be on Sunday, May 16th - coming very soon! We will be leaving campus here on June 6th to head to WA. My ordination will be on Friday, June 11th at 6:30PM Pacific at my home congregation, Christ the Servant Lutheran, in Bellingham, WA. Bishop Shelley will be presiding. The service will be livestreamed on my home congregation's Facebook page - I will send the information as we get closer. After my ordination, we have 5 days with my family at a beach house. We are looking forward to this vacation with them - it will be the first time in a while. 

Please pass along our excitement and gratitude to the Council!  

Pastor Sean
We Made It!

Pastor Sean and Becky’s “virtual” moving van went into turbo speed moving up our “virtual” highway from Iowa to Alaska. With the proceeds from our very successful silent auction, we are in Glennallen ($8,960 milepost) as of May 12th on our “virtual” highway! Track the van’s progress on the wall leading up to the sanctuary. The van shot thru Canada and is so close to Eagle River at the $9,000 milepost, that we can almost see it! With a few items still to be picked up and paid for from the auction, we have met our goal! Thank you to everyone for your generous spirit!
Church Directory
We Need Your Photo!
Get a photo taken Sunday after worship by Wayne Fredeen!

Please send a digitized photo (or get one taken Sunday) of yourself and/or family to We recommend pictures which focus on your face. Thank you for the over 41 photos we’ve received!

-Pastor Karen Sonray, on behalf of Joy Lutheran Church Council 
Pastor Karen's Farewell Letter

Dear Friends in Christ,

“This is the LORD’s doing; and it is marvelous in our eyes.“ Psalm 118: 23

The Scripture above resonates with me, as it describes my feelings about being your Interim Pastor these past 20-months. All good things have their seasons and come to an end. My last Sunday as Interim Pastor at Joy Lutheran Church will be May 30th.

I write this with bitter sweet feelings! I will miss you, but I am so happy because you have moved right along in this period of transition and accomplished so much. I feel as a congregation you have done the work needed during this time, despite COVID. There has been grief, yes, in adapting to a new pastor after 22-years, but there has been acceptance, support, fellowship, important decision-making, new and continued ministry and working together! You are a warm and engaging congregation; I am thankful God brought us together.

The Ministry Site Profile Team and Call Committee did fantastic work, as well as the Church Council (which has grown)! In addition, God surprised us: we welcomed several new families, produced a Virtual VBS and Christmas Pageant, started a Sunday School staffed with fantastic volunteers, gave away over 250 of Joy’s handmade face masks, began to include more young
people as worship helpers - just to mention a few things.

During the month of June, four Church Members have agreed to preach and others to lead worship. We are anticipating the Averys to arrive July 5th. An interval of time between your Interim Pastor and your soon-to-be-called Pastor will be good. It allows emotional space between pastors and will help a bit financially.

I want to thank all of you for the many ways you allowed me to be your Pastor. Though we have only been together for a brief time, I look back fondly on it; I hope the same is true for you. Together, we realized a few dreams, lived through a few trials, and persevered. The Good News is that Jesus Christ has been here from the beginning, through the many chapters of Joy’s ministry, and will be with you for the rest of time.

I especially want to encourage you to:
  • Attend new ministry opportunities as they arise here under the leadership of Pastor Sean
  • Invite someone to help you when you do any ministry. Someone once told me it's important to do things in “twos.” In that way there is another person to get to know as you support each other, but also there is another person who knows how to do what you are doing!
  • Welcome new visitors, introduce yourself and invite people to opportunities – whether it be Book Club, being a Reader at worship, attending Sunday School or helping in property maintenance.
  • Remember Pastor Sean is here to help you be the Church- pray about where your passion is and where you would like to grow in your faith and stewardship
  • If you have been hurt in the past, I am sorry. Consider prayerfully trying again.
  • Continue to give of your time, talent and resources! Stay engaged. You will find contentment as God uses your gifts for the present and future vision.

I will be in the Anchorage area for the foreseeable future so I trust we will see each other again.

In Christ,
Pastor Karen Sonray
Synod Assembly Update
The Synod was wonderful. I loved all of it! My favorite is the workshops. I took the suicide prevention work shop and it was very informative. I have lost close ones to suicide so it is a very important subject for me. It was informative.  The other workshop was with the Public Health Nurse and that was very informative. The topic was COVID 19 and the future and the future vaccines. It was an excellent work shop as well. Lots of questions were addressed about the safety of the vaccine and future vaccines. 
I enjoyed the breakout sessions. What I really enjoyed was the breakout session on what more can we do for our own personal ministries. I enjoy working with the youth and plan to continue that ministry.
God will open the doors. I plan to do a Bible based running camp in Nikiski in the future.
Thank you for the opportunity to be a representative for Joy Lutheran!
- Ruth (Barndt) Olson
Joy of Reading Book Club
Our Book Club meets the 3rd Monday of the month at 6:30 PM. We read a wide variety of books and have a wide variety of discussions!

May 17th – May’s book is The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
June – The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
August – The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Are you interested in coming to a book club meeting? Please jump in and join us! It’s welcoming, non-stressful and enjoyable. We would love to have you!
PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS for the June 11th book club anniversary celebration at the beautiful Nancy Lake cabin of Gerry Norene.  
Congratulations to Recent Graduates! 
  • Isabelle Torres (daughter of Dina Torres), Eagle River High School, 2021
  • Caleb Huntington (son of Kathy & Henry Huntington) Macalester University, 2020.

Blessings on your achievement and future endeavors!

Nancy Daugherty made these beautiful pillow cases in recognition of Caleb and Isabelle and other graduates from the recent past.
Coming in June

Electronic Recycling Event and Clean Up Day
Sat., June 5, 10 am - 1 pm

We will need some volunteers and plan to have a Clean Up Day simultaneously. We are thankful to Total Reclaim for putting us on their calendar. 
Special Thank You to Sunday School Teachers  
This Sunday is our last class until Fall.  

Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they shall not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Rachel C.
Cynthia O.
Kelly M.
Nicole S.
Debbie Q.
Gina S., Crafts (recently moved)
Regular Church Office Hours
Monday 9:30am - 4:00pm (Church closed Monday, May 17)
Tues. - Wed. 10:00am - 5:00pm
Thursday 10:00am - 4:00pm
Closed Friday
The next Church Council meeting is
Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 7:00pm