joy logo
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 23
This week's Gospel is John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
Fifty days after Easter, we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Crossing all boundaries that would separate us, the Spirit brings the wideness of God’s mercy to places we least expect it—to a crowd of strangers of different lands and tongues, to dry bones, to our weak hearts. Jesus promises his disciples that they will be accompanied by the Holy Spirit, and that this Spirit reveals the truth. We celebrate that we too have been visited with this same Spirit. Guided by the truth, we join together in worship, and then disperse to share the fullness of Christ’s love with the world.
Sunday, May 23 Worship
In-person and Online

Day of Pentecost

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.

Pastor Karen’s Send Off
Help us celebrate Pastor Karen’s ministry with us at Joy Lutheran Church. Pastor Karen’s last Sunday will be May 30th; however, the official celebration will be on Sunday, May 23rd. She has been such a Godsend and has paved the way for us to welcome our new pastor with open arms and hearts. 

Join us in celebrating her work with us over the last 19 months and her retirement. Our service begins at 9:30. Sadly due to COVID precautions, we will not have a potluck afterward but there will be donuts (Pastor Karen’s favorite!).
Mask Up Through May
Worship service should be a place where you feel safe and included. The CDC guidelines state that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in certain circumstances, however many of our children are not eligible for the vaccines or are not fully vaccinated at this time.  Joy has weathered this pandemic extremely well. Let’s remain diligent a bit longer to ensure the safety and peace of mind for all that join us for worship. Therefore we will require masks through May and reevaluate the situation in June.

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
JUNE 5th

Let’s  greet our new pastor with a clean and organized building. A to-do list of needed projects for both inside and outside will be posted soon. Not everything will get done in one day but with many hands working together we can accomplish a lot. If it works better for your schedule, look at the list of projects and take one on during the week.  

Joy Lutheran has become known for our Electronic Recycling events. Total Reclaim is partnering with us and will be accepting electronics between 10-1. There is a small fee depending on items to be recycled.
Church Directory
We Need Your Photo!

We will be printing this next week!

Please send a digitized photo of yourself and/or family to We recommend pictures which focus on your face. 

-Pastor Karen Sonray, on behalf of Joy Lutheran Church Council 
Ordination of Sean Avery
June 11th in Bellingham
at Christ the Servan Lutheran
(more details coming)

If you are in the area and would like to represent Joy Lutheran, please let Sue Wiemer know. It will also be streamed live.
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 have met our goal! Thank you to everyone for your generous spirit!
Have you noticed our newest cross recently added to the collection? It hangs in the window above the cross wall. This glass cross was made by the uncle of Charlotte K. in honor of her birth and is a gift from their family. Thank you Nancy and Jim for hanging it.
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!

June – The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
July– No Book Club in July. We are out enjoying the Alaskan summer!
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 cabin of Gerry N.  
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.
Special Thank You to Sunday School Teachers 
What a Great Year!

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) - We will be needing a new craft leader!
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
Regular Church Office Hours
Monday 9:30am - 4:00pm (Closed Memorial Day, all Mondays in June and July 5)
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