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Our Mission Statement

We of Joy Lutheran Church foster 
grace-filled relationships with Christ
through worship, fellowship, and service.
Notes of Joy - Week of May 9
This week's Gospel is John 15:9-17
This Sunday’s image of the life the risen Christ shares with us is the image of friendship. We are called to serve others as Jesus came to serve; but for John’s gospel, the image of servanthood is too hierarchical, too distant, to capture the essence of life with Christ. Friendship captures the love, the joy, the deep mutuality of the relationship into which Christ invites us. The Greeks believed that true friends are willing to die for each other. This is the mutual love of Christian community commanded by Christ and enabled by the Spirit.
Sunday, May 9 Worship
In-person and Online

Sixth 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
Communion Sunday
Holy Communion will be celebrated this Sunday, May 9 at morning worship. 

There will be no further Drive Up Communion offered unless things change.
Silent Auction Bidding Hours:

(The office is closed on Friday.)
Saturday, May 8, 10:00am - 1:00pm
Sunday, May 9, 11:00 a.m. - FINAL DAY & PAY

11:00 a.m. is the cut off time for bids 
Please bring a check, cash, credit card or be ready to use your Vanco account on Joy’s website to pay for any items.

Thank you everyone for your fantastic support, donations and bidding!
On the Move (ALMOST!)

We are well on our way to raising the $9,000 for Pastor Sean and Becky’s moving allowance! Soon we will be marking our progress toward meeting our goal by following the moving van as it makes it way from Iowa to Alaska. Stay tuned! We are already half way there with $4,840 raised so far. All proceeds from the upcoming Silent Auction will be added.

If you would like to give, beyond your regular offering, please mark your check “moving expenses”. If it’s an electronic gift, click Special Offering and let the office know it’s for moving expenses.
Church Directory
We Need Your Photo!
We are completing a very needed Church Directory. This will help our new Pastor Sean Avery a great deal in his ministry. 

Please send a digitized photo of yourself and/or family to We recommend pictures which focus on your face. Come to Church at 7:00pm Tuesday, May 11, as our very own Wayne Fredeen will take your picture! He will also be taking a photo of the Church Council then. Thank you for the over 32 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 Alaska Synod Assembly was held by ZOOM April 23-25.  Our delegates, Ruth Olson Barndt and Steve O'Donnell along with Pastor Karen, faithfully attended. Highlights included Speakers including Iain Chester manager of ELCA Innovation who spoke on innovations in church ministry and Dr Anne Zink who was interviewed regarding the Covid response here in Alaska. In addition, many positions were filled by elections.

Consider going to our Synodical website at for further elaboration!
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.  
Coming in June

Electronic Recycling Event and Clean Up Day
Sat., June 5, 10 am - 2 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. 
Sunday School
May 9 is our second to last Sunday School class!  We have a great craft and lesson planned.  

On May 16 we will have a little celebration in our last class until Fall.  We need 2 people to bake 2 dozen cupcakes each. Can you help? Let us know in church office thank you.
Church Office Hours
Monday 9:30am - 4:00pm
Tues. - Wed. 10:00am - 5:00pm
Thursday 10:00am - 4:00pm
Closed Friday
The next Church Council meeting is
Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 7:00pm