The California Exodus

By Pastor Steven Borst

It’s unmistakable. People are leaving the Golden State. For the first time in over 100 years, California recorded a net loss in population. This has resulted in us losing one house seat in Congress. Unfortunately, this hasn’t affected traffic on the 91 at all.

News articles about the exodus tend to focus on the statistics, but for our church, this population trend is all about people. In the past year, we have had to say goodbye to numerous families who have been an active part of our fellowship. Such goodbyes are difficult. I have said the same thing to each of them: “We are happy for you, but feel sorry for ourselves. We will miss you.”

The reason we feel such a loss is because as members of Immanuel, we are more than friends. We are brothers and sisters, knit together as the Body of Christ in this place. When one of our members leaves, we must say goodbye
to family. St. Paul reminds the church of Ephesus about this unique bond that all Christians share: “I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Even so, an exodus is not necessarily a bad thing. Throughout the Scriptures, God transplanted His people so they could do the work of His Kingdom. Abraham was called to leave Ur. The Israelites left Egypt and journeyed to the Promised Land. In the New Testament, the persecution of the early church in Jerusalem caused Christians to scatter throughout Asia Minor, and they brought the Gospel with them as they went.

Our prayer for those who are leaving is that they sense God’s purpose in their lives, and to rejoice that He can use them in a new place to do new things. But what about for us – for those who remain? Let me urge our congregation to the following:

  1. Cherish our Fellowship – more important that what we do is who we are. Jesus tells us that the whole world will know we are His disciples as we love one another.
  2. Welcome New Members – over the past month, God has brought us over a dozen new members to join our family. They will be a blessing to us, and we to them.
  3. Recommit to Serving our Mission – God has given us a purpose, and only in working together can we accomplish it. As we experience God’s presence together, we are equipped together, to engage our world together!

At the end of His ministry on earth, Jesus knew that He would be ascending to the Father. That meant that He would not remain physically with His beloved disciples. Yet He encouraged them with these words: “But now I am going
to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
(John 16:5-7)

Jesus’ exodus back to the Father’s right hand was a good thing for us! He sits enthroned over heaven and earth, and one day He will return to take us home. He has not left us alone. He has sent us His Spirit to comfort and guide our life’s journey. Like the wind, we don’t always know which way He will move among us. Yet of this we can be sure: He is with us always.

WE WELCOME NEW MEMBERS! Immanuel rejoices that the following people are joining our fellowship. Please make sure to reach out and welcome them!

  • Robert Swortwood
  • Dee Graumann
  • Monae Pugh
  • Bill Pugh
  • Brianna Foster
  • Kory Foster
  • Scott Hutter
  • Cindy Hutter
  • Melissa Puentez
  • Ken Puentez
  • Kurt Stange
  • Della Stange
  • Hannah Stange
  • Joshua Stange
  • Rachell Pudell

Church Ministry

NEW SUMMER SERMON SERIES STARTS JUNE 6! This summer we will be studying the Book of 2 Corinthians. We have a free Scripture Journal for each family so that you can take notes all summer long. Journals will be available on June 6 for in-person worship. If you are worshiping online, please contact our office to receive your copy!

AN IMPORTANT VOTERS MEETING TO BE HELD ON JUNE 13 AT 10:45AM Please join us to pass a budget for the new fiscal year starting July 1. We will also be calling a 5th Grade teacher. The meeting will be held in the GPEC Fellowship Hall. You can find an agenda of the meeting posted in the Narthex and in GPEC. Copies of the Budget Summary will be available starting June 6.

Scholarship Recipients Announced The members of The Endowment Fund Commission are excited to announce
the recipients of scholarships awarded for the 2021/22 academic year. Each recipient was awarded $1983 to assist with the costs associated with their studies:

  • Pastor Steven Borst, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, DMin in Theology
  • Avery Hjulberg, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Master of Divinity
  • John McCombs, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Specific Ministry

Congratulations to Pastor Steven, Avery and John! Please hold them in your prayers as they embark on the next year of their studies.

About the Immanuel Lutheran Church Endowment Fund These scholarships are made possible by the dividend income earned by the Immanuel Lutheran Church Endowment Fund, and are intended for church members enrolled in a Christian college or university, majoring in education or ministry.

The Immanuel Lutheran Church Endowment Fund was established in 2000 with generous donations from special gifts provided by congregation members. The fund’s purpose is to receive and administer gifts and bequests outside of the
general church budget, which can include physical improvements to the church facilities, higher education scholarships in the fields of Lutheran ministry and Christian education, and for special ministries in Christian education within the
congregation and extended to other Lutheran congregations. The fund is managed by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Foundation, and currently valued at over $600,000.

When considering charitable donations, or your estate plan, please keep the Immanuel Lutheran Church Endowment Fund in mind as a place where your contribution will make a perpetual impact on our congregation and those
members who choose to pursue a career in Christian ministry and education. Members of the Endowment Fund Commission include Marlin Brandt (President), George Frahm (Vice President), Susan Atkinson (Secretary), Adam Illingworth, Brian Pearcy, Gil Dyrr and Karin Jeske.

THANK YOU FOR SUBMITTING YOUR WORSHIP SURVEY We had 98 members fill out their worship survey online. Our Worship Ministry Task Force is reviewing almost 20 pages of results and will be reporting them to the congregation in June. Please keep our worship life together in your prayers, that God would guide our way forward.

CALL FOR MUSICIANS! We are looking for musician volunteers to help out with our Sunday worship service. If you have previously studied an instrument or sung in choirs and/or bands and are interested to explore ways to join and
get involved with our music ministry, please email our new Worship Arts Coordinator, Mary Vanhoozer at This call for musician volunteers is not only for lead singers. There are many different
ways to participate in music ministry, so please do reach out if you are interested!

School Ministry

2021-2022 SCHOOL ENROLLMENT UPDATE: The Lord has blessed our school with an incredible number of community
families who are interested in enrolling their children for the fall. Currently our Kindergarten, 1st and 3rd grade classes are full with waiting lists and our 2nd, 4th and 5th grade classes are near capacity. If you know a family who is searching for an excellent, Christ centered education, have them contact our Admissions Director Brianna Foster at

CALLING ALL GOLFERS: This past November many of our parents participated in Immanuel’s “Roadrunner Golf Classic.” We had a fantastic day at Victoria Club. We have reserved a date for our 6th annual Classic. MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1 for a fun day to support our school. The event will be held again at the Victoria Club. Online registration will be opening in June. Don’t be left out. Mark your calendars TODAY!

KINDERGARTEN PIANO: We have an upright piano from our Kindergarten classroom that we are not using anymore. We would like to donate it to a person or family that would take care of and enjoy playing it. If you or anyone you know is interested contact Mr. Boburka at or call the office at 951-682-4211.


Immanuel Lutheran Church is looking for a Tech Leader to become part of our worship team and help spearhead our Sunday morning livestreaming. This part-time paid position would require this individual to plan the different filming angles for the cameras, put together the PowerPoint for the service, put together a schedule for tech volunteers, and set up the systems on Sunday morning. Must be knowledgeable of presentation software and camera systems, able to communicate effectively with a team, and has an eye for making our worship service the best possible for those who are not able to attend. The starting hourly wage is $15 an hour. Estimated 2– 5 hours per week. Contact the church office at or (951)682-7613.

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Please continue to tithe and give offerings, and if you are able, give
generously! You can do so by sending a check or giving online through our

Youth Ministry

Sunday School! During part of the worship service at 9:30a.m. children will be invited to their own special Bible story and activities just for them. Children 4 years old and up will be invited to meet in GPEC for this special time. We will social distance (families sitting together) and please have them wear their masks. Don’t forget to send along an offering!

Jr. High/Confirmation: Confirmation classes are on break over the summer, watch the bulletin for events and activities.
Congratulations to the Confirmands: Makailah Aplinshook, Elizabeth Chinchilla, Paige Davis, Rachel Erbland, Ava Tedesco and Olivia Worden!

High School Youth: We will not be meeting on Tuesday nights over the summer but watch the bulletin for event and activities!

YOUTH VS. ADULTS KICKBALL! SUNDAY, JUNE 6 Join us on the field after worship for a friendly competition with lunch to follow (snacks and lunch provided).

THE SUNDAY MORNING YOUTH GATHERING IS RETURNING! Sunday, June 6 meet in the Youth Lounge at 10:30 a.m. for a light breakfast, Bible teaching, and relationship building. This is designed for youth going into middle school and high school.

Community Outreach Report

By Julia Gardner – Outreach Coordinator

Do you know who CarePortal is? CarePortal is a non-profit agency that works with State Children Welfare Agencies to help Foster & Children in Crisis through the Local Churches… Every Church Doing a Little.

How can WE at Immanuel help? This is where our Beds & Blessings program comes in.. ALSO, you may have seen requests for items to help children in crisis on the Immanuel Facebook page. If you can help with the items being
requested, respond on Facebook or you can connect with Julia Gardner in the Church Office at 951-682-7613. Thank YOU for helping with children in crisis.

Foster Youth Graduation Event Needs “Build-A-Basket” is still in FULL swing until JUNE 7th. Our goal is to provide at least 30 baskets for them! BUT HURRY—the deadline is approaching VERY quickly! Suggested amount for contents of the basket is $50-$75. Need a basket suggestion? How about a jump start? Ask the church office for a $25 gift card to help when purchasing items for your basket!

  • College Study Success with school supplies, notebooks, pens, pencils, stapler, calculator, ruler, hole punch, back pack, printer paper, Amazon gift cards for text books, etc.
  • Dorm Move-In with extra-long twin sheets, comforter, pillow case, hamper, desk lamp, shower supply caddy, plastic storage bins, towels, washcloths, laundry detergent, hangers, etc.

Activity Baskets—Trip to the Beach with beach chairs, beach towels, mats, reusable water bottles, sunblock, etc. Movie Night with Regal gift cards, variety of snacks and drinks, etc.

Variety Gift Card Basket—they love themes Fast Food Frenzy with Subway, Chipotle, El Pollo Loco, Panera, Starbucks, Del Taco, etc.Supermarket Sweep with Vons, Stater Brothers, Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s, Food 4 Less, Smart & Final, etc.

Contact Julia Gardner (951) 682-7613 or church office for information.


Immanuel’s tradition is to wear blue jeans to church to honor our dads on Fathers Day. So join us for worship on June 20, and wear your Levi’s!


June 6: 930am Worship Service In Person/Online
June 9: 930am Kindergarten Graduation
June 9: 630pm 6th Grade Graduation
June 9: Last Day of School (ES) Noon Dismissal
June 12: 10am Al Sylwester Memorial
June 12: 4pm Souza/Dedmon Wedding
June 13: 930am Worship Service In Person/Online
June 13: 11am Voters’ Mtg/ Carl Boburka’s Retirement Celebration
June 19: 9am VBS Orientation
June 20: Father’s Day
June 20: 930am Worship Service In Person/Online
June 21-25: Vacation Bible School
June 27: 930am Worship Service In Person/Online

Immanuel Lutheran Church and School
5455 Alessandro Blvd., Riverside, CA 92506