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Returning To Care-Filled, In-Person Worship: A message from Pastor Mike and Pastor Andrew

“We, who are many, are one body in Christ,
and individually we are members one of another.”      [Rom. 12:5]

We are happy to announce that after much discussion with our COVID-19 Task Force, our Worship & Music Committee, and our staff, we will return to in-person worship beginning on the First Sunday of Advent, November 29.  As we begin the church year with Advent, and as this season is a time of newness, hope and expectancy, our plans are rooted in the current guidelines concerning gatherings inside buildings issued from the CDC, our governmental agencies, and our Synod.  We have been heartened by your willingness to trust the leadership of this congregation over these past months, as we have worked diligently to assure your safety, while always keeping before us the importance of gathering together as soon as possible in order to nurture the relational aspect of our faith community.

We know that there are many who will not yet feel comfortable returning inside the building.  Because of that, we will continue to provide a virtual worship service, very similar to how it is currently being done.  We will not hold in-person Wednesday evening Advent services inside the building, but we will provide digital thematic reflections given by members of our congregation during the Advent season.

We recognize that the safety restrictions we have put in place will radically alter the space, the feeling of worship, patterns of interaction and time-honored traditions we have all held dear for a Sunday mornings (or Saturday evening) when attending worship at St. James.  A few of these changes include:  times for worship (Sunday mornings at 8:15 and 10:00), number of individuals in attendance, reserving seats for worship, procedure for receiving Holy Communion, music, singing and the absence of fellowship time inside the building.  A complete list of procedures is included in this newsletter – click this link to navigate straight to that section.

We will continue to adjust these procedures as situations may change, but we will keep you informed as any changes might take place.  Please know that our overarching goal is a return to more normal practices while protecting the health and safety of all who will attend worship.  We will continue to monitor our practices in order to minimize the risk of virus transmission.  Please, contact the pastors and church office if you have questions concerning the guidance and procedures set forth at this time.  Thank you!

Blessings,        Pastor Mike and Pastor Andrew

A message from Pastor Andrew

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

These words from 1 Corinthians are most well known for their use at weddings.  That sacred day, when two individuals come together before God and loved ones to publicly pronounce their love for one another “until death.”  They are, as well, arguably some of St. Paul’s most beautiful words ever penned, certainly some of his most well-known. 

With a central focus on love, its use at weddings makes sense.  Yet as this pastor sees it, there’s one major problem with such a use… not in what St. Paul writes, but in our interpretation.  These words from St. Paul aren’t reflections of human love, of the love we have for those we care about, but rather, reflections of God’s love for us.

As St. Paul writes about love here in 1 Corinthians, he uses the Greek word Agape.  The same word for love found in the Great Commission, where Jesus teaches that the greatest commandments are to love God and to love one another. 

Agape love is the most Godly love there is.  It is the love that God has for you and me regardless of our faults and failures.  The love made evident on the cross, where God in Christ gave his life that we would live eternal.  It is the love that even though we will never fully accomplish it for ourselves, we are to strive to have for our neighbor.  It is the love we are to strive to have for all people regardless of who they are, what they believe, what they look like, where they come from, who they love, how much money they make, what their political affiliation is, who they vote for, what they do for a living, how they treat us, or what their sins are… even, and I know this is a tough one, even if Tommy’s isn’t their favorite pizza in town… Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!

If I am being honest, like many pastors out there, I have been more discouraged than encouraged by the world as of late.  A big part of this, due to words and deeds of those who claim to be people of faith that reflect anything but Christ-like love…   Phone calls from people telling me that they are going to leave St. James because of a sermon that condemns discrimination, whether around race or sexual orientation.  Parishioners using the “N-word” without the blink of an eye when discussing more recent uprisings following events such as George Floyd’s death or that of Breonna Taylor.  Calling all Democrats “communists.”  From the other side of the isle, deeming all Republicans “bigots” or similar.  Condoning, even supporting, the behaviors of elected officials that stand in direct opposition to the Gospel.  With all of this, it’s no wonder pastors are leaving the ministry in record numbers as I type this newsletter. 

People of St. James, our congregation’s vision statement reads as follows: “Forgiven and invited to live and love like Jesus.”

What is your vision for the future?  What is your vision of the future?

I have shared this story before.  On the weekend of my call sermon here at St. James five years ago, one of our more active members asked me the question: “What is it that will make you a great pastor?”  My response: “I don’t know that I’ll ever be a good pastor, let alone a great one… but, if anything can make me a great pastor, it’ll be out of my love for the Church.  I love Church.”

I love the Church.  I love our church.  I love each and everyone of you regardless of the earthly things that seek to divide us.  My vision for the future is that we, here at St. James, live into our vision statement.  That, by being forgiven, we answer the invitation to live and love like Jesus.  That we seek to live lives of love in the ways St. Paul describes.  In the way God in Christ loves us.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”    

The center of the Christian faith is Christ.  The center of Christ is love.  What is your vision for the future?  If it isn’t love, you may want to think again.                                                                                                                           Pastor Andrew Geib

Worship Previews

November 1 – All Saints

All Saints celebrates the baptized people of God, living and dead, who are the body of Christ. As November heralds the dying of the landscape in many northern regions, the readings and liturgy call us to remember all who have died in Christ and whose baptism is complete. At the Lord’s table we gather with the faithful of every time and place, trusting that the promises of God will be fulfilled and that all tears will be wiped away in the new Jerusalem.

Readings:  Revelation 7:9-17; Psalm 34:1-10, 22; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12

November 8 – Pentecost 23

Today the prophet Amos calls for justice to roll down like waters. Paul urges us to encourage one another with the promised coming of the Lord. Jesus tells the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids. Surrounded by the faithful of every time and place, we celebrate Christ’s coming in our midst in the word of life and the feast of victory—the marriage feast of the lamb.

Readings:  Amos 5:18-24; Psalm 70; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13  

November 15 – Pentecost 24

Our readings during November speak of the end times. Zephaniah proclaims that the coming day of the LORD will be filled with wrath and distress. Paul says it will come like a thief in the night and urges us to be awake and sober. Jesus tells the parable of the talents, calling us to use our gifts, while we still have time, for the greater and common good. In a world filled with violence and despair, we gather around signs of hope—word, water, bread, and wine—eager to welcome the good news of Christ’s coming among us.

Readings: Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18; Psalm 90:1-8 [9-11] 12; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30

November 22 – Christ the King

On this final Sunday of the church year our gospel is Jesus’ great story of judgment. In the end, the faithful are those who served Christ by ministering to those who are poor, hungry, naked, sick, or estranged. In the first reading God is the shepherd who seeks the lost, weak, and injured and feeds them with justice. We gather this day to celebrate the reign of Christ and his victory over death, yet we await the consummation of all things yet to come. Acknowledging Christ as our merciful ruler, we go forth that his reign may be known in our loving words and deeds.

Readings: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 95:1-7a; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46        

 November 29 – Advent 1

Stir up your power, and come! The psalmist’s plea in Psalm 80:2 has become familiar to us in the Advent prayers. Isaiah wants God to rip the heavens open. Both cry out for an apparently distant, angry God to show up, to save, to restore. When we hear Jesus describing the coming of the Son of Man with stars falling from heaven, it can sound dire and horrible, not like anything we would ever hope for. But when we really look at the suffering of people God loves, we can share the hope that God would tear open the heavens and come.

Readings: Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37    

Nawakwa Outdoor Service Dates:
November 1 and November 15

Bring

  • Communion elements
  • Chair / blanket
  • Bulletin and pen
  • Masks
    (must be worn at all times)

Leave Home

  • Tents / canopies
  • Pets
  • Picnic baskets

Also Consider

  • Bathrooms open for emergencies
  • Please sign in on clipboard
  • Offerings dropped at table

Connect

Pastor Mike and Pastor Andrew continue setting aside time on Monday mornings in the Music Room from 10:00 – 11:00 for small group conversation.  The meetings begin with a short devotion, followed by general check-ins and discussion among the group, and end in prayer.  We look forward to this time together!
~ Pastor Mike and Pastor Andrew

Seats for each of the sessions through 2020 are limited, so sign up now online at StJamesGettysburg.org/MondayConnect, or call the office (717-334-2012) for help with a reservation.

Mission Support Corner

2020 has certainly been an unusual year for us individually, and as a congregation. We have faced a variety of challenges in our personal lives and as we explore new ways to be church together. Typically, as we prepare for the annual congregational meeting, there is a fall focus on Mission Support, encouraging each of us to examine how we support the Mission of St. James financially, as well as through our gifts of time and talent.

One of the blessings of the Coronavirus has been the need to think about things in new ways, opening our eyes to see what we may not have seen before. This includes how we look at Stewardship – considering how we receive, not just how we respond. The themes for the Advent midweek series this year will be Stewardship of Joy, Stewardship of Grace, Stewardship of Wishes, and Stewardship of Gifts. Watch for more information in the weeks to come.

Call for Help – St. James Quilt Mission Committee

30 quilts are ready! The St. James Quilt Mission Committee is looking for volunteers to stitch or knot at home, or to work for one hour on Monday / Thursday afternoons in Room 303.

Quilts can be delivered and picked up if needed.

Contact Claire (717-779-6280) or Judy (717-334-4301) to make arrangements!

School Kits for Lutheran World Relief

Lutheran World Relief needs our help. Help restock their warehouse with SCHOOL KIT supplies for children hungry to learn! Pick up a cloth backpack at the church. Fill the backpack using list inside. Return school supplies / backpacks by November 6. Monetary gifts are always welcome for shipping costs.

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” Romans 12:6

Holiday Family Outreach

This year, it’s even more important than ever to connect families with generosity from the community.

Holiday Family Outreach is a 66-year-old tradition in Gettysburg. And during Giving Spree, Adams County Community Foundation doubles your donation! Donate by November 5 to make your dollars count extra in the lives of local people.

http://www.achfo.org/

Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. 2020/21 Season Begins

Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. cold weather shelter program opens on November 2nd.  We have had to make many adjustments to comply with the CDC Shelter Guidelines.  In some ways it will be “figure it out as we go!”  Social distancing will determine how many people we can serve.  Our numbers may be lower because of this.

The biggest change is where our guests will sleep. Sadly, because of all the CDC/COVID-19 guidelines, we will not be in the churches this year.  Several of our churches, including St. James, are not open yet.   Also, many of our volunteers are in the high-risk category.  Their safety is important to us.  The Board has struggled with all of this and made the decision to use motel rooms to house our guests.  This will present some financial challenges as this cost is not part of our budget.  In addition, we will need to create some safety features at our Resource Center for the protection of staff and guests.

There are many details to be worked out, but we have a new Program Director who will help us do this.  We are excited that Rosemary Laureano will be joining us as the Program Director.  She comes to us with many years of experience in a similar position in the healthcare field and was part of the WellSpan team that provided the C.A.R.E.S. Medical Clinic during the past four years.

She is excited about being part of C.A.R.E.S. and already has lots of ideas!

The month of November will be a time for Rosemary to learn about our program and to do intakes on our homeless neighbors.  We will begin the shelter part of our program on December 1st.

Questions may be directed to Jim Lohuis, Mary Stevenson, or Pr. Mike.

Congregation Council Meeting Minutes

St. James Lutheran Church
Wednesday, September 16, 2020; 7:00 PM
1000 Heritage Dr, Gettysburg, PA 17325

Quorum established.

Devotions were led by Leon Pisano.

Financial reports were accepted by unanimous consent.

Strategic Planning

Council members were given a tour of the entire building, Slentz House (Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S.), and Youth House.  Council discussed multiple ways to better utilize space in the building and Youth House.  Music minister task force is beginning to survey the congregation seeking feedback.

New Members/Baptisms

Bexley Nadine Nicholas, baptized 9/6/20, was unanimously accepted into membership by consent.

Approval of Minutes from August 19, 2020, by unanimous consent.

COVID-19 impact and plans

Recently-written document, “Returning to Worship,” will be reviewed by the COVID Task Force.  Several possibilities are being considered  when we will return for in-person worship.  “Connect with the Pastors” has been going well.   It was decided to donate $1,000 from the unused portion of the camp scholarship line item in the 2020 budget. Motion passed by unanimous consent.

Committee and Task Force Reports

Property Committee & ARD reported that the bids for the lower level stairway enclosure are coming in much higher than originally budgeted.  Motion from Property and ARD to increase the spending limit to $47,000 for the enclosure from the Capital Campaign, passed by unanimous consent.

Old Business

Committee charter cleanup  is ongoing.  No action at this time.  Proposed Constitutional changes will be recommended to the annual Congregational  meeting – passed by unanimous consent.  Annual Congregation Meeting to be held live in the nave, with a Zoom and phone dial-in option.   Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 1:00 pm.  Motion passed by unanimous consent.

Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God

Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. will likely house guests in local motel and not in churches this year.  Opening date not yet determined.

Meeting concluded with prayer.

Capital Campaign Report through September 30, 2020

St. James Lutheran Church has received $662,149 in contributions towards the three year Capital Campaign that started in November 2019. That is more than half-way towards the goal of $1,000,000 and we are very blessed and appreciative of congregation support.

The congregation expended $366,493 towards projects plus gifts-in-kind of about $45,000 donated from generous members.  Major projects substantially completed include repair and replacement of the roof,  generator and repointing brick and repair of the capstones. Also completed: replaced the windows on the North East section of the building, upgraded fire alarm system, new kitchen cabinets and counters, repaired front doors and resurfaced parking lot. Projects underway include enclosing the lower level stairway to eliminate the security gate. Projects in the planning stage include repair or replacement of remaining windows on the south and southeast portion of the building and an upgrade to the A/V and sound system.

We are incredibly grateful for the volunteers and staff who have worked tirelessly on the project thus far and the many donors who have made this possible. 

St. James Payroll Protection Program (PPP) Loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA)

St. James applied for and received a $235,000 PPP loan from the SBA on April 14, 2020.  This loan provides organizations with funding to maintain their staffing during the economic uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus. This was for St. James Lutheran Church and Early Learning Center personnel (about 26 people) which enabled the congregation to fund most positions during the 24-week alternate PPP period from April 19 to October 3. It is anticipated that virtually all of this will be forgiven, but we will likely not know the forgiveness status for 3 or 4 months. This loan was authorized by Congregation Council.

In addition, the Early Learning Center has received $119,400 in COVID relief grants that has enabled the ELC to continue providing Child Care Services during the pandemic.

Congregation Meeting

Read Reports and Ask Questions Now!

In an effort to keep the Congregation meeting short due to COVID-19 concerns, as well as to simplify the meeting for its live and virtual format, treasurer and committee reports will not be given verbally at the meeting.  Instead, we ask that you read the written reports in advance of the meeting.  Additionally, if there are issues, questions or concerns regarding the Annual Report or Constitution and Bylaw revisions, we ask that you relay those to Kyle Smith (kyles@adamsec.coop) or Katy Clowney (kclowney@stjamesgettysburg.org) prior to the meeting, so we can provide answers before (or at) the meeting.  While there will be opportunities for questions during the meeting, asking questions before the meeting will help keep the flow of the meeting with members being both in person and virtual.

The Annual Report will be emailed via the eBlast on 10/30 and can be found online here.

To join the Congregation Meeting virtually on November 15, go to StJamesGettysburg.org/NovMeeting to participate via Zoom.  No preregistration is required. 

Youth News

It’s not too late to sign up for Elementary Youth Group! Go to www.bit.ly/kidsmin20 to sign up for Sunday School and Elementary Youth Group!

We are so thankful to have you all back for 6-12th grade Youth Breakfasts! We meet Wednesday mornings at 6:45. Thanks again to  our cooks and adult leaders who provide this opportunity for our youth to gather in fellowship.

Let’s make ADVENT the BEST ever!!  There are plenty of opportunities to lead! Even if you don’t know what your gifts are, we can find a place for you! Email Kristin to get involved!

High School AXE THROWING FRI., Nov. 13th @ 6:30 pm

We FINALLY get to throw some axes! We’ll meet at the Youth House at 6:30 pm to walk over to Back Alley Axe to throw from 7-8 pm!

We’re looking for Small Group Leaders for
K-5th Youth Group!

We meet Wednesday afternoons 3:30 to 5 pm, we would LOVE to have you!

All Saints

The weekend of October 31 & November 1, we remember those who have departed this life since All Saints Day 2019, holding a firm conviction that they are safe in God’s keeping and remembering their lives with thanksgiving:

Reginald J. Dunkinson

Anita L. Benson

Gail B. Sweigart

Edward H. Carbaugh

Gladys E. Smith

Martha B. Carpenter

Samuel A. Small

William E. Troxell, Sr.

Larry A. Johnson

Ronald L. Wishard

Carrie C. Wolf

Jeanne S. Henderson

Philimine S. Garlach

Terry R. Gardner

Milton K. Nicks, Jr.

Connie R. Wansel

Sonda C. Newby

Jane O. Tilberg

Daniel H. Myers

Carroll R. Wildesen

Inez Dubbs

David H. Krebs, Sr.

Aaron L. Latschar

Gerald E. Royals

Evelyn H. Waybright

Robert E. Mullins

Bobbie E. Phillips

Nancy E. Hartzell

Sharon L. Sterner Sprankle

Terry R. Hutton

Kay A. Carlson

Doris G. Bushman

Randy B. Warner

Melvin J. Wolfe

Robert L. McGlaughlin

Margaret L. Hower

Mazie E. Keefer

Parish Records

Deaths

October 18, 2020        Margaret L. Hower
October 19, 2020        Mazie E. Keefer

50+ Wedding Anniversaries

November 20, 1970: David C. & Brenda E. Heberling — 51 years

Card Shower Announcement

Gladys Woerner turns 104 years young on December 6, and she’d love to hear from you! Here’s her mailing address:

Gladys Woerner
Spiritrust Lutheran
Gettysburg, PA 17325-3135

Procedures to Return to Care-filled Worship Services

Sundays 8:15 a.m. & 10:00 a.m.
Pre-registration to attend worship

Sign-up to indicate your/your family’s attendance at worship:  StJamesGettysburg.org/ChurchRSVP

If you decide to come to church the day of, we will have a seat for you!

Expectations

(Some per CDC guidelines)

  • Temperatures will be taken upon arrival
  • All individuals will wear a face covering while in the building
  • All individuals will maintain physical distancing
  • There will be no singing during worship services
  • There will be no coffee or fellowship hour observed between services
  • Refrain from bringing any food or drink
  • The water fountain will not be available for use.  If water is absolutely needed, small paper cups will be available in the kitchenette
  • Refrain from wandering throughout the building and going to rooms unnecessarily
  • Refrain from social gatherings within the building before and after worship service
  • Please exit the building immediately after worship so we may prepare for the next service

Entering the building

  • Enter through the back door in the alley
  • Enter through the front doors on York Street; use the doors closest to the bell tower (right most door)
  • Check in with a greeter to indicate that you/your family has arrived
  • Take temperature

Sanitize Hands upon arrival

Sanitizer dispensers are located:

  • beside the water fountain in the hallway
  • in the York Street narthex
  • in the Stratton Street narthex

Distribution of Bulletins

A greeter will distribute bulletins and will assist finding seats, if necessary.

Seating

The chairs are spaced according to CDC guidelines.  If you wish to sit with family, the preset space may be added to.  There are extra chairs available or the chair nearest to you may be moved. The intent is to have the required spacing remain.

Communion

Pastors will take the communion element to the people; please stay at your seat.

Offering

Offering plates will not be passed as part of the worship service.  The offering plates will be located near the entry doors of the worship space.

Exiting the Worship Space

A recycling receptacle will be available to collect bulletins.

Entrance and exit doors will be marked to direct traffic flow in and out of the worship space:

  • Use the doors next to the baptismal font and exit the building through the Stratton Street doors
  • Use the doors on the mural side and exit the building through the rear alley door
  • Use the York Street narthex doors; exit the building using the right-side doors

Restrooms

  • If you need to use the restrooms, they are available in the hallway on the main level
  • Please be respectful and limit the occupancy to one person at a time
  • If there is a line to enter, please adhere to social distancing requirement

Nursery

The nursery will not be available during worship services.

Cleaning following worship service in preparation for the next service

The worship area including chairs, door handles, and restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized between services.

Poinsettias & Donations for World Hunger