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Message from Pastor Mike

“We Had Hoped…” [Luke 24:21]

“We had hoped….” That’s all those two people wanted as they walked on that road to Emmaus, on that first Easter. They had been through an awful lot. It must have seemed almost too much even to hope that Jesus truly was live!

We all have been through an awful lot this past year. Certainly not quite like those early friends and disciples of Jesus, but the similarity is for each of us to continue to live in the hope that Jesus is alive; in the hope that God is present both in the night of the soul as well as the dawn of life; in the hope that God understands us in our weakness; in the hope that Easter is always about the hope to begin again to trust that God is everywhere in everything at all times!

The grief and depression, the anger and resentment—all the heaviness in the atmosphere that betrays sadness in the beginning of the Emmaus story might be an indication of what we have carried with us this past year. “We had hoped that he was the one…” they tell the stranger walking the road. We, too, have held onto hope during this pandemic.

Interesting, the news of the empty tomb and the words of the angel were not enough to break through the despair. As they walked the road away from Jerusalem, they must have wondered what they would do now. The “stranger” on the road to Emmaus retold stories of God’s faithfulness, reminding them that their faith is in God, and that God can bring the dead to life, that God can save people even when all seems lost. His words touched something deep in these two people, and their hope came alive!

In the midst of where we are today—2021 – who we are, what we carry with us—on this Easter Day, may we hear words of hope to touch something deep within us. May we find a similar desire, deep inside, drawing us into more meaningful union with God. May we know the hope that no matter what happens going forward, we are always
wanted and loved by God.

On Easter morning when we gather as St. James Lutheran Church, as we break bread together, may we realize that, “just as our hearts have been burning…” for an entire year, today we know that this pandemic has not triumphed, that death has not had the final word!

May this day of Easter be our story of hope! May it be Good News for us! May we invite the “stranger,” who is not a “stranger,” to tell us the stories of faith that will open our hearts to new life! He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Blessings & love,
pastor mike

Message from Pastor Andrew

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; 26 and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, 27 whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. -Job 19:25b-27a

Towards the end of January, I got word that my seminary internship supervisor had landed in the hospital. He had developed what he described as “an irritating cough”, and following some initial tests, his doctors sent him to Hershey Medical Center where he discovered he had developed a rare and rapid form of cancer. He texted me to share that polyps had filled his lungs and the prognosis for the future didn’t look good. I added him to our prayer list at St. James and held him and his family in my daily prayers at home, we held him in our prayers around our dining room table prior to eating dinner and our children prayed for him before bed. Then, early in the morning of February 18th, just before my Thursday Bible study was to begin, I received the news from his associate pastor that he had died. My heart ached as my brain sought to catch up to what my ears had heard.

I have come face to face with death countless times in my 35 years of life. I watched as my parent pastors buried the faithful from the moment of my birth and have gone on to do the same myself – first, through my work in the funeral business prior to going to seminary, then as a seminarian, then as an ordained minister. From young to old. Some, more unexpected than others. I have lost friends and family – each painful in their own unique way, none, easy.

Probably my favorite book in all of scripture, certainly within our Old Testament canon, is the book of Job. The character of Job, faced with indescribable suffering and loss, asks the all too familiar question of why? Why would God let bad things happen to seemingly good and faithful people?

As we do in times of significant hardship and loss, I have found myself asking this question of why a lot over the past two months. Why would God let such a good and faithful servant get cancer and die? Why would God let it happen so suddenly? Why?

And, as it was for Job, regardless of my prayerful probing, I’ve received no answer… yet, at least… Throughout much of the book, no matter how many times Job pleads with God to tell him why, God remains silent. And then, as the book comes to a close, God finally speaks.

Sitting in anticipation, the reader can hardly wait to hear what God has to say. From a whirlwind, God explains that the plan is bigger than Job… than us…

While God’s spoken response is far from what Job was searching for, then what we search for in our own moments of suffering, there is much said in what is left unspoken.

Life is full of Job moments. When we fall to our knees, begging God for answers. And more often than not, it can feel as though God responds in ways outside the bounds of our supplications or doesn’t respond at all. The truth is however, as it was for Job, God is present throughout all that we face, working in ways we cannot always see or understand.

This is the promise we celebrate this Easter season. That through Him crucified and risen we are given new life in the here and now, and when our time in this world comes to an end. When we face things we simply can’t make sense of, Christ assures us the Holy Spirit walks with us as our comforter and guide. When we lose those we love, Christ assures us that death is not the end. That in Him we have been given the gift of life eternal, and through Him, the forgiveness of sins.

May you trust in this promise amidst your hardships and struggles, when you wonder why and you feel as though your prayers have gone unanswered. For, we know our Redeemer lives. And because he lives, we shall live also.

With love,

~Pastor Andrew

Worship Previews

April 1 — Maundy Thursday

This evening our Lenten observance comes to an end, and we gather with Christians around the world to celebrate the Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

April 2 — Good Friday

Life and death stand side by side as we enter into Good Friday. We depart silently, and we anticipate the culmination of the Three Days in the Easter Vigil.

April 3 — Resurrection of Our Lord: Vigil of Easter

This is the night of salvation! Christ is risen indeed!
Alleluia!

April 4 — Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day

Christ is risen! Jesus is alive, and God has swallowed up death forever. With Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, we may feel astonished and confused, unsure of what to make of the empty tomb. But this is why we gather: to proclaim, witness, praise, and affirm the liberating reality of Christ’s death and resurrection. In word and feast, we celebrate God’s unending love, and depart to share this good news with all the world. Alleluia! Readings: Acts 10:34-43, Isaiah 25:6-9 (alternate), Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Acts 10:34-43 (alternate), Mark 16:1-8, John 20:1-18 (alternate)

April 11 — Second Sunday of Easter

The Easter season is a week of weeks, seven Sundays when we play in the mystery of Christ’s presence, mostly through the glorious Gospel of John. Today we gather with the disciples on the first Easter, and Jesus breathes the Spirit on us. With Thomas we ask for a sign, and Jesus offers us his wounded self in the broken bread. From frightened individuals we are transformed into a community of open doors, peace, forgiveness, and material sharing such that no one among us is in need. Readings: Acts 4:32-35, Psalm 133, 1 John 1:1–2:2, John 20:19-31

April 18 — Third Sunday of Easter

The gospel for the third Sunday of Easter is always one in which the risen Christ shares food with the disciples, meals that are the Easter template for the meal we share each Sunday. In today’s gospel, Jesus both shares the disciples’ food and shows them the meaning of his suffering, death, and resurrection through the scriptures, the two main elements of our Sunday worship. Readings: Acts 3:12-19, Psalm 4, 1 John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36b-48

April 25 — Fourth Sunday of Easter

The image of the good shepherd shows us how the risen Christ brings us to life. It is the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep, one of mutual knowledge and love, that gives the shepherd authority. The shepherd’s willingness to lay down his life for the sheep shows his love. First John illustrates what it means to lay down our lives for one another by the example of sharing our wealth with any sibling in need. Readings: Acts 4:5-12, Psalm 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18

For YOUth

Questions? Email Kristin at youth@stjamesgettysburg.org

Youth Breakfasts

Join us for MS + HS Wednesday Youth Breakfasts at 6:45 a.m. in the Youth House through the remainder of the school year.

Senior Sendoffs…

While difficult to see them go, let’s celebrate our graduating 2021 seniors together! Please let Kristin know if you would like to extend well wishes or support to our seniors!

Time to sign up for 2021 Nawakwa Summer Camp!

We would love to send all of you, email Kristin for details.

Elementary:

K-5 Wednesday Youth Group! Join us Wednesdays 3:30-5:00 p.m. in the Youth Yard for fun, fellowship, and faith formation!

Middle and High School:

Middle School Youth Group! Weekly group meets Tuesday afternoons, 2:45- 5:00 p.m.

High School:

Nawakwa “Retreat” April 23-24: While likely not overnight, keep the annual HS Retreat on our calendar!

Confirmation:

Confirmation Camp @ Nawakwa, June 13-18: Camp Nawakwa is taking proper precautions, and we are so excited to join you in faith and fun in this week of camp!

Confirmation This Month: April 11 and April 18, 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Confirmation Sunday 2021 is May 23!

Holy Week at St. James

Good Friday

On Good Friday, watch our Tenebrae Worship Service on our YouTube channel (StJamesGettysburg.com/YouTube). There will be a reading of The Passion According to St. Mark by Lucinda Bringman, Michael Guise, and Darryl Jones. Members of the choir will also be singing, and a bulletin will be provided for you to sing along from home.

Traditionally, our Tenebrae worship service is a Service of the Shadows, with a gradual dimming of the worship space, with ample moments of silence and reflection. The somber sentiments of this service will be different to capture through the lens of the camera, and viewed from your homes. You are encouraged to prepare your home for this worship service, to complete the preparation of Holy Week. Consider dimming the lights or lighting candles in your home. Allow time for silence and reflection; immerse yourself in the preparation of Christ’s death.

Return to In-Person Worship

Outdoor Services Easter Sunday

We are very excited to be celebrating Easter Sunday with you – in-person!  Worship Services will take place in our parking lot at 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11:00 a.m. We will also provide a recorded worship service for those who anticipate worshiping from home.

There will be no parking in the church parking lot; please find on-street parking.  If you need to drop off someone, do so along Stratton Street.  We will be closing Zerfing Alley to vehicles.

What to bring:

  • Masks; must be worn at all times
  • Chairs; please set up in the parking lot, not in the alley way; ensure social distancing is maintained

What to expect:

  • Communion; the pastors will come to you in the parking lot
  • Singing

For those who ordered Easter flowers, you may pick-up your flowers to take home after the 11:00 a.m. service, or you can come to the office later in the week to take them home. (Please remember, the church staff observes the Easter holiday on Monday, April 5, and the church office will be closed
that day.)

Outdoor Service (post-Easter)

We have one outdoor worship service planned at Camp Nawakwa for April 18 at 9:30 a.m. The worship service will entail confession, reading, sermon, communion, and music.  We will also provide a recorded worship service for those who anticipate worshiping from home.

We ask that you bring your own:

  • Masks; must be worn at all times
  • Chairs or blanket for sitting on; benches will also be available
  • Bulletin & pen

What to expect:

  • Communion; the pastors will come to you at your seats
  • Singing

Address for Camp Nawakwa: 1033 Nawakwa Rd, Biglerville, PA 17307

The Upper Camp is on the opposite side of the road from the main camp.  You will drive through the trees and up the hill.  Parking is available at the top of the hill.

In the event of rain, you will receive an email notifying you of cancelation by 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.  If you do not receive an email, the outdoor worship will take place as scheduled.

Indoor Services

As we anticipate our tentative return to in-person indoor worship services beginning May 2 on Sundays at 8:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., we’ve pulled together this information that you may find helpful in your planning to attend.

Pre-registration to Attend Worship

Sign-up to indicate your/your family’s attendance at worship: StJamesGettysburg.com/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
  • Please exit the building immediately after worship so we may prepare for the next service

More details will be forthcoming as we consider how to best serve the needs of the congregation while keeping everyone as safe as possible.

We can’t wait to see you!

Calls to Action

World Outreach Spring 2021 Campaign

Spring is here! Easter is near! We rejoice in the promise of in-person worship and community at St. James and for a return to an active and social life in Adams County.

In its monthly newsletters, Lutheran World Relief reminds us that our global neighbors will not have a promising spring to lighten their spirits. The war-ravaged country of Yemen is one such desperate nation. The World Outreach Committee will ask the congregation to respond to LWR’s Yemen Appeal with a Personal Care Kit collection from May 16—May 30. Look for details in the next Messenger, in the announcements, and on social media.

Yemen Personal Care Kits

  • ONE light-weight bath-size towel (between 20” x 40” and 52” x 27”), dark color recommended
  • TWO or three bath-size bars of soap equaling 8 to 9 oz., any brand, in original wrapping
  • ONE adult-size toothbrush in its original packaging
  • ONE sturdy comb, remove packaging
  • ONE metal nail clippers (attached file optional), remove packaging

St. James Helps Feed the Hungry

Matthew 25: 35a “….for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink.”

The Lower Susquehanna Synod calls itself a synod that feeds people and St James is very much a part of that calling. The 2020 budget for St James provided support for the Gettysburg Community Soup Kitchen, the SCCAP Food Pantry, Caregivers ministry, as well as Lutheran World Relief, and the ELCA World Hunger appeal. The Social Ministry Fund provided numerous food vouchers throughout the year. In addition to benevolent budget donations:

  • Peas, corn, carrots, and green beans nourish children through Ruth’s Harvest, Gettysburg.
  • The Fifth Sunday Servant ingathering provided Kennie’s food vouchers for families at Christmas.
  • The collection of food for the SCCAP food pantry fills the office monthly.
  • Over 450 hot breakfast entrees along with fruit, cold cereal, milk, juice, granola bars and some homemade cookies and sweetbreads along with the napkins and plastic utensils were provided when St James fed the CARES guests for two weeks.
  • To ensure that food did not go to waste, the youth gleaned and distributed apples last Fall and food that would expire before CARES was able to reopen their facility was delivered to SCCAP so that people could be fed now.
  • At Christmas and Easter, members gave (or give) gifts to World Hunger in honor or memory of loved ones.
  • Many groceries, meals, or casseroles have been delivered neighbor to neighbor and friend to friend and personal monetary gifts were made to local and worldwide feeding programs.

Yes, indeed, St James helps feed the hungry.

Matthew 25:40b “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

Easter Flowers

Easter flowers in honor of

Our first great-grandchild Jack Addison Moorefield given by a proud Betty Howard and family

My grandaughters Jenna, Erin, Elise, and Landis Ketterman and great-granddaughter Kensington Craigie by Grandma Judy

Shirley Sanders by a friend

Nadine Baugher; Ding and Paul Young; Alli, Nate, Eliza, and Rhea Crowell by Phil and Tara Baugher

Our St James staff by Carol Widerman

Paul S. Battaglia by Bob and Carol Cook

Elinor Bender by Tom and Mary Bender

Ed, Josh, and Jessy Main by Sam Main

The pastors, support staff, and the generosity of the St. James members during the COVID pandemic by Dee Wells

Easter flowers in memory of

Don Howard, Harold and Oneta Howard, and Lloyd and Marie Durboraw by Betty Howard and family

Harold L. Platzer by Kathy Platzer

Luther and Lois Smith by Eric and Colleen Smith Family

Jack and Ellie Lesser and Joanne Clowney by Mark and Katy Clowney, and Liam and Connor

James and Elizabeth Roberts by Joan and Fred Horak

Lou and Jay Auxt, John Baugher, and Janel Baugher by Phil and Tara Baugher

Loved ones by Tom and Jean Uhlig

Our parents: Stanton and Helen Bockoven, and Daniel and Janet Riley by Pete and Marty Riley

Paul and Sara Belle Mehring by Joyce Mehring

Annette E. Battaglia by Bob and Carol Cook

Our father, Samuel A. Small by His children, Jennifer Hartlaub, Samantha Forsythe, and Daniel Small

Family members by Lou and Priscilla Shuba

All those we have lost to COVID-19 by Elizabeth Thulin

Charlie Angstadt and The Wheeler Family by Carol Angstadt

Hurshel W. Shank Sr. and Madeline Orndorff by Treva Shank

Milton Nicks, Jr. by his loving wife Barbara and children Lisa, Michael, and Michelle

Mae and Arthur Ulrich by Sue Currens

Nelson and Hazel Sixeas by Barry and Jean Sixeas

Our parents by Ed and Sam Main

Marty Heller by his wife Polly and daughter and son-in-law Pam and David

Donation to World Hunger in honor of

Jack Addison Moorefield by Betty Howard and family

Nadine Baugher; Ding and Paul Young; Alli, Nate, Eliza, and Rhea Crowell by Phil and Tara Baugher

Wonderful folks in the Sunday Morning Bible Study Group by Ron Couchman

Children and grandkids by Lois and Mike Allwein

Donation to World Hunger in memory of

Don Howard, Harold and Oneta Howard, and Lloyd and Marie Durboraw by Betty Howard and family

Harold L. Platzer by Kathy Platzer

Luther and Lois Smith by Eric and Colleen Smith Family

James and Elizabeth Roberts by Joan and Fred Horak

Lou and Jay Auxt, John Baugher, and Janel Baugher by Phil and Tara Baugher

Our parents: Stanton and Helen Bockoven, and Daniel and Janet Riley by Pete and Marty Riley

Paul and Sara Belle Mehring by Joyce Mehring

Our parents: Charles and Lois Gomer, and Don and Lona Helton by Charlie and Anne Gomer

Family members by Lou and Priscilla Shuba

Marge Troutman by Lois and Mike Allwein

All those we have lost to COVID-19 by Elizabeth Thulin

Morris M and Mary C Steinour, and George R Bender by Tom and Mary Bender

Salud Nieting by Bill and Judy Leslie

Milton Nicks, Jr. by his loving wife Barbara and children Lisa, Michael, and Michelle

Mae and Arthur Ulrich by Sue Currens

Our parents by Glenn and Nancy Klinefelter Heller

Richard and Glenna Boyer by their children Kenneth, Peggy, Anna, and Carole

Richard Everhart by his wife Sue

Horace and Evelyn Waybright by Alan and Lucinda Zepp and family

Council Corner

February Council Meeting Highlights:

  • Council spent considerable time discussing updates from the pastors regarding the work of the Covid-19 Taskforce and the plans for returning to worship. There have been discussions regarding outdoor worship this spring as well as parking lot services for Easter Sunday.
  • Learned that the church’s finances were good for January and were actually improved from January of 2020 (which was pre-pandemic). Early learning center is still below full enrollment so that makes managing its finances difficult. However it has benefited from grants as well as the PPP loan forgiveness.
  • Discussed the work of the new Building Use Taskforce to strategically think about our facilities in the future. This group will assess the current needs of the congregation and the groups that use it to help create a framework for determining where the congregation needs to focus its efforts long-term from a facilities point of view. As the capital campaign work is completed, we can continue the work on what the facilities of the future need to look like.

March Council Meeting Highlights:

  • The council spent significant time discussing what congregational life after the pandemic might look like.  All members participated in a spirited discussion.  Members were asked to consider after the past year what things they truly missed and what things they didn’t miss.  It was emphasized that engagement, particularly for youth, is critical in whether people remain active in the life of the congregation.  Congregation members and committees are encouraged to discuss what things could or should change coming out of this and bringing those ideas forward.  In particular it was noted that we need to have the technological capabilities to offer the flexibility to be both in-person and remote whether its for worship, meetings, bible study, etc.
  • Council will likely recommend that the congregation amend the constitution this fall to put term limits in place for council members.  It has been long-assumed that we had them.  However upon closer review, there are no term limits.  There was general consensus that this would make sense.
  • Additionally, council approved the new job description and narrative for the minster of music position now that the search is beginning.  The group welcomed into membership the upcoming baptisms ofLandon Nell, Easton Alan Shoemaker, and Warren Zeitler.  Council also approved the unscheduled replacement of the boiler in the Slentz House.  Finally, the council reviewed the financial reports of the congregation and Early Learning Center that indicate the giving continues to allow the church to meet its ongoing mission needs in the first two months of the year.

Welcome

We are Christ’s people, and this is Christ’s house with its doors wide open. If you are passing through, Godspeed. If you are looking for a worship home, stay with us. We invite guests to join us, but most of all, to return often.

Welcome to long-time Lutherans, Christians from every tradition, and people new to faith.  Welcome to all who have no church home, want to follow Christ, have doubts, or do not believe.  Welcome to new visitors and old friends. Welcome to people of every age and size, color and culture, every sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, marital status, ability, and challenge.  Welcome to believers and questioners, and to questioning believers.  This is a place where you are welcome to celebrate and sorrow, rejoice, and recover. This is a place where lives are made new.  Come and listen for the Holy Spirit calling you to love your neighbor wholeheartedly, seek justice, create peace, and practice compassion.

As members of the body of Christ, we are called to be ministers of reconciliation both in the church and in the world.  Through our baptism we are reconciled to God through the saving grace of Christ Jesus and challenged by the Gospel to be agents of healing and love within our church and society.  As a community of faith, we proclaim this statement of welcome.

Parish Records

Births

March 25, 2021 Amilia Grace Dolbrow

Deaths

March 15, 2021 Naoma Cummings
March 24, 2021 Lynne Kreisher
March 21, 2021 Jamie L. Newton

50+ Wedding Anniversaries

April 2 Waldo and Patricia Hartman (61 years)
April 3 Carl and Nancy Yingling (56 years)
April 15 Lou and Priscilla Shuba (54 years)
April 15 Barry and Sharon Keckler (54 years)
April 29 Wally and Edith Crum (54 years)

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