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Message from Pastor Mike
The month of May was Mental Health Awareness Month. The theme: You are not Alone! It got me remembering a little ditty from childhood: “I’m a sewer! I’m a sewer! I’m a great big sewer! Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms!”
There are times when our self-worth is at ground zero; times when we take a look at ourselves and believe we have nothing to offer, nothing to give to another; times when we feel insecure and anxious, as to who we are!
On May 7, the presiding bishop of the ELCA, The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, released a pastoral letter I found timely and necessary. It was on Mental Health awareness. We are living at a time when it becomes so easy to feel disconnected with others, even those within our own household. Now more than ever, we need to find a way to stay united with each other and our community. Bishop Eaton wrote how, “during this past year of pandemic, many people have endured extended emotional and psychological anguish.” Many of these individuals are related to us, some in this congregation. In this past year, many of our experiences have dramatically worsened because of racism, sexism, poverty, and others. Many of us have become keenly aware how our anguish has taken the form of sadness in isolation, anxiety in uncertainty, grief over loss, and stress over economic anxieties. The impact on our children and youth has been most challenging!
As we now move into warmer weather, and as some pandemic regulations begin to loosen, how important it is to get connected in safe ways with each other! And in this shifting landscape, I want you to know that it is okay NOT to be okay! I want you to know that we can be both safe and scared at the same time! To recognize and accept this tension might be a good place to begin!
Scripture teaches us that caring for health is a shared endeavor, that no matter how much we are grappling, we are never alone. How important it is to work together to continually love every other person as a child of God. Being the Body of Christ means carrying each other’s burdens! Scripture acknowledges that we live in an imperfect world, rife with suffering and sorrow. But it sets our difficulties within the context of a God who offers love and acceptance, even when it does not feel that way.
My prayer is to see our congregation on the frontline as a place where all are welcomed, supported and loved. This is the Resurrection Life we are called to live. In the midst of difficult conversations about complex questions, I believe we are all called into a deeper relationship with God! Both your pastors are always most willing to walk this journey with you!
Blessings, pastor mike
Message from Pastor Andrew
St. James family,
If you read my May Messenger article, you heard our family’s wonderful news in regards to Christina’s adoption of Gabrielle. Well, June is the month of Father’s Day. So, as you can guess, my mind is on fatherhood.
When I reflect on fatherhood, I tend first, to think about those men who have significantly influenced my life in one way or another. Certainly, there is my dad – the one who, along with my mother – brought me kicking and screaming into this world. Who, coached my youth soccer and basketball teams, who taught me how to ride a bike then drive a car, who was there for me on countless occasions in times of need, and who, more than anyone else, has influenced who I am as a pastor and a father.
Then there are my grandfathers, one still living, one among the saints triumphant. My paternal grandfather teaching me what it means to be a sign of God’s grace and love while being unapologetically genuine to who I am. Not attempting to be someone I am not or living into the perfect/holier than thou persona pastors too often do, but simply being me. My maternal grandfather teaching me about justice driven boundless love – about loving people, not just by word but by deed as well, regardless of who they are, where they come from, what they look like, who they love, how much money they are worth or what the world tells them they are “worth.”
And then, too, there are those men outside of biology who have served as fatherly roles in one way or another. Those, who have taught me by example what it means to be a father and how to serve as a model of fatherhood in my own life. The countless men from my home congregation of Tree of Life in Harrisburg, sports coaches throughout my life, my seminary internship supervisor – Pastor Bill Weiser, our very own Pastor Mike, and many more.
In our creation stories from Genesis, the bible deems Adam – man – as the first human. And his role here on earth? The reason God created him in the first place? To till and keep. To tend to, and care for and about, all that has been created.
Rabbinic literature suggests that it is when man forgets about this role, that Sin prevails. So, the question is asked; “Why was only a single specimen of man created first?” And the rabbi’s answer; “To teach us that he who destroys a single soul destroys a whole world and that he who saves a single soul saves a whole world.”
To till and keep… to tend to and care for… that he who destroys a single soul destroys a whole world and that he who saves a single soul saves a whole world… Not bad descriptions of what fatherhood should be about.
Whether you are a father through biology, through adoption, through your care for children, or don’t consider yourself a father in anyway at all; May you live into what God the creator first created us to do – to till and keep, tend to and care for. And in all things, may you be strengthened by the Spirit that gives life, sustains life, and sends us forth to offer life to those we meet.
June 6 — 2nd Sunday after Pentecost
A house divided against itself cannot stand. Jesus makes this observation in light of charges that he is possessed. He is possessed, not by a demon, but by the Holy Spirit. We who have received the Holy Spirit through baptism have been joined to Christ’s death and resurrection and knit together in the body of Christ. Those with whom we sing and pray this day are Jesus’ family. With them we go forth in peace to do the will of God.
Readings: Genesis 3:8-15; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 4:13–5:1; Mark 3:20-35
June 13 — 3rd Sunday after Pentecost
The mustard seed becomes a great shrub that shelters the birds, recalling ancient images of the tree of life. We’d expect a cedar or a sequoia, but Jesus finds the power of God better imaged in a tiny, no-account seed. It’s not the way we expect divine activity to look. Yet the tree of life is here, in the cross around which we gather, the tree into which we are grafted through baptism, the true vine that nourishes us with its fruit in the cup we share. It may not appear all that impressive, but while nobody’s looking it grows with a power beyond our understanding.
Readings: Ezekiel 17:22-24; Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 [11-13] 14-17; Mark 4:26-34
June 20 — 4th Sunday after Pentecost
Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation! Now we are in the storm, the boat almost swamped; but Jesus is here now, and when we call him, he will calm the storm. Even the wind and waves listen to him as they would to their creator. We also listen to him and are called to believe in the power of God’s word in him, a power greater than all that we fear.
Readings: Job 38:1-11; Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13; Mark 4:35-41
June 27 — 5th Sunday after Pentecost
A woman finds healing by touching Jesus’ cloak, and a girl is restored to life when he takes her by the hand. In both cases a boundary is crossed: in Jesus’ time the hemorrhaging woman was considered ritually unclean, polluting others by her touch, and anyone who touched a corpse also became unclean. In Mark’s gospel Jesus breaks down barriers, from his first meal at a tax collector’s house to his last breath on the cross as the temple curtain is torn in two. We dare to touch Jesus in our “uncleanness” and to live as a community that defines no one as an outsider.
Readings: Lamentations 3:22-33; Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24 (alternate); Psalm 30; 2 Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43
Return to In-Person Worship
June Outdoor Services
To best accommodate the varying needs of all our church family and community, we plan to offer three types of worship services through St. James through the month of June:
- Our early service at 8:15 a.m. will continue to be held in the parking lot behind the church and will continue to be a full service with Holy Communion and singing.
- This early service will also be livestreamed to our YouTube channel each week and can be watched at 8:15, or later at your convenience. (StJamesGettysburg.com/YouTube)
- Our Sunday 10:45 a.m. a condensed service will be held in the worship space inside the building. The sacrament of Holy Communion will be offered, but there will be no congregational singing.
In the case of bad weather, we won’t cancel our early service — we’ll move indoors. For that reason, we’re asking that everyone please register their family’s attendance at StJamesGettysburg.com/ChurchRSVP. Knowing how many will attend will help us plan to serve everyone, rain or shine!
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 outside during singing and Communion and at all times inside the builiding
- Chairs; please set up in the parking lot, not in the alley way; ensure social distancing is maintained
What to expect:
- Communion (at all services)
- Congregational singing (outdoors)
Please join us for whichever type of service best suits your family. We can’t wait to see you!
Romans Bible Study with Pastor Andrew
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1
Continuing into June, our Thursday morning Bible study is considering Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. As far as Lutheran Christians go, one of our most important books of the Bible. For those interested in joining this study, please email Pastor Andrew (email@example.com) for the Zoom link. We will gather via Zoom each Thursday at 10:00 a.m. New participants are always welcome!
Flower Arrangements for Worship
Flowers enhance the worship space greatly. As we return to a sense of normalcy with our worship services, please consider sponsoring flowers in honor of or in memory of a loved one if you have not done this in the past.
When ordering, you will be asked if you will pick up the flowers or want them delivered to a shut-in. We are encouraging you to pick up the flowers you have sponsored. It is hoped that you could visit someone with whom you could share the flowers: a relative, a neighbor, a friend, a shut-in, a grave site, fellow workers, etc.
Flowers can be picked up after the 10:45 service as well as on Monday or Tuesday. Small vases are available for you to put the flowers in, or you can bring your own vase.
Please note: We will have folks willing to deliver the flowers to a shut-in if you are not able to get them yourself.
Call Judy Seilhamer (717-334-4301) for more information, questions, or to order flowers.
May Council Meeting Highlights
- Pastor Allwein reviewed plans for offering worship services in light of current COVID-19 impacts and restrictions.
- Revisions to Finance Committee and Gift Acceptance Policies: a motion was unanimously approved to update policies, eliminating ambiguity around the Memorial Fund, and discouraging establishment of new restricted funds.
- Officers will be elected at the June meeting. An installation will be held following the June meeting.
- Blayne Miller, Caden Miller, and Ela Miller were welcomed into membership through baptism.
Be sure to mark your calendar for Six Sundays of Summer! We have some fun summer fellowship plans in the works on the 1st & 3rd Sundays of each month from 1 — 4 p.m.
No RSVP needed. No cost to attend. This is not a potluck, but you are welcome to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. Please also bring friends & family, yard games, and chairs.
- June 6: Pavilion, Straban Park, Gettysburg
- June 20: Veteran’s Pavilion, Carroll Valley Park, Fairfield
- July 4: Oak Pavilion, Caledonia State Park, Fayetteville
- July 18: Oak Pavilion, Caledonia State Park, Fayetteville
- August 1: Pavilion, Straban Park, Gettysburg
- August 15: Fireman’s Pavilion, Rec Park, Gettysburg
Racial Justice Committee
Happy spring to all of you! The Racial Justice Task Force has not officially met, but we have been moving forward. The Steering Committee met and worked out a path forward that we share with you here. We reported to the Social Ministry Committee on May 6.
We will begin our efforts at St. James. These are our major areas for action:
- What can we do in our early education programs to encourage racial acceptance and diversity?
- Worship services: Pastor Mike and Pastor Andrew are committed to spreading the word and we can also invite visiting pastors to enlighten us on our roles as Christians.
- Help us recognize ourselves in problems of racial injustice and what we can do.
- Help us see our role as baptized Christians and what “love your neighbor” really means.
- Our music choices should include spirituals, many of whom we already know: “Amazing Grace,” “Wade in the Water,” “Soon and Very Soon” and others.
- Attend already existing festivals and celebrations in Gettysburg.
- Coming up soon is the Juneteenth Celebration at the Rec Park on June 19 from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
- On June 19 at 7 p.m., a Juneteenth service will be offered on the steps of the Seminary Chapel.
- Adams County Heritage Festival on September 19 from Noon to 5 p.m.
- The Ecumenical Picnic at the Rec Park…details to follow.
- Let’s be sure that St. James is well represented at these events!!
- We will not “reinvent the wheel.” Gettysburg has many groups that are actively working to change inherent injustices in our schools, banks, policing, governing, etc.
- Gettysburg Rising
- Gettysburg Connection news is a good source for what is going on.
- Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice
- God on the Ground (date to be decided)
- Community Outreach: YWCA Gettysburg
- We are working on a more complete list with contacts.
- Our own ELCA provides many resources.
- Fred and Joan Horak attended the Racial Justice Training session on May 6. This training is geared toward rostered ministers, lay ministers and congregational leaders, but it is open to all. We found it informative and inspirational, and it gave us resources that will be useful. This training is being offered again on August 3 and November 6. IF you are interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a cost, but will be covered for you and after two members of the congregation sign up, the additional members are free. You can find out more by going to the ELCA Susquehanna Synod website or contacting email@example.com.
- There are many resources on this site (https://www.lss-elca.org/). Please explore them.
- Join us by contacting Joan or Fred Horak at firstname.lastname@example.org, 717-357-9727.
Calls to Action
St. James’ LWR Quilt Mission Outreach
Thank you to everyone who contributed sheets and quilt tops since our October Quilt challenge. Though still too early to organize large group activities, Judy Seilhamer and I sorted through materials in the quilt space and found more than 30 quilt tops ready to assemble and sew! What a wonderful surprise and testament of Faith in Action here at St. James. Delighted with your generosity, we will help everyone who wants to quilt at church or at home.
There are plenty of big and little jobs for the experienced and not so experienced sewers:
- Make quilt tops at home
- Assemble prepared tops and bottoms
- Sew quilt sets at home or in the quilt space
- Cut matched pair top/bottom sheets to size
- Pin matched sets
- Make strips or blocks out of bottom sheets
- Cut squares from donated fabrics
- Knot quilts when they are ready.
We have no deadline and no goal as yet. Please call Judy (717-334-4301) or me (717 779-6280) and let us know if you are available to join us once again in our LWR quilt mission.
May the Lord bless you and keep you safe,
We will continue to collect backpacks beyond May’s 5th Sunday Servant event into June to send to the United Way of Adams
County for school children. Here’s what you can include:
- 1″ binders
- Backpack/book bags, grades K-12
- Dry erase markers
- Single-subject spiral notebooks
- Walmart gift cards
- Monetary donations (please make checks out to United Way of Adams County and mail directly to United Way, PO Box 3545, Gettysburg)
Any & all school supplies are welcome!
Blitz Build, Habitat for Humanity
June 3 — 5 and June 10 — 12, 8 a.m., late afternoon at 41 Marie Lane, Biglerville, PA. For more information, contact Shirley Sanders at 717-334-9724 or email@example.com, or call the church office.
Questions? Email Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our 2021 Confirmation class was confirmed Sunday, May 23. They had a meaningful service celebrating these young people affirming their baptismal call together!
Our last Breakfast was May 19. We are so grateful to have had a full season. We’re pumped for Fall 2021!
Kids Night May 7
Sixteen excited kids made the church feel alive again with lots of pizza and laughter May 7. Thanks leaders, for your help and action shots!
Six Sundays of Summer
Excited to re-gather with friends? We’re gathering at local parks Six Sundays in Summer 2021 from 1—4 p.m., bring any outdoor toys you want, and come spend the afternoon in the sunshine with us! Look out for our e-blasts for more info!
Vacation Bible School 2021: August 2—4 at the Gettysburg Rec Park!
Outdoor VBS with Christ Lutheran, filled with games, stories, and LOTS of fun!
Middle and High School
Confirmation Camp @ Nawakwa
June 13—16: We are so excited to join you in faith and fun in this week of camp!
Group Mission Trip to Gilbert, SC
June 20—26: We are taking Middle and High School students to serve with outdoor Home Repair projects. Participant total cost is $150. Reach out to Kristin as soon as possible if you’d like to join—there are still spots available. Please RSVP by June 6 so we can confirm our plans!
A Big Congratulations
St. James wishes high school senior members a big congratulations on making it to the finish line. Way to go, graduates!
- Marrin Crist
- Lily Crowner
- Derek Lentz
- Bryce Schneider
- Kellen Schneider
- Molly Waybrant
- Jordyn Schachle
- Natalie Kloster
- Sam Douds
- Karli Bortner
- Maddie Yingling
- Connor Lambert
- Quentin Jurney
- Logan Lemaire- Hahn
- Brennan Schisler
- Brianna Witherow
If you’d like to lift up the accomplishments of a family member or family friend, please send us an email to include them in a special “Messages from Members” section in next month’s Messenger! (email@example.com)
Confirmand Class of 2021
The Lord bless and keep our confirmands. Congratulations to them on their confirmation: Maddie, John, Gavin, and Ethan.
- May 9 — Heath Asper
- May 23 — Blayne, Ela, and Caden Miller
- Gavin Cole
- Madison Cramer
- Ethan Harnish
- John Kloster
- May 17, 2021 — Aurelia J. Currens
- May 21, 2021 — Jeremy A. Plank
- May 21, 2021 — Wilbur M. Crushong
50+ Wedding Anniversaries
- June 7 — Richard and Ruth Jean Unger (69 years)
- June 5 — C. William and Shirley DeHaas (66 years)
- June 28 — Richard and Greta Englund (63 years)
- June 5 — Frederick and Faith Foltz (61 years)
- June 25 — Charles and Betsy Bender (60 years)
- June 9 — John and Sally Crist (59 years)
- June 29 — Edward and Doris Groft (59 years)
- June 19 — John and Judith Seilhamer (56 years)
- June 17 — Richard and Susan Henry (54 years)
- June 8 — Donna Mountfort and Richard F. Mountfort (53 years)
- June 8 — W. Thomas and Barbara Vossler (53 years)
- June 9 — Jonathan and Elizabeth Griffiths (53 years)
- June 27 — James and Susan Roach (51 years)
June 6 — The Rev. Martin J. Carlson, 35th Ordination Anniversary
Messages from Members
A Big Thank You
In early May, the quilters of St. James presented Tim & Barbara Braband and Debby Nimtz with quilts in honor of their retirement and service to St. James.
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.
Connect with St. James online
- StJamesGettysburg.com/YouTube (Sermons and special music services)
- Visit our website to subscribe and read
- The Sermon Blog
- Pastor Mike’s Morning Musings
- The Messenger
- eBlast Announcements