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Message from Pastor Mike
Dear St. James community of faith,
“When you are welcoming . . . you welcome Me!”
Since I suspended writing my Morning Musings blog a month ago, many of you have kindly mentioned to me how you miss reading these blogs each morning. Thank you for your graciousness! This Messenger note may sound somewhat like one of those Musings, and I hope it carries with it the gravity of invitation I intend as we begin this month of October.
We have returned to weekend, in-person worship services. We have begun our faith formation programs for our children and youth. We have introduced exciting new initiatives, such as raising awareness and responding to persons with identified disabilities; also raising sensitivity to issues of racial justice; conversations concerning Afghan refugee settlement! Adult Sunday school classes are stirring! Our two mid-week bible studies have begun! Attendance at worship is consistently growing! We have a number of adults desiring membership into our St. James community. There is work being done inside the building, made possible because of your continued generous financial commitment to the Capital Campaign. Please, we also need you to continue your weekly financial commitments, for us to carry on the work of the Gospel and the mission of St. James.
We welcome you back, even if you are not yet comfortable at in-person worship; we welcome you into greater connectedness with each other and to God!
This following poem, by one of my favorite poets, expresses my deeper expression of invitation to each one of you as we walk together, even with uncertainty, with the full confidence of God’s love. Everything isn’t as perfect and “shining” as we might wish it to be, but I invite you more intentionally into our journey together. This is my prayer: “Come In!”
Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but still nothing is as shining as it should be for you. Under the sink, for example, is an uproar of mice — it is the season of their many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves and through the walls the squirrels have gnawed their ragged entrances — but it is the season when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow; what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly up the path, to the door. And still I believe you will come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox, the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know that really I am speaking to you whenever I say, as I do all morning and afternoon:
Come in, Come in.
Blessings & love,
Message from Pastor Andrew
32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Within the life of the Church, Fall has traditionally been a time to reflect on the things of stewardship.
The word “stewardship” in koine Greek is Oikonomia. “Oiko” meaning “house”, and “nomia” meaning “management”. So, stewardship literally means house management. If we look to the book of Genesis, its’ writers describe that we were created to till and keep God’s good creation. That regardless of what we do while we walk this earthly plane, our primary objective is to care for the world around us and all that is in it. As we look to our Gospels, Jesus focuses this objective more directly toward God and one another – to love God and neighbor above all else.
With all that has taken place over the past year plus – COVID and its subsequent quarantining and social distancing, and the heightened racial/social/political discourse to name a few – leaders of communities have found themselves scrambling in their attempts to hold things together, religious leaders included. In conversations with Pastor Mike and other clergy colleagues, naming the challenges has been relatively easy. Finding solutions, not so much. Ask any person who has faced great personal hardship, and they’ll tell you that healing is hard work. When great personal hardship has hit across an entire community, and well… the hard work of healing is only magnified…
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, once said about Apple; “Our whole life is to give you something you didn’t know you wanted. And then once you get it, you can’t imagine your life without it.”
While these words tell us something about the consumer culture in which we live – about our needs to always have just a little more or something we don’t yet have – they also reflect the reality that nothing of this world will ever fulfill our wants and desires, let alone our needs.
But what if these words didn’t come from some billionaire CEO of some trillion-dollar company? What if they came from us? From the faithful? From you and me? Not in regards to some earthly product, but in relation to the treasure that never fails – Christ and His promise? What if they were our words?
“Our whole life is to give you something you didn’t know you wanted – The promise of Christ crucified and risen. And then once you get it, you can’t imagine your life without it.”
Jesus’ words from Luke 12 reflect exactly this belief. That while the things of this world will undoubtedly all wear out, the things of God are forever.
As we look to v. 34, Jesus describes that our heart follows where we put our treasure. Notice the order that Jesus uses. Our heart follows where we invest our treasure, not the other way around. As he does, Jesus offers us a unique perspective that holds a lot of value (pun intended!). Invest your time, energy, and money into a hobby or a habit, an earthly ruler, or agenda, and that is where your heart will be. Invest your time, your energy, and your money in God and your heart will follow suit. One is temporary. One is eternal.
In all of the hardships and struggles of the past year plus, in your time away from one another, in all of the disagreements around the things of this world, when your faith in the Church and in God’s people has been tested or strained, when your faith in God – in God’s presence and purpose – has been tested or strained… know that God’s faith in you hasn’t faltered a bit. Through Christ crucified and risen, God has invested God’s heart fully in the world we are charged to care for… in you and in me included…
I tend to think Jesus gets things right most of the time (ok, all the time!). Even those things we don’t necessarily like. Faith is hard most days. Discipleship, when done as Christ calls us to, is just about always an impossible feat. The Good News is, while we are called to reflect the sacrificial love of Christ in all that we do, we aren’t Christ. It isn’t up to us to save the world or even ourselves. That piece has already been taken care of, thanks be to God. So do the best you can to manage the house. Forgive others as you would have them forgive you. Help a neighbor in need. Volunteer as you feel comfortable. Check in on folks you haven’t seen or heard from in a while. Send a thoughtful card or email. Smile at someone as you pass them on a walk (even if it is through your mask!). Invest in God’s Church, that generations to come can be a part of its mission. And proclaim the promise of Christ with the whole of your life, the treasure that will never fail, that those who hear it won’t be able to imagine their lives without it. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
With love, Pastor Andrew
Memo from the Minister of Music
There is a silly and fun children’s song with the following refrain:
All God’s creatures got a place in the choir,
Some sing low, some sing higher,
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire,
And some just clap their hands.
How many of us, confined to our homes during the pandemic, became more aware of the sounds of nature all around? I noticed more than ever before the singing of the birds in the trees around our house. They had little competition from traffic noise and their song seemed more vibrant. I was very happy for those birds. They were not at all concerned about the pandemic. They were free to keep singing their song. We, on the other hand, were not free. We could not be together in worship. We could not sing without endangering each other’s health. Our song was silenced.
During those long months when I missed hearing the singing of the congregation and the choir, I was inspired by bird songs, cricket choruses, and the babbling brook near our home. The sounds of nature to my mind were the songs of creation in praise of its creator. During our long silence, when we were unable to sing
together, I found comfort in this thought: all of creation was singing on our behalf. Now, as we slowly emerge from this pandemic, we can be encouraged once again to join our voices with all of creation in singing praise to God. Remember the wisdom of that children’s song: whether you sing low or higher, you have a place in the choir.
Jonathan Noel, Minister of Music
A Place in the Choir by Bill Staines is used by permission under CCLI License # 2678434.
We kicked off a new year of Sunday School on September 12 with Rally Day! Check weekly announcements or contact group leaders for information about meeting with any of the classes:
- Youth / Confirmation
- Adult Discussion
- Exploring Faith
- Faith & Fellowship Class
- Miracle Workers
- Movers & Shapers
- Sunday Morning Bible Study
- The Seekers
Wednesday Morning Bible Study
10:00—11:30 a.m. (Pastor Mike leading)
Each week, we will look at the second scripture text for the upcoming Sunday. This fall many of these readings are taken from the Letter to the Hebrews. Hybrid model (in-person and on Zoom) for now, please contact Katy to receive Zoom link and handouts. Join any week you can!
Thursday Morning Bible Study
10:00—11:30 a.m. (Pastor Andrew leading)
Thursday morning Bible study returns this fall to Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. For those interested in joining on Thursday morning, please email Pastor Andrew for the Zoom link. We gather via Zoom each Thursday at 10:00 a.m. New participants are always welcome!
St. James is Miracle Workers’ New Home
Many of you may recall the Miracle Workers’ visits to St. James a few years ago. It was inspiring to watch and learn from this group of youth and adults with special needs as they led worship.
Now the Miracle Workers have decided to call St. James home! They will meet every week in Room 301 (upstairs) during the Sunday School hour for fellowship, crafts, and Bible study. They plan to lead worship again before the end of the year.
The Miracle Workers believe that every individual—with or without a diagnosis—has special needs, and they encourage you to join them Sunday mornings. They want to get to know their brothers and sisters in Christ, so please stop by to say hello or join them for Bible study. Everyone’s welcome!
October 3 — 19th Sunday after Pentecost
Today’s gospel combines a saying that makes many of us uncomfortable with a story we find comforting. Jesus’ saying on divorce is another of his rejections of human legislation in favor of the original intent of God’s law. Jesus’ rebuke of the disciples who are fending off the children should challenge us as well. What does it mean to receive the kingdom of God as a child does? Readings: Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 8; Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16
October 10 — 20th Sunday after Pentecost
The rich man who comes to ask Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life is a good man, sincere in his asking. Mark’s gospel is alone in saying that Jesus looked on him and loved him. Out of love, not as judgment, Jesus offers him an open door to life: sell all you own and give it to the poor. Our culture bombards us with the message that we will find life by consuming. Our assemblies counter this message with the invitation to find life by divesting for the sake of the other. Readings: Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Psalm 90:12-17; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31
October 17 — 21th Sunday after Pentecost
Today’s gospel starts with disciples obsessing over who will be closest to Jesus, leading to Jesus teaching his followers about God’s take on importance and power. Here Jesus makes it explicit that the reversal of values in God’s community is a direct challenge to the values of the dominant culture, where wielding power over others is what makes you great. When we pray “your kingdom come” we are praying for an end to tyranny and oppression. We pray this gathered around the cross, a sign of great shame transformed to be the sign of great honor and service. Readings: Isaiah 53:4-12; Psalm 91:9-16; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45
October 24 — 22nd Sunday after Pentecost
Can we pray the way Bartimaeus prays? People try to hush him up because by addressing Jesus as “Son of David” he is making a politically dangerous claim that Jesus is the rightful king. Could our prayers ever be heard as a threat to unjust powers that be? Bartimaeus won’t give up or go away quietly, but repeats his call for help more loudly. Do we ask so boldly? And are our prayers an honest answer to Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?” Readings: Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalm 126; Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52
October 31 — Reformation Day
Rooted in the past and growing into the future, the church must always be reformed in order to live out the love of Christ in an ever-changing world. We celebrate the good news of God’s grace, that Jesus Christ sets us free every day to do this life-transforming work. Trusting in the freedom given to us in baptism, we pray for the church, that Christians will unite more fully in worship and mission. Readings: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 46; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-36
Questions? Email St. James Youth at email@example.com
Youth Calendar: StJamesGettysburg.com/youth
Boundless National Youth Gathering
July 21—27, 2022
Apple Gleaning with Christ Lutheran
October 10, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.
Adams County Nursery
Free Football Tailgate
October 8, 2021 from 4:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Youth Yard at St. James
Youth Group Schedule
- MS Youth Group – Mondays from 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- MS/HS Youth Breakfast at the youth house – Wednesdays at 6:45 a.m.
- K-5 Youth Group – Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Note: We will follow the same guidelines the Gettysburg Area School District establishes regarding mask-wearing
Halloween Open House
Get out your costumes and stop by St. James on October 19 while you’re in town for the Halloween parade! We’ll feature fun activities and treats at the rear of the building, opportunities to guess who’s behind each mask, and spooky organ music!
Messages for Members
- Social Ministry Committee will meet next on Tuesday, November 9 at 7:15 p.m. Contact Priscilla Shuba with any questions.
- Mark your calendars for the Congregation Meeting on November 21!
September 12: Kian Yves Ballough
September 12: Valentino Richard Xavier Ballough
September 26: Brant Thomas Eberhart
August 22: Mackenzie Hengler and Joshua Heaney
September 1: Carissa Dodge and Scott Gobrecht
September 11: Paulette Smith and Bill Stewart
September 25: Ally Schubbe and Michael Mangum
September 19: Jason Boyer
Upcoming 50+ Wedding Anniversaries
October 10: Robert and Joanne Heflin (68 years)
October 20: Glenn and Jane Blocher (53 years)
October 25: Michael and Miriam Pinko (52 years)
September Council Meeting Highlights
The giving at St. James is falling considerably behind the budget expectations, by approximately $80,000. Since there have been sustained periods where the new Minister of Music had not yet begun working and now the Youth Minister position is vacant, the expenditures are not as high as they will be during normal times of full employment. However, Council discussed the need to begin addressing the substantial decrease in giving. On a positive note, only $3,800 remains to be paid back to Endowment for the Worship Area Renewal project. President Kyle Smith asked that committees hold the line on budget expenditures.
Property recommended that the Capital Campaign AV project needed double the amount budgeted. Following a motion from Peggy Green and second from Shirley Sanders, Council approved the motion to increase the amount approved to $120,000 from the Capital Campaign budget and to grant permission for an officer of the church to sign the contract with the vendor following approval by the Property Committee. Council wished to recognize Katy Clowney, Staci Grimes, Tom Bender, and Kyle Smith for their extensive research and efforts putting together the AV package that will dramatically improve the audio visuals at St. James.
The Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S .program requested use of the Youth House dining area and kitchen since the Soup Kitchen will be closed to dining. C.A.R.E.S. will use the facility 6 days per week, excluding Wednesdays due to the youth breakfast program held that day. The C.A.R.E.S. program will be providing coffee, cereal, milk, juice and will use paper/plastic plates and bowls. A hot sandwich or casserole will be supplied by the churches on a rotating basis, similar to last year. C.A.R.E.S. will be responsible to clean up and lock up each day, so our staff need not be involved. Council approved following a motion from Shirley Sanders and second from Carol Cook.
The COVID Task Force decided to alter the mask procedures due to the increase in COVID cases in the county. Rather than ask people to wear masks only while singing and during communion, the new wording to be placed in Sunday’s bulletin will be to request that people wear masks for the entire service. After considerable discussion by Council as to the appropriateness of requesting vs. mandating, most agreed that mandating masks would be unenforceable and would likely alienate some.
C.A.R.E.S. Appeal for Help
A C.A.R.E.S. Volunteer Coordinator is needed for this year for St. James. That person is responsible for scheduling the host volunteers (not the overnighters) and providing relevant building information to the hosts. Contact Pr. Mike or Mary Stevenson (717-870-9048) for more information.
GWOH Ruth’s Harvest
We collected over 4400 lbs of food—a significant increase from our previous record of 3200 2 years ago. The generosity of the Gettysburg community was overwhelming and welcome. It is so reassuring to see the pantry stocked so well headed into the school year. We will be able to provide hungry kids tons (literally) of food!
Stephen Ministry provides high-quality, one-to-one, Christ-centered care to people in the congregation and the community experiencing life difficulties. Stephen Leaders are church staff, lay leaders, and pastors trained to provide ongoing leadership for their congregation’s Stephen Ministry. Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by their Stephen Leaders to offer care to people who are hurting.
Are you moved to minister in this way? Would you benefit from a relationship with a Stephen Minister? Reach out to one of the pastors to let them know.
Racial Justice Task Force
The purpose of this task force is to affirm and advocate for racial justice initiatives in ourselves, our church and local communities. We do this by education, participation, and action for ourselves and members of our St. James and Gettysburg communities. This encompasses any minority group: African-American, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual and/or Ally). The goal is to reach a point where all are valued and share equal power.
The Racial Justice Taskforce hosted a St. James Racial Justice table at the Heritage Festival on Sunday September 19. Our main theme was “Wipe Out Racism.” We had megaphones for kids to make, wrist bands for everyone saying “Know Justice, Know Peace.” We not only had a great time but met many wonderful people! We were near the food pavilion and had wonderful smells of ethnic dishes being prepared. We hope to have a display for all of the congregation at St. James in the near future. Thank you to Janet, Shirley, Fred, and Joan for staffing the table.
Coming events include Salsa on the Square on October 1! This will be a really fun event! Also this is Spanish Heritage month. Come and experience the color and joy of this wonderful heritage! Gettysburg Connection and the YWCA are excellent sources of information about what is happening here in Gettysburg.
Calls to Action
Come enjoy the sunshine (fingers crossed!) and the crisp fall weather (…again, fingers crossed!) on Sunday, October 10 as we head out into the orchards at Adams County Nursery. Phil Baugher will provide bags and buckets for picking apples. We’ll then donate the apples to local organizations.
This is a fall community activity with Christ Lutheran and their youth. This is not limited to youth — the entire congregation is invited to join in the harvest!
We will meet at Adams County Nursery at 26 Nursery Road, Aspers at 1:00 p.m. and then head out into the orchard.
To Knot or not to Knot! October 9 and 11
We have 26 quilts ready to knot. We have 13 finished and are very close to our fall goal to deliver 40 quilts to the LWR’s New Windsor collection site by November.
Please join us for our COVID-careful knotting session on Saturday, October 9 and / or Monday, October 11 from 9:30 a.m. — Noon. We shall set up 3 or 4 knotting stations for folks to maintain COVID distancing guidelines. Masks will be required. We will serve pastries and coffee / tea / juice.
Please call Judy Seilhamer at 717-334-4301 or Claire Anderson at 717-779-6280 to reserve a Knot spot! Or pick up a quilt to Knot at home. We welcome your help for as long as you are comfortable.
2021 Giving Spree
For the first time ever, St. James Lutheran Church Early Learning Center’s application for the Giving Spree was accepted. Whenever we do fundraisers, many families or friends often just want to donate rather than participate. So through the Giving Spree this year, everyone will be given this opportunity!
The Giving Spree is organized by the Adams County Community Foundation who promotes and facilitate charitable giving in Adams County and beyond. The St. James Lutheran Church Early Learning Center serves children throughout the county, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.
The primary purpose of our fundraising activities is to support our scholarship program for families in need. However, some of the fundraisers support other needs not in the budget such as replacement of equipment, unforeseen repairs, or staff development and curriculum.
Please share this information with your friends and family. The 2021 Giving Spree is scheduled for Friday, November 5, 2021.
Donors have three ways to give:
- Drop off gifts at the Gettysburg Times on November 5 from 1 p.m. — 5 p.m.
- Mail gifts using the donation form to arrive by November 5. Available by downloading the donor guide (adamscountycf.org) or by picking up a copy from the church office.
- Give online at ACCFGivingSpree.org on November 5.
All giving is tax deductible and used exclusively for the programs you wish to support. Last year the Giving Spree raised 2.14 million dollars – doubling the 2019 total and providing 95 non–profit programs in Adams County during the unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic with much needed funding. Help us get the word out and support St. James Lutheran Church Early Learning Center and other worthy non–profits.
Working with Youth
This year we are working on updating our volunteer clearances. We are asking all volunteers to complete a new volunteer packet, even if you have filled out a volunteer application in the past. This application is required for all adults who volunteer their time with our youth programs, youth events, and Sunday school. You will also need to make sure your volunteer clearances are up to date.
If you are in need of a volunteer packet, they can be picked up in the church office or you can contact Beth Becker to get one mailed to you. If you have any questions or want to check on the status of your clearances, please contact Beth Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 717-359-9701. Thank you for your help!
Pick up fundraiser cards to take with you to Hoss’s on our fundraiser dates for a portion of the proceeds from your meals to benefit the Youth Program at St. James. You must show your actual card when ordering to participate in this fundraiser, so stop by the bulletin board or office at the church to pick some up!
- October 13
- November 10
Carry-out is available for everyone who would like to take their meal on the go.
Fall Festival and blessing of the animals
It will be good for some traditional fellowship this fall at the Vossler Farm (665 Knoxlyn Road, Gettysburg) for the St. James Fall Festival & Blessing of the Animals. Bring your animals (large & small), a side to share, chairs, and reusable place settings (it’s good to go green; though if you forget, we’ll have you covered!).
Blessing of the Animals is at 1 p.m., we’ll plan to eat at 2 p.m. Pulled pork and rolls will be provided, along with beverages (iced tea, lemonade and water). There will be games for all, and music by Sharon Kaya & Friends.
Please RSVP online stjamesgettysburg.com/fall-festival-rsvp/ or give the office a call to sign up!
Gettysburg Fire Department Open House
“Passport to Safety” October 2, 2021, from 1:00—4:00 p.m. at 35 North Stratton Street, Gettysburg. Interactive stations: Get 9 stamps on your “Passport” to be entered into a drawing for prizes of $50 – $30 – $20. Age groups: Child through 5th grade, 6th – 12th grade, Adult.
CDC Covid Protocols will be followed. Passport stations include:
- Fire Safety Corn Hole
- Coloring pages/Calling 911
- Fill the buckets race
- Fire Hose Fun
- Columbia Gas Safety
- 911 Center Updates
- HAM Radio
- Adams Electric Mini Station
- Gettysburg Police
- Child Safety Seat Inspections
- Wellflight Helicopter
- PA State Police
- AREMS First Aid Jeopardy
- HazMat Challenge
- Armed Forces
- PennDot “Move Over”
- Disaster Preparedness
- Home Escape Plan
- Fire Museum
- Scavenger Hunt
- Healthy Adams Bicycle Pedestrian
- Gettysburg College: Fire Extinguisher Use
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