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Message from Pastor Mike

Dear St. James family,

“The world for which you have been so carefully prepared is being taken away from you by the grace of God.”

As I write this final article for the Messenger as your Lead Pastor, it is this quote by Walter Brueggemann, prolific scholar of the Hebrew Bible, that brings a deep calmness and assurance to my spirit. I first read these words several years ago, and now they come back to me in a new way. As a Lutheran pastor, retirement is considered a “call.” Thus, when I have found myself in moments of uncertainty since announcing my retirement last October, I open myself to the grace of God as I prepare to enter into this new call, this fresh way of living out God’s ongoing invitation to deeper union with God, self, and the world around me.

I write with gratitude and delight to so very many of you reading this, most whom I have not had the time to sit with individually and express my profound
gratitude, both in ministry and friendship. I cannot say enough praise for the current staff, knowing that St. James is in good hands because of each one of these individuals I am so very proud to consider trusted colleagues. Previous staff members, many who I had a role in hiring over the past 18 years, have formed the basis for where we are today. And the lay leadership continues to be phenomenal! So many thanks to so many people!

My final Sunday was a gathering of friends and loved ones, filled with many tears! But the joy found in those tears for the caring love shown to me and my family was rich in tenderness. Thank you! Thank you, each one of you for you!

Make me a promise that you will return, and return again, to the land of your soul, which is the heart of Jesus! This is the life we cherish! If there is a world being taken away, there is surely a new world being given—for each one of us—and only by the grace of God!

“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the Gospel…. I am confident of this, that the one who began the good work among you will bring it to  completion…”
[Philippians 1:3-6]

Blessings & love,

~pastor mike

Pastor Mike used this Mary Oliver poem as the reflection in the Prayer Group held on February 25. He’d like to share it with all of you, as well.

The Buddha’s Last Instruction

“Make of yourself a light,”
said the Buddha,
before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal — a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.
An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire —
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.

Message from Pastor Andrew

“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them…”

“Whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites… so that they may be praised by others.”

“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others.”

“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites… as to show others that they are fasting.”

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves
treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

~Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

The verses above come from the assigned Gospel for Ash Wednesday—the day on our liturgical calendar that marks the beginning of the season of Lent. The season that draws our attention to our brokenness and mortality, and to our subsequent need for God’s gift of forgiveness and new life.

As Matthew records these words from Jesus, those who seek to follow are challenged to reflect on the manner in which they live out their faith—not as a means to draw attention to oneself or increase status, but quietly / out of love / in gratitude for all that God has done / is doing / will do.

Historically, the season of Lent has had various foci: from a time of fasting in recognition of Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the wilderness as he was tempted by the devil, to an extension of the celebration of Jesus’ baptism, to a time when “public” sinners were excluded from Holy Communion and assigned penance in the community with the hopes of being reconciled to the church and received back into communion, to a time of baptismal preparation. In all of these, a time to reflect on the gifts of God and how it is we choose to respond to them.

We could say that Lent is a season of getting back to the basics. Of slowing down and reflecting on the core of who we are as people of faith. We are but dust, and to dust we shall return—as are the things of this world. We are broken—each and every one of us in need of healing and forgiveness, restoration and reconciliation.  Only God can bring forth life—at birth and at death, reminding us of what is temporary and what is eternal—reminding us of what is truly most important.

So, Jesus says: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Notice the order of these words from Jesus. While the world in which we live tells us to put our treasure where our heart already is, Jesus tells us to put our
treasure where we want our heart to go.

The Greek word that Matthew records for treasure in our Ash Wednesday gospel is thésauros, defined as the place in which good and precious things are kept. It is the same word that Matthew uses to describe those generous gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh—the treasure—given to the Christ child by the Maji following his birth.

As you think about your lives, where do you want your heart to be? Where will you put your treasure?

In the things of this world? The things of dust? Those things that rust and rot and fade away? The temporary? Or in the things of God? The things that bring life when death is near? That keep on giving? That are eternal?

Where do you want your heart to be? Where will you put your treasure?

While Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday, is a time to focus on our brokenness and mortality—that we are but dust and to dust we shall return—we are called to live as Easter people. To be a sign of new life in all that we say and do, in all that we are. To forgive those who have wronged us, to care for our neighbor in need, to be generous with our time, our gifts and abilities, and resources—money and otherwise. All, with grateful hearts for the gift of Christ, who was crucified and has risen.

As we journey together through this Lenten season and make our way to the foot of the cross, let us empty ourselves as Christ emptied himself for us. Let us pray. Let us ask for forgiveness and offer it without limit. Let us fast from whatever it is that causes us to stumble in our walk of faith. Let us put our treasure where God would have us—not in the temporary, but in the eternal. And in all, let us be humble, pointing not to ourselves but to the one who gave everything—who gave his very life—for us.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

With love, Pastor Andrew

Message from Members

How blessed we are to have been served by the ministry of Pastor Michael Allwein. As he retires, we reflect on the multitude of ways he touched our lives, led us through tough times, and inspired us to poetry. We send him into his retirement with wonderful memories and a deep and abiding appreciation. We love you, Pastor Mike!

Weekly Bible Study with Pastor Andrew

Thursdays 10:00—11:30 a.m.

Through the season of Lent, Thursday morning Bible study will center around Adam Hamilton’s book “Journey to the Cross,” a Lenten study that explores Jesus’s final hours.

This Bible study meets through Zoom. If you’re interested, reach out to Pastor Andrew for the resources you need to participate.

All are welcome.

Memo from the Minister of Music

Life has many transitions.  These can be unsettling and challenging. The people of St. James have faced many transitions lately: the transition of pastoral leadership, the transition of youth leadership, the transition of music leadership, and the transition of worship practices brought about by the pandemic.

As we enter the season of Lent another transition comes to mind: the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness. He entered this time as one unknown and emerged equipped and ready for public ministry.

A transition in music is a passage in which the theme is manipulated, altered, challenged, or broken up. Often the music strays far from the home key, the tension builds, dissonance abounds. Then, as the transition gives way, the theme emerges fresher, livelier, and more uplifted. It may be the exact same music that was heard before the transition, but to the listener the music sounds more victorious for having endured the transition.

I think this musical metaphor is true in life, too. The Apostle Paul reminds us that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5: 3b-5 NRSV)

Transitions can be hard but, if we allow, they can also transform and renew the melody of our lives.

Jonathan Noel, Minister of Music

Worship Previews

March 2 — Ash Wednesday

On Ash Wednesday we begin our forty-day journey toward Easter with a day of fasting and repentance. Marking our foreheads with dust, we acknowledge that we die and return to the earth. At the same time, the dust traces the life-giving cross indelibly marked on our foreheads at baptism. While we journey through Lent to return to God, we have already been reconciled to God through Christ. We humbly pray for God to make our hearts clean while we rejoice that “now is the day of salvation.” Returning to our baptismal call, we more intentionally bear the fruits of mercy and justice in the world. Readings: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Isaiah 58:1-12 (alternate); Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b–6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

March 6 — First Sunday in Lent

These forty days called Lent are like no other. It is our opportune time to return to the God who rescues, to receive the gifts of God’s grace, to believe with the heart and confess with the mouth the wonder of God’s love in Jesus, and to resist temptation at every turn. This is no small pilgrimage on which we have just embarked. It is a struggle Jesus knew. It is a struggle Jesus shares. The nearness of the Lord, in bread and wine, water and word, will uphold and sustain us. Readings: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13

March 13 — Second Sunday in Lent

Though we sometimes doubt and often resist God’s desire to protect and save us, our God persists. In holy baptism, God’s people have been called and gathered into a God-initiated relationship that will endure. Lent provides the church with a time and a tradition in which to seek God’s face again. Lent provides another
occasion to behold the God of our salvation in the face of the Blessed One who “comes in the name of the Lord.” Readings: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17–4:1; Luke 13:31-35

March 20 — Third Sunday in Lent

The warnings are plentiful and blunt on the third Sunday in Lent. Cut it out or get cut down! The warnings are accompanied by God’s invitation to attentiveness: “Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.” The landowner’s ultimatum is forestalled by the gardener’s readiness to till the ground one more year. That is good news for all of us. Thanks be to God! Readings: Isaiah 55:1-9; Psalm 63:1-8; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9

March 27 — Fourth Sunday in Lent

The psalm sets the tone this day: “Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sin is put away!” Happy are those who have “become the
righteousness of God” in the merits of Christ Jesus. Happy are those for whom the forgiveness of God has “rolled away . . . the disgrace” of former times. Happy is the father at the return of his prodigal son. Happy are we that our sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake. Rejoice! Readings: Joshua 5:9-12; Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

Reborn!

At the core of our faith is the underlying belief in new beginnings.  At baptism, we believe we die to sin and rise to new life.  Something Luther believed, not only happened at the moment baptism took place, but every day following – a daily dying and daily rising.

The season of Lent brings this belief to the forefront.  We begin with Ash Wednesday, where we remember that we are but dust as we make our way to the cross, all the while looking to Easter.  From our rebirth to our death—given new life each and every day, and in the life to come, because of the one who died and rose for us.

This Lent, join us on Wednesday evenings to hear messages of new beginnings, of death and life, of the baptismal promise and the journey that follows—of what it means to be Reborn. Unfailing Light speakers, in scheduled order: Shawn Waybrant, Scott Zimmerer, Alli Crowell, Will Lane, Carole Smith, and Kim Guise.

Unfailing Light Midweek Worship Services all begin at 6:30 p.m., except for the final one — the April 13 service will begin at 7 p.m.

  • March 9
  • March 16
  • March 23
  • March 30
  • April 6
  • April 13

Miracle Workers — All Are Welcome

The Miracle Workers have set their schedule for activities.  All are welcome to participate in any and all of the events!

Each month they will enjoy lunch together at the Lincoln Diner (2nd Sunday of the month), go bowling at Hanover Bowling Center (3rd Sunday of the month), and have Movie Night at church in the gathering area (4th Friday or Saturday of the month).

Their Sunday School class meets in Room 300 at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays.

  Lunches Bowling Movie Nights
Mar 13 20 25 (Friday)
April 10 17 (Easter) 30 (Saturday)
May 15 (skipping Mother’s day) 22 27 (Friday)
June 12 19 (Father’s day) 25 (Saturday)
July 10 17 29 (Friday)
Aug 14 21 27 (Saturday)
Sept 11 18 30 (Friday)
Oct 9 16 29 (Saturday)
Nov 13 20 25 (Friday)
Dec 11 18 31 (Saturday)

Youth News

Greetings fellow Lutherans,

In the past month, our kids have learned some valuable lessons from Bible stories and taken part in some fun activities as well!

In the elementary school, students learned about baptism in many forms. In baptism, we leave behind one life for another with Christ through a ritual requiring two necessary elements, the Word of God and an earthly element, most traditionally water.

Students then prepared thank you notes for Mr. Fred, who retired from the daycare center after 25 years. They also contributed some welcome letters for our Afghan friends who have resettled in Gettysburg.

The next week, we learned that even a small bit of salt can add strong flavor to food, and even a single candle can shed light into a room. Using watercolor and salt for texture, the students painted their favorite images of natural light. Their artistic works can be found on the youth board at the church!

Finally, we took some time to learn about The Lord’s Prayer and how to have genuine conversations with God. Children were encouraged to write authentic prayers to place in a prayer bottle that only God can see.

In middle school, we are learning when it is appropriate to slow down and take a pause for God. Throughout the pandemic, many of us have been forced to slow down, whether we want to or not. In the coming weeks, we will discuss what we pay attention to as we return from a pause.

Both our middle and high school groups competed for glory in “Love Me or Hate Me,” a competitive game in which they build towers from poker chips and dice to score points. They also could choose to slide their chips across the table in an attempt to knock down the other team’s tower.

In high school, we discussed whether we are more inspired by fear or by love. We defined different types of love in the Bible: eros, a love between two people; phileo, a love between friends and for community; and agape, the love of God for humans and the love of humans for God. Then we chatted about why love hurts and why forgiveness is necessary.

This past week, we broke garlic bread together during a delightful lasagna dinner, complete with salad, and brownies prepared by Julie Keyser. Afterward, we discussed strategies to combat stress, and defined success in our own terms.

This review would not be complete without celebrating our Water Life service, held Feb. 13. Our K-5 kids sang their hearts out, and our middle and high school kids
contributed to the sermon with pitch-perfect demonstrations of the beatitudes. Alana Guise took children’s suggestions for prayer and summarized them to perfection as the assisting minister. Thanks to all who shared their gifts!

Help wanted

  • More volunteer cooks will be needed for our monthly high school reading groups, held at the youth house at 5:30 p.m. the third Sunday of every month. Email me (youth@stjamesgettysburg.org) to volunteer!
  • In the coming weeks, donations of healthy snacks, preferably in snack bags, would be appreciated. Juice boxes and bottled water are also a favorite of our youth group kids. Thank you all so much for your
    contributions!

Future planning

  • Vacation Bible School (Knights of North Castle) will be held June 6-10 at St. James. Registration will begin soon. We are looking for teenagers and adults to volunteer. All talents are needed.
  • Stay on the lookout in the coming weeks for notices regarding summer workcamp and opportunities to grow our faith at Camp Nawakwa and Camp Kirchenwald!

Yours in Christ’s love,

Adam Michael, Director of Youth and Family Ministry

Youth Group Schedule

  • HS Youth Group
    Sundays 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • MS Youth Group
    Mondays 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • MS/HS Youth Breakfast
    @ the Youth House        
    Wednesdays 6:45 a.m.
  • K-5 Youth Group
    Wednesdays 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Calling all Youth Volunteers

If you’d like to contribute time, expertise, and energy to Youth Ministry through St. James, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Mr. Adam, our Director of Youth and Family Ministry. He can guide you through the process of becoming a Youth Volunteer!

Council Corner

February Council Meeting Highlights:

Interim Pastor

An Interim Associate Pastor is being sought to temporarily serve with Pr. Geib following the retirement of Pr. Allwein on February 27. Council decided that the discernment for a permanent associate pastor should not be hurried and the process could take 6-12 months. Following a motion from Sharon Kaya and second from Wayne Glaser, Council approved formally requesting an interim associate pastor from synod to serve with Pr. Geib during this transition. Council will meet with
potential candidates before voting to extend a offer.

Treasurer’s Report

Karen Lentz reported that giving donations for the month of January stood at $61,662 although the budget called for $74,405. The current Capital Campaign account holds $411,138. The Early Learning Center has $463,606 in their checking account. A 6-month ARPA Grant they began receiving in November is providing $47,000 for each of the 6 months through April 2022. The Treasurer’s report was approved.

Boy Scout Bankruptcy

The national organization is going bankrupt, and the church received notification about implications for St. James since the church has been a sponsor of the scouts for decades. Brent Smith moved, and Carol Cook seconded a motion to allow the Executive Committee to seek legal counsel to determine the best action in response to the legal document received, at a cost not to exceed $5,000.

Good for God / Church / Council

Pr. Allwein reminded Council that St. James is currently hosting Gettysburg CARES overnight guests. Although numbers are down this year due largely to COVID, the need still exists. Pr. Allwein thanked members who are helping with this charity.

Jack Crist was recognized for his role as treasurer of the Social Ministry committee for 14 years. When a check was needed for an immediate need, Jack was at the church quickly with a check to assist with a person in need.

Pr. Allwein also announced that the Afghan refugee family of 10 has arrived and is settling in at their new residence in Gettysburg. Amazon Wish List packages have been arriving at St. James daily as people have responded well to the need. St. James members Adam Michael, Claire Anderson, and Judy Leslie are particularly involved with this charity.

Finally, Pr. Allwein thanked Council members present and past, for the support and commitment toward him and St. James.

Capital Campaign

St. James Lutheran Church has received $972,841 in contributions towards the three year Capital Campaign that started in November 2019. For the year 2021, St. James Lutheran Church received $246,387.

The congregation since 2019 has expended $555,705 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 was replacement of the windows on the North East section of the building, upgraded fire alarm system, new kitchen cabinets and counters, repair of front doors, resurfacing parking lot, and completion of much of the Worship Area Renewal project. The lower level stairway which will eliminate the security gate is completed.

The repair or replacement of remaining windows on the south and southeast portion of the building has been approved by the Historic Architecture Review Board and Borough Council and bids will be obtained to start this project soon, along with remaining upgrade to the A/V and sound system and other projects. For the year 2021, St. James expended $154,868.

The balance of unspent funds as of December 31, 2021 is $417,841. 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.

Calls to Action

Mission Support

Psalm 136: 1, 16:
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good –
who led his people through the wilderness,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

As we read in the Old Testament stories, we know that God has always led his people through the wilderness. There were struggles, disbelief, and prophets of doom among the people but God remained as the constant voice in guiding them through. God is now at work moving us forward through the wilderness of the pandemic. Lockdowns, social distancing, mask-wearing have all left us feeling disengaged from one another. But now we are beginning to see a resumption in activities we enjoyed openly before we entered the COVID wilderness.

Now is the time for us to consider our own personal journeys out of this wilderness. At St. James we are seeing a renewal of energy and ideas for worship, youth and family ministry, and our commitment to the community.

Let’s use this Lenten time for re-engagement by returning to regular worship—and to mid-week Lenten services—to hear personal faith messages from our members.

Let’s re-energize the use of our time and talents to reach out and participate in activities that bring people together.

Let’s re-commit to regular offering through our financial gifts. These gifts keep the mission of St. James alive in our community.

Jesus’ journey through the wilderness led to the Good News for all of us on Easter Sunday. We are the blessed disciples of Christ—dedicated and steadfast in our re-investment to do God’s Work with Our Hands at St. James.

2 Corinthians 5:17:
So if anyone is in Christ, there is new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Refugee Resettlement Partnership of Gettysburg

The Refugee Family has arrived in Gettysburg!

The Afghan family sponsored by the Refugee Resettlement Partnership (RRP) is settling into their Adams County home nicely. They’ve expressed feelings of extreme gratitude and joy, while also acknowledging some frustration and culture shock as they adjust to a new town in a different part of the world.

Those who wish to support the family’s current needs can do so by purchasing gift cards that will be used to purchase new footwear and clothing. Purchase gift cards or other needed household items online.

While their English skills are limited, the children and teenagers in the family are particularly eager to socialize with other children. Please contact Adam Michael to learn about opportunities to do so.

To learn more about Refugee Resettlement or to make other financial contributions, visit the St. James website.

Contact Adam Michael or contact Claire Anderson to ask questions or volunteer!

Parish Records

Baptisms

February 6 — Brantley Jeremy Windell

Deaths

February 15 — Donna E. Plank

February 18 — Robert W. Zeigler

February  24 — Jean W. Odom

February 25 — Geraldine Waybright Settles

Upcoming 50+ Wedding Anniversaries

March 31 — Eugene and Nancy Riffle (65 years)

Announcements

Easter Flowers and Donations for World Hunger

Whether worshiping online or in person, we are given an opportunity to enhance the beauty of our Easter worship with flowers. Forty (40) Easter arrangements are needed to fill our space adequately.

AND / OR

Through a donation for World Hunger Relief in any amount, we can provide the gift of life to those who hunger.

Please complete this form and return it with your check by March 14  to:
Judy Seilhamer
360 East Lincoln Avenue
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Online Easter flower and donation form is also available on the website.

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.

Connect with St. James online