109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – April 2024

The Messenger – April 2024

You can download a copy of the Messenger with graphics, or if you just want to read the text, keep scrolling! The April 2024 Events Calendar at St. James Lutheran Church is below.

All of our community events are posted on our events page, be sure to check them out!

A Message From Pastor Andrew

“Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”
-Mark 16:6-7

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Each year on Easter weekend, we begin our worship services with this Easter Acclamation. And each year, after forty days of Lent, I am amazed at how good it feels to shout these words. Following our season of solemn repentance, with praise and thanksgiving, we acclaim Christ’s rising from the tomb and the gift of new life that comes to us because of it.

Here at SJLC, we spent this year’s Lenten season focusing on the question: What is Love? Our midweek speakers bravely took up the challenge of answering this question through personal experience. Their sharing challenged us to reflect on the question for ourselves –What is love? Of what it means to us. Of how we experience it. Of how we share it and live into it.

As always, I was blown away by those who spoke – their openness, their vulnerability, their thoughtfulness… their level of comfort and trust to share publicly with our family of faith.

While each of our speakers shared different experiences, each spoke to a thread of hardship – of how love, in its various forms, has sustained them through life’s more difficult moments. Through grief and loss and the path towards healing. Through sickness and recovery. Through the managing of family dynamics and shifting relationships. In all of the challenges and emotions that come at such times. And isn’t this the Gospel’s good news? When life is at its worst, God in Christ comes to us in love.

While our culture tends to complete a celebration the minute the party is over, the Christian celebration of Easter continues for seven weeks. From Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost, we raise our Alleluias and proclaim Christ’s rising from the dead. Through His greatest commandment, in our love of God, we are called to share this proclamation through love of neighbor.

So, people of God – What is love? How do you share it? Is it just for those closest to you – family and friend, those who you agree with? Or is it for all? How can you live more fully into this life of love Christ himself calls us to? What is love?

Regardless of what you are facing, of the hardships in front of you, know that you are loved by God in ways you can only begin to imagine. Know that you are loved here in this place, by your family of faith. Know that, in Christ, there is always hope for new life.

Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised… And so too have we.
With love,
~Pastor Andrew

2024 Gettysburg CROP Hunger Walk

The 2024 Gettysburg CROP Hunger Walk will take place at 1 pm on Sunday April 28, starting at the YWCA (909 Fairfield Rd.) and looping around the Seminary Ridge Interpretive Trail on the seminary campus (about 1 mile). Walkers obtain pledges from family, neighbors, colleagues, and the community for their participation. Sponsorship funds support Church World Service’s mission to help end hunger and poverty, and a quarter of those funds will go directly to our local hunger-fighting agencies: SCCAP Food Pantry (15%), Gettysburg Community Soup Kitchen (5%), Ruth’s Harvest-Gettysburg (5%).

All are welcome to participate as teams or individuals and there are alternatives for those who are unable to walk. Teams and individuals can register for the walk online at https://events.crophungerwalk.org/cropwalks/event/gettysburgpa Questions? Contact Jesse Holt (240-706-5061, [email protected]) or Suzanne Hubbard ([email protected]).

A Message From Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell

Siblings in Christ,

Spring has arrived alongside the Easter season. The air is filled with the promise of new life- flowers in bloom, the smell of newly turned soil, and the warmth of sunshine.

This month, the church will celebrate the Feast Day of St. Mark the Evangelist, author of the Gospel of Mark. It is the oldest of the three synoptics, likely written in the 60s AD by an early church evangelist who worked alongside Paul and Peter and spread the Gospel to parts of northern Africa.

The book of Mark is a stripped-down version of the three synoptic (“seeing together,” or “common sight”) Gospels that tell the story of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Mark’s Gospel has only 16 chapters, compared to the gospel of Matthew and Luke, who have 28 and 24 chapters, respectively.
In original texts, Mark ends with the women’s reaction of Jesus’ resurrection, stating:
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” -Matthew 16:8

Later translations of Mark’s Gospel add verses 9-20, which describe the disciples’ disbelief regarding Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus’ appearance to the rest of the disciples, and finally, Jesus’ ascension into Heaven. This ending closes the Gospel story with a message of hope, rather than fear:

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” -Mark 16: 19-20

Regardless of the ‘proper’ ending of the book of Mark, each version is an equal call to action. The original, a way for us to be part of the story as the Gospel as we consider the rather abrupt ending of the Gospel. We are called to action, discovering the ending of the story, and sharing the Good News to others.

The longer ending provides us with comfort. The women may be afraid, but Jesus comforts their fears and their disbelief, calling his disciples to preach, teach, and share the Gospel with the help of God. It is a reminder that we are not alone in our Christian life.

This Easter season, we are called to the same action. For spring is full of reminders of new life, come to us through the death of Jesus. Be not afraid, and share the Good News of the risen Christ.

With Love, Vicar Libby


Adam Michael, Director of Youth & Family Ministry

Be in control of your emotions. Don’t let your emotions control you.

I’ve repeated this mantra over and over throughout my life, yet I still chew my nails when I’m nervous, still grab the extra Milky Way on my way through the kitchen, and still find words flying out of my mouth before my brain finishes editing. And that’s after 40 years of work. So when I saw the self-control unit coming up on the calendar, I fretted. Who am I to teach a bunch of elementary school kids about resisting our inner demons?

Learning self-control is important, and in an ever more self-indulgent world, feels like a lost art. Our ability to regulate attention, emotions and behaviors are partially inherited and partially learned, according to studies. An adult’s ability to stay employed and regulate unhealthy behaviors also correlates with how much self-control they possess in their first 10 years of life.

Since I’m a novice to the self-control game, I turned to the Bible. Falling in step with Lent, our kids spent time thinking about temptations they could avoid throughout March. We spelled out God’s expectations, studying the Ten Commandments, then reminded the kids that God gives us the ability to make decisions for ourselves but calls us to think dutifully about his important code while doing so. If everyone controls how they cherish God and treat others, it would be the only control we’d need.

Next, we looked at the precautionary tale of Jonah, a man who turned away from his God-bestowed responsibilities out of fear or anxiety. God gave Jonah plenty of time to think about this decision while in the belly of a whale, and given a second chance, Jonah made good on it, saving Nineveh from destruction.

We finished out the unit in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus fights the impulse to run. The disciples try and fail to fight the impulse to fall asleep while watching over their Lord, and Jesus tells Peter to fight the impulse to resort to violence when Jesus is captured.

While we often have some silly answers, the kids do a great job of finding the wisdom and morals in these stories. But when it comes to following simpler instructions, they sometimes still struggle. We instruct our helpers to have the patience and love of Jesus while doing our best to display our own self-control – being slow to anger, looking for teaching moments. Some days are better than others.

Looking Ahead:
High School Monopoly Night, Sunday, April 7, 5-8:30 p.m. – Get a kick out of unfettered capitalism? Want to play make believe in the times of steel and oil barons? Want to declare Bankruptcy just like Michael Scott? High schoolers are invited to join us for a night of houses, hotels, taxes and jail time. Costumes encouraged. Prizes included. We might even have a morality lesson along the way.

Vacation Bible School, Monday, June 3 – Friday, June 7, 9-11:45 am—We are reaching for the stars with this year’s Vacation Bible School experience at St. James. Our space-themed curriculum, “Stellar – Shine Jesus’ Light” will help us understand that no matter how far we go, Jesus is always with us. Signup for kids and volunteers is on the church website. Please contact Adam or Cindy Zepp if you have a Thrivent Action Team plan available and would like to help us finance VBS.

Some highlights from recent Youth Group activities:
The K-5 youth group is learning about self control, but sometimes some plain old silliness is in order after such a long day at school.

Learning the Ten Commandments is hard enough, but keeping all ten in your head while trying to obey them is as tough as holding 10 balloons on a single moving beach towel!

Jonathan Noel, Minister of Music

Monday is the day I plan worship services. I look forward to Mondays because I genuinely enjoy doing this. Fortunately, Augsburg Fortress, the publishing house of the ELCA, provides lots of help for pastors and musicians when it comes to planning worship.

The main resource that I use is Sundays and Seasons. This calendar-based platform follows the Revised Common Lectionary and is available online and in print. The text of the readings, prayers, and liturgy are all there and ready to copy and paste into worship bulletins. The music page provides hymn suggestions from the principal song resources of the ELCA including Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) and the latest supplement, All Creation Sings (ACS). Suggestions from earlier publications as well as some non-Lutheran resources are also available. Without this resource, finding just the right hymns for any given week could be an overwhelming task. From the list of suggested hymns, I choose those that I think best fit our use at St James.

The platform also has suggestions for choir music. Hopping on the site at the beginning of each season allows me ample time to supplement St James’ choral library with newly published works by living composers and text writers that best speak to our own time. Similarly, the guide suggests selections for organ and piano. These are based on the suggested hymns for each week, and I also draw heavily on my own collection of keyboard music.

Adding a personal touch to many of our services are musical offerings played or sung by talented members of St James. Sometimes these individuals ask me for suggestions, but most often they will select their own music resulting in a delightful and often very moving array of musical expressions. Larger seasonal decisions and liturgical adjustments are made in conversation with the pastors and the worship and music committee. Adam Michael helps plan WaterLife services.

I hope this peek behind the curtain is helpful. I value the feedback I get from the congregation and always seek to provide interesting, engaging, and meaningful worship experiences for everyone.

-Jonathan Noel

Guatemala Mission Trip – July 11-19, 2024

Planning continues for the Mission Trip to Guatemala coming up this summer.  Nine members from St. James enrolled to travel as part of a joint Mission Team to the Tree4Hope Mission Guatemala.   Our group of nine will join up with five members from our partner congregation, St. Matthew’s from Kennett Square. 

While on site in Guatemala, the team will have opportunities to interact and work with the children at Hope Academy, a Spanish and English bilingual school for girls with support for Kaqchikal, the indigenous Mayan language of the region in Santa Lucia Milpas Altas.  Hope Academy focuses on these areas:

  • Music education to learn and create music is part of the school’s focus for personal empowerment and expression.  Tree4Hope has a full-time music instructor and sponsors music lessons twice a week and performance opportunities for 100+ children at the Miguel Magone orphanage and the village of El Aguacate
  • Psychological care is guided by two full-time psychologists at the Miguel Magone orphanage since most or all of the children have experienced trauma.
  • Spanish language instruction prepares the students for future employment in their own environment, and English language instruction provides an outreach to the wider world.
  • Community Outreach within the village of El Aguacate by means of a monthly luncheon for “los ancianos,” where the elders of El Aguacate share a meal, play bingo, and dance with the children at the Miguel Magone orphanage.  The orphanage can also act as a community center, where it creates an opportunity for the children to form intergenerational relationships and a sense of connection and hope not just for the elders, but for the children as well.

Our mission team members will have ample opportunities for one-on-one interactions with individuals and groups of students in all of these areas, and likely many more. 


The World Outreach Committee and Pastor Andrew have received generous donations and commitments to meet some of the costs of the trip.  Daily support and local transport by Tree4Hope for our team and airfare add up to nearly $2,000 per person.   The Committee’s remaining goal is to meet individual airfare costs of $970 per person plus airport shuttle costs, about $8,000 to $9,000 total.  

Tree4Hope will soon provide us with a list of needed supplies and small items for packing in mission team members’ suitcases.  We expect to announce a fundraising and supplies-gathering activity in May.

Contributions to support the TREE4HOPE GUATEMALA MISSION TRIP should be directed to the Church office, c/o Katy Clowney.

Spring Book Club

Holy People Holy Lives Law and Gospel in Bioethics by Richard C. Eyer
New questions continue to arise about the moral and ethical implications of modern advancements in medicine. Richard Eyer’s book, Holy People, Holy Lives: Law and Gospel in Bioethics, explores the current bioethical dilemmas facing today’s world in an easy-to-understand format that is grounded in Christian principles. This book confronts fundamental questions about the beginning and end of life, the biblical stance on fertility treatments, the implications of cloning, and more. Eyer adeptly navigates these bioethical crossroads, providing a clear and accessible guide to ethical decision-making that incorporates both Law and Gospel principles.
When: Mondays April 8—May 13, 2024, 4:00-5:00 pm
Where: The Upper Crust, Gettysburg
RSVP with Vicar Libby to participate.

Worship Previews

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.

Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib

Readings: Acts 4:32-35 1 John 1:1–2:2
Psalm 133 John 20:19-31
Fellowship, hosted by Faith and Fellowship & Social Ministry

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.
Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib
Readings: Acts 3:12-19 1 John 3:1-7
Psalm 4 Luke 24:36b-48

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.
Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell
Readings: Acts 4:5-12 1 John 3:16-24
Psalm 23 John 10:11-18

This Sunday’s image of how the risen Christ shares his life with us is the image of the vine. Christ the vine and we the branches are alive in each other, in the mystery of mutual abiding described in the gospel and the first letter of John. Baptism makes us a part of Christ’s living and life-giving self and makes us alive with Christ’s life. As the vine brings food to the branches, Christ feeds us at his table. We are sent out to bear fruit for the life of the world.
Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell
Readings: Acts 8:26-40 1 John 4:7-21
Psalm 22:25-31 John 15:1-8

Council Corner
March 20 Meeting Highlights

En Bloc Agenda:

  • Approval of Minutes from February 21, 2024
  • Acceptance of Treasurer’s Report
  • Church Financials
  • ELC Financials
  • Acceptance of New Members: New members class will be scheduled after Easter
  • Motion: St. James ELC would like to hold a Hoss’s fundraiser on Friday, April 12, 2024, to benefit the ELC scholarship fund.
    En Bloc agenda was adopted unanimously.

    Old Business:
  • St James overnight for CARES 2024/25 season: The council moved to approve St. James to continue to serve as the CARES cold-weather shelter for the 2024/25 season, and the motion was adopted by a unanimous vote.
  • Nominations for council so far: Jim Flanagan, Josh Main, Glenn Munsee and Nina Kloster. Council members whose terms expire this summer: Peggy Green, Sharon Kaya, Kyle Smith and Carol Widerman. Nominations will be announced April 27-28, 2024, at all services and we will receive additional nominations from the floor for church council nominations at all three worship services. Biographies of the nominees will be available May 4-5, 2024; and election of new council members is scheduled for May 18-19, 2024.

    New Business:
  • Adam Michael, director of youth & family ministry, proposed a youth fundraiser April 17, 2024, at Lincoln Social. Council voted unanimously for this proposal.
    Looking Ahead:
  • Church vitality taskforce: The taskforce will present its priorities for moving forward at the April council meeting April 17, 2024.
  • Council member Shirley Sanders announced Habitat for Humanity is building a new home in Littlestown at 41 Craftway Drive. As a covenant church, St. James will provide workers and food for the volunteers on its assigned days: April 4-6, 11-13 and 18-20 from
  • 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. St. James also is providing snacks on April 4 and lunch on April 20, and volunteers are asked to help provide food.
  • Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God
  • Kimberly Ellis was promoted to assistant director of the Early Learning Center on a trial basis for the next six months.
  • Pastor Andrew noted that the family and friends attending a recent funeral at St. James felt “really cared for,” and that it’s good the church can be open to others in times of trouble. Leftover food from the reception was donated to CARES.
  • St. James met its Smart Goals for February 2024 (see below)

Next Meeting: Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at 6:30 p.m.

Habitat For Humanity Blitz Build

Habitat for Humanity is building a new home in Littlestown at 41 Craftway Drive. As a covenant church, St. James will provide workers and food for the volunteers on our assigned days. The working dates are April 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20 from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM. St. James is providing snacks on April 4, and lunch on April 20. Please contact Shirley Sanders at [email protected] or 717-752-6116 if you are able to help on any of these days, or with any questions about the build, Thank you for supporting this cause!

2024 Easter Flower List

Palm branches were given in loving memory of Guy E. and Sarah A. Raffensperger by their children and spouses.
The Pascal Candle was given in loving memory of Treva Weikert by the Redding Family.

Easter Flowers and Gifts to World Hunger Relief Given In Honor of
Vicar Libby, given by Dee Wells Eliza, Rhea, Alli, Nate and Nadine, given by Phil and Tara Baugher
Joanne Sippel, given by Andy, Julie, Luke, Evan & Ethan Keyser
Shirley Sanders, given by Anne Bucher Lane
Alan and Cindy Zepp, given by Julie, Jim, Addy, and Sam Dunlop
Pastor Andrew and Vicar Libby, given by Sam, Ed, Josh and Jessy Main
Elinor “Teeny” Bender, given by Tom and Mary Bender
My 4 children: Tom, Janet, Buck and Pete, given by Teeny Bender
Our sisters, Mary Jo Frey and Norma Williams, given by John and Judy Seilhamer
Our grandchildren and great grandchildren, given by Tom and Barbara Vossler
Our grandchildren, Elizabeth Ora Gomer and Lincoln Charles Gomer, given by Charlie and Anne Gomer
Jesse Holt, given by Suzanne Hubbard
Libby Baker-Mikesell, given by her parents
My children & grandchildren, given by Anne Young
Pastor Andrew and his family, given by Priscilla & Lou Shuba
The Staff of St. James Lutheran Church, given by Pete & Marty Riley

Easter Flowers and Gifts to World Hunger Relief Given In Memory of
Our grandparents, given by Mark & Katy Clowney
Steve Lockman and Jonathan Harpster, given by Dee Wells
Lou and Jay Auxt, Janel Baugher, John Baugher, given by Phil and Tara Baugher
Ralph and Ada McGregor, given by Ila and Matt Verdirame
J. Herbert and Frances Raymond, given by Betty Raymond and Gene Rakestraw
Donald L. and Rhoda L. Hammers, given by Donna & David Rakestraw and Wendy, Craig, Jason, Rachel & Emily Wilson
Ed & Margie Keyser, given by Andy, Julie, Luke, Evan & Ethan Keyser
Ernest and Carolyn McElwain, given by Kevin and Lori Varish
Our grandparents, Kenneth & Josephine Senft and Richard & Alice Geib, given by Johanna Kiehl, Elizabeth Ashoka and Andrew Geib
Our sisters Billie Ann Crum, Sharon Kinneman and Kim Bixler-Smith, given by Donna and Barry Bixler
Horace and Evelyn Waybright, given by Julie, Jim, Addy, & Sam Dunlop
Our family and friends, given by Shirley and Dave Sanders
Barbara Schadel, given by her girls: Erika, Becky, Carol and LouAnn
G. Richard & Glenna G. Boyer, given by their children, Kenneth, Peggy, Anna, Carole and families
Ruth & Guy Crist, Leroy & Elizabeth Crist, Crosby & Rhoda Hartzell, given by Beth & Brad Becker, Jean & Conner Blaine
Patricia A. Martin, given by Jason, Kerri, Drew, and Gavin Cole
Our parents and grandparents, Jack and Betty Davis, given by Sam, Ed, Josh and Jessy Main
George R. Bender, Morris M. Jr., and Mary C. Steinour, given by Tom and Mary Bender
My loving husband & wonderful father, George, given by Teeny Bender
David and Anna Swope, given by Kimberly Swope Devost and family
Jack Bucher, given by his wife, Jenny
Charles E. and A. Lois Gomer, Donald and Lona Helton, given by Charlie and Anne Gomer
Jim, Virginia, Dorothy & Dave, given by The Lohuis Family
Luther A. Smith, Lois Smith, and Evelyn Smith, given by Eric & Colleen Smith & Family
Marshal Heller, given by Polly, Ron & Dave
Milton K. Nicks, Jr., given by his wife, Barbara
My husband, Marty, given by Anne Young
Our parents, and sister, Fern Klinefelter, given by Glenn Heller & Nancy Klinefelter Heller
Our son, Jason; and our parents, given by Ken & Judy Boyer
Jason Withrow, given by Mark & Sonja Withrow
Salud Nieting, given by Bill & Judy Leslie

A Note From The Creation Care Task Force

Have you noticed things are getting warmer earlier? Winters aren’t getting very cold anymore? The USDA has confirmed our suspicions. We are no longer in Hardiness Zone 6b. We made it to Zone 7a! The coldest winter temperatures we’re likely to see are now between 0-5 degrees.

I usually find what’s important are the last and first average frost dates. Guess what? The old piece of wisdom – don’t put your tomatoes in the ground until Mother’s Day – is now defunct, too. The average last frost is now April 1- April 15 and the average first frost is Oct. 15 – Oct. 31. You may have already noticed this. Only be careful – the important word here is AVERAGE. If you are planting as early as possible, have something to cover those tender tomatoes if a freak frost pops up.

Does this mean lots more tomatoes and zucchinis? Maybe. Tomato breeding hasn’t caught up with the hotter summer. Tomatoes I’m familiar with don’t set fruit when it’s over 90 degrees. Other vegetables don’t seem to be adapting to the hotter summers either. And this gardener really doesn’t like working when it’s over 90 degrees.

Climate change is real. The momentum that a planet with more atmospheric CO2 and a lot of stored heat in already hot oceans and continents, will keep the trend going even if we immediately stop putting CO2 in the atmosphere. This is the time to think about how we can make the change more manageable not only for ourselves but for those who don’t have living standards that lend themselves to resilient living conditions. We call that climate justice, and care for all of God’s children.

Visiting St. James

Office Hours: 
Monday—office closed
TuesdayFriday, 9:00 a.m.—3:30 p.m.
Wednesday until 5:30 p.m.
The rear door at the parking lot is open. Come on in!!

Parish Records

Joan Bryce February 24
Jane Williams February 29
Joan Wise March 1

April 2 Waldo and Patricia Hartman 64 years
April 3 Carl and Nancy Yingling 59 years
April 8 Bill and Paula Shoemaker 52 years
April 15 Barry and Sharon Keckler 57 years
April 15 Lou and Priscilla Shuba 57 years
April 29 Wally and Gail Crum 57 years

Calling St. James at 717-334-2012

201     Katy Clowney
Church Administrator
[email protected] 

202   Julie Albert
   Administrative Coordinator
   [email protected]

203     Adam Michael, off on Fridays
          Director of Youth & Family Ministry
[email protected] 

205  Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell, off on Fridays
Associate Pastor
[email protected]

206 Pr. Andrew R. Geib, off on Fridays
Lead Pastor
[email protected] 

207  Jonathan Noel, off on Fridays
Minister of Music
[email protected] 

215 Tom Bender, off on Fridays
Building Superintendent
[email protected]