The Messenger – August 2021
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Message from Pastor Mike
Dear family and friends of St. James,
I began writing this reflection while I was away with family at the beginning of July. During that time I did a pretty good job of turning off emails and text messages in order to create Sabbath time for myself. But you were still on my mind when I walked the beach in the early mornings, or when I rode my bike on the extensive bike paths around Washington, DC.
I know all of us are more than ready to move beyond the year of COVID-19 restrictions, to begin living a more “normal” life: of being together, celebrating together, grieving together, and worshipping together in our church building. This time is coming ever-so-close!
The most famous journey in the Jewish Bible is when the Israelites journeyed through the wilderness for 40 years. Their confident strength was knowing God traveled with them every step along the way. I have viewed these past sixteen months as a journey. St. James—you/we—have been on this journey together, even when it has felt more as if we were isolated from each other than being joined as one. I know we have struggled to steer our way through the challenges of this global pandemic. I know many have suffered personal losses in various ways, most tragically by losing jobs or loved ones.
But we found our way. We have learned to live-stream; we have worshipped online at Camp Nawakwa, and in our parking lot, even as we were disappointed at cancelling our “Christmas on Stratton” Christmas Eve service—but we endured. Easter was a glorious morning of worship in celebrating the Resurrection together in our parking lot!
At the beginning of July, we began to worship inside our worship space, and with the hiring of a Minister of Music, we anticipate fully returning to worship without restrictions beginning on Rally Day, September 12. (This is our hope; we will watch the statistics in the County). We will also discuss with the Minister of Music returning to the Saturday evening worship service.
Thank you for daring to walk this journey together with the faith community of St. James! In all of this forward movement, I think of a recent prayer by Pope Francis:
“Lord, teach us to move beyond ourselves, and to set out in search of truth. Teach us to go out and see; teach us to listen, not to entertain prejudices or draw hasty conclusions. Teach us to go where no one else will go, to take the time needed to understand, to pay attention to the essentials, not to be distracted by the superfluous, to distinguish deceptive appearance from the truth. Grant us grace to recognize your dwelling places in our world and the honesty needed to tell others what we have seen. Amen.
Blessings & love,
Message from Pastor Andrew
“9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
With our anniversary on the third, the month of August is a special time in the Geib household. The above text, from Ecclesiastes, was the scripture selected by my pastor father for our ceremony. As far as scripture goes, it is one of the more well known. Maybe most especially for its use when two people are united before God and loved ones in marriage. It is a beautiful passage, not simply because of what it says, but too, because of its truthfulness. When life gets you down, it is good to have someone there to pick you up.
I shared briefly in one of my July sermons that Christina and I took a day without children to hike the Maryland Heights trail in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. It’s safe to say that Harpers Ferry has become one of our favorite places in God’s good creation. Geographically, it’s just a short drive away. With it’s natural beauty, as far as God’s good creation goes, it’s about as good as it gets. And with a lovely little restaurant appropriately named “Almost Heaven”, what else could you want?
In our hike up the mountain, accidently taking the road less traveled, as we struggled up a fairly vertical portion of the trail, over heated and a bit exhausted, it was good to have someone there to pick the other up – both physically and mentally.
As we made our way down, we reflected our anniversary coming up and that special day we shared with so many of you up the hill at the seminary chapel. While so much of the day was a blur, as weddings can often be, the thing that has stayed with me (beyond Christina’s stunning beauty!) is a portion of my dad’s sermon in which he reflected on “what he loves most about us as a couple”.
Aside from the fact that we both grew up in the Lutheran faith (of course he’d love that…), his “favorite thing about us” is that we each found ourselves in positions of doing this whole life thing on our own through moments of challenge before coming together – that we had to learn to pick ourselves up and care for our children through some pretty tough stuff.
My guess is, if you stopped to think about it, you could list your own moments of challenge. Moments when you have felt completely alone, left to wonder where God was at in it all and how you would make it through. I’ve certainly been there. I think I could say Christina has felt the same. But my guess is as well, that if you stopped to think about it, God wasn’t as far off as you may have felt at the time.
If you would crack open our hymnal to our baptismal liturgy, the final act is what is deemed as the welcome. Here, the congregation recites those all-familiar words: “We welcome you into the body of Christ and into the mission we share.” Growing up with the old LBW, I prefer its words: “We welcome you into the Lord’s family.”
What a wonderful statement – “We welcome you into the Lord’s family.”
The truth is, this journey we call life isn’t void of challenges. At times, the trail can be steep, and at times we fall. But thanks be to God, God journeys with us – helping us up along the way. I am and will forever be grateful to God for guiding the most amazing woman through the doors of our worship space and into my heart – to walk with me and give me the gift of walking with her. And too, my family of faith, I am and will forever be grateful to God for you.
As we continue to move forward into the future, may we do so together. And as we do so, let us not forget, that wherever we go, whatever happens, God goes with us. For, a cord of three stands is not quickly broken.
August 1 — 10th Sunday after Pentecost
Apparently not satisfied by Jesus’ feeding of thousands, some who were there press him for a sign of his power; perhaps it is daily manna they want. As always in John’s gospel when people want a sign, Jesus offers himself. He is the bread come from heaven to give life to the world. He calls us to come to him and believe in him, and through that relationship to know the one who sent him. Readings: Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15; Psalm 78:23-29; Ephesians 4:1-16; John 6:24-35
August 8 — 11th Sunday after Pentecost
Jesus says that the bread he gives for the life of the world is his flesh, and whoever eats this bread has eternal life now and will be raised on the last day. In Ephesians Paul tells us what this life Jesus gives us looks like, this life we live as those marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit in baptism. We live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. The whole purpose of life is giving yourself for the other. Readings: 1 Kings 19:4-8; Psalm 34:1-8; Ephesians 4:25–5:2; John 6:35, 41-51
August 15 — 12th Sunday after Pentecost
Wisdom prepares a feast, sets her table, and invites all to come and eat her bread and drink her wine. The first chapter of John’s gospel owes much to the biblical tradition that imagined Wisdom as existing before anything was created and having a role in the work of creation. Christ, the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24), today invites us to eat his flesh and drink his blood. John’s gospel includes no account of the institution of the Lord’s supper, but here we can’t help hearing Jesus’ words as an invitation to the meal of bread and wine we share. Readings: Proverbs 9:1-6; Psalm 34:9-14; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58
August 22 — 13th Sunday after Pentecost
In today’s gospel many people take offense at Jesus’ invitation to eat his flesh and drink his blood; even many of Jesus’ disciples peel off. This is the backdrop in John’s gospel for Peter’s confession of faith. “To whom can we go?” asks Peter, in words we sometimes sing just before the gospel is read. “You have the words of eternal life.” In order to take such a stand, as Peter and Joshua did, Paul tells us to arm ourselves with the word of God. We pray in the Spirit that we might be bold ambassadors of the gospel. Readings: Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18; Psalm 34:15-22; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69
August 29 — 14th Sunday after Pentecost
Jesus protests against human customs being given the weight of divine law, while the essence of God’s law is ignored. True uncleanness comes not from external things, but from the intentions of the human heart. Last week Jesus told us “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). Now James says God has given us birth by the word of truth. We who were washed in the word when we were born in the font return to it every Sunday to ask God to create in us clean hearts. Readings: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9; Psalm 15; James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Return to In-Person Worship
August Services — Indoor and Online
Returning to care-filled worship services has been a step-wise process, and we’re closer than ever to what feels like a normal routine.
Here are details around what we expect August worship to look like:
- Both our 8:15 a.m. and our 10:45 a.m. services will be held in the worship space in the church building.
- Masks will be needed for congregational singing of hymns. If you’re most comfortable wearing masks the entire time you’re indoors, we respect and support your doing so.
- Both Communion elements will be offered.
As we add regular liturgical services back into worship, we’re confident that Sundays will feel more and more familiar. We hope that participating draws you further
into your loving relationships with God, Jesus, our congregation, and our communities.
The 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)
Please join us for whichever type of service best suits your family. We can’t wait to see you!
We’re taking a small sabbatical for Bible studies over the summer so that participants can fully engage their summer activities without the fear of missing meetings. Please keep an eye open for details about these weekly opportunities in a few weeks. When we re-start, new participants will always be welcome!
Sponsoring Flowers for Worship
Pick-up after 10:45 a.m. Sun (or during office hours, Mon / Tue) or donate to homebound. Call Judy Seilhamer (717-334-4301) for more information, questions, or to order flowers.
Capital Campaign Report
through June 30, 2021
St. James Lutheran Church has received $876,674 in contributions towards the three year Capital Campaign that started in November 2019. The first two quarters of 2021 had $150,220 of contributions and $43,260 of expenses.
The congregation since 2019 has expended $444,098 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 substantially 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 upgrade to the A/V and sound system and other projects. The contract has been signed for the third Columbarium niche.
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 within our synod.
July Council Meeting Highlights:
- Committee / Task Force Reports
- Personnel – Council approved a Personnel Committee recommendation to appoint Jonathan Noel as Minister of Music. Jonathan will begin employment on August 16. Council approved the resignation of Kristin Slaybaugh as Youth Minister effective in August.
- Youth Ministry – Council approved August 11, September 15, October 13 and November 10 as Hoss’s Fundraiser dates this fall. Youth are saving funds for the upcoming National Youth Gathering.
- Finance – The Finance Committee needs budget recommendations from each committee by August 25 in preparation for the 2022 church budget.
- Treasurer’s Report
- Karen Lentz reported $165,632 in the checking account. Giving has been decreasing in recent months although church income is still about $9,000 above expenses. However, being in the black was possible due to the Minister of Music position remaining vacant. The ELC financials are strong, thanks partly to grants the director has acquired for the center. The Capital Campaign has received $876,674 and has spent $444,098 thus far. The treasurer’s report was approved.
- Baptisms/New Members
- Council approved the upcoming baptisms and welcomed into membership Kian Yves Ballough and Josslyn Breean Churchill.
Minister of Music
Please join us in welcoming new Minister of Music, Jonathan Noel, to the St. James staff!
Jonathan Noel is coming to St James from his position as Minister of Worship and Music at Masonic Village, Elizabethtown, where he leads music for ecumenical services at the campus chapel and health care center. Previously he served as Music Director and Organist at St Matthew Lutheran Church, York. Jonathan earned degrees in music from Winthrop University (BMus) and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music (MMus). In his spare time he enjoys reading, biking, long walks, home improvement projects, and spending quality time with family. He and his wife, Marian, have two children, Sarah and Adam, and live in West Manchester Township, York County.
Be sure to mark your calendar for the final two Six Sundays of Summer!
Pavilion, Straban Park, Gettysburg
Fireman’s Pavilion, Rec Park, Gettysburg
No RSVP needed. No cost to attend. Tee-shirt door prizes. 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.
God on the Ground Praise Fest
St. James joins six other churches in sponsoring God on the Ground Praise Fest at the Rec Park Amphitheater on August 21, 4—7 p.m. This will be our seventh year, having taken last year off due to the pandemic. We will honor all health and safety precautions throughout the event.
There will be four Christian bands, two messages (one in English and one in Spanish), children’s activities, and opportunities for sharing prayer requests. The food will be
prepared and served by First Baptist Church. St. James will sponsor the Kona Ice truck, supplemented by cookies.
As we emerge from the restrictions and isolation of the pandemic, this is a way for churches, congregations, and the community to work together in bringing a greater presence of the Gospel’s Good News beyond the walls of our churches. So, bring a chair or a blanket and join us for this time of fellowship, fun, and food.
If you can contribute, here are some needs.
- 2-3 dozen cookies (home made or bought) packaged two cookies in a sandwich bag.
- Bottled water (8 oz. size, if possible).
- Persons willing to be Greeters.
- Monetary contributions to help cover the cost of the sound system, tent rental and Rec Park fees. Checks may be made payable to St. James with God on the Ground on the memo line.
If you can help with any of the above, please let Pr. Mike or Mary Stevenson ([email protected]) know. Thanks so much.
See you at the Rec Park!
Save the Date(s)
- Gettysburg Ministerium Amphitheater
(worship with Rev. Mike Allwein—St. James Lutheran)
- Sunday worship backpack blessing
- Fall Festival and blessing of the animals
- “God’s work. Our hands.”
Activities available for sign-up:
- Gettysburg CARES
- Assemble LWR school kits
- Camp Nawakwa Beautification
- Fellowship and Paella with Agricultural
- Gardening at Nawakwa
- Gettysburg Fire Department
- LAMPA letter writing
- LWR Quilting Project
- Ruth’s Harvest food collection
- Sign up online now! https://signup.com/go/jbMPEYD
Calls to Action
We are re-starting May’s 5th Sunday Servant event to continue to collect backpacks to send to the United Way of Adams County for school children. Here’s what you can bring to the church by the deadline of August 8:
- 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 Countyand mail directly to United Way, PO Box 3545, Gettysburg)
Any & all school supplies are welcome!
As we move to more routine worship services, we are in need of worship assistance volunteers again. Please be sure to keep an eye out for notices from MSP in your email.
Have you downloaded the MSP app? It is a great tool to help you stay organized for assisting in worship. Just search for this free app in your app store: Ministry Scheduler Pro (Rotunda Software, LLC).
Saturday September 4, the York Revolution and Lower Susquehanna Synod Lutherans are partnering to fight hunger in Central Pennsylvania. We would like to invite you to help in our fight while enjoying the fun and fellowship of a York Revolution baseball game. Discounted group tickets are available to individuals @ $10 / seat. $5 of every ticket purchased will be donated back to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
Sign up online to participate in this event and sit in the Lower Susquehanna Synod section of the ballpark! yorkrevolution.com/fighthunger
Message from Miss Kristin
I’m so grateful to have served with the St. James’s ministry team as Youth Minister for almost two years. Two years, filled with much to celebrate even through the whirlwind we experienced together as a faith community. It is with many emotions and a heavy heart I will leave my position at St. James following Vacation Bible School, effective August 5th. I accepted a position with the ELCA’s Urban Servant Corps in Denver, Colorado! Prayers, time together, and well wishes are all greatly appreciated as I prepare for all the adventures with this new opportunity.
I understand this to be the next step on my own journey of discernment, however I have understandably felt conflicted, knowing how difficult it is to say, “See you Later.” It is a blessing to work with you and all who shaped my time here. I have been greatly encouraged by all who care about our young leaders, generously offering time, talents, and gifts to nurture them in their faith.
Thank you for the moments you all brought me in: to your lives, your families, to your graduations, sporting events, plays & music performances, to the joys of silly moments and healing laughter, to the hardships we faced and lifted up together, into your homes for communion around dinner tables, and often literally brought into arms for hugs.
I stand by the belief that Church is not a building, but a people gathered as a family, and I feel honored to be a part of this one. As I listen to God’s call, I’m glad to carry all of you with me as I go.
Farewell Gathering for Kristin
On August 15, our final 2021 Six Sundays of Summer event will take place at Rec Park (Fireman’s Pavilion, 1—4 p.m.).
We’re going to use that opportunity to bid Kristin a fond farewell and wish her the best in her new endeavors! St. James will provide single-serving light refreshments (think cupcakes). Feel free to RSVP — it’ll help us pick up the right number of servings. If you’d rather, just give the office a call, and we can help you sign up.
St. James Office: 717-334-2012
August 2—4 at Gettysburg Rec. Park
St. James is co-hosting free outdoor Vacation Bible School with Christ Lutheran centered around the theme “Who is My Neighbor?”
Mini-Work Camp provides 6th grade and younger kids and their families an opportunity to
- Complete service projects within St. James and the local community
- Learn a little about what goes on during the week-long Middle School and High School workcamps
- Fellowship through service and fun activities
This is an overnight opportunity for youth and families!Details and a sign up form are available now online: StJamesGettysburg.com/youth/mini-work-camp
Youth Group Schedule
- K-6thgrade Mini Work Camp at church – August 14 & 15
- HS Youth Group – Friday, August 20, meet at church at 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Laser Tag in
Westminster. Contact Kyle Smith (717-253-5637) or the office to participate. S’mores in the youth yard at the end of the evening. Bring your friends.
- MS/HS Youth Breakfast at the youth house – begins Wed-nesday, 8/25, 6:45 a.m.
- K-5 Youth Group – begins Wed-nesday, 8/25, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- MS Youth Group – begins Monday, 8/30, 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Note: We will follow the same guidelines the Gettysburg Area School District establishes regarding mask-wearing
Families: Keep an eye on your inbox and the eblast for the Youth Group Registration Forms & permission slips for your children to be picked up at school by St. James volunteers.
Church Women United — Gettysburg
CHURCH WOMEN UNITED will meet in-person on Wednesday, September 1, 11:30 a.m., at the Gettysburg Church of the Brethren, 1710 Biglerville Road. Please bring a bagged lunch & silverware; bottled water will be provided.
The program will be presented by Suzanne Landis, entitled “Women Power—Let Their Light Shine.” For your safety & health CDC guidelines will be followed. A special welcome to everyone, including newcomers. No reservations are needed.
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!
- August 11
- September 15
- October 13
- November 10
Carry-out is available for everyone who would like to take their meal on the go.
Message for Members
Social Ministry Committee will meet on Tuesday, August 17 at 7:15 p.m. Contact Priscilla Shuba with any questions.
July 23 — Josslyn Breean Churchill
June 23 — Scott Waybrant
Upcoming 50+ Wedding Anniversaries
August 23 — Julius Swope and Charlotte L. Swope (75 years)
August 26 — Martin and Catherine Crabill (70 years)
August 25 — Kenneth and Gloria Unger (58 years)
August 21 — Terry and Jane Fox (56 years)
August 5 — Martin and Anne Young (55 years)
August 15 — William and Judith Leslie (51 years)
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