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109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
717-334-2012

The Messenger – December 2021

The Messenger – December 2021

A printable version of this month’s Messenger with graphics is available to view and download.

Or, if all you’re looking for is the text, feel free to scroll!

Message from Pastor Mike

Dear St. James family!

This year we need Advent more than ever before!

Even as there are so many things in our lives that continue to be upended, Advent works because at a time of so much uncertainty, Advent is well-defined. We know we’re going to hear about the Lord coming in glory at the end of time. We know we’re going to hear from John the Baptist. We know we will hear from Elizabeth and Mary. We know where we are going—and it doesn’t take forever to get there!

The other thing about Advent is the way it deals with the action of God and our human efforts. There is nothing about Advent that focuses on what we need to be doing in order for the birth of Jesus to happen. In Advent it is all about waiting for what God will do! This doesn’t mean we are not challenged to conversion (i.e. John the Baptist), but the emphasis is not so much on human efforts as it is on the conviction that the Lord will come—in spite of our weaknesses and our failures! Even as, in many areas of our lives, we’ve been asked to delay and wait during this past year+, the waiting of Advent is different. In our Advent waiting, we are convinced there must be something more to human life than the few years we spend on earth, even as this hope can burn brightly at certain intervals and at others, be almost snuffed out by fear, anxiety or cynicism.

But when we think deeply about the grandeur as well as the misery of life, Advent leads us to believe in the possibility of a fulfillment that is deeper, more all-embracing, more fulfilling than anything we have yet experienced. Advent speaks to this hope, a hope so strong it borders on conviction! The biblical promises of an exile that will end, a pregnancy that will come to birth, a Savior who will appear in our world, bolster our hope to anticipate a future God offers to us.

We join hands, as it were, with Isaiah who waited, with John who pointed, and with the Lord who is to come in glory—and in that joining together of human longing and the promise of human fulfillment in God, we find that we are comforted and can offer comfort within ourselves and to others that as the valleys shall be exalted, every mountain and hill brought low, the crooked made straight—this season offers to us the reality that all those grueling spaces in our lives, especially the rough places of this past year, can be made smooth in the birth of a Child!

That is my Advent hope for you! We all need Advent more than ever before!

Blessings & love,

~pastor mike

Message from Pastor Andrew

[Jesus said:] 25“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” – Luke 21:25-2

The verses above make up a portion of our assigned gospel for the first Sunday in Advent. Here, through Luke’s recording, Jesus describes the coming of the end – the eschaton. The time when he will return, bringing with him judgement upon those unfaithful and the promise of salvation to those who believe. In the verses that follow, we find Jesus’s warning to “be on guard” and to “be alert,” not be caught “unexpectedly” when this day of judgement comes.

While it can feel strange reading such texts at the onset of Advent, Advent is a season of preparation – a time to “be on guard,” to “be alert.” A time in which we should prepare for the coming of Christ, both in the past in His incarnation as the babe in the manger, but also in the future with his promised second coming.

It’s no secret that the season of Christmas (Advent included) is my favorite time of year. As I write this newsletter, still over a week away from the day of Thanksgiving, the Geib household is fully decorated and ready for the coming of the Christ child (and Santa as well!). While gearing up for Christmas so early is a pet peeve for some, for our family it is one of our most cherished traditions.

Each year I bring the decorations up from the basement, we set Pandora to Christmas music, order a pizza from Tommy’s, and get to work – Christina and I closely following the kids from room to room as they place Santa and Mrs. Clause, Rudolf, greenery, snowmen, and the like all throughout the house.

Once everything else its place, before decorating the tree, I set up the crèche – the one thing I get just for myself. Given to me as a gift of love from one of our St. James members, it has become one of the most meaningful pieces in preparing my heart for the birth of our Lord. So, I set up the manger, the three kings, the shepherd and sheep, Mary and Joseph, and the baby Jesus – and I pray, giving thanks to God for the true gift of Christmas, Immanuel – God with us.

As we make our way through this season of Advent, what is it that prepares your heart for the coming of Christ? Is it setting up a family crèche of your own? Is it pulling out those holiday recipes passed down through generations? Is it decorating the tree with kids and grandchildren? Driving around looking at lights with a cup of hot chocolate? Working your way through an Advent calendar or lighting the candles on an Advent wreath? Maybe, it’s our midweek Unfailing Light worship services or attending one of our weekend services?

Whatever it is that helps prepare you for the birth of Christ, take the time. Reflect on those cherished memories. Make new ones. Gather with family and friends. Give your hubby a kiss under some mistletoe or remember a time you once did. Listen to carols. Come to worship. And in all things, give thanks. For the Lord is with us. The Good News of great joy has been, is being, and will continue to be born into our world and into our lives – bringing with him the love, grace, and forgiveness that surpasses all understanding.

With love,

Pastor Andrew

Memo from the Minister of Music

Just What Is a Welkin Anyhow?

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is my favorite Christmas carol. The text was written by prolific hymn writer and co-founder of Methodism, Charles Wesley, and the music by none other than the great composer, Felix Mendelssohn. If either of these men had their way, this beloved carol as we know it would never have existed.

In 1739, Wesley published a ten-stanza Hymn for Christmas Day that began with the words, “Hark, how all the welkin rings, glory to the King of kings.” In 1753, George Whitefield published the revised version that we know today. Wesley did not like the revision and wrote that he did not want to be “accountable either for the nonsense or for the doggerel of other men.” Whitefield’s version stuck and the name of Charles Wesley will forever be linked to this revised text.

In 1840, the city of Leipzig, Germany, held a festival to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg. Felix Mendelssohn was asked to compose a work for use at this festival and the result was his Festgesang, Opus 68. The tune we now associate with Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is taken from the second movement, a song in praise of Gutenberg. After the event, Mendelssohn suggested that a different, but still secular, text might be written for this melody, adding, “It will never do to sacred words.”

Nevertheless, Wesley’s text was paired with Mendelssohn’s tune by William H. Cummings and published in 1861 in Hymns Ancient and Modern. As fate would have it, Christians gather every year to sing this beloved carol, unaware that the poet detested the revision of his text, and the composer never intended his tune for sacred use.

I wish for each of you a safe, peaceful, and happy Christmas.

Jonathan Noel, Minister of Music

Wednesdays of Advent

“Unfailing Light”

This Advent we are returning to our mid-week “Unfailing Light” worship services. Because we still are not serving meals inside the building to large groups, we will gather in the worship space each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to worship together. Our theme this year is “home – coming.”

The word “Advent” means coming or arrival; thus this theme opens to us the possibilities of how this season can serve as a reminder how our lives are continually called to active waiting, preparing and arriving. This theme opens up various possibilities and opportunities to reflect on how our ordinary daily lives, even as they take us to various places, finally bring us home. At a time when “home” has been challenged, disrupted and changed for many of us, this Advent invites us to “come home,” to recognize the ways Jesus is already coming home into the world—the Word made flesh! Our speakers include two girls from our Confirmation class and two men active in this congregation. Plan to join us!

December 1:  Bill Shoemaker                       December 15: Addy Dunlop

December 8: Blayne Miller                           December 22: Brent Smith

Wednesday Morning Bible Study

10:00—11:30 a.m. (Pastor Mike leading)

Each week, we will look at the second scripture text for each Advent Sunday. 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 in December will look at “The Journey” by Adam Hamilton for Advent study. 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!

Worship Previews

December 5 — Second Sunday of Advent

Forerunners and messengers advance the advent of our God. While John the baptizer’s voice in the wilderness may be the principal focus of the day, Malachi’s prophecy could as easily herald the coming Christ as forerunner of the Lord of hosts. Finally all the baptized are called to participate in the sharing of the gospel. In so doing we prepare the way for the coming of Jesus and assist all people in capturing a vision of the “salvation of God.”  Readings: Malachi 3:1-4; Baruch 5:1-9; Luke 1:68-79; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6

December 12 — Third Sunday of Advent

Christ’s presence in our midst in the wonder of the holy supper is cause for singing. The nearness of the God in prayer, in every circumstance, is cause for rejoicing. The coming of one “more powerful” than John, even with a winnowing fork in hand, is good news—and cause for exultation—for us who are being saved. Great joy is the tone for the third Sunday of Advent.  Readings: Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 12:2-6; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18

December 19 — Fourth Sunday of Advent

Cradle and cross are inextricably connected on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Between a lovely tribute to the little town of Bethlehem and Mary’s magnificent song of praise, the letter to the Hebrews reminds us in no uncertain terms that Christ’s advent is for “the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” It is the kind of tension in which the church always lives as when in holy communion—with high delight—“we proclaim the Lord’s death.” Readings: Micah 5:2-5a; Luke 1:46b-55; Psalm 80:1-7; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45 [46-55]

December 24 — Christmas Eve

In winter’s deepest night, we welcome the light of the Christ child. Isaiah declares that the light of the long-promised king will illumine the world and bring endless peace and justice. Paul reminds us that the grace of God through Jesus Christ brings salvation to all people. The angels declare that Jesus’ birth is good and joyful news for everyone, including lowly shepherds. Filled with the light that shines in our lives, we go forth to share the light of Christ with the whole world. Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14 [15-20]

December 25 — Christmas Day

As on the first day of creation, on this Christmas Day the Word illumines the world, shining forth to bring all things into being. Today we celebrate the incarnate Word, God becoming flesh to live among us in the person of Jesus Christ then and now. Emboldened by the good news of Christ’s birth, along with the shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and all witnesses to the light of Christ, we declare to the world that we have indeed seen and been transformed by the arrival of “the salvation of our God.” O come, let us adore!  Readings: Isaiah 62:6-12; Psalm 97 ; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2:[1-7] 8-20

December 26 — First Sunday of Christmas

On the first Sunday of Christmas we find the boy Samuel and the boy Jesus, both in the temple, both growing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and humankind. We too have returned to the house of God “to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God,” who has gifted us with a savior. As the festival continues, “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” It is Christmas, still.  Readings: 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26; Psalm 148 ; Colossians 3:12-17; Luke 2:41-52

Members of St. James,

With the announcement of Pastor Mike’s retirement, I have no doubt you have gone through a range of emotions and thoughts. For many of you, those thoughts likely ended with joy for Pastor Mike stepping forward to this new part of his life and concern about what the future of St. James and it’s leadership will look like. Over the next 3 months, we will take the opportunity to celebrate Pastor Mike and his time with us at St. James.  But, today, I would like to take this opportunity to try to speak to some of those concerns about the future of the church by explaining our process of discernment in moving forward in the search for our next lead pastor. Council’s goal is to be transparent and to fully engage the congregation in this process. That said, this call process will be slightly different from previous call processes the church has been through. The biggest reason for that is that the Bishop has welcomed St. James to consider calling a pastor already known to the congregation, more specifically, Pastor Andrew Geib. Outlined below is key information and steps in the call process we have now embarked on.

  • The Bishop’s office welcomed St. James to consider Pastor Andrew as lead pastor.
  • The Bishop/Bishop’s office proposed this as a possible path forward for St. James.
  • In that scenario:
    • The process was allowed to begin once Pastor Mike had announced his retirement
    • Both the congregation and Pastor Andrew must agree to the call.
    • The process is slightly different since both the congregation and Pastor Andrew already know each other
    • Council acts as the call committee
    • No congregation profile is needed to be created
    • Council, the congregation, and Pastor Andrew will take time to discuss a possible future together with Pastor Andrew as a lead pastor and prayerfully discern this match.
    • Council would then vote to recommend (or not) a call to Pastor Andrew for lead pastor to the congregation
    • A 2/3 Congregation vote is still needed to issue a call as lead pastor
    • New call documents are created if the call is made
  • Council has met with representatives of the Bishop’s office to discuss and understand this process
  • Pastor Mike has spoken with the Bishop’s office and given his blessing for this process
  • Council has elected to move forward with discussions/interviews/discernment with Pastor Andrew
  • Council and Pastor Andrew have been in discussion as to the best ways to involve and engage the congregation in the process before a call vote
  • Council’s rough timeline (flexible as needed)
    • Council meetings with Pastor Andrew – November/December
    • Council reviewed and addressed process questions at the end of the November 21 congregational meeting
    • Congregation meetings with Pastor Andrew –December
      • Large group meeting in person – Dec 5th 12:30pm in the nave
      • 2 open small group meetings in person –(12/7 at 6:30pm, 12/13 at 10am)
      • 2 open small group meetings via Zoom – (12/9 at 2pm, 12/14 at 6:30pm)
      • To sign up for small groups: StJamesGettysburg.com/smallgroups or call office
    • Council makes decision regarding recommending call – Late December-Early January
    • If recommended, Congregation meeting to vote on call – Late January
  • If the Council, the congregation, or Pastor Andrew discern not to move forward with this call, the more traditional process would ensue, including developing a profile and formation of new call committee
  • If an interim pastor would be needed due to no call being extended or accepted, the Bishop’s office would need several weeks prior to Pastor Mike’s retirement to secure an interim pastor
  • Any calls of additional pastors (such as a new associate), would follow the more traditional process and likely begin after a lead pastor is called

I encourage you take some time to digest and pray on this process. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to myself or other members of the Council. While this process is different, we want you all to understand and feel comfortable with it. Lastly, we ask that you pray for this congregation, the Council, and Pastor Andrew, that we may all hear and discern the direction the Spirit is leading us.

Respectfully,
Kyle Smith, Council President
kyles@adamsec.coop
(717) 253-5637

Council Corner

November Council Meeting Highlights

Committee & Task Force Reports:

Personnel – Bill Shoemaker reported that in person interviews for Director of Youth and Family Ministry would be held in early December for two candidates. The candidates will meet with pastors, staff, and older youth and will teach the elementary children at Youth Group. If all goes well, one of them could be approved by Council at the December meeting.

Synod Assembly:

Council approved sending Kasey Smith and Alan Haynes as St. James representatives to Synod Assembly in 2022.

Strategic Planning:

Building Usage – Pr. Geib reported that old furniture is being either donated or discarded. Several upright pianos will be donated and others were not salvageable. Jonathan Noel evaluated them to determine their value before decisions were made. Council agreed that more specific plans for upstairs usage and renovation needs to proceed. All interested parties in the church will be consulted as this process begins after the new year.

Good for Council / Church / God:

Pr. Allwein reported that the committee to adopt Afghan refugee families was progressing. The larger committee of representatives from 6 local churches will meet again Nov. 29 with Church World Services to get greater detail about process. Pr. Allwein also reported that numbers for Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. were down substantially compared to prior years due largely to the COVID vaccination requirement. Many are reluctant to comply.

Impact

Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. Breakfasts

St. James will be responsible for Gettysburg CARES breakfasts at the St. James Youth House the week of December 21 – 27. We are looking for families, like last year, who can bring hot breakfast items to the Youth House at 7:00 AM one of the days that week. If able to help, please contact Bill Shoemaker at 717-451-6549 or email at wmshoemaker@comcast.net to select a day that week. This will be the first week of possibly several more weeks when St. James may be providing hot breakfast items during the winter months. The winter schedule has not yet been set. The additional weeks will be advertised in the January Messenger.  

Ordering Flowers

Standing Orders

Many of you have a standing order for flowers to be placed in the church each year. Because of COVID, several of those orders had been cancelled.

In order to update my records, I am asking all those folks who wish to have their standing orders remain in place, or be rescheduled, to please contact me with the dates.

This is also a good time for anyone who has never ordered flowers in honor or in memory of a loved one to do so.

This can be done in the following ways:

  1. Email: js360@comcast.net
  2. Mail: Judy Seilhamer, 360 E Lincoln Ave, Gettysburg, PA 17325
  3. Phone: 717-334-4301 (leave a call back # if I don’t answer)

Basic flower arrangements are $30.00, red rosebuds are $9.00 (other colors vary in price)

*Finally, we are asking that if at all possible you pick up your own flowers by Tuesday of the following week. In a pinch, we can have someone deliver your flowers – usually to SpiritTrust.

Calls to Action

Operation Allies Welcome

Come open your heart
Show your mercy to all those who fear
We are called to be hope for the hopeless
So all hatred and blindness will be no more.
~ From the hymn “We Are Called”

Currently, military bases in the United States provide housing for more than 70,000 Afghan refugees after their evacuation from Afghanistan. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) anticipates this number will increase substantially by the end of 2022.

In late September 2021 Pastor Fred Young of Trinity United Church of Christ and UCC member Rayna Cooper initiated the local interest. Having had experience working closely with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services to resettle and support refugees from Bosnia and Myanmar, Pastor Young reached out to the pastors of St. James, Christ Church, and the Presbyterian Church. In October 2021 Pastor Young proposed a partnership in the Gettysburg Ministerium to offer homes to refugee families. Twenty members from Trinity UCC, St. James and Christ Lutheran Churches, Prince of Peace, Episcopal Church, Gettysburg Presbyterian Church, and the Unitarian Universalist Church, joined an organizational meeting held October 25th to determine if the Gettysburg community could: (1) meet the prescribed requirements and qualify as a resettlement partner, (2) provide the necessary financial and volunteer resources, and (3) work cooperatively in response to this critical need by supporting refugee families.

Answering YES to all the above, the 20 representatives agreed to take this initiative to their home congregations for discussion and decision. Contacts with the UCC’s Church World Service (CWS) and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) provided more specific guidelines and motivations for the six congregations to join as Partners and work together to welcome two or more refugee families to Gettysburg.

Rayna Cooper of Trinity UCC provided a “Church Inventory of Gifts” for each church to identify and list talents, expertise, connections, and gifts. On November 1st and 15th, the St. James World Outreach Committee spearheaded conversations among 17 congregation members, formed the St. James Task Force for Refugee Resettlement, and recommended that Pastor Allwein sign the Covenant of Cooperation between the six churches.

Members of the Partnership may need to energize their efforts quickly. Some of the refugees and families on eight temporary U.S. military bases have now completed the required security and medical screening. More potential arrivals at U.S. or allied bases overseas are completing their screening requirements. CWS has indicated they may be ready to place refugee families in Gettysburg in the near term. The Partnership will formalize its commitment with CWS by November 29th and coordinate efforts to secure housing, financial and material donations for establishing family residences. Each partner congregation has been asked to identify people with interests or expertise, physical resources, funding sources, helpful community connections for the following areas of need by early December. On-line orientation and training sessions are available for volunteers. The St. James Task Force will publish further updates via eBlast and Messenger articles and other means.

We ask all members to review this detailed description of Needs and Gifts and consider how you can respond. Please contact Claire at battleburg@gmail.com to respond.

Church Inventory of Gifts – Time, Talent, Expertise, Connections (Needs)

  1. Resettlement Agency Connection: Work with the UCC Church World Service, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services or other refugee resettlement agency to confirm the Partnership’s commitment to welcome a refugee family or families for resettlement in the Gettysburg community.
  2. Housing: Identify and provide suitable housing for the assigned families.
  3. Household Furnishings: Provide and install household furnishings, bedding, appliances and household utensils as needed.
  4. Wardrobe and Seasonal: Provide seasonal clothing and other wardrobe items needed for all family members.
  5. Education: Provide school backpacks, educational supplies and any required special uniforms or equipment needed for individual students. Identify special counseling or English as a Second Language (ESL) services and resources available at each student’s school and grade level. Be a resource to enroll children and advocate for appropriate translation and interpretation services.
  6. ESL Services Provision: Find providers and English language instruction according to the assessed needs and ability of each family member.
  7. Transportation: Establish a pool of volunteer drivers to meet the routine transportation needs of each family or individual. Provide drivers training and/or instruction to adult family members and solicit vehicle donations for an adult driver, after driver’s license requirements are met and license(s) issued.
  8. Medical: Help families acquire medical coverage and care.
  9. Government Services and Legal: Assist families to access government services and benefits, i.e., immigration and citizenship.
  10. Community Orientation: Orient families to local community resources, pedestrian rules, crosswalks, how to purchase items, finance & banking information and other necessities of living in the community.
  11. Shopping and Commercial: Assist with locating local shopping and services to meet their basic material needs and/or other specific foods.
  12. Worship, Recreation, Quality of Life: Introduce families to places of worship and community resources for fellowship, community involvement, continuing education and recreation.
  13. Employment: Help all eligible family members connect with job opportunities.
  14. Career Guidance and Mentoring: Provide guidance for reaching career goals, re-training opportunities, etc. Need professional or trade mentors.

Developed for Gettysburg Refugee Resettlement Project, October 2021

For YOUth

Questions? Email St. James Youth at youth@stjamesgettysburg.org

Youth Calendar: StJamesGettysburg.com/youth

Boundless National Youth Gathering

July 21—27, 2022
Minneapolis, MN
https://elca.org/YouthGathering

Middle School Retreat

Fun, fellowship, and faith formation at middle school retreat at Camp Nawakwa on November 20-21! To see an image of the group, check out the PDF linked at the top of this page.

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

Breakfast with Santa

We’ll be decorated for a Winter Wonderland, along with crafts and games, and a photo opportunity with Santa. It won’t be quite our traditional Breakfast-with-Santa event, as breakfast boxes will be to-go, so all will be encouraged to keep their masks on while in the building. But the festivities and excitement with the children will be the same as in years past! We are excited to continue this newer tradition at St. James!

Fall Hoss’s Fundraiser

Thank you for partnering with St. James Youth this fall to raise funds through Hoss’s in Gettysburg! Thanks to your strategic dining, the youth program has been infused with an additional $568.68 to support events and activities.

Messages for Members

As St. James Worship Assistant Coordinator I take my hat off (figuratively speaking) to all of you Worship Assistants.  Getting in-person worship up and running has been an interesting and sometimes confusing / conflicting process.  You all have been very understanding amid the multiple emails I have sent out announcing new ways of handling worship duties… only to have to back out of some of them because COVID-related issues interfered.  It happened enough this year that I thought all of you would throw up your hands and quit.  But, no, you are all grace-filled people who have shown endless flexibility in rolling with the flow as worship planning changed on a monthly (nearly weekly) basis at times.

I want to share my heart-felt love and appreciation for each one of you.  Your gifts to St. James’ worship ministry are countless, valued, and a blessing.

Dee Wells

Parish Records

New Members

November 14

  • Terri & Scott Zimmerer
  • Don & Jean Bair
  • Carol & William Cappetta
  • Creig & Karen Williard

Deaths

November 6: Daniel G. Blocher

November 13: Heather Susann Reider Ballard

November 18: Matthew W. Coffin

November 27: Duane L. Wood

Stephen Ministry

November 21:

  • Jesse Holt, new Stephen Minister
  • Paula Shoemaker, new Stephen Leader

Upcoming 50+ Wedding Anniversary

December 16: Cecil and Pat Sandoe (59 years)

December 12: Jerry and Linda Neth (57 years)

December 27: Peter and Martha Riley (52 years)

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