109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – February 2023

The Messenger – February 2023

You can download a copy of The Messenger with graphics by clicking here. Or if you just want to read the text, keep scrolling!

February 2023 Events at St. James Gettysburg

A Message From Pastor Andrew

On the first weekend in February, we will gather for worship for the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany.  Unlike Christmas, Epiphany is not a season, but a day.  In the life of the church, the day of Epiphany draws the season of Christmas to a close.  The days that follow lead to Transfiguration Sunday, then into the season of Lent. 

For the faithful, these days between the season of Christmas and the season of Lent, are a time to reflect on how we might carry the gift of Christ’s birth out into the world.  As the magi followed the star bearing gifts, so too are we to do the same – following the light of Christ, bearing his gift wherever it is needed the most. 

Our gospel for the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany brings us these words from Matthew 5:  “You are the salt of the earth…  You are the light of the world…  Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” 

Just a few weeks later, on the final weekend in February, we will gather for worship for the First Sunday in Lent, where our gospel draws our attention to Jesus’ temptation by the devil in the wilderness.  One of the things that always strikes me about this text (Matthew 4:1-11), is that Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Spirit.  Gospel writer Mark uses the word ἐκβάλλει for led – literally cast out, the same word used when demons are cast out.  Here in Matthew, we find the word ἀνήχθη – was led, or set sail

Regardless of which translation we prefer, in each, there is this sense that the Spirit is placing Jesus in a position he may not have gone on his own. 

The truth is, our baptismal journeys reflect just this.  You and me – washed in the waters of baptismal grace, are called to a shared mission that isn’t always easy, a wilderness filled with temptation, that leads us and casts us out to places we likely wouldn’t choose otherwise.  To fight for justice and peace, care for the vulnerable, sit with the outcast, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and in all things give of what we have generously to those in need. 

As we journey together through these days after Epiphany and on into the season of Lent, how will you follow the light of Christ and bear his gift?  How will you be salt?  Be light?  Will you go into the wilderness and fight against those temptations that draw you from God?  Will you allow the Spirit to lead you into those places you’d rather not go, where you are needed the most?

Amidst our journeying from Epiphany to Lent, this month, we celebrate a lesser known day (I know…) – Valentine’s Day.  While the secular world has turned Valentine’s Day into a whole ‘nother ball game, it’s actually an official feast day of the Lutheran Church.  A day to celebrate the life and ministry of Saint Valentine – priest/bishop in the Roman Empire who ministered to the persecuted through acts of love. 

So, this month – Be salt.  Be light.  Allow the Spirit to lead you to be who you were called to be at baptism.  Fight against evil temptation.  Worship the Lord your God.  And in all things, love.

With love,

~Pastor Andrew

A Message From Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell

“Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-3

If February had a theme, it would be “The Month of Love.” 

The Feast of Saint Valentine, or as we know it, Valentine’s Day, is a celebration of mutual love between our friends and loved ones. The holiday originates from a celebration of the life of Saint Valentine, a Roman priest who clandestinely married couples in Rome. While he was imprisoned, he healed his jailor’s blind daughter. The daughter received a letter from him before his death signed, “Your Valentine.” The tradition of sending cards to loved ones has continued since.

Soon, if not already, stores will   be overflowing with heart-shaped candy, chocolates, and flowers. Children will exchange Valentines at school and make heart-themed crafts for their parents or siblings. Red roses will become a hot commodity, Valentine’s cards will be written, and nice restaurants will be full of love birds…all on February 14th.

February 15th, however, is a different story. Roses are discounted and chocolates are for sale. Valentine’s Day and its obligatory showering of love are forgotten, and the physical world moves on. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans that the love in God’s world never ceases. There is no set date that God reminds us of his love and faithfulness. We have a God who loves, accepts, and abides with us throughout our lives. Our challenge is to share that love with all of our siblings in Christ.

As we move from Valentine’s Day into Lent this February, may we be reminded of a God who always loves us – on Valentine’s Day and beyond.

– Vicar Libby  Baker-Mikesell

Music Notes from Jonathan

Each week I receive compliments about the creative hymn introductions I play. I thought it might be of interest to explain the unique Lutheran roots of this practice. Martin Luther made it possible for congregants to participate in worship more fully by urging pastors to conduct services in German rather than Latin, creating catechisms to educate the laity, and composing and commissioning hymns that would be both educational and useful in worship. The Germans called these hymns “chorales” and the organ settings of these hymns “chorale preludes.”

From early sources, we know that these preludes were used to set the key, mood, and tempo of the chorales sung in church. Since those chorales generally contained many more stanzas than our modern hymns, it was common for organists to play every other stanza as an organ solo. This allowed congregants to rest their voices and meditate on the texts.

Arguably the greatest composer of such chorale preludes is Johann Sebastian Bach who was once reprimanded by a church council for making his introductions too confusing and the melodies unclear.

Most of those old German chorales fell out of use over the years as new hymns took their place. Organists of every generation kept up the task of creating organ settings of these new hymns, often using the old masters as their model. Although the term chorale prelude is now mostly associated with the works of the old masters, the practice remains intact.

When Evangelical Lutheran Worship was introduced in 2006, Augsburg Fortress commissioned some of the leading church musicians of our day to compose introductions and alternate accompaniments for each of the 654 hymns in the book. This collection, Introductions and Alternate Accompaniments, is the source I use most on Sunday mornings, although from time to time I use other sources or compose my own settings.

It is my hope that the introductions that I play will help set the mood and tone of the hymns, aid in highlighting the meaning of the text, and enrich your worship experience.

Jonathan Noel

You’re invited to a Valentine Concert on Sunday, February 5, at 4PM featuring a variety of your fellow church members. Bring your sweetheart, your platonic friends, or your grandchildren as all ages are welcome and there is no admission fee. An offering Is encouraged as it benefits SCCAP and the Watershed Alliance of Adams County.

Fortress commissioned some of the leading church musicians of our day to compose introductions and alternate accompaniments for each of the 654 hymns in the book. This collection, Introductions and Alternate Accompaniments, is the source I use most on Sunday mornings, although from time to time I use other sources or compose my own settings.

It is my hope that the introductions that I play will help set the mood and tone of the hymns, aid in highlighting the meaning of the text, and enrich your worship experience.

Jonathan Noel

Are you coming to the Valentine Concert?

You’re invited to a Valentine Concert on Sunday, February 5, at 4PM featuring a variety of your fellow church members. Bring your sweetheart, your platonic friends, or your grandchildren as all ages are welcome and there is no admission fee. An offering Is encouraged as it benefits SCCAP and the Watershed Alliance of Adams County.

Place Your Orders Now for Easter Flowers!

Easter is right around the corner! Every year you help us decorate the worship area to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This year Easter lilies and tulips will be $12 each.

As always, you can dedicate your flowers in honor or in memory of someone you love, which we will print in the April Messenger. Or you can choose to donate to Lutheran World Hunger Relief, which provides the gift of life for those who hunger.

Orders must be placed by March 3! All checks are payable to St. James Sacristy, and should be mailed to Judy Seilhamer.

To place your order, go to StJamesGettysburg.org/Easter-flowers

If don’t have the time, energy, or resources to deal with the tech, have no fear. Megan will be happy to help you. Just call her office at (717)334-2012, ext 202.

Don’t Delay! Order Your Fastnachts Online

Place your orders for fastnachts now! Go to our website at StJamesGettysburg.org and click “Order Fastnachts” or scan this QR code.

Don’t know how QR Codes work?  They use your smartphone camera to open the link. Open your camera app like you’re taking a picture, but don’t click the shutter. A link will pop up and take you to your web browser. Make sure you’re not trying to take a video!

Or Fastnachts

Worship Previews

February 5: Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

Light shines in the darkness for the upright, the psalmist sings. Isaiah declares that when we loose the bonds of injustice and share our bread with the hungry, the light breaks forth like the dawn. In another passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, the light of the world, calls his followers to let the light of their good works shine before others. Through baptism we are sent into the world to shine with the light of Christ.
Preacher: The Rev. Andrew Geib

Readings: Isaiah 58:1-9a [9b-12] Psalm 112:1-9 [10]

1 Corinthians 2:1-12 [13-16] Matthew 5:13-20

February 12: Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy we are called to choose life by loving and obeying God. Much of today’s gospel reading echoes portions of the Ten Commandments. Jesus’ instructions to the crowd reveal a pattern of behavior that honors both God and the neighbor, resulting in life and health for the whole community. We too are invited to embrace these commandments, not out of fear of retribution, but because God has promised that to do so means life for us.

Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell

Readings: Deuteronomy 30:15-20 Psalm 119:1-8

1 Corinthians 3:1-9 Matthew 5:21-37

February 19: Transfiguration of our Lord

Today’s festival is a bridge between the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany cycle that comes to a close today and the Lent-Easter cycle that begins in several days. On a high mountain Jesus is revealed as God’s beloved Son, echoing the words at his baptism. This vision of glory sustains us as Jesus faces his impending death in Jerusalem. We turn this week to Ash Wednesday and our yearly baptismal journey from Lent to Easter. Some churches put aside the alleluia at the conclusion of today’s liturgy. This word of joy will be omitted during the penitential season of Lent and will be sung again at Easter. 

Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell

Readings: Exodus 24:12-18 Psalm 2

2 Peter 1:16-21 Matthew 17:1-9

February 22: 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.

Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell

Readings: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 Psalm 3251:1-17

2 Corinthians 5:20b–6:10 Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

February 26: First Sunday in Lent

Today’s gospel tells of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. His forty-day fast becomes the basis of our Lenten pilgrimage. In the early church Lent was a time of intense preparation for those to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. This catechetical focus on the meaning of faith is at the heart of our Lenten journey to the baptismal waters of Easter. Hungry for God’s mercy, we receive the bread of life to nourish us for the days ahead.

Preacher: The Rev. Andrew Geib

Readings: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 Psalm 32

Romans 5:12-19 Matthew 4:1-11


Keep the group of travelers making the journey to the Holy Land in your prayers as their trip nears closer. They are traveling from   February 6 through February 19.

Pastor Andrew is traveling with this group and will be unreachable during this time.

Please contact the office for any pastoral needs.

Mission Fund Committee

At its annual meeting in January of 2010, the Congregation re-affirmed a resolution by Congregation Council to allocate one tenth of undesignated bequests to support the local and worldwide mission of the church.  Starting in 2020, the main source of funding for this mission switched to 30% of the Endowment Fund distributions from its ELCA Fund A.

The purpose of the Mission Fund Committee is to solicit suggestions from members of the congregation about organizations or programs to be considered for support and then to evaluate the suggestions and make specific recommendations to Congregation Council for distribution of the Mission Fund monies.  Two projects received Mission Fund support in 2022:

Lutheran Disaster Response: US Tornadoes $5300.00

Refuge Resettlement Partnership of Gettysburg $4000.00

The committee is now ready to receive suggestions from members of the congregation for the 2023 distributions from the Mission Fund.  If you have an organization or program that you wish to recommend for consideration for possible support, please send the following information to Claire Anderson by e-mail ([email protected]) or in writing through the church office by Noon on Friday, March 3rd:

· Your name and your contact information (telephone and/or e-mail address).

· The name and contact information of the organization or program that you are recommending (name of organization or program, name of a person, telephone, address, website, etc.).

· The mission of the organization or program and a rationale for support from St. James, including the extent of need for that project.

As the committee develops recommendations for distribution of the Mission Fund monies, it keeps in mind the overall mission of St. James: “We respond to God’s abundant grace by being hearers, proclaimers , and doers of the Word.”

Details about upcomnig events with decorative backgrounds.

Council Highlights – January 18, 2023

En Bloc Agenda:

  • Approval of Minutes from December 21, 2022
  • Acceptance of Treasurer’s Report
    • Church Financials (see December giving stats below)
    • ELC Financials
  • Acceptance of New Members:
    • Via affirmation of faith:
    • Via baptism: William Peterson, Miles Michael-Barber
  • Motion from Personnel:  Adopt updated Lead Pastor job description and Associate Pastor job description.  Updated job descriptions listed on website under About/Resources/Policy Manual.

All en bloc items were approved.

Old Business

Human Capital Campaign

  • Potential for consultant – Jim Dunlop will connect with Glenn Ludwig from the seminary for a consultant recommendation.

New Business

  • Annual Goal Setting and Metrics:  Council set the following SMART goals for 2023
    • (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound)
      • Worship Service Attendance:  By 5/31/2023, average weekend attendance will be 250.
      • Reaching out to members we haven’t seen in worship lately:  By 4/7/2023 (Good Friday), we will contact and invite 50 households back to worship.
      • Youth Group Attendance:  By 5/31/2023, we will have 5 new senior high school youth & 5 new middle school youth attend a youth event at St. James.
      • Fastnachts:  By 2/21/2023, we will have 110 volunteer shifts filled to make fastnachts.
      • Bluegrass Worship /Community Meal:  By 12/31/2023, we will have hosted 2 Bluegrass worship services and community meals.

Looking Ahead

Allocate outstanding Endowment earnings

Building Usage – target early 2023

Building Safety

Stewardship, and Giving

Other ideas

Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God

St. James will host a free community shred event on Saturday, April 29, 2023

Next Meeting: Wednesday, February 15, 2023

December’s Worship Records

Young at Heart: Keeping up with the Kids

As a kid, I always struggled with the paradox of selfcare in a community that prides itself on giving of time and talents.

Servanthood, charity, gratitude and humility are three of the largest tenants of Christianity. Though Lutherans shy away from fire and brimstone messaging, I sometimes wondered if my soul would suffer eternal damnation if I thought too highly of myself as a child. Give the shirt off your back. Pride comes before the fall. Consider what God has done for you. All these messages bottled up without some helpful parsing left me feeling like confidence and comfort were sins themselves.

In Little League I watched as my cockiest friends smacked the ball around the park, stole bases and hit homers, filled with gusto and celebration. Sometimes, I would not even allow myself to feel good about two hits in four at bats. To a childlike mind, confidence was the opposite of humility, and darnit, I was told to be humble!

Later in life, my improper emphasis on scripture manifested itself in attention-seeking, self-deprecating jokes that hurt more than I would admit, and resentful attitudes toward people who really didn’t deserve it.

A wise and patient friend listened to my story as I unraveled my lack of confidence in crucial moments, harkening back to my jealousy of friends who just seemed to know they were good enough and showed it with flair. They asked if my relentless focus on my own behavior was not its own form of self-worship. That floored me. They continued, “Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves, but how much do you even love yourself?”

A carefully placed series of questions opened a whole world of grace that I had never truly experienced. The next few years, I practiced not to make self-deprecating jokes unless I was truly over the pain. I learned to set goals for myself that would exude positivity into the world. Most importantly, I learned that arrogance often reflects insecurity while confidence often reflects humility, meaning simply – it’s possible and even likely that humble people experience great confidence. And a little showmanship now and again is probably OK. I mean, Jesus did turn water into wine at a wedding…

On the first weekend in January, three of our high school kids attended Winterfest with the Lower Susquehanna Synod. Interwoven into the weekend were messages of selfcare, complete with a checklist that I can provide for any member of the congregation who may want one. We discussed what we felt God called us to be, and adults shared stories of how they were often surprised how our calling changes as life progresses. We also shifted our focus toward our talents and how we might use them to do God’s work.

We also learned the stories of six heroines of the Bible who lived into what God called them to be, with a subtle implication that we may be more ready to live into God’s vision if we have attained the confidence to trust ourselves and God, all at once.

I want to thank Connor Hazel, David Langman and Alex Cunningham for having the courage to go to Winterfest *gasp* without the girls, who had other obligations. I was proud of how they contributed to conversations that must have left them feeling a little vulnerable at times. Thank you also to Rich Luquette, who added to his countless hours guiding our youth that weekend. I hope the experience plants seeds for how we all can confidently live into God’s plan while still being gentle with ourselves.

From left, Connor Hazel, Alex Cunningham and David Langman take part in the Created for Care lecture at Winterfest, presented by the Lower Suquehanna Lutheran Synod, at Wingate by Wyndham Lancaster, Friday, Jan. 6.

Parish Records


                    January 22                     Miles Michael Barber


January 12               Fred Horak

Upcoming 50+ Wedding Anniversaries

February 10 Thomas & Madeline Gormley 61 years

February 14 Dennis & Becky Carter 53 years

February 16 Charles & Judy Sterner 54 years

February 18 Frank & Hazel George 55 years

All Things VBS

Feb 28                Planning Meeting for VBS, 6:30PM at Christ Lutheran

June 5-9           VBS – Mark your calendars!

We’re looking for volunteers to help us with Vacation Bible School this summer. We need help in the following areas:

– Art

– Music

– Snacks

If you’re interested in volunteering, please let us know. We’d love to have you join us in helping our kids learn more about God’s love. Thank you!

Visiting St. James

Office Hours: 

                                  Monday                                  9AM—3:30PM

                                  Tuesday                                  9AM—3:30PM                                  Wednesdays 9AM—5:30 PM

Thursday 9AM—3:30PM Friday 9AM—3:30PM

The rear door at the parking lot is open; come on in!!