109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – February 2024

The Messenger – February 2024

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

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

Final Call Committee Report

The St. James Call Committee was appointed in May 2022. Through that summer and fall we led the congregation through a discernment process- including numerous opportunities for congregation members input- considering who God is calling us to be and what mission God has for us in this place. The result was the Ministry Site Profile (MSP), adopted by the congregation council and shared with the congregation in October 2022. The MSP sought to answer those questions, as well as describe the associate pastor we need for this mission. This was subsequently placed on the ELCA website listing congregations in vacancy.

Since then, our committee has been unable to inform you of our activities, as the interviewing process is confidential. This is to protect potential pastors and congregations from situations which may cause difficulty (when someone is considering a new place to work and live, they don’t tell their current place until they have definite plans). We did our best to remind the congregation that the work would be continuing but without public information.

When seeking an associate pastor, it’s important that the lead pastor feel that God is calling them to serve with this pastor. So information went first to Pr. Andrew for however long he needed for consideration and possible conversation, and only then would a name proceed to the Call Committee. Also Pr. Andrew could consider names which never came to the Call Committee, and again, without informing the congregation. Also, our MSP indicated we prefer a pastor with 0-7 years’ experience, which includes someone newly graduated from seminary and approved for ordination.

Now we have completed our portion of the assigned task- we considered the Rostered Minister Profile of Candidate for Ordination Elizabeth (Libby) Baker-Mikesell, interviewed her, and voted unanimously to recommend her to council for call to St. James. This was based on our view that she meets the description we have in our MSP for the pastor we discerned that the Holy Spirit is leading us to call.

The ELCA has crafted the Call Process primarily for care of congregations and pastors through good order. Before Libby’s name could be given to Pr. Andrew, she had to be approved for Ordination, be released from her home synod, approved by the bishops of Region 8 for assignment to Lower Susquehanna, and her name provided to Pr. Andrew by Bp. Dunlop. It was important for us to proceed through the entire process- St. James needs to be certain that this is the right potential pastor for us, and the candidate needs to feel that God is calling her to St James. It was also important for the protection the process provides- St James needs/needed to be able to honestly consider if Libby, in a role different from Seminary Intern, is the right person. The congregation also needs to have the opportunity to decline if the sense of the guidance of the Spirit does not lead to that. The process also protects the candidate- through all the steps taking place. Libby needs to be able to discern for herself if she feels called by God to serve with Pr. Andrew and us, in this place, at this time. In fact, even following the call vote, the candidate has 30 days to discern whether or not to accept the call.

The Call Committee is happy to discuss with you anything we are able to discuss, if you have any questions or concerns. We are also extremely grateful to God and the people of St. James for calling us to this role and responsibility. It has been our great blessing and honor to complete this.

Lucinda Bringman, Chair, Amy Crist, Jim Flanagan, Ernie Kranias, Glenn Munsee, Kasey Smith, Anne Lane, committee alternate, Shirley Sanders, Congregation Council Liaison

Fastnacht Volunteers & Orders

This St. James tradition will continue yet another year!! Volunteers are needed to help in all aspects of preparation which includes mixing, rising, frying, sugaring and boxing.  There is a job for everyone!  Sign up to volunteer or place your order via our website at StJamesGettysburg.org

Fastnachts will be available for pick up:
Sunday February 11, 8 am  – 12 noon,
Monday February 12, 3 pm—6 pm,
Tuesday February 13, 5 am—10 am

Easter Flowers

Honor or memorialize your family members or friends by purchasing Easter flowers which will adorn the sanctuary for Easter Sunday. Tulips and Lilies will be available for $12 each.    Orders can be placed online at StJamesGettysburg.org or by contacting Dee Wells.  Orders need to be placed by Friday February 23.   

Join the St. James’ community as we prepare our hearts and minds for the season of Lent.  Ash Wednesday falls on Wednesday February 14 this year and St. James will mark the occasion with a services at 10 am and 7 pm.  The following five Wednesdays, during the season of Lent, will each feature an evening community meal at 5:15 pm,  and a worship service at 6:30 pm. 

Music Notes: Jonathan Noel, Minister of Music

Clearing Out

The church archives will soon have a new home in Room 206, the former music office found near the choir room. No one had been using this room and it had become a storage area for unwanted or rarely used items. There were files and books, a collection of sheet music, old sound system equipment, music stands, and boxes of old bulletins.

As I opened the door, turned on the light, and began to clear things out of the room, I realized that this process could be a metaphor for another kind of cleanup, a clearing out of the mind to make room for personal and spiritual renewal. As Epiphany gives way to Lent, I think of how the Light of Christ falling on the dark and forgotten corners of my spiritual life can reveal things that need attention. In other words, it is time for spiritual housekeeping.

Clearing out is not easy for me. I tend to hang on to things. But I realize that not everything is worth keeping! Some things are essential, some are useful, and some have served their purpose and can be parted with. I think the same is true in life. From time to time, it can be helpful to re-evaluate our lives and to take stock in the essentials, to reinvigorate qualities and understandings that we take for granted, and to purge our lives of habits and assumptions that no longer serve us well or that keep us from being all that we were meant to be in Christ.

I look forward to going through the piles that are now on my office floor. It is a daunting task, and I will have to make choices about what to keep and how to organize the materials. But I am hopeful that, in the end, the process will be fruitful and worth the effort.

Jonathan Noel

Winter Retreat

During the weekend of January 5-7 , eight of our high school youth had the opportunity to attend “Winterfest 2024”  in Lancaster, PA.   They experienced a weekend immersed in Christian community that was filled with music, worship, speakers, and fun ! 

Thank You For Supporting The Scouts

As we celebrate Scout Sunday on February 4,  and the birth of scouting, the leaders, scouts and families of Cub Scout Pack 79, Scout Troop 79 Boys, and Troop 79 Girls, sponsored by St. James would like to thank the congregation for its support. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the leaders that give of their time and talents to work with these young people and to thank the boys and girls and their families who are involved in these programs.  I appreciate all of you!   Again, thank you St. James for your continued support. Please remember the youth, their families and the leaders in your prayers as we all try “to do our best, to do our duty, to God and our country.” 

Shirley Sanders,
Unit Commissioner &  Chartered Organization Representative 

Worship Previews

February 3 & 4: Fifth Sunday After Epiphany

In Isaiah the one God who sits above the earth and numbers the stars also strengthens the powerless. So in Jesus’ healing work we see the hand of the creator God, lifting up the sick woman to health and service (diakonia). Like Simon’s mother-in-law, we are lifted up and healed to serve. Following Jesus, we strengthen the powerless; like Jesus, we seek to renew our own strength in quiet times of prayer.

Pastor Andrew Geib

Readings: Isaiah 40:21-31, 1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c Mark 1:29-39
Fellowship, hosted by the Scouts

February 10 & 11 : Transfiguration Of Our Lord

The Sundays after Epiphany began with Jesus’ baptism and end with three disciples’ vision of his transfiguration. In Mark’s story of Jesus’ baptism, apparently only Jesus sees the Spirit descending and hears the words from heaven. But now Jesus’ three closest friends hear the same words naming him God’s Beloved. As believers, Paul writes, we are enabled to see the God-light in Jesus’ face, because the same God who created light in the first place has shone in our hearts to give us that vision. The light of God’s glory in Jesus has enlightened us through baptism and shines in us also for others to see. 

Preacher: Candidate for Ordination Libby Baker-Mikesell

Readings: 2 Kings 2:1-12 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Psalm 50:1-6 Mark 9:2-9

Congregational Call Vote following all 3 services, Call results and announcement following 10:45 am service

February 14 : Ash Wednesday

Communion service and Imposition of Ashes, 10 am and 7 pm

February 17 & 18: First Sunday In Lent

On Ash Wednesday the church began its journey toward baptismal immersion in the death and resurrection of Christ. This year, the Sundays in Lent lead us to focus on five covenants God makes in the Hebrew Scriptures and to use them as lenses through which to view baptism. First Peter connects the way God saved Noah’s family in the flood with the way God saves us through the water of baptism. The baptismal covenant is made with us individually, but the new life we are given in baptism is for the sake of the whole world.

Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib

Readings: Genesis 9:8-17    1 Peter 3:18-22
Psalm 25:1-10    Mark 1:9-15

WaterLife Children’s Service @ 10:45 a.m

February 24 & 25:  Second Sunday In Lent

The second covenant in this year’s Lenten readings is the one made with Abraham and Sarah: God’s promise to make them the ancestors of many, with whom God will remain in everlasting covenant. Paul says this promise comes to all who share Abraham’s faith in the God who brings life into being where there was no life. We receive this baptismal promise of resurrection life in faith. Sarah and Abraham receive new names as a sign of the covenant, and we too get new identities in baptism, as we put on Christ.
Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib

Readings: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16   Romans 4:13-25
Psalm 22:23-31   Mark 8:31-38

Young At Heart: Keeping Up With The Kids

Adam Michael, Director of Youth and Family Ministry

In the time following Jesus’ Resurrection, the earliest followers adopted the name, ‘The Way’ to reflect the way they would strive to follow the teachings and habits of Jesus. To be a follower of ‘The Way’ was a matter of belief, of practice, and of identity in the one who saves. Believing God was fulfilling the promise of a New Exodus through Jesus’ life and works, they committed to living into this lifestyle.

During the first weekend of January, eight of our high school youth group kids ventured out to Wyndham Lancaster to spend time with 100 or more other Lutheran kids, young adults, and mentors. Throughout the weekend we learned how “The Way” continues to influence the lives of people today.

Among the special guests who told their stories was Rebecca Majur, now a member of Tree of Life in Harrisburg. Long before she came to America, she was one of the “lost children” of Sudan who escaped their war-torn country. She was only two years old when her family was forced to evacuate their home. They traveled by foot through several countries before eventually living in a refugee camp in Kenya where they were served one rationing of food per day. She explained how their faith and opportunities to worship were the only glimpses of hope they had during the most strenuous times.

She thought she had finally earned her Exodus in 2001, but her plans to immigrate to the United States were put on pause due to the World Trade Center attack. Global trust shifted and her faith was tested as she had to wait until 2008 for another chance to move to the United States. For the past few years, Majur has joined forces with Tree of Life to send several Sudanese and Ethiopian kids to Winterfest. She shared that simply watching her kids pray, sing, and play in a safe space without fear of violence or hunger brought tears to her eyes.

When I was a kid, I never viewed “The Way” with such reverence. Church felt more like homework than an escape from hardship.  This weekend it occurred to me yet again how spoiled I was growing up. I belonged to a safe community with parents who could provide life’s necessities and even many of its luxuries without too much stress. My parents lived a moral life, habitually made smart choices, and rarely strayed from “The Way.”

As a child, I walked “The Way” out of fear of their judgement. But once I got to college and was able to make choices without being under their watchful eye, I took several chances and made embarrassing mistakes with money, relationships, and with time management. Eventually, my circumstances forced me to return home to live with my parents.

Fortunately, with a healthy dose of humility, an abundance of my parents’ grace, and a few purpose-defining messages from the movie Captain America: The First Avenger, I was able to realize the blessing I had grown up with – parents who knew how to live a virtuous life, and how to love their son enough to forgive his trespasses.  Apparently there are many ways to find “The Way.”

The Holy Spirit is infused into Winterfest in many ways. I suspect for most of our kids, the connections they made with other Lutherans their age will be the most memorable part of the weekend. I love that.

Though some have faced stressors I have never known, most of our kids have not strained hard enough or strayed far enough away from “The Way” to fully appreciate its value. While it is our goal for church activities like Winterfest, youth group, and camping retreats to help them stay the course, my biggest hope is that we provide enough love and grace in our activities that should our kids be tested, they know the way back to a place of safety and security here at St. James.

Adam Michael
Youth and Family Director

Council Corner, January 17 Meeting Highlights

En Bloc Agenda:
Approval of Minutes from December 20, 2023
Acceptance of Treasurer’s Report 
Church Financials 
ELC Financials
Acceptance of New Members:  Via affirmation of faith:  none,
Via baptism:  none
Motion from Property Committee: Recommend to Council the proposal from Nick Bair of Stonewood homes to replace the storm windows on the West (Stratton Street) Side of the building for $104,740.  
Motion from Worship and Music Committee: Invite Billy Jones – our original artist – to paint Judas’ halo to match the other halos during our worship service on Maundy Thursday and rededicate the relief.
The En Bloc Agenda was approved unanimously.

Old Business:
S.M.A.R.T. Goals

CARES – Bill Shoemaker will provide an update at the February 21 council meeting. A vote will be scheduled on whether St. James will continue as the cold-weather facility for 2024-25. 

New Business:
Mission Fund – There is $11,500 available for distribution to local and global concerns. The Mission Fund Committee will be asking the congregation for suggestions regarding the distribution of the money, which comes from the Endowment  Fund.

Looking Ahead:
The Creation Care Task Force plans to show the independent film “Do I Need This” on February 18 at 4 pm in either the Gathering Space or the Worship Space (depending on attendance), followed by a panel discussion. Mark Withrow made a motion to provide $500 to cover the licensing expense to publicly show the film; the motion was approved.

Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God 
The online signup sheet for Fastnacht preparation is still open, and more people are needed.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, 2/21/24, at 6:30 p.m.

Important Upcoming Dates

Congregational Call Interview with Libby Baker-Mikesell:  Wednesday February 7, 5:30 pm
Call Sermons, Congregation Meeting and Vote:  Saturday February 10, 5:30 pm, Sunday February 11, 8:15 am & 10:45 am

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.  Four projects received Mission Fund support in 2023:  Lutheran Disaster Response (US Tornadoes), Dar Al-Kalima School Bethlehem, Holiday Family Outreach, and Refugee Resettlement Partnership of Gettysburg. 

The committee is now ready to receive suggestions from members of the congregation for the 2024 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:

1. Your name & contact information (phone and/or e-mail address).

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

3. The mission of the organization or program & 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.”

An Invitation From The Creation Care Task Force

Do I Need This?: a Good Film for the Lenten Season

The Lenten season seems like a good time to reflect on our relationship with material things, with “stuff,” in other words.  How much is enough?  This is always a good question. Please join the St. James’ Creation Task Force at 4:00 PM on Sunday, February 18 in the Worship Area for a showing of Do I Need This? by independent filmmaker Kate Schermerhorn.

As the hour-long film unfolds, Schermerhorn explores her own relationship with the material things that have come to fill her house and garage while helping her aging parents downsize and later contend with signs of increasing dementia.

Along the way, we also meet a number of other Americans much like ourselves: decluttering counselors and cheerful hoarders, a Buddhist monk with a closet full of robes he never wears, and a Texas couple who have turned their home into a crowded museum of “stuff” with every room dedicated to a different kind of vintage American product.

The tone of the film is gently humorous and compassionate, not preachy, as it explores our life as consumers. A brief discussion facilitated by panelists from St. James and the community will follow the film.  Light refreshments will be served. Please join us if you can!

Yoga Ministry At St. James: 2nd Session

If you missed the first session, a second session will begin on February 23, 2024.  Sessions will be on Fridays at 1:15 pm, and will be led by Alli Crowell, St. James member and owner/instructor at RISE Yoga Gettysburg,  Gentle Yoga classes are beginner friendly and accessible to all levels of experience and ability. Yoga Ministry classes are open to the public.   

A free-will offering will be collected during these sessions.  50% of offerings collected will be donated to St. James and the other 50% will be donated to the Love Your Brain Foundation, an organization providing free yoga and mindfulness resources to the brain injury community. Bring your own mat and water bottle! Extra yoga mats and props will be available to borrow.  Walk-ins are welcome,  but pre-registration is appreciated.

Parish Records

50+ Wedding Anniversaries
February 10        Thomas & Madeline Gormley      62 years                     
February 14          Dennis & Becky Carter               54 years
February 16          Charles & Judy Sterner              55 years
February 18          Frank & Hazel George               56 years

January 10            Randy Smith
January 19            June Garretson
January 19            Don Bair

Sunday February 4 is the Last Day For Cork Collection !!

So, bring any corks that you have into church ASAP.  The collection box is located by the Creation Care Bulletin Board. 

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!!

Calling St. James at 717-334-2012

201     Katy Clowney
Church Administrator
[email protected] 

202     Julie Albert
Administrative Coordinator

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