109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – January 2021

The Messenger – January 2021

A printable version of this month’s Messenger with graphics is available to view and download. If all you’re looking for is the text, feel free to scroll!

C.A.R.E.S. Breakfasts: Anticipating a meaningful Valentine’s Day in 2021

This winter season the C.A.R.E.S.  program had to modify its operations due to COVID 19. Instead of sleeping in churches and eating breakfast at the Soup Kitchen, the C.A.R.E.S.  Board of Directors contracted with a local motel owner to house homeless clients.  Since the Soup Kitchen provides only take-out lunches, C.A.R.E.S.  cannot serve breakfasts there as in the past. Breakfasts are being provided to C.A.R.E.S.  clients by preparing them at volunteers’ homes and/or local churches, then delivering them to the motel each morning. Each of the local churches has signed up for a week or two and will provide breakfasts delivered to each motel room door.

St. James is providing breakfasts for two weeks from February 14-27. Bill Shoemaker has been coordinating the breakfast program and is looking for families or individuals of St. James who are willing to donate breakfast food items. Items needed are individual cereal bowls, 100% juice boxes, and granola bars. You can visit our online signup form that specifies the items needed and in what quantities: stjamesgettysburg.com/cares. Assuming 25 C.A.R.E.S.  clients per night for 14 days, we would need 350 cereal servings, for example. We also need people willing to prepare a warm breakfast sandwich (grilled ham/cheese, egg & cheese biscuit, sausage & cheese on muffin) for each client. St. James will be providing insulated take-out boxes (6”x6”) for people preparing sandwiches. Volunteers might help one or several of the 14 mornings and deliver sandwiches to the motel that morning. Bill will provide details to those providing breakfast sandwiches after sign-ups are complete. The number of breakfasts per day could be anywhere between 15 and 30.

Please contact Bill at 717-451-6549 with questions.

A message from Pastor Mike

“The Grace of God has Appeared” ~Titus 2:11

The above Bible verse from the Letter to Titus is read every Christmas Eve. Most of us have heard it countless times. This verse easily gets lost in the excitement of the evening, because it always comes up against the beautiful Christmas story from Luke’s Gospel that entices us with a pregnant girl giving birth to her firstborn son in a manger, a caring father, prayerful shepherds and singing angels!

But I would suggest these are equally glorious words, not only on Christmas Eve, but for us as we begin a New Year. I have heard it said so very often this past month, “2021 has to be better than 2020!” I stand with all you who have said these words or have thought them – 2021 has to be better than 2020!

But I wonder what we really mean when we say this. Certainly, we hope the pandemic will be controlled. We hope to be back together with family, loved ones, and church friends. We hope to freely hold family gatherings and feel safe going into a restaurant. As we bring one year to its conclusion and begin another, it is ironic, that what comes to me is a deep realization of our connectedness, even after nine months of being physically distanced from those we love. For many there are empty places that were not here a year ago—empty chairs at our family tables, empty homes in our neighborhoods, empty pews in our church (when we return). Some are feeling emptiness toward God!

Maybe Christmas and the New Year have never been more poignant for most of us. But these words of St. Paul to young Titus fuel a bold hope that we are not a defeated people because we believe that “the grace of God has appeared.” It is this grace that draws the helpless, the hopeless, the faithful and the confused to the gift given to us as we look to the future. Maybe this coming year should be very different from 2020. We have been given the assurance that nothing will be the same because Jesus came to our fragile humanity wholly out of grace.

In you, members of St. James, I have experienced a bold and dedicated faith throughout the difficulties and uncertainties of 2020. That part of you I do not wish to be changed as we begin 2021. But as “the grace of God has appeared” in new and exciting ways, I know this outrageous lover of a God will pursue each one of us into this New Year!

Blessings & love,

~pastor mike

A message from Pastor Andrew

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being  4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Happy New Year!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been waiting to greet the ‘new year’ more this year than ever before.  Our Church Administrator, Katy Clowney, recently joked with me about Y2K.  Those of us born before 1995 should remember what Y2K was like.  The fear and anxiety around what would happen when the clock struck midnight.  Those younger reading this, turn to your good friend Google. 

It’s safe to say that the emotions of 2020 have far exceeded those around what the year 2000 would bring.

Like much of 2020, our new year greetings of 2021 come with a bit of apprehension.  My guess is few of us gathered with family and friends to watch the ball drop as we have in years past. 

At our December Congregation Council meeting, as your elected leaders gathered via Zoom in conversation about future plannings, one of our council members asked the question with deep internal struggle: “Will there be a St. James left after COVID?”  Those around the table were silent for a period.  And then, after a few moments, others began to express their own anxieties.  Most pastors have dealt with daily anxiety for the past 6-8 months, this pastor included.  And for many congregations across the country, the difficult truth – the answer to this question will be “no.” 

Our gospel reading for the first weekend of the New Year brings us what is known as the Prologue of John’s Gospel.  Here, gospel writer John tells the story of Jesus’ birth in his own unique way.  There is no visit from the angel Gabriel, no journey to Bethlehem and no stable, no angels in the field or multitude of the heavenly host, no shepherds or wisemen, and no Joseph or Mary.  According to John, Jesus was present in the world from the beginning in the form of the Word, and that through him all things came into being.

At the end of John’s Gospel, the resurrected Christ turns to Peter and asks him three times: “Do you love me?”  Each time, Peter answers clearly: “Yes, Lord.”  As the conversation goes, responding to Peter, Jesus instructs him to feed his lambs, tend to his sheep, and to feed his sheep… to follow Him.  And as the story goes, Peter will eventually give his life following the Lord he loved, the One who gave His life for the world… for you and for me…

“Will there be a St. James left after COVID?”

As people of faith we believe that Jesus has been in the world from the beginning.  This time of COVID is difficult for us all, no doubt.  But it is far from the first difficult moment for God or for God’s people.  I have little doubt that St. James will be just fine on the other end of this time of COVID.  Will it look different? Yes. What does that mean?  I don’t know.  What I do know, is that as He was in the beginning, He is now; the life and light of all people that shines in the darkness and will not be overcome.  It is up to each of us, as it was to Peter, to answer the call of Jesus for ourselves. 

“Do you love me?” Jesus asks.  If so, feed, tend, feed some more, and follow.  Not just when it is easy or convenient, but at all times and in all places.  And in those moments when following Him is most difficult, hear the promise as it is written in John’s prologue: that from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 

Happy New Year!  May it be one of blessing and one in which, even amongst challenges, you experience the true blessing.  That through God in Christ, from his fullness, you have received grace upon grace.

With love,

~Pastor Andrew  

Worship Previews

January 3 – Second Sunday of Christmas

Within the gospel reading’s profound words lies the simple message that God is revealed in a human person. Though we may try to understand how the Word existed with God from the beginning of time, the wonder we celebrate at Christmas is that the Word continues to dwell among us. Christ comes among us in the gathered assembly, the scriptures, the waters of new birth, and the bread and the wine. Through these ordinary gifts we receive the fullness of God’s grace and truth.

Readings: Jeremiah 31:7-14, Sirach 24:1-12, Psalm 147:12-20, Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21,
Ephesians 1:3-14, John 1:[1-9] 10-18

January 10 – Baptism of Our Lord

Our re-creation in baptism is an image of the Genesis creation, where the Spirit of God moved over the waters. Both Mark’s gospel and the story in Acts make clear that it is the Spirit’s movement that distinguishes Jesus’ baptism from John’s. The Spirit has come upon us as upon Jesus and the Ephesians, calling us God’s beloved children and setting us on Jesus’ mission to re-create the world in the image of God’s vision of justice and peace.

Readings: Genesis 1:1-5, Psalm 29, Acts 19:1-7, Mark 1:4-11

January 17 – Second Sunday after Epiphany

All the baptized have a calling in God’s world. God calls not just pastors and deacons but also the youngest child, like Samuel. The story of the calling of Nathanael plays with the idea of place. Nathanael initially dismisses Jesus because he comes from Nazareth. But where we come from isn’t important; it’s where—or rather whom—we come to. Jesus refers to Jacob, who had a vision in a place he called “the house of God, and . . . the gate of heaven” (Gen. 28:17). Jesus says he himself is the place where Nathanael will meet God.

Readings: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 [11-20], Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, John 1:43-51 

January 24 – Third Sunday after Epiphany

As we continue through the time after Epiphany, stories of the call to discipleship show us the implications of our baptismal calling to show Christ to the world. Jesus begins proclaiming the good news and calling people to repentance right after John the Baptist is arrested for preaching in a similar way. Knowing that John was later executed, we see at the very outset the cost of discipleship. Still, the two sets of brothers leave everything they have known and worked for all their lives to follow Jesus and fish for people.

Readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Psalm 62:5-12, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1:14-20

January 31 – Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

In Deuteronomy God promises to raise up a prophet like Moses, who will speak for God; in Psalm 111 God shows the people the power of God’s works. For the church these are ways of pointing to the unique authority people sensed in Jesus’ actions and words. We encounter that authority in God’s word, around which we gather, the word that prevails over any lesser spirit that would claim power over us, freeing us to follow Jesus.

Readings: Deuteronomy 18:15-20, Psalm 111, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, Mark 1:21-28

Mission Fund in Action

This month we recognize Lutheran World Relief’s Middle East Appeal, a program that received $2,500 from the 2020 Mission Fund, made possible by the generosity of the members and families of St. James. 

Lutheran World Relief (LWR) appealed for $600,000 for a number of aid projects in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq under its Middle East initiatives.  As part of this response LWR directs resources and materials from its established programs to the Middle East.  For example, LWR distributes quilts and personal care kits, school kits, fabric kits and baby care kits to help the many Syrian families forced to flee as refugees from ongoing civil war and conflict in Syria.  Living conditions there are primitive at best due to the elimination of livelihoods and the near-total destruction of infrastructure in some cities due to indiscriminate bombings by the Syrian government forces and their Russian allies. 

Many Syrian refugee families fled to neighboring Lebanon, where tensions have increased between Lebanese residents and refugee Syrians competing for resources and jobs.  This adds substantial pressure to a collapsing Lebanese economy and worry about Lebanon as a ‘failed state.’  To address such conflicts LWR established cash for work programs and cooperative programs to integrate Syrian refugees into the agricultural work force in Lebanon with an eye to create jobs and share profits. 

In Arsal, Lebanon, LWR fostered successful communication, compromise and cooperation by working with the US Agency for International Development to build a lighted and safe town park.  The park promotes interactions between Syrian and Lebanese communities in this small Lebanese town to alleviate tensions and competition by providing a safe place for children and a gathering place for adults throughout the day and night.  LWR also provides conflict resolution training to Syrians and Lebanese living together in small communities to help air differences and plan workable solutions.

LWR is also building and staffing centers in Mosul, Iraq, to serve children suffering from trauma.  These safe play centers offer emotional support to help with loss and provide hope for the future.  Mosul – once known a Nineveh – suffered some of the most bitter urban warfare since World War II.  LWR began to serve a scarred and terrorized population in Mosul after its July 2017 liberation from the repression and brutality of the Islamic State group. 

Operating the city’s only psychological counseling and recovery support program, LWR works to address the overwhelming needs of an area where 4,000 civilians perished, 900,000 fled, 30,000 Islamic State militants were killed and more than 90 percent of houses and buildings are now dust and debris.  An aid worker with LWR’s local Iraqi partner says, “So many survivors were physically hurt… All of them were emotionally harmed.”

Although St. James supports several separate LWR programs, like its Quilt Ministry providing quilts worldwide to people in disaster or conflict areas, the urgent nature of LWR’s Middle East Appeal was a decisive factor in the committee’s recommendation for this donation.

Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. Is Open

As this is being written, C.A.R.E.S. is beginning their third week in a local motel. There are 21 guests with more waiting to come in. Capacity is 30 so, we are getting close.

The support from the community has been fantastic! Thanks to Bill Shoemaker for organizing breakfast delivery every morning through our C.A.R.E.S. churches. See his article on the first page of this Messenger. Lunch is available at the Soup Kitchen and Pr. Mike has developed a voucher system for an evening meal at three restaurants near the motel. Several of the guests have started the process for applying for housing.

The pandemic has made some of our procedures more challenging. We require that each guest pass a warrant check. This used to be done at the Police Station which is now closed. We switched to the Sheriff’s office at the Courthouse which is also now closed! Both the Sherriff and Chief Glenny are most helpful in making sure this gets done though it may take longer than before. We have had to add a fax line to make this process easier.

Motel rooms and meal vouchers were not in our budget for this year. There was some concern about whether we could financially complete our season. Again, the community has blessed us in so many ways. C.A.R.E.S. was #8 out of 92 programs that received donations from the Giving Spree. Individual donors, businesses and churches have been very generous. The Gettysburg Ministerium is funding the meal vouchers.

We are very grateful for this response from the community and for all of you who may be involved in some way. We couldn’t have this ministry to our homeless without you. Thank you and thanks to St. James!

“Carrying on” the St. James Quilt Mission

Thank you to Lois Allwein, Charlotte Baltera, Becky Carter, Sally Crist, Greta Englund, Elizabeth Fair, Barbara Hedrick, Barbara Neth, Barbara Nicks, Kathy Reider, Kathy Stahl, Sandy Waybrant, Sherry Waybright, and Becky Weikert.  We worked together a few times in the early months of 2020 to prepare quilt tops and pair tops and bottom sets.  We worked independently at home throughout the spring and fall to create colorful quilt tops.  We worked in teams of two to cut batting, pair and pin quilts, stitch them using our new Bernina machines in the Quilt space following the church’s COVID guidelines.  Finally, we worked at home to knot the quilts.  With this shared commitment, we finished 40 beautiful quilts for LWR in these trying times. 

Thank you to John and Joanne Fisher for travelling to Paradise, PA to pick up the batting and to Carol Widerman and Dan Kessel for delivering the quilts to New Windsor, MD.

We will carry on our mission in our homes throughout 2021 until we are COVID safe and permitted to gather and work together.

We welcome anyone interested in helping with this mission by:

  • donating quilt squares and used cotton sheets and fabrics to the church office
  • cutting 11″ by 11″ squares of leftover fabric for us to assemble and stitch
  • piecing and stitching 48 (11”) pieces to make a 60″ x 80″ quilt top
  • piecing and /or stitching one of the eight (8) precut sets donated to our mission

We work with joy and thanksgiving for all of God’s gifts to our St. James community.

Altar Flowers

Judy Seilhamer is working on the 2021 schedule of altar flowers. 

If anyone has any changes to previous standing orders or would like to be added to the worship flower list, please call her at 717-334-4301 to check availability of dates.  

Congregation Council Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.

  • Call to Order and Roll Call. Quorum present.
  • Devotions led by Jim Dunlop.
  • Announcements: Kaya commended K. Smith on his leadership of Sunday’s congregation meeting.
  • Minutes from October 21, 2020, approved by unanimous consent.
  • Treasurer’s Report
    • Church Financials: Giving almost matched spending. Bequest received earlier in the fall was transferred to endowment.  Reports accepted by unanimous consent.
    • ELC Financials: ELC reports show a loss of $5,000. Pandemic payment made to staff.  Reports accepted by unanimous consent.
    • Capital Campaign – Cash to date ($677,479.63 received, $366,456.91 spent). Congregation voted to move $30,000 to pay down worship area renewal project loan.
  • Report on COVID-19 impact.
    • Planning to move return to in-person worship on November 29. Maximum number from 50 to 25 in worship.  If service sign-ups fill up, may add more services to the schedule.  Decreasing unison prayers. Plans will be adjusted week to week.
  • Committee and Task Force Reports
    • Property Committee & ARD update: There is still work being done regarding the windows. Contract for stairwell enclosure has been signed.  It likely to happen in December.  Signage to discourage the use of the parking lot for non-church events.  Evaluating the options on the Slentz house boiler unit.  Discissions on upgrade to video and audio systems in the church is taking place.
  • Old Business
    • Synod Assembly Attendees. Motion: That the congregation request an exemption from the synod secretary for our current slate of candidates.  Motion was approved.
    • Committee charters / Policy Updates: Smith presented committee and policy updates to more carefully reflect the current reality. Disbanding committees that no longer meet:  several questions regarding the Health Committee disbandment.
    • Motion to approve all changes as a group. Approved by unanimous consent.
  • New Business
    • None
  • Strategic Planning
    • Building Usage: discussion on a strategy to better utilize the building.   It was suggested that a task force be developed to evaluate the usage of the building.  Opportunity to look long term and engage on the needs of the community and the future of our ministry. One or two names from council to participate on the task force.  Having an outside perspective might be important.
  • Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God
    • There are four different organizations within the church sharing the benevolence of the church: Sharing Ministry, Social Ministry, World Outreach and the Mission Committee. Would be worth bringing these organizations all together under one umbrella as a future discussion item.  Allwein shared he wouldn’t want to lose any of the creativity that happens within these groups as they think about the way St. James shares its resources.
    • Allwein reported back on Gettysburg CARES. Will open on November 30 for overnight sleeping.  Shoemaker has been organizing breakfasts.  CARES will be utilizing a local motel. There will be increased costs however between the ministerium and giving spree there should be enough resources.
    • Kaya inquired about Holiday Family Outreach. Allwein shared that it will shift to GAMS as a drive through primarily with gift cards.
  • Meeting closed with prayer.

Safety Protocols from the Staff

Beginning January 2021

As a staff here at St. James, we believe an important way for us to be faithful to the ministry of this congregation is for us to do everything possible for us to care for each other.  This begins by providing a safe space in which each of us can work.  This also entails each of us making responsible decisions when we are outside the office, but it also is important in our working together and working with the congregation.  We are fully aware that if a staff person tested positive for COVID-19, it would significantly impact every aspect of our ministry, from recording our worship services, to timely communication, as well as to the various ways we are still offering assistance to various community needs.

With this in mind, there are several protocols our staff will put into effect beginning January 1, 2021. These will last until we feel it is safe to return to a more normal working schedule in the office.

  • Staff members will stagger their working hours within the office.
  • There will be at least one staff person present each day from 10:00 a.m. to Noon to accept donations and offering, to answer phone calls, and to distribute vouchers. If you need staff assistance with any of these activities, please use the buzzer at the door coming in from the alley. Items can be left inside the door and will be retrieved in a timely manner.
  • The only groups still meeting inside the building will be the Early Learning Center and the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and ALANON support groups. All guidelines for the CDC and our own COVID-19 task force will be followed.
  • We will pause help by in-office volunteers.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding in working together during this unusual and uncertain time.

~the Staff of St. James

Youth News

| Questions? Email Kristin at [email protected] |

Youth Breakfasts

It was wonderful to continue the Youth Breakfast Ministry Fall 2020, and we hope to resume after a brief pause for current restrictions to be lightened. We will love seeing everyone back in the Youth House Wednesday mornings as soon as possible!

First Snow day of the Winter!

Thanks to all who sent pictures of the snow fun this December!

We’re zooming back to digital fellowship this month…

Elementary School Zooms: every Wednesday at 3:30 pm, returning Jan. 13th! 

Middle School Zooms: every Tuesday at 3:30 pm, returning Jan. 12th!

Confirmation: January 24th from 9:30-10:30 am, TBD In person/Digital

Celebrating the Season with Beauty, Light, and Sound

Gettysburg has enjoyed nighttime holiday lights at St. James through Advent and the Christmas season

St. James has participated in “Bells of Hope” throughout Advent with other churches in Gettysburg, ringing bells at Noon on Advent Sundays for two minutes.

Outside wreaths were given to the glory of God and in loving honor of:

  • all health workers during Covid 19 by Kathy Avery
  • dedicated years of service of Tim & Barbara Braband and Debby Nimtz by Dee Wells

Outside wreaths were given to the glory of God and in loving memory of:

  • Patricia Coughlan Bates by Bob and Claire Anderson
  • Muriel Gladys Anderson by Bob and Claire Anderson
  • our parents by John and Judy Seilhamer

Poinsettias & World Hunger Donations were given to the glory of God & in loving honor of:

  • St. James Volunteers by Marty and Pete Riley
  • our loving children, grandchildren, and family by Lois & Mike Allwein
  • to the Glory of God by Dan & Lucinda Bringman
  • Nadine Baugher, and Eliza and Rhea Crowell by Phil and Tara Baugher
  • The Good Samaritans of the Pandemic by Fred and Joan Horak
  • Hurshel W. Shank, Sr. by Treva Shank
  • St. James’ Ministers and Staff by Miriam Pinko
  • our family by Jack & Sally Crist
  • Childcare staff by Sophia, Peyton, Grayson and Rowan
  • Elinor “Teeny” Bender by Tom & Mary Bender

Poinsettias & World Hunger Donations were given to the glory of God & in loving memory of:

  • Ruth & Guy Crist by Beth & Brad
  • Ruth & Guy Crist by Brianne, Braedon, Bryan, Katie & Sophia
  • Dennis Frankfort by his mother, Ruth Knaub
  • Sam A. Small by Scott & Jennifer Hartlaub
  • Steve Lockman by Dee Lockman Wells
  • George R. Bender by Tom & Mary Bender
  • Morris M. and Mary Caroline Steinour by Tom & Mary Bender
  • Jack Lesser and Joanne Clowney by Mark and Katy Clowney, and Liam and Connor
  • my loving husband, Milt by Barbara Nicks
  • Ned D. Crouse by Joyce Crouse & family
  • William Kint by his wife
  • Salud Nieting by Judy & Bill Leslie
  • World Outreach Committee by Ron Couchman
  • John and Betty Kunkel by their daughter Judy Ketterman
  • our parents by Glenn & Nancy Klinefelter Heller
  • Mary Edith Bushman and Doris G. Bushman by William H. Bushman
  • Doris G. Bushman and Gary W. Bushman by Jay & Amy Bushman, Joy & Jeff Taylor
  • Jay and Lou Auxt, John Baugher by Phil and Tara Baugher
  • Mats Orndorff by Treva Shank
  • Nelson & Hazel Sixeas by Barry & Jean Sixeas
  • Hal Platzer, J. Claude Shea, Gertrude Shea, Joseph C. Shea Jr., Louise Shea Lang by Kathy Platzer

Parish Records


December 4, 2020      Joan Miller

December 11, 2020    Charles D. Angstadt

50+ Wedding Anniversaries

January 27, 1968         David and Barbara Hedrick     53 years

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