109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – January 2023

The Messenger – January 2023

January 2023 Messenger Cover

Volume 68, No. 01 || January 2023

The calendar graphic is clickable, and then you can zoom to read the text more easily. 

St. James's Events Calendar for January 2023
January 2023 Events Calendar – St. James Gettysburg

A Message From Pastor Andrew

22The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them,
24The Lord bless you and keep you;
25the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
26the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
27So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.

Numbers 6:22-27

Happy New Year!

So, another year is now behind us. For our family, it was a year of transitions. A move from our first home as a family of four, into one we can officially call our own. Christina entered full-time into her Master of Social Work program. Gabs went from a night or two of dance into the things of full-blown travel/competition. Noah began his first year of basketball – something that excites his pastor father and grandfather very much. For me, transitioning from associate pastor to lead, and all the things that come with it.

While 2022 will be remembered by each of us differently depending on our various experiences, for St. James, as it was for our family, it was a year of transitions.  For many of us, it was our first year without Pastor Mike’s leadership.  For those around a bit longer, it was a year that brought back feelings from the past when pastoral transitions have taken place. It was the first full year with a relatively new staff. Pastor Cliff has come and gone – now on to other pastoral responsibilities. We have lost loved ones. Relationships have ended, new ones have begun. We have brought in new members, worshiped together, shared food and fellowship, laughed, and cried. 

As we look to 2023, it will continue to be one of transitions.  Vicar Libby has begun her yearlong internship.  Still amidst a call process, we could welcome a new associate pastor.  With 2022 marking the completion of our most recent capital campaign, Council has proposed a different type of capital campaign – not to raise funds, to bring in money… but to bring in people.  While we brought in a good group of new faces this past year and continue to have visitors in the pews just about every week, it is critical that we are intentional in our welcoming and inviting of others.  We all have people in our lives in need of community, who are in need of the Good News of God in Christ. 

New Year’s traditions revolve around new resolutions.  I wonder, what would it look like for you to center your New Year’s resolution around your faith?  To commit yourself to a deeper relationship with God and with God’s people? 

Would you worship more regularly?  Give more intentionally?  Would you join a committee?  Tell people about the amazing things happening at St. James and invite them to come be a part of it?  Would you volunteer with our youth programming or sing in one of our choirs?

It’s easy for us to glorify the past and focus on the heyday of yesteryear.  To tell stories of packed pews and all those people no longer around.  But what if we focused our energy on who and what God calls us to be in the moment instead of simply reflected on what is behind us?  On feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and caring for the vulnerable.  On, going forth to make disciples – inviting new people and reaching out to those we haven’t seen.  On being generous with the time, talents, and money God has blessed us with.  On being beacons of light as Christ has been for us. 

Regardless of what the year ahead brings for you, may you find God’s blessing and peace and do all you can to pass it on to others.  For the Lord our God keeps us through all things.  Through the many transitions of life. That which has past, the moment we find ourselves in, and that which has yet to come.  And, what a blessing that is!

With Love,  Pastor Andrew


If you are interested in volunteering overnight, contact Debra Little, at 717-334-4195 . You will need to complete an application, warrant check at the Gettysburg Police Department, and a copy of your COVID vaccination card. 

Overnight Volunteer Basics:

  • Two overnight volunteers (one male and one female) arrive at the host church at 8PM
  • The lights are turned off at 10PM
  • Lights are turned back on at 6:15AM
  • Guests are expected to leave the church by 7AM

After approval, sign up for specific nights will be done online through Sign-Up Genius, which will be sent via email to all registered volunteers.

To learn more or to volunteer, contact Debra Little, at 717-334-4195. 

Music Notes From Jonathan: Blue Coat

Several years ago, Marian and I took our kids to New York City to take in a show and do a little shopping. It was early November and the weather had been mild until that morning when a wintry chill arrived. Before heading out we grabbed Adam’s winter coat and discovered it was too small. He was growing like a weed! We stuffed him into the coat anyway and made our way to Manhattan where our first item of business was to buy a bigger coat.

When purchasing the new coat, we asked the clerk if we could donate the old one. We were told they no longer accept donations. Later, we asked a police officer near Times Square. We were told the NYPD used to have a coat drive, but they no longer do. Our best option, he said, was to hand it to a homeless person along the way or drop it off at a church.

We passed several homeless people but saw no children among them. Eventually we came upon a church. There were a few people inside looking at the architecture, pausing to rest, to pray, or to warm themselves. After a few moments a person emerged from a side door, and I asked him if the church collected used coats. He said we could leave it on the table at the rear of the church. Knowing that the chances of finding a homeless child that day were slim, we left the coat on the table. I remember saying a prayer over the coat, with Adam by my side, that it would keep another child warm that winter. Then we walked away.

For a long time, I wondered about that coat. I worried that it never got to a child. I worried that it was discarded or lost. If only I could see the face of the child who received that coat, then I would know for sure. What was this lack of trust, this need to know the rest of the story? That blue coat taught me a valuable lesson: trust means doing the right thing even when you may never see the outcome. Sometimes faith means leaving your gift on the altar and walking away.

 – Jonathan

Worship Previews

January 1: Epiphany / 1st Sunday of Christmas

From the beginning, through baptism, we are called Christian. We are “Christ-ened” at the font. Bearing Christ’s name, we share the same Father and are invited to address this parent intimately: Abba! Jesus bears our sins in humble obedience to the will of God. Today we pray that the mind of Christ, whose name we bear, would be our own. It is a good way to begin, again, another year.

Preacher: The Rev. Andrew Geib

Readings: Isaiah 63:7-9; Psalm 148; Hebrews 2:10-18; Matthew 2:13-23

January 8: Baptism of Our Lord

In the waters of the Jordan, Jesus is revealed as the beloved Son of God. Through this great epiphany, Jesus fulfills all righteousness and becomes the servant of God who will bring forth justice and be a light to the nations. In the waters of baptism we too are washed by the Word, anointed by the Spirit, and named God’s beloved children. Our baptismal mission is to proclaim good news to all who are oppressed or in need of God’s healing.

Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell

Readings: Isaiah 42:1-9; Psalm 29; Acts 10:34-43; Matthew 3:13-17

January 15: 2nd Sunday after Epiphany

Today’s gospel opens with further reflection on Jesus’ baptism. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and the one anointed by the Spirit. In the liturgy we come and see Christ revealed among us in word and meal. We go forth to invite others to come and worship the Holy One and to receive the gifts of grace and peace made known among us.

Preacher: The Rev. Andrew Geib

Readings: Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 40:1-11; 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-42

January 22: 3rd Sunday after Epiphany

Jesus begins his public ministry by calling fishers to leave their nets and follow him. In Jesus the kingdom of God has come near. We who have walked in darkness have seen a great light. We see this light most profoundly in the cross—as God suffers with us and all who are oppressed by sickness, sin, or evil. Light dawns for us as we gather around the word, the font, and the holy table. We are then sent to share the good news that others may be “caught” in the net of God’s grace and mercy.

Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell

Readings: Isaiah 9:1-4; Psalm 27:1, 4-9; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; Matthew 4:12-23 

January 29: 4th Sunday after Epiphany

Who are the blessed ones of God? For Micah, they are those who do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. For Paul, they are the ones who find wisdom in the weakness of the cross. For Jesus, they are the poor, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who mourn, and those who hunger for righteousness. In baptism we find our blessed identity and calling in this countercultural way of living and serving.

Preacher: The Rev. Andrew Geib

Readings: Micah 6:1-;8 Psalm 15; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Matthew 5:1-12

Council Corner

En Bloc Agenda, Included Approval Of

  • Approval of Minutes from November 16, 2022
  • Acceptance of Treasurer’s Report
    • Church Financials (see November giving stats below)
    • ELC Financials
  • Acceptance of New Members:
    • Via affirmation of faith: Clinton and Megan Eppleman
    • Via baptism: Robert and Ocianna Sachse

All items in the en bloc agenda were approved.

Special Order of Business

  • Conversation with Jim Flanagan (Retired PA State Trooper) around building security and potential threats. Council will discuss training for emergency situations. Security cameras are being installed in ELC classrooms with possible camera installation at main level entrances.

Old Business

  • Human Capital Campaign
    • Anne Gomer from Evangelism/Fellowship Committees shared ideas the committee has discussed for reaching out to members who have not returned following the pandemic and for outreach to non-members, community, visitors. Discussion ensued. There were suggestions that we hire a consultant to lead us through the Human Capital Campaign to create a strategy with structure and goals. Council will continue this discussion at the January meeting.
  • Intern Update
    • · Libby Baker-Mikesell will begin her internship the first week in January and will preach at services the weekend of January 7-8

New Business

  • None

Looking Ahead

  •  Annual Congregational Goal setting – target January
  • Building Usage – target early 2023
  • Stewardship, and Giving
  • Other ideas

Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God

  • Holiday Family Outreach served over 1200 families. Shoutouts to Julie Keyser, Ami Hines, Susan Cole, and  Brad Smith.
  • Fastnachts are coming…February 19-21, 2023; sign-up to help make fastnachts

Back by popular demand: St. James Fastnachts 2023!

We know you have all have missed making and eating these incredible treats over the past 3 years. We are happy to announce that this popular youth fundraiser is coming back in 2023!

With that said, we wanted to get the dates and the volunteer signups out to everyone so we can get those spots filled to knead, cut, fry, sugar, and box our favorite pre-lenten delicacy.

We will be making fastnachts February 19th– February 21st! Please go to the signup here to get your spots. https://signup.com/go/gvUzUmW

What Are Chrismons & Where Did They Come From?

Chrismons, or “Christ monograms”, are tree decorations that we hang on our church Christmas tree each year. They are traditionally  white and gold designs made from Christian symbols that signify Christ. Symbols such as stars, crosses, fish, crowns, and the Alpha and Omega remind us of Christ identity, his story, and of the holy trinity.

Chrismons were first developed in 1957 by Frances Spencer and the women of the Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Virginia.

St. James’ first experience with Chrismons goes back to 1967, with the arrival of Pastor Foltz and Pastor Keyser. Pastor Foltz’s wife, Faith, was instrumental in the making of the first Chrismons, which were made out of Styrofoam.

These ornaments hung on our Christmas tree for 20 years, when in 1987, the retired pastor, Reverend David Burnite, and his wife Ruth came up with the plan to make new Chrismons from kits that were purchased by St. James members and assembled and then dedicated to loved ones on Christmas Eve December 24, 1987.  There are 100 ornaments, along with the Christmas angel that was gifted to the church in honor of the 46th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Arendt by Denise Rosenberry and her family at that time.

As with those first Chrismons developed in Virginia back in 1957, those here at St. James continue to point to Christ each year at Christmas – to his identity, his story, and the Holy Trinity.

Looking Back On Last Year’s Baptisms

Baptisms since Baptism of Our Lord 2022

Poinsettias & Gifts to World Hunger are Given In Honor of

  • Our children David & Stacy Blocher and Jennifer & Peter Perchulyn and grandchildren Brittni, Kaelyn, Landon Blocher and Hannah Perchulyn given by Jane & Glenn Blocher
  • Our grandson, Henry Barrett Riley, given by Pete and Marty Riley
  • Elinor ‘Teeny’ Bender, given by Tom and Mary Bender
  • Our wonderful staff at St. James; our dear friends Judy & John Seilhamer, given by Ed, Sam Josh and Jessy
  • Jean & Thomas Hobbs, given by Cara, Ashlyn, Shayla, and Briah
  • Given by Ron Couchman
  • Our grandchildren: Cole, Brant, Maeve, and Vance, given by Betsy & Tom Keefer
  • Kay & Joe MacDowell, and Shirley Sanders, given by Elaine Swanson
  • My family and friends that bless my life, given by Shirley Sanders
  • My St. James friends, given by Janet Rice
  • Luke, Taylor, & Olivia Bair, given by their grandmother, Margaret McGlaughlin
  • Kimberly & Michael McGlaughlin and Robin & Nicholas Bair, given by their mother, Margaret McGlaughlin
  • Our mothers, Dorothy Thompson, and Peggy Benner, given by Rodger and Cathy Aker
  • Our grandchildren Emilia, Charlotte, Greyson, Audriana, Emma, Addison, given by Brent and Karen Smith
  • Robert G. Leedy, given by Sam and Joan Leedy
  • Our wonderful St. James staff, given by Carol Widerman and Dan Kessel
  • The Call Committee, given by Lucinda and Dan Bringman
  • Jesse Holt Jr. and Yvette Holt, given by Suzanne Hubbard
  • Rev. and Mrs. Emmert Colestock and John, given by Wayne and Sue Hill
  • Nadine, Eliza, and Rhea, given by Phil and Tara
  • The St. James Staff, given by John and Monica Doerfler

Christmas Wreaths are Given in Honor of

  • In loving memory of Charles & Helen Shreiner; and LeRoy & Dorothy Seilhamer, by John & Judy Seilhamer
  • In loving honor of Jonathan Noel by Phil Roth & Norma Wood
  • In loving honor of Teachers by Bill & Kathy Avery
  • In loving memory of John, Muriel, & Karen Anderson; and Catherine Coughlan, and Patricia Coughlan Bates, by Bob & Claire Anderson
  • In memory of Samuel Green by his wife, Peggy; son, Travis; and grandchildren, Zachary, and Abby Green

Poinsettias & Gifts to World Hunger are Given In Memory of

  • Dan Blocher by parents Jane & Glenn Blocher, daughter Brittni, and siblings David Blocher, Jennifer Perchulyn & families; and in memory of our parents John & Arlene Lawver and Rhea & Norman Blocher by Jane & Glenn Blocher
  • Our parents, Helen and Stan Bockoven, and Daniel and Janet Riley, given by Pete and Marty Riley
  • George Ross Bender, Morris M. and Mary Caroline Steinour, given by Tom and Mary Bender
  • Dr. William & Kathryn Bender; Kenneth & Janet Griffiths, given by Jon and Betsy Griffiths
  • Luther A. Smith, Lois Smith, and Evelyn Smith, given by Eric and Colleen Smith and Family
  • My husband, Milton Nicks, given by his wife, Barbara
  • Robert C. & Frances McGlaughlin, given by their daughter-in-law, Margaret McGlaughlin and her family
  • Glenn & Mabel Sterner, given by their daughter, Margaret McGlaughlin and her family
  • Robert L. McGlaughlin, given by his wife, Margaret & children:  Kimberly and Michael McGlaughlin, Robin & Nicholas Bair and grandchildren Luke, Taylor, and Olivia Bair
  • Our fathers Paul B. Myers, Lloyd Benner, Doddie Thompson, and Sue and John Thomson, given by Rodger and Cathy Aker
  • Ed & Margie Keyser, given by the Keyser family
  • Jay Zimmerman, given by his wife, Linda
  • Mary (Sis) Leedy, given by Sam and Joan Leedy
  • My son, Jonathan Harpster, given by Dee Wells
  • Our parents, given by Glenn and Nancy Heller
  • Rev. Martin T. Young, given by Anne, Michelle, Mark, Trish, Maddie, and Grant Young, and Connie Wirfel
  • Hal Platzer, J. Claude Shea, Gertrude M. Shea, Joseph C. Shea, Jr., Louise Shea Lang, given by Kathy Platzer
  • My brother and sister, given by Elizabeth Thulin
  • Jack Bucher, given by his wife, Jenny
  • John Sommer, given by The Austin Family
  • Salud Nieting, given by Judy and Bill Leslie
  • Patricia Martin, given by Jason, Kerri, Drew, and Gavin Cole
  • Annette B., Elizabeth L., Jerry L., Connie C., and Jim C., given by Carol and Bob Cook
  • Charles Angstadt and Barbara Angstadt, given by Angela Angstadt
  • Dennis Frankfort, given by his mother, Ruth Knaub
  • Sue Flesner, given by David Flesner
  • Mr. and Mrs. Joel M. Hill and Bruce and Gary, given by Wayne and Sue Hill
  • John, Jay, Lou, Janel, given by Phil and Tara
  • Our grandparents, given by Mark and Katy Clowney
  • John and Mary Doerfler; Edgar and Ruth Allen; Joseph and Mary Doerfler, given by John and Monica Doerfler

A Message From Adam

Year one as the St. James youth and family director is in the books and I couldn’t be more grateful to be doing what I love. This job fills me with pride in our kids and congregation and purpose for myself and my family. With a new year on its way, I’ve spent some time thinking about the program’s successes as well as a few things that need some tweaks.

By the numbers, we’ve increased our K-5 youth group from 25 per week in the spring to 35 or more per week this past fall. Switching to Sunday for middle and high school youth group has also netted positive results. Fourteen kids from three different school districts attend middle school, which is up from seven from last year. The high school youth group, where I hoped I could make the biggest impact, is staying steady with six kids regularly attending. But I’d love to figure out ways to make those numbers increase without breaking the trust of those in the groups. Confirmation classes have had up to 13 kids and all but one came to our middle school retreat at Nawakwa in November, which was a smashing success.

This year, we were thrilled to hold our first-ever St. James Kids Olympics at the Rec Park, with competitors showing off their skills in solo and team competitions with kids of all age groups. It’s an event I would love to hold every year, but we will need more volunteers if the number of kids grows. Pastor Andrew and I are fully committed to holding another paintball event this summer. In an informal survey, many of the kids who participated said the trust-building event was their favorite of the year. We will return to Hershey Park this summer as well, after several kids reported feeling more confident after facing their fears. Vacation Bible School and our seasonal Halloween and Christmas events were also a smashing success. K-5 board game nights also brought kids together during the summer, and I hope to continue this tradition while finding opportunities for middle and high school youth to gather as well.

Now for goals to work on beyond continual growth of our youth group. First, I want to hold myself to a higher standard when it comes to communication and scheduling. I will also need parents’ help in this endeavor. I have struggled to find the right method of communication to get commitments from kids and sometimes volunteers until a few days before several events. This makes it difficult to plan appropriately and leaves kids wondering if we will follow through with our plans.  I’m learning to use TeamSnap as an alternative method for communication, but if anyone has other tips or pointers, I’m all ears!

Secondly, I would love to hold a scheduling meeting with parents who plan to have their kids active in spring and summer activities. Last summer, several events had to be cancelled or postponed due to unforeseen conflicts. Getting our items on the calendar early is paramount to our success, but knowing what weeks to avoid will also help me feel more confident in my schedule. If you’d like your kids to be more involved this summer, email me so I can make sure you’re included in our meetings!

Last, but not least, please let me know if there are volunteer opportunities for our kids. I would like to give the kids more options to give back to their community. If you’re looking to volunteer with the youth, please reach out! 

In Christ’s Love,


Quilt Mission News

Winter is the “most wonderful time of the year” to begin a new project!  We are starting from scratch designing and sewing quilts for our spring knotting sessions. The quilt space is filled with light in the afternoons; it is a perfect place to catch up with quilt friends and get to know new volunteers on these cold winter days. All are welcome to join Judy Seilhamer and Claire Anderson prepare quilts for Lutheran World Relief’s Quilt Mission. From 1/9-2/27 we will meet Monday afternoons (weather permitting) from 1:00 -3:00 pm in the Quilt room. Prefer to work at home? We invite volunteers to pick up materials to make quilts at home throughout the year.

Call Judy (717- 334-4301) or Claire (717-779-6280) if you have questions.

Parish Records

St. James Gettysburg Parish Records

Looking Ahead

Visiting St. James

St. James Gettysburg Office Hours