The Messenger – July 2021
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Message from Pastor Mike
“As Jesus came near and saw the city of Jerusalem, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had recognized on this day the things that make for peace . . . because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.’”
[Lk. 19:41-42, 44b]
Sometimes when I am walking in the early morning, I find myself close to tears at the state of our world. It is in this solitude time when I feel deep angst and pain, that I wonder, if this is the way Jesus felt grief as He came near Jerusalem on that one day. I call it heartsick. I usually don’t share much of it in my Morning Musings blog, but sometimes, if you read between the lines I write or the poetry I share, you may be able to see the grief, once in awhile. In some of the books on spirituality I read, I often find wonderful stories of soul friends getting together and weeping over the world they see in front of them. I don’t find these stories to be sad as much as I find them life-affirming, being reminded of the reflective people who have gone before me with a deep awareness and sensitivity to the suffering in the world.
The story in the Bible where Jesus weeps over Jerusalem has always been a favorite one of mine, as I think it gets into the very soul of Jesus. This story reminds me of a God who is vulnerable and woundable, a God who brings a profound sense of lament. So often when we talk of intercessory prayer, we often think of it as praying to God for someone else. This poignant story invites us to pray with God, to share God’s joy and sorrow. This story carries the notion for me of ‘keeping God company’ in whatever God is experiencing.
Perhaps on my morning walks, I am keeping God company as God weeps over the world. Do I sound too weird, if I say that there are times when I really feel I am keeping God company? All I can hope to do in my meager life is to keep myself humbly available to God, in whatever ways God may wish to use me. I guess what I really wish for is that ultimately, I can create inner space to offer myself as needed for the healing of the world. Many questions emerge of how to act with deep love and compassion for our broken and suffering world. Keeping God company with tears of love are well-deserved!
As we move into these summer months, as a congregation, let’s not fail to recognize the things that make for peace, especially those visitation times from God!
Blessings & love, pastor mike
Message from Pastor Andrew
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6
If you took the time to read my June newsletter article, you know that I spent some time reflecting on Father’s Day and those “fatherly” men who have been a part of my life. As I write my newsletter for the month of July, I find myself in a strange place due to the rapid decline of one of these men, my paternal grandfather – my “Pop Pop.”
From as far back as I can remember, my Pop Pop has always been one of my special people. A kindred soul you could say. We have the same sense of humor. The same taste in food (anything with salt!) We have the same general understanding of how the world works and God’s place in it. The same love for people. The same love for the Church, even with all its flaws. The same loud voice. And of course, the same good looks!
If there’s a person who would claim they knew all along that I would enter the ministry, it was my Pop Pop. He would say, “there was never a doubt.” And I would say, that outside my pastor father, no other person has impacted my ministry more than him.
When my dad graduated seminary, my grandfather offered him a bit of advice – “Love your people, and the rest will fall into place.” What simple, yet profound advice. Love your people, and the rest will fall into place.
Early in the morning of June 15, as I drank my first cup of coffee, my cell phone started ringing. Never a good thing so early in the day. It was my mom. Again, never a good thing so early in the day. In a matter of words, she told me I better get to Harrisburg. So, I called Christina, who was already at work, packed up the kids, and we headed down Route 15.
After parking the car and greeting family, I made my way to my grandfathers’ bedside where I sat for most of the day. Thanks to medication, for the most part he slept. As he rested, I read from scripture and offered some prayers from our good ole’ Lutheran Book of Worship. And in those moments of lucidness, we talked. He reminded me that he was still there by sharing some of his humor. He reflected on living a good life and on being ready to go. He spoke about how proud he is of his family and how much he loves us – me included.
As he drifted off to sleep, I asked him if he had any words of wisdom. His response, “Keep the faith.” Keep the faith…
People of God, our time on this plane is short. And in moments of loss, whether it be the death of a loved one or a global pandemic, our momentary mortality is never more clear. Life is short, as they say.
I know how hard the last year has been on you, trust me. I have lived through it myself in my own personal life, but to, I have lived through it for each and everyone of you. I have felt your pain and loss as just about every aspect of your lives have changed, and your sadness over things missed and loved ones who have moved on.
As my grandfather did with my dad when he graduated from seminary, my dad offered me a bit of advice before being ordained. You guessed it, “Love your people…” In this time of transition, as we work towards coming back together as a congregation, offer this advice to you. Love your people.
And as you seek to love, when loving ain’t easy, keep the faith. For we have a God who takes each of us as we are, in all of our brokenness and differences, and binds us together as one through the One who died for us.
And in all things, remember that I love you.
July 4 — 6th Sunday after Pentecost
Jesus does great deeds of power and gives his disciples authority over demons. Yet none of this power is unilateral; it all must be received by faith. Jesus asks his disciples to go out without money or supplies, so that they will be dependent on how others receive them. When we are sent from the assembly to witness and to heal, we are asked to be vulnerable, to be dependent on the reception of others. The Spirit always operates in the “between”: between Jesus and his Abba, between Jesus and us, between you and me, between us and those to whom we are sent.
Readings: Ezekiel 2:1-5; Psalm 123; 2 Corinthians 12:2-10; Mark 6:1-13
July 11 — 7th Sunday after Pentecost
When Amos reports his vision of God judging Israel for its mistreatment of the poor, he becomes a threat to the power of the priests and the king. John the Baptist also speaks truth to power, and Herod has him killed. In Herod’s fear that Jesus is John returned from the dead, we may hear hope for the oppressed: all the prophets killed through the ages are alive in Jesus. We are called to witness to justice in company with them, and to proclaim God’s saving love.
Readings: Amos 7:7-15; Psalm 85:8-13; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29
July 18 — 8th Sunday after Pentecost
Mark’s gospel makes clear how great is the press of the crowd, with its countless needs to be met, on Jesus and his disciples. Yet in today’s gospel Jesus advises his disciples to get away and rest, to take care of themselves. Sometimes we think that when others are in great need we shouldn’t think of ourselves at all; but Jesus also honors the caregivers’ need. We are sent from Christ’s table to care for others and for ourselves.
Readings: Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
July 25 — 9th Sunday after Pentecost
Today is the first of five Sundays with gospel readings from John 6, the first four of which focus on Jesus as bread of life. Today Jesus feeds thousands of people with five loaves and two fish. What we have, what we bring to Jesus’ table, seems like it is not nearly enough to meet all the needs we see around us. But it is not the adequacy of our supplies or our skills that finally makes the difference: it is the power of Jesus working in the littlest and least to transform this world into the world God desires, a world where all the hungry are satisfied.
Readings: 2 Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 145:10-18; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6:1-21
Return to In-Person Worship
July Services — Indoor and Online
How blessed we’ve been to be able to worship at St. James on Sundays, downtown, in our own parking lot! We continue to move in a direction toward what feels like a more normal routine.
And July in Pennsylvania is hot — so we’re taking all our services indoors for your comfort!
- Both our 8:15 a.m. and our 10:45 a.m. services will be held in the worship space in the church building.
- Masks will be needed for singing of hymns and for approaching for Holy Communion. If you’re most comfortable wearing masks the entire time you’re indoors, we respect and support your doing so.
We no longer need reservations for attending Sunday worship services. Thank you to all of you who RSVP’ed throughout the past couple months to help us plan our return to care-filled worship.
What to expect:
- Both Communion elements
- Congregational singing
The early service will also be livestreamed to our YouTube channel each week and can be watched at 8:15, or later at your convenience. (StJamesGettysburg.com/YouTube)
Please join us for whichever type of service best suits your family. We can’t wait to see you!
We’re taking a small sabbatical for Bible studies over the summer so that participants can fully engage their summer activities without the fear of
Please keep an eye open for details about these weekly opportunities in a few months. When we re-start, new participants will always be welcome!
Flowers enhance the worship space greatly. As we return to a sense of normalcy with our worship services, please consider sponsoring flowers in honor of or in memory of a loved one if you have not done this in the past.
When ordering, you will be asked if you will pick up the flowers or want them delivered to a shut-in. We are encouraging you to pick up the flowers you have sponsored. It is hoped that you could visit someone with whom you could share the flowers: a relative, a neighbor, a friend, a shut-in, a grave site, fellow workers, etc.
Flowers can be picked up after the 10:45 service as well as on Monday or Tuesday. Small vases are available for you to put the flowers in, or you can bring your own vase.
Please note: We will have folks willing to deliver the flowers to a shut-in if you are not able to get them yourself.
Call Judy Seilhamer (717-334-4301) for more information, questions, or to order flowers.
Be sure to mark your calendar for Six Sundays of Summer! We have some fun summer fellowship plans in the works on the 1st & 3rd Sundays of each month from 1– 4 p.m.
No RSVP needed. No cost to attend. Tee-shirt door prizes. This is not a potluck, but you are welcome to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. Please also bring friends & family, yard games, and chairs.
¨ (DONE) June 6: Pavilion, Straban Park, Gettysburg
¨ (DONE) June 20: Veteran’s Pavilion, Carroll Valley Park, Fairfield
¨ July 4: Oak Pavilion, Caledonia State Park, Fayetteville
¨ July 18: Oak Pavilion, Caledonia State Park, Fayetteville
¨ August 1: Pavilion, Straban Park, Gettysburg
¨ August 15: Fireman’s Pavilion, Rec Park, Gettysburg
June Council Meeting Highlights:
- Election results
- President: Kyle Smith
- Vice-president: Jim Dunlop
- Secretary: Bill Shoemaker
- Treasurer: Karen Lentz
- Thank you to Barbara Neth and Leon Pisano for your time spent serving on Council!
- Welcome, Will Lane and Carol Widerman!
- And a big thank you, Lucinda Bringman, for your service! Council approved $1000 to be given in honor of Lucinda Bringman’s service to the
Lower Susquehanna Synod as a member of Synod Council and as vice -president of the Synod. This money will go to into the Synod’s Mission Fund, to be used for mission outreach within our synod.
Racial Justice Task Force
Pride Fest and Juneteenth Celebration: Uplifting social equity
This month we had several events that St. James Racial Justice Taskforce participated in. This is Pride Month celebrating our LGBTQ+ neighbors. The celebration, June 4—6 on the town square was well supported and included a Pride March. Many local businesses supported the event. It was well attended including several of us from St. James.
Juneteenth arrived with an outstanding festival in our Rec Park! There were children and music; good food and camaraderie. Juneteenth, June 19, 1865 is the date that the 250,000 slaves in Texas received the news that they were free. This was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Blessing Shahid from Indigenous Glow was the event coordinator. Her associate, Mama Gail along with St. James Pastors, Mike Allwein and Andrew Geib, along with Revs. Martin Zimmann, Michael Stanley, Jay Eckman, Quinton Robertson, Nancy Gable, Joan Horak, and Pastor Elder David Roberts participated in a service at the Rec park along with Cathy Elkiss on the keyboard.
We enjoyed a delightful afternoon: only a brief shower, and the company of everyone.
God on the Ground Praise Fest
After a year of COVID restrictions, “God on the Ground” is back! The planning committee is looking forward to coming together again as a community to celebrate God’s presence in our lives.
On Saturday, August 21, St. James will be partnering with seven other churches to sponsor “God on the Ground” Praise Fest from 4 p.m.—7 p.m. at the Gettysburg Rec Park Amphitheater This event will include Christian bands, children’s activities, free food (hamburgers, hot dogs, and more). There will be messages in English and Spanish and also opportunities for sharing prayer requests.
This is the seventh year this event has been held, as St. James continues to help lead a community initiative for churches and congregations to work together in bringing a greater presence of the Gospel’s Good News beyond the walls of our churches. Bring a chair or a blanket and join us for some or part of this community event of fellowship and fun! We are in need of some volunteers who are willing to be greeters, or help with baking some cookies or help Kristin with activities for the
If you are willing to volunteer, speak with Pr. Mike or Mary Stevenson. Thanks!
Please note: In case of rain, the Praise Fest will be canceled. Watch for additional information as the date gets closer. See you at Rec Park!
Save the Date(s)
Gettysburg Ministerium Amphitheater Services
This year the Gettysburg Ministerium will sponsor again an Interdenominational Summer Worship series at the Gettysburg Battlefield Amphitheater on Confederate Avenue, led by various pastors and churches in the Gettysburg community. Originally begun over 35 years ago by Church Women United for visitors to our community, the service has become a popular outdoor worship venue for residents and visitors alike. Each Sunday an offering is taken to subsidize the Ministerium Emergency Assistance Fund, which provides food, fuel, and temporary lodging to those in need in the Gettysburg community.
- June 27: Rev. Dale Williams — Retired Presbyterian Minister
- July 4: Rev. Steve Herr — Christ Lutheran
- July 11: Rev. Fred Young — Trinity UCC
- July 18: Ms. Cheryl Betts, DCE — Gettysburg Presbyterian
- July 25: Elder Mike Orleski — Lower Marsh Creek Presbyterian
- August 1: Rev. Angel Perez — Director of Ministries for Adams Christian Prison Ministry
- August 8: Rev. Mike Allwein — St. James Lutheran
- August 15: Rev. Randy Huber — Chapel Hill Church of God
- August 22: Rev. George Fry — Gettysburg Church of the Nazarene
- August 29: Rev. Ed Robins — Gettysburg Church of the Brethren
- September 5: Rev. Rick Smith — Gettysburg United Methodist
God’s Work. Our Hands
Sunday, September 12, 2021
Sunday, October 3, 2021
August 2—4 at Gettysburg Rec. Park
St. James is once again co-hosting Vacation Bible School with Christ Lutheran! This summer’s outdoor VBS will be filled with games, science, crafts, songs, and more — all centered around the theme “Who is My Neighbor?”
Please share this opportunity for faith building and contribution with everyone who might be interested!
- Register: www.bit.ly/vbs21registration
- Sign up to volunteer: www.bit.ly/vbs21volunteer
- Sign up to contribute craft supplies: www.bit.ly/vbs21crafts
Confirmation Camp at Nawakwa
Nawakwa hosted All Saints Confirmation Camp June 13—16, where the confirmands experienced faith formation, fellowship, and fun.
Here’s a Lord’s Prayer written by the attendees this year:
God our Parent, creator of heaven and earth, we respect and glorify your holy name. May we participate in restoring your creation as we help fulfill your desires.
Help us to accept what we have been given. May we trust that your provisions are enough. Don’t worry be happy.
Free us from our faults and bear with us, help us to reconcile one another as you do for us, and help us to be kind, patient, and humble as we’re only human.
Create a path within me to veer me away from hatred, harm, and danger. Embrace us as you are the guardian of our galaxy, protector of all evil.
Many youth of all ages will be going to Nawakwa for summer camp. Thank you for generous financial gifts toward camp scholarships for our youth!
Mid-August Mini Work Camp
We’re planning work opportunities for August 14—15. Stay tuned for updates!
Message from Gettysburg Soup Kitchen
During summer our in-kind food donations slow down. We also have more children and youth stop by for our daily meal. We always give each guest a meal and let them take a few pantry items. To see the list of needed items, visit www.gettysburgsoupkitchen.org/wishlist.
- June 8 — Nolan Waybright to Nicole and Lucas
- May 23 — Patricia E. Moore
- May 25 — Esther G. Little
- June 15 — Richard F. Snively
- June 24 — Richard E. Geib
- June 14 — Adam and Hannah Michael
Upcoming 50+ Wedding Anniversaries
- July 29 — Larry and Nancy Barbour (61 years)
- July 26 — Gary and Ann Ratay (52 years)
- June 6 — The Rev. Martin J. Carlson, 35th Ordination Anniversary
We are Christ’s people, and this is Christ’s house with its doors wide open. If you are passing through, Godspeed. If you are looking for a worship home, stay with us. We invite guests to join us, but most of all, to return often.
Welcome to long-time Lutherans, Christians from every tradition, and people new to faith. Welcome to all who have no church home, want to follow Christ, have doubts, or do not believe. Welcome to new visitors and old friends. Welcome to people of every age and size, color and culture, every sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, marital status, ability, and challenge. Welcome to believers and questioners, and to questioning believers. This is a place where you are welcome to celebrate and sorrow, rejoice, and recover. This is a place where lives are made new. Come and listen for the Holy Spirit calling you to love your neighbor wholeheartedly, seek justice, create peace, and practice compassion.
As members of the body of Christ, we are called to be ministers of reconciliation both in the church and in the world. Through our baptism we are reconciled to God through the saving grace of Christ Jesus and challenged by the Gospel to be agents of healing and love within our church and society. As a community of faith, we proclaim this statement of welcome.
Connect with St. James online
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- The Sermon Blog
- Pastor Mike’s Morning Musings
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