109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – June 2023

The Messenger – June 2023

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

June 2023 Events Calendar at St. James Lutheran Church

A Message From Pastor Andrew

19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…

Matthew 28:16-20

In one of my sermons from last month, I shared the news that council had approved a proposal from Pastor Nathan Swensen-Reinhold from Summit Coaching and Behavioral Consulting LLC, to engage St. James in a process around congregational growth. 

Following some discussion at council meetings last year around evangelism, our current Council President, Jim Dunlop, began looking for recommendations for a consultant.  From here, we were put in contact with Pastor Reinhold – an ordained ELCA pastor, who, after years of serving a number of larger congregations across the United States, moved on to consulting work.

Following a number of phone conversations, Pastor Reinhold was invited to meet with council.  As you might expect, there were many questions.  Why should we go through such a process?  Have similar campaigns been successful in bringing people (old and new) in?  Is this the right time for such a campaign?  Are we ready for this as a congregation?  What would a church growth campaign mean for us as a congregation and as individuals?  How could it change things here at St. James? 

In his written proposal and in his meeting with Council, Pastor Reinhold reflected how excited he is for such an opportunity – that a congregation would be thinking about growth in our post-COVID, post-Christendom era. 

Amidst his excitement, he didn’t shy away from the challenges of such a campaign.  Gone are the days when all our neighbors were Christian, and it was expected that you came to church on Sunday morning.  Gone are the days when people moved to an area looking for a new church home and just walked through the church doors – when congregational life was at the heart of the family. 

To quote Pastor Reinhold, “Today we are required to look at our welcome, at our hearts for the faith, at our vision for what God is up to in the world, and must answer the fundamental question, ‘Why would our God want to plant new people in our midst?  If God were to give them to us, how would we faithfully steward and disciple them?”

Over the course of the past year, we have been blessed with new members.  We have had visitors in worship just about every weekend.  Our youth group has grown across all ages – with our Youth Committee discussing splitting K-5th grade youth group between two days, because of the number of kids in attendance each week.  There is a positive energy at St. James at a time when few congregations can say the same.  Still, there is still work to be done – as there always will be. 

In our Gospel for the first weekend of June, we hear from Jesus’ Great Commission, where, before he ascends into heaven, he gives his final command to his disciples.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…

It’s been said before that Lutheran’s are among the worst when it comes to the things of evangelism.  Studies show that it takes the average Lutheran about twenty-one years to invite a person to church. 

In saying this, while it might not be in our German/Dutch/Scandinavian blood to go out and invite people to church, it is in our Lutheran identity to do so.  Church historians will note that when Luther began his Reformation, he referred to himself and his fellow reformers, not as reformers or even disciples, but as evangelicals.  “If he have faith, the believer cannot be restrained. He breaks out. He confesses and teaches this gospel to the people at the risk of life itself.”  That evangelism, inviting people to come

to church, should be at the heart of everything we do.  For it is, our great commission. 

So, people who follow Christ, when was the last time you invited someone to church?  Or better yet, brought someone with you?  When was the last time you checked in on someone from our family of faith you haven’t seen in some time and asked them to return?

The church cannot afford to wait another twenty-one years to become invitational.  And truth be told, neither can the world.  As daily news reports are plagued with bad news, where else can you go and receive news that is good even in death?

As we move into these next months, focusing our efforts on how to become a more invitational church, I ask you to commit yourself to this work.  Your participation in Christ’s Church is not only critical to the future of St. James, but also to your walk of faith.  For we are called to go forth and make disciples – to proclaim the good news and invite people to experience it for themselves.  Let it be so.

With love,
Pastor Andrew

A Message From Vicar Libby

If I were to list adjectives to describe myself, “spontaneous” would be on the very bottom of the list. I love routines, and find solace in my “off-day” routine: cleaning on Friday, long run and a nap on Saturday.

I was running at the YWCA the day before Easter when I got a text message from one of my friends at the Seminary. Grace and her fiancé, Larry, were going to the Easter Vigil at Washington’s National Cathedral that evening, and they asked if I wanted to come along for the service. I immediately said yes.

Afterward, though, my brain was flooded with thoughts about how this impromptu trip to Washington, D.C. would interrupt my Saturday evening routine. I would not be able to be in bed, asleep by 10:00 p.m., and mentally prepared for a long Easter morning.  I second-guessed my enthusiasm and almost let Grace and Larry know that I chose to stay home for the evening.

Dinner time came, and I found myself in the back of Grace’s car, driving on Route 270 towards the National Cathedral. We arrived, toured the gardens, and got seats in the massive cathedral. As the service progressed, I was reminded of the beauty of routines in church settings. I may not have been going through my evening routine of dinner, a cup of tea, and a few episodes of Seinfeld. Instead, I was taking part in a different routine – the routine of the Easter vigil that people have celebrated for hundreds of years. The Christ candle emerged from the back of the sanctuary, faces glowed with candles, and incense brought prayers heavenward.

The Episcopal National Cathedral is the sixth largest church in the world, and holds over 4,000 people. Despite its size and the number of people in attendance, I was surprised how personal the service was. While the service followed an Episcopal liturgy, there was an effort to highlight the cultural differences in the community. Psalms were sung in jazz style, and traditional American folk song, “Down to the River to Pray” was sung during the evening’s baptisms. The ancient words “Do this in remembrance of me” allowed me to feel connected to the community gathered in worship that Saturday evening, and I was filled with joy while worshiping with dear friends.

Routines helped me feel rejuvenated during this year’s busy Lenten season. I loved the comfort of weekly Lenten dinners and the routine of our evening Unfailing Light Services. It wasn’t until I said “yes” to the trip to the National Cathedral that I was reminded of the power of new routines and saying “yes” to opportunities that enhance my own faith experiences. I left the service ready to embrace the glory and wonder of Easter morning, and excited to share with others.

This month, may we say “yes” to opportunities that enhance our own faith experiences. Let us set aside our own routines for those who bring us together with others and encourage us to share the good news with all we meet.

Grace and Peace,
Vicar Libby

Reconciling In Christ Task Force:  Gettysburg Pride Fest—June 2-4

When he wrote his letter to the Galatians, St. Paul reminded them that “in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith.”  “There is no longer Jew or Greek,” he went on, “there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26, 28).  What marvelous words!  How can we express “all of you are one” at St. James?  How do we encourage every person to take part in our worship services? 

St. James has chosen to respond to the biblical challenge by proclaiming openly that we are a “Reconciling in Christ” congregation.   That means everyone will be welcome; no one will be excluded.  Keeping this commitment in our minds and hearts, the members of our Reconciling in Christ Task Force recommended this Spring that St. James become a sponsor for Gettysburg’s June 2-4 Pride Weekend.  Church Council agreed.  Not only will St. James members take part in the June 3 parade—marching behind our St. James banner—but we will also have our own St. James “welcoming” table, and we will offer space in the St. James church building for anyone who needs to cool off from the summer heat.

Those of us who have marched in past years found that we were often approached by Pride Weekend visitors expressing pleasant surprise that a Christian congregation would provide support to LGBTQ people like themselves.  They told us that they had been anything but welcomed in their own church experience.  All the more reason to demonstrate to them, and to remind ourselves, that all are welcome in the body of Christ.

If you would like to walk with St. James in the Pride March on Saturday, June 3, please meet on the church steps at 2:00 p.m. and we will walk together when the Pride March starts at 2:30 p.m.

Worship Previews

June 4:  The Holy Trinity

Though the word trinity is not found in the scriptures, today’s second reading includes the apostolic greeting that begins the liturgy: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. In the gospel Jesus sends his disciples forth to baptize in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. More than a doctrine, the Trinity expresses the heart of our faith: we have experienced the God of creation made known in Jesus Christ and with us always through the Holy Spirit. We celebrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity in word and sacrament, as we profess the creed, and as we are sent into the world to bear witness to our faith.

Preacher: The Rev. Carla Christopher
Readings: Genesis 1:1–2:4a; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Psalm 8; Matthew 28:16-20

Fellowship, hosted by Worship & Music Committee and honoring our Sunday School Teachers!

June 11:  Second Sunday After Pentecost

Though Jesus was a devout Jew who practiced his faith, he was criticized for eating with tax collectors and sinners—the religiously nonobservant. Jesus criticizes the self-righteous and reminds us that mercy is to be at the heart of our religious practices. God continues to be made known in those on the margins of society, like Matthew the tax collector and the hemorrhaging woman. As we gather each Lord’s day we receive the healing that makes us well and sends us forth to be signs of God’s mercy for the world.

Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib
Readings: Hosea 5:15–6:6; Romans 4:13-25; Psalm 50:7-15; Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26

June 18:  Third Sunday After Pentecost

Moses tells the Israelites that they are called to be a priestly kingdom and a holy people. Jesus sends out the disciples as laborers into the harvest. In baptism we too are anointed for ministry, sharing God’s compassion with our needy world. From the Lord’s table we go forth to proclaim the good news, to heal the sick, and to share our bread with the hungry.

Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib
Readings: Exodus 19:2-8a; Romans 5:1-8; Psalm 100; Matthew 9:35—10:8 [9-23]

June 25:  Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

God does not promise that the path of the disciple will be easy. Jeremiah feels the pain of rejection from those who do not want to hear what he has to say. Jesus declares that his words may bring stark division. Even so, we need not be afraid for God accounts for each hair on our heads. Though we may experience rejection, frustration, division, and death, God’s grace and love make us a new creation each day. Marked with the cross and filled with holy food, we are sent from worship to witness to Christ in the world.

Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell
Readings: Jeremiah 20:7-13; Romans 6:1b-11; Psalm 69:7-18; Matthew 10:24-39

Young at Heart: Keeping Up with the Kids

Adam Michael, Director of Youth & Family Ministry

When we began the school year with a Creation Care theme, our elementary-aged kids spent several weeks learning how they could use their time and talents to take care of our world and help “protect God’s house.”

So, it was a bit confusing when we coincidentally arrived at a lesson named “God’s House” in the final weeks of youth group. This reference referred to John 14:2-3, in which Jesus tells his disciples that his father’s house has many rooms. It seemed to help the lesson that, just like the disciples, the kids were not sure what other worldly home Jesus might be referring to.

We asked them to reflect on what they might install in a house they designed for themselves, then to think about what God’s house might have in it.

I had no doubts the kids would dazzle us with their own accommodations: a king-sized bed, a spa and pool room, a deluxe kitchen, a bowling alley, an arcade, a movie theater, a snack room, a place to keep robot pets, and last but not least, a bathroom with a five-star shower, a heated toilet and more.

But I was equally impressed with the second assignment. When building a house for God, they chose to install a prayer room, extra stone houses for all God’s disciples, a playroom for children, a meeting room for God’s many people to enjoy one another’s company, two supply closets, one with food for everyone and another with clothes for everyone, and a library with many Bibles. One child suggested a television room, but when asked for explanation, said those in God’s house would want to watch all the people they cared about back on earth.  The kids also insisted that even God needed a nice bathroom.

I was glad for the opportunity to laugh because I’d been near tears with the pride I felt for them. Without knowing it, they’d aced their final exam.

In the Bible story, Jesus tells his disciples that they know the way to the place he is going. John writes, “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.”

In their own way, the kids demonstrated they, too, know the way to God’s house. In an open-ended assignment that could have easily allowed the kids to picture themselves as God, they instead saw what God has created us to be in his image.

Inside of each of our kids are some selfish desires, but when it comes down to it, they are caring, loving, generous and thoughtful. They would feed, clothe and educate the masses if they could. They would look for ways to reconnect with those they left behind, and to find a way to be with them while they worked through their earthly activities. And by their design, if we have to do the unmentionable in heaven, we’d at least have a nice, warm throne on which we could ponder our thoughts.

St. James has outstanding kids. They work hard, they play harder, and they love a whole bunch. What more could a youth minister ask for?

Summer schedule—Stay Tuned for More Details!

June 5-9, 9AM-11:45AM  Vacation Bible School at Christ Lutheran

June 11-17  Confirmation Camp

June 21, 11AM-5PM  AOS Marina at Codorus State Park, HS only

June 28, noon-6PM  MS & HS Paintball

July 12, 11AM-7PM  MS & HS Hershey Park trip

July 23, 3PM-7PM  Family Lake Heritage party at the Crowell house

July 26, 9AM-5PM  Kids Olympics (location TBA)

Aug. 2, 9AM-5PM Cunningham Falls hike – MS only

Aug. 5, 11AM-5PM  Caledonia Family Picnic

Aug. 19-20  K-5 Workcamp at church

Board Game Nights

Play games, eat pizza, laugh and have fun on Mondays (starting June 19 and going through August 14), 6-7:30 p.m. at the Youth House (121 York Street). Play our games or bring your own. All family members are welcome!

Council Corner, April 19 Meeting Highlights

En Bloc Agenda

  • Approval of Minutes from March 15, 2023 and April 12, 2023 (special meeting)
  • Acceptance of Treasurer’s Report:  Church & ELC Financials
  • Acceptance of New Members via affirmation of faith: Danielle Altemose, Elaine and Don Schade (Sophia, Ethan), Amy Cunningham (Alex), Debbie and Grant Wing, Jessica Shepherd, Lindsey Walsh, Mary Collins, Katherine Collins
  • Motion from Nominating Committee:  That Debra Baker, Carol Cook, and Mark Withrow be nominated to stand for council elections for terms beginning July 2023.

All items in the en bloc were approved.

Special Order of the DayConversation with Pastor Nathan Swenson-Reinhold regarding Church Growth Strategy Proposal via Zoom. 

Old Business

  • Church Growth Strategy Proposal action: 

Motions made to accept the Church Growth Strategy Proposal.  Motions made to use money from the Good for God Endowment fund and the Memorial fund for the cost of the proposal.  Motion carried.

  • Review SMART Goals and progress: 

Worship Attendance and Financial Data

March Giving4 & 511 & 1218 & 1925 & 26AVG
Worship Attendance263224245277252
Actual Giving Offering$21,198 $14,625 $13,916 $8,622 $14,590

Weekly need per budget $14,589.47 (with 53 Sundays in 2023)
Worship Attendance Goal of 250 attendees:  met 2 of 4 weeks
Budgetary Goal:  met 2 of 4 weeks
Overall Monthly Average:  GOALS ACHIEVED!

Reach out to members who haven’t been worship:  contact and invite 50 households before Good Friday (4/7/2023) – task not completed; not assigned/communicated to committee or group

Bluegrass Worship/Community Meal:  Next event scheduled for May 13, 5:30pm dinner, 7:00pm worship. Meal by John Doerfler & Evangelism Committee:  ham, mac & cheese, green beans. Evangelism coordinating desserts and rolls.

Youth Group Attendance:  High School—One new youth participating in activities.  Middle School—Three upcoming-middle school youth interested.  K-5 Youth—Excellent attendance at Wednesday Youth Group.  Asked all Youth to invite friends.  Spoke with Scouts about youth group and extended an invitation. 

  • 2023 congregation budget vs actual progress:

No action was made at this time to make changes to 2023 budget.

New Business

Motion from RIC Taskforce: sponsor the Gettysburg Pride Festival on June 3, 2023 at the $500 level; involvement includes info table; Plus make the church building available at the conclusion of the parade for restrooms.  Motion carried.

Motion:  That Council Elections take place in May:  Open Nominations – May 6/7 at worship.  Voting with paper election ballots – May 20/21.  Motion carried. 

Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God

  • CROP Walk Meeting set with Jesse Holt in lead:  Friday, 5/12 10am – noon, library
  • Community Dinner & Bluegrass worship:  Saturday, 5/13; dinner 5:30pm/worship 7pm
  • Carol Pasternak, Monarch butterfly crusader will visit Sunday School classes April 30.
  • Earth Day Interfaith Service at Seminary April 23
  • Community Concert with Jesse Holt and friends:  October 1, 2023

Next Meeting: Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at 6:30 p.m., Library

Council Corner, May 17 Meeting Highlights

En Bloc Agenda

  • Approval of Minutes from April 19, 2023
  • Acceptance of Treasurer’s Report:  Church & ELC Financials
  • Acceptance of New Members: none to report
  • Motion from Nominating Committee:  That Alan Haynes be nominated to stand for council elections for terms beginning July 2023.
  • Motion from Executive Committee:  That the council accepts the amended Church Growth Proposal from Pastor Nathan Swenson-Reinhold.  Amendment is additional cost of $1,500 and he would come on-site for a weekend in July.  He would work with council and others on Saturday, as well as preach.
  • Motion from Early Learning Center Governance:  That the ELC be permitted to promote and participate in the 2023 Adams County Community Foundation Giving Spree in November.
  • Motion from Executive Committee: That the 2023 first quarter endowment distributions be allocated 30% to mission fund; 30% to youth ministry; 25% to building; 10% to music ministry; and 5% to Good for Church fund.
  • Motion from Mission Fund Committee:  That congregation council allocate the indicated amounts from the Mission Fund to the following:
    • LWR-Earthquakes in Turkey – $1,000
    • Dar Al-Kalima School Bethlehem – $4,000
    • Holiday Family Outreach – $3,200
    • Refugee Resettlement Partnership of Gettysburg – $3,200

All items in the en bloc were approved.

Old Business

Church Growth Strategy leadership outline: Tentative meeting with Pastor Nathan and council on Zoom at the June meeting.

Review SMART Goals and progress: 

April Giving1 & 28 & 915 & 1622 & 2328 & 29AVG
Actual Giving $12,888 $12,897 $12,435 $9,576 $10,753 $11,710

Weekly need per budget  $14,589.47 (with 53 Sundays in 2023)

Worship Attendance Goal of 250 attendees:  met

Budget Goal:  not met

Motion from Executive Committee:  That the congregation council indicates a willingness to continue the dialog on the potential Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. proposal to potentially house the C.A.R.E.S. shelter permanently at St. James.  Ultimately it is the recommendation of executive committee that the entire congregation would vote on this matter in a congregation meeting in the future.  This is simply a next step in the conversation to indicate whether or not we want to continue to have this dialog. Motion carried.

New Business

  • · Youth House Kitchen Renovation update: $66,700
  • · Former God on the Ground/Current Friday Night Activity for Families:  Pr. Andrew shared information about the history of this ecumenical effort and St. James’ role in providing the liability insurance and financial support for the event.  Discussion ensued.  Motion was made for St. James to cover the liability insurance and to offer financial support for the event.  A vote was taken.  Motion did not carry.

Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God

  • · Pr. Andrew lifted up the recent Bluegrass Worship Service and dinner.  Approximately 108 in attendance at the dinner and 160+ at the worship service.
  • · Pr. Andrew remembered Carolyn Nicholson who recently died.  She had been a very active member of our congregation.
  • · Vicar Libby shared that the youth had packed 121 school kits that afternoon. The kits will be blessed along with 40 quilts at worship services the weekend of May 20, 21.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, June 21, 2023 at 6:30p.m., Library
Election of Council officers (president, vice-president, secretary) to be held at this meeting.  Also, newly elected council members will be invited to this meeting.

Parish Records

New Members (joined April 30, 2023)

  • Danielle Altemose
  • Janet Cole
  • Amy Cunningham
  • Albert Fraschetti
  • Jon & Betsy Griffiths
  • Brian & Tina Kessel
  • Shane Miller
  • Xingyi Su & James Puckett, and Noah
  • Sherri & Matt Robinson, and Victor, Olivia and Henry
  • Keith Rogers
  • Elaine & Don Schade, and Sophia and Ethan
  • Barry Truesdall
  • Jenn & Chris Waybright, and Findley, Burke and Carter
  • Mark & Sonja Withrow


  • April 7, Julius Swope
  • April 17, Carolyn Nicholson
  • April 20, Barry Sixeas
  • May 17, Cecil Sandoe
  • May 18, Beth Gardner
  • May 22, Pearl Hoffman
  • May 25, Marcia Hawk

50+ Wedding Anniversaries

  • May 14, Barry & Donna Bixler – 62 years
  • May 22, Jerry & Sandra Mills – 58 years
  • June 5, Fritz & Faith Foltz – 63 years
  • June 5, Bill & Shirley DeHaas – 68 years
  • June 7, Dick & Ruth Jean Unger – 71 years
  • June 8, Donna & Dick Mountfort – 55 years
  • June 8, Tom & Barbara Vossler – 55 years
  • June 9, Jon & Betsy Griffiths – 55 years
  • June 9, Jack & Sally Crist – 61 years
  • June 17, Richard & Susan Henry – 56 years
  • June 19, John & Judy Seilhamer – 58 years
  • June 25, Charles & Betsy Bender – 62 years
  • June 27, Jim & Susan Roach – 53 years
  • June 28, Dick & Greta Englund – 65 years
  • June 29, Ed & Doris Groft – 61 years

Ordination Anniversaries

  • May 27, The Rev. Robert N. Maddox, Jr. – 50 years
  • June 10, The Rev. Nelson Strobert – 50 years