109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – June 2024

The Messenger – June 2024

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

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

A Message From Pastor Andrew

Now I’ve been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun
Oh, I’ve been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Someday it’s going to come
‘Cause out on the edge of darkness
There rides the peace train
Oh, peace train take this country
Come take me home again

-Peace Train, Cat Stevens

I have often felt as if I was born into the wrong era. Much to my beautiful wife’s chagrin, I tend to prefer older vehicles that have a bit of rust (or as I call it, character). I often ache for more peaceful times in life, when instant communication wasn’t a thing – when rapid response to emails and texts and phone calls weren’t the expectation. I miss those years from my childhood when Friday night trips to Blockbuster were the routine and kids waited all week for Saturday morning cartoons. When schedules weren’t so chaotic and family meals around the table were customary instead of some rare occasion.

As I’ve shared in sermons and countless conversations, much to my beautiful children’s chagrin, I’ll choose the sweet sounds of music from the days of old over anything new most days of the week – Simon and Garfunkel, Johnny Cash, John Prine, Bob Dylan, and of course the broad assortment of old-time folk music. In part, because of the way they allow us to escape the pace of life in today’s world. To ride the peace train and escape the edge of darkness, as stated by Cat Stevens.

If you were with us in worship on Pentecost or read my sermon online, you heard some of my reflections on the state of the church – no longer at the center of society. As it is with some of these other things I’ve already mentioned, things church related are yet another piece of life that often make me feel as if I was born into the wrong era. To be a pastor when the church was at the center of society…

Regardless of these daydreams and well wishes, we are where we are. And for people of faith, our calling is one in the same – to proclaim the Good News of God in Christ through word and deed. As we head into the summer, and hopefully have a bit of reprieve from busy schedules, I wonder how we might use some of our time to live more fully into that which Christ has called us – to love as we have been loved and make disciples.

We can all think of people we haven’t seen in some time. We all know people with no family of faith. We all know people who are struggling to find meaning in life – who are looking for something greater than what this world has to offer… who are looking for hope… What would it look like to invite them to church? To tell them about the many wonderful things taking place at St. James and ask them to be a part of it?

As people of faith, while it is easy to look back and glorify the past, our hope rests in the future – the promise of new life to come. And that is worth sharing.

With love,
~Pastor Andrew

A Message From Pastor Libby

One Thursday in May, I sat in on Pastor Andrew’s Bible study of Adam Hamilton’s “Wrestling with Doubt, Finding Faith.” The chapter for that week was on the question, “Is Heaven Real?” Conversation floated between what Heaven is, what it looks and feels like, and who we expect to see in Heaven. There was laughter, and a few tears as people thought about reunions with family and friends who have gone before.

I couldn’t help but think about what my Heaven would look like. Yes, it would include a hug from my grandparents and my Aunt Beth, and all my childhood pets (cows included). And as I considered what my Heaven would be, I thought about a moment a few weeks ago in the childcare center.

I came downstairs a few weeks ago to ask if any of the teachers needed anything during a short-staffed week. Ashley Dreschler, the Early Learning Center director, asked if I could spend a few hours helping out in the infant room that afternoon. I immediately said yes, and spent that afternoon downstairs with the infants post-naptime. I played with them, and eventually one was getting fussy. I sat down in one of the rocking chairs with her, rocking her back and forth, and looking into her small, innocent face. She fell asleep in my arms, and I was filled with a sense of wonder and inner peace.

Pastor Andrew reminded us that Luther told us that we live in a world of two kingdoms. We live here on Earth, but we are also citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Because of this, we are reminded that there are glimpses of Heaven throughout our time here on Earth.

There will be moments that feel Heaven-like in nature. We may feel an innate sense of peace and connection with God throughout our everyday lives in physical ways – when we hold a newborn baby, when we complete a physical endeavor that previously felt impossible, or when we see a sky full of stars on a summer evening.

But also, we see those moments of God’s kingdom here on earth in very spiritual ways – when we finally decide to forgive a loved one after a long argument or disagreement, when we ask God to take control over a medical situation that seems dire, or when a colicky child finally settles down after a night full of prayer.

As summer begins, let us take time to find the small pieces of the heavenly kingdom in our earthly lives this month. Let us soak in the early morning bird calls, the sweet taste of ice cream after a long day working in our garden, or an evening run on the battlefield; places where we catch a glimpse of the peace, reassurance, and harmony that we will encounter with all the saints in our eternal home.

With Love,
Pastor Libby

St. James Bookmarks

Looking for a good summer read? These are just a few of the books available for members of the St. James community to browse or borrow.

“Raising Kids Beyond the Binary: Celebrating God’s Transgender and Gender-diverse Children” by Jamie Bruesehoff In this 2023 publication, female author Bruesehoff discusses issues of gender identity from a personalized, Christian point of view. While doing so, she also provides a detailed primer relating to terminology on gender, sex, biology, and sexual orientation. This book may serve as both entry and overview of a topic of great contemporary import and complexity.

“Hello Puddle” by Anita Sanchez
This beautiful picture book for ages 2-8 will resonate with children and parents alike, coming as it does after Earth Day celebrations followed by a very rainy spring. It is a perfect choice for young scientists and nature lovers as the author examines the essential role of puddles for wildlife and the eco system.

Young At Heart: Keeping up With The Kids

Adam Michael, Director of Youth & Family Ministry

This summer our middle and high school kids were invited to two jam-packed weeks full of spiritually educational opportunities – All-Saints Confirmation Camp at Nawakwa, and the ELCA National Youth Gathering in New Orleans.

The theme for this summer’s trip to the bayou, July 15-20, is “Created To Be.” Since health, economic, and political crises have made it a difficult time to transition into adulthood, we will be taking a deep dive into how to be in relationship with one another. Each day we will focus on the different ways that God created us to be – brave, authentic, free, disruptive for justice – and last but not least to be created as disciples to be sent out into the world to be loved by our neighbor and by God.

Our Confirmation Camp leaders love to have our kids wrestle with conflicting dualities at Nawakwa each summer. In the past two years we discussed the valley between joy and sorrow, and faith and doubt. “Love and Hate” is the theme we will discuss June 9-14. Whether it be school bullying or international conflicts across the globe, anger and hatred have a way of upending feelings of safety, security and love.
We will learn about agape love and what it means to be beloved in God’s eyes. We’ll talk about how hate interrupts love and how to turn the other cheek. We’ll also investigate the interwoven nature of love and hatred, and how one can disguise itself as the other, and finally figure out why hate has to be part of our programming at all.

Please pray for our kids as they head out into their spiritual journeys, and ask them about their experiences when they return!

Adam Michael
Youth and Family Director

Upcoming Summer Youth Events
Board Game Nights: Mondays, 6-7:30 p.m., June 17-Aug.12
June 18 or 20, K-5 Kids Olympics, check email soon for more info.
June 26, noon-5 p.m. – H.S. Kayak trip to Codorus
July 10, 1 -5 p.m. – M.S./ H.S. Paintball
July 27, 3-7:30 p.m. – Family Lake Heritage Party
July 31, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – M.S. Cunningham Falls Hike
Aug. 7, 1-5 p.m. – H.S. Trampoline Park trip

There is still time to register youth for Vacation Bible School. Children will learn how to shine Jesus’ light into the world! VBS is available for ages 3 through those entering the 5th grade.
Where: St. James Lutheran Church
When: June 3-7, 2024 (9 am – 11:45 am)

Music Notes:
Jonathan Noel, Minister of Music

My son attended a conference in Cincinnati in May and I came along to explore the town. I thought it might be interesting to report on authors or composers of sacred music from Cincinnati. My research turned up an article by David Holthouse in The Cincinnati Enquirer (August 2013) which is a review of a book by Isaias Gamboa entitled We Shall Overcome: Sacred Music on the Devil’s Tongue. (2012 Amapola Publishers). In the book Gamboa makes the case that the civil rights anthem, We Shall Overcome, made famous during the 1963 March on Washington, has its roots in Cincinnati at the pen of local musician Louise Shropshire. This article brings together music, my visit to Cincinnati, and the upcoming celebration of Juneteenth.

Louise’s family were rural sharecroppers in Alabama who came to Cincinnati in 1917 for a better life. Sometime between 1932 and 1942 she wrote a hymn entitled If My Jesus Wills. The lyrics of her hymn include the words: “I will overcome, I will overcome, I will overcome someday. If my Jesus wills, I do believe, I will overcome someday.” The stanza is remarkably close to the lyrics we know today as We Shall Overcome: “We shall overcome, we shall overcome, we shall overcome some day. Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome some day.”

Louise was discovered by the Rev. Thomas Dorsey at the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses held in Cincinnati in 1935. They became friends and thereafter Louise often appeared at gospel music conferences singing If My Jesus Wills and distributing copies. According to Gamboa it is likely that Pete Seeger first heard the song at such a conference. In a 2006 interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer, Pete Seeger was able to recall the original words, Louise’s version, although he seemed unaware of its authorship. The song was copyrighted in 1960 without author credit, by five performers, including Seeger. In the book Gamboa takes issue with Seeger and others who have taken American music from the oral tradition, claimed it, and profited from it.

The most direct proof of the origin of the anthem came from an interview that Gamboa had with Louise’s grandson, Robert Goins Shropshire. He tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. staying at the Shropshire’s Cincinnati home in March 1963 while on a speaking tour. It was on this occasion that Louise sang If My Jesus Wills accompanying herself on the piano. Dr. King asked her if he could change the line “I will overcome” to “we shall overcome” for the movement. Her response was simply “I don’t mind.”

Jonathan Noel

A Note From The Creation Care Task Force

Most everyone I know would say they love nature, but let’s turn that around. In her essay, ‘Epiphany in the Beans,’ Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass) asks her students the question, “Do you think Nature loves you?” The students needed time to think about it. Did you?

The students eventually believed that nature loved them. They began to list all the gifts that nature provides. Environmental scientists depersonalize nature by calling the gifts ‘ecological services,’ which includes rain, the ability of trees to clean air, feeding birds, bees and insects that help protect us and our crops. It’s a long, long list. But the students got it. The obvious next question was what could they do to help nature in her role of gift-giver, or at least not make it difficult for nature to provide these gifts?

As Christians we believe that God loves us. While you might think it’s a stretch to replace ‘Nature’ with ‘God’ in the previous paragraph, try it. God give us gifts which ‘include rain, the ability of trees to clean air, feeding birds, bees and insects that help protect us and our crops’ . . . It’s a long, long list. . . . Keep going: ‘what could we do to help God in the role of gift-giver, or at least not make it difficult for God to give these gifts?’

It’s summer, and maybe we have a little more leisure. Perhaps you could take some quiet time outside, immerse yourself in nature, contemplate your surroundings… How does God love you? Is a prayer of Thanksgiving in order?

Worship Previews


Deuteronomy makes clear that sabbath-keeping is meant for the welfare of all. God delivered the Israelites out of slavery, so they should observe this freedom with a day of rest. No one should work seven days a week; even slaves and foreigners should be able to rest. Yet human beings can turn even the most liberating religious practice into a life-destroying rule. Jesus does not reject sabbath-keeping, but defends its original life-enhancing meaning. Our worship and our religious way of life are to lead to restoration: the hungry being fed and the sick being healed.

Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib
Readings: Deuteronomy 5:12-15, 2 Corinthians 4:5-12
Psalm 81:1-10, Mark 2:23—3:6
Fellowship, hosted by Sunday School Appreciation and Worship & Music


A house divided against itself cannot stand. Jesus makes this observation in light of charges that he is possessed. He is possessed, not by a demon, but by the Holy Spirit. We who have received the Holy Spirit through baptism have been joined to Christ’s death and resurrection and knit together in the body of Christ. Those with whom we sing and pray this day are Jesus’ family. With them we go forth in peace to do the will of God.

Preacher: Pastor Libby Baker-Mikesell
Readings: Genesis 3:8-15, 2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1
Psalm 130, Mark 3:20-35


The mustard seed becomes a great shrub that shelters the birds, recalling ancient images of the tree of life. We’d expect a cedar or a sequoia, but Jesus finds the power of God better imaged in a tiny, no-account seed. It’s not the way we expect divine activity to look. Yet the tree of life is here, in the cross around which we gather, the tree into which we are grafted through baptism, the
true vine that nourishes us with its fruit in the cup we share. It may not appear all that impressive, but while nobody’s looking it grows with a power beyond our understanding.
Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib
Readings: Ezekiel 17:22-24, 2 Cor. 5:6-10 [11-13] 14-17
Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15, Mark 4:26-34


Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation! Now we are in the storm, the boat almost swamped; but Jesus is here now, and when we call him, he will calm the storm. Even the wind and waves listen to him as they would to their creator. We also listen to him and are called to believe in the power of God’s word in him, a power greater than all that we fear.
Preacher: Pastor Libby Baker-Mikesell
Readings: Job 38:1-11, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32, Mark 4:35-41


A woman finds healing by touching Jesus’ cloak, and a girl is restored to life when he takes her by the hand. In both cases a boundary is crossed: in Jesus’ time the hemorrhaging woman was considered ritually unclean, polluting others by her touch, and anyone who touched a corpse also became unclean. In Mark’s gospel Jesus breaks down barriers, from his first meal at a tax collector’s house to his last breath on the cross as the temple curtain is torn in two. We dare to touch Jesus in our “uncleanness” and to live as a community that defines no one as an outsider.
Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib
Readings: Lamentations 3:22-33, 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Psalm 30, Mark 5:21-43

Council Corner, May 15 Meeting Highlights

En Bloc Agenda:

  • Approval of Minutes from April 17, 2024
  • Acceptance of Treasurer’s Report: Church & ELC Financials
  • Acceptance of new members: new members meeting scheduled for May 19, 2024, after the 10:45 a.m. service.
  • Baptism: Lincoln Lutz, May 26
    En Bloc agenda was adopted unanimously.

    Presentation and Update: Pastor Christopher Suehr from Synod Council brought greetings from the Synod plus thanks for all that the church does. He also outlined several topics the Synod has under discussion, including election of a new bishop, the churchwide ELCA meeting in Phoenix in 2025, healthcare talks with Portico and possible changes in the call process.

    Source of Life update: the shelter in Haiti is fearful for staff and children because gangs are active nearby, and it asks for prayers.

    Old Business:
  • Motion from the Church Van Task Force: Recommendation that St James consider the purchase of a passenger van to be used for Youth Group functions, transportation of church members to and from worship services, and for church staff needs. Motion carried.

    New Business:
  • Motion from RIC Task Force to be established as a committee of the church. Motion carried.
  • Motion from Personnel that St. James establish 2 working groups around the issue of building security. One group (headed by Kyle Smith) would be dedicated to the ongoing work of monitoring, reviewing, and archiving video footage from the building security cameras and systems. The second group (initially coordinated by Pastor Andrew) would review and ultimately recommend policies and physical plant changes required to better secure the building for all of the various ministries of the congregation so that we can continue to be a place that is welcoming and safe. Motion carried.

    Looking Ahead
  • Council elections scheduled for May 18-19.
  • June Council meeting: election of officers for 2024-25

    Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God
  • The May 12 WaterLife service was cited for excellence.
  • Pastor Libby’s ordination on May 5 was noted for its involvement of the whole community.
    Next Meeting: Wednesday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m.

Reconciling In Christ Committee Announcements

As a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Congregation, St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church will once again serve as a sponsor for the Gettysburg Pride weekend. We will host a table at Lincoln Square on Saturday June 1, and our members will take part in the Pride March that afternoon. Every person who attends Pride Weekend– and the numbers get larger each year – will see by our presence that they are welcome to worship with us. It is common for visitors to stop by our table and commend us for encouraging everyone, in particular the LGBTQIA2S+ people attracted to the march, to become part of St. James. Come march with us on June 1! Details on when and where to gather will follow as they are finalized.

The Church Council recently voted to recognize the RIC Task Force as a formal church committee. The RIC Committee will continue to work to make St. James a welcoming space for everyone.

Tree 4 Hope Mission Trip Fundraising Efforts

At the May 12th WaterLife Service, the children opened the St. James tree4hope fundraising campaign with a contribution to the Tree 4 Hope Academy’s education fund. Inspired by Kid President’s message that “good deeds inspire more good deeds,” the children spread their love with random acts of kindness at home and school. For every act of kindness they reported to Youth Minister Adam Michael, they received a wooden token to drop in their “Goodwill for Guatemala Bank.” On Sunday the children were surprised to learn that each coin earned $3 with funds from the youth budget. Claire Anderson announced that the World Outreach Committee would match their donations. Sharing some of their acts of kindness in a video, the children challenged the congregation to contribute to the “Goodwill for Guatemala Bank” by bringing loose change for the noisy offering during the May 12th WaterLife service! To date the children have raised $750.91 ! Thank you to all the children who participated in the Random Acts of Kindness campaign.

May 12-June 12 Congregation Challenge

The World Outreach Committee challenges the congregation to follow the children’s lead and donate funds to purchase items which are difficult for Tree 4 Hope to acquire in Guatemala. Items to be purchased include vitamins, over the counter medications, pro-biotics, diapers, sanitary napkins, kitchen utensils, DVD players, and craft supplies from local vendors. The World Outreach Committee will purchase these items in bulk and our Mission Trip team will deliver them to the Tree 4 Hope mission. Please send monetary donations to St. James Lutheran Church with Tree 4 Hope on the memo line.

A Prayer For Gressier, Haiti

Dear Lord,
Please extend your protective embrace to the children, young adults and staff of the Source of Life Ministries Safe Home in Gressier, Haiti. Recently, the police station in Gressier was violently overrun by gangs who threatened to invade the surrounding areas and subject the local population to their criminal mayhem. We are profoundly grateful that Haitian police were able to retake the police station and displace the gangs in recent days.

We ask your continued blessing and guiding hand to protect the people of Gressier and especially your children at Source of Life Ministries (SLM). Protect the safe home, the staff and the house of worship on the SLM compound. We ask you to continue guiding and shielding SLM’s driver, Harold, from danger as he transports children to and from their schools and performs his rounds throughout the Gressier community and elsewhere.

We pray also for your healing hand on Pastor Jeff Riedel (REE del), our mission partner in South Carolina and Haitian Christian Projects. Pastor Jeff suffered a serious heart attack on May 19 and is now hospitalized in ICU. A major supporter and partner for many years, Pastor Jeff brought his bulldozer and then became the driving force to build the church on the SLM compound in 2015.

We lift up the efforts of the international community as they work with Haitian leaders and people of good will to establish an interim governing authority and re-establish order that might quell the violence and chaos that pervades Haiti. Bring peace to all your people of Haiti and calm to the streets and highways, towns and villages.

Stay the hands of evildoers and continue to bless your faithful servants at Source of Life Ministries as well as their friends and neighbors in Gressier. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Dennis Carter
World Outreach Committee


May 12 Glenn Heller

May 26 Lincoln Lutz

June 5, Fritz & Faith Foltz – 64 years
June 5, Bill & Shirley DeHaas- 69 years
June 7, Dick & Ruth Jean Unger-72 years
June 8, Donna & Dick Mountfort-56 years
June 8, Tom & Barbara Vossler-56 years
June 9, Jon & Betsy Griffiths-56 years
June 9, Jack & Sally Crist-62 years
June 17, Richard & Susan Henry-57 years
June 19, John & Judy Seilhamer-59 years
June 25, Charles & Betsy Bender-63 years
June 27, Jim & Susan Roach-54 years
June 28, Dick & Greta Englund-66 years
June 29, Ed & Doris Groft-62 years

Visiting St. James

Office Hours: 
Monday—office closed
TuesdayFriday, 9:00 a.m.—3:30 p.m.

Calling St. James at 717-334-2012

201, Katy Clowney
Church Administrator
[email protected] 

202, Julie Albert
 Administrative Coordinator
 [email protected]

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

205, Pr. Libby Baker-Mikesell, off on Fridays
Associate Pastor
[email protected]

206, Pr. Andrew R. Geib, off on Fridays
Lead Pastor
[email protected] 

207, Jonathan Noel, off on Fridays
Minister of Music
[email protected] 

215, Tom Bender, off on Fridays
Building Superintendent
[email protected]