The Messenger – March 2021
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Message from Pastor Mike
I began writing this message on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. As it is now being read, we stand squarely in the midst of this Lenten season. More than any other season of the church year, Lent feels to me to be a time of living into a deeper understanding of what it means to be a community of faith. Lent continues to be a vibrant invitation to Christians to live into the Resurrection, the celebration that Jesus Christ is alive in the lives of all people!
Pretty quickly after the Ascension, it became clearer to the early Church that Jesus’ imminent return had changed from the sense that it would happen “now” to the recognition that it was “already but not yet.” The Resurrection–Jesus’ triumph over death—had been accomplished, but the Church also knew it was not completed. Now it was up to the community itself to be the presence of Christ on earth.
Today, it is through the memory of the cross and the empty tomb that the Christian community grows more and more deeply into Jesus. Each succeeding Lent calls us to renew our ongoing commitment to the implications of the Resurrection in our lives today. That demands of us the healing of the soul, penance and faith, a purging of what is superfluous in our lives and the heightening and intensifying of what is meaningful. Lent is a call for renewed commitment to move from a life marked by routine to a life marked by reflection. Lent requires each of us to stop for awhile, to move beyond lives of mundane regularity or unconsidered adherence to the trappings of faith, to reflect yet again on what is going on within each one of us.
Maybe it is best said that Lent is a time given over to think seriously about who Jesus is for me/us, to renew our faith from the inside out, refreshed and reoriented. The voice of Lent need not be a sour one. It is a call to remember who we are and where we have come from and why. The voice of Lent cries to us to live on in a new way no matter what our lives have been like until now. It is even more than that. It is the promise of mercy, the guarantee of new life. It is the resilience that keeps our souls melded to the Spirit, despite the pull of chaos and waste and superficialities on our spiritual anchors. Lent is our salvation from the depths of nothingness. It is our guide to the “genuine” of life, such an important, necessary time in our society today–necessary to have this anchor of Lent close at hand. Let’s continue this journey together as one community!
Blessings & love, pastor mike
Message from Church Administrator, Katy Clowney
Many of us just get too many emails, and navigating our inbox can become a little daunting sometimes. And then there’s other times, when an email we really wanted to receive landed in our junk mail or spam. It’s happened to us all.
Some shortcuts to help you out:
Many of the links that you want to access from church are listed right on our homepage: Our sermon blog, Pastor Mike’s Morning Musings, bulletin for the week, plus a preview of our most recent worship video, plus a link directly to our YouTube Channel. Bookmark our website (StJamesGettysburg.com) and you can quickly access everything for church. Don’t scroll through your emails (and get distracted while you do it) trying to find an email you skimmed 4 days ago; just hop on StJamesGettysburg.com and have everything right there.
Please remember, when you receive a suspicious/odd/generic email from one of the pastors (or anyone, for that matter), take a close look at the email address. If it does not have the @stjamesgettysburg.org email address, it is not from us. Sadly, scammers are taking advantage of the trust that people have in their pastors and church. These scammers are creating new email addresses that look like they are from the pastors or staff, but they are not. These emails are typically asking for money or gift cards.
- Do not respond to these emails. Just delete them/mark as spam.
- The Pastors and staff will never ask you for help or money in this fashion. If you are ever in doubt, please call the church or pastors directly.
Easter Flowers and Donations for World Hunger
Whether online or in person we are given an opportunity to enhance the beauty of our Christmas worship with flowers. Forty (40) Easter arrangements are needed to fill our space adequately.
Through a donation for World Hunger in any amount, we can provide the gift of life to those who hunger.
Please complete the online form and send your check before March 11 to:
360 East Lincoln Avenue
Gettysburg, PA 17325
March 7 — Third Sunday in Lent
The third covenant in this year’s Lenten readings is the central one of Israel’s history: the gift of the law to those God freed from slavery. The commandments begin with the statement that because God alone has freed us from the powers that oppressed us, we are to let nothing else claim first place in our lives. When Jesus throws the merchants out of the temple, he is defending the worship of God alone and rejecting the ways commerce and profit-making can become our gods. The Ten Commandments are essential to our baptismal call: centered first in God’s liberating love, we strive to live out justice and mercy in our communities and the world. Readings: Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22
March 14 — Fourth Sunday in Lent
The fourth of the Old Testament promises providing a baptismal lens this Lent is the promise God makes to Moses: those who look on the bronze serpent will live. In today’s gospel Jesus says he will be lifted up on the cross like the serpent, so that those who look to him in faith will live. When we receive the sign of the cross in baptism, that cross becomes the sign we can look to in faith for healing, for restored relationship to God, for hope when we are dying. Readings: Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22; Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:14-21
March 21 — Fifth Sunday in Lent
God promises Jeremiah that a “new covenant” will be made in the future: a covenant that will allow all the people to know God by heart. The church sees this promise fulfilled in Christ, who draws all people to himself when he is lifted up on the cross. Our baptismal covenant draws us to God’s heart through Christ and draws God’s love and truth into our hearts. We join together in worship, sharing in word, song, and meal, and leave strengthened to share God’s love with all the world. Readings: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:1-12; Psalm 119:9-16 (alternate); Hebrews 5:5-10; John 12:20-33
March 28 — Sunday of the Passion / Palm Sunday
This week, the center of the church’s year, is one of striking contrasts: Jesus rides into Jerusalem surrounded by shouts of glory, only to be left alone to die on the cross, abandoned by even his closest friends. Mark’s gospel presents Jesus in his complete human vulnerability: agitated, grieved, scared, forsaken. Though we lament Christ’s suffering and all human suffering, we also expect God’s salvation: in the wine and bread, Jesus promises that his death will mark a new covenant with all people. We enter this holy week thirsty for the completion of God’s astonishing work. Readings: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Mark 14:1–15:47; Mark 15:1-39 [40-47] (alternate)
April 4 — Easter
Stay posted for details related to Easter worship services!
Wilderness Journeys: Lenten Midweek Series
St. James will produce a special midweek series of online worship services throughout Lent. The messages will be shared via the eBlast on Wednesdays. Lenten Messages will be shared by congregation members describing their wilderness journey.
“And the Spirit immediately drove [Jesus] out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.”
This Lent we will hear from members how the Spirit has been a driving force in their lives this past year, and what/who were the angels who have been waiting on them.
- Feb 24 | Kim Guise
- Mar 03 | Adam Michael
- Mar 10 | Sam Main
- Mar 17 | Drew Cole
- Mar 24 | Sam Douds
- Mar 31 | Judy Seilhamer
Questions? Email Kristin at [email protected]
The first Youth Breakfast of the Spring is March 3rd! We hope to continue weekly Wednesday Youth Breakfasts at 6:45 a.m. in the Youth House through the remainder of the school year.
While difficult to see them go, Let’s celebrate our graduating 2021 seniors together! Our 2021 Seniors are: Karli Bortner, Marrin Crist, Lily Crowner, Sam Douds, Natalie Kloster, Connor Lambert, Derek Lentz, Jordyn Schachle, Bryce Schneider, Kellen Schneider, Molly Waybrant, and Maddie Yingling. Please let Kristin know if you would like to extend well wishes or support to our seniors!
Middle and High School News
Middle School Youth Group resumes at the Youth House March 9! Starting 3/9, we will have weekly Youth Group Tuesday afternoon from 2:45—5 p.m.
St. James, Christ, and Presbyterian Church Middle and High School ZOOM “LOCK IN” March 19. Zoom with us in a new way! We’ll start Friday night with lots of games and time to connect with new youth from other congregations!
High School Nawakwa “Retreat” April 23-25. While likely not an overnight event at this stage, we are so excited to keep the HS Retreat on our calendars and we hope you will do the same!
Next Confirmation Check In: March 21, 9:30—10:30 a.m.
April Confirmation Check In: April 18, 9:30—10:30 a.m.
All Saints Confirmation Camp at Camp
Nawakwa is June 13-18, 2021. Camp Nawakwa is taking proper precautions and we are so excited to join you in faith and fun in this week of camp!
Confirmation Sunday 2021 is May 23!
Camp is back!
The Lutheran Camping Corporation has been working really hard over the past months to put together the 2021 summer camping programs at Camp Nawakwa and Camp Kirkenwald. They have been working with the American Camping Association, the Department of Health, other camps, and their own COVID task force to put together a safe camping experience. There are many exciting opportunities for camp this summer for all ages!
All campers will receive a $20 / person reduction!
Open House Dates
If you would like to go to the camp to check out what they have in place, register at one of the following links.
- March 21, 2021
- April 11, 2021
- March 21, 2021
- April 11, 2021
If you would like to help prepare camp for summer, you can register here:
- April 24
- April 24
Summer Job Opportunity
Consider working at camp!
Calls to Action
Mission Support Corner
In his recent letter to the congregation, Council President Kyle Smith, reflected on the challenges of the past year and commented that
“Just like Christ’s light shining in the darkness, we can see the light in 2020. I am proud to say that I can clearly see the light continuing to shine bright at St. James. Everywhere I look, I see the St. James community answering the call in so many ways… Your gifts are part of that light.”
As this pandemic continues, one of the ways we can “be the light” is finding ways to support each other while we are not physically together. What has lifted your spirits during this time? How have you experienced “the work of the church” continue to happen in different ways? How have you seen Christ’s light shining in others? The new “Messages from Members” section of The Messenger provides an opportunity for you to share these thoughts or a note of thanks. If you have something to share, please contact Staci Grimes at [email protected].
C.A.R.E.S. Breakfast Thank You
St. James provided breakfasts for the C.A.R.E.S. clients February 14-27 and during that time St. James members provided 4,410 items for the effort. Each day 9 items were needed including food/beverage items, bags, plasticware/napkin, and take-out boxes for the hot sandwiches/casseroles. Special thanks are extended to Shirley Sanders who packed a knife, fork, spoon, and napkin in a baggie 490 times, which saved much time when packing the breakfast bags each day. Also, Katy Clowney made the sign-up so much easier with the virtual sign-up process. Thanks to ALL who helped this process be very successful and helpful to the 35 C.A.R.E.S. clients we served.
Messages from Members
Mike and I want to thank you for the prayers and comfort after the loss of my sister, Marge. We are grateful for the support and love from our church family. ~Lois Allwein
Nicholas Teeter Shen — to Hilary Teeter and Derrick Shen (November 21, 2020)
Carroll Smith, Jr. (February 1, 2021)
Howard W. Hinkeldey (February 15, 2021)
Connect with St. James online
- StJamesGettysburg.com/YouTube (Sermons and special music services)
- Visit our website to subscribe and read
- The Sermon Blog
- Pastor Mike’s Morning Musings
- The Messenger
- eBlast Announcements