109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – May 2024

The Messenger – May 2024

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

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.  This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”  – John 15:9-12

The first weekend in May brings the Sixth Sunday of Easter – what is sometimes regarded as Love Sunday in the life of the church.  It’s on this weekend, that we hear Jesus’ greatest commandment; “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” 

While we often turn to this Great Commandment as a foundation for how we live out our faith, it is far from the only place in which Jesus directs attention to our most important four-letter word – love.  The gospel of John alone uses the three primary Greek words for love, a total of 57 times as nouns and verbs throughout, making love one of John’s most frequent flyers.  As the song goes, “it’s about love, love, love.”

Though Hallmark, in card and film, has imprinted this fairytale like love in our hearts and minds, those of us who have been in love know that it ain’t all candy and roses.  Love, true love, is hard.  It can, at times, be messy.  It doesn’t always feel the way love ought to feel.  It requires compromise, even sacrifice.  As Lutheran Christians, we see this most clearly through the lens of the cross – where out of deep love, perfect love, Christ gave his life for the world… for you and for me and the faithful across time and space…

In our Lutheran Rite of Ordination, Lutheran Pastors are draped with the yoke of Christ as a stole is placed over their shoulders.  Libby will receive this responsibility of the office at her ordination on May 5th, as I did when I was ordained back in August of 2015.  With this, pastors are appointed with the responsibility to tend to the flock of God in which the Holy Spirit made us guardians – to bear burdens, give and receive comfort, be of good courage, and labor in the Lord.

With this, while Christ reminds us in the Holy Scripture that His burden is light, the office of the ordained is not to be taken lightly.  Not simply in regards to the things of worship, but in tending to the wellbeing of one’s flock.  If you’ve been at the church throughout the week over the past month, you’ve noticed that the exterior doors have been locked with signage instructing visitors to buzz in through the office.  This is one measure the staff has prayerfully put in place after discovering an unknown visitor in the building for a prolonged period of time.  While we want to be a place of inclusive welcome, we also want to keep people safe.  This includes having a pulse on who is in the building at any given time.  We appreciate your understanding as we work our way through some of these difficult decisions.  It is important for each of us to keep our eyes and ears open.  If you see something, say something – informing any suspicious behavior to church staff.  It is equally as important that we stay away from spreading rumors and false information.  Our unknown visitor has not acted violently in any way, nor made any sort of threats.  If you have questions or concerns, my door is always open. 

In all of these unfortunate things of life we keep our hearts and minds on Christ Jesus.  We do our best to follow that Great Commandment and love as Christ loves, recognizing that there are times when tough love and tough decisions are needed.  As your shepherds, Libby and I are here to tend to the flock of SJLC in which the Holy Spirit has made us guardians.

With love,
~Pastor Andrew  

Would you like to learn more about St. James and what it means to be Lutheran?  Join Pastor Andrew & Pastor Libby at the New Members Class on May 19.  Lunch will be provided. 
RSVP for the class at stjamesgettysburg.org/event/new-members-class-may-2024/

A Message From Pastor Libby

Siblings in Christ,

I, admittedly, am a planner. I come by it naturally; my mother and I have been planning family functions and work events for as long as I can remember. I love the logistics that go into planning events: making lists, organizing food, and considering all the ‘small details’ that go into executing an event.

While I am writing this, I am knee-deep in ordination planning. I am one of the first people ordained in the Lower Susquehanna Synod to be able to plan the majority of the ordination service. I was able to have input in every element of the service, from readings and hymns to communion assistants, ushers, and acolytes. I chose flowers for the service, found a family friend to take photos, and planned a reception to follow the service.

While I love planning, I admittedly was slightly overwhelmed when considering all the elements that will go into the day: estimating the number of people attending the service and reception, communicating parking logistics to friends and family, and considering a food menu with enough options for individuals with food sensitivities. I was grateful for the help from the Synod and church, as it seemed like there was always something else that needed organized or communicated.

This week, I was reminded of a saying that my high school Agricultural Sciences teacher told me when I would over plan and overthink preparing for public speaking competitions: “It’s all gravy”.  Mrs. Pontius would remind me that I can prepare and overthink as much as I would like, but at the end of the day, I have to trust that the ‘gravy’, or my plans, will work out. I had to let the “gravy flow.”

The same is true about our relationship with God. We may not all be planning an ordination service, but we all have things in our lives that we spend time and energy trying to plan. We may be worried about child care or a newborn baby’s schedule, getting ready to move into a new house, or preparing to send a child to college in a few months. Our minds may be full of lists of things we need to do or supplies we need to purchase, people to reach out to, or emails we need to send.

This month, when we are overwhelmed with the chaos of planning in our lives, may we remember that at the end of the day, our plans are “gravy,” and that we can hand it over to God, trusting that God will provide for us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  –Jeremiah 29:11

With Love,
Pastor Libby

Young At Heart: Keeping up With The Kids

Adam Michael, Director of Youth & Family Ministry

Come together… but one thing I can tell you is you’ve got to be free. That’s the paradox John Lennon feeds us in the opening number to the “Abbey Road” album.

Unity seems like a simple concept. Work together. Don’t fight with one another.  But when it’s time to make decisions, trusting others to help make the right one can feel unsettling.

To begin teaching unity in elementary youth group, we started with a low-stakes test – a group quiz of 10 questions related to the material we’d learned so far this year. With a high enough group score each team collectively succeeded or failed to earn a prize from the prize bucket.

Before beginning the quiz, we discussed how the final answer would be presented – from a single respondent throughout the quiz or by a series of volunteers.  In one case, determining leadership consumed half of the time remaining for the quiz.

Then we began peppering the kids with questions. In some cases, there was unanimous agreement. In others, there were spirited debates. What was the name of the day Jesus died? Easter? Those who fired off the answer before thinking it through seemed to think so. Then one kid quietly offered a counterpoint. Before long, the minority had become the majority and the team delivered the correct answer, Good Friday.

In another case, one of our first graders believed they knew the name of the man who helped a fallen stranger on the road, but she was afraid to say it in front of the group. “The Good Samarjan?” she whispered to me before giving me permission to let the group work with her response.  With the suggestive hint, the light bulb went on for another student. “The Good Samaritan!” she exclaimed, drawing a round of smiles and applause from her peers.

There are times when it just feels easier to work alone. There’s no reliance on communication. No possibility of being misunderstood. It takes less time. We live and die with our own efforts.

But we also risk working with limited knowledge. Very few of our kids would have earned the much-coveted prize, a candy rope, if they’d answered the questions alone.

Because of the drawbacks, sometimes it’s frustrating to work in unity. Often, it takes purposeful observation to notice how much was achieved in the group effort. To see, as John Lennon saw, that “one and one and one is three,” or a much larger whole.  And sometimes when we come together, we form something even greater than the sum of our parts.

Adam Michael
Youth and Family Director

St. James High School held a Monopoly night in early April. What themed nights should we have next?

Music Notes:
Jonathan Noel, Minister of Music

The Next Thing…
When I began playing organ for worship services regularly as a teen, I quickly became aware of the need for organization and preparation. During the week leading up to Sunday, I would get hymn selections from the pastor, choir scores from the director, accompaniments from soloists, choose organ selections, and give those titles to the church office in a timely manner so that bulletins could be produced. Then, I found time to practice for myself and with soloists and choirs. This is the kind of basic preparation that continues to be part of what I do on a weekly basis.

There is another kind of organization that is essential for anyone leading worship, the ability to know what is coming next in the service and have the proper materials ready to go and in the right order. This kind of organization helps keep worship moving along in a seamless manner. How disruptive it would be to see the organist frantically searching through music while the congregation waits, or for the pastor to leave the worship space to find the sermon document on the office desk!

One of the most disturbing recurring dreams I used to have when I was younger was one in which I was at the organ, it was time to play a bit of liturgy and I did not have the right book, nor could I find it. I felt helpless and vulnerable. That was just a dream, yet unplanned and unpredictable things can and do happen. Unexpected diagnoses, unwanted changes, difficulties, tragedies, and grief threaten our peace of mind and cause us to reel headlong into the unknown. The “next thing” in the pile of certainty may no longer make sense for us. In those times, we are carried and sustained by faith nurtured in us by the church, hope made known in us through the death and resurrection of Christ, and love made real in us through the beloved community that surrounds us and walks with us.

Jonathan Noel

GCCA Spring Concerts at St. James

St. James will be the location for the Gettysburg Community Concert Association’s (GCCA’s) upcoming spring concerts.   The Gettysburg Community Concert Association is a non-profit organization that works to bring live performances featuring musicians and dancers, to Adams County.

On April 9, ensemble132 performed at St. James.  Additional concerts include Ulysses Quartet on May 7 at 7:30 pm and  Frisson Ensemble on June 11 at 7:30 pm.   Members of the GCCA can attend these concerts for free.  Non—members can  purchase tickets for $20.   Tickets can be purchased at the door.   Additional information about these artists and performances can be found at gettysburgcca.org

Worship Previews

May 4 & 5: Sixth Sunday of Easter
This Sunday’s image of the life the risen Christ shares with us is the image of friendship. We are called to serve others as Jesus came to serve; but for John’s gospel, the image of servanthood is too hierarchical, too distant, to capture the essence of life with Christ. Friendship captures the love, the joy, the deep mutuality of the relationship into which Christ invites us. The Greeks believed that true friends are willing to die for each other. This is the mutual love of Christian community commanded by Christ and enabled by the Spirit.

Pastor Andrew Geib
Readings: Acts 10:44-48 1 John 5:1-6
Psalm 98 John 15:9-17
Fellowship,  hosted by Exploring Faith and Movers & Shapers

May 11 & 12: Seventh Sunday of Easter
The gospel for Easter’s seventh Sunday is always taken from the long prayer Jesus prays for his followers in John’s gospel on the night before his death, and always includes Jesus’ desire that his followers will be one as he and the Father are one. This oneness is not mere doctrinal agreement or institutional unity, but mutual abiding, interpenetrating life, mutual love, and joy. This oneness is the work of the Spirit whom we have received but also await. Come, Holy Spirit!

Preacher:  Pastor Libby Baker-Mikesell
Readings: Acts 1:15-17, 21-26                1 John 5:9-13
                  Psalm 1                                   John 17:6-19

May 18 & 19: Day of Pentecost
Fifty days after Easter, we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Crossing all boundaries that would separate us, the Spirit brings the wideness of God’s mercy to places we least expect it—to a crowd of strangers of different lands and tongues, to dry bones, to our weak hearts. Jesus promises his disciples that they will be accompanied by the Holy Spirit, and that this Spirit reveals the truth. We celebrate that we too have been visited with this same Spirit. Guided by the truth, we join together in worship, and then disperse to share the fullness of Christ’s love with the world.

Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib
Readings: Acts 2:1-21                       Romans 8:22-27
                 Psalm 104:24-34, 35b      John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

May 25 & 26: The Holy Trinity
When we say God is the triune God, we are saying something about who God is beyond, before, and after the universe: that there is community within God. Our experience of this is reflected in Paul’s words today. When we pray to God as Jesus prayed to his Abba (an everyday, intimate parental address), the Spirit prays within us, creating between us and God the same relationship Jesus has with the one who sent him. 
Preacher:  Pastor Paul Lutz
Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8            Romans 8:12-17
                  Psalm 29                  John 3:1-17

Council Corner, April 17 Meeting Highlights

En Bloc Agenda:
* Approval of Minutes from March 20, 2024
* Acceptance of Treasurer’s Report:  Church & ELC Financials
* Acceptance of New Members: A new members class is scheduled for May 19 after the 10:45 am service.
* Approval of wedding for Jeff Smith & Kourtney Hoke on April 27
* Motion from Property Committee:  Council to approve installation of room dividers in rooms 305 and 306 at a cost of $25,212; funding to come from the Capital Campaign.
* Motion from Property Committee:  Council to approve flooring on third floor at a cost of $50,000; funding also to come from the Capital Campaign.
* Motion from Mission Fund Committee: Council to approve financial support from the Mission Fund to benefit: Lutheran World Relief Ukraine Regional Task Force ($2,000), Beit Jala and Bethlehem Lutheran Churches ($2,000), Olive Wood Project ($5,000) and Common Ground Recovery Community ($2,530)
En Bloc agenda was adopted unanimously.

Special Report from Church Vitality Taskforce: Jim Dunlop updated the council regarding ideas generated from last year’s initial Vitality meeting, saying the monthly welcoming exercise and nametag initiative have been successful so far. Church committees and missions continue to be studied along with ways to empower individuals in the congregation.

Old Business:
Council members will complete their three-year term in June 2024: Peggy Green, Sharon Kaya, Kyle Smith and Carol Widerman. Nominations for Council so far include Jim Flanagan, Josh Main, Glenn Munsee, Nina Kloster and Jason Howe. Nominations will be accepted on April 27-28, 2024, at all services; biographies of the nominees will be available May 4-5, 2024; and election of four new council members is scheduled for May 18-19, 2024.

New Business:
*Church building security: Council was updated on continuing efforts to secure the building, including installing more cameras.
*Minute for Mission – At all services 4/20-21, Carol Widerman and Alan Haynes will update the congregation regarding increased weekly giving, which grew during the first quarter (for the first time in four years).

Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God
*127 people attended the April 13 Community Dinner and Bluegrass Worship Service.
*Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Christian DiCampli was held on 4/14/24
* St. James participated in the Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build in April. We provided snacks on April 4 and lunch on April 20.
* A youth fundraiser was held at Lincoln Social April 17.
* Vicar Libby’s ordination is May 5 at 2 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, with a reception following at St. James.
* The CROP Hunger Walk is April 28.
* The CARES cold-weather shelter at St. James is winding down, and a wrap-up of our first season as the shelter provider will be scheduled soon.
* Emma Wagner of Lutheran World Relief spoke with Pastor Andrew and Adam Michael regarding St. James’ major participation in the program. A youth event with LWR is planned for the future.
* Gently used long-sleeved T-shirts are requested to help the Pathstone Program clothe migrant workers this summer.
* St. James will sponsor an event for Gettysburg College students at Sweeter than Sap in May. 

Next Meeting: Wednesday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Stellar VBS – Shine Jesus’ Light

Join us for Vacation Bible School (VBS), and learn how to shine Jesus’ light into the world! This year VBS will be a collaboration between Christ Lutheran Church and St. James.  It  will take place at St. James.   VBS is available for ages 3 through those entering the 5th grade.  Ages 6th grade and above can volunteer with VBS.  Adult volunteers are also needed to make this week a success.

Dates: June 3-7, 2024 (9 am – 11:45 am).

St. James Bookmarks

Check out these recent book acquisitions that are in the St. James library!   These titles and many others are available for members of the St. James community to browse or borrow.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond.   In his Pulitzer Prize winner, Desmond tells the true story of 8 families from Milwaukee, Wisconsin caught up in the affordable housing crisis of 2008-2009.

Nomad Century: How Climate Migration will Reshape our World” by Gaia Vince.  This British environmental author presents how global warming with its resulting massive global climate migration will effect our future cities, food sources, politics and so much more.  Change has already begun, and we must rise to the challenge to save our species at this critical moment.  

Thank You From Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S.

The Board of Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. sincerely thanks the good people of St. James Lutheran for graciously offering their facilities to serve the unsheltered this past season. The last overnight was April 14. By all accounts, the program ran much smoother having our guests in one location this season instead of  having them move from church to church. This was particularly the case for older guests who struggled with mobility and health issues, as well as for the 10 children who were guests in the program for many weeks. The program was at capacity (30) nearly from the start this season and more people sought shelter but had to be turned away.

The following churches participated by serving breakfasts to C.A.R.E.S. guests each morning: St. James, First Baptist, Freedom Valley, Trinity UCC, Christ Lutheran, Gettysburg Presbyterian, Prince of Peace, Foursquare Gospel, United Methodist, Church of the Brethren, and Lower Marsh Creek Presbyterian. Approximately 25 breakfasts were served every morning. Our youth cooked and served each Sunday. The other churches served on the remaining 6 days each week. The 11 churches listed above provided hundreds of volunteers who cooked. Volunteers from the above churches also washed 130 bags of blankets throughout the season.

Each night, two volunteers from the Adams County community stayed with our C.A.R.E.S. guests at St. James from 8 PM until 7 AM.   There was other community support, too. C.A.R.E.S. is thankful for the following businesses who helped with haircuts, laundry, and food: Town & Campus Haircare, North Gettysburg Laundry Center, Garryowen’s Pub, and Ernie’s Texas Lunch.

A Note From The Creation Care Task Force

Do you like fresh produce as much as I do ? Does shopping feel like a chore than a pleasure? If so, you may be as happy as I am that the farmer’s market season has started for 2024. Shopping local has so many advantages.

Really fresh produce, locally grown and packaged. Most items have little or no processing, giving you the most nutrition for your dollars. Almost all the food sold at the market is locally grown. (Yes, I know some of it comes from far away Maryland.)

And how about meeting your friends there? If you are a get-in-and-get-out shopper, this might not be for you. I find myself talking to people I know, and people I just got to know. And perhaps getting a coffee or a snack from the food truck.

There are special themed weekends such as Sustainability Day, when local groups showcase sustainable practices. Or Homesteading & Eco-Gardening Day, when groups showcase resilient garden practices, along with ways to transform your backyard into a family sustaining ‘farm.’ The South Mountain Partnership Day features booths with representatives from various environmentally focused organizations from Carlisle south to the Mason Dixon Line. There is even Fairy Day, with child friendly activities!  

Shopping locally supports the local economy which means supporting our neighbors.  Plus it is climate friendly. Merchandise & food have not traveled the world to reach your reusable shopping bag. If you’ve never been to the Farmer’s Market, give it a try!

Visiting St. James

Office Hours: 

Monday—office closed
TuesdayFriday, 9:00 a.m.—3:30 p.m.
Wednesday until 5:30 p.m.

Parish Records

50+ Wedding Anniversaries
May 14           Barry and Donna Bixler              63 years
May 22           Jerry and Sandra Mills               59 years

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]