109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – November 2023

The Messenger – November 2023

You can download a copy of The Messenger with graphics. Or if you just want to read the text, keep scrolling! November 2023 Events Calendar at St. James Lutheran Church.

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

A Message From Pastor Andrew

“After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.

16They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; 17for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
-Revelation 7:9, 16-17

In the life of the church, the month of November always begins with the Feast Day of All Saints.  The day we remember those saints who have died and reflect on our own sainthood – our being made right through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

At its core, All Saints Day speaks to our belief in the connection between those in Heaven and those on Earth.  One of the gifts of Lutheranism is that Luther was not simply a theologian – one concerned with the more abstract concepts of our faith – but a pastor who taught and preached and wrote to common people about those practical concerns around life and death.  He recognized that death was simply a part of life, and with this, was a topic that shouldn’t be avoided or ignored. 

In one of his table talks, Luther is recorded as saying, “I do not like to see people glad to die… Great saints do not like to die. The fear of death is natural, for death is a penalty; therefore, it is something sad.”   At the same time, amidst this fear and sadness that naturally comes with death, Luther was clear that the death of a Christian is fundamentally different.  In a sermon based on 1 Corinthians, Luther proclaimed; “We must henceforth learn a new language and speech in talking of death and the grave when we die. It should not be called dying but being sown for the coming summer and that the churchyard or burial mound is not a mound of dead bodies but an acre full of grain, called God’s grain, which is to sprout again.”

Back in June, as we began our Church Growth Campaign with Pastor Nathan, our leadership was challenged to spend some time thinking about our St. James epitaph – those words written in memory of us after we die.  While I hope and suspect our community of faith here at St. James will be around for quite some time, like all things, the time will come when our life together comes to an end.  When that time comes, I wonder what our obituary will say?  Will it say that we have lived faithfully into the walk of sacrificial love that Christ calls us to?  That we have gone out to make disciples of all nations?  That we have served our neighbor in need?  That we have proclaimed the Good News and reflected it through our deeds as well?

As we come together for All Saints Day, we remember those who have gone before us – who have run the race, whose baptismal journey has been brought full circle by their death.  At the same time, we remember our own sainthood – our new life in Christ given freely to us by way of God’s grace.  As Pastor Nathan challenged us as a congregation to reflect on our communal epitaph, I wonder what yours will say?  What will you be remembered for?  What will the world say about you when your time on this earthly plane has come to an end? 

The book of Revelation describes our final union with Christ as a gathering like none other.  One beyond our imagination.  A great multitude that no one could count…  People from every nation, from every tribe, people, and language…  No more hunger, no more thirst…  The Lamb, our shepherd, at the center – guiding all to the water of life, wiping away every tear from their eyes… 

It’s often the case, in those deathbed visits pastors make, people reflect on those things in life they wish they had done differently.  “I wish I had been a better spouse… a better parent… a better friend…”  “I wish I had been more caring… more generous… more involved… more loving…”  “I wish I had…” 

Imagine for a moment, if our sainthood in this life – as individuals and together – moved us to make the world reflective of our sainthood in the life to come.  If our epitaph reflected such a life in which our good works resulted in a faith community of such great multitude that no one could count… in a faith community rich in diversity… where all are fed and none go thirsty… the Lamb, our shepherd, at the center, moving us to care for one another and for our neighbor…  Just imagine…  

Pray for those who grieve.  Give thanks for the saints triumphant and allow their memories to be like grain sown for the coming summer, ready to sprout at any moment.  Live into your own sainthood, leaving your mark on this world in a way that is pleasing to God.  And in all things, give thanks for the One who went before us – who gave his life and rose from that dead that we would rise as well. 

With love,
~Pastor Andrew   

A Message From Vicar Libby

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving.          “     -1 Timothy 4: 4-5

The past few weeks have been full of wonderful fall weather. The leaves have changed, the air has become crisp, and evenings are perfect for warm cups of tea and a good book. Amid the pumpkin spice-ness of the Fall  comes the fervor of Halloween costumes and candy, followed seemingly immediately by stores’ abundance of Christmas decorations and holiday trimmings. The commercialization of fall holidays tends to skip over one of my favorite fall days: Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving has always been a simple holiday for my family, one full of friends and family. The day traditionally starts with a Turkey Trot in Newport, PA, an annual event where friends and family gather for a 5K or 10K and a warm cup of turkey soup. The remainder of the day consists of cooking traditional family recipes: turkey, potato stuffing, green bean casserole, baked sweet potatoes, and apple and pumpkin pies. What began as a time of family get-togethers has merged into a hodge-podge of friends and family. We gather around our country-style wooden table with friends who do not have a place to spend the holiday, sharing what we have with those who are in need of family.

President Abraham Lincoln named Thanksgiving a National Holiday on October 3, 1863, following years of conflict in the American Civil War. In his first Thanksgiving proclamation, he  reminded the American people that,

“To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come… [I] do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens [and may it] be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

Thanksgiving is one day that we spend intentionally extending our harvest to others, and a time to be intentionally grateful for what God has given us. It is a day where we are called to live out the Gospel message of love, clothing the naked, warming the cold, and feeding the hungry in body and spirit.

This November, let us not jump straight from Halloween decorations to Christmas celebrations. Let us honor the good creation God has made with joy, receiving all things with a spirit of thanksgiving. Use this day as one of reflection, looking towards unity and a time that all can gather together at a banquet table where all are fed with the feast of the universe.

With Love,

Vicar Libby

Yoga Ministry At St. James !

Join Alli Crowell, St. James member and owner/instructor at RISE Yoga Gettysburg, every Friday from Nov. 17—Dec. 22, at 1:15 pm, for a free Gentle Yoga class centered on the theme of Gratitude. Classes are beginner friendly and accessible to all levels of experience and ability. Yoga Ministry classes are open to the public.

A free-will offering will be collected: during this 6-week session, 50% of offerings collected will be donated to St. James and the other 50% will be donated to the Love Your Brain Foundation, an organization providing free yoga and mindfulness resources to the brain injury community. Bring your own mat and water bottle! Extra yoga mats and props will be available to borrow.  Walk-ins are welcome! but pre-registration is appreciated.   

Learn more about Alli here:  riseyogagettysburg.com

Music Notes From Jonathan Noel – Minister of Music


Twenty-two years ago, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on our nation, I felt the need to write music that would reflect upon my grief and help me to find healing. The result was a twenty-five-minute work for chorus and orchestra based on seven psalms and a passage from Isaiah.

In these scriptures, I found texts that conveyed the many different emotions I was feeling. I named each movement for the salient emotion of its text: Song of Deliverance (Psalm 59:1-5), Song of Vindication (Psalm 54), Song of Pleading (Psalm 102:1-2), Song of Despondency (Psalm 22:1-2), Song of Assurance (Psalm 121), Song of Confidence (Psalm 27:1, 3-14), Song of Comfort (Psalm 23). The final movement, Song of Peace, is the only text not drawn from the psalms. It is the vision of peace from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 11:1-9), sometimes referred to as “the peaceable kingdom.” The whole work was, for me, a journey through the grief process. Through the process of grappling with the texts, writing the music, and later having it performed, I found healing from the trauma of the September 11th tragedies.

As we see yet another terrorist attack, this time in the Middle East, we struggle once again with those raw emotions. We can pick up the psalter. We can read of joy and grief, of pain and struggle, of anger and despair. And we find those beautiful moments in the psalms, when seemingly incompatible emotions are held in tension: in the midst of grief, praise for God’s deliverance, in the midst of doubt, assurance of God’s presence. We can find mirrored in the psalms possibly every human emotion.

In the lectionary, the church at large has seen fit to assign a psalm among the readings for each Sunday. At St. James, during the pandemic, psalm singing was put aside along with many other things. Recently the worship and music committee has recommended we restore the act of psalm singing to our Sunday services. These beloved texts were missed because of their familiarity and power. I pray that you will find the psalms personally helpful to you as they have been to me in the most challenging times in my life.

Jonathan Noel 

St. James Early Learning Center—Giving Spree

St. James Lutheran Church Early Learning Center is participating in the 2023 Giving Spree on November 9.  The Giving Spree is a wonderful community wide fundraiser; the contributions the ELC receives will support our scholarship fund to make tuition more affordable to households. This is the primary fundraiser for the Early Learning Center.  All contributions received during the Giving Spree will have an incentive match based on the amount they raise.  To give to St. James ELC, please designate funds to #89. 

In each of the last two years the Giving Spree earned the distinction of being the largest per capita giving day in the USA. Adams Countians gave more than $3 million to support 100 nonprofits in 2021 and again in 2022.  This year they hope to engage 3,200 donors and raise $4 million for Adams County nonprofits. Everything raised in Adams County stays in Adams County to help our local community.

Donors can participate in the Giving Spree in a multitude of ways:

  • Attend in-person or Drop off your donation:  Gettysburg Area Middle School (37 Lefever St., Gettysburg, PA) from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  •  Give online:  Visit ACCFGivingSpree.org on November 9,  12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
  •  Mail in your donation with completed Donation Form:  Mail to Adams County Community Foundation, 25 South 4th St., Gettysburg, PA  17325; please mail your donation early so it arrives before 11/9

You can visit www.ACCFGivingSpree.org and download the 2023 Giving Spree Guide for Donors. The Guide includes nonprofit descriptions, a Donation Form, and answers to many frequently asked questions.

Donors can make a gift by check, credit card, stock, qualified charitable distribution from an IRA or grant from a private foundation or donor advised fund. When completing the Giving Spree Donation Form, donors can:

  • GIVE TODAY and support the St. James ELC with an immediate gift,
  • GIVE FOREVER and earmark your Giving Spree gift to a permanent endowment, which will support the St. James ELC year-after-year. Forever gifts are invested by the Community Foundation and each year 4.5% of the permanent endowment will be sent to the nonprofit selected by the donor.

Thank you for considering St. James Lutheran Church
Early Learning Center #89 for the Giving Spree!!

Worship Previews

November 4 & 5
All Saints Sunday

All Saints celebrates the baptized people of God, living and dead, who are the body of Christ. As November heralds the dying of the landscape in many northern regions, the readings and liturgy call us to remember all who have died in Christ and whose baptism is complete. At the Lord’s table we gather with the faithful of every time and place, trusting that the promises of God will be fulfilled and that all tears will be wiped away in the new Jerusalem.

Guest Dialogue:  Pastor Fritz Foltz & Andy Keyser (all 3 services)

Readings: Revelation 7:9-17 1 John 3:1-3
Psalm 34, 1-10, 22 Matthew 5:1-12

Fellowship, hosted by Finance Committee & Mission Support

November 11 & 12
Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

Today the prophet Amos calls for justice to roll down like waters. Paul urges us to encourage one another with the promised coming of the Lord. Jesus tells the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids. Surrounded by the faithful of every time and place, we celebrate Christ’s coming in our midst in the word of life and the feast of victory—the marriage feast of the lamb. .

Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell
Readings: Amos 5:18-24 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Psalm 70 Matthew 25:1-3

WaterLife Children’s Service @ 10:45 a.m.

November 18 & 19
Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

Our readings during November speak of the end times. Zephaniah proclaims that the coming day of the Lord will be filled with wrath and distress. Paul says it will come like a thief in the night and urges us to be awake and sober. Jesus tells the parable of the talents, calling us to use our gifts, while we still have time, for the greater and common good. In a world filled with violence and despair, we gather around signs of hope—word, water, bread, and wine—eager to welcome the good news of Christ’s coming among us. 

Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib
Readings: Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18    1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Psalm 90:1-8 [9-11] 12    Matthew 25:14-30

November 25 & 26
Christ The King

On this final Sunday of the church year our gospel is Jesus’ great story of judgment. In the end, the faithful are those who served Christ by ministering to those who are poor, hungry, naked, sick, or estranged. In the first reading God is the shepherd who seeks the lost, weak, and injured and feeds them with justice. We gather this day to celebrate the reign of Christ and his victory over death, yet we await the consummation of all things yet to come. Acknowledging Christ as our merciful ruler, we go forth that his reign may be known in our loving words and deeds.

Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell
Readings: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24   Ephesians 1:15-23
Psalm 95:1-7a   Matthew 25:31-46

Young at Heart: Keeping Up with the Kids: Adam Michael, Director of Youth & Family Ministry

This month in K-5 youth group we are discussing persistence, also known as perseverance. Of all of the traits we’re studying unit to unit, this is the one I struggle with the most.

When I was growing up, education seemed to be geared toward getting the right answers and doing so in a relatively quick amount of time. There was not a lot always of grace for a wrong answer or a slow worker.

Educators seem to build in more grace, particularly for learning developments and bad days than they did when we were children. Still, the rigorous schedule and endless set of demands on teachers makes it difficult to work with kids individually to make sure no one is left behind. This is personal perseverance and the persistent support of parents is so crucial to a child’s development.

Persistence through a Christian lens values determination more than correctness. After all, God was patient with Moses as he made up excuse after excuse not to challenge Pharoah. God was also patient with the Israelites as they griped their way through the wilderness. He allowed them pockets of comfort before urging them to press forward toward the promised land once again. While God’s people failed specific challenges, they rose to the occasion in the end.

Kids at every level of our youth group have heard me say “failure is not the opposite of progress. It’s an essential part of it.” This was a faint if not completely missing element during my education and made me feel ashamed to fail publicly, whether practicing educational components or performing in sports.

In St. James youth group, we try to celebrate our failures as much as our successes, so long as proper effort was given. Whether we succeed or fail, we try to review our processes and clean them up a bit for the next trial. Not because perfection is important, but because effort gives the things we do purpose and helps us engage with a lively spirit.

Thanks for the Bikes!: Our St. James Youth would like to thank the congregation of St. James and beyond for providing 77 bicycles on Oct. 14. The bikes were collected by a nonprofit called Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg. They will be restored to good working order or stripped down for parts so that they can be used by people in need of transportation or recreation!

Upcoming events:

November 12 – WaterLife Service: Our child-friendly WaterLife service will be held Sunday, Nov. 12 at 10:45 a.m. Our kids will show off their musical talents by singing another song written and choreographed by Minister of Music Jonathan Noel.

November 17-19 – Middle School Youth Retreat: Our middle school youth will hike, play, sing and explore their way through the hillsides of Camp Nawakwa in Arendtsville for an entire weekend. We will be in the midst of our studying beauty in the Bible and beyond. Nawakwa will make a perfect backdrop!

Adam Michael

Youth and Family Director

November Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is coming to an end. We have been collecting items to fill 60 boxes since the kickoff, “Christmas in July,” began. Thank you to everyone who has contributed items or donations to help with shipping costs. Your generosity is appreciated. The boxes will be packed on November 5th by the youth during the Sunday School hour and they will be blessed at the services on November 12th. The boxes are sent all over the world and for many children, this may be the first gift they have ever received. What a blessing for both the recipients and the givers. Thanks again for brightening these children’s lives!  

Council Corner, October 18 Meeting Highlights

En Bloc Agenda

  •  Approval of Minutes from September 20, 2023 
  • Acceptance of Treasurer’s Report:  Church & ELC Financials
  •  Acceptance of New Members:  Via affirmation of faith, 12 new members will join St. James on Reformation Sunday 
  • Motion from Youth Group:  St. James Youth Group requests to hold a bake sale fundraiser during the Family Halloween Party on Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 5 to 7 p.m. This fundraiser will benefit the National Youth Gathering in summer 2024. 
  • Motion from Personnel and Executive Committee to hire Julie Albert as Administrative Coordinator. 

The En Bloc Agenda was approved unanimously.


Pastor Andrew brought up the possibility of a house gifted to St. James by the estate of a member. The house could be sold and the monies placed into an endowment, subject to a congregational vote and synod approval.
Old Business
S.M.A.R.T. Goals Review

September Giving2 & 39 & 1016 & 1723 & 24AVG
Worship Attendance205277262201236
Actual Giving Offering$10,825$16,840$14874$9768$13,076

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

Worship Attendance Goal of 250 attendees:  not met     

Budget Goal:  not met      

  • Church Vitality Taskforce Update: Pastor Andrew discussed his Oct. 16 coaching session with Nathan, focusing on leadership skills and raising up lay leaders in the church. The task force itself will be meeting this month, and a letter to the congregation could be coming soon. It was also noted by our recent “Secret Shopper” that the artwork around the church could use a refresh.
  • Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. update: St. James will begin hosting cold-weather guests at the end of the month, and sponsoring the morning breakfasts for the first two weeks and for the two weeks near Christmas. The remaining two-week breakfast rotations will be provided by other C.A.R.E.S. churches. One professional overnight staffer has been hired, with the possibility of another hire later. Pastor Andrew officially has joined the C.A.R.E.S. board. 
  • ELC assistant director: filling this position has been put on hold 
  • ELC cleaning service: a new cleaning service has been on the job two weeks 
  • 2024 Synod Assembly: Nominations for voting members to attend the Synod Assembly will be accepted at the annual congregation meeting on 11/19

New Business

  • 2024 St. James Budget: the proposed 2024 budget was adopted (with one dissenting vote) and now will be presented to the congregation for a final vote at the November 19 annual congregation meeting.  
  • 2024 ELC Budget:  Council adopted a motion to return the proposed 2024 ELC budget to the ELC with the recommendation to consider changing the proposed 2024 weekly tuition increase from 4 percent to 6 percent, with the additional 2 percent to be used for staff salaries.
  • 2024 Sharing Ministry Budget:  the proposed 2024 budget was adopted and now will be presented to the congregation for a final vote at the November 19 annual congregation meeting.  
  • Church Insurance:  Bower Insurance has presented a proposal to insure the church based on its comparison with our current insurance plan. Council will look at an apples-to-apples comparison of the two plans at its November meeting.
  • Discussion: The RIC Taskforce is asking to become a committee, and a decision has been put on hold pending a discussion with the taskforce at an upcoming council meeting as to why this group should transition.
  • Formation of Art Taskforce: The council noted there is no need to form this taskforce, as the Art & Design Committee already exists but has been dormant. It now will begin work again to address how to update the St. James art collection. 

Looking Ahead

  • Annual Meeting Sunday, November 19, 2023 at 12 noon

Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God

  • St. James hosted a RIC table at Gettysburg College during National Coming Out Day, and lots of traffic was reported.
  • Operation Christmas Child reports more than 60 boxes will be filled and shipped. More soap and money for postage was requested.
  • Council will provide coffee and refreshments between the 8:15 am and 10:45 am services on November 19, prior to the annual congregational meeting at noon.
  • Next Council Meeting via Zoom only:  Wed, Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Creation Care Task Force

  It’s the beginning of November in Eden. What have Adam and Eve been up to? They are picking the last apples (the authorized ones, of course) and putting pumpkins and gourds around to pretty the place up as the leaves start to fall. One thing they aren’t doing is a lot of raking. Since they are charged with taking care of all the animal life around the place, they are setting up winter habitat for birds and pollinators.
  Adam is raking the turf grass, knowing that wet, matted leaves are a problem for growing good grass, and he’s got a spot out back where he can pile them. Mowing those leaves before piling them allows faster composting, but piling them as they are, only means they won’t decay as fast. Add fallen branches and stems as they accumulate through the winter for even more protection. This will provide a safe, warm place for many insects – butterflies and bees among them – to overwinter. Adam is leaving the leaves around the trees that are out of the way, too. As they decay, it fertilizes those trees the way God intended, just like in a forest.
  The flower beds? Eve knows that several bee species overwinter in hollow perennial stems; she’ll cut them in late March. If you feel the need to cut your hollow-stemmed perennials, tie them like corn shocks and stand them up. Many perennial flowers’ seeds are also winter food for several birds that spend the winter here. Creation Care fall yard clean up doesn’t have to be a lot of work. In fact, this might even save you a few hours.
-Tips from the Creation Care Task Force

Save- The  – Date, Visit :  StJamesGettysburg.org/events
Church Wide Events; All Are Welcome !

Nov. 5— All Saint’s Sunday, Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing during Sunday School

Nov. 12—WaterLife Service: Join Us at 10:45 am in the worship area to witness what our kids have been learning over the past few weeks in youth group.  Listen to the kids sing a song written and choreographed by Mr. Johnathan !

Nov. 22— Join us for our Thanksgiving Eve Bluegrass Liturgy: Dinner & Worship.  Dinner will be served at 5:00 pm.  Worship service to follow at 7:00 pm, which will include a Blessing of the Quilts. 

All Saints Sunday—November 5

We begin the month of November with All Saints Sunday.  The day of the Church year that we draw our attention to the saints – those who have gone before and those of us who continue to walk as yet by faith.  We remember in prayer :

Linda K. Straka

Lawrence K. Kinneman

Margaret Jean Bair

Frederick J. Horak

Hunter McClosky

Diane L. Wisotzkey

Ralph H. McGregor

Milton D. “Babe” Moyer

Mary Ellen Murrey

Glenn H. Hankey

Eric Little

William H. Bushman

Donna M. Taylor

John S. Reed

Joe Wisotzkey

Julius H. Swope

Carolyn G. Nicholson

Barry E. Sixeas

Cecil D. Sandoe

Elizabeth K. Gardner

Delores A. Cunningham

Marcia F. Hawk

Donald J. McKnight

Yvette Holt

Evelyn J. Fair

Dave Coshun

Charlotte Brooks

Robert G. Leedy

Wanda L. Allender

Ali Frimpter

Janice A. Rebert

Loretta M. Hoffman

Betsy Cameron Bender

Anna M. Swope

Larry G. Weikert

Col. Guinn E. Unger, Sr.

James B. Dickinson Jr.

James R. Lohuis

Recycling Batteries  – 2023

On November 12 (after you have replaced your smoke detector batteries & turned your clocks back), we will again have green boxes for battery recycling.  Please DO NOT bring batteries that have ANY corrosion or leakage.  Acceptable batteries include Alkaline (AA, AAA, C, D, 9V); Lithium (AA, AAA, metal button batteries); Li-ion power tools (small), laptop, and cell phone. For safety, put clear tape over the terminals of 9V batteries. if you are able, line up button batteries on a clear strip of tape and then put another strip on top.   If you would like to help pack the box for shipping, please contact Kay MacDowell at [email protected]

Parish Records

50+ Wedding Anniversaries
November 20                       Dave & Brenda Heberling                            53 years                     

September 6       James B. Dickinson Jr.
September 30     Jim Lohuis

20th Anniversary of Ordination
November 23   Deacon Barbara K. Schmitthenner

Visiting St. James

Office Hours: 

Monday—office closed

TuesdayFriday, 9:00 a.m.—3:30 p.m.

Wednesday until 5:30 p.m.

The rear door at the parking lot is open. Come on in!!