109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – October 2020

The Messenger – October 2020

A printable version of this month’s Messenger with graphics is available to view and download. If all you’re looking for is the text, feel free to scroll!

A message from Pastor Mike and Pastor Andrew

“Because of God’s great love we are not consumed, for God’s compassions never fail.  They are new every morning:  great is your faithfulness.  God is good to those whose hope is in God….it is good to wait patiently…..” [Lamentations 22:26].

Great is God’s faithfulness!  This phrase comes from the OT Book of Lamentations, written at a most difficult time in the history of the Israelite people.  We are given the assurance that even in difficult times, God continues to do God’s work.  We give thanks for God’s faithfulness in this pandemic time! 

Since March all of us together have struggled to make some sense as to what this pandemic means to our daily rhythms of life.  Life together—with loved ones, friends, colleagues, church members—has taken on new meaning.  With the opening of school, many of our lives have now been affected to new and more challenging ways.   So many things in our lives that were on a comprehensible schedule are no longer guided by any clearly-defined timetable.

It is absolutely clear from those days in mid-March that for me, Pr. Andrew and the entire staff here at St. James your safety as a faith community has been utmost in our minds.  Every one of our decisions thus far has been based on the best of our knowledge, made for your safety and concern.

For some of you, this has been a time when your spiritual lives have been enriched and nurtured in ways not expected previously.  But for others, loneliness, isolation, and separation have taken us to a difficult place, not unlike the time when the writer of Lamentations was struggling to make sense of how God fits into a difficult life-situation.  In the midst of all this, we have been heartened by the way you have responded to our needs for worship leaders, for connections with our youth, for mask-making, donations of food, financial generosity, as well as planning for events we hope to schedule as we move into the fall of the year.

Yes, we do take notice how many “hits” we get on our virtual worship services each week, but we cannot settle for a “spectator” congregation.  In all of this our intent is to be present to you and be engaged with you.  We love to hear from you on social media, by card, or by phone.  We continue to offer prayers for your loved ones who are sick or who have lost family members through death.

We are close to finalizing a policy for returning to worship and other large-group gatherings in the church building.  We will continue to hold our outdoor service at Camp Nawakwa through November.  For the small groups who have been using our building, we feel we have been able to keep individuals safe, as well as encourage community-building in a way that helps hold us together.

Our prayer is for you all to stay connected and above all stay strong in your faith.  We hope the words of Lamentations can sustain you, the writer who did not write out of despair or hopelessness, but rather out of a deep and abiding faith, knowing and professing the very faithfulness of God at a time when God’s faithfulness might sometimes be difficult to discern.

We are grateful for you, for your love and support, for your faith in our faithful God!

Blessings,        Pastor Mike and Pastor Andrew

Worship Previews


In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells a vineyard parable, which serves as an image of Israel, the prophets’ mission, and Christ’s death. For Christians, the vineyard also speaks of God’s love poured out in the blood of Christ, given to us for the forgiveness of sin. Grafted onto Christ the vine at baptism, we are nourished with wine and bread so that we may share Christ’s sufferings and know the power of his resurrection.

Readings:  Isaiah 5:1-7; Matthew 21:33-46.     


In Isaiah we are given a vision of the great feast to come, when God will wipe away death forever. In Jesus’ parable about a great banquet, those invited do not come, so the invitation is extended to others. In our liturgy God spreads a table before us. Even amid anxiety and hardship we rejoice in the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. With great joy we feast at the table of the Lord, and we go forth to share the wonderful invitation with others hungering and thirsting for the abundant life of God.

Readings:  Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14.  


In today’s first reading God uses the Gentile ruler Cyrus to accomplish divine purposes. When the Pharisees try to trap Jesus, he tells them to give the emperor what belongs to him and to God what belongs to God. To gather for worship reminds us that our ultimate allegiance is to God rather than to any earthly authority. Created in the image of God, we offer our entire selves in the service of God and for the sake of the world.

Readings:  1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Psalm 96:1-9; Matthew 22:15-22.  


Jesus’ summary of the law in today’s gospel echoes our first reading from Leviticus. We are called not only to love God with heart, soul, and mind, but also to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is out of such deep care that Paul shares the gospel with the Thessalonian community. In the confession of sins, we acknowledge that we have not loved God, neighbor, and self; yet we gather to hear the word of forgiveness and to be strengthened by word and meal to be signs of God’s love and mercy in the world.

Readings:  John 8:31-36; Psalm 46; Philippians 2:1-13; Romans 3:19-25.   

You are cordially invited to attend outdoor services at Camp Nawakwa!

October 4 and October 18 at 9:30 a.m. in the Upper Camp


  • Communion elements
  • Chair / blanket
  • Bulletin and pen
  • Masks (must be worn at all times)


  • Tents / canopies
  • Pets
  • Picnic baskets

(Bathrooms open for emergencies, please sign in on clipboard, offerings dropped at table)


As a part of our continued efforts to connect with people throughout our current COVID reality, Pastor Mike and Pastor Andrew will continue setting aside time on Monday mornings in the Music Room from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. for small group conversation.

The pastors begin with a short devotion, which is followed by general check-ins and discussion, and ends in prayer.  In accordance with CDC guidelines and in following the recommendations and policies set forth by our COVID-19 Taskforce, masks are required and a maximum number of participants each week of 13 has been set (sign-up online ahead of time). People can also call the office (717-334-2012) to sign-up as an attendee if they aren’t comfortable signing up online.

We look forward to this time together!

Pastor Mike and Pastor Andrew

World Outreach Committee Call for Action

Spurred by the summer news from Lutheran World Relief of many disasters, the World Outreach Committee voted to respond on two fronts.

 The Beirut port disaster caused fire and chemical explosions destroying quilts and kits on four container ships in the port.  These supplies were meant for Syrian refugees arriving or living in Lebanon and their loss creates an urgent need.  Recent news of the revolving hurricanes and forest fires here in the United States brings disaster awareness very close to home (lwr.org/emergencies-us).

Accordingly, the World Outreach Committee voted to respond to LWR’s appeal by making quilts and providing school kits. For guidelines for Quilt and Kit Ministries, visit their website (lwr.org/getinvolved).

The St. James Quilt Committee members have been working at home throughout the COVID quarantine to prepare quilt tops. Thanks to John and Joanne Fisher for picking up batting at Belmont Fabrics in Paradise, PA, the committee has the materials to finish these quilts.  Recent policy adjustments by the St. James COVID team now permit access to the choir room as a work-space for up to three volunteers, and allowed two members to add batting and backing to about 30 tops.  VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED TO STITCH AND/OR KNOT THESE QUILTS.  Please call Claire Anderson at 717 779-6280 if you can help us with either.  We are also looking for volunteers willing to make 50” x 80” quilt tops at home over the winter.  Claire will provide further information.

The Lutheran World Relief warehouse reports that its SCHOOL KIT supplies are low.  The World Outreach Committee seeks to engage St. James members of all ages to help us fill this need.  We will provide cloth backpacks at the October 18th Camp Nawakwa service and/or in the church lobby for volunteers to fill with the following:

  • (4 ) 70 page spiral notebooks
  • box of 16 or 24 crayons
  • pencil sharpener
  • 30 CENTIMETER ruler
  • (5) unsharpened pencils
  • (5) black or blue stick ball point pens
  • pair of blunt tip scissors
  • 2 ½” eraser

(This list will be included in the backpack bags.)

Look for details mid-October. Monetary gifts are always welcome for shipping costs.

“Inasmuch as ye have done to the least of my brethren, ye have done for me.”
Matthew  25:40

Battery Recycling Update

WOW, what a response!  The Creation Care Task Force thanks all those who dropped off batteries during July to be safely recycled and disposed of.  With a Thrivent Team Action Grant, we purchased 4 Big Green Boxes (honestly, the name of the company is The Big Green Box). So many batteries were brought in that the Mission Support Committee provided money for two more boxes.  In total approximately 240 pounds of batteries were packed and shipped. 

The earth is smiling thanks to each of you.

Each box costs $65 which covers the costs of recycling and shipping, so until we have funds to purchase more Big Green Boxes, we have discontinued accepting more batteries. 

Again, thank you to all who participated.

Update from the Music Minister Task Force

“I love that we are a singing congregation!”

“We need to stand on the foundation that the congregation has built here.”

“We must engage the congregation in this process.”

“I think we need to be totally open to new possibilities
 and NOT throw away tradition.”

“My family loves the Lutheran liturgy.”

These were the key sentiments enthusiastically shared at the first meeting of the St. James music minister task force.  We met for the first time in August.  Each member shared things that were really important to them as we begin our work.  First, let me share a little history:

In the mid 1970s, the leadership of this congregation decided to think differently about how St. James would increase and enhance the music ministry in worship and the life of the congregation.  These discussions ultimately would lead to this congregation hiring its first full-time minister of music, Tim Braband.  After Tim’s 45 years of leadership to the life of this congregation’s music and worship, it is time to do this again.  We now will be engaging again on what this congregation wants in the future of its music and worship life.

In August we started this important work.  Beginning this week, each member of the congregation will be invited to share feedback on what music in the life of this congregation will look like in the years ahead.  Today you will find in this Messenger two ways to share your feedback.  We want to hear from you, your spouse, and your children and grandchildren.  One way we want to hear from you is through FlipGrid.  We’d like to pick your brain on a few important questions and invite you to answer them in video format.  We felt it was important to get St. James members talking about what it is they value in our music and in our worship.  Additionally, we want to hear about what it is you’re looking for in the future. One of the great things about this format is that we all can see and hear from each other what is important to us as a congregation and connect—if not actually face-to-face, at least virtually—to share what the future of music ministry looks like at St. James. The task force has prepared a 1-minute tutorial on how to use this tool for those who are unfamiliar with it, which you will see in this month’s e-blasts.

Your feedback in the weeks ahead will be the backbone of our work as we begin the search for the next music minister or music ministry team of St. James.  Before we begin a formal search, we know that having these conversations will be so important.  Our task force needs to know what’s on your mind so that the next person (or even persons) hired to lead our music ministry is a reflection of the congregation’s values and intentions. 

Our task force will keep you updated in the months ahead on our work.  Please stay tuned.  First, though, we need to hear from you.  Our personnel committee has asked the following individuals to serve on this task force:  Dan Bringman, Alli Crowell, Jim Dunlop, Sharon Kaya, John Kloster, Bill Leslie, Kyle Smith, Sherry Waybright, and Pastor Mike and Pastor Andrew.  Again, please take time to share with us by following the link below.  Thank you in advance for the time and thought you take to provide your important feedback.

–Jim Dunlop, task force chair

Participate by going to the Flipgrid link (flipgrid.com/stjamesmusic) on your device and using the guest password. Guest Password: Music2020!

OR download the FlipGrid App to participate on your mobile device. Join code: stjamesmusic 

Congregation Council Meeting Minutes

St. James Lutheran Church
Wednesday, August 19, 2020; 7:00 PM
1000 Heritage Dr, Gettysburg, PA 17325

Call to Order and Roll Call

Devotions were provided by Pr. Andrew Geib.

New Members/Baptisms

Cole Anthony Johnson and Josephine Sue Crigger: Accepted into membership by unanimous consent.

Minutes from July 15, 2020, accepted as amended by unanimous consent.

Treasurer’s Report

  • Church Financials: Congregation has brought in $11,792 more in giving than expenses year-to-date.   We have benefited from the PPP Loan which is in the church’s account.  A portion of that will be allocated to childcare based on the ability to gain forgiveness. 
  • ELC Financials: An emergency CARES grant came in which has alleviated some of the funding of the childcare center.  P&L has improved dramatically in the last month given the enrollment challenges.  As of July 31, the center’s annual deficit has been reduced to $37,115.09.
  • A separate line item is being maintained for all of the extra spending (unbudgeted) related to COVID-19 so that these expenses could be paid for with potentially forgivable funds.
  • Capital Campaign – Report on results to date ($609,490 received, $326,505.91 spent)

COVID-19 impact and plans

  • Things are generally positive. Staff is working hard.  Self-care is an important theme amongst the pastors and staff. 
  • Issues raised regarding the ELC at the July meeting were addressed. A spot-check of ELC was conducted, and things were generally in order and in alignment with guidelines.
  • Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. Update: A.R.E.S. board continues to meet.  Going forward it is unlikely there will be sleeping in churches this year.  The CDC has released guidelines for homeless shelters and few of the churches have facilities to accommodate the guidelines.  Season will be shortened to the likely coldest months of the year.  They’ve looked into utilizing motels and other buildings in the community.  C.A.R.E.S. vision is to shelter homeless people but they’re not sure what that will look like at this time.  The C.A.R.E.S. board continues to meet regularly to evaluate options.
  • The question of masks when groups are outside and socially distanced was raised. Sanders and Pr. Allwein indicated that the Taskforce raised and debated the issue and felt that for safety at this point continued use of masks in that context would be its policy.

Committee and Task Force Reports

  • Property Committee & ARD update: Work continues on the church building and of particular note, the front doors.  Basement enclosures and elevators are more expensive that budgeted.  Window work continues.  HARB will need to approve these changes.  Staff have learned a lot about digital worship and how the congregation could create some enhancements.  Property committee is evaluating turning Room 300 into a chapel for small worship services and filming worship services.  Its proximity to the columbarium also lends itself well to small memorial services.
  • Personnel committee: Music Minister Task Force convened its first meeting and will solicit advice from the congregation and community on the needs for this position.

Old Business

  • Endowment Committee: Endowment Committee recommends an unrestricted bequest of $73,000 be transferred to the ELCA Endowment Fund A Pooled Trust as an undesignated amount. Passed by unanimous consent.
  • Endowment Committee recommends life insurance funds [proceeds] of $100,000 be transferred to the ELCA Endowment Fund A Pooled Trust. Funds will be allocated as currently indicated in the Endowment policy. The balance should be transferred to the Capital Campaign fund. Motion passed by unanimous consent.
  • Committee charter cleanup:

New Business

  • Annual Congregation Meeting: Need for plan to hold the congregation meeting in a different format given the COVID-19 pandemic. Several virtual and in-person options were discussed. Council will take up this matter formally at its September meeting.

Strategic Planning

  • Retreat follow-up: Summary of the work from the retreat was given.  Council previously prioritized the top three into communication, youth, and utilization of space.  There was discussion around these topics and some consensus that the council should visit on the topic of “Utilization of Space” at its next meeting.  Council agreed to meet at the building safely at 6:30pm on September 16 to tour and visually inspect all facilities.

Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God

  • Gods Work Our Hands Sunday: Will be virtual and in conversation with Bishop Mwaipopo of Tanzania. There will also be on-site opportunities at Camp Nawakwa and gleaning with SCCAP. 
  • Meeting closed in prayer.

Congregation Meeting

Sunday, November 15 at 1 p.m. in-person, in worship space (virtual, live participation available)


  • Available October 1 on website & EBlast
  • Printed paper copies available upon request – contact the office


  • Available October 30 on website & EBlast
  • Committee reports due to Katy by October 16

Youth News

Embracing that “new normal”…

Hi friends! After a few long (and honestly, weird) months, it’s SO nice to have some dates to share! Our spring season featured Zooms with our K-12 groups, virtual K-5th Sunday School, and a few videos put together by families and featured in worship! From pen pals to virtual messages thanking our Sunday School teachers, we were connected as the Church even when not physically together! The fall season is bringing new beginnings, and an enthusiastic team effort as we experiment connecting families with our God and each other in a “new-normal”!

Elementary Youth Group is back, and I’m so excited to see how the Lord works in your child’s faith formation this fall. It’s a new routine, with new adult leaders, some new stations, and with so much fun! Go to www.bit.ly/stjkidsmin20 to sign up for Sunday School and Elementary Youth Group!

We are so thankful to have you all back for 6-12th grade Youth Breakfasts! Thanks again to or our cooks and adult leaders who provide this opportunity for our youth to gather in fellowship as they start their day.

Are you an adult hoping to get involved in connecting youth + families this year? There are plenty of opportunities to lead! Set up behind the scenes, lead a small group in K-5 Youth Group, help coordinate events, send out postcards…the list goes on and on! Even if you don’t know what your gifts are, we can find a place for you!

We are SO excited to play, pray, and gather with you all in faith this coming year!

~Miss Kristin

Parish Records


August 24, 2020                      Sharon L. Sterner Sprankle

August 29, 2020                      Kay A. Carlson

August 30, 2020                      Doris G. Bushman

August 31, 2020                      Randy B. Warner

September 8, 2020                 Melvin Jennings “Rusty” Wolfe

September 23, 2020               Robert L. McGlaughlin


September 6, 2020                 Bexley Nadine Nicholas

September 20, 2020               Josephine Sue Crigger


October 10, 1953                    Robert N. & Joanne J. Heflin               67 years

October 20, 1968                    Glenn E. & Jane L. Blocher                  52 years

October 25, 1969                    Michael & Miriam A. Pinko                 51 years

Connect with St. James Online

Employment Opportunity


Follow all DHS regulations, Keystone STARS standards, and CACFP requirements. Collaborate with the Lead Teacher to develop curriculum in response to the needs and interests of the children, and in alignment with the Creative Curriculum and PA Early Learning Standards. Engage children in activities and be involved in their play. Maintain safe and clean environment. Role model appropriate behaviors and manners. Attend staff meetings and obtain required professional development. Patience, energy, and a caring attitude are a must!


Work as part of a cohesive team of Early Childhood Professionals. Interact with children and coworkers to promote high-quality early childhood education in a safe, nurturing environment. Collaborate with families, share information with them daily, including positive feedback.


Must have, or be on-track to obtain, a CDA, or a combination of applicable college credits and experience working with children. Must be able to provide a health assessment with a TB test and pass background clearance checks.

To Apply

Submit a resume and cover letter to Suzan Seibel-Willard, Early Learning Center Director ([email protected]).