109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – October 2023

The Messenger – October 2023

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

October 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

If then there is any encouragement in Christ,
any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

– Philippians 2:1-4

I write to you this month as a pastor proud of the congregation he is called to serve.  I think we can all agree, the world is a difficult place.  One that challenges us in a variety of ways.  For people of faith, these challenges often come from Christ’s call to live in tension with the world. When the world tells us to think about self, our faith guides us to think of our neighbor.  When the world tells us to judge, our faith guides us to extend grace.  When the world tells us to store up, our faith calls us to give away.  The list goes on…

In the midst of this “tension” reality, the month of September was filled with things to celebrate here at SJLC.

Thanks to Mr. Adam and his committed group of volunteers, our youth programming for the year got off to a great start – with growth across all ages.  Thanks to our Christian Education committee and teachers, our Sunday school programming has gotten off to a great start as well.  With both of these ministries, it has been a joy to have the laughter of children fill our building – my heart has been full. 

In the midst of some difficult conversations throughout our school district, many of our members stood up as public witness, extending God’s inclusive love.  In what I would call a defining moment in the life of our congregation, following months of prayerful discussion, we voted to open our building to those in our local community with no place to go – entering into a partnership with Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. to house the homeless during the cold weather months.  Yet again, SJLC has shown up for the marginalized.

As we look to the Fall, please keep an eye out for upcoming events.  There are lots of opportunities for you to participate in ministry.  Read the weekly eBlast and monthly Messenger and continue to check the website for updates.  October brings our first WaterLife service for the year, a Benefit Concert (Pop Music from the 60’s-90’s, from Broadway and the Movies!), our Annual Fall Festival and Blessing of the Animals at the Vossler farm, an informational session on Stephen Ministry, a new members class, quilting days, and our Halloween Open house. 

In addition to these things, we are still looking for more worship volunteers.  We are in need of ushers, readers, communion assistants, acolytes, and assisting ministers.  Worship and Music Committee is also hoping to bring greeters back to the Sunday morning routine in the near future.  If you are interested in serving in worship in any of these areas, please let me know.

For all of this and so much more, I am grateful.  It is good to be church together – to do church together.  To be light in the midst of darkness, to care for those on the margins, and to share God’s love with a world in need.  I am grateful for all of you.  For your faith.  For your faithfulness.  For your commitment to Christ and to His church.

~Pastor Andrew

Grieving As I Search for My Rainbow

Grief is like a rainstorm, it is unplanned, comes out of nowhere… 
Each season brings a new and different type of storm with lightning and thunder… A darkening of the sky, heavy rains, heavy winds, flooding… washing away the world around us, gradually giving way to periods of lighter rain to raindrops again with light breaking through the dark clouds, patches of sunlight, sometimes even a rainbow.

In addition to our monthly grief luncheon at the Federal Pointe Grill, St. James will be offering a seven week series on grief.  The series will be led by Frank George.  Frank is a newer member of the congregation.  He is a Stephen Minister, a licensed grief counselor, and has a lifetime of experience walking with people through the various stages of grief at a funeral home in Baltimore.

The seven-week series will begin Wednesday, October 4 and run through November 15, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in Room 300.  If you are interested in participating in this program, please talk with Pastor Andrew for more information. 

We are grateful for Frank’s willingness to provide this opportunity here at St. James!

A Message From Vicar Libby 

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.  (Matthew 19:14)

One of my favorite parts of being at St. James is the opportunity to interact with our children, especially our “littles,” who have not started Kindergarten. A busy day or a difficult pastoral care visit can be cured with some time in the Early Learning Center’s infant room or spending time playing with our toddlers in the youth yard.

Last spring I started helping Adam with child care chapel time. I love spending time planning Bible Stories and games to share the message of God’s love. I am often amazed at the enthusiasm and knowledge of our “littles.”

Adam and I have been teaching the story of Moses and the liberation of the Hebrew people from the Egyptians. We’ve “floated” Baby Moses down the River, pretended to be “Burning Bushes,” and practiced our listening skills identifying the sounds of God’s creation. Among all these lessons is a common activity: kids shouting “LET MY PEOPLE GO!” at the top of their lungs. They are excited about church, and look forward to learning more about a God who sees and welcomes the “least of these.”

Wednesday, September 13 was a day full of youth events: breakfast with Middle and High School Youth, Child Care Chapel, Youth Group, and Assistant Minister Training. The Waybright family,  Findley, Burke, Carter, and baby Kathryn came to training with their mom, Jenna, to learn how to become acolytes and bell ringers. Findley and Burke absorbed all of Pastor Andrew’s teaching and will be wonderful acolytes in the coming weeks.

Carter, who participates in our Child Care Chapel time with Pre-School, was excited to learn the finer details of being an acolyte, as well. He followed his siblings everywhere, watching them, and wanting to do everything they were, from lighting candles to reading and bell ringing.

Carter reminded me that evening that we too, should be excited to serve God in any way that we can, with the enthusiasm of a young child. We are called not only to use our own gifts for the benefit of God’s creation, but also to encourage the children in our lives to do the same. Bring your children to church, but also celebrate the ways that they add to our celebration of God’s love. The noise, laughter, and occasional escapes to the altar are ways that our children are experiencing a church and a God that is welcoming of us all.

With Love,
Vicar Libby

New Church Directory Coming Your Way!

We are very excited to put together a new church directory this fall.  We will be utilizing a do-it-yourself directory instead of using a photographer-based company; we are using Instant Church Directory. They feature an app and web-based directory that church members can access, and they also provide a downloadable version of the directory which we will print this winter.  The plus side to the app is that it is always accessible and up-to-date.

Households can log-in and update their contact information plus upload their own photo.  If you would prefer we take a photo and upload it to the directory for you, we’re happy to help!  There is a Photo Station available at the top of the stairs. 

Read more & get all of the details.  Or ask a member of the Evangelism Committee!  They’d be happy to chat with you! 

Anne Gomer, Carol Cook, Susan Henry, Shirley Sanders, Cindy Scott, Sherry Waybright, Cindy Zepp

Contemplative Prayer Group

After almost two years of COVID, retirements, moves, illnesses, and an ordination, the Contemplative Prayer Group has begun meeting again!  We meet on the fourth Friday of each month, 9:30 a.m.—11:00 a.m., in Room 300.

If you like solitude, being in silence with time for reading and sharing brief reflections, this group is for you! 

For more information, contact Mary Stevenson, 717-870-9048, [email protected].

Music Notes from Jonathan

Recent conversations around how to live more fully into our designation as a Reconciling in Christ congregation sparked questions in my mind about how our music ministry can become more welcoming. These questions include how to refer to voice parts in choirs, how to critique texts for inclusivity and gender sensitivity, and how to give more equity to under-represented cultures and composers.

This season, I began using non-binary language in choir rehearsals, breaking the habit of referring to vocal parts by gender. The use of terms such as soprano, alto, tenor, and bass are not only clearer, but also much more welcoming to non-binary singers and to those who sing in a vocal range that is unusual for their gender, such as female tenors or male altos.

Finding texts, old and new, that are inclusive and relevant to our time is a challenge. Fortunately, the creative spark is inspiring hymnwriters to produce an outpouring of texts that meet these goals. Often, it is a new hymn or anthem that best fills a need in worship. It is no wonder the psalmist tells us to “sing a new song.” Newer music deserves a place at the table.

Lutheran Christians have a fantastic musical heritage. We call JS Bach one of our own. However, it is essential to incorporate the ever-expanding cultures within our faith tradition. This summer, the choir sang the Kenyan hymn, “Here on Jesus Christ I Will Stand.” Following the service, I met a grateful United Lutheran Seminary student from Tanzania. They had been singing along in Swahili and felt most welcomed by the inclusion of that hymn!

These are topics that have been on my mind for years. However, as St. James wrestles with what it means to be a truly inclusive faith community, I have resolved to be more intentional in bringing the music ministry into this conversation.

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

September 30 & October 1
Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Jesus’ parable about two sons who don’t do what they say reveals surprises in the reign of God. In the reading from Ezekiel the people claim the ways of the Lord are unfair, while God offers repentance and new life. Paul urges us to look to Christ as a model of humility, putting the interests of others above our own. Nourished by the broken bread and shared cup, we offer our lives for the sake of our needy world.

Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib
Readings: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 | Philippians 2:1-13 | Psalm 25:1-9 | Matthew 21:23-32

Fellowship, hosted by Seekers Sunday School class & Reconciling in Christ Taskforce
WaterLife Children’s Service at 10:45 a.m.

October 7 & 8
Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost

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.

Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell
Readings: Isaiah 5:1-7 | Philippians 3:4b-14 | Psalm 80:7-15 | Matthew 21:33-46

October 14 & 15
Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost

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.

Preacher: Pastor Andrew Geib
Readings: Isaiah 25:1-9 | Philippians 4:1-9 | Psalm 23 | Matthew 22:1-14

October 21 & 22
Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost

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.

Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell
Readings: Isaiah 45:1-7 1 | Thessalonians 1:1-10 | Psalm 96:1-9 [10-13] | Matthew 22:15-22

October 28 & 29
Reformation & 5th Sunday Servant Event

Rooted in the past and growing into the future, the church must always be reformed in order to live out the love of Christ in an ever-changing world. We celebrate the good news of God’s grace, that Jesus Christ sets us free every day to do this life-transforming work. Trusting in the freedom given to us in baptism, we pray for the church, that Christians will unite more fully in worship and mission.

Preacher: Vicar Libby Baker-Mikesell
Readings: Jeremiah 31:31-34 | Romans 3:19-28 | Psalm 46 | John 8:31-36

Young at Heart: Keeping Up with the Kids

Adam Michael, Director of Youth & Family Ministry

Free will is a tricky thing to pin down.

When put in a difficult situation and given an instant to make a decision, our actions are mostly, if not entirely, determined by our instincts, our mindset, how we’ve responded to and learned from previous experiences, and hopefully, the will of God.

We like the idea of being able to choose from a litany of outcomes and pride ourselves on making great choices. But in a pinch, we are limited to the choices we can imagine based on our experience. Often, we react in the way that is most familiar, but doesn’t always produce the best outcome. That’s why awareness is such an important trait for our kids. By studying our present, we can change our thinking and influence future actions.

These past five weeks or so, we’ve asked the kids to tap into their God-given senses – sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing – to learn more about the environments around them. We asked them to intentionally notice things that would otherwise go unnoticed, then asked them what God might be trying to tell them through noticing it.

In the following weeks we learned about The Good Samaritan and discussed how we can be more aware to our neighbor’s needs, even when we are at odds with our neighbor.

Through the story of Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, we considered whether we can trust the words of those who say they do not need help. We determined that sometimes awareness of our inner calling and that of the Holy Spirit is more important than the words others say.

And while studying the Road to Damascus, we discussed how we can be transformed by Jesus’ love. In the story, Saul, who killed and imprisoned Christians through his early adult life, has an encounter with the Holy Spirit. On the way to Damascus he falls off his horse, is scared into submission by a vision of Christ, and is temporarily blinded.

The Christians who capture him could have sought revenge but instead, through the call of Christ, a man named Anias heals Saul and restores his vision. Made aware of the power of Christ’s love, Saul changes his name to Paul and becomes a key figure in creating today’s modern-day church.

Though Christ makes his message clear to Saul, its a human experience with loving, restorative care that erases the fog of hatred and lets Saul see things clearly.

Had the Good Samaritan, Ruth, or Saul not paid attention to their surroundings, conflicting emotions and experiences, they would still have been loved by God, but would have missed opportunities to become God’s messengers. Hopefully, by listening to God, looking ahead, and planning action steps for change, our kids will open their hearts in transformative ways.

Church-Wide Events; All are Welcome!

Oct. 1—WaterLife service: Join us at 10:45 a.m. in the worship area to witness what our kids have been learning over the last five weeks in youth group. Listen to them sing a song about spiritual awareness written by Mr. Jonathan!

Oct. 1—Come on out for our annual fall apple picking trip:  Apple Gleaning! Adams County Nursery invites St. James to come pick apples at 1:30 p.m.  The apples that we glean from the orchard will be donated to local food banks

Oct. 8—Enjoy some good ol’ fashioned country church fellowship on the farm at 1 p.m. The Vosslers invite St. James to come to their farm for our Annual Fall Festival & Blessing of the Animals. Even if you don’t have animals to include in the blessing, all are welcome!

Oct. 14—We will be collecting no-longer-used bicycles on Saturday, October 14 in the St. James parking lot from 9:00 a.m. until noon.  In 2022 we collected over 120 bicycles and donated them to Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg.

Oct. 24—Halloween Festival:  Play some tricks, earn some treats, take some fun pictures, and don’t forget your costume! St. James will hold its annual Halloween Festival from 5 to 7:30 p.m. before the start of Gettysburg’s Halloween parade. There will be games, prizes, spooky music and more!

Council Corner, September 20 Meeting Highlights

En Bloc Agenda

  • Approval of Minutes from August 16, 2023 
  • Acceptance of Treasurer’s Report:  Church Financials & ELC Financials 
  • Acceptance of New Members: affirmation of faith—none; baptism—none; Note: New members class October 15 

All items in the en bloc were approved.

Removed from the En Bloc for additional discussion:

  • Approve Sunday, November 19, 2023 at 1PM, as the Annual Congregation Meeting in the worship space; Meeting will also take place on Zoom.
  • Discussion took place to adjust the time from 1PM to noon/immediately following the 10:45 a.m. service to encourage better attendance.  Motion carried with proposed date and adjustment of time to begin at noon. 

Karen Lentz explained new balance sheet and monthly financials:  highlighting addition of accounts because of edits made during financial review; recently opened money market has earned over $1,500 in interest, endowment updates will be posted quarterly. 

Old Business

  • S.M.A.R.T. Goals Review
August Giving5 & 612 & 1319 & 2026 & 27AVG
Worship Attendance202243205237222
Actual Giving Offering$15,191$12,815$10,677$13,588$13,068

Weekly need per budget    $14,589.47 (with 53 Sundays in 2023)
Budget Goal:  not met      
Weekly Worship Attendance Goal of 250 attendees:  not met    

  • Church Vitality Taskforce Update:  Pastor Andrew recently met with Pastor Nathan.  Extended greeting occurred on Rally Day (9/10); worship volunteers should be hospitable to all who enter; suggestion that committees be pared down, perhaps reinvented as task forces with specific goals and timelines—this enables laity and adds to church growth.
  • Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S.:  Special Congregation meeting took place Sunday, 9/17 after 10:45 worship to vote on the MOU between C.A.R.E.S. and Council.  Cold-weather shelter will take place exclusively at St. James with an almost unanimous vote (one “no” vote).  Covenant agreement between C.A.R.E.S. and all participating churches will be created.  Pastor Andrew is seeking election to the C.A.R.E.S. board
  • Update:  Early Learning Center assistant director applicant has backed out; the job is re-posted. 

New Business

  • Motion from Personnel: That council authorize the staff to close the office one day per week (Monday) and that the Lead Pastor assign staff to committees with some committees not having a staff member assigned in order to focus on church growth effective October 2, 2023. Motion was seconded and passed.  

Looking Ahead

  • 2024 Budget – Council viewed a first draft. Council will approve during October 18 meeting. Budget includes funding for an associate pastor.
  • Rededication of Youth House and recognizing the Property Committee for their extensive work on the kitchen in the Youth House, and the window replacement in the church.  A date will be set later for these acknowledgements and contributions.
  • Building Safety—security camera plans are under review.

Good for Council – Good for Church – Good for God

  • ELC will be a benefactor of the Giving Spree in November.
  • Trinity UCC wants to talk to St. James about its Reconciling in Christ journey.
  • SCCAP appreciates all of the food donations from the church.
  • In January 2024 Ingrid Kieffer will be joining the staff as a Ministerial Field Worker.  Ingrid has been worshipping at S.t James for several months.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, October 18, 2023 at 6:30 p.m., Library

Endowment Fund Overview
Did you know…??

  • The purpose of the St. James Endowment Fund is to establish a capital fund for the long-term support of St. James Lutheran Church and its mission.
    • It is invested with the ELCA Endowment Fund Pooled Trust Ministry Growth Fund.
    • It typically pays an annual 4% dividend distributed quarterly.
      • Fund performance over the dividend contributes to the fund’s growth (ex. If the Fund has a 5% return, the overall fund grows by 1%).
  • The Fund grows in two ways, Fund performance and gifts.
    • The Endowment Fund gives our members another way to support the mission of St. James, through legacy giving.
    • Since 2019, two estate gifts have been given to Endowment:  totaling close to $100,000.
  • The Council established the distribution percentages of the dividends as follows, and controlling committees for the distributions are:
    • 30% to Mission – Mission Fund Committee
    • 30% to Youth – Youth Committee
    • 25% to Building – Property Committee
    • 10% to Music – Worship and Music Committee
    • 5% to Good of the Church – Congregation Council
  • The total balance of the Fund as of July 31, 2023, was $1,017,351.62.
  • The available distribution balances for each subaccount as of July 31st was:
    • Mission – $11,207.20 (graph on right)
      • The Mission Fund has shared almost $32,000 of Endowment Fund dividends to local and global causes since 2020.
    • Building – $5,625.40 (graph on right)
      • The Property Committee has used over $28,000 of Endowment Fund dividends for unbudgeted building repairs since 2021.
    • Youth – $40,406.69 (graph next page)
    • Music – $13,348.91 (graph next page)
    • Good of the Church – $6,734.46 (graph next page)
  • Unspent distributions are kept in the Fund.

Endowment Committee Members:
Dee Wells (chair), Lucinda Bringman, Bob Cook, Pastor Andrew, Cathy Haynes, Janina Kloster, Karen Lentz (Treasurer) and Tom Uhlig.

October Operation Christmas Child

This is our final month collecting small items for Operation Christmas Child.  We will pack the Christmas boxes November 3, so please have all items in by the end of October.  Age groups:  2-4 year olds & 5-9 year olds, boys & girls.  Thank you for providing new items!

  • Individually wrapped bars of Dove soap
  • Crayons & Markers
  • Colored Pencils & Manual Pencil sharpeners
  • Watercolor paint sets
  • Stickers & Small picture books
  • Soccer balls with pumps
  • Jump Ropes, Marbles
  • Colorful/Character bandages
  • Kaleidoscopes, Small Dolls, Toy Trucks & Cars

Monetary donation will be collected to help defray the cost of shipping. You may make checks payable to St. James Lutheran Church, memo: OCC.

Parish Records

50+ Wedding Anniversaries

October 10 – Bob & Joann Heflin – 70 years           

October 20 – Glenn & Jane Blocher – 55 years

October 21 – Greg & Vicky Daskivich – 51 years

October 25 – Michael & Miriam Pinko – 54 years


September 13 – Larry Weikert

September 17 – Col. Guinn Unger, Sr.

Visiting St. James

Office Hours: 

Monday—office closed, allowing staff to work without interruptions
*new & effective October 2

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!!