109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – September 2021

The Messenger – September 2021

A printable version of this month’s Messenger with graphics is available to view and download.

Or, if all you’re looking for is the text, feel free to scroll!

Message from Pastor Mike and Pastor Andrew

Dear St. James family,

As members of the Body of Christ, it is impossible for any of us not to recognize that our world and our personal lives have been fragmented by the brokenness and despair in our lives today. All it takes is a headline story in the morning newspaper or a news feed on your iPhone, even a simple conversation with a family member or close friend to realize the weariness to be found, even in energetic individuals—healthcare workers, teachers, parents, school administrators, clergy, to name only a few. We want you to know that here at St. James, we are walking this uncertain path with each one of you.

Finding best practices for COVID safety here in the congregation has been difficult when considering vaccination rates alongside the much higher transmission potential of the Delta variant. There are so many strong opinions out there right now about masks and vaccination, which make it difficult to have a constructive dialogue about the best path forward. Whenever we discuss these things, we strongly encourage you to remember Luther’s call to see our neighbor’s actions in the best possible light. We recently heard somebody say they try every day to live their life within the larger story of God’s love and grace revealed in Jesus, and not let their world get reduced to some smaller story that is not life-giving. We think both insights could go a long way in guiding Christians toward more dialogue and less vitriol in the public arena right now.

Our St. James COVID task force continues to meet in order to continue our working together to discuss our path forward amidst much uncertainty in our community. We want to work with this task force of informed, concerned, and trained individuals in terms of our mission and vision—the values of this congregation. We continue to see these values when we are willing to be in dialogue with those who see things differently than do we. We continue to see these values as we provide a safe space where all feel they can worship even if they have health issues that compromise their immune system, or if they are ineligible for vaccination. We continue to see these values as we prioritize the children in our midst, including providing a place where everyone feels like there is room for them at the table.

All the recommendation we have put forth and will continue to make, have been made with this in mind. We continue to monitor information from the County, the CDC, and from our bishop, as we make decisions here at SJ. We are NOT anticipating closing down in any form, but we are asking you to work to see the larger story of God’s grace, rather than any one political perspective.

Thank you for your faithfulness to our mission and vision as we continue to navigate these unchartered waters and do what we feel is best for this congregation moving into the fall of the year—with a new Minister of Music, some new opportunities for worship, as well as a youth program that will continue to attend to the needs of our youngest members.

Most importantly, pray! Pray for those in leadership here at St. James. Pray for those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. Pray for our community leaders. And, as you pray, please consider how you might be a “partner in the Gospel” as part of this congregation—your community of faith—as we navigate into an exciting and faith-filled future!

Blessings & love,

Pastor Mike & Pastor Andrew

Return to Saturday Worship

We’re ready to worship again on  Saturday evenings, beginning September 11!

This weekly contemplative service of scripture reading, a message, holy Communion, and music will start at 5:30 p.m.

Worship Previews

September 5 — 15th Sunday after Pentecost

James tells us to stop showing favoritism in the assembly, treating the rich visitor with more honor than the poor one. Jesus himself seems to show partiality in his first response to the Syrophoenician woman in today’s gospel. Was he testing her faith in saying Gentiles don’t deserve the goods meant for God’s children? Or was he speaking out of his human worldview, but transcended those limits when she took him by surprise with her reply? Either way, the story tells us that God shows no partiality. Everyone who brings a need to Jesus is received with equal honor as a child and heir. Readings: Isaiah 35:4-7a; Psalm 146; James 2:1-10 [11-13] 14-17; Mark 7:24-37

September 12 — 16th Sunday after Pentecost
God’s Work. Our Hands. Sunday || Rally Day

Three weeks ago we heard Peter’s confession of faith as told in John’s gospel. This week we hear Mark’s version, when Peter says, “You are the Messiah.” In John, the stumbling block is Jesus’ invitation to eat his flesh, given for the life of the world. In Mark too the scandal has to do with Jesus’ words about his own coming death, and here Peter himself stumbles over Jesus’ words. But Jesus is anointed (the meaning of messiah) in Mark only on the way to the cross (14:3); so we are anointed in baptism with the sign of the cross.  Readings: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 116:1-9; James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38

September 19 — 17th Sunday after Pentecost

Today we hear James warn against selfish ambition, while the disciples quarrel over which one of them is the greatest. Jesus tells them the way to be great is to serve. Then, to make it concrete, he puts in front of them a flesh-and-blood child. We are called to welcome the children God puts in front of us, to make room for them in daily interaction, and to give them a place of honor in the assembly.  Readings: Jeremiah 11:18-20; Wisdom 1:16–2:1, 12-22 (alternate); Psalm 54; James 3:13–4:3, 7-8a; Mark 9:30-37

September 26 — 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Someone who isn’t part of Jesus’ own circle is casting out demons in Jesus’ name, and the disciples want him stopped. They appeal to Jesus, as Joshua did to Moses about the elders who prophesied without official authorization. Like Moses, Jesus refuses to see this as a threat. Jesus welcomes good being done in his name, even when it is not under his control. The circle we form around Jesus’ word must be able to value good being done in ways we wouldn’t do it, by people we can’t keep tabs on.  Readings: Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29; Psalm 19:7-14; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50

Bible Studies

Wednesday Morning Bible Study
10:00—11:30 a.m. (Pastor Mike leading)

Our Wednesday morning Bible study will resume on September 15 (note it is a week later than we had discussed when we ended in June!). After taking a poll of those who attended last year, we will begin with a hybrid model. Several persons (less than 10) prefer to be in person, and many individuals prefer to continue on zoom. Those in person will meet in the church library with a zoom link on the big screen in that room. We will see how this works at the beginning, as well as watching the statistics related to COVID cases in Adams County. As we begin this fall, each week we will look at the second scripture text for the upcoming Sunday. Previously, several people have asked to study these second texts. This fall many of these reading are taken from the Letter to the Hebrews. All those signed up will receive handouts during the previous week. If you would like to join on a Wednesday morning at 10:00, please give your email address to Katy in the office so you will receive the zoom invite as well as the handouts. We welcome new faces and voices around the table or on the computer screen each Wednesday morning! Each week stands on its own, so even if you cannot make it every Wednesday, still join us when you are able!

Thursday Morning Bible Study
10:00—11:30 a.m. (Pastor Andrew leading)

We’ll make sure to let you know in our weekly announcements when details have been finalized for Thursday morning Bible study so you have what you need to participate.

Memo from the Minister of Music

Our 2021-22 Choir season begins in September! Here are some dates to note:

  • Thursday, September 9 at 7:30 p.m.
    Special Combined Choir Rehearsal for Rally Day
  • Thursday, September 16 at 7:00 p.m.
    Regular Adult Choir Rehearsals Resume
  • Sunday, September 19 at 7:00 p.m.
    Martin Luther Choir (to sing on Sunday, September 26 at 8:15 a.m.)

New and returning voices are welcome. Please contact Minister of Music, Jonathan Noel, with any questions you may have.

Council Corner

August Council Meeting Highlights:

Baptisms/New Members:

Council approved the upcoming baptisms of Valentino Richard Xavier Ballough and Nicolas Teeter Shen and welcomed them into membership.

Committee Reports:

Bill Shoemaker reported that Personnel Committee wants to substantially increase the salary of the Youth Minister position by $10,000. The last four Youth Ministers each stayed for only 2-3 years and the position has become a revolving door. Housing in Gettysburg is expensive and the current salary of $38,000 is not sufficient to attract viable candidates who might stay. Additionally, Personnel is revising the job description for the position which will include faith formation for children through grade 12. This will unify faith formation in Youth Group and Sunday School, so the added responsibilities help justify the increased salary. It was recommended that the congregation be informed of this with a request to increase giving to fund the increased salary. Undesignated Bequest funds recently received could be used for any shortfalls in giving to make up the difference of the increased salary. Council seemed very receptive to this proposal although no formal vote was taken.

Strategic Planning:

Pr. Geib reported on the work of the Building Use Task Force. With the input and assistance of Sunday School teachers, Stephen Ministers, and others who use spaces in the church, decisions were made about things needed and not needed. Items were recycled, trashed, or donated to clean out spaces in our facilities. The next step was to make some decisions about future use of space. Pr. Geib suggested that areas on the second floor be redone to provide two large gathering areas with kitchenettes to allow for funeral gatherings and similar events when the ELC is in session and the dining room is unavailable or inconvenient to use. These spaces could also be used for Youth, Scouts, and other groups. The archives could be moved upstairs, and storage of equipment and materials could be better organized. Gary Shaffer informed Pr. Geib that many of the walls on the second floor are not weight bearing and could be removed to convert to larger gathering areas. The next step is to acquire architectural expertise to develop specific plans.

Save the Date(s)

“God’s work. Our hands.”
September 12

Activities available for sign-up:

  • Gettysburg CARES
  • Assemble LWR school kits
  • Camp Nawakwa Beautification
  • Fellowship and Paella with Agricultural Workers
  • Gardening at Nawakwa
  • Gettysburg Fire Department
  • LAMPA letter writing
  • LWR Quilting Project
  • Ruth’s Harvest food collection

Sign up online now! https://signup.com/go/jbMPEYD

Rally Day
September 12

This year Rally Day may look a little different than in the past, but isn’t that what our lives have been for many months? But even in looking different, it will still signal the beginning of our Sunday School year for our children and Confirmation students. It is a day of “welcoming back” and being together! We will celebrate two Baptisms at our morning worship services. We will give Bibles to our fourth graders. In the afternoon we will join with other Lutheran Churches in the area and given opportunities to offer back to the surrounding community our care and concern in the ELCA-sponsored “God’s Work, Our Hands” service event. Many venues for service can be found on our webpage. Minister of Music Jonathan Noel is gathering a choir to sing at worship—the first time to sing together in worship in more than 18 months! Each year on Rally Day, someone always asks: “What we rallying around?” This year, let’s rally around our faith community of St. James who, in many ways, has been separated in worship, in fellowship, and in our daily-to-day life of faith and spiritual growth for too long! Come and join us! Bring a friend!

Creation Care Task Force Tree Planting
September 20—23

The Creation Care Task Force invites you to help with tree planting efforts.  There are two ways to help:  1. Volunteers are needed both mornings and afternoons on September 20-23 at the Ag Center to help folks find the trees that they have purchased (no lifting or dirt involved)  2. Help is needed on TBD dates after the 23rd to plant the potted trees in a variety of locations.  If you are interested in helping in either way, let Kay MacDowell know and she will keep you informed as information becomes available  (717-334-6972 or [email protected])

Fall Festival and blessing of the animals
October 3

Calls to Action


Do you have old Legos that are collecting dust in a closet?  Have you stepped on one too many Lego bricks in your bare feet and you’re looking for a new home for them?  If so, please contact Julie Dunlop ([email protected]).  We would love to have some Legos donated for various Sunday school activities for our school aged children.

Worship Assistance

As we move to more routine worship services, we are in need of worship assistance volunteers again.  Please be sure to keep an eye out for notices from MSP in your email.

Have you downloaded the MSP app?  It is a great tool to help you stay organized for assisting in worship.  Just search for this free app in your app store: Ministry Scheduler Pro (Rotunda Software, LLC).  

Play Ball!

Saturday September 4, the York Revolution and Lower Susquehanna Synod Lutherans are partnering to fight hunger in Central Pennsylvania.  We would like to invite you to help in our fight while enjoying the fun and fellowship of a York Revolution baseball game.  Discounted group tickets are available to individuals @ $10 / seat.  $5 of every ticket purchased will be donated back to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. Sign up online to participate in this event and sit in the Lower Susquehanna Synod section of the ballpark! yorkrevolution.com/fighthunger

Apple Gleaning

St. James and Christ Lutheran are planning a day of service with another annual apple gleaning in early October at Adams County Nursery. Stay tuned to weekly announcements for all the details you’ll need to join the fun.

Knot a Quilt Days October 9 and 11

Can you tie your shoes? Have you tied a fishing lure?  If you answer yes to either question, then you have all the skills you need to learn how to knot a quilt during our Knot a Quilt Days.  All ages and abilities are welcome! Come for 30 minutes, for an hour, for the morning! Bring a friend! Pastries and fruit, tea, coffee, and juice and 40 quilts will be ready and waiting!

  • Dates:  Saturday, October 9 and Monday, October 11
  • Times:  9:30 a.m.—12:00 Noon
  • Where:  Room 303
  • We will follow the St. James’s Covid guidelines set for
    October gatherings.

Sponsoring Flowers for Worship

Pick-up after 10:45 a.m. Sunday worship has concluded (or during office hours, Monday / Tuesday), or donate to homebound.

Call Judy Seilhamer (717-334-4301) for more information, questions, or to order flowers.

For YOUth

Questions? Email St. James Youth at [email protected]

Youth Calendar: StJamesGettysburg.com/youth

Boundless National Youth Gathering

July 21—27, 2022
Minneapolis, MN

Youth Committee and staff at St. James are making plans to attend next year’s National Youth Gathering with our high schoolers. We’ll share new information as we have it. Visit the official site for more information about the event:

Youth Resources

Would you like a single place to visit to find everything you need for youth at St. James? Our website will regularly be updated with documents and information. Also, we’ve added a calendar on the Youth page that allows you to scroll through the months to find ways to participate!


Youth Group Schedule

  • MS/HS Youth Breakfast at the youth house – began Wed-nesday, 8/25, 6:45 a.m.
  • K-5 Youth Group – began Wed-nesday, 8/25, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • MS Youth Group – began Monday, 8/30, 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Note:  We will follow the same guidelines the Gettysburg Area School District establishes regarding mask-wearing

Families: Keep an eye on your inbox and the eblast for updates and communications around happenings for youth. We’ll also be sharing updates  with our Instagram account and on our new Facebook page. Check it out! https://www.facebook.com/YouthStJamesGettysburg

Message for Members

Pick up Hoss’s fundraiser cards so that your meal purchase can benefit Youth @ St James! (carryout available)

  • September 15
  • October 13
  • November 10

Parish Records


  • July 23    Josslyn Breean Churchill
  • July 25    Nicolas Shen

First Communion

  • July 25    Paul Finkenbinder
  • July 25    Henry Finkenbinder
  • Aug. 29   Peyton Smith


  • July 27    Gladys Woerner
  • July 27    Michael Gibble
  • July 31    Mary Woodward
  • Aug. 1    Isabella Smith
  • Aug. 4    Grayson Main
  • Aug. 7    Ronald Miller
  • Aug. 15    Norma Moore
  • Aug. 24    Helen Lowery
  • Aug. 26    Nancy Kranias

Upcoming 50+ Wedding Anniversaries

  • September 17      Mary Stevenson and John M. Stevenson (60 years)
  • September 8        R. Thomas and Nina Dolly (59 years)
  • September 28      Gary and Jenny Frederick (58 years)
  • September 11      Joseph and Kay MacDowell (56 years)


We are Christ’s people, and this is Christ’s house with its doors wide open. If you are passing through, Godspeed. If you are looking for a worship home, stay with us. We invite guests to join us, but most of all, to return often.

Welcome to long-time Lutherans, Christians from every tradition, and people new to faith. Welcome to all who have no church home, want to follow Christ, have doubts, or do not believe. Welcome to new visitors and old friends. Welcome to people of every age and size, color and culture, every sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, marital status, ability, and challenge. Welcome to believers and questioners, and to questioning believers. This is a place where you are welcome to celebrate and sorrow, rejoice, and recover. This is a place where lives are made new. Come and listen for the Holy Spirit calling you to love your neighbor wholeheartedly, seek justice, create peace, and practice compassion.

As members of the body of Christ, we are called to be ministers of reconciliation both in the church and in the world. Through our baptism we are reconciled to God through the saving grace of Christ Jesus and challenged by the Gospel to be agents of healing and love within our church and society. As a community of faith, we proclaim this statement of welcome.

Connect with St. James online