109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

The Messenger – September 2022

The Messenger – September 2022

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!

The calendar graphic is clickable, and then you can zoom to more easily read the text. 

Message From Pastor Andrew

25Now large crowds were traveling with [Jesus;] and he turned and said to them, 26“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ –Luke 14:25-30

It’s no secret that the past few years haven’t been short of challenges– the things of COVID, heightened political discourse, challenging social justice concerns, the list goes on.  All of which have led to disagreement and division, as well as to a breakdown in relationship– both on an individual level and a community level (the Church included).  A moment of pastoral confession, the past few years have been the most challenging of my pastorate to date.  A confession, even the most seasoned pastors I know have echoed. 

For those of you who have come back to in-person worship, you have, no doubt, noticed those who have yet to return.  And too, you have missed having them with us.  I’m right there with you.  I have missed greeting them on their way into worship and wishing them a good week on their way out.  I have missed singing hymns with them, sharing in fellowship over a cup of coffee between services, and the many other blessings we receive by being together.  Their absence has brought me great sadness.  If you’re reading this, and haven’t been back, know that you are missed. 

The scripture text above, from Luke, is the assigned gospel reading for the first week in September.  Here, Jesus speaks to his disciples bluntly about what it means to be his disciple.

“Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

In the original Greek, Luke records Jesus’ words in the present tense, suggesting that bearing our cross and following are not a once and done activity, but something that is ongoing.  Discipleship is a lifelong commitment.  Something that should take precedent above and before all other things, in all that we say and all that we do, out of our love for the One who loves us the most.  We are to walk as yet by faith at all times, no matter how challenging things may get.

If you were with us in worship (in person or online) over the last weekend in August, you know we focused our attention on the theme of evangelism.  It was a wonderful day.  We gathered together for food and fellowship, we laughed, we prayed, we sang hymns, we shared in the Holy Supper, and we brought in the largest group of new members St. James has had in quite some time.  In my sermon, I challenged you to be an evangelist – something, many of us aren’t fully comfortable with, though, something we, each of us individually, are called to none the less.

As we head into the Fall, focusing our attention on what it means for us to be good stewards of God’s creation and all God has given us (land, sea, air, creatures big and small, ourselves and each other, our time, our talent, and our treasure), I challenge you to think about how it is that you are carrying your cross and living into your faith. 

Have you been attending worship regularly?  Have you invited someone else to worship (or invited someone back)?  Are your children or grandchildren participating in Youth Group and/or Sunday School?  Have you challenged them to bring a friend (or two or three)?  Have you participated in our Tree Planting Challenge?  Have you reflected on how you are giving back to God and the church with your time, your talent, and your finances – responding to those countless blessings God has given to you?

When I step back from my worries around the things of the world and Church, I am overwhelmed by the blessings God has provided – not just by those blessings I have in my life, but too, by those opportunities God has blessed me to be a blessing to others.  Through family and friend, by the countless ministries we do here at St. James, in all of you (those long time and those new), with a wonderful staff who works tirelessly and cares deeply for this place.

My hope and prayer is that you would be overwhelmed in the same way.  That the cross Christ calls you to bear would not be a burden, but a blessing.  Not a challenge, but a joyful response.  For it truly is a joy to serve the One who came to serve! With love, Pastor Andrew

Worship Previews

September 4: 1st Sunday in Creation—Cosmos Sunday

Preacher: The Rev. Andrew Geib
Readings: Proverbs 8:22-31, Colossians 1:15-20, Psalm 148, John 6:41-54

September 11: 2nd Sunday in Creation—Sky Sunday

Preacher: The Rev. Gil Wadkoenig
Readings: Jeremiah 4:23-28, Philippians 2:14-18, Psalm 19:1-6, Mark 15:33-39

Rally Day—Start of Sunday School at 9:30 a.m.

God’s work. Our hands. Sunday

September 18: 3rd Sunday in Creation—Land Sunday

Preacher: The Rev. Andrew Geib

Readings: Genesis 3:14-19, Romans 5:12-17, Psalm 139:7-12, Matthew 12:38-40

Fall Festival & Blessing of Animals

September 25: 4th Sunday in Creation—Ocean Sunday

Preacher: The Rev. Clif Suehr

Readings: Job 38:1-18, Ephesians 1:3-10, Psalm 104:1-9, 24-26, Luke 5:1-11

Fall Festival & Blessing of Animals

Fall Festival Logo

WHEN: Sunday ,September 18

  1:00 PM— Animal Blessing

  2:00 PM—Meal

WHERE:   Tom & Barbara Vossler’s

665 Knoxlyn Road, Gettysburg
BRING: Your pet & a covered dish!

(Seating is provided, but you may bring a more comfortable chair if desired.)

Even cats with nine lives and dogs destined for heaven can use God’s favor and protection. The St. James Fall Festival and Blessing of Animals is just the place to receive it.

Every year, roughly 150 St. James congregation members gather at Tom and Barbara Vossler’s farm for a pig roast, a potluck picnic and carnival games, music, and of course, the annual blessing of the animals. This year’s festival is on Sunday, September 18 at 1:00 PM.

The festival at the 60-acre Vossler farm in some ways mirrors those in Tom’s memory, growing up in a church in the Missouri Synod where fall harvests were abundant.

“God blessed us with opportunity, time and talent,” he said. “We’re proud of the place. If  pride is a sin, I guess we’re sinners. But we’re happy to have what we have, with the open space and opportunity to come together.”

When the festival began a little more than five years ago, it aligned with The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of the Animals, which is celebrated the first Sunday in October. Over the years, the date has fluctuated, but the signature Blessing of the Animals has remained a linchpin.

The Vosslers’ dogs, Missy, an 8-year-old Australian Shepherd, and Ajax, a 4-year-old Australian Cattle Dog, receive a pastor’s blessing, along with pets brought by members of the congregation. Maximus, the Vossler’s award-winning bull, also received a blessing for several years until he passed away just shy of his 15th birthday.

This year’s festival falls as the congregation follows an eight-week Creation Care liturgy. The aim is to spend time focusing on the blessing of God’s creation, and how to be good stewards of all God has provided. As a contribution toward the St. James Tree Planting Challenge, kids will be encouraged to help the Vosslers plant six trees in pre-dug holes around the farm.

“We bless all God’s creatures, great and small and help the kids understand we’re the caretakers,” Vossler said.

If you would like to help with setup at 1:00 p.m. at the farm on Saturday, September 17, contact Tom Vossler at [email protected]. Check your weekly e-blast to sign up to attend the festival.  

Learn more about the Fall Festival.

Council Corner

August 17 Council Meeting Highlights

Jim Dunlop announced that Katy Clowney, Church Administrator will begin attending council meetings in September, as she was unable to attend the August meeting. 

Jim introduced the idea of an “en bloc agenda” where council members will vote on a number of motions at once without discussion.  A council member can request to remove an item from the en bloc agenda to be considered and discussed individually. 

En Block Agenda

Minutes of July 17, 2022 council meeting

Treasurer’s report:  Church financials & Early Learning Center financials

New members to be officially welcomed into the congregation on Sunday, August 28, 2022

Juanita Gardner, Linda Zimmerman, Bethann Dolbow, Wayne Ambrose, Suzanne Hubbard, Jesse Holt

Baptism of Lily Catherine Swartz on Sunday, August 21, 2022

Nomination of Cathy Haynes to a 3-year term on Endowment Committee; to be approved by congregation at November Congregational Meeting

All items were approved.

Old Business

Call Committee: Shirley Sanders shared that call committee members are using the information gleaned from the survey and the listening sessions and will use them to create the Ministry Site Profile (MSP).  The goal is to present the completed profile to the congregation by October 1.

COVID Update: The taskforce has not met.  Current COVID numbers are difficult to determine since people are not reporting test results.  However, the ELC has recently struggled with COVID cases. There will be no changes as to how the church operates at this time.

Special Order of Business:

Bill Shoemaker, chair of the Building Usage Taskforce gave members a handout of recommended changes to the building and then led council on a tour of the building to point out the recommendations. 

New Business

2022-2023 Committee Assignments

Finance – vacant

Mission Support – Ann Ketterman

Property – Ed Main

World Outreach – Sharon Kaya

Worship and Music – Sharon Kaya

Looking Ahead

Jim Dunlop presented the following as topics for council discussion over the next few months:  Congregation finances, Stewardship, and Giving; Endowment utilization practices; Potential endowment campaign; 2023 Budget.  Council agreed that these are pertinent topics for discussion with selecting the 2023 budget as the first priority; Endowment as 2nd priority.

Jim gave some explanation to understanding the financial reports that Karen Lentz prepares each month.

Fall Worship will emphasize Stewardship with focus on Creation Care, Time, Talent, and Treasure, thinking about what’s next after the Capital Campaign concludes in November.

Good for Church/Council/God

Administrative Coordinator Megan Fitzpatrick has started work in the office.  All is going well.

Operation Christmas Child item collection is ongoing.

A new Habitat for Humanity house will be built in Cashtown in October. 

The new members class was largest in a long time.  Also, there were visitors present one Sunday morning for worship because they saw our Reconciling in Christ sign outside.

Youth News

In the two summers I worked for Wayne Hill at Gettysburg Construction, our crew got stuck in an unexpected heavy shower or two while pouring cement.

As the wheelbarrows got heavier and water began to stream into the forms we’d built, some of the younger men and I started looking for a way out.

Looking up and seeing our panic, Randy, one of the company veterans, puffed up his chest and bellowed out to the crew.

“Don’t you just love it?”

There may have been a hint of sarcasm in Randy’s banter, but it was spoken with a sincerity that triggered a renewed faith in our efforts and recalibrated the pride in our work, despite the challenges.

During our K-5 Mini Workcamp in mid-August, several of our kids looked for excuses to take breaks the first day as we painted rails, pulled weeds, cleaned toys in the nursery and sorted through youth house supplies.

That evening during worship, we focused on 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 “The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

We discussed how communities rely on people to be generous and purposeful in their giving, whether it be money, or time and talents. We also talked about what it means to be a cheerful giver, and the sadness we feel receiving a gift, thank you, or apology from someone who is a resentful or reluctant donor. We reflected on how God may feel about our attitudes.

The next morning, demeanors changed for some. Others were struggling with the message, so I told the story about Randy and his catchphrase. We encouraged the kids to shout back, with strength, if not pure enthusiasm, “YES WE DO!”

It didn’t work perfectly, but the chance to unleash our frustrations in a shout while reconsidering our unified mission helped to lighten some hearts.

Attitudes about work are difficult to change, particularly when the fruits of our labor are intangible. But through our faith in God and repeated commitment to one another, we find confidence for a job well done and satisfaction in our sacrifice for others. These are blessings that cannot so easily be taken away.

Kids at Workcamp
Kids playing at Workcamp

Operation Christmas Child: September Gifts

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse. Last year as a congregation, we collected and filled 50 shoe boxes, and we are aiming for 60 boxes this year. Each month we will have a short list of items we are collecting to place in the shoe boxes. 

We will collect a variety of items, and then will assemble the boxes in November.  We will notify you in The Messenger each month what our ideas are for that whole month.

Remember the items are going to be for children ages 2 – 9 years old and must fit in a shoe box.

The month of September we will collect

  • Small Flashlights with Extra Batteries
  • Toy Cars, Yo-yos, Small Dolls, & Jump Ropes
  • Small Sets of Building Blocks
  • Children’s Jewelry , Watches, & Sunglasses
  • Children’s Socks
  • Deflated Soccer Balls with Pump

Monetary donations are also accepted  (and appreciated!). We will use them to defray the cost of the boxes or help with shipment. Last year we were overwhelmed with the congregation’s generous response and look for it to be even more successful this year!

Please contact Shirley Sanders or the office with any questions.

For more information about Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child, you can visit their website at samaritanpurse.org.


In mid-August I celebrated my first anniversary as minister of music at St. James. It has been a wonderful year and has gone by quickly because St. James is an exciting place to be! It is truly an honor to be part of such an active congregation, and to be entrusted with the task of leading the music program. As I found myself saying recently in a new members class, the daily drive from my home in West York to St. James is worth it. I am very happy to be a part of this faith community.

I want to share a bit of what I said in my remarks to the large and energetic new members class. Of course, I spoke about our choirs and the youth music program. I spoke about the opportunities for individuals to offer special music in worship. But the main point I tried to make is that the most important “choir” is the congregation itself. Martin Luther certainly felt this way. In fact, as I once read somewhere, he recommended his choir members sit among the congregation to help them along. Interestingly, this is precisely what we have been doing since returning from the pandemic!

As you have seen, most weeks, the choir does not sit together in a choir loft, but is part of the congregation, gathering only for the anthem. This practice began as a social-distancing measure, but the choir has recently decided to continue the practice, no longer for safety concerns but because they like it! It gives members the opportunity to sit with spouses and family while helping to support the singing of the congregation and unifying all around word and sacrament.

Call Committee Updates

Call Committee Updates

Thank you! The Call Committee asked for your help, and you responded. Thank you, St. James community, for attending one of the Listening Sessions  held on June 26 and July 24. 75 of you came to answer our questions and share your viewpoints and ideas. Thank you, for thoughtfully responding to the survey. 65 people took the time to consider the multiple choice ranking questions and provide helpful comments and answers to our open-ended queries. Thank you, for continuing to pray for Pr. Andrew and the call process at St. James. Thank you for helping us seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit as together we think about who we are and to what God is calling us. Thank you, for taking your part in this community of faith.

Our Call committee asked, “what unites us most at St. James?” Here are your answers:

So- what comes next?

Now the Call Committee is looking at all the data we’ve received:  the notes from the Listening sessions and the answers to the surveys. We’ll go over everything a number of times in light of the things the Mission Site Profile asks us: what is our vision for Mission, and not just  recitation of our Vision and Mission statements, but rather an in-depth view. What are the characteristics of our community and the trends happening in both our community and our congregation? What are our important programs and goals? What’s our energy level for whatever excites us? Who do we need to be our partners?

What are we gifted for at St. James? The task before us now is to capture all of that into written statements that will allow pastors discerning a possible call to St. James to begin to see us and some of God’s future for us.

Feel free to contact any of us if you have something else you would like us to hear or think about. We plan to spend September completing the Mission Site Profile. Once it’s to the point we consider finished, it will go to our congregation council for their review. We’ll share it with you, too.

Please continue to pray- it’s the most important work of any of us in this process. We invite you to pray with us on these texts:

Jeremiah 29:11-12

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

James 1:5

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.

Yours In Christ,

Lucinda Bringman, Amy Crist, Jim Flanagan, Ernie Kranias, Glenn Munsee, Kasey Smith, Anne Lane, committee alternate, and Shirley Sanders, Congregation Council Liaison.

Contact information available from the office.

Looking Ahead

October 2—Steppin’ Woof – Dancing Dogs; Waterlife Worship at 10:45 a.m.

October 2—1st Sunday Fellowship Starts

October 2— Apple Gleaning at ACN

October 15 & 16—Ministry Fair

October 17 & 18—Quilt Knotting Day

October 25—Halloween Youth Event & Gettysburg Halloween Parade (rain date:  Th, 10/27)

October 31—Reformation Sunday

Habitat For Humanity – Orrtanna road

After a longer wait than anticipated, Habitat for Humanity has officially received the building permits for the home on Orrtanna Road (Cashtown). This means it’s almost time for another Blitz Build!

It takes roughly 2 months for contractors to get the site ready. As such, the Blitz Build dates will be held on Oct. 6-8 & Oct. 13-15. 

St. James is looking for volunteers to provide the morning snack/drinks on Thursday, Oct. 6 for approximately 20 workers. We would love your help with showing our gratitude for their hard work. Even better, they are still looking for more workers if you’d like to help build!

Please contact Shirley Sanders if you have any questions or can help in any way at [email protected].

Thank you for supporting this worthwhile cause.

Building Use Task Force

Because of the faithful response by our members we’ve been able to complete many projects for the building to support the ministry of St. James.  We are so blessed with the support of our faithful supporters. 

St. James Lutheran Church has received $1,052,518 in contributions towards the three year Capital Campaign that started in November 2019. For the 2022 year so far, St. James Lutheran Church received $74,678.

The congregation since 2019 has expended $584,053 towards projects, plus gifts-in-kind of about $45,000  donated from generous members.  Major projects substantially completed include repair and replacement of the roof,  generator and repointing brick and repair of the capstones. Also completed was replacement of the windows on the North East section of the building, upgraded fire alarm system, new kitchen cabinets and counters, repair of front doors, resurfacing parking lot, and completion of the Worship Area Renewal project repayment. The lower level stairway which will eliminate the security gate is completed.  The AV system has been replaced and is working very well.

The repair or replacement of remaining windows on the south and southeast portion of the building has been approved by the Historic Architecture Review Board and Borough Council and bids are pending.

The balance of unspent funds as of July 31, 2022 is $468,465.

Completion of the Window project will take a large portion of these funds.

We are incredibly grateful for the volunteers and staff who have worked tirelessly on the project thus far  and the many donors who have made this possible.  

A building usage task force has been formed, chaired by Bill Shoemaker. This group will review building utilization and capital items needed for the ongoing ministry needs of St. James.

The funding for this is from the Capital Campaign. 

Submitted by Daniel Bringman, Co-Chair of Capital Campaign

Mission Support Corner

You may have noticed a recent emphasis on Stewardship during worship, and in Pastor Andrew’s Messenger articles.

Several special programs have been planned, beginning in September, which will focus on Stewardship of Creation.

During October, the emphasis will be on Stewardship of our Time and Talents, and in November we will explore Financial Stewardship.

Watch the Messenger and eBlasts for information about upcoming programs and opportunities. We hope this focus will help you reflect on how you use your gifts in your personal life, as well as how you share your gifts to support the mission of St. James.

Parish Records


August 7 – Joseph Heltzel

August 11 – Curvin Tyson

August 21 – Ruth Carbaugh

August 25 – Jacob Nicholl

Upcoming 50+ Wedding Anniversaries

August 24 – Charles & Debbie Raffensperger 52 years

September 11 – Joe & Kay MacDowell 57 years

September 17 – Mary & John Stevenson 61 years


Have an upcoming anniversary? Want to honor someone special?

Consider dedicating a floral arrangement.

Contact Judy Seilhmaer at [email protected] or call 717-334-4301 for more details.

Visiting St. James

Visiting St. James

Office Hours: 
Monday—Friday, 9:00 a.m.—3:30 p.m.
Wednesdays until 5:30 p.m.

The rear door at the parking lot is open; come on in!!