November "Courier" St. Peter's monthly newsletter


St. Peter's
"Courier" 474 Vine St.
Bethlehem, PA 18015
610 867-0519

Volume 62, Issue 11

November, 2016

REFORMATION

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-25

Greetings and peace to you all!

Recently a friend of mine posted this "Apology" on her facebook page which moved my heart:


AN APOLOGY OF THE CHURCH
• Ask God to forgive all local churches for the times they have failed to show love or meet the needs of their local community.
• Ask God to send the Holy Spirit in power to all of God's people, that they may hunger and thirst for God in a new way.
• Pray for all attending church to develop a passion for prayer and for church leaders to be surprised by a renewed interest in faith
• Ask others in your church to pray for a vision to reach the local community and open everyone's ears to what God is trying to say.


To be honest, my first reaction to reading this post was a "defensive" one. I thought to myself, we try our best to do these things, sure we may not always be successful… but… (you can fill in the rest.)


Yet, in that moment, I felt God's words on my heart; "Be still and know that I am God!" Suddenly instead of being offended or somehow unworthy… I felt convicted. Convicted not to the numerous times that we, as a Christian church have done these things well… but rather to those times when we fail. Suddenly the words of this "apology" came to life; for truly my heart aches for this apology to be reality in our community of faith.


I believe that Luther must have undergone this same type of examination nearly 500 years ago. During his adult life Luther studied, prayed and developed a faith that suit himself and the community he served well. But then… something happened! Whether it be a violent thunderstorm, the release of impacted bowels, or an encounter with the Holy Spirit we do not know for certain but what we do know is that Luther was changed. He was changed from that moment forward! Luther became convicted of "sins" that had been committed by the church, Luther became convicted of the "sins" he committed in helping to advance the church on earth and now he realized that God was up to something new and was using Luther himself as the instrument to bring about this "new thing!" Luther understood that the ground that he was now standing on was not as "solid" as the ground that he had stood on previously that had been "tried and true" by the Christian church, rather this ground was fraught with fear and with danger because this ground threatened the status quo of the established church.


Sisters and brothers, I believe that you and I are standing on this same kind of "scary" ground. For the past 30 months we have been attempting to "live up" to our proud heritage while all the time, maybe our Lord has been calling us into something new!


I'd imagine that Luther had great anxiety, fear and apprehension along the pilgrimage that led the church through the period of the reformation, but I'd also imagine that Luther called on himself and his colleagues to pray. To pray that God's Spirit would come upon God's children in power that all may hunger and thirst for God in a new way. I'd imagine that Luther would pray that there would be a sense of renewal for mission and a passion for faith. I'd imagine that Luther would pray that God's vision would be clear in order that "everyone's" ears were opened to what God was trying to say.


So on this day, I share with you my hope as we continue in our pilgrimage together. I believe it to be a hope in which God's vision, God's wisdom, God's light and love would guide our hearts, our minds, and our discussions together. Let's pray, speak, and work together to see what new thing God is up to in our lives!
Peace and Blessings
PJ


Exciting Upcoming Events!!!

"After Hours" Adult Education Returns!
Beginning TODAY Sunday October 30, 2016 (following worship in the Trauger Room), Pastor Jerry will be leading a discussion through Luther's Small Catechism! In this small book we have a rich treasure for commiunicating the faith from generation to generation. The Small Catechism gives us common language for engaging the Bible, talking with others about our relationship with God and neighbors, making sense of our callings in daily life, and making a witness to Christ in our world.

All Saints Sunday, November 6, 2016
At our worship experience on November 6, 2016, St. Peter's will be observing "ALL SAINTS SUNDAY!" During this worship experience, the tolling bell will be rung as we announce the "roll call" of saints who have entered the Church Triumphant over the past year. If you desire to include the names of loved ones who have died since November 1, 2015 in this time of remembrance, you are invited to share their names for inclusion in this year's worship. Simply call the church office, Carol Frankenfield, at (610) 867-0519 not later than November 1, 2016.

St. Peter's Concert Series! November 13, 2016 - 3PM
Marisa Deschler, Organist
Spend an afternoon listening to organ favorites performed by St. Peter's organist, Marisa Deshler. This has become an annual favorite at St. Peter's. This year's concert features works by Handel, Back, and Dupre!

Decorating our church complex for the season!
Join us following our worship experience on November 20, 2016 for our annual decorating of the church complex! Following worship our worship space will be transformed for advent! There will be pizza for all helpers and we complete the day by singing our favorite Christmas carols!


St. Peter's organizes a new Task Force!
During our last "Town Hall" meeting, the leadership of our community of faith presented the realities of our financial situation to our congregation. During this meeting, we learned that we are expecting to have spent approximately $90,000 from our savings during 2016. Even though efforts were made by our budget ministry team to lower this deficit spending for 2017 there was little progress made. With this in mind our sisters and brothers were asked to prayerfully consider thoughts about how we might proceed with our ministries in the near- term future. Please share thoughts with congregational council members who will be gathering on November 1, 2016 to continue working on our 2017 budget.

It was also determined that we should begin a "task force" to look at alternatives for our future. There were many suggestions offered during this time such as looking for other communities of faith to share in ministry, looking for more "leasing" partners…. Following this morning's worship we will be collecting the names and contact information for anyone who would like to be part of this task force. Our first task force meeting will be held on Tuesday November 22, 2016 at 7:00PM. Please consider being part of this important process!

Ministries to help us KNOW God on a
deeper more personal level

This month in worship

November 2, 2016 - Healing Prayer worship with Holy Communion
The First Wednesday of November we will be gathering together at 10:30 within our Chapel to experience a "Healing Worship" with Holy Communion. This worship experience allows for time for each person assembled to have prayers lifted up to God on their behalf and the "laying on of hands" for healing. Please consider joining us for this beautiful worship experience.

Saturday November 5, 2016 - Confirmation Class on Worship
A reminder to all students currently enrolled in our confirmation education ministry that we will be holding our monthly class on Saturday November 5 from 9AM to 11AM in the Trauger room. The topic for the day will be "Worship and You!"

November 6, 2016 - All Saints Sunday
In holy baptism God makes saints out of sinners. In holy communion God forgives the sins of all the saints. In the assembly today we give thanks for all the saints "who from their labors rest," who have fought the good fight, who have gained the crown. In the same breath we petition our God for the strength to hear and to heed the admonitions of the Lord Jesus in today's gospel. Recalling that we have been sealed by the Spirit and sustained by the Savior's body and blood, we keep on keeping on as God gives us breath, to the praise of God's glory.

November 13, 2016 - 26th Sunday after Pentecost
The end is near. There is no doubt about it. The warnings are dire. The tone of today's texts is ominous. But the baptized know how to live in the "meantimes." The baptized are strengthened for the living of these days in Word and Sacrament. The baptized rally around the invitation of the apostle: "Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right."

November 20, 2016 - Christ the King Sunday
Jeremiah's promise of the execution of "Justice and righteousness in the land" finds ironic fulfillment in the execution of Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. It appears so utterly contradictory that the king should be crucified with the criminal. This victory appears for all the world as ignominious defeat. Yet through the gate of death our Lord opens the door to paradise.

Wednesday November 23, 2016 - Thanksgiving Evening Worship
Join your sisters and brothers in Christ who comprise CoMiT as we give thanks to our God for the abundance that this land provides! On this evening we will be gathering at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at 7:00PM to give thanks and to celebrate Holden evening prayer.

CoMiT Saturday Evening Worship - Every Saturday evening at 5PM we are invited to join our sisters and brothers in Christ associated with CoMiT for worship. This worship experience which includes Holy Communion takes place at Messiah Lutheran Church on Easton Avenue. Pastor Jerry will be officiating at this worship experience on November 19, 2016 and will be joining his sisters and brothers in Christ the majority of Saturday evening worship experiences. If you have other plans for Sunday morning this worship offers a wonderful alternative. Consider coming on out and joining with others as together we worship the Lord!

Wednesday Evening Holden Evening Prayer
Every Wednesday evening, we celebrate "Holden Evening Prayer" worship with Holy Communion at 6:30PM in our chapel. Consider joining your sisters and brothers in Christ for this beautiful evening prayer worship. CoMiT will be sharing Holden evening prayer beginning on Wednesday November 23 and lasting through the four additional weeks of Advent!

Women of ELCA Bible Study

The morning Women of the ELCA Bible study will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 1 and 15 from 9:30 to 11 AM in the Social Room. The group has been working with Bible stories that reflect how God's idea of justice and forgiveness is often different from the earthly understanding of those gifts given to us by a God who is gracious and loving. These concepts of justice and forgiveness challenge little ones who see having to share a toy as "not fair" or for adults, a challenge when someone who in the eyes of many has done something really "wrong", be loved unconditionally by a God of grace and forgiveness.

All women are welcome around the table. There is always a chair for you!! Come, be part of a group that is welcoming, caring, prays for each other, and will be glad to see you.

St. Peter's Men's Fellowship
Each Wednesday morning at 6:30 AM all men are invited to participate in our St. Peter's Men's Fellowship Group! Our group is currently studying the book "What Keeps you up at Night?" written by one of our favorite authors Pete Wilson. Coffee is always brewing and our time together also includes an opportunity for mutual support and encouragement to one another.

Stories of Faith Bible Study
Join us every Thursday (There will be no Stories of faith Bible Study on November 9, or 16 due to Pastor Jerry's vacation) at 10:00 AM or 6:30 PM in our Trauger room for Stories of Faith Bible Study. During this 90 minute session we will take a closer look at the Scripture assigned for the coming Sunday's worship experience and explore the questions and thoughts that you bring to these Scripture lessons! There is no prior Bible Study experience necessary to join this lively discussion, simply bring an open heart and willing ears and see where the Spirit will lead our discussion. A fellowship meal precedes our evening study at 5:30 PM. Consider joining us!

"Brewing Theology!"
Join your friends for a wonderful discussion in a relaxing atmosphere with the ability to share in beverage and food! Brewing Theology is a night when sisters and brothers get together at TAPS located on 378 South of Bethlehem for informal discussions about faith and the world around us. This month we will come together on November 7, 2016 at 7 PM (though some of us are there earlier to eat) and share time of fellowship together. Our gathering normally lasts until approximately 8 PM. This is a great place to ask questions and simply process the world around us through a faith perspective!

Sunday School!
Our Christian Education ministry team is pleased to announce that St. Peter's will once again be offering Sunday school for the coming academic year! We have two classes: Pre-school through 2nd grade which is being led by Tami Ihle-Holmes, and 3rd grade through 6th grade being led by Lois Ritchie.

On the 1st, 4th, and 5th Sunday's classes will be held in a "traditional" format.

On the 2nd Sunday of each month our children will be experiencing something new! "PMT (Popcorn and Movie Time)" will be held immediately following worship.

On the 3rd Sunday of this month the confirmation class will be leading our younger sisters in brothers in fun learning!

Please consider allowing your child to be part of this exciting ministry!


Ministries to help us "SHARE" what
we know about God with the world around us!

Ways to share in Thanksgiving with Others

There are many different ways here at St. Peter's that you can help others during the season of Thanksgiving:

Pray for all those for whom the holidays are a difficult time in their lives;

Bring in easy to prepare foods or snacks and place them in the shopping cart on the second level hallway. These food items are given to St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Fountain Hill, where the foods will be shared with children from Fountain Hill Elementary School who need healthy food to eat over the weekends and holidays, when they don't receive school lunches;

Take a food item tag from the Giving Tree in the Upper Narthex and provide for those among the congregation who need our help to have a joyfilled Thanksgiving. Return those food items to boxes in lower narthex or Social Room;

Bring in new socks for men/women who will be staying at the Bethlehem Emergency Shelters beginning in December. After a day on the streets, a pair of new, dry socks is a wonderful gift. There is a box in the Social Room for collecting these socks. Also needed are useable sheets, blankets and quilts. If you have these items to share, please bring to the Social Room as well;

St. Peter's is planning on preparing meals for the Bethlehem Emergency Shelter. St. Peter's has committed to provide meals twice a month for the womens' shelter. There are a variety of ways you can help with this ministry, so please be in touch with Kenda Riley or someone on our Advocacy ministry team to see how you can help. The upcoming dates that we are looking for are Sunday December 4, Tuesday December 20, Sunday January 1, and Tuesday January 17.

ADVENT BREAKFAST
The 51st annual Community Advent Breakfast will be held on Saturday, December 3, at Moravian Village in Bethlehem. Doors open at 8 AM and breakfast will be served at 8:30. Come early! There are no reserved seats and some 250 people usually attend.

The Broughal Southside Singers will perform and the Bethlehem Area Moravian Trombone Choir will play. The Rev. J. Christian Giesler, a Moravian bishop, will be the speaker. The event will conclude with a candle lighting ceremony as all join to sing "O Little Town of Bethlehem." The breakfast is a wonderful Advent event, and all are welcome.

Tickets need to be purchased in advance. Deadline is November 16. The cost is $13 for an adult and $9 for a youth under age 16. Sign-up sheets are available in the Coffee Corner and on the desk outside the Nave. After you sign up, please pay (cash only) Elizabeth or Barbara, who will then give you your ticket. Reserve your seat and come celebrate Advent with sisters and brothers in Christ from our Christmas City.


New Bethany Ministries
Did you know that we have collection area located inside the doors of our entrance areas for soups or cans goods that you might be willing to share with sisters and brothers in Christ who find themselves in need of food right here in Bethlehem? Once our containers are filled these items are shared with our friends at New Bethany Ministries who offer them to folks in need!

Thrift Shop Volunteers
We are always looking for additional Thrift Shop Volunteers to help facilitate the South Bethlehem Thrift shop on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 10AM (This month November 8 and 29.) Please contact Evelyn Smith if you might be interested in helping with this important ministry!


Thanks for Knitting!

Thanks to everyone who has been knitting/crocheting away making white cotton bandages that will be sent by Lutheran World Relief to hospitals in Africa to help protect open wounds and incisions. The bandages work as a barrier to infection. If you would like to help with this project, there is a white basket near the blue chairs by the Church office with the knitting/crocheting directions. Only white cotton yarn can be used for these bandages. If you can knit/crochet and need some of the yarn, be in touch with Elizabeth Elterich.

Also, some folks have been knitting/crocheting scarves/hats/mittens for the men and women who will be guests at the Bethlehem Emergency Shelter beginning in December. Scarves/hats/mittens can be made of any yarn or in any color!!! There will be a basket in the Social Room where you can place your items for those who will greatly appreciate scarves/hats/mittens that will protect them against the cold weather that is sure to come. Thank you in advance for helping care for others.

Knitters' Group

In November and December, the Knitters' Group that meets at St. Peter's will be meeting the 2nd Monday, November 14 and December 12, to avoid the holiday weeks. The group of people from many different congregations who knit or crochet gather in the UCF room from 6:30 to 8 PM. The time together is spent in knitting/crocheting all kinds of projects from baby blankets, prayer shawls, scarves, hats, and baskets. There is caring conversation, the blessing of those receiving the handmade items, and a time for prayer. The ages within the group range from age 12 to well beyond!! YOU would be very welcomed by the gathered group. Any questions, please check in with Elizabeth Elterich.


Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, helps low-income families pay their heating bills. LIHEAP is a grant that offers assistance in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company, or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat. LIHEAP applications will be accepted starting November 1. People can apply for the LIHEAP benefits online by using COMPASS, a website where you can apply for LIHEAP and many other services. Alternatively, people can download an application for LIHEAP benefits and return it to their local county assistance office, or file the application at their local county assistance office in person.

Youth Gathering Fundraisers!
The youth of our congregation are beginning their efforts to be part of the 2018 Youth Gathering which will be held in Houston Texas! Here are some easy ways we can all help in their efforts!

Gift card program - Every Sunday after worship we have gift cards available for Weis, Giant and Shop Rite. The gift cards are in $25 denominations. For every gift card you purchase our Youth receive 5% of the purchase price. This is a great way to not have to spend any money that you wouldn't otherwise spend on groceries or gas yet help the youth of St. Peter's as they begin to prepare to be part of the Youth Gathering in 2018!


Do you purchase products from Amazon? Simply go to Amazonsmile.org, select St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Bethlehem as your charity. After checking out a portion of your purchase price will go to our youth.


Scholarship Opportunity
Dr. Irene Todd, a member of Rosemont Lutheran Church since the 1940's, bequeathed funds to Rosemont upon her death in December 2004. As a result of Dr. Todd's generous bequest Rosemont Lutheran Church established a scholarship fund for the purpose of forwarding our mission in serving our church family and broader community.
Each year since the formation of the Dr. Irene Todd Scholarship, Rosemont grants a scholarship to a student who has demonstrated academic competency as well as compassion and caring through service to his or her church and community.
Students selected will receive a scholarship of $1,500 towards an undergraduate, Bachelor's, Associate's or Trade Scholl degree from an accredited institution.
If you, or someone you know may be interested in this scholarship please contact Rosemont Lutheran Church at 610 867-3705.


Partnership Opportunities Abound!

Pastors and Guardians of Holy Israel Community of Faith
Each week, normally on Thursday evening and Saturday evening, the Pastors and Guardians of Holy Israel Community of faith meet in our facilities. This community of faith which offers ministry in both Spanish and English has been meeting in our facilities for approximately 6 months and has truly been a blessing. Led by Pastors Victor and Marilyn Mendoza an enthusiastic community of between 50-60 people worshipping our Lord!

Lehigh Valley Christian Chinese Church
Every week the Lehigh Valley Christian Chinese Church offers an extension of their ministry in our facilities. On Thursday's at noon Christian Chinese students from Lehigh University gather in our social room for Bible Study and on Friday evenings at 6PM approximately 80 sisters and brothers in Christ gather to worship our Lord and share God's teaching.


Financial Stewardship update
In 2016 we will be attempting to keep our community of faith better
informed as to our financial status. Each month we will post an offering "goal" for the month and each week in this space you will see how we are doing towards that "goal."

The Goal for October, 2016 $15,632.00
Received through October 23, 2016 15,237.00
Goal remaining for October $ 395.00


Year to Date Goal through September $159,219.00
Received thru September $153,558.00
Missing 2016 goal by ($ 5,661.00)

Please note: The congregational budget which was approved for 2016 included disbursements from our reserve funds of $94,296.00. Theoretically every dollar under our "giving goal" will be an additional dollar necessary from our reserve fund to sustain our ministries. Every dollar over our "giving goal" will theoretically "save" a dollar from being taken from our reserve funds. If our budget held "true to form", based on current year giving patterns, we would need to take $99,957.00 from our reserve funds to meet anticipated expenses.

The goal for November 2016 - $24,108.00


We will be attempting to publish the December 2016 edition of the "Courier" by Sunday November 27, 2016! Please have any information for inclusion in this edition to the church office by Sunday, November 20, 2016! Thank you

Don't forget!!!

Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday November 6, 2016! Please remember to turn your clocks back one hour before going to sleep next Saturday!

St. Peter's Vision Statement
"As children of God, living under God's Law of Love, we welcome and accept all to celebrate the Good News! Our desire is to make disciples for Jesus Christ and share in proclaiming God's story!"


Are you on St. Peter's email list? We regularly send out daily prayers, reflections from the pastor, and news updates to people who desire to receive email from the community of faith. If you'd like to receive these emails, please contact the Church office!

St. Peter's is a
Reconciling in Christ Congregation


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