February 2017 Courier


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

Volume 63, Issue 2

February, 2017

"Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Matthew 22:34-40(NIV)


Greetings and peace everyone!
"Build us up Lord! Build us up… set in us a strong foundation. Lead us to do Your holy will: form and shape Your new creation! (Build Us Up, Lord, ELW #670)" The words of this new hymn that we sing in our worship experiences has been repetitively played in my head recently. The result? Well, to tell you the truth, I've been singing quite a bit since then. I sing when I walk into Bible study. I sing when I walk into our healing worship! I sing when I walk in to talk to our church administrative staff. What is the result of this action? Well, simply put, I believe it puts other people in better moods.


It's interesting how the manner in which our behaviors are played out publicly in front of other people can change the environment of a room. If I'm tired or sad, the people around me can often seem tired or sad. If I'm upbeat and happy, it seems that other people's spirit can be elevated. The age- old wisdom… "If Mom isn't happy…. Nobody is happy" comes into focus when we think about this.


Now, I'd like to tell you a little story. Not so long ago a friend of mine shared some news with me that absolutely elevated my spirit. The news didn't change the axis of the world. The news didn't change the suffering in the world. The news did, however, make me see "happiness" in the world around me and because of that I was better able to convey feelings of happiness to others. As I met with a group of people from our community of faith in Bible study, I could sense an enthusiasm and a passion for being transformed by the Word of God. By the end of our time together, I believe, their spirits were "renewed", "refreshed," and "lifted." I believe the rest of the day simply continued as a "normal" day.


In the evening, I had another Bible Study. Our gathering seemed a little brighter than normal. Then someone in the meeting had shared that a person who was at our morning Bible study seemed to be in a particularly good mood during the day and they did something particularly nice. The result was that the person in my evening session was filled with good spirit and turned around and did something nice for someone else.
As I prayed that evening I thought: "Isn't it amazing how the good news from a person who lives far away had such a positive impact in our community!"


The point of all this is to share in very simple terms what Jesus was trying to share in our above passage…. Before we can share love with others…. We must first feel love! Before we can share happiness with others… we must first feel happy! Before we can proclaim the love of God… we must first feel the love of God!


We should also be reminded that our words, our thoughts, our actions, are wonderfully interconnected with our "family of faith." Perhaps if we can realize the impact that our thoughts, our words, our actions, have on others, we will better be able to serve our Lord!


So as we continue in our daily living. Think of how people feel in your presence… are they leaving with a positive experience or are we sharing negative feelings with our family and friends. Think of how much our God loves and adores each one of you…. Now! Go and share that love with others!
Peace,
PJ

A Memorable January!

On Baptism of Our Lord Day (January 8, 2017) we welcomed our newest brother in Christ, Benjamin Michael Cybuck into our midst!

On January 14 a few of our Thrivent Financial for Lutherans came together for breakfast, fellowship, and to begin planning 2017 Action Teams


On January 21, 2017, the St. Peter's Task force came together to continue working towards offering recommendations to our congregational council to achieve a "balanced" budget.

On January 28, 2017, the North East Pennsylvania Synod was warmly received within our midst as we hosted "Learning Ministry Day 2017!" A huge word of thanks to everyone who helped to make this such a wonderful day!

On January 29, 2017 we were delighted to celebrate "Youth Sunday" in conjunction with receiving new members. On this day our younger believers, wrote, produced, and shared a wonderful message designed to remind us all that assistance from God often comes through people that we wouldn't normally notice! A big word of thanks to everyone who helped make this such a wonderful proclamation of God's love for the world


In Addition to those wonderful Ministries
St. Peter's also:

• Shared two meals with the Bethlehem Emergency Shelter
• Installed newly elected congregational leaders during our worship.
• Continued to provide a "Hot Dog" listening post for our neighbors
• Provided support for the South Side Thrift Store
• Received four new "Sisters in Christ" into our midst on January 28, 2017: Rebecca Neafcy, Judy Shelly, Michele Schmidt, and Melanie Cruz-Schmidt
• Conducted a congregational meeting approving historical Records for 2016, approving the new Congregational constitution and By-laws.
• Hosted 24 people at our monthly Brewing Theology gathering

What a wonderful and powerful witness to the Living Christ
through Word and Deed!

Thank YOU all for your support and help in sharing the love of Christ
in the world in which we live!

A few important updates:


As many of you know, the computer "server" which files and saves all of St. Peter's documents stopped working in September of 2016. We are happy to share with all of you that a new "server" has been installed in our community and files are currently being generated to maintain appropriate records for our activities! We thank you all for your patience and understanding during this transition time!

Notes from
St. Peter's Task Force
January 21, 2017

The following people were in attendance at our first Task Force meeting: Al Radtke, Jackie Radtke, Marianne Napavarik, Tony DeAngelis Jr., Gina DeAngelis, David Kolman, James Ritchie, Lois Ritchie, Michel Lloyd, Marylou Seixas, Kenda Riley, Ed Little, Fred Kunkle, Richard Elterich and Rev. Jerry Kulp


Our time together began with a prayer


We conducted a "Lectio Divino" study on a passage from the book of Acts


Received Reports from the "sub-teams"


Option A (Looking for potential communities to share ministry)
• Team has visited several communities of faith, but doesn't feel that any community of faith visited is prepared at this time to seriously consider shared ministry.
• General feeling was that other communities of faith were very "neighborly" but not at a place for any serious commitments.
• Other facilities also have several restrictions (i.e. handicap accessibility) that would make a truly shared ministry very difficult.


Option B (Assessing market value and potential interest in our current property and seek potential properties for moving)
• Have met with a realtor who has worked with other communities of faith. Suggested that for our size community of faith we should operate in 10-15 thousand square feet. St. Peter's current facility offers approximately 26 thousand square feet.
• The amount of money that a mortgage company would offer a potential buyer for our facility would be somewhere between 1.7million to 2.5 million dollars. Realtor suggested that if we placed the building on the "market" we should seek 3 million dollars.
• Properties that would suit our square footage need would cost between 750 thousand dollars to a million dollars for an existing space and we would more than likely need renovation costs of approximately 500 thousand dollars.
• Realtor offered that in our area, to utilize space within our facilities an appropriate gift for outside agencies (i.e. head start…) would be $16 per sq. foot+ utilities per month. (This information was shared with "option C" team.)
• Pastor Jerry and Rich Elterich had an opportunity to meet with Erin who is responsible for reality development for Lehigh University. This meeting offered no specific information, just a general feeling that if St. Peter's ever wanted to do anything with our property that her office would like to be notified.


Option C (working with budget and seeking potential new revenues)
• Option C broke into three smaller groups
o Group 1 - Looked into beginning a "Day care"
? After initial research the amount of necessary effort, financial support, and internal commitment seemed very high for any potential income
o Group 2 - Looked into "other" potential Fundraising type of efforts
? Researched the potential of offering a "flea market/craft market" on a regular basis.
• Would have flat fee to set up tables in social room
• Would attempt to "recruit" people from the south side
• Would need to have consistency in regular times for it to be successful
? Looking into the potential of offering "Basket Bingo" on a regular basis
? Looking into the possibility of hosting "Video tournaments"
o Group 3 - Researching how to modify current budget to make more manageable
? Current salary requirement approximately 204 thousand dollars when similar sized congregations run between 150- 175 thousand dollars.
• Pastor and Shirley now receive 50% of health care benefits from Shirley's current employer
• Considering recommending reducing other staff salaries
? Considering asking for additional fees from agencies that currently use our facilities (i.e. head start, Lehigh Valley Chinese Church…) It is felt that we could potentially increase income by $5,000 with more appropriate gifts from these organizations.
? If community of faith enacted all ideas at this point it is believed our deficit spending would be reduced from currently 92 thousand dollars to approximately 54 thousand dollars annually.


After a brief recess the Task force came back together to reorganize efforts
Option A -
• It was felt as though at this point in time we should not continue to expend our efforts in actively seeking out "shared ministry."
• This team will now focus their efforts on developing a brochure that will be sent out to local communities of faith simply expressing a desire on St. Peter's part to partner with our communities of faith in specific ministries. Our hope is that our local congregations will simply "see" that we are open to help and potential willing partners.
Option B -
• We thank the folks serving on option B for their efforts. However at this time we felt as though we have the information that we were initially seeking.
• This option may be "reactivated" in the future depending upon future decisions of the Task Force, congregational council, or congregation.
Option C
• We spoke in length about "Fundraising" vs Stewardship. This team is "re-looking" at potential efforts to raise funds to advance the proclamation of the gospel.
• We also asked that people or groups of people be designated as to "who" will be responsible to plan and coordinate potential efforts.
• The "budget" team was asked to look at "how" our budget is presented to see if there are more "people" friendly ways of presenting the budget.
• This team will now contact Head Start, Lehigh Valley Christian Chinese Church, and Diacon Family Ministries to obtain viability of providing more funds to help offset our costs.
• It should be noted that ministries such as "AARP tax help, Cross Roads color guard, which provide specific help for local residents will not be asked to provide financial assistance to our community of faith as we see these as "outreach ministries" of our community of faith.
Our next Task Force meeting is scheduled for Saturday February 18, 2017 at 9AM. A reminder that Task Force meetings are "open" to anyone who desires to be in attendance.


Meeting adjourned with the Lord's prayer.

Respectfully submitted
Rev. Gerald S. Kulp

Picture Directory update:
Final coordination was made with "Life Touch" in order to complete our picture directory. We are hopeful that we will have the picture directories available for distribution within the month!

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

This month in worship

Sunday February 5, 2017 (9:00 AM) - 5th Sunday after Epiphany
Light shines in the darkness for the upright, the psalmist sings. Isaiah declares that when we loose the bonds of injustice and share our bread with the hungry, the light breaks forth like the dawn. In another passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, the light of the world, calls His followers to let the light of their good works shine before others. Through baptism we are sent into the world to shine with the light of Christ.

Sunday, February 12, 2017 (9:00 AM) - 6th Sunday after Epiphany
In today's reading from Deuteronomy we are called to choose life by loving and obeying God. Much of today's gospel reading echoes portions of the Ten Commandments. Jesus' instructions to the crowd reveal a pattern of behavior that honors both God and the neighbor, resulting in live and health for the whole community. We, too, are invited to embrace these commandments, not out of fear of retribution, but because God has promised that to do so means life for us.


Sunday, February 19, 2017 (9:00 AM) - 7th Sunday after Epiphany
In today's first reading we hear, "You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am Holy." Yet we know we cannot achieve perfection. Our attempts to love neighbors and even enemies fall short of what God desires for us. Yet in Jesus we see one who loved even those who persecuted and killed Him. We are made holy in baptism, and forgiven at the table of God's mercy. As a people made holy by God, we go in peace to love as we have been loved.

Sunday, February 26th, 2017 (9:00 AM) - Transfiguration of Our Lord
Today's festival is a bridge between the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany cycle that comes to a close today and the Lent-Easter cycle that begins in several days. On the mount of transfiguration Jesus is revealed as God's beloved Son, echoing the words at His baptism. This vision of glory sustains us as Jesus faces His impending death in Jerusalem. We turn this week to Ash Wednesday and our yearly baptismal journey from Lent to Easter. Some churches put aside the alleluia at the conclusion of today's liturgy. This word of joy will be omitted during the penitential season of Lent and be sung again at Easter.

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 Dody Siegrfried normally presides at this worship experience however, Pastor Jerry will be officiating at this worship experience on February 18, 2017. 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!

Begin the New Year with Bible Study
The Women of the ELCA Bible Study will gather on Tuesday, February 7 and 21, 2017 in the Social Room from 9:30 to 11 AM. As Lutherans in 2017, we will be celebrating the 500th Birthday of Martin Luther. The Jan.~Feb. Bible study will focus on the book of Galatians. It was while reading Galatians, Martin realized he did not have to work to earn salvation but that he and all who believe are justified by faith, the gift of grace given to us by a God who loves us. Together we'll explore what Paul and Martin Luther learned as they grew in faith in very different times. Paul wrote to the Galatians sometime between 50 and 55 AD, while Martin Luther was studying God's word in 1510 AD.

All women are welcome around the table. Coffee, tea, and some snacks will be ready. There is time to chat, study, sing, and pray. Please consider starting this calendar New Year by adding Bible Study to your routine.

Remember the Snow Policy is that if the Bethlehem Area School District has a delayed start or is cancelled, there will be no Bible Study. If you are uncertain, call the Church Office (610-867-0519) and the answering machine will have the cancellation information.


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 Tony Dungy's Book "Dare to be Uncommon." 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 at 9:00 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 February 6, 2017 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!

Adult "After Hours" study
Our "After Hours" study continues each Sunday morning following our worship experience in the Trauger Room. At this study we are currently reviewing "Luther's Small Catechism" as we continue to celebrate the 500th Anniversary celebration of the Reformation! Please consider joining us for this wonderful study!

A quick "peek" into a few Lenten worship opportunities!
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

March 1 - Ash Wednesday - 7:00 AM in the Chapel; 10:30 AM and 7:00 PM in the Sanctuary. Each worship will include an opportunity to receive ashes and Holy Communion.

March 5; 12; 19; 26 and April 2 - Sunday Mornings at 7:30 AM Worship will be held in our Chapel during Lent. At this worship, there will be an opportunity for prayer; a homily based on the day's assigned Scripture reading and Holy Communion. This worship will last approximately 30-45 minutes.

March 8 - Evening Prayer at St. Matthews with Holy Communion. Pastor Dan Brettell preaching.

March 15 - Evening Prayer at St. Paul's with Holy Communion. Pastor Jerry Kulp preaching.

March 22 - Evening Prayer at St. Peter's with Holy Communion. Pastor Dody Seigfried preaching.

March 29 - Evening Prayer at Messiah with Holy Communion. Pastor Jenny Bramble preaching.

April 5 - Evening Prayer at Holy Trinity with Holy Communion. Pastor James Muskie preaching.

All Worship Experiences begin at 7:00 PM with a light fellowship meal at 6:00 PM

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

Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering Program:
St. Peter's is pleased to offer meals for the Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering ministry at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on Bethlehem's West Side. The shelter regularly serves between 8 to 20 women who are in need at each of these meals. Due to some of the shelter site closings, Holy Trinity is now open for women's sheltering on Sunday and Tuesday nights every week. This season St. Peter's has doubled our commitment as well to this ministry as well, serving a meal on the first Sunday evening of each month and the third Tuesday evening of each month. St. Peter's regularly has a rotating group of about ten volunteers providing ingredients and food items for the meals, meal prep, serving the meal and cleanup.

If any are interested in checking out what the BES program is all about, in serving a meal with our St. Peter's group, or volunteering in other ways at the Holy Trinity shelter site, please contact Amy Faulch at 732-500-4138. We are privileged to have come to know and share our light with so many of our Bethlehem neighbors through the BES program, and pray for a safe and successful remainder of the shelter season.

BACK PACK BUDDIES IN THE NEW YEAR
The season of winter is a wonderful time to remember to purchase items for the Back Pack Buddy program that St. Peter's supports with St. Paul's Lutheran in Fountain Hill. When out shopping remember to buy some easy to prepare, healthy foods~~microwaveable pastas, applesauce, fruit cups, soups, crackers, peanut butter and jelly, cereal, puddings~~then bring them along to St. Peter's and place in the shopping cart in the upper narthex hallway. As soon as the cart is full, the items will be taken to St. Paul's and then back packs will be filled for the children who won't be getting their school breakfast and lunches during the Christmas break.


New Bethany Ministries
The New Bethany Food Pantry is always in need of non-perishable food for their food bank that provides emergency food for people/families in need. NBM receives quite a bit of help around the holidays, but in the winter months etc. the shelves are often bare. You can help our neighbors in need by adding an item to your food order each time and bringing it to St. Peter's. Place the items in the laundry baskets marked with NBM Food Bank found in the Social Room, the Lower Narthex and at the Christian Ed front door. Jesus asks that we feed our neighbors and care for them, and together we can make a difference.


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 February 14 and 28.) Please contact Evelyn Smith if you might be interested in helping with this important ministry!
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!

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 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.


STEWARDSHIP TEAM UPDATE!
In the month of February St. Peter's will need your help! Please prayerfully consider how you can share your time and talent to help advance our shared proclamation of God's love!

Stewardship/Evangelism
Our hope is to share with community, how God calls us to utilize our abundant resources to advance sharing God's love with the world and then telling the community and the world our story! This ministry team normally gathers on Sunday's following worship on a monthly basis.

Worship & Music Ministry Team
The aspiration of our reformatted worship and music ministry team is to understand how our corporate worship experiences can allow God's Spirit to transform our ministries and our lives! This will be a "standing ministry team" that will meet the 4th Tuesday evening of each month at 7PM.

Christian Education Ministry Team
The aspiration of our Christian Education Ministry Team is to allow for the free-flowing exchange of God's power in our lives in ways that the learner has opportunities to experience God's presence in powerful ways. The Christian Education Ministry Team is designed for ALL of God's children from "cradle to grave" to advance understandings of God's love. This ministry team normally gathers on Sunday's following the Sunday Church School hour.

Financial Stewardship Update
In 2017 we are 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 January 2017 $13,417.00
Received thru January 22, 2017 $18,444.50
Over goal for January + $ 5,027.50
Goal for February, 2017 $14,880.00


Please note: The congregational budget which was approved for 2017 included disbursements from our reserve funds of $93,000.00. 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 January 2017 giving patterns, we would need to take $87,973.00 from our reserve funds to meet anticipated expenses.


We will be attempting to publish the March 2017 edition of the "Courier" by Sunday February 26, 2017! Please have any information for inclusion in this edition to the church office by Monday February 20, 2017! Thank you


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!"


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