July Courier

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

Volume 63, Issue 7

July, 2017

"You make a difference!"

Greetings and peace to you all!
I often hear people around me suggest that no matter how hard they may try…. Nothing they do really makes a difference in the world. These sisters and brothers sometimes feel like attempting to "make life better" or bring issues to the forefront, simply is an exercise in futility because their efforts simply won't make a difference.
I've been thinking and praying a great deal about this as I ponder the future of our community of faith. I pray about this as I think about questions like "do our worship experiences empower and encourage people to make faith a 24/7 opportunity or is worship just a "nice thing to do?"" I ponder this question as we attempt to have more sisters and brothers in Christ become more active in intentional ministry efforts. I pray and think about how we as a community can get more people within our midst to see and experience moments of feeling God's presence within our world and desiring that these people would want to experience this feeling more often and even be willing to commit a portion of their time and efforts to achieve this feeling. This morning I would like to share some of my personal thoughts with each of you on the topic.
The first thing I would like to share with you is that as followers of Jesus Christ it shouldn't matter how much worldly success we see in our actions and behaviors as we are simply called to live in grateful response to the gifts our Lord shares with us.
Secondly, and this is absolutely essential; one person DOES make a difference, and a very significant difference in the world at that!
Imagine for a moment that you are standing at the edge of a shimmering lake. You pick up a stone and "skim" it across the water. As soon as the stone touches the surface of the water, a "ripple" is formed that becomes larger and larger. The stone skips to its next destination and the pattern repeats. The water ripples that surround the impact of the stone represent the effects and impacts of your passions, your actions, your words and your thoughts on the world around you!
Your ability to think about how God would want you to respond in each situation and act in a manner consistent with that thought changes the world. Let's suppose you are driving in your car and a young person of whom your especially fond of is in the back seat of your car. Now imagine that you are driving on a highway and someone "cuts you off!" If you think about how God would desire you to respond before immediately reacting, your thoughts would probably not be 1) make sure the person knows how you feel about them by non-verbal or verbal communication. 2) speed up to get close to their bumper and try to "cut them off" to create another unsafe situation so that this person knows how they made you feel. Rather, you might, say a prayer… perhaps even out loud, thanking God that you and your passenger are safe and saying a prayer that the other drivers on the highway have a sense of peace so that they may drive more safely. Imagine the power of that simple action in the life of the young person in your car. The next time that young person is mistreated at school, instead of reacting in angry or violent ways they might remember how you responded to the aggressive driver. Imagine how much safer you kept the highway by not reacting to the aggressive driver with anger or violence. In other words, your actions in that stressful moment really did change the world in which we live for the better, and who knows where the ripple effects will be felt.
I share this reflection to suggest that how we respond to the gifts that God pours out upon us each and every single day of our lives really DOES make a difference in the world around us. For us to witness injustice and speak about that injustice; makes a difference. For us to surround a person with a heartfelt prayer; makes a difference. For us to call a friend to offer a word of support; makes a difference!
I look at the world around us and bear witness to all the anger, hatred, prejudice, and violence and I know that something in the world MUST change in order for the proclamation of God's love to be heard. We must all have the ability to see that if we don't start something. If we don't become the change that we desire to see in the world, then nothing will ever change! Every single advancement in human rights, in social justice concerns, in technology, began with the thoughts and actions of a single person. One person who had the foresight, the vision, and the courage to make a difference.
So, let us all commit our selves to sending out "stones of love." Stones that demonstrate a mutual respect and dignity of all life. Stones that remind the world that there is a better way to live. Stones that continually share the love our God has with all of creation!
Peace and blessings

Some wonderful June moments that created "ripples"!

At our Pentecost Day 2017 Worship experience, Timothy Rolls "Affirmed his baptism" and became a confirmed adult member of our community of faith! Congratulations Tim on this wonderful accomplishment!

Flowers that adorned our sanctuary on Pentecost Sunday were planted in our gardens for the entire world to see the beauty of God's creation on June 5, 2017. We are blessed this year to have 7 different families involved in the care and upkeep of our outside gardens!

St. Peter's at the Iron Pigs Game!
Thanks to the efforts of Bruce Billard, 50 of our closest friends and family enjoyed a wonderful night at the ball park as St. Peter's cheered on the Iron Pigs! While the "home team" did not fare very well on this night, a wonderful time of fellowship and relaxation was enjoyed by our community of faith!

Cinema for Christ!
On Thursday June 15, our first "Cinema for Christ!" ministry began. Twenty-five brothers and sisters from our community of faith gathered in the Trauger Room to watch the movie "The Shack!" The movie was followed by a discussion about what we had all just witnessed and how what we learned together may be placed into action in our daily living! Our next "Cinema for Christ" will be held on July 20 when we will be watching the movie "Hidden Figures."

"Men's Day" celebrated at St. Peter's
Joan Helman and friends used their time and talents alongside a Thrivent Action Team to help St. Peter's celebrate "Men's Day 2017!" As part of our activities all men, regardless of age, received a coffee mug to help celebrate the day! Coffee mugs still available to those who were not able to be in attendance. Please see Kenda Riley

Graduates celebrated!
At our worship experience on June 25, St. Peter's celebrated our 2017 graduates! During our worship experience we invited all 2017 graduates forward to offer them a prayer of thanksgiving for their accomplishments and a prayer of guidance for their future lives. Following worship, we gathered in our social room for a time of celebration! The 2017 graduates are: Alisia Drayton, Bloomsburg University, 525 Spruce Street, Hellertown, PA 18055; Rachael Fackenthal, Rowan University, 1130 N. Mink Road, Danielsville, PA 18038; Mackezie Fantasia, Liberty High School, 1215 Greenfield Road, Bethlehem, PA 18017; Harmony Gubich, Freedom High School, 3340 Eileen Court, Bethlehem, PA 18020; Jordan Hawk, Lower Saucon High School, 1864 Reading Road, Bethlehem, PA 18015; Tyler Keller, Salisbury High School, 1321 Taft Avenue, Allentown, PA 18103; Micah Kolman, Liberty High School, 504 Forrest Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18017; Gian Seixas, Liberty High School, 116 W. Graham Place, Bethlehem, PA 18015, and Cody Zrinki, Lower Saucon High School, 1386 Nace Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18015. Congratulations to all our graduates!

Ministries to help us "SEE AND KNOW" God on a
Deeper, more personal level!

Sunday, July 2, 2017 (9:00 AM - Nave) - Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
The welcome of baptism is for all God's children. This baptismal gift sets us free from the power of sin and death. In today's gospel, Christ promises that the disciple who gives a cup of cold water to the little ones serves Christ himself. From worship we are sent on our baptismal mission: to serve the little ones of this world and to be a sign of God's merciful welcome.

Sunday, July 9, 2017 (9:00 AM - Nave) - Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
The mystery of God's ways is sometimes hidden from the wise and intelligent, Jesus associates with the lowly and outcast. Like Paul, we struggle with our own selfish desires and seek God's mercy and forgiveness. We gather to be refreshed by Christ's invitation: "Come to me, all you that are weary." Gathered around word, water, and meal, we find rest for our souls.

"Brewing Theology!" Monday July 10, 2017
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 July 10, 2017 at 6:30 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, July 16, 2017 (9:00 AM - Nave) - Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
God's word is like the rain that waters the earth and brings forth vegetation. It is also like the sower who scatters seed indiscriminately. Our lives are like seeds sown in the earth. Even from what appears to be little, dormant, or dead, God promises a harvest. At the Lord's table, we are fed with the bread of life, that we may bear fruit in the world.

Cinema for Christ! Thursday July 20, 2017
We will be offering "Cinema for Christ!" the third Thursday night of each month during the summer in place of our "Stories of faith" Bible study. This evening movie night will include a fellowship meal that will be set out at 5:00PM and St. Peter's will provide the hot-dogs! Participants are encouraged to bring a side dish or a desert to share. The movie will begin at 6PM, however the food will be left out for any late arrivals. Following the movie there will be a time for reflection and discussion! The July movie that we will be viewing is "Hidden Figures!" Consider coming on out, enjoying a wonderful movie along with great fellowship and discussion!

Sunday, July 23, 2017 (9:00 AM - Nave) - Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
It is an age-old question: why is there evil in the world? In the parable of the wheat and the weeds Jesus suggests that both grow together until the harvest. With Paul, we long for the day that all creation will be set free from bondage and suffering. Having both weeds and the wheat within us, we humble place our hope in the promises of God, and from the Lord's table we go forth to bear the fruit of justice and mercy.

Sunday, July 30, 2017 (9:00 AM - Nave) - Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
As Solomon prays for wisdom, we seek to more deeply know the treasures of faith. In today's gospel Jesus offers everyday images that reveal to us the reign of God: a tree that becomes a sheltering home, yeast that penetrates and expands, a treasured pearl, a net that gains a great catch. Even as we seek the riches of God's reign, the great surprise is that God's grace finds us first!

Holden Evening Prayer, every Wednesday 6:30PM (Chapel)
Not able to be present with our community of faith on Sunday morning? Need a little "spiritual pick-me-up" in the middle of the week? Enjoy the beauty and simplicity of "Holden Evening Prayer?" Why not come out and join your sisters and brothers who gather in Christ's name each Wednesday evening at 6:30PM (This worship will not be held on Wednesday July 26) in our chapel to celebrate Holden Evening Prayer. This worship experience lasts approximately 30-45 minutes and offers a reflection on Scripture, and a celebration of Holy Communion.

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 Siegfried normally presides at this worship experience. Pastor Jerry will be leading this worship experience on Saturday, July 15.

Women's Bible Study Meets All Summer
Women will gather for Bible study in July only on Tuesday,18th, and in August on
Tuesday, 1st and 15th, from 9:30 to 11 AM in the Social Room. All women are welcome around the table, and there is a chair waiting for you! Coffee, tea and some snacks are part of the gathering as well.

The July and August study themes will continue to look God's call to all women to be part of caring for others, stepping out in to new areas of ministry, and dreaming and planning ways of showing God's caring love to those around us who are in need of knowing how much God loves and cares about them. It is our joy and our challenge to spread God's love to others. When a person realizes that trusting in God gives power, then anything can happen~~David overpowers Goliath; Mary, and unmarried teenager, becomes the mother of our Lord; and so many other times God uses "ordinary" people to do extra ordinary tasks. So, come, enjoy the company of other women seeking to know where God is calling each of us to share God's love in today's world.

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 "Not a Fan" written by Kyle Idleman. 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. Consider joining us! Please note: We have suspended the fellowship meal for the summer months. If you would like to join in pre-fellowship, please bring your own meal to the social room at 5:30pm.

St. Peter's goes to Gettysburg!
On Wednesday July 26, 2017, you are invited to join us for a trip to Gettysburg! We plan to leave St. Peter's at 7:00AM and car pool to Gettysburg. Upon arrival participants will tour the new United Lutheran Seminary campus at Gettysburg where we can see the environment in which future rostered leaders learn. We will also have an opportunity to see the beautiful chapel on campus with specially designed windows. For lunch, the hope is that we will be able to make reservations at the "Springhouse Tavern" a local eatery which has perhaps the best French onion soup that Pastor Jerry has ever tasted. Following lunch people will be free to explore Gettysburg on your own. In order to make reservations for lunch and provide the seminary with accurate number of participants we need anyone interested in joining us to sign up on the sheet located on the bulletin board by the kitchen.

Vacation Bible School through our CoMiT partnerships!
Vacation Bible School is available to the children of St. Peter's at one of three locations around Bethlehem.

St. Paul's Fountain Hill is offering Vacation Bible School beginning Monday June 26, from 6-8PM. Participants are welcome to "sign up" upon arrival.

Holy Trinity/Salem Parish will be offering Vacation Bible School begin July 17. To find out more information about this opportunity please contact the congregation at 610 865-2684.

Messiah Lutheran Church will be offering Vacation Bible school beginning July 17. To find out more information about this opportunity please contact the congregation at 610 861-0645.

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

Advocacy Team desires your input and help!
The St. Peter's Advocacy Ministry team is hoping that you might offer your thoughts and assistance with the many ministries that share God's love with the world around us. This ministry team focuses on issues of social justice and brings aid and relief to the community around us. If you might be interested in joining this wonderful group please come to a meeting scheduled for July 16, 2017, following our worship experience!

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, July 11th and 25th.) Please contact Evelyn Smith if you might be interested in helping with this important ministry!

Backpack Buddies
During the month of July, please place all your food gift items in the baskets for New Bethany Ministries, because St. Paul's Lutheran, Fountain Hill does not fill backpacks during the summer. Pastor Dan is hopeful to get enough funding to provide this ministry again in the Fall when the children go back to school. Watch the August and September Couriers for details about the resumption of this program which so many people at St. Peter's so faithfully and generously support.

Knitter's Group
We are always looking for additional helpers in helping to provide knitted bandages and other items for people who are in need around the world. If interested please see Elizabeth Elterich or simply come to the UCF Room on July 17th, 2017 at 6:30PM to join in the efforts!

Blanket Making
Everyone who can tie a knot or use a sharp scissor is welcome to come on Tuesday, August 1st at 11:30 AM, to help finish up a couple more blankets. The blankets and knitted bandages will be displayed in the worship space on Sunday, August 20, 2017. Prayers will be said for those whose hands have created these gifts, and for the folks around the world who will receive them. The items will then be taken to the distribution center in Maryland for shipment around the world as children and adults have need of the warmth, protection, and assurance that someone cares about their needs. Much can be accomplished in two hours if there are lots of hands working on the blankets.
Some Additional information!

Calling all young people
between 8th-11th grade!

St. Peter's is currently planning to be part of the 2018 Youth Gathering in Houston Texas from June 27 through July 1, 2018!

Every three years, 30,000 high school youth and their adult leaders from across the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gather for a week of faith formation known as the ELCA Youth Gathering. Through days spent in interactive learning, worship, Bible study, service and fellowship, young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives.

Pastor Jerry and Shirley will be leading our delegation to this event. St. Peter's and the congregations of CoMiT are making plans to be part of this experience. Young people who will be entering 8th grade through 11th grade this coming school year are eligible to attend this gathering.

An initial registration meeting will be held in our Trauger room on Saturday July 1, 2018 at 10:30AM immediately following our confirmation Education ministry. At this meeting, necessary requirements will be shared with the group, registration materials will be handed out and costs of the event will be discussed. If you know someone who may be interested in being part of this event please make sure that they are present at this meeting or contact Pastor Jerry to share information. We are planning on registering individual people to the gathering by the end of July to insure the best possible pricing and availabilities to the gathering.

If you know someone who isn't sure whether or not they would like to join us for this event, please come to this initial meeting. It will be much easier for a person to "drop out" of this ministry than it will be to enter this ministry at a later date.

Aspiring to be better disciples! A new St. Peter's summer stewardship challenge
You may recall that in the summer of 2016, our Stewardship ministry team challenged the people of St. Peter's with a financial challenge! You and your sisters and brothers in Christ responded wonderfully!

This year our stewardship ministry is hoping that you will share the same enthusiasm and effort "aspiring to be a better disciple!" The hope is that those ministries in which you feel impassioned whether they be in the area of social justice, fellowship, hospitality, education, worship, property, or whatever else may come to your mind will become a summer focus for you! We would like to see your thoughts, ideas, and insights into the many ways in which you live out your lives of faith be highlighted within our community. So here's what we're asking of you.

• Pray about those things regarding your faith that you feel impassioned with. Ask yourself, how could this ministry help me or others grow in their understanding of God.

• Talk to someone you know and trust about your passion. This could be the pastor, Kenda, or anyone who is serving in the many ministry teams of our community of faith to "run your ideas and thoughts" passed.

• Begin developing a plan on how your particular passion takes shape within our community and then …. Go For it!

Allow your sisters and brothers in Christ to work with you and walk beside in your understanding of discipleship! Together we make powerful proclamations of our faith!

Please remember, that while summer is a time for necessary recreation and relaxation, the mission of our community of faith continues. As you travel and relax, please don't forget to continue to share your offerings with our congregation.

Youth Gathering Fundraisers!
The youth of our congregation are continuing efforts to be part of the 2018 Youth Gathering!

St. Peter's 3rd Annual Youth Gathering Golf Outing!
For the 3rd consecutive year, St. Peter's is hosting a golf outing designed to help offset the costs of our young people attending the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, Texas next July (2018). To date over $11,000 has been raised to assist in this effort! We need YOUR HELP! We are looking for golfers, we are looking for hole sponsors, and we are looking for volunteers the day of this event. This year's outing will be held on August 12, 2017 at the Bethlehem Municipal Golf Course. If you are able to assist in any of our efforts, please contact Kenda Riley or Ed Little!

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!

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.

Financial Stewardship Update
In 2017 we are attempting to keep our community of faith
better informed as to our financial status. It is our hope that this will allow each of you to be more aware of our current financial status and trends.

GIVING: Expenses
Year to Date goal through May 2017 $85,750.00 $120,817.00
Year to Date actual through May 2017 $89,825.00 $115,871.00
How we are doing year to date $ 4,075.00 $- 4,946 .00

The congregational budget which was approved for 2017 included disbursements from our reserve funds of $93,000.00. Above figures indicate that we saved from having to take $9,021.00 from our reserves to support our ministries through May 2017.

Anticipated money from reserve fund $93,000.00
Based on year to date figures - 9,021.00
Adjusted anticipated money from reserves $83,979.00

The Giving Goal for June , 2017 $14,640.00
Received through June 18, 2017 $ 10,545.00
Remaining goal for June $ 4,095.00

The Expenses Goal for May, 2017 is $27,183.00

We will be attempting to publish the August 2017 edition of the "Courier" by Sunday July 30, 2017! Please have any information for inclusion in this edition to the church office by Monday July 24, 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!"

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!

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