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From The Pastor...

This was my newsletter from November 2021. It seems even more relevant today...

"Come, Ye Thankful People Come" rang out as we celebrated Harvest Home. Now we journey into November, and the decorations remind us that the Thanksgiving holiday is coming. It seems difficult to give thanks. Our country is struggling with social, racial, and political divisions. Our press and medial and social media seem to believe that the more sensational and hate-filled the content becomes, the better it is.

We crave change. I know that seems strange, as most of the time we crave stability. But, deep down, I pray that we recognize that this world can be better. As individuals, it feels overwhelming. But when we unite under the gospel food news of our Savior Jesus Christ, we can show our communities and the world that is a better way. A most excellent way.

"I am the way" Jesus says to us. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." The "truth" is not coming to you from the news, or the internet, or at the breakfast table with your friends. 

Jesus challenges us to respond to hate not with hate but with love. Jesus challenges us to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. Jesus challenges us to see all of God's children as beloved and worthy of God's love and of ours.

Our country right now is feeding on anger, and violence, and misinformation that is disguised as the truth. Be awake. Be careful about what you read, and what you believe. Respond in love. Make this world kinder. And remember that "our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." 


Pastor Kevin

Upcoming Services & Events...



           Holy Communion Service, 9:00AM

   12 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

           Annual Congregational Meeting, 9:30AM

           Sunday School, 10:00AM

   18 – Men’s Fellowship Breakfast, 8:00AM


           Worship Service, 9:00AM

           Community Service @ St. Mark’s, 4:00PM

   21 – Spiritual Council, 6:00PM

   23 – Thanksgiving Day


           Annual Memorial Service, 9:00AM

           Sunday School, 10:00AM

   28 – Consistory Meeting, 6:00PM


   03 – ADVENT 1

           Holy Communion Service, 9:00AM

   10 – ADVENT 2

           No 9:00AM Service

           Combined Christmas Cantata, 10:30AM

           Christmas Luncheon, 11:30AM                      

   16 – Men’s Fellowship Breakfast, 8:00AM

   17 – ADVENT 3

           Worship Service, 9:00AM

   19 – Consistory Meeting, 6:00PM


           Worship Service, 9:00AM

           Sunday School, 10:00AM

           Handbell Recital, 7:30PM

           Candlelight & Communion Service, 8:00PM   

   25 – Christmas Day 

   31 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

           Sunday School, 10:00AM


   01 – New Year's Day


           Worship Service, 9:00AM

   14 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

           Sunday School, 10:00AM

   20 – Men’s Fellowship Breakfast, 8:00AM

   21 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

   28 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

           Sunday School, 10:00AM

   30 – Consistory Meeting, 6:00PM

Church News...

GIFT & BASKET RAFFLE – Our 2023 Gift and Basket Raffle was once again a huge success. Many compliments were received from our customers; they love the new process we are using. Fellowship was had by all! We had 403 customers come through the doors to see over 220 prizes. Because of everyone's efforts, Saint John's once again topped $10,000 in proceeds to go toward our church ministries. Thank you to everyone involved. 

SUNDAY SCHOOL RESUMES – The Adult Sunday School Class has begun meeting again. We meet the 2nd and 4th Sundays @ 10:00AM. Our goal is to have informal discussions on how God's word can be applied t our daily lives, so we can cope better with the world in which we are living. Hope you can join us! 

ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING  The annual meeting of Saint John’s congregation will be held on Sunday, November 12 immediately following a shortened 9AM Worship Service. Business will include presentation of the proposed 2024 budget, election of elders & deacons, and appointment of delegates. Please plan to attend this important meeting.  

HELP WANTED – Saint John’s needs YOU as we move forward and grow some areas of our ministry. Please prayerfully consider ways that you might be able to help your church . . .

  • COFFEE & CONVERSATION HOSTS – Are you willing to host one of our Coffee & Conversation gatherings? There is very little set up involved – it’s as simple as putting out paper products, making coffee, and heating water for tea. Please speak with Tim Gipe or Fiona Jacoby if you are willing to help with our hospitality ministry.

  • LAY READERS – Are you willing to read scripture during worship? In January, we will resume having lay readers participate in the worship service. Please contact the church office if you are interested.

  • WORSHIP TECHS – Do you have an interest or some experience using technology? Are you willing to take a turn recording worship services? Training will be provided on the equipment we will be using. Please speak with Tim Gipe or Karen Toback for more information.


  • Stained Glass Restoration – Greenwood Stained Glass (Topton, PA) has completed restoration work and is currently reinstalling windows. This project should be completed by mid-December.

  • Door Replacement – B&G Glass (Reading, PA) has installed the new ADA compliant front doors, the ramp entrance door, and a new electric locking system. Final adjustments are now being completed.

  • Elevette Modernization – Port Elevator (Williamsport, PA) has completed approved safety upgrades to the elevette. A minor refresh will be completed early in the new year.

  • Sound System Upgrades – Audiobahn Sound (Pottstown, PA) will install the new sound system in the Sanctuary and repair the Chapel sound system in the beginning of November.

  • Recording/Streaming Services – We are setting up a simplified method to record/upload services.

  • Concrete Replacement & Ramp Construction – in design phase.

RENTALS AVAILABLE – As we approach the holiday season, remember Bittle Hall is available for your meetings, holiday parties, and other events. Centrally located in town with refreshed restrooms, new kitchen appliances, and plenty of space, it’s the perfect place to hold your event. If you or someone you know would like to rent Bittle Hall, please contact the church office or download and submit the rental agreement at

PRAYER WALL – Our prayer wall is located just inside the West Entrance. If you have a prayer request, please write it on a tag (first name only if a person), place the date on the back, and hang it on one of the hooks so that those who wish to may pray for these concerns. 


Mission & Outreach...

CLOTHING CORNER / RED CROSS AFFILIATION – Our newly renovated mission room is in full swing. The Mission Team has been very busy the past several weeks preparing for our free Fall Clothing Giveaway, which was held on Sunday afternoon, October 22. We are so grateful for all the donations of clothing we received for the giveaway from our members, their friends and families, and local churches. Because of the outpouring of wonderful clothing and the willingness of our Mission Team, we are now affiliated with the Red Cross as a clothing center for fire victims of Southern Schuylkill County. We have already helped a young family who were so thankful for the clothing we were able to provide. Because of our affiliation with the Red Cross and being prepared to help fire victims, our "Hat & Mitten" tree this Christmas will now be a collection of new socks, new underwear, and new pajamas of all sizes. Diaper of any size would also be appreciated.

TRICK OR TREAT NIGHT - The Mission Team will be handing out treats on Trick or Treat Night in front of the church on behalf of Saint John's.

CHRISTMAS PROJECT – The Mission Team is sponsoring a “Gift Card” collection for Christmas for Bethany Children’s Home. We will focus on Bethany this year in place of the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas boxes. Ideas for gift cards would be Amazon, Target, Walmart & Redner’s. We will accept gift cards up until Sunday, November 12. We are so grateful and appreciative oof the generosity of the members of Saint John's and friends that allows us to move forward and continue these wonderful mission projects.


PSEC All Saints Offering  – All Saints Sunday is the first Sunday in November. We celebrate long ago saints and modern saints who inspired us. Many of those people are the pastors who lives shaped and influenced our own. Some of the PSEC pastors who retired years ago are now in need of special assistance. Because their retirement income is low, the churches of the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference supplement the cost of their health benefits. We remember these saints as we receive the PSEC special All Saints offering. Your generosity will bring peace of mind and improved health to those who have served the church so faithfully in the past. The entirety of the offering is used to supplement the needs of retired pastors, spouses, and widows in the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference who need assistance with health and dental insurance.


Salvation Army – The Salvation Army is the largest non-government provider of social services in the world, assisting more than 32 million people in the U.S. alone. In addition to funding feeding centers, homeless sheltersrehabilitation centers, and disaster relief, the organization establishes refugee camps, especially among displaced people in Africa. 

Bethany Children’s Home – The mission of Bethany Children’s Home is to provide a safe place of nurture, protection, and supportive care to aid residents in their self-understanding, growth, and healing toward a brighter, healthier future. They provide a community where all youth and team members are safe in their environment and feel safe within themselves. BCH provides the resources needed to children and families to work through their losses, enabling them to have a brighter future.


PSEC Substance Abuse Task Force – The mission of the PSEC Addiction & Recovery Task Force is to share God’s love with people suffering from the destructive disease of addiction and their affected family members and friends. The task force works to decrease the stigma surrounding addiction by broadening individual knowledge, awareness, and understanding while providing support, resources, and other vital information about this disease to ministers and congregations. Our monetary donation will specifically focus on addiction and substance abuse in Schuylkill County.


Worship & Music…

COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING SERVICE – Saint Mark’s Church will host the Council of Churches Community Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, November 19 @ 4:00PM. Special music will be provided by the bell choirs from both Saint Mark’s and Saint John’s as well as a combined choir of singers. We hope to see you there.

ANNUAL MEMORIAL SERVICE – Christ The King Sunday is commemorated on the last Sunday of the church year. During the 9:00am worship service on Sunday, November 26, Saint John’s will remember those who have passed on to the Church Triumphant. We will also dedicate several memorial gifts during the service. Please plan to attend this meaningful service.

ADVENT COMMUNION – Sunday, December 3 is the first Sunday of Advent. We will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion during the 9am service.

CHRISTMAS CANTATA – On Sunday, December 10 the combined choirs of Saint John’s and Saint Mark’s will present the Christmas cantata “How Great Our Joy!” during a special 10:30am service here at Saint John’s. There will be no 9:00am service that day. A Christmas luncheon will be held in Bittle Hall.  

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE – This year, the fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve fall on the same day. Because of this anomaly, the fourth Sunday of Advent will be celebrated during the 9am worship service on December 24. There will be one Christmas Eve service at 8:00pm that evening which will include Holy Communion and the Candlelight Service. The annual handbell recital will precede the Christmas Eve service at 7:30pm.

CHRISTMAS POINSETTIAS – This year we will be ordering our poinsettias from Laysers Flowers, Myerstown. The cost remains the same as previous years at $10.00 per poinsettia. The plants are in a 6 1/2" pot with 5 to 6 blooms. All poinsettias come with a decorative pot cover and protective plant sleeve. You may choose from red, white, pink, marble (pink with a white edge), Jingle Bells (red with white speckles), and burgundy. The deadline to order your poinsettias is Thursday, November 16.

WINTER WEATHER INFORMATION – We will follow the same policy this year as winter weather approaches. In the event of extreme cold, worship services will be held in the Chapel to conserve heating oil. In the event of inclement weather, worship services or other events may be cancelled. Cancellations or postponements will be posted on Facebook, our webpage, and sent out via text or phone calls to those who are part of our alert network. If you are not already part of our alert network and would like to receive text messages or a phone call in the event of cancellations or postponement, contact the church office. 

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