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NOVEMBER / DECEMBER / JANUARY 2022-2023

From The Pastor...

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.”

Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

~ Revelation 21: 5                  

All things new.  We can hope.  As we journey into the new year, we trust that God’s words are trustworthy and true.  We can hope for God’s spirit of renewal to blow through our lives and our world.  Because this world definitely needs some freshening up!

We trust that God’s words are true.  Let us add our energy and efforts into the holy process of making things new.  We know that the world is changing and not always for the better.  We can’t stop all the change.  We can decide that our church will grow in spirit and in effort so that people will have the opportunity to hear the old, old story in a rapidly changing world.

This will not be an easy year.  We face economic struggles and our world continues to be believe that violence is the only way to solve problems.

May we be the voice of calm.  May we be the ones who help the world to live differently.  May we believe, may we believe that God is “doing a new thing” and that we can work with the Creator to renew this world. God’s words are trustworthy and true.  As we enter a new year, may it be so.

 

Blessings,

Pastor Kevin

 

Upcoming Services & Events…

NOVEMBER

06 – ALL SAINTS SUNDAY

        Holy Communion Service, 9:00AM

13 – Abbreviated Worship Service, 9:00AM

        Annual Congregational Meeting, 9:30AM

        Organ & Piano Recital, 2:00PM

20 – CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY

        Annual Memorial Service, 9:00AM

        Church Decorating, 10:00AM

27 – FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT

        Holy Communion Service, 9:00AM 

29 – Consistory Meeting, 6:00PM

 

DECEMBER

04 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

11 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

18 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

        Consistory Meeting, 9:45AM  

        Christmas Caroling, 11:30AM

        Blue Christmas Service @ St. Mark’s, 6:30PM

24 – CHRISTMAS EVE

        Casual Family Holy Communion Service, 1:00PM

        Handbell Recital, 7:30PM

        Traditional Candlelight Service, 8:00PM

25 – Lessons & Carols Service, 9:00AM

JANUARY

01 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

08 – EPIPHANY SUNDAY

        Coffee & Conversation, 8:30AM

        Worship Service, 9:00AM

15 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

22 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

29 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

31 – Consistory Meeting, 6:00PM

                  

Church News…

CALL TO ANNUAL MEETING – The annual meeting of Saint John’s Congregation will be held on Sunday, November 13 @ 9:30AM following an abbreviated 9:00AM Worship Service. During this meeting we will elect representatives for the coming year as well as approved the proposed 2023 budget. Additional business may be presented at the meeting as well. It is the responsibility of every member to attend the annual meeting if they are able. We hope to see you there.

NOMINATING COMMITTEE REPORT – 

The following slate of candidates will be presented by the nominating committee at the annual meeting:  

Elders (two-year term): Timothy Gipe, Mark Revenis

Deacons (two-year term): Jen Honicker, Rick Kleckner

Youth Representative (one-year term): Anna Schaeffer

Schuylkill Association Delegate (two-year term): Susan Gipe

PSEConference Delegate (two-year term): VACANT

GIFT & BASKET RAFFLE REPORT – 2022 was a year of more changes. Even though we held the raffle indoors, as in the past, we made changes to how the process was done. The new changes were a piece of cake for our younger younger committee members and concerning to our older committee members. However, the process was a huge success, compliments from customers and committee members. The process was easier, quicker, and well received by all. fellowship and pastoral opportunities also present during the day. We had 371 customers come through our doors to see over 200 prizes. Because of everyone's efforts, for the first time ever, St. John's topped $10,000 in proceeds to go towards our church ministries.  

VISION/CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT TEAM – The Vision/Capital Improvement Team was appointed by Consistory to address potential projects at the church that would improve our property and enhance our ministry and mission. The team includes Pastor Kevin, Timothy Gipe, Fiona Jacoby, Bill Luckenbill, Jim Rich, and Karen Toback. The team has developed a list of five focus areas that we are currently researching: 

                     > Improving Building Access/Parking/Outdoor Activity Space

                     > Updating Our Sound System

                     > Modernizing The Elevette

                     > Minor Improvements To Bittle Hall/Kitchen/Ramp Entrance

                     > Repairing Windows/Front Doors/Water Sealing Foundation

RENTAL POLICY – Don't forget, Bittle Hall is available for meetings, parties, and other events. If you or someone you know would like to rent Bittle Hall for an activity or event please contact the church office or download the BITTLE RENTAL AGREEMENT & GUIDELINES

 

Mission & Outreach…

WINTER CLOTHING GIVEAWAY – The Mission & Outreach Team would like to thank everyone for their generous donations for the Winter Clothing Giveaway that was held on the beautiful Saturday morning, October 22. We also received donations of clothing from 7 other churches in the Council of Churches. We had a wonderful turnout with many thankful people who hopefully will be a little warmer this winter. The clothing that was left after the giveaway was donated to some local nursing homes, Good Will, and the Red Cross. Your generosity has touched and will touch many people in need. Also for the first time, we prepared "Grab Snack Bags that were given out at the clothing giveaway. The bags included a small drink, healthy snack bar, 2 bags of crunch, a sweet treat, and an orange (donated by Bill's Produce). Again, because of your generosity, we were able to make and giveaway 106 snack bags that were appreciated by everyone...especially the kids!!

HARVEST HOME FOOD COLLECTION – On Sunday, October 16, we celebrated Harvest Home by collecting non-perishables for the Schuylkill Haven & Vicinity Food Pantry. We are thrilled to say that we collected 96 items.

NOVEMBER MISSION FOCUS –

All Saints Offering – All Saints Sunday is the first Sunday in November. We celebrate saints from long ago and those known to us as saints; people who inspired us by grit and determination to keep the faith. 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 7 of the retired pastors, spouses, and widows in the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference who need assistance with health and dental insurance. Be a saint to those who have been saints to us. 

Operation Christmas Child – Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through Jesus Christ. Operation Christmas Child has been collecting and delivering shoebox gifts—filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys—to children worldwide since 1993. In 2022, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoeboxes to reach another 11 million children. Individuals, families, and groups still have time to transform empty shoeboxes into amazing gifts. Help us to deliver these tangible expressions of God's love to children in need around the world. Please pick up a box in the Narthex and return to the church by November 06. 

DECEMBER MISSION FOCUS – 

Hat & Mitten Tree – As we prepare for the Christmas season, we will have our annual Hat & Mitten Tree in the Narthex. This year, along with hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves, we will be accepting socks and underwear. All items for the Hat & Mitten Tree should be brand new items. The tree will be set up for the whole month of December and two weeks into January.

Salvation Army – The Salvation Army, locally located in Pottsville, PA, is a branch office of the Christian non-profit Salvation Army, whose mission emphasizes aiding the poor and people in need. The Salvation Army offers human services through its programs, including disaster relief and public emergency services, while taking an evangelical approach. In Schuylkill County, the Salvation Army also runs stores that sell used goods.

JANUARY MISSION FOCUS

none  Please give special support to the operating funds at Saint John's during the month of January.

Worship & Music…

ORGAN & PIANO RECITAL – On Sunday, November 13 @ 2:00PM, we will celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Reider Organ with a special recital presented by two of our former organists – Deb Perkins (1978-1988) and Jill Sonday (1999-2019). There will be light refreshments in the Chapel following the recital. Invite a friend and join us! 

CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY – During our 9:00AM Worship Service on Sunday, November 20, we will remember those from our church family who have entered the church triumphant during the past year. During this service, memorial gifts will also be dedicated. 

CHURCH DECORATING – Following the Worship Service on Sunday, November 20, we will decorate our church for the Advent & Christmas season. The two main tasks will be to assemble the stable on the front lawn and to decorate the Sanctuary. Please help us if you are able. 

CHRISTMAS CAROLING – On Sunday, December 18, those interested are invited to meet at the church at 11:30AM to go caroling to our “at home” church members. This small holiday gesture makes a big difference to those who are unable to attend church activities and services in person. Help us spread some holiday cheer!

CHRISTMAS SERVICES – Our Christmas Eve/Christmas Day service schedule is as follows:

Christmas Eve – Saturday, December 24

1:00PM – Casual Family Holy Communion Service

7:30PM – Handbell Recital

8:00PM – Traditional Candlelight Service

Christmas Day – Sunday, December 25

9:00AM – Lessons & Carols Service

WINTER WEATHER INFORMATION – In order to ensure the safety of our members and staff, worship services will be canceled in the event of inclement weather. A cancelation announcement will be made as soon as possible and will be posted on Facebook, our webpage, and also shared via phone calls and text messaging. A “virtual only” version of the service may be recorded and posted on our webpage so that those who wish to may still worship. Also, please note that during the winter months, worship services may be moved to the Chapel if extremely cold weather is forecast. This enables us to save fuel and be good stewards of our resources.

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