From the Pastor- Dec./Jan.

Welcome to our December/January double issue.                              

With this edition we begin to put a wrap on 2020. Some would say “good riddance” to this year. I hear that. And in some areas, I’m right there with you. I think many of us will be toasting the coming new year at 11:59:59 p.m. on December 31st.

While we look ahead to next year with a degree of optimism (is there any other way), nevertheless we will still be dealing with things that happened this year. The most notable, of course, is the COVID-19 pandemic.

As I write this article, the possibility of another mandatory shutdown  lingers on the horizon. We pray that will not need to happen. But if it does, should we be surprised?

So we continue to be careful, utilize all of the necessary precautions that are known to work, and encourage others to do the same. We can do no less. God calls us to care for the neighbor in the manner in which we care for ourselves.  Let kindness rule your day.

We can look ahead that in the new year, probably by the end of January, our restoration from the September 9 fire will be completed. We are still planning that Christmas Eve worship will be in our “new and improved” nave.

In many respects this year has been like other years. We celebrated births, mourned deaths, laughed, cried and offered support where it was needed.

As we enter December, we enter into that time when we thank God for the greatest offering of all time: Jesus, born of Mary, guarded by Joseph, celebrated and worshipped by angels and shepherds. During this month we gather as families, as a congregation and as a global church. Some gatherings in-person. Most will be virtual. The time when God chose to come and be one of us, to live as one of us, but unlike us, to die and rise so that we may be connected to God forever.

During this time of recalling the incarnation of our Lord, may you     treasure God’s good news in your heart, like Mary, and glorify and praise God loudly like the shepherds.

God bless your worship in Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and throughout the new year.

Clifton D. Eshbach,


Social Ministry

Hambright School Christmas Gifts

The staff at Hambright School wants us to stay safe as we shop for the kids this year.  They have requested “gift cards” of $20 or $25 from our congregation.  The gift cards will be easier to purchase and won’t require us to hunt for the “gift requests” we would usually be doing at this time of year. There is a gift box in the breezeway to put your gift cards in on Sundays through December 13. Some gift card suggestions are: Target, Wal-Mart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Visa, or anywhere kids clothes or toys can be purchased.  Thank you for your generous donations!

The Ladies at the Gatehouse

Everyone is invited to give a special gift of warmth in the form of a HAT, PAIR OF GLOVES, or SCARF to the ladies at the Gatehouse. A large white laundry basket is in the breezeway next to the narthex, ready for your donations. Any gently used coat or jacket would also be an appreciated gift for one of the ladies. These gifts will be collected through December 20. Thank you for your generous donations.

Drive-Up FOOD Drop-Off

Thank you!

We collected 201 pounds of food for the Hempfield Food Pantry during the Nov. Drive-Up FOOD Drop-Off

 Let’s do it again on Saturday, December 12, from 10 a.m. until noon. Just drive up to the front door of the church and place your donation onto the cart that will be located on the sidewalk. Simple!               

Requested items:

· Spam

· Prune juice

· Chicken and beef broth

· Large peanut butter

· Large jelly

· 2 pound packages of rice

· Canned pears

· Instant oatmeal

· Boxed pasta

· Cream of celery soup

· Cream of chicken soup

         No glass items, please!

Thank you for your continued witness to assist the hungry of this community.

From the Pastor- Nov. 2020

                                 There is this old saying that has been passed                  

                                 down from generation to generation of                             

                                 pastors. It goes something like this:

                                 “Well, they didn’t teach us that in seminary!”

That old saying has been on my mind during 2020. The first time was March 12th, when the order to close and quarantine was     announced.  Dealing with a pandemic (the mere word expresses its global reach) was something new to everyone, except for those   centenarians who lived through the 1918 pandemic.

And it looks like we will be dealing with it well into next year. I get frustrated about it too. Which reminded me why we need each other very much right now. To hold us up in time of despair. To remain ever vigilant by sticking with the proven means of prevention and precaution, and not succumbing to what has been called “COVID fatigue”

The second time I thought of that old phrase was on September 9th, when I arrived at church to see about ten fire trucks in the parking lot. Not just in my ministry, but never in my life and careers had I been so close and so involved with a situation like this one.

And we’ll be dealing with this, but for a shorter period of time than the pandemic. Which reminded me of why we need each other right now. To hold us up in times of despair. And to remain helpful and patient as the work to repair is done.

No, they never taught us that in seminary. But they did teach us about the one on whom to rely. The one who is the source of our strength, compassion, love, mercy, peace, patience, and help. Through our baptism into Christ, we are united with him, and with each other for all time, through all circumstances. The peace that only Christ can give, remains. 

“Sustain us with the gift of the Holy Spirit: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever” (ELW p.231).

Clifton D. Eshbach,


Drive-up FOOD Drop-off

We collected 261 pounds of food for the Hempfield Food Pantry during the Oct.

Drive-Up FOOD Drop-Off

 Let’s do it again on Saturday, November  14, from 10 a.m. until noon. Just drive up to the front door of the church and place your donation onto the cart that will be located on the sidewalk. Simple!  

Requested items:


Prune juice

Chicken and beef broth

Large peanut butter

Large jelly

2 lb. packs of rice

Canned pears

Instant and regular oatmeal

Cream of celery soup

Cream of chicken soup

Boxed pastas (ziti, rotini etc.)

Canned tomatoes

Pancake syrup 

Caned fruit cocktail

No glass items, please!