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From the Pastor- June 2021

When you begin a journey, most times you never know when it will end. For a teenager, the amount of time it takes to get the skills to pass a driver’s exam can not be measured. When you’re ready, you know.

For the individual, or the couple, engaged in downsizing to move into a retirement community, there is no set time. When you’re ready, you know.

The same is true when a pastor discerns the call to retirement. When you’re ready, you know.

Not that this is an easy decision to make. Far from it. You don’t just set down a tool and walk away. It is more involved. More involved because ministry is about relationships and mutual care. Witness and collaboration. It is about sharing Jesus with the world.

When we say our goodbyes on June 27 we will have spent 3,024 days together. Some were somber, even sad days. Some were challenging. Most were fulfilling. And a few were even silly. It has been a healthy balance.

Healthy is how I view Holy Spirit as it prepares to start a new era of ministry. I believe this congregation is spiritually healthy (that’s always first), administratively healthy (great lay leadership and the best staff ever) and financially healthy (both in week to week and in long term forecasts and goals). That takes effort to maintain. And you will.

Our first year together was marked by that surprise diagnosis of my prostate cancer (now long gone). Our last year together was marked by pandemic and fire (on the way to being gone, and repaired). In between were many, many times of serving Jesus in word and deed in some familiar ways and in some new ways. Be prepared to lean on the familiar and embrace the new as you walk the path of faith, first with your very qualified interim pastor, and later with your newly called pastor.

Thank you for the past 3,024 days (or 72,576 hours). Especially for how you welcomed and embraced Barb and I with hospitality and grace. This is a hopeful time for you. We will be cheering you on.

The Rev. Clifton D. Eshbach,
Pastor

Interim Pastor

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ;

       I am writing you with good news.  The Bishops office has sent us a recommendation for an Interim Pastor. The Congregation Council has met with him and has agreed to accept the recommendation. Please welcome Interim Pastor, The Rev. Tim Seitz-Brown.

       Here is a little background about Pastor Tim.  He graduated from Thiel College with a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies.  After this he volunteered with the US Peace Corps for three years before obtaining his Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.  Later in his ministry he spent time serving the Manow Lutheran Junior Seminary in the Konde Diocese of the ELCT as both Pastor and Bible Knowledge High School Teacher. Currently he is finishing up as Interim Pastor for Benders and St. Paul/Biglerville.

Pastor Tim will start with Holy Spirit on July 1st.  I look forward to having him with us as we transition into the call process.  I look forward to everyone meeting him.

Respectfully,

Robert Slutter

Personal Care Products

During the month of June the Social Ministry Team is sponsoring a special “give” for the ladies of The Gatehouse!
You are invited to participate by donating personal care items.  Suggested items are shampoo, conditioner, shower caps, nail files, nail polish, toothpaste, toothbrushes, chap stick, brushes and combs, or any item you think a lady would need for personal self care.  There is a white basket to place your donations in and a poster with information about this special “give” located in the breezeway.  Thank you for participating in this event.

Stewardship

We have been talking about generosity for the past several months so I felt the need to define exactly what this means. I checked Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary and found the following: “Generosity – liberality in spirit or act especially liberality in giving”; and “Generous – liberal in giving; marked by abundance or ample proportions.”


To relate these definitions to how we speak of stewardship, I went to another source, a manual for a stewardship program written by the Rev. Kurt R. Nordby that our committee has been using for the past several years.
Rev. Nordby states, “Generosity is not about the amount one gives, but what lies behind the gift, the love and grace of God. Our generosity comes from God’s own generosity. It is a celebration of God’s abundance which is gift wrapped in the love of Christ.


For Christians, generosity is initiated by God’s generosity. God’s grace is always the first note in the composition of life. Our giving and generosity is always in response to what God had done and is doing in our lives. Generosity is a heart brimming with joy and thanksgiving for what has been given along with the delight of sharing what we have first received.”


Thank you for your generous gifts of time, talent and treasure. Your continued support ensures that our ministry here at Holy Spirit will continue.
Suzann Schwenk
Stewardship Chairperson

From the Pastor- May 2021

Wasn’t April an unusual month, at least when it came to the weather?  Cold days. Warm days. Rainy days. Even a touch of snow late in the month. We seemed to have experienced all four seasons in one 30 day period of time.

Fortunately we were told ahead of time to prepare for whatever the weather might be. Having help to prepare for the future is always a good thing. Anyone who has ever said that they can do it all without any help from someone else, is either a fool or uninformed.

During the Easter season we have been learning the ways that Jesus helps us become informed and helpful to the world.  Without the presence of Jesus there is little we can do. His example of love, and sharing it freely with people from diverse backgrounds, helps us consider how we are to freely use the gifts that God has given us. Suzann Schwenk’s article on page 15 is an excellent essay on how we can be part of God’s great cloud of witnesses of grace.

On May 23rd, the Day of Pentecost, two young ladies of the congregation will affirm their baptism with the Rite of Confirmation. Julia Brixius and Samantha Dandridge have been an important part of the Holy Spirit family since birth.  Over the past three years they have received help as they learned about Jesus, the Bible and our Lutheran faith tradition. We celebrate that they are now ready to use what they have learned as faithful daughters of God.

I hope you can celebrate with them on that day.  And celebrate the wonderful spirit of Christ that manifests itself in the Holy Spirit family.

The Day of Pentecost is the day when we at Holy Spirit gives thanks for the gift of the…Holy Spirit. We pray that the Spirit of God keeps us working faithfully in the vineyard of faith.

Clifton D. Eshbach,

Pastor