St. Matthias News

Dear friends in Christ,

As we spend time watching the news and being online, we continue to see the numbers of those affected by COVID-19 rising. It can be overwhelming at times — wondering when this will all end…wondering how these numbers will be affected once school begins in a few weeks…and even contemplating how things will be different in the fall and during Advent and Christmas. Thinking about all of this can cause us to panic or feel distressed, and we may even wonder where God is in the midst of all that’s happening. But we know that God has promised to never leave us or forsake us: yes, God walks beside us in the midst of the pandemic.

I invite you to think about how you experienced God in your life this past week. Maybe it was through the cashier who was kind and friendly to you in the checkout line at the supermarket. Maybe it was through an answered prayer about something that was weighing heavily on your mind or on your heart. Maybe it was while you were taking a walk and saw a sunrise and viewed God’s glorious creation. However it was that you experienced God, please remember that God continues to accompany us as we journey through the bumpy roads, the trying times, and the challenges of life! I encourage you to take some time in the coming week to notice how God is continuing to work in your life and walk beside you! 

  • Our forecast for this coming Sunday is (once again!) calling for rain showers (50 % chance) and a high of 89 degrees, so we will keep watching the extended forecast for Sunday morning. We will plan to gather outdoors in front of the church at 9:30 a.m., unless it is raining and then I will post worship for you to watch later in the day. As a reminder, we will send an email out after Noon on Saturday and will also put a message on the church voice mail around the same time regarding plans to worship at the church or virtually. You may call the church at 717-245-2475 for a recorded message regarding how we will be worshiping on Sunday.


  • Come enjoy a safe and socially-distanced time of fellowship this coming Thursday, August 27 from 4 to 6 p.m. We will host “Drinks in the Driveway” at the church – bring your favorite cold beverage (we will also have bottled water at the church — or feel free to bring bring your mug of coffee!), your folding chair, and enjoy some time visiting with one another in our parking lot now that the evenings are cooler. If the weather doesn’t cooperate or if you can’t make it this week, we will also host “Drinks in the Driveaway” on  Wednesday, September 9 from 4 to 6 p.m. and Friday, September 25, from 5 to 7 p.m. Don’t miss this time to socialize and spend some time with one another outdoors! 

  • Community Cares, Project Share, and Safe Harbor are again accepting donations, so we will be placing a basket outside near our welcome table each week and you may place your donations in it, and we will see that the items get delivered. Items that are most needed include: Safe Harbor – linens, sheets, towels, pillowcases, washcloths, personal care items, non-perishable food items, diapers, wipes; Community Cares – adult socks and underwear, travel-size toiletries, coats and winter clothing items, blankets; Project Share –  non-perishable food items. A complete list of needed items will be in the bulletin. THANK YOU for your previous support of these ministries — and THANK YOU for your continued support, especially during the pandemic, when these vital organizations in our community need our support more than ever! 

  • We are also  partnering again with St. Paul Enola to make Lutheran World Relief School Kits for the upcoming year, so that students in areas hit with disaster or poverty can have what they need to begin school. We are collecting supplies to drop off to St. Paul; they are due at the church no later than September 6. Items that are needed include:

four 70-sheet notebooks; one blunt pair of scissors; one 30-centimeter ruler; one pencil sharpener; five unsharpened #2 pencils with erasers; one box of 24 crayons; one eraser (2 1/2″ long); five blue or black ballpoint pens

  • Former Vicar Tom’s Ordination has been scheduled for Sunday, October 4 at 4 p.m. It will be held at Fourth Lutheran Church. Whitehall, PA (near Allentown) and you are cordially invited to attend. If you are not able to attend in person, the event will be livestreamed on Facebook and available to watch on YouTube after the service.

  • Interested in learning more about how to talk about race, racism, and racial justice as a church? Lower Susquehanna Synod is providing rostered ministers, lay ministry professionals, and congregation leaders with the ability to foster healthy and holy conversation so that congregations have the tools and confidence to deepen discussions and take actions.  The virtual workshop on Tuesday, September 1 will address three important aspects of anti-racism work:  1)  Talking about Race: Language, vocabulary, people skills, and best practices, 2) History of systemic racism in the United States, and 3) How to begin conversations and action in your congregation or ministry context. The virtual training will begin at 9:00 a.m. (via ZOOM) and end by 3:00 p.m.  Cost is $25.00 per person.  Registration closes 1 week prior to the workshop.  To register, please click here.  You will receive your ZOOM invitation via email prior to the event. For more information, please email Marty Shifflett at or call 717-652-1852 ext. 115.

  • This coming week we commemorate the Apostle St. Bartholomew. Mentioned as one of Jesus’ disciples in Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s gospel, Bartholomew’s name is replaced in John’s gospel by Nathanael, leading many to believe that the two are different names for the same person. Little is known about his work, though some traditions place him as preaching in India or Armenia. He is also often thought to have carried out his ministry with the Apostle Philip.

Prayer Requests…

Would you please remember the following in your prayers:

Those affected by the wildfires on the West Coast, which have ravaged more than 60,000 acres of land; please also pray for firefighters and rescue workers.

All those affected by COVID-19 and for our healthcare workers and essential personnel who are caring for them, including those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Our trans siblings and siblings of color who experience violence and racial inequality.

For our government and world leaders.

For students and teachers who are returning to classrooms in the midst of the pandemic.

Those in our community who are ill or recovering from illness, their friends, and the loved ones who care for them.

Christian M. (Marines) and all service personnel.

Don and Joanne, Jacques, Pam, Betty Lou, Mark, Pat, Seth, DJ, Margaret, Larry, Sally, George, Mary Lou, and all who ask for the Lord’s healing and mercy.

God our comforter, you are our refuge and strength, a helper close at hand in times of distress. Enable us to feel your presence so that our fears are dispelled, our loneliness eased, our anxiety calmed, and our hope reawakened. May your Holy Spirit grant us your eternal peace and love, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

God’s Peace and Love,

Vicar MJ


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