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Thank you so much for visiting the home of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Berrysburg, PA – the historic Hill Church – on the World Wide Web! 

Founded in 1780, ours is a congregational family with a deep and rich heritage that informs out efforts to reach out to our present-day community – near and far – with the Gospel of Jesus.  In my years of service here, I have come to see that we are a congregational family that defies easy description.  We have the warmth and intimacy of a small congregation, while also being blessed with an extraordinary body of committed and gifted believers that allows us to do many of the ministries of a large congregation.  We hope that you will visit often – here, from the comfort of your computer or smart phone or other electronic device, but also in person.  Whether you are seeking a family of believers with which to join in serving God, or just stopping to take in the view, we would love to welcome you in person to “The Hill”!     - Pastor Tom

Letter from the Pastor

Dear Friends in Jesus,

As I write these lines in early April, we have just had another well-received Sunday morning after-worship fellowship time with the opportunity to sample and purchase “Fair Trade” coffee, tea, and chocolate.  As I was sharing in the pre-worship announcements, what makes these products different from similar products you purchase at the grocery store is that the organization from whom we and more than 7,000 other churches get these items, Equal Exchange, provides a fair return to the small farmers who actually do the growing, allowing them to stay on their land and grow their crops in environmentally-responsible ways.  Recently, Larry Gessner, whose work with this ministry goes all the way back to our beginning in 1999, set out to try to figure out how much support St. John has provided to these family farmers over the years.  He was fortunate to connect with Susan Sklar, a former Pennsylvanian now working with Equal Exchange in Massachusetts, who provided as many answers as her records, which no longer go all the way back to 1999 and which primarily cover coffee purchases, would allow.  Based on Susan's figures and Larry's efforts to fill in the gaps, a best estimate is that together we have purchased over $19,000 in “Fair Trade” products over the years, about $16,000 in coffee itself.  From this $16,000 in coffee purchases, a best estimate is that the growers themselves have received about $5,000, making us a small but important part of annual payments to grower cooperatives that total around $17 million.  (Note that similar figures are not readily available for the approximately $3,000 we have purchased in tea, chocolate, and syrups over the years and so they are not included in this estimate, which means that we have done even more to benefit the economies and the ecologies of producer regions.)  Thank you!  And thank you to Larry and to Ann our coordinators!  

Also, as you hopefully recall, this year’s Annual Strawberry Festival will take place on Wednesday, June 13, in our grove and pavilion.  This edition of the St. John’s Epistle contains the updated committee listing for all of the different tasks that need to be done in order for the day to be a success.  Please be sure to remove the listing and keep it handy (maybe on the refrigerator?), and please be sure to check with your committee chairperson, the overall chairpersons, or with me if you have any questions or concerns about your scheduled work. 

Please also make note of two other important Strawberry Festival-related dates coming up this month: 1. The next planning meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 30, beginning at 6:30 P.M. and 2. The first pavilion cleaning and preparation night, which will also serve as our spring outside work night on the church property in general, has been set for Tuesday, May 29, beginning at 5:30 P.M.  (You might remember that, in the past few years, we have had good results combining two work nights into one instead of trying to schedule two separate days and times, but this again means that we will again need lots of “hands” to pull off this busy evening of projects.)

Pastor Tom

News from Miss Laurie, Young Christians Minister

Happy Spring everyone!  I think we’re finally safe from any more late season snow storms (although I do remember sitting around a fire on Memorial Day weekend in a winter coat and mittens ……….. NO, I am NOT going there)!!!

Keeping warm spring thoughts in my mind, I hope you are planning to attend our Family Program after worship on May 6th!  There will be food, fun, and my fabulous FRENCH friend, Monsieur Alphie, will be making an encore performance (he’ll be stopping by at the least)!  Mark your calendars and share in this great time of family fellowship!

At the end of the month, on Sunday, May 27th (Memorial Day weekend), the Summer Schedule for SONday Celebration will begin.  Each Sunday morning, from May 27th through September 9th, SONday Celebration will meet from 9:30 – 10:30 and run concurrently with the worship service.  As much as possible, we’ll try to incorporate outdoor activities into the schedule!  Join us May 27th for the “kick-off” (I wonder what THAT means………)!!

Other dates to remember:

  • Wednesday, June 13th – Strawberry Festival   We’ll be having a “Celebration Site” again with fun stuff for the kids!  I’d like the Celebration Choir to sing again, also!!
  • July 23rd – 27th – VBS   This year’s theme is “Rolling River Rampage” and we’ll experience the ride of a LIFETIME with God!!  I’ll be scheduling a meeting for everyone interested in helping – will keep you posted on a date!

Miss Laurie


• Green Team
• Youth Group
• Women's Group
• Clean Up Crew
• Sunday School Committee
• Men's Choir
• Dartball League
• Blanket Making Committee

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Current Schedule
(Summer Schedule)

Every Sunday

8:45am - Adult Sunday School

9:30am - Worship

9:30am - SONDay Celebration

History Book Available

The 1980-2010 Congregational History Booklet is available for purchase at $15. In addition, a set of three booklets, including the 1955 and 1980 booklets, is available for $25. All proceeds from these sales go to our History/Anniversary Fund, which will, among other things, provide the seed money for a 250th Anniversary celebration in 2030. To make a purchase, please contact Helen Henninger, Lois Lesher, or Carol Hassinger.

Our Mission

St. John congregation, responding to the call of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel, unites together to preach and teach the Word, administer the sacraments, and carry out God's mission. With God's guidance and grace, we strive to boldly proclaim by word and action the reconciling Gospel of Jesus: Working together for justice and peace, and caring for those in need in our community and world. We invite everyone to join us wherever you are on your faith journey.

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