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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,

            Later this month, we come again to our observance of Palm/Passion Sunday and the “Three Days” or “Triduum” – the ancient title for the period that begins on Maundy Thursday evening and ends on Easter Sunday evening.  If you have never taken the time to experience the power of these holy days focusing on the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus, why not make this the year?  Our schedule of worship and related activities will be as follows:

      -Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday, March 25:

We will begin our worship outside in the pavilion (or, if the weather turns out to be severe, in the Sunday School Room downstairs) and join in a procession of palms, led by our young persons.  (Folks who feel unsure for any reason about joining in the procession up the stairs will simply go upstairs in advance just like normal and be able to follow along through the sound system.)  As we process, we will again carry the beautiful “fair trade” palm fronds that provide just compensation for the small family farms who grow them.  Once we are all assembled upstairs, we will again be inspired by a dramatic reading by Vincent Lamenza of The Passion of Jesus – according to St. Mark this year.

-Maundy Thursday, March 29:

At 7:00 P.M., we will gather for a Liturgy of Holy Communion, sharing in the mystery and the meaning of that Upper Room – the body and the blood given for us – the betrayal and desertion of our Lord.  Reflecting that betrayal and desertion, our worship will end with the solemn stripping of the altar by members of altar guild as the senior choir intones the haunting words of Psalm 22.

-Good Friday, March 30:

At 7:00 P.M., we will gather for the Liturgy of Good Friday – a dark and solemn, and yet hopeful, time when we hear again of the extent of Jesus' great love and sacrifice for you and me.  Members of Youth Group and Pastor Tom will again lead us in our worship drama.  Following the conclusion of worship, the Youth Group will begin their overnight lock-in.

-Holy Saturday, March 31:

At 9:00 A.M., members of Youth Group will wrap up their overnight lock-in and set up for our annual Easter Egg Hunt, with the hunt getting underway at 10:00 A.M. for children in four age groups: preschool, grades K-1, grades 2-3, and grades 4-5.

At 7:00 P.M., we will continue our worship downstairs with a Liturgy of Readings and Prayer.  This liturgy, a part of the Liturgy of Easter Vigil, features a series of lengthy readings from the Old Testament, telling of the creative and saving actions of God, beginning with Genesis 1, that point the way to the ultimate creative and saving action of Easter.  There will be no music and no offering – only my reading by the light of a single candle, silence for meditation, and prayer.

-The Resurrection of Our Lord, Easter Day, April 1:

Following Easter Sunday tradition at St. John, a very brief Sunrise Worship will take place outdoors (weather permitting) from 6:30 – 6:45 A.M.  From 6:45 – 7:00, all interested men of the church will prepare and set up for Easter breakfast, which will be served from 7:00 – 8:00.  Following some clean-up time, and a Men’s Choir rehearsal at 8:15, regular SONDay Celebration/Sunday School for all ages will follow at 9:00.  Our morning will conclude with a Liturgy of Holy Communion, featuring the great hymns of Easter, at 10:15 A.M.  A special musical prelude, featuring Men's Choir, will precede this worship, so please plan to come approximately 15 minutes early.

And, looking just a little further ahead, please don't forget that the 2nd Sunday of Easter, April 8, will be the date of our special Easter Program.   While the rest of the world will have already stored away the Easter decorations, concluding that Easter is over and done, we choose to live the truth that Easter is, in fact, a “week of weeks” – 49 days plus 1 – and our young persons, guided by Miss Laurie, will lead us in continuing that celebration.  As Miss Laurie and the young persons recently reminded us, our God Is a Great Big God!  Let's prepare to celebrate together just How Great and just How Big!!

Pastor Tom

News from Miss Laurie, Young Christians Minister

     Time keeps on rolling along……Lent has started, and we’re already looking toward Easter!  It will be here sooner than we think!!

     With that said, there are a few things coming up in March that I’d like you to remember:

  • Sunday, March 4th will be another special SONday Celebration!  This one is a “Pajama Party” Celebration!!  Join us in your pajamas as we praise the Lord “pajama party” style!!
  • Sunday, March 4th is also Preview Day for the “Celebration” Easter Book Fair.  Check out samples of the cool books for Easter in the corner classroom.
  • Sunday, March 11th is the “Celebration” Easter Book Fair.  Have lunch at the last “Breaking Bread” luncheon then stop by the corner classroom and shop for some Christian-themed Easter books for the kids!
  • Saturday, March 24th the Celebration Choir will be singing for the residents at Polk Personal Care Center.  I hope we can get an even bigger group together this time – the residents SO appreciated our visit at Christmas!
  • Sunday, April 1st will be our “Jesus Lives” SONday Easter Celebration!   There will be lots of activities, a craft, and treats as we celebrate our Risen Savior!!

     I hope you’ll mark your calendars and plan to join us for ALL these fun activities and be part of our faith-filled March!!   

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

Every Sunday

9:00 SONDay Celebration, Confirmation Class, Sr High Sunday School, Adult Sunday School

10:15 Worship

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.

Men's Choir

In preparation for Easter Sunday morning, our Men’s Choir will be holding three rehearsals, which are open to male voices of all ages and levels of experience.  These rehearsals will take place on Wednesday, March 14, at 8:00 P.M., Tuesday, March 20, at 6:30 P.M., and Wednesday, March 28, at 6:30 P.M.  In addition, the men will hold a final, shorter rehearsal on Easter Sunday morning, April 1.  To learn more, or to “sign” up, please speak with Carol Hubler or Pastor Tom.


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