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St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
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Welcome to our web site

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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

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Letter from the Pastor

Dear Friends in Jesus,   

​I want to thank the good folks at my former congregation, Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lanse, PA, for the following joke which was included in a recent newsletter:

A pastor decided to skip church one Sunday morning and go play golf.  After telling her assistant that she wasn’t feeling well, she drove to a golf course in another city, so nobody would recognize her.  She teed off on the first hole.  As her ball took flight, a huge gust of wind caught it, carrying it an extra 150 yards and dropping it right in the hole, for a 450-yard hole in one!  At that moment, an angel in heaven looked at God and asked, “What’d you do that for?”  God smiled and said, “Who’s she going to tell?”  

​As with my (totally fictional, I’m sure!) colleague, many things call out to us for attention on a Sunday morning.  It seems to me that, as is so often the pattern in human history, we have swung from one extreme (the days of “blue laws” and there being almost nothing besides explicitly-Christian activities taking place on a Sunday) to the other (where huntinghere in Pennsylvania will apparently soon be added to the ever-growingslate of available Sunday activities), and I highly doubt that will be slowing down.  I’ve often stated my contention that Jesus doesn’t expect that we never miss worship – that there are indeed sometimes other tasks to be done in God’s name that take us away on a Sunday morning.  But worship with our congregational family – or a congregational family away from home – should absolutely be our “default setting”.  Except for those infrequent times when God’s work calls us in another direction, or those occasional times where sickness or other personal emergency get in the way, worship should be where we are, for God’s sake as well as for our own.

​As I was sharing with Congregational Council at our November meeting, our average Sunday congregational family worship attendance this year has been – well, “very average”, for lack of a better term – just kind of flat when looked at from the perspective of our almost two decades together.  I’m thinking that God has in mind something more for us – that, in addition to our presence in worship being necessary simply to say a great big “THANK YOU” to God, these times in which we are living make it even more critical that we band together in worship as a congregational family to be reminded of and strengthened for our calling to be God’s people of love in a challenging world.  So, as the year 2019 begins to come toward its close, please step back and prayerfully take a look at your life of worship, your participation in the Sunday life of your congregational family.  What do you see?  What is your default setting?  What do you allow to take you away?  How does what you see align with what you believe Jesus would want for you as His beloved child?

​As we again enter into this holy time of the Church Year, reminded once again of just how very much God loves you and me and all that God has made, I want to thank you, my sisters and brothers in this wonderful congregational family, for another year of productive and, we pray, faithful ministry together – Ann and I wish and pray for each of you a most blessed Advent and Christmas celebration and a strong beginning to another new year!

Pastor Tom

News from Miss Laurie, Young Christians

How could it possibly be December already?  I know the stores have had their Christmas merchandise and decorations out since Halloween, and they’ve been playing Christmas music on the radio since November 1st, but really, how did the time go by so quickly?  

It’s hard to believe, but the Christmas season is upon us!  We’ve got lots of ways to brighten your holidays, so please take out your pens and add these activities to your calendars:

- Sunday, December 1st – The Jingle Elves will have practice here at St. John’s at 5:30 in preparation for their singing at the Berrysburg Tree Lighting Ceremony which will take place at 6:30 in the square!

- Wednesday, December 4th – Celebration Club meets from 6:30 - 8:30 pm.  It’s a Candy Cane Christmas Celebration!!

- Saturday, December 14th - Jingle Elves will sing for residents of the Polk Personal Care Facility at 10:00!

- Sunday, December 15th – Join us for our annual Advent Celebration!  The fun starts at 4:30 with a light meal of soup and sandwiches and a craft for the kids.   At 6:00, the Jingle Elves will perform followed by a skit entitled, “The Great Church Robbery”, a take off of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” with Vincent Lamenza lending his voice as narrator!  After the skit, we’ll sing a few Christmas carols; then we’ll head back downstairs for cookies and drinks.  We hope it’s an evening of fun, church-family fellowship that really gets you in the Christmas spirit!!

- Sunday, December 22nd – It’s our SONday Celebration Christmas Party!  Join us at 9:00 for the fun!

- Tuesday, December 24th – Join us for the Christmas Eve Celebration Service at 4:00.  It’s a kid-friendly service with contemporary music, and a Sunny Sermon!  And/or if you want a more traditional service, join us for the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 8:00 pm!  Each service will start promptly at the top of the hour!

- Sunday, December 29th – Adults and kids alike come together for the “Happy Birthday, Jesus” Party at 9:00 during SONday Celebration!!

As you can see, we want to help you get into the holiday spirit, so join us for all of the above activities and be part of the St. John’s Christmas Celebration!!!

Wishing you and yours a blessed

Miss Laurie

Groups

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

Come Visit Us!
Current Schedule

Every Sunday

9:00am - SONDay Celebration

9:00am - Adult Sunday School, Confirmation Class, Youth Sunday School

10:15am - Worship with Celebration Time

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.

Nativity Scene
Christmas Eve Service

On Christmas Eve, our 4:00 P.M. worship will once again have its own special focus and feel.  We will do that with a focus on our young persons, including a Sunny Sermon and music by the “Jingle Elves” celebration choir, set within worship that will, in general, be simpler and less formal than our later traditional candlelight worship later that evening.  Then, at 8:00 P.M., our traditional candlelight festival liturgy of Holy Communion will again take place in the nave with carols galore.  Our goal at both 4:00 P.M. and 8:00 P.M. is to provide the most meaningful opportunities to worship our Newborn King for the most people of God.  Please come and worship at one or both! Please note that, in a change from recent years, our musical preludes will begin prior to the top of the hour, so that we are ready for worship to begin at 4:00 and 8:00 sharp.  (And, ifyou have music of any kind that you would like to share at either 4:00 or 8:00 (or both), please contact Pastor Tom as soon as possible if you have not already done so.)

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