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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,

            Here at the end of one year and the beginning of another, my letter this month concerns a number of mostly unrelated things that I'd like to share with you:

            First, as Miss Laurie also mentions in her letter, I'm delighted to say that she and I are teaming up this year to realize a long held goal of mine – to give our 4:00 P.M. worship on Christmas Eve its own special focus and feel.  We will do that with a focus on our young persons, including a Sunny Sermon and music by our Celebration Choir, set within worship that will, in general, be simpler and less formal than our later traditional candlelight worship later that evening.  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 and please note that, as in prior years, our musical preludes will begin at the top of the hour, at 4:00 and 8:00.

            Second, since December 24 falls on a Sunday this year, it is both the 4th Sunday of Advent as well as Christmas Eve, which means that our regular 10:15 A.M. weekly worship will focus on the completion of our Advent journey of waiting and preparation, before we make the move to our Christmas celebration at 4:00 P.M.  Please plan to take part both in the morning and in the evening, since they will compliment and enrich each other, rather than duplicating!

            Third, a request for your help with our elevator...  In the past year, we have had to make several service calls, including last Christmas Eve as you may recall, all of them relating to the door mechanism.  Never has it been an issue of safety or of getting stuck.  Instead it is a matter of elevator door alignment being a very touchy and temperamental thing – finicky even.  Our elevator service company has told us that a great deal of their work, whether on large commercial elevators or on small limited use ones like ours, is door repair, and that it is very important that we all do our best to take good care of those doors.  Specifically, please try never to use your hand to force the doors open or to hold them open.  Likewise, please don't put things in the way of the doors to hold them open.  Please do use the “door open” button in the car, with the arrows that point out, holding it as long as you might need.

            Fourth, a change to let you know about with regard to using the Sunday School Room/chapel downstairs for personal/family functions, like birthday parties, showers, and holiday dinners ...  At its November 12 meeting, Council took action to require that folks who use this room for non-congregational activities 1. take their trash along with them and 2. sweep and clean up the room, making every effort to leave it just the way they found it, including the positioning of chairs and tables.  These changes serve to bring the rules for use of this room into line with the rules for use of our pavilion.  If in doubt, the bottom line for us all is to please treat our church building and facilities as if they were our own home – because they are!  

            Fifth, I'm delighted to share with you that, effective in December, we are now getting our wine for Holy Communion from Broad Mountain Vineyard in Elizabethville instead of from the out of state source we had been using until now.  In fact, the Michael's, who own and operate the vineyard, are donating the wine for our use.  Since we use about 24 bottles, or two cases, each year, this is no small gift!  If you have the opportunity, please add your personal thanks to the thanks which I have extended on behalf of our congregational family.  It is good to be using wine coming from the God-given soil of our own area for this awesome Meal in which Jesus meets us!

            And finally, last but in no way least, I want to thank you for another year of productive and, we pray, faithful ministry together – and I want to join with Tim and Dan and Ann to wish you, our wonderful congregational family, a most blessed Advent and Christmas celebration and a strong beginning to another new year.   A lot has changed over the past 17½ years, for all of us, and we know that change is built by God right into the very fabric of Creation, but the thankfulness that the four of us feel to be a part of the St. John congregational family – the honor that it is to journey in faith together – does not change.  Thank you – and thank you for your kind attention in reading! 

Pastor Tom

News from Miss Laurie, Young Christians Minister

 Tis the season for preparing for the birth of our savior! And if that’s not cause enough for “celebration”, let me share some activities that I hope will get you and our Young Christians in the “Christmas spirit”:

On Saturday, December 2nd at 2:00, our Celebration Choir will share some songs and good will with residents of the Polk Apartments. Shop faith-filled children’s books at special discount prices at our Celebration Christmas Book Fair! Stop by our table on Sunday, December 10th after worship (during coffee hour) to see some sample materials and get an order form.

Later that same day, at 2:00 on December 10th, the Celebration Choir will join others in the congregation to do some Christmas caroling!

Join us for our Christmas Program on Sunday, December, 17th! Dinner will start at 5:00 followed by the program at 6:00. Come let our reenactment of the Christmas Story put you in the holiday mood!!

At 4:00 on December 24th, bring your friends and loved ones to our Celebration Christmas Eve Service! This kid-friendly service will include songs from the Celebration Choir and a “Sunny Sermon”. Cookies and cocoa will be served afterwards. And you’ll still have time to make the tCandle Light service at 8:00!!

In SONday Celebration, we LOVE a good party! So what could be better than a “Happy Birthday Jesus” Party!! Join us at 9:00 on Sunday, December 31st, to celebrate the birth of our King!!

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a little “Christmas-y” just thinking about all that’s in store for his month! And I wish you a blessed and joyous holiday season!

Much love to all, Miss Laurie

Groups

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

Mens Choir Members Wanted

A Men’s Choir will again be forming to sing for Christmas Eve worship.  Three rehearsals will be held – on Tuesdays, December 5, 12, and 19, from 6:30 to 7:30 each evening.  A final rehearsal will be held before 4:00 P.M. worship on Christmas Eve.  Since this is a new group that comes together each time, and not a standing choir, all males of any age or experience with singing are especially welcome to join the choir.  Please speak with Director Carol Hubler to learn more.

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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.

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