Monthly Newsletter

Get a rest, there’s work to be done . . .

Dear friends,

As I write this on Tuesday, we just had our final Confirmation class session of the term on Sunday—it’s a two-year cohort, they’ve finished up first year, we’ll get back together in September.


I like this class. I like these kids. They’re intelligent, they’re thoughtful, they’re polite, they want to do well. We’ve covered a lot of ground—the Hebrew scriptures, the beginning of the story of Jesus, lots of talk about what God wants the church, God’s people to be.

They make me hopeful. The world is a tough place, a hard place—war, gun violence, hatred and prejudice, division and suspicion, climate catastrophe. It’s hard to care about it all, much less try and do anything about it all.

But if for no other reason than that God loves the world, and the people and flora and fauna that fill it, we have a calling to care, to act, to be hopeful that God wins out in the end. That’s the story   we tell, and we’re sticking to it.

As I said, I like these kids. I want them to grow up into a better world. My generation hasn’t done such a bang-up job with it. I pray they do better.

For a while, this summer, we relax a little, refresh and get ready to get back at it. It makes a difference that we care. It makes a difference that we are more when we are together, the people of God. It makes a difference that in the risen Christ, God speaks an ever-new word of life into the world.

I hope you get rest and refreshment this summer. I pray that it energizes you to serve, to love.

With you on the journey,

Pastor Joel

New Group Photo

Sunday, June 13, as we gather for our Annual Congregation Meeting, we’ll take a new group photo for the congregation’s Facebook page. We’re kind of proud of who we are—we’d like you to be a part of it!

Congratulations Graduates! (as we know of them as of 5/18)

Kayla McCready – graduating the Spiritual Direction for Spiritual Guides program of Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development, Camp Hill

Jeffrey Kluck – graduating Central Columbia HS – attending Bloomsburg University – Nursing

Jak Hanna – graduating Danville HS – work

Tony Gold – graduating Central Columbia HS – attending Indiana Univ. of PA – Music & Drama Education

Lauren Gillaspy – graduating Bloomsburg HS – attending Bucknell Univ., Business Administration, Pre-Law track

Kyle Cosoleto-Miller – graduated University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Alex Chickson  – graduating Wyoming Area HS – attending Penn State, Altoona – Computer Science

God go with you into this newest chapter of your lives!

Parish Register

First Holy Communion

Julia Michelle Kreisher – May 1, 2022

Takoda William-James Kocher – May 8, 2022

May these young Christians come to the table to be fed and forgiven all their days . . .

Your generous contributions to Luth. World Relief/Luth. Disaster Response/Ukraine have totaled $4,735 (as of May 15)! You may continue to contribute to relief in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and around the world— just make your offering to Lutheran World Relief or Lutheran Disaster Response, marking down your intention, and we’ll send it on.

VBS Day Camp

Staff from Camp Mount Luther will present a VBS Day Camp July 25-29, 9am-3pm, at First Presbyterian Church on Market St. Music, arts &  crafts, games, Bible study, nature activities. The cost is $10 for the first child in a family, and $5 for each additional child. Plan to register at the First Presbyterian Church office (570-784-2322) by 7/15. Registration forms are available in St Matt church office.

Music Ministry

Thank you to all who helped make the spring Jubilate Choir Concert a success.  What a joyful opportunity to “relaunch” the choir following 2+ years since our last concert.  It has been a long 2 years, and we are thrilled to be back – music truly does live on.  The hospitality of our congregation is greatly appreciated as we look to return our collective gifts to the community.

Throughout the summer months, we will have special music during worship in place of the choir anthems particularly in July & August.  If you or someone you know is interested in sharing their musical talents with us, please let me know as soon as possible!                                                    

During the summer months, please take some to reflect on your talents and how you are sharing them with St. Matthew.  Is singing in the choir or ringing bells a way to share those talents?  We continue to look for ways to rebuild and regain what has been lost.  Our hope is that you might take some time and consider joining the music ministry.  Be open, listen, and be prepared to respond to His calling.  Have a wonderful summer!

Yours In Christ

Alan

Letters

Dear St Matthew Lutheran Church,

Thank you so much for your continued support of Bundles of Blessings Diaper Ministry. Your donations help so many families in our community. Last month we gave away over 4,800 in just two hours! The support that you provide means more than words can say. We thank you again and ask God to bless you and your congregation.

Many thanks to all who work each week to make worship happen at St Matt and who keep the wheels of the church turning. Special thanks to Altar Guild, Lectors and Prayer Leaders, our Music Department, and our decorators. Thanks, also, to Offering Counters, to Council members, and to all whose financial gifts keep our ministries going, in and outside the building.

THRIVENT MEMBERS:  Please remember that you must redirect your Thrivent Choice Dollars  each year.  If you do not redirect your Choice Dollars yearly, Thrivent will choose a charity to receive your Choice Dollars.  Please consider redirecting your Choice Dollars to St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Bloomsburg.  If you have any questions please contact Randy Ruckle or Elaine Stauffer.  Many thanks to St Matt Thrivent members who direct their choice dollars giving to our mutual benefit! 

Follow St. Matthew on Facebook!  Watch for livestreamed worship, updates, info, and reminders.
Visit St. Matt’s web page…Check it out—www.stmatthewbloomsburg.org                                  

Thanks to Ken Druckenmiller for his expertise

Fair Trade Project

Thank you for supporting small-scale farmers, their communities and the environment
with your purchases of fairly-traded chocolate, nuts, coffee, fruit, tea, cocoa, and olive oil.
…and what does the Divine require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6 :8

Wonderful News!

Equal Exchange has informed us that St Matt is again in the top 5% of sales for faith-based organizations in the country! At the same time, Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services has designated St Matt a Top Generous Congregation in 2021.  Thank you for your commitment and generosity!                We serve in giving as we have been given many gifts.

You may bring in items for the Community Blessing Box at any time, and put them in the container in the Gathering Area. Particularly useful: Heat ‘n eat items, snack crackers, single cereal servings, etc.

Don’t Let The Food Cupboard Go Bare! 

Help the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard serve 400+ families each week with enough groceries to feed and care for our neighbors. In May we’re collecting Pasta – Rice – Noodles and it’s the quarterly collection of Diapers for Bundles of Blessings.

You are the something that happened for many, many in our community who struggle with food insecurity. You made it possible for many to feel more secure in a very challenging year.  You don’t do it for the thanks, but we thank you all the same for being our partners in 2021!

The grateful volunteers of the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard

Help the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard serve 400+ families each week with enough groceries to feed and care for our neighbors.

In June we’re collecting Canned Tuna or Chicken, and it’s the quarterly collection of Diapers for Bundles of Blessings;

in July, Cold Cereals;

in August, Canned Beans—baked, white, black, pinto, kidney, pink, chickpeas, etc. 

WELCA Quilters meet to do their work 2nd & 4th Tuesdays., 8-noon,and always welcome helping hands. Thanks to these hard-working women for their ongoing ministry. The quilters are always in need of your donations of new or gently used sheets. Thank you to all who support this ministry. We meet the second and fourth Tuesdays from 8 am to noon to make quilts for Hospice patients, Camp Courage and Nurse-Family babies.

Many thanks to all who work each week to make worship happen at St Matt and who keep the wheels of the church turning. Special thanks to Altar Guild, Lectors and Prayer Leaders, our Music Department, and our decorators. Thanks, also, to Offering Counters, to Council members, and to all whose financial gifts keep our ministries going, in and outside the building.

Mowing Signup
Can you help out with keeping the property maintained? If you’re able to help out with mowing (the congregation supplies the lawnmower) sign up on the Gathering Area Bulletin Board for the week(s) you expect to be available. If you have questions, please speak to Pr. Joel.

Congregation Council Highlights

(May 10 mtg.)

· Pastor Joel mentioned how very nice it was to welcome two young folks to the table for their First Holy Communion. One of the great tragedies of the pandemic is missing years of kids’ presence with us in worship, watching them grow. It’s always good to have an opportunity to point out to them that they’re cherished here.

· Pr. Joel mentioned gratitude to choirs, music leaders, altar guild, worship assistants, and camera crew for facilitating worship through a very meaningful Holy Week, along with regular Sunday gatherings.

· Jana Wagner and John Kula took care of issues with the congregation’s Facebook page.

· Pr. Joel spoke on uptick of Covid cases all around us—we’ll continue to follow CDC guidelines, and go back to masking if the community transmission rate goes back to high (still currently low).

· Council reviewed agenda items for the congregation’s Annual Meeting following worship June 12. Items include presentation on costs to repair damage at the Market St stained glass window—likely also repointing masonry there, and repairs to the stone steps at the Mkt. St. entrance. Kathy Stewart is to give a presentation on the ongoing Community Blessing Box ministry. The meeting also includes an open forum time.

· Finances continue to be very stable—April receipts/expenses were within a few dollars of even, and through generous gifts, we continue to pay down the Renovation loan.

· Sunday School and Confirmation instruction will take a Summer break following class on Sunday, May 22, resuming after Labor Day.