Monthly Newsletter – June, July, August 2023

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

Dear friends,

As I write this on Wednesday, we just had our final Confirmation class session on Sunday—it’s a two-year cohort, and they’ve finished their work, writing out their personal Statements of Faith.

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 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. On May 28, when these five youngsters affirm their baptism at worship, we’ll pray that the Spirit blows in them, blows through them, and blesses them with awe-filled lives of wonder and service.

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

Parish Register


Lois J. (Carl) Krum ~ April 24, 1935 – May 4, 2023

Mary C. (Mordan) Berlin ~ January 24, 1925 – May 15, 2023

Rest eternal grant her, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon her.

Received into Membership

May 14, 2023

Becky & Emory Toth, Theresa Bishop

We welcome them to our fellowship.


May 14, 2023

Virginia Fern Hartman

Ginny is the daughter of Erin and Stu Hartman.

May God forever bless this newest little Christian.

Affirmation of Baptism – Confirmation

May 28, 2023

Trista Allee Kocher, Sophia Rose Chickson, Ryan Charles Hare,

Emma Grace Chickson, Elijah James McCready

May the promise of life in their baptism uphold these young people throughout their lives.

If it is difficult for you to make it to Sunday worship and you'd like to have the office email you the weekly bulletin, please send us a message and we'll add you to the list.

Music Ministry

Summer is in the air, finally.  Usually that means life slows down, schedules are less busy, and there is more time for relaxation.  However, summer also means a time for planning and rejuvenation as we look to the fall.  Beginning in July, our worship will   contain special music in place of the choir anthems.  If you or someone you know is interested in sharing their musical talents with us, please let me know as soon as possible!

Thank you to all the choir members and handbell ringers for a wonderful spring season in our music ministry at St. Matthew.  A special thank you also to Erin for her continued leadership and direction of the ensembles.  We are richly blessed with ringers and singers who give of their time and talents, bringing some incredible musical experiences to our worship services.

Each summer we generally ask that you take some time to reflect on your own talents and how you are sharing them with St. Matthew.  Our senior choir may be small but mighty, but we are always looking for additional singers to strengthen our collective voices.  Could this be your calling in the fall?  Be open, listen, and be prepared to respond to His calling.  Have a wonderful summer, and as always, thank you for your unwavering support of our music ministry!

Yours In Christ,


Congratulations Graduates!

(as we know of them as of 5/18)

Kayla Gold – Bachelor’s Degree in English from Millersville University – attending Bloomsburg University Graduate School – Special Education

Leah Fogelsanger  – graduating Penn State University, Master’s Degree in Hospital Administration

Jake Fogelsanger – graduating Bloomsburg High School – HVAC Apprenticeship in Utah.

Caden Zeiders – graduating Cumberland Valley High School, attending West Virginia University – Forensic Chemistry – Caden is the grandson of Ruth & Joel Zeiders

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

Happening in June

Coming up in JuneSunday, June 4, 9am  Worship   The Holy Trinity

Graduate Recognition (please inform the church office of graduations from High School, University, Graduate & Technical Schools, etc.)

Sunday, June 11  9am Worship   Barnabas, Apostle – Annual Congregation Meeting in the nave

following worship; recognition of the 50th Anniversary of Ordination of The Rev. John Koons.

Congregation Council Highlights

(May 9 mtg.)

· At the Special Congregation Meeting following worship April 30, the congregation voted unanimously to accept the bid of contractor Montec Restoration Services of Berwick to remove the deteriorating stone Market St steps and replace them with concrete, at an estimated cost of $110, 500. The congregation will tap into existing funds to front approximately the first $50,000 of the project, and finance the balance through the existing Line of Credit loan through First Columbia.

· Pastor Joel mentioned how very nice it was to welcome six young folks to the table for their First Holy Communion April 23.  It’s always good to have an opportunity to point out to them that they’re cherished here, important members of the congregation.

· Council reviewed agenda items for the congregation’s Annual Meeting following worship June 11. Most of our energy is directed to the Market St steps project presently. Brad Miller and Mike Canty are staying on top of the project, and Brad will be present to speak to how the project is being financed.  Kathy Stewart is to give a presentation on the ongoing Community Blessing Box ministry. Pastor Joel will report on the general condition of our life together, and noticing a sense of renewing energy within the congregation. The meeting also includes an open forum time for questions and discussion. We’ll make coffee and invite food contributions for gathering time following the meeting, and take a group photo for the cover of the congregation’s Facebook page.

· Sunday School will take a Summer break following Sunday, May 21, resuming after Labor Day.

· Worship & Music Committee meets 6:30pm, June 6, planning into October.

· The Big Event, Bloom Univ. students serving in the community, was a big help for St Matt. They weeded, trimmed, and helped haul out a very large pile of brush. Thanks to Brad Miller for facilitating, and to Katy Miller, John Fridman and Mike Canty for their work.

(Excerpt from a note from Katy Miller to Social Ministry about the ministry of the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard:

Today, we served 170 families.  Last week when I was away, I understand they served 196. Every Tuesday, we have 6-12 NEW registrations.  Overall, like we have been hearing in the news, the need is rising  (SNAP benefits and other Social Services have been cut back) and the donations are diminishing, somewhat.  Martha Sheehe is very thankful for our generous and CONSISTENT monthly donations.  

Today was a challenge coming up with a good mix of nutritious choices. But as always, as is the story of the loaves and fishes… we always come up with enough, Thanks be to God.

Thanks for your dedication to the Food Cupboard, I am grateful.


New Group Photo

Sunday, June 11, as we gather for our Annual Congregation Meeting, we’ll take a new group photo for the congregation’s Facebook page. We celebrate the family of faith God has made of us—we’d like you to be a part of it!

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.

Follow St. Matthew on Facebook!  Watch for live streamed worship, updates, info, and reminders.

¨ Did you know that over $800/month is given electronically by members of St. Matthew? 

      Automated giving provides convenience for you and cash-flow consistency for St. Matthew.                               

      Getting started is easy.  Check out the giving portal on homepage:

¨ 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 StaufferMany thanks to St Matt Thrivent members who direct their choice dollars giving to our mutual benefit! 

¨ Follow St. Matthew on Facebook! 

      Watch for online updates, info, and reminders, and livestream of worship.

¨ 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 Canned Fruit.

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

Full-flavored, fairly-traded, organic, wholesale prices for you; the gift of life for the growers/ producers as members in the Equal Exchange Co-op.

Plus, Organic Virgin Olive Oil and Dates from Palestine.

Available on the cart on Sundays and whenever the church office is open.

Holiday baking supplies! Chocolate chips (55%), baking cocoa, almonds, pecans and cashews.

Fairly-traded, organic, wholesale prices for you; the gift of life for the growers/ producers as members in the Equal

Exchange coop. Available on the Fair Trade Project cart on Sundays and whenever the church office is open.

New on the Fair Trade Cart—Mind, Body & Soul Coffee (whole bean).

Blend of medium and Vienna roasts—smooth & creamy with chocolate notes.

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.

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 Canned Fruit

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. 

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

Please save your cereal coupons and donate them to the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard all year round. They are a very important way for the Food Cupboard to save money on local cereal purchases. 

Place your manufacturer’s or store savings coupons in the box located near the Food Cupboard monthly offering table at St. Matthew. Instead of throwing out coupon flyers, please take a few minutes to cut out the “dollars off” for cereal only and bring them church. You will be surprised how they quickly add up to lots of savings for the Food Cupboard…cereal can be a very costly to keep on the Cupboard shelves!

Community Blessing Box Offerings


Community Blessing Box Offerings

As you consider offerings to the Community Blessing Box, here are some items we’ve found to be in great demand:

Food items

Individual size heat ‘n eats in flip-top cans

Snack crackers (Lance, Keebler, etc.)

Pop Tarts

Individual size cereals, apple sauce/fruit

Canned/packaged chicken/ham/tuna salad, spam, beef jerky

Spaghetti sauce (paired with boxed pasta)

Personal core items 

small) Toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, deodorant

(small)(bottles) Laundry soap, fabric softener/dryer sheets 

Tablets & pens

Toilet paper


Wash cloths

Special thanks to Kathy Stewart for managing this vital ministry.

Food for Thought: (we Picked up some tips from another newsletter—to help you help others) So, I spent some time at a Food Bank today, and spoke to the people getting food. Here are some things I learned from those in need.

Boxed milk is a treasure, as kids need it for cereal which they also get a lot of.

Oil is a luxury but needed for rice a roni which they also get a lot of.

Spices or salt and pepper would be a real Christmas gift. 

Tea bags and coffee make them feel like you care.

Sugar and flour are treats.

Tuna and crackers make a good lunch. 

Dishwashing detergent is very expensive and is always appreciated Feminine hygiene products are a luxury and women will cry over that. Everyone loves Stove Top stuffing. In all the years I have donated food at the holidays, I bought what I thought they wanted,  but have never asked. I am glad I did.

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.