Monthly Newsletter – June – July – August 2024

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

Dear friends,

Programmatically, we generally follow the school year—Sunday School, Pastor’s Class, and choirs will wind down and take a break for the summer months.

Oh, we’ll still gather for worship—worship is the core of who we are, gathered together to praise God, be fed and sent out into the world again, the people of God called to serve in this neighborhood, this community, this world in which we live.

We have hope because God in Christ has loved us. We need hope to keep going, and fulfill our callings in this world. The world is a tough place, a hard place—war, gun violence, hatred and prejudice, division and suspicion, climate catastrophe. It’s hard to take it all in, 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.

We do look forward to summer, and there are still things happening at St Matt:

 ELCA Missionary Pastor Brian Palmer—whom we regularly remember in prayer at worship—is with us June 4, to give a talk and take part in our regular Healing Service.

 We’ll also have Healing in July and August

June 9 is our Annual Congregation Meeting, and a group photo for the cover of our Facebook page

 July 21, Of the Land and Seasons will be our liturgy setting, and we’ll give thanks for the promise of growth through these months, and the harvest to come . . .

 at the end of Summer, the Bloomsburg Early Music Workshop is scheduled to be back with us over Labor Day weekend.

 We look forward to special music at worship over the summer.

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

Parish Register

Della Jane Turner Fritz ~ November 7, 1930 – March 27, 2024

John E Mattera ~ May 26, 1935 – April 19, 2024

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

First Holy Communion

April 21, 2024

Max Aaron Yeager

Max is the son of Amy & Dan Yeager.

May God forever feed and bless him as he comes to the table of the Lord.

We look forward to baptisms currently scheduled for May 19


May 19, 2024

Bennett Michael Salotto

Benny is the son of Jenna Polston and Michael Salotto.

May God forever bless this newest little member of the Body of Christ.

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 finally here!  While it usually brings a slower pace and more relaxation, it is also a time for planning and rejuvenation as we prepare for the fall.  Starting in July, our worship services will feature special music in place of the choir anthems. If you or someone you know would like to share your musical talents, please reach out to me as soon as possible!

A heartfelt thank you to all the choir members and handbell ringers for a fantastic spring season in our music ministry at St. Matthew.  Special thanks to Erin for her continued leadership and direction of the ensembles.  We are truly blessed with dedicated ringers and singers who generously share their time and talents, enriching our worship services with incredible musical experiences.

On behalf of the Jubilate Choir, I also want to express my gratitude for your support in our recent joint concert with the Catawissa Military Band.  It was a remarkable community event, and your support continues to make our musical endeavors possible.  Stay tuned for the next community event sponsored by the American Guild of Organists on July 5th at Wesley United Methodist Church featuring music that will “Celebrate America.”

Have a wonderful summer, and as always, thank you for your unwavering support of our music ministry!

Yours In Christ


New Group Photo

Sunday, June 9, 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!

Congregation Council Highlights

(April 9 mtg.)

· Council heard a presentation from Bishop Emerita Barbara Collins on behalf of the current Capital Campaign at Camp Mount Luther. After discussion, Council decided to make the Camp a Summer Giving Project. We’ll put collection boxes in both entrance areas, challenging folks to put in a dollar (or more!) each time they come in (the Giving Project for Camp Mount Luther will continue May – September).

· Council is still searching for a contractor to reinstall the railings on the Market St steps. One estimate been received (after repeated attempts to solicit other bids). Council has rejected that bid as being unreasonably high.

· Pastor Joel reported on a fruitful Lent and Holy Week and beginning of the Easter season. Attendance has been good, the two baptisms March 17 were uplifting for all, the choirs have done very good work (thanks Erin and Alan).

· Members of the Pastor’s Class/Bible Study are to lead worship April 28 while Pastor Joel is away— a Service of the Word. Pastor is excited at this team undertaking.

· We’re wrapping up the accounting for the Lenten Giving Project—the Salvation Army Bloomsburg office. The congregation has been generous—gifts total over $2,200.

· Council decided on red maples to be planted at Market St to replace the trees that had to be removed.

· The March 9 St Matt Breakfast was a great event—thanks to Jana Wagner for heading up. It was well attended, and a good time of sharing and catching up with one another. The next breakfast is scheduled for Nov. 9.

· Thanks to our Funeral Meal crew for their dedicated work caring for families of those who have died.

May 14 mtg.)

· Pastor Joel mentioned how very nice it was to welcome another young person to the table for his First Holy Communion April 21.  It’s always good to have an opportunity to point out to young folks that they’re cherished here, important members of the congregation.

· Team Leadership of worship April 28 while Pastor Joel was away was well received, by all accounts.  We’re opening up worship leadership for any who desire to be part of team leadership.

· Council reviewed agenda items for the congregation’s Annual Meeting following worship June 9. Pastor Joel will report on the general condition of our life together. The meeting also includes an open forum time for questions and discussion. Following the meeting we’ll take a group photo for the cover of the congregation’s Facebook page.

· Sunday School will take a Summer break following Sunday, May 19, resuming after Labor Day.

· Worship & Music Committee is to meet 6:30pm July 2, preceding Healing, planning into October.

· Still searching for a contractor to install the Market St steps railing . . .

· Special thanks to Mike Canty, Dave Keller, Dale Michael, and Marion Dent for their hard work cleaning up the outside alley stairwell into the basement and around the building.

· In light of happenings in churches of all kinds around the country, Council discussed security concerns at worship. Congregation leaders will be vigilant and in communication with each other if situations arise.

· Portions of the Titman Trust distribution (to be given to the “outdoor poor”) will be donated to Columbia-Montour Companions of Hope, Community Blessing Box, Pastor’s Discretionary Fund, Women’s Center (for the shelter).

· We’re looking at reviving Coffee Time (monthly) following worship. Kathy Stewart and Jana Wagner will tentatively take the lead in reestablishing this community time.

Give a ride to worship

We’re renewing our list of folks who can provide a ride to worship for our members without transportation. If you can help out with this at any time, please contact the church office or speak to Pastor Joel.

(worship is always livestreamed on the St Matthew Facebook page)—many thanks to our Camera Crew we’re seeking another Camera Crew member—could that be you?)

Looking Ahead

On the Parish Calendar this Summer

Sunday, June 2, 9am  Worship   Pentecost 2; Recognition of Graduates

Tuesday, June 4, 6pm – ELCA Missionary Pastor Brian Palmer speaks; 7pm – Pastor Palmer takes part in our monthly Healing Service

Sunday, June 9, 9am  Worship   Pentecost 3

Annual Congregation Meeting follows worship; group photo in the nave follows meeting

Friday-Saturday, June 14 – 15   Upper Susquehanna Synod Assembly at Susquehanna University

(thanks to Mary Lou Wagner & David Keller, serving as Voting Members from St Matt)

Sunday, June 16, 9am  Worship   Pentecost 4

Sunday, June 23, 9am  Worship   Pentecost 5 – Service of the Word

Sunday, June 30, 9am,   Worship   Pentecost 6

Tuesday, July 2, 7pm – Summer Healing at St Matt   (Worship & Music meets at 6:30pm – planning worship through September)

Sunday, July 7, 9am  Worship   Pentecost 7

Sunday, July 14, 9am  Worship   Pentecost 8     

Sunday, July 21, 9am  Worship   Pentecost 9   Of the Land and Seasons (Summer)

Sunday, July 28, 9am  Worship   Pentecost 10

Sunday, August 4, 9am  Worship   Pentecost 11

Tuesday, August 6, 7pm – Healing Service

Sunday, August 11, 9am  Worship   Pentecost 12

Sunday, August 18, 9am  Worship   Pentecost 13

Sunday, August 25, 9am  Worship   Pentecost 14

WELCA Quilters meet 2nd & 4th Tuesday 8-noon. You’re always welcome to join in.

Congregation Council meets 2nd Tuesday (June 11, August 13)(Council generally does not meet in July)— all members of St Matt are always welcome to sit in.

AA Weekenders meet in the gym Sat.-Sun. 6:55pm

Families Helping Families meets in the gym Tuesdays 6pm


[Ed. note: St Matt gave over $3,700 to ELCA World Hunger in 2023.]

Dear St Matthew Lutheran Church,

. . As a church, we are freed by the transformative life of Christ, and this freedom emboldens us to love and serve our neighbors just as Christ has shown us. Your gifts to the ministries of the ELCA help people around the world feel the power of God’s love.

Your generosity is getting at the root causes of hunger and poverty in over 60 countries, including the United States. It provides access to clean water, health care, agriculture, livestock and education, and it advances peace and justice. Through your gifts you join the whole church in working toward a just world where all are fed.

Thank you for your gracious gifts. The glory of God shines in you.

In Christ,

Amanda White, Director, Congregational Generosity  

Dear friends,
We want to thank you for your support of ELCA missionaries! We believe that we are called into community with our siblings in Christ around the world. Your generosity helps to foster relationships far beyond     the ELCA. Through your sponsorship . . . you are walking alongside our companions across the globe as they spread the good news and serve our neighbors with love and care. Our whole fellowship is stronger because of you!

Because of your support, the ELCA remains committed to engaging the global church. As we live into God’s abundance, we give thanks for your generosity ― it makes a difference in the world.

Together in Christ, 

The Rev. Daniel Rift
Director, ELCA Service and Justice, World Hunger, and Lutheran Disaster Response Funding
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Rev. Amanda White
Director, Congregational Generosity
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Equal Exchange

Chocolate bars – mint crunch, orange infused, milk, very dark 71%, extra dark Panama 80%. 

Also many varieties of organic teas, 2 kinds of hot cocoa.

And the exotic!—Dried Mango. 

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.

Did you know that over $1,000/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 our homepage:

¨ Many thanks to St Matt Thrivent members who direct their choice dollars giving to the ministry of St Matt and our mutual benefit! 

¨ Follow St. Matthew on Facebook! 

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 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 your coffee, tea, and chocolate purchases make a difference!

St Matthew offers Equal Exchange fairly-traded products at wholesale prices throughout the year. 

Fairly-traded means that everyone in the supply chain is compensated fairly and is able to work in a healthy environment.  Equal Exchange trades only with farmer cooperatives who vote and together decide how to use their premiums in their communities. Premiums support environmental initiatives like beekeeping, protecting the pollinators their crops depend on.  EE is committed to fully traceable supply chains to counter the child and forced labor problems in West Africa. 

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

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.

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.

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.

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.