This Week at St. James:
October 25th thru October 31st (Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost)
PLEASE NOTE: Our Sunday Worship schedule (COVID-19 Guidelines):
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
“Called by God, centered in the Word and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we rejoice in the Lord,
OUR STAFF AT ST. JAMES
Pastor . ……………………...... Cell 803-607-5956 .……………….. Rev. Keith Getz
Welcome Visitors: If you’ve been baptized and wish to receive Holy Communion, you may come forward and participate. Those unable to come to the altar will commune in the pews first. If you are a first time visitor, please take home a welcome coffee mug located in the back of the Sanctuary. We thank you for worshipping with us today and hope you will come again. Small children are welcome in the worship. Busy Bags are available in the Narthex and scribble pads are in the back of the church. If your children become restless, we have a nursery available where they will be cared for with love. An usher would be happy to direct you.
Amplified Hearing Assistance System—We now have Hearing/Hearing Aid amplification devices (using wireless telecoil technology) available for those that are hearing impaired that can pair to compatible hearing aids or using a free loaner headset. Please speak to one of the Ushers. They will assist you obtaining a compatible loaner kit.
Today’s Music: Opening Voluntary—Toccata on “A Mighty Fortress” by Gordon Young,
Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God an in Honor of our son Michael’s birthday on October 30th by Dick & Kay Rasmussen.
Remember in your Prayers for healing and other: Jeanne Bessel, Carolyn Brandt, Brandt Family (passing of Phil’s brother Charles), Chris Lovett (Tom’s son), Tom Lovett, Norman McLeod (Alex’s brother), Aimee Bruce Bell-passing of her daughter (JoAnn Bogdany’s niece), Dee Osborne, Perry Register, Ann Reynolds, Gabriella Roberts (Grand-daughter of Stephen & Paula Bohm), Stan Salter, Betty Shaw and Shirley Viens.
COVID-19 Comments From Your Council & Pastor
We have resumed in-person worship with two services at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Each Service will be approximately 35 minutes long. At this time, there will be no Holy Communion.
Call Susan Caulkins at 803-773-1040 if you need to register one-time larger family group seating for October 18th or beyond (9:00 or 11:00 a.m. service).
Offering for Sunday, October 25th -$5,838.50 August Total - $17,085.50
2019 Average Attendance
2019 Special Services
Announcements: Reminder - Please remember to coordinate with the Church Office prior to scheduling events so that Valerie may reserve the date and include your event on the Church Calendar.
IMPORTANT: There is now a mail slot in the office door (on the breezeway) across from the library. Please feel free to drop off your tithes, notes, and etc.
The church office is open Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Weekly Bulletin & News: Please contact the church office (phone or email) with any announcements or prayer list additions.
Council Meeting today at 1:30 p.m.
TURN YOUR CLOCKS BACK ("Fall Back") BEFORE GOING TO BED on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31st (daylight savings time ends).
Betty Shaw (Judy Lessard’s sister) will not be coming down for her seasonal visit. She is doing rehab after taking a fall. We will miss seeing her and hopefully she will feel up to coming later. (35 Webb St, Methuen, MA 01844).
The Adult Sunday School will resume beginning October 25th. We will have an eight week study entitled "Heaven - Finding Our True Home." These eight studies will help us develop a Biblical view of heaven. We will meet in Classroom #5 starting at approximately 9:45 a.m. and end at approximately 10:30 a.m. (between first and second services). If you have questions, please contact Karen Hesselbart at 803-464-4343. All are invited to attend.
Sunday, November 1 will be All Saints Sunday. Please contact the office or complete the inserted form if you would like to have your loved one’s name said during the service and have them listed in the bulletin. Note: Requests must be received by Wednesday, October 28th. Due to COVID-19, families will not be coming up to light a candle for their loved one who has gone to be with our Lord in glory. Names of loved ones who departed this past year will be said first, followed by the ones listed in the bulletin. After each one is called, the pastor and assistant will light candles as the family of those departed will stand where they are in their pew.
Face-to-face Bible Study: Bible Study (Mark 5: 13-30): With masks and social distancing on Tuesday, October 27, at 10:30 a.m.
**New** Online Bible Study - Thursday, October 29 , at 10:30 a.m.
Valerie (Administrative Assistant) will be on vacation Monday, October 26 thru Wednesday, October 28. Will be back in the office on Thursday the 29th and Friday the 30th.
Christ in our Home devotional books for the fourth quarter of 2020 (October through December) are in the Library and Narthex. Large Print versions are also available. Please pick up your copy today.
Remember our shut-ins and drop them a note of encouragement to let them know they are in our thoughts and prayers:
Mr. Carl Leonhirth—Covenant Place, 2825 Carter Rd, Unit 124, Sumter, SC 29150 (add to your church directory)
October Lay Reader Schedule
If you will be unavailable on your assigned Sunday, please let Cheryl Schemling (803-499-1050) or Valerie know as soon as possible.
Please contact the church office (phone or email) with any announcements you would like to have put in the bulletin.
Property (John Kinser): The FSH A/C is not working. Our consensus, at this time, is not to have it fixed for the immediate future. The Synod recommends no coffee hour, congregational dinners, etc. that would require the use of the FSH. At some point, we will either have to decide to limp it along again or replace the system. Right now, this is not a priority. Therefore, to alleviate the need for the FSH for committee meetings, Council meetings, Sunday School, Bible study, etc. we will set up classroom #5 in the Education Wing for small group meetings. It is a double classroom with enough space for up to 12 people to properly distance. After the school officially closes on May 31st, our team will get this room set up. There are other classrooms that may be used for smaller groups should there be a scheduling conflict.
Pastor Keith Getz may be reached during office hours at 803-773-2260. At times of crisis: 803-607-5956 (Cell); Email - firstname.lastname@example.org. Regular Office Hours: Office hours are Monday thru Thursday, 8:30-12:30am. Please call his cell phone if you need to contact him.
Sermon Text for Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost (10-18-2020)
Jesus’s opponents ask him: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not?” The context behind their question is that the Jewish people were under the rule of Rome, who conquered them. It seems to me that the question asked to Jesus can be heard, echoed through the ages in our own American culture.
In our American context, we could rephrase the question: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the king of England or not?” Perhaps this was the sentiment of American women before the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, giving them the right to vote. Or the African American sentiment before they too, had a right to vote.
Those on the Pharisees’ side opposed the tax, seeing it as a reminder of their oppression. To add insult to injury, the Roman emperor, Caesar, was worshiped by the Romans as a god. If Jesus said, “yes,” to paying the tax, then he would have offended many of his Jewish followers, who were against the tax. On the other hand, if Jesus said, "No" to paying the tax, then his enemies could turn him over to the Roman authorities as a traitor. Either way Jesus answers, he'll lose.
But, Jesus doesn't play by their rules. He changes the game on them: But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax." And they brought him a denarius. 20 Then he said to them, "Whose head is this, and whose title?" 21 They answered, "The emperor's." The silver coin, a denarius, used to pay the tax bore the image of Caesar’s head on one side. On the other side, it said, "Tiberius Caesar, Son of the Divine Augustus, High Priest.
Every time the Jews paid the tax with the coin, they would be reminded of the 2nd commandment: “You shall not make for yourself and idol.” To support Rome by paying the tax would have been seen by some as supporting idolatry. Then he said to them, "Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s." 22 When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
Jesus tells them to give to Caesar what is his, which means give to the government what is the governments. As much as we hate to do it a lot of times, this means paying taxes. Taxes are necessary for our society to function. And it is okay to have patriotism for our country. Now, I’m sure we all have other ideas what could be added to the list of what is Caesars, but what is even more important and at the heart of Jesus’s message is: what is God’s. Jesus says that we know what is Caesars, the tax, because his image is on the coins. How do we know what is God’s?
In Genesis, we hear: "So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." His image is in us. We are his coins, his currency, of faith, hope, and love in the world. Our lives, ourselves, everything we are is Gods. Our lives should reflect our self-giving to God. That is why St. Paul says: I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
If we give our lives completely to God in Jesus Christ, then there is no separation of church and state. Everything we do, our actions, our decisions, our politics, our relationships, all are transformed by Christ, and we are called by Jesus to live in this new reality. We were created to be in relationship with God and to love Him and others.
Jesus Christ reveals to us what it means to be in the presence of God so fully that every action is in obedience to his will. Jesus reveals what it means to be Gods. And he modeled this through his life, ministry, passion, and death. Jesus calls us today to be the people of God. He calls us to complete loyalty and devotion to God.
In the waters of baptism, we have been claimed by God. We have been united with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection. We have been stamped, marked, with the image of the cross of Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit forever. We are the coins of God's righteousness, carrying the image of our High Priest, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, into the world.
We witness to the reign of God in the world by showing the world that God reigns in our hearts.
Sermon Text for Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost (10-11-2020)
To be honest with you, there is a lot in Jesus’s parable that has more to do with the historical situation of Jesus and Matthew’s church, than with us today. We find Jesus still at the temple, speaking to the Jewish authorities. And he tells them another parable. This time, the kingdom is compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his Son. The king is God the Father. The wedding banquet is the messianic kingdom and all its joys. It is the celebration of the kingdom of God in the person of Jesus, the Son, who is in union with his bride, the Church.
Invitations to be part of God’s kingdom, to embrace God’s Son, the Messiah, have gone out through the King’s messengers, the prophets, including John the Baptist. The wedding banquet is the one God promised in the Old Testament through his prophets, like Isaiah (25): 6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. 7 And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 9 It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. But sadly, the leaders of Israel and those who followed them, didn’t come to the party. They refused. If you recall Jesus’s warnings in chapter 11, most of Galilee had refused.
Now, much of Jerusalem would reject God’s invitation to be part of the party, part of the kingdom, to have life in Christ. They have been preparing for this day, but when it is here, they reject the invitation. He sends out his slaves a second time, instructing them to entice those invited with the promise of good food. “But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them.” The invited guests are preoccupied with their own lives and don’t come.
To refuse to come would have been more than just an act of dishonor to the host, the King. It would be an act of blatant rebellion. This is made explicit in the parable when “the rest seize his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them.” And the Jewish leaders will arrest, mistreat, and kill Jesus. And what will happen to these rebels, who sin against God? The king “sends his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.” Jesus is referring to God using the Romans as instruments of his judgment in the destruction of the temple and sacking of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
God takes sin seriously and judges it seriously. Now if that was the end of the parable or end of the gospel message today, there would not be much for our spiritual edification. God judges sin seriously, but he also takes grace seriously. He does not desire destruction but life. He is a God of love. The invitation of new life in Christ, the wedding feast of his Son, the bridegroom, and the bride, the Church, is ready. And so, the invitation is extended to all, those on the fringes of society, the sinners, the Gentiles, the unchurched and unruly, the broken, the hungry, and the poor. All are invited.
Jesus tells us that the man, who was not wearing the wedding robe was bound hand and foot and "thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called but few are chosen." Jesus is warning us today that salvation involves actions of love. They cannot be separated. The two cannot be separated because Jesus Christ is not just the way to salvation, he IS salvation. And having a relationship with Jesus, living in His presence, always brings transformation. And good works always flow from that sanctified life in Christ.
Jesus calls us today to respond to God's gracious, abundant hospitality by living a righteous life. He calls us to keep Jesus words in our hearts. The wearing of the wedding robe symbolizes our undying commitment to Jesus Christ in fulfilling our baptismal promises. It symbolizes a life of righteousness. As the prophet Isaiah says: I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. But how do we daily live a life of righteousness? We are able to do this by daily being in the presence of Jesus Christ. The more we are in his presence, the more we are able, through grace, to be conformed into his likeness. And, we experience the presence of Jesus in our lives most clearly within community.
Among God's people, the church, Jesus pours out upon us God's grace. God's life changing Spirit filled word comes to us through hearing the word. It enters our ears and journeys to our mind. And from there, the Holy Spirit changes our hearts so we can be obedient and faithful to Jesus Christ.
In the Holy Sacraments, Jesus comes to us, bringing us healing and forgiveness, and true life. Clothed in the purity of Jesus Christ's righteousness, clothed in the wedding robe made white by the blood of the Paschal Lamb, we journey as empty handed beggars to the wedding banquet. In prayer, we commune with Jesus Christ. We enter into a conversation with the Triune God. In all these encounters with Jesus, these means of God's grace, we are given entrance into the kingdom of God. And we are sent out to offer others an invitation to be fed by the food of salvation that is Jesus Christ. We are called to show hospitality to all people, offering to them the amazing, abundant, grace of God in Jesus Christ. And we do this by living lives of righteousness, by putting on our wedding garment of virtue and love.
Internet Online Notification Instructions to access weekly online service videos through:
Go directly to the St. James website (www.stjamessumter.org) and click on the Facebook icon link at the bottom of the page, lower right side.
2020 Annual Congregational Meeting Election Results:
Council Executive Team for 2020
Newly elected members of Council (three year term 2020-2022)
Nominating Team Members (2020-2021)
2020 Congregation Synod Assembly Representative (Rescheduled as a Zoom Virtual Assembly on July 25, 2020; hosted by SCSynod, Columbia SC): Alex McLeod & Karen Hesselbart
Please Note : Pastor Keith’s day off is now on Monday.
SJLS School is Closed for 2020-2021. Reopening the school for the 2021-2022 will be assessed over the next 6-12 months.
The 2020 Altar Flower calendar is up in the Narthex. Please take a few minutes to reserve your date(s). Altar flowers can be dedicated to remember a loved one or to commemorate a special event, such as a birthday or anniversary. Fresh flowers are always a blessing. The cost for the two arrangements are $54.00 – if you choose, the arrangements may be shared/split between two families.
If you want to send an update or a message for the congregation to be published in next bulletin, feel free to let us know (email the church, leave a message on church phone or call Valerie).
If you would like to have a visit from Pastor Keith, please give him a call or send an email.
During worship, we will be standing for the Hymn of the Day which is after the sermon.
Distribution of Holy Communion—We will be distributing Holy Communion to those who are unable to come up to the Altar first, followed by the rest of the Congregation. Suspended UFN due to COVID-19 precautions based on SC Synod guidance.
When folding the kneelers back up, please try to do it quietly.
NURSERY (Not Available UFN) : We have a nursery available during the 10:00 a.m. Worship Service. Thank you to all of those who have volunteered to assist with this much needed ministry.
Silence (in the Nave): We enter the church in silence, being respectful of God’s house and mindful of those who are already there praying. Also, during the distribution of Holy Communion, we sit in our pews in silence or in silent prayer, acknowledging the sanctity of the moment and being respectful of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of His Body and Blood.
Prayer and Meditation Time—Prior to the service, only the altar lights will be on for a time of prayer and meditation.
As part of our mission to proclaim Jesus Christ in word and deed, the Evangelism team encourages you to be on the lookout for those in your community who are in need and see how you can help make their day a little better. This random act of kindness can be anything from paying for someone’s meal behind you at the fast food drive-through to opening the door for someone. The important thing is to be aware of someone in need and show them the love of Jesus Christ. We have cards located in the narthex that say: “This random act of kindness has been passed on to you by St. James Lutheran Church. Baptized to Serve.” The card also has our church’s physical address and email on it. This is an easy way for us to help those in our community and to show others that St. James and Jesus Christ cares about them. Please pick up some cards after worship if you wish to participate.
ELCA Disaster Relief Fund - If you would like to make a donation to the ELCA Disaster Relief Fund you may do so by sending your check to (or use the Internet DRF link on home page):
Lutheran Disaster Response
What’s going on with the Youth Next!
Sunday, 25th of October : Youth Group - None [Suspended UFN]
St. James Lutheran Church E-mail addresses: The Church Administrative Assistant Ms. Valerie Johnson can be reached at Office: 773-2260 or E-mail: email@example.com.
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