This Week at St. James:
April 11th thru April 17th (Second Sunday of Easter)
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: Prelude – “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” by Handel, Najja Lyle, French Horn solo; Postlude—”Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain” by Horn/Lenel
Flowers today are given to the Glory of God and in Honor of Bill Scobee by the St. James Choir.
Communion Serviced—1st Sunday of each month UFN (see details below).
Remember in your Prayers for healing and other: Karen Bailey, Jeanne Bessel, Gene Brown, Tom Lovett, Norman McLeod (Alex’s brother), Osborne Family, Arletta Price, Pam Price (daughter of Emery & Nancy McElveen), Mary Register, Ann Reynolds, Gabriella Roberts (Grand-daughter of Stephen & Paula Bohm), Stan Salter and Shirley Viens.
Offering for Sunday, April 11th - $3,745.90 February Total - $8,591.40
**NEW ONLINE GIVING OPTION**
Starting February 1st, the St. James website added the capability to give to St. James through an embedded URL link posted on the home page of our website and replicated below:
Introducing SJLC's Secure Online Giving Link to the ELCA endorsed host Website Tithe.ly (click here for access)
Please note that it is not our intention for you to change the way you currently give to St. James. The online giving link is intended primarily for the use of persons (friends of the church, former members, etc.) who are not living in the local area or temporarily out of town but who wish to give designated, restricted or unrestricted gifts to support the mission of St. James Lutheran Church in Sumter SC.
This new giving capability is enabled through Tithe.ly, an organization which provides infrastructure services to churches and is endorsed by the ELCA. All giving transactions are handled by Tithe.ly, your credit card provider, or your bank. Those who wish to use this service need to create an account with Tithe.ly and will need to provide either your credit card information or bank account/routing information for secure ACH (Automated Clearing House) electronic payments/automated money transfer transactions.
This online giving option has a cost for each transaction. The processing fees the ELCA negotiated with Tithe.ly are:
2.49% + .25 cents per transaction for giving using VISA or Discover credit cards
2.9% + .25 cents per transaction for American Express (AMEX) ,
0.5% + .25 cents per transaction for ACH (direct from your bank) transactions.
The processing fee cost of each transaction can be deducted from the offering amount, which decreases the amount received by St. James, or it can be paid by the giver ("Cover Fees" check box lower left of transaction page), which increases the amount given by the percentages & transaction fees shown above based upon the transaction method choosen.
Text Giving (text-2-give) is currently not an available option used by SJLC.
Note: Please be aware that an online account setup with Tithe.ly can be deactivated, however, you currently cannot delete your personal account information registered on their web site.
If you wish to know more about the online giving option, please contact Richard Rasmussen at (803) 968-2189
IMPORTANT Notice Regarding 2021 Offering Envelopes
PLEASE - remember to mark your offering Envelopes!!
There are 4 categories of giving listed on your St. James offering envelope. These are:
For the past few years, unmarked (no category filled-in) offering envelopes were designated as SJLC ONLY, also referred to as “Current”. As you were informed at the annual January meeting, beginning in February 2021, unmarked envelopes will now be designated as “SJLC & SC Synod”. This means that 10% of the offering will go to Synod (NOT National ELCA). We ask you to mark your envelope with your intention so that we can direct the funds as you intended. If it is NOT your intention to support the SC Synod, or ELCA, please mark your envelope as SJLC ONLY. Not marking your envelope will have an impact on our budget and projected giving.
Sunday, April 11th, 2021: 9:00 a.m.—18, 11:00 a.m.—34
Easter Sunday, April 4th, 2021: 9:00 a.m.—46, 11:00 a.m.—54
Good Friday, April 2nd, 2021: 7:00 p.m..—31
Maundy Thursday, April 1st, 2021: 7:00 p.m..—36
Palm Sunday, March 28th, 2021: 9:00 a.m.—24, 11:00 a.m.—46
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. Holy Communion has resumed on the first Sunday of the month (next, April 6th) .
Call Dick Rasmussen at (803) 968-2189 if you need to register one-time larger family group seating (9:00 or 11:00 a.m. service).
2020 Average Attendance
2020 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.
If you are eligible for a COVID vaccine (ages 65+) and are having difficulty navigating online registration, please call the office. We will get someone to walk you through the process.
2021 Annual Congregational Meeting Election Results:
Council Executive Team for 2021
Newly elected members of Council (three year term 2021-2023)
Nominating Team Members (2021-2022)
The weekly church office hours are 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
We have openings on the Altar Flower Calendar for April, May, June, July, October, November & December. Please sign up to celebrate a special occasion or to honor a loved one.
Holy Communion will be offered at both services the first Sunday of the month . Maximum attendance will be reduced slightly (44) because of distancing requirements for safe movement during communion. A brief explanation and demonstration of how we will conduct the communion portion of the service will be given before the service.
Mrs. Delores “Dee” Osborne passed away on Sunday, April 4th at Covenant Place. A private funeral service will be held on Friday, April 9, 2021 at 11:00 am at St. James Lutheran Church. Interment will follow in the Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery. You may view the service via recorded link on the obituary page of Delores Osborne on the obituary page of Delores Osborne (click here).
No Bible Study this week on April 12th. Studies will resume on Tuesday, April 20th.
In-Person Bible Study is held on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. (Sanctuary); see above for schedule update
On-Line Bible Study is held on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. To join Bible Study on Google Meet, click this link:
Pastor Keith will briefly greet worshipers outside the Narthex after each service. If you need to have a detailed conversation, please give him a call.
April 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. (* Change)
Christ in our Home devotional books for the second quarter of 2021 (April through June) are in the Narthex and Library. 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)
Please contact the church office (phone or email) with any announcements you would like to have put in the bulletin.
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 the Easter Sunday (04-04-21)
Today, we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord. But those who first experienced the Resurrection of our Lord did not immediately shout “Christ is risen! Alleluia!”
Mary Magdalene, in the darkness of her pain and despair comes to the empty tomb. When Mary gets to the tomb, the stone has been rolled away, not so Jesus could get out, but so we can get in to witness that he has risen from the dead. She believed they had taken away the body of our Lord. However, “his linen wrappings were lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head was not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.” Grave robbers would not have stripped his body in the tomb and run out with a naked corpse. They certainly would not have taken the time to roll up the cloth that was on Jesus’s head and place it by itself. Mary had forgotten Jesus words of how he would be crucified, die, and be buried, but on the third day rise again. Her grief was so great, she couldn’t see past her deep pain of the heart.
Sometimes, in the midst of our day to day lives, in the midst of scrambling to make ends meet, in the midst of hurrying from one doctor visit to another, in the midst of our sufferings and loss, we, too, have a hard time seeing the resurrection. It is easier to trust what we know, what we can see, it is easier to trust ourselves, than to trust something as amazing and other worldly as the resurrection. And so, in pain of such a profound loss, Mary wept.
We all know what it’s like to lose someone we love. Living through a pandemic, we know, perhaps more than ever, the threat and pain of death. But when she looked into the tomb for the second time, she saw two angels, who asked her: Why are you weeping? After telling them how her Lord’s body had been taken away, she turns around and sees Jesus. But he has changed. He is in his resurrection glory now, and she does not recognize him. Or perhaps her grief blinds her from seeing Jesus has risen from the dead. She mistakes him for the gardener.
In a way, Jesus is like a gardener, metaphorically speaking. He is the one who sows the seed of God’s word into our hearts. And he is the one who gets rid of the weeds of our sin. He is the one who opens up for us the garden of Eden, the Promised Land of eternal life with God. Jesus says to her: “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” He invites her to be in conversation with him. He invites her to be in his presence, in the midst of her pain. Mary pleads with Jesus to tell her where the body is laid. She says, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Can you hear the pain in her words? She wants to take away Jesus’s body, but she would not have had the physical strength to lift it.
In her pain, she desperately wants to have some earthly, tangible connection with Jesus. But Jesus calls her by name, “Mary.” And she turns toward him, saying, Rabbouni!, Teacher. She sees Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and hears his voice and recognizes him at last. He calls her by name just as he calls us by name in Holy Baptism.
Mary’s disbelief turns to belief, her tears of great sorrow turn to unimaginable joy. She is filled with the joy of the resurrection and becomes part of the resurrection story. She sees and hears and believes: Christ is Risen! And she is drawn toward him. But, Mary wants to hold on to the earthly Jesus. She wants life to continue as it was before his death. She believes he is risen but does not understand that through Christ’s resurrection and ascension something new is happening. Jesus, knowing her heart, anticipates this, and tells her, ¨Do not hold on to me because I have not ascended to the Father.¨ Jesus is in the process of ascending, and nothing can hinder his return to his Father.
Through his ascension, he will have fellowship with his followers in a greater and fuller way than he ever had before. By returning to the Father, he is able to be with his followers throughout all times and all places through the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells Mary: ”But go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
The disciples, who abandoned Jesus during his time of need are not abandoned by Jesus. By ascending to his Father, Jesus opens up new life with God for his followers, so they can now become adopted children of God, and Jesus’s brothers and sisters. This new communion with Jesus is dependent upon God’s foolish extravagant love, not anything we have done.
Filled with the power and joy of the Resurrection, Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her. This is why the church calls her the apostle to the apostles. In many ways, the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord is also a celebration of our own resurrection. Like Mary Magdalene, we have been named and claimed by Christ.
In holy Baptism, we have been named and claimed to be God’ children through Christ. We have been called to share the good news that Christ is risen! And Christ continues to appear to us in the opening of the scriptures and in the breaking of bread and pouring of wine at the Table of the Eucharist where we receive the real presence of the crucified risen Lord in body and blood. He appears to us through prayer and worship.
In all these things, he appears to us in the midst of our pain and suffering, giving us hope and confidence in the resurrection and that death is not the end. And he empowers us to participate
In Christ, there is abundant, never-ending life, a life in communion with God, a life sharing in the life, nature, and love of God. So, let us celebrate and feast, because Christ is Risen! Alleluia!
Sermon Text for the Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday (03-28-21)
After the shouts of Hosanna, at Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, we hear the scathing words, “Crucify Him!” This is a poignant reminder that it was not God, who demanded Jesus’s blood, but you and me and all of humanity, because of our sinfulness.
Today, we hear how Jesus was persecuted, beaten unmercifully till the point of death, humiliated, spat on, slapped, mocked, and crucified. Jesus was stripped of his dignity, shamed beyond measure. He was beaten and died on a cross outside the city gates. We cannot imagine the suffering he must have gone through for us.
Our God is not a God who is removed from his people. No, our God, God the Son, entered into the messiness of human life. God took his own medicine of punishment by living as one of us in our own broken and painful world. We hear in the gospel that “From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.” Like the darkness of death that came over Egypt during the Passover, so Jesus enters into the great depths of the darkness of his own death as the true Passover Lamb, who will resurrect us to new life out of death by shedding his blood on the cross. And about three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Jesus’s words are like throwing a large stone in a clear pond. They ripple through time, recalling the words of the Psalmist from the past and lending his voice to the cries of those suffering in the present. Jesus’ words from the cross come from the first line in Psalm 22. In those dark nights of the soul, those moments when you have felt deep suffering and can’t experience the presence of God in your life, perhaps you have cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
It is an anguished prayer that asks to be heard and begs to be answered. It is a prayer, longing and seeking, not so much God’s blessings, but a connection with God himself. What are we to make of these words of Jesus on the cross? Are they the words of one who cries out in despair and in lack of hope? Is it a cry of abandonment? Could God really abandon his only Son? And if so, what comfort can God give us in our moments of great suffering?
Jesus’ words are not the words of the Son abandoned by the Father. The psalmist calls the Lord “my” God at least 3 times in Psalm 22, showing his strong trust and faith in God. The Psalmist recalls the fidelity of God to his people and adds his own history of his relationship with the Lord, going back to the very beginning of his life. He says in verses 22-24 “I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.
Through suffering comes praise and thanksgiving for God’s loving faithfulness. And since it was Jewish custom to cite the first words of a Psalm as a reference to the whole Psalm, Jesus’s prayer from the cross is from one who experiences unspeakable suffering, but also, one who has complete trust in God’s love and fidelity to him and his certainty that he will enter into his glory. Not only does Jesus experience the crushing weight of the sin of the world physically but also deep anguish of the soul. Because he is one with the Father, even on the cross, he is able to see fully the sin of the world, with all its implications and results of pain and isolation. He is able to know what it means for humanity to reject the Father’s love.
Our sin causes us to rationalize and justify our sinful actions. Living in self-delusion, we can’t see the truth about sin and the pain our sin causes others. But Jesus, who is one with the Father, sees the truth about sin, with all its alienation from God and each other, and the consequences of our sin. Jesus, who is without sin, experiences the profound love and unity of God and because of this, he is able to experience the fullness of sin on the cross and all its pain, which becomes excruciating and almost unbearable agony for him.
In solidarity with sinful humanity and feeling the full pain of humanity’s separation from God and one another that the sin of the world causes, Jesus speaks on behalf of all humanity in his words: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” And yet, he says them with full confidence that he will be vindicated by God and enter into his glory. He, who had no sin, takes our place, becoming sin and experiencing the abandonment that our sin produces, so that we may live.
From the cross, suffering and death gives way to life with God. Life with God cannot be destroyed. Divine love will triumph over death. And the crucifying love of Christ, will conquer the sin within us, so that we can fully experience unity with God and his never-ending love for us. We can truly live as a new, transformed creation. So, in our most darkest hours, in our most anguishing pain and most profound feelings of abandonment, may we cry out to God in prayer as Jesus did. And, as Jesus did, may we have the confidence, that God has not abandoned us, that through our many deaths of suffering, and our final death, there will be new, resurrected life.
Internet Online Instructions to access weekly online service videos through:
Facebook (only mid-March thru 13 September 2020 videos available)
Go directly to the St. James website (https://stjamessumter.org) and click on the Facebook icon link at the bottom of the page, lower right side.
Please Note : Pastor Keith’s day off is Monday.
SJLS School is Closed for 2020-2021 and 2022-2023. Reopening the school for the SY 2023-2024 will be assessed in late 2021, early 2022 to determine the COVID-19 vaccine program efficacy impact on startup options.
The 2021 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
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.
COPYRIGHT PERMISSIONS: Prayer of the Day and other Liturgical from Sundays & Seasons, copyright © 2006, Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission (SB159088).
Monthly Newsletters:Printable Monthly Newsletters