December has arrived and Advent is beginning. Well, more accurately, the coming of Christ has not ceased. Every week in our life together I see ways that Christ is alive in your lives and in our community. Our worship is alive and energetic, our witness to our neighbors and with our guests in worship is vibrant and strong. I am so eager for the life of Jesus to be revealed among us. I also notice that as I get older I hunger more and more for a deeper and richer flow of Christ’s coming in my life as much as in our community.
I am also reminded of John the Baptist’s comment about the coming of Christ’s activity that his disciples notice. John says, “He must increase and I must decrease” (John 3:30). John feels like this is his faithful response; embracing the good news of Jesus. His work was to prepare the way and then stand out of the way as it begins to take hold.
So, too it is for me. 2020 will be for me a year of transition. I will be shifting to retirement or semi-retirement with a different balance between my family life and my active faith life in ministry. I have shared this need for transition in my life with our Good Sam Council Leaders and we have begun dreaming and planning just how this transition will take place. We are partnering in this endeavor just as we did when I was called to come to Good Sam 10 years ago.
For now, I will be reducing my time at Good Sam by ⅓ beginning this January. In the short term, you will not notice much of that change as I will be here each Sunday as always. I will reduce my office days to three days a week (Monday through Wednesday). As the year progresses your Council and I will be talking, exploring possibilities and making plans that will allow me the transition I need and bring to life the possibilities for life and ministry to which Good Sam is called.
In the meantime, may we ask for your prayers while we pray and dream and seek the coming of Christ in all these things. Will you please invest yourselves faithfully in watching for Christ’s coming in our worship and with your neighbors. Together we can witness and herald the wonder and grace of Christ’s coming among us both in our ministry in Lexington Park and in our individual lives of faith and hope.
I am thankful for our ministry together and even more for the faithfulness and surpassing grace of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus.
Your faithful Servant in Christ,
Pastor Mitch Watney
Good Sam Happenings in December
December 1st [Sunday Theme] “How do you like to wake up in morning?”
- Dec. 4 Advent Supper 5:30 pm
- Dec. 4 Advent Vespers 6:30 pm (Holden Vespers)
December 8th [Sunday Theme] “The Welcome of Christ”
- Dec. 11 Advent Supper 5:30 pm
- Dec. 11 Advent Vespers 6:30 pm (Holden Vespers)
December 15th “One Small Child” Christmas Pageant Cookie Exchange during Fellowship / Annual Meeting at 10:30 am
- Dec. 18 Advent Supper 5:30 pm
- Dec. 18 Advent Vespers 6:30 pm (Holden Vespers)
December 22nd [Sunday Theme] Christmas Cantata “Joy”
*December 24th – Christmas Eve Services
- Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service 5pm (ABC’s of Christmas)
- Traditional Christmas Eve Service 8pm
December 29th [Sunday Theme] “A Gift Received” (Lessons and Carols)
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This month we are very thankful for our Office Volunteers. They help keep the office running by keeping records straight, worship slides updated, bulletins printed, letters folded, articles proofread, and so many countless unseen tasks! The volunteers who give of their time and talents are all such a joy to be around and bring life and energy as they weekly come in to work. We’d like to spotlight the 4 women who are currently regular volunteers: Deb Jones, Kim Bohrer, Sue Venendaal, & Jennifer Lilyquist.
Deb Jones and her husband, Dave, moved to the area in 2000 for her husband’s job. She was born and raised Lutheran, so when they moved here she searched for an ELCA congregation and found Good Sam. They are from Pennsylvania and Deb still travels back often to visit with family. Deb attended services quietly for 11 years before she finally joined the congregation! Shortly after, in 2012, she found herself volunteering in the office and has done so ever since. She faithfully makes sure that the slides are updated for worship services and that the church records are updated, among other things. You might have also seen Deb up front singing with the choir or at a Women’s Bible Study. She is always willing to participate in small group outreach and events and fills in as a sub on altar guild. Back when we had a parking lot food pantry event, she pitched in and has given rides and prepared meals for others in need. Most recently, she has spent time with a neighbor suffering from Alzheimer’s. Thank you, Deb, for your example of what it means to be a Good Samaritan.
Kim Bohrer and her husband, Gerald, are originally from Baltimore and also found their way to the area for a job in 2006. It was a sudden career change for her husband and a blessing for them as a door was opened by God, housing provided, and they were able to turn their home in Baltimore over to their son who was expecting his first child. All the pieces fell into place in God’s perfect timing and they found themselves living off Great Mills Road and Good Sam was literally the closest church. Kim was raised Methodist, but she felt that Good Sam was a close knit community when she visited and she enjoyed coming. When they moved here Kim didn’t know anyone, and while it’s still hard living farther away from her 2 grandkids, she loves connecting with kids and new friends here at Good Sam. In addition to coming every Thursday to help in the office and spot clean the church, she plugged in with Stitching Sisters, co-teaches 3rd/4th grade Sunday School, previously helped in the nursery, and quietly steps in to volunteer with fellowship and other events where she can. Thank you, Kim, for your quiet strength and willing service as a true Good Samaritan away from home.
Sue Venendaal and her late husband, Bon, moved to St. Mary’s County with their family in 1989 when her husband took a lead engineer position at the Calvert gas plant. In 1995, she lost her husband to cancer and began her search for a Lutheran Church and for healing. Sue found our then small congregation and got involved right away. She joined small groups and Bible studies, led fellowship for many years, and participated in the early church governing body of the church. Throughout this time, she taught in special education and retired in 2010 with 22 years of service in this community. At Good Sam she continues to serve on the Altar Guild and as a fellowship lead and attends the Women of Faith Bible Study. You will find her in the church office every Wednesday preparing the worship binders, children’s bulletins and making sure readers have their lessons! In 2007, Sue found her way onto the board of the St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen and is still on the board as Good Sam’s representative. After retirement, she added a new role and started out serving on Thursdays at the soup kitchen, then cooking, and now is Lead for Thursday meals. Thank you, Sue, for letting this congregation come alongside you in your healing process while you continue to be a light and heal others as a Good Samaritan.
Jennifer Lilyquist, her husband, Ian, and their kids, James & Joey, just moved here in January 2019. Originally from Wisconsin, Jen grew up Lutheran, so she is familiar with looking up churches on ELCA.org, which is how they found Good Sam. They rolled into town on Saturday evening and came to service Sunday morning! Ian’s Navy career has taken them to Pensacola; San Antonio; Rota, Spain; Whidbey Island; Hawai’i; Norfolk; Hawai’i again; Newport, RI; North Carolina; and now Pax River. When you move as often as they do, you have to jump right in and meet people. After coming for a while, Jen sat down with Pastor and talked about needs of the church and where she could get involved. Looking for a helpful job she could do from home, proofreading church publications as an extra set of eyes was brought up, and although she had never proofread officially before, she saw the need and jumped in. She is also a part of the Mocha Morning Bible Study group and became the co-teacher for 1st/2nd grade Sunday School. In the community, she is active in her squadron military spouses’ club and donates blood whenever she can. Thank you, Jennifer, for your joyful and full of life attitude – ready to jump in and be a Good Samaritan whenever and wherever you are called.
Beginning Sunday, November 24th, there will be an Angel Tree located in the Narthex! This is a great way to make the Christmas season special for a local child in need. The tree will have stockings on it with the names of children, their ages and gift ideas (although you do not have to get exactly what is on their list). The children we can help have all been selected by the Department of Human Services due to their families’ low income status and the fact that they receive assistance from the Department of Social Services. Each stocking will have a number on it which correlates to a number on the master list near the tree. We have color coded the list in family groups so you know which children live in the same household. Once you have selected a child, write your name and phone number on the master list next to your child’s name and stocking number. Then, go shopping and please spend at least $25 on the gifts you choose. Gifts do not need to be wrapped or fit into the stocking, but if you purchase more than one item, each child’s gifts must be bundled together in a bag or box. The name of your Angel Tree child must be clearly written on the gifts. Do NOT write your name on the gifts as they are given anonymously. Please bring your gifts to the church no later than December 15th. When you return the gifts, please take the angel ornament with your child’s name on it so you can remember them and pray for them this Christmas season! If you have any questions, please speak with Diane Hay.
We would like to send a huge “Thank you!” to Scout Troop 561, Scout Troop 793, Troop 1793, and Scout Packs 793 and 787, who collected and delivered 2500 pounds of food to Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, Saturday, November 9th.
Good Sam Happenings in November
November 3rd [Sunday Theme] “A Gifted And Giving People”All Saint’s and Consecration Sunday
November 10th [Sunday Theme] “Alive To God”
November 17th [Sunday Theme] ” Refuge And Sanctuary”
*November 17th – SoMD Gospel Choir 3-5pm
November 24th [Sunday Theme] “The Lord Is Our Righteusness”
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2-5 p.m. – Dec. 6, 2019 (set up day)
9 a.m. to Noon – Dec. 7, 2019
(donations accepted starting Nov. 1, 2019 – Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.)
On Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, George Washington Carver Elementary will open its door to invited families only who need help for the upcoming holiday season. The selected families will be able to choose from new toys and household items (which we will wrap before they go home), as well as gently used items.
This is where we need your help! Starting November 1, 2019, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m., G.W. Carver Elementary will be accepting new and used items for our families. Many new items that are needed are board games, puzzles, toys, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, baby dolls, blankets for the homes, etc. In addition, any gently used items (household items, toys, coats, clothes, etc.) is also needed. We are looking for items for infants to adults, both male and female. This is a great time to clean out your attics and basements and donate what you can. In addition, non-perishable food items will also be accepted to help these families in need.
We are also looking for helpers on each day. On Friday, we will be setting up and sorting all of the items starting at 2 p.m.. On Saturday starting at 8:45 a.m., we need people who would like to help the families “shop,” as well as wrap the new items the families select. We are also looking for people to help clean up between Noon and 1:30 p.m.
If you are interested in donating and/or helping with this event, please contact Lisa McCoy (Parent Liaison at G.W. Carver Elementary) at email@example.com or 301-863-4076 ext. 44125.
Serendipity can be a sign from God, when your eyes and heart are open. Robert Mack joined the Navy in the 1990’s and first came to the area in the early 2000’s. He met and married his wife, Kanawha, in 2005 and together they have 7 children. At that time, he chose to attend the chapel on base, and after a few years the Navy swept them off to South Carolina and Japan. When the family returned to St. Mary’s County and Robert retired, they were initially looking for a Missouri Synod church but they were visiting all of the Lutheran Churches in the area. A neighbor invited the family over and there sat Pastor Mitch from Good Sam…. Robert knew it was a sign!
Robert and his entire family have been active at Good Sam ever since – participating in events and outreach, as well as serving on council. As an individual, he feels that his roles are to be a loving father, friend and mentor to his own children and the children in our community. At first, Robert resisted being in this role to mentor other kids – he thought he would just be a good example of a man, father and Christian. But God’s call was greater – Robert continued to see that these kids need a role model and guidance. They need someone to see past the anger and judgement and to continue showing them love and support and rules. This is not an easy job and he does it well – and it’s obvious by the respect that he is given because he has earned it.
For the same reason, Robert also enjoys being a troop 413 Scout Master. He gets to guide boys from 6th grade to High School on the path of earning their Eagle and gets a front row seat to see them mature into young men with values. His own son, Isaiah, just got his Eagle last year. Away from church, he landed a job last year as the JROTC instructor at Great Mills High School. Let’s start by breaking the misconception that this program is all about discipline – it’s not! Some kids choose to come, some are referred, and some are assigned by counselors – but however they get to his office, they find a mentor who cares. Whether they are college or career bound or need technical skills, JROTC is there to support them. Robert helps them plan for life after High School – he encourages them to have hopes and dreams. This is what it means to live a life in mission.
Sermon: “Healing and Discovering God”
Prayer: Almighty and most merciful God, your bountiful goodness fills all creation. Keep us safe from all that may hurt us, that, whole and well in body and spirit, we may with grateful hearts accomplish all that you would have us do, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
The sermon begins after the reading from Luke’s Gospel.