We are delighted to announce that Kelsey Knobloch will join the Good Sam Team as the Mission and Engagement Coordinator. He will begin his work among us on January 21, 2020, and his first Sunday will be January 26th.
The Mission and Engagement Coordinator will continue to interact with the Good Sam Community to invite and engage in mission activities, so that we meet our neighbors, grow our own sense of faith and reflect on what happens when we make ourselves available to God’s work in the world.
Kelsey Knobloch moved to Maryland in late 2019 with his wife, Amanda, after spending 6 years in Virginia. A native Texan (and proud of it), Kelsey is the son of a Lutheran pastor and received his degree in English Literature from Texas Lutheran University in 2011. As a lifelong Lutheran, Kelsey has a passion for being the hands and feet of Christ in the community and abroad, and has been a part of mission trips to Mexico and all along the Eastern US coast. He has worked with youth and adults to help them grow in their faith, learn more about Christ and each other, and serve those in need.
Kelsey enjoys learning new things, trying different foods & drinks, and science education. His hobbies include tabletop gaming, mycology, woodworking, lexicography, and comic books.
Please join me in welcoming Kelsey’s leadership in our Good Sam Community.
W.A.R.M – Wrapping Arms Around Many, is an organization run by (25+) local churches staffed by church volunteers with support from the Department of Social Services. Upon assessment by DSS, many of the homeless are housed by local churches throughout the coldest winter months, November through April. Good Sam has been participating in this effort for ten years and have been blessed by many in the homeless community that we would have otherwise not gotten to know.
This year we will house and feed our homeless brothers and sisters during the week of February 9-16. Our week will begin with a major transformation of the fellowship hall directly after fellowship time, where we will set up cots and an eating area. The guests arrive each evening around 6pm and are served dinner. Throughout the week, we will serve breakfast and dinner each day, watch movies, play game, and just fellowship. At the end of the week (Sunday, 16th), our fellowship hall will transform back to its norm set up following breakfast with our guest. All of this will take a HUGE volunteer effort. Many of you are aware of this and have participated in the past, some of you are new and may want some more information.
Whether a longtime volunteer or new to the program, on Sunday, January 12th Gail Wathen will be offering an opportunity to have a conversation and discuss volunteer opportunities during coffee and conversation. Please join Gail as we plan another successful year welcoming our neighbors during our WARM week.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Terri was born in Pax River back when her dad was stationed here with the Navy. They left for a while for other duty stations, but ultimately returned to Pax and call it home now. Her husband Billy’s dad was also Navy, and they bumped into each other canoeing on base as young teenagers and began their friendship. Terri has such an amazing, adventurous spirit and during her junior year of high school she set off to be an exchange student in Chile! By her senior year, she was enrolled in a local college part time and always up for adventure. Terri struck out to attend Shepherd College in West Virginia after graduation. Three days before Billy joined the Army in 1976, the highschool sweethearts married and she returned to St. Mary’s College briefly before following him to a North Carolina duty station where she attended Fayetteville State for 1 year. Always up for a challenge, Terri managed to stay in school AND have 2 kids (Will & Mary) before her husband got unaccompanied orders to Germany and she returned back to Pax to finish up college back at St. Mary’s, getting her Bachelors in History in 1980! This woman was born with determination. More duty stations and 2 more kids later, the entire family set off on orders back to Germany for a 5-year adventure. Terri boarded the flight with Will, age 8, Mary 6, Elizabeth 2, and a new baby, Steven. Her husband left the service in 1990, and Terri, believing everyone should serve their country, took her turn and enlisted in 1991. What was intended to be 1 enlistment became a 13 year passion and career, including a stint near the Iraq border.
Amidst the many moves, Terri was searching for a church home. Both she and her husband were raised in multi faith homes and he was Catholic. While in North Carolina they were searching for a church home and Terri felt led to try this Lutheran church that was welcoming and felt like home. Once in Germany, they again found a home with an Evangelical Lutheran church and Terri learned her first German through the church. Once back in Pax, she heard about a new Lutheran church that was recently founded…. it was Good Samaritan, and she’s been with us ever since! Terri is currently serving on council, but her call to mission and serving reaches far into the community and the world. On top of her military service, Terri has always been involved serving locally with Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts, as well as the VFW. She has found a way to reach into the secular world and bring her loving spirit and light into so many organizations, like the Lexington Park Community Association, helping orchestrate a geocaching trail that brings people from all walks together.
Never one to slow down after retirement, Terri began a new journey as an Uber driver. Some passengers are quiet and others want to talk; some she meets once and others are regulars. She has found that she can provide a judgment-free, safe place for people to share what’s on their minds and hearts and she has the opportunity to simply listen and support and encourage them on their journey. A few passengers she has also had the opportunity to share her faith with and even invite them to church. It’s exciting because she never knows where the conversations and relationships built will lead. For a few special passengers, she has been an instrument of God to guide their path with ideas and encouragement, helping them solve a personal problem or find employment. Terri is such a beautiful example of listening to God’s call and being a light in the world throughout her life. We are blessed to have you as a part of our community!
Save the date! Good Sam will be joining members of Saint Nicholas and Peace Lutheran churches for a Our Work God’s Hands day of service at Farming for Hunger on Saturday, Sept 7 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. All are welcome! We will likely help harvest vegetables. Children can help and if harvesting is too strenuous for you, there are usually opportunities for packing produce in the shade.
We will meet at the farm, which is located at 6980 Serenity Farm Rd, Hughesville, Maryland 20637. Dress for the weather. This is a good time to wear your God’s Work Our Hands t-shirt! If you have them, bring gardening gloves, shovels, trowels and sunscreen/hats & water. They have tools that we can use but sometimes not enough if we have a large number of people attend.
If you are unfamiliar with the great work of Farming for Hunger, you can visit their web site at http://www.farming4hunger.
If you can attend or have questions, please contact our Mission & Outreach Coordinator Kelly Thurber at email@example.com or 205-541-0744
Diane and I had the privilege of serving for two weeks in Puerto Rico as part of a rebuilding team after Hurricane Maria. We were part of a group led by Pastor Mark Palmer that consisted of people from our DC synod and the Baltimore Maryland synod ranging in age from 14 to 70. While most people came for one week, we were lucky enough to attended for two and be able to welcome the larger group from Good Sam when they came on the second week.
The state of the island is a mix bag two years after the hurricanes. People’s homes seemed to be four distinct categories. Those with resources had their homes, neighborhoods and infrastructure repaired and back to normal. Those that had the means to fill out the correct forms and the knowledge of where to ask for help have their homes livable (windows and roofs restored). These neighborhoods also had basic infrastructure, but the roads were still damaged and the electricity unreliable. The third category would be those that were unable to repair their damaged homes and have not returned to them. This was most prominent in the neighborhoods that we worked in and by a casual estimate looks to be about a quarter of the homes. The fourth group is where we were trying to help through the auspices of Puerto Rico Lutheran Social Services. For the most part the people we served did not have the resources to fend for themselves, lacked family that could help, or didn’t know where to begin to get help within the bureaucracy that is needed in a response of this magnitude. The three houses my team worked on included a husband and wife team who were dealing with kidney failure and dementia, an older man that was blind and very hard of hearing and another coming off of treatment for cancer. We were lucky enough to form relationships with these homeowners and our counterparts in LSS (Lutheran Social Services). In many cases it was difficult to speak to one another due to the language barrier (despite being part of the United States, Spanish is the predominant language spoken on the island), but small acts of kindness on their part made us feel welcome and befriended. One homeowner brought us bananas from their tree in the backyard, another shared soda or the most notable for me, the sister in law of the blind man gathered us in a circle before we left home at project completion and said a long prayer for us in Spanish.
While building houses and relationships with our Puerto Rican hosts was the predominant goal of our trip, we were also able to build relationship bridges with the synod and with the participants of this effort. The group from Good Sam, although being one of the larger contingents, was constantly working and socializing outside of ourselves. Some were group leads, some were drivers and others led some of the nightly devotionals. It was good to see our little church become so involved with bettering our relationships with those outside our community.
We, along with all the other volunteers stayed at Campamento Luterano Eduardo Roig, which used to be used as a Lutheran summer camp before the hurricanes. Everyone slept in bunk house arrangements in either 16, 8 or 4 person rooms. We were fed breakfast and most dinners at camp and the food made me feel like I was back at boy scout camp. The shared showers had a propensity to cut out to a trickle the minute you got shampoo on your head. The work was difficult, almost always dirty and by the end of the day we were all pretty tired. It was a great experience. It turned out not to be an experience to endure or survive but one in which you could learn a sense of compassion in which respect and honor must be key components. We learned that even through their struggle, the people that we met were warm and welcoming and enjoyed life.
First, we would like to thank everyone who participated in our two fundraisers – the Chili Cook Off and Sweet Frog night were both a success and were a fun time to connect with each other and enjoy some good food! In addition to Thrivent Member Choice Dollars and Facebook Campaign donations from friends near and far we raised a total of $2400 to offset the cost of the trip for our team of eleven. Our team has a heart for mission and God has faithfully blessed each family with the funds to cover their remaining balance.
We will be leaving for Puerto Rico in two groups – July 21st and July 28th and all returning August 3rd.
When I pray for people, I love to know a bit about them and have a face to bring to mind! So, as you keep the team in your thoughts & prayers leading up to and during the trip, I hope to learn a bit more about them helps you connect more deeply with them through this shared journey.
Katie Hayden – This is my 1st mission trip! I’m excited to meet new people, experience a new culture, and grow my faith while helping others. I am most nervous about the bugs!
- Spouse: Mike Hayden
- Kids: Elizabeth- 5, Charlie -3, Henry -3
- Hometown: Hollywood
- Day Job: Part Time ESOL Teacher in Calvert county
- Hobby: Lately, Training our two new puppies
- Joined Good Sam: February 2019, but have been attending for about one year
Kathy Marbach – I served in Guatemala previously restoring homes in a village in the highlands. I am most excited for this trip to learn something new and refreshing, use my Spanish skills and do recreational activities in Puerto Rico. I am most nervous about the heat and being dehydrated.
- Spouse: Pete Marbach
- Kids: Cora & Mabel
- Hometown: Edinburg, VA
- Day Job: Caring for Kids & Part Time Spanish Teacher
- Hobby: crafts & Sewing, Zumba/Exercising
- Joined: 2017
Eric Thurber – I have done a couple local mission service opportunities in the past. I’m most excited about visiting a new place and meeting people, as well as getting back into construction type activities. Nervous about sleeping in the heat!
- Spouse: Kelly Thurber
- Kids: Max – 5, Eli -4
- Hometown: Ocean Springs, MS
- Day Job: Navy Test Pilot
- Hobby: Racing cars & outdoor stuff
- Joined Good Sam: 2016
Kelly Thurber – I served as a short term missionary in Uganda in 2011 & 2013. I have done a few other small trips in the US over the years and I am most excited to be part of a group effort with my church and bonus that I get to use my construction skills. I am most nervous that it’s been so long since I have used my skills; I worry I will struggle to work, teach and lead adequately.
- Hometown: Birmingham, AL
- Day Job: Usborne Books & More Consultant & Educational Services Rep
- Hobby: Volunteering & Outdoor Activities
- Joined Good Sam: 2016
Ron Stepp – This is my first mission and I’m excited to help people who need assistance and to spend time with the Puerto Rican people. My only concern is my poor hearing will impact my ability to understand people which may inhibit how I am able to connect with them.
- Spouse: Laurie Stepp
- Kids: Three Boys – 33, 31 & 28
- Joined Good Sam: 2004 – currently living in York, PA
- Hometown: Buena Park, CA
- Day Job: Retired from NAVAIR flight testing
- Hobby: Bicycling
Laurie Stepp: While helping my 3 sons raise funds for mission work in Mexico, I wished I could have belonged to a youth group doing that kind of thing; and now is that time! I am excited to live and work in a community of like-minded Christians who want to share God’s love where needed. Although, I am worried a very little bit about being in the 16-person dorm with no AC! Ron and I hope to continue to travel abroad and do Thrivent Builds.
- Hometown: Modoc Co., CA.
- Day Job: Retired
- Hobby: Grandchildren, Gardening, Cycling
Diane Hay: We are getting to the age of retirement so we are looking forward to meeting new people and to see if trips like this are something they would like to continue to do in our retirement.
- Spouse: Rob Hay
- Kids: 2 grown kids, Stephanie and Gregory
- Hometown: Hatboro, Pennsylvania
- Day Job: Certified Veterinary Technician
- Hobby: Camping, Hiking, Travel
- Joined Good Sam: 1996
- Hometown: Collingdale, Pennsylvania
- Day Job: Engineer
- Hobby: Camping, Hiking, Travel, Biking
- Joined Good Sam: 1996
Gennifer Koebke – I’m excited to be going on this mission trip with my husband and son. I enjoyed our mission work with adults with disabilities at last summer’s Youth Gathering in Houston where we made so many new connections. I’m most excited about meeting new people. I’m most nervous about sleep issues.
- Spouse: George Koebke
- Kids: Megan & Chelsea (grown), & Gregory -15, Grandson Bode -2
- Hometown: Mayville, NY
- Day Job: Elementary school reading teacher
- Hobbies: Watching Gregory play baseball, visiting with family, reading, swimming
- Joined Good Sam: 1998
George Koebke- Our family is looking forward to helping the people of Puerto Rico in whatever way we can.
- Hometown: Hyattsville, MD
- Day Job: Retired Boeing flight test engineer
- Hobby: Doing small repair jobs
Gregory Koebke – I enjoyed the National Youth Gathering last summer and working with adults with disabilities. I’m most nervous about being away from familiar routines and most excited about seeing Puerto Rico and meeting people there.
- Hometown: Maryland
- Day Job: Sophomore in High School
- Hobby: Baseball