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Congregation News Week of August 1

Welcome to new subscribers. If you no longer wish to receive these updates, you can click unsubscribe at the bottom of the page. If you continue with a subscription, you will receive news and calendar updates when they are posted on the Allegheny Synod website. We try to do that on a weekly basis, but some weeks there are no updates. What appears below is information that was sent to pastors and deacons. Information that is specifically for them is not included in this update.

I recently spent a few days at an art conference in Lancaster County. The theme of the event was Finding our Place: The artist, the church and placemaking. Dr. Jennifer Craft was the keynote speaker. She made three presentations around the idea of place and how artists fit into the place that is the church. One thing she said that I have been thinking about is that our relationship to place says something about our relationship to God. It got me thinking about the many conversations I have had in recent months about the places we call church and how tied to those places (i.e. buildings) we seem to be. The four walls that make up the building, set in one place in our geography often is viewed as the only place where God lives. We know God is more expansive than that and we preach it and teach it, but I wondered whether having a more tangible example of it would help us see it more clearly and feel less tied to the building as where God lives and help us to make a shift toward seeing God in others and in the world around us.

I met people from across Pennsylvania and listened to their experiences of place and sometimes how out of place they feel in the church. What struck me was how the focus of the community of faith shifted when there was not a building involved. The people who were part of communities of faith that worshipped in rented facilities such as a school auditorium, were keenly focused on their community and each other—not on whether they would be able to fix the broken water pipe or have enough saved for a new roof. Don’t get me wrong—I am church building nerd for sure. I love architecture and stained glass and carved wood. What I started seeing more clearly in my interaction with these new friends was the shift in who they were and how they were because they could focus on their mission as God’s people in a community. I plan to keep pondering this idea and seeking an answer to a question asked at the conference: “Where is the Holy Spirit taking us and into whose lives?” I would commend to you Dr. Craft’s book. And, ask you to consider, what would church look like for you and your community if there were no building?

Be of good courage,

+Bishop Paula


Below information/FAQ sheet provided by Dr. Roger Willer of the ELCA concerning the upcoming reconsideration of language in the 2009 Statement on Human Sexuality. It is for your information and describes the process the ELCA Church Council and the whole Church will take moving forward.

Download PDF • 861KB


Below is information on the Youth Leadership Summit 2023. If you wish to nominate a youth to attend, please contact the Office of the Bishop.

Download PDF • 144KB


If you have not had the chance to see the Youth Mission Trip video. It can be found here:


Here’s a first look at The Weekend’s theme song.

The Weekend is the Allegheny Synod Youth Event being held December 8-10 at St. James, Huntingdon. The chord sheet for the theme song is below

This is The One (chord sheet)
Download PDF • 63KB


Attached to this message is an informational flyer with registration information for an upcoming event sponsored by the Lutheran Faith Community Nurse Association.

Download PDF • 355KB


Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year. Some congregations are asking what to do concerning worship. These are some options--you may think of others:

  1. Celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent in your regular morning service and hold an evening celebration of Christmas Eve

  2. Celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent AND Christmas Eve in your regular morning service and do not have an evening service.

  3. Celebrate the 4th “Sunday” of Advent on Saturday evening and then celebrate Christmas Eve on Sunday morning or evening.

  4. Celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent on Sunday morning, skip an evening worship and then celebrate the Nativity of our Lord on Monday, December 25

  5. Join with a neighboring congregation(s) for an evening of Lessons and Carols on December 24 after a morning service celebrating the 4th Sunday of Advent

  6. Join with a neighboring congregation(s) for both a morning and evening service on December 24

  7. Plan a week-long celebration of the season by providing daily readings and prayers to be distributed on Sunday, the 24th in the morning.


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