RE: Pastor Dave Kaplan

Dear Haven Family and Friends,

Our dear friend, Pastor David Kaplan, fell yesterday during his daily walk. As it turned out, he broke a hip. He had surgery this morning (Sat.) and it went well. (He sounded great when I spoke with him Saturday afternoon).

The next step will be rehab. He is not sure if it will take place at Meritus or elsewhere. I will keep you posted.

Please keep Pastor Kaplan in your prayers. He is such a blessing to Haven and to so many.

Heavenly Father, giver of life and health: comfort and relieve your servant David, and let your healing be known through those who minister to  his needs. We give thanks for his successful surgery and pray that his body and spirit may be strengthened as he heals and recovers. Let him rest confidently in your loving care, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

God’s peace,

Pastor Linda M Alessandri

June 26, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

June 26, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

June 26, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church, Hagerstown MD










I was working at my home desk when I heard a bird singing LOUDLY. I mean it was a very loud and determined song right outside my window. I looked out to see this tiny bird (sorry, I do not know all the types of little brownish birds). I waited and it sang its loud declaration again. I was awed.

Of course, I thought, “There’s a sermon in that.” One of the loudest birdsongs I have ever heard came from one of the smallest birds I had ever seen.

There are times when we think our voice doesn’t matter — our opinion, our vote, our choices. But this little bird told me that was one of the Adversary’s deceptions to keep people from standing up for or against something that is important to God. If we become persuaded that we aren’t smart or articulate enough…. If we accept the lie that one person can’t make a difference or our voice is not needed, than the Adversary and those forces that defy God’s way will have the control. This little bird told me that we children of God are not to listen to the lies that would demean, discard or silence us. We were born and baptized to sing mightily of the love and life-giving ways of Lord. One song from the tiniest bird can be significant. Songs of God’s grace, forgiveness and mercy sung by a flock of little birds could rattle windows or draw the curious seekers.

“Sing praised to the LORD, for the LORD has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth.”
                          (Isaiah. 12: 5)


“The Church of Christ in every age, beset by change but Spirit-led, must claim and test its heritage, and keep on rising from the dead”                                                                (Fred Pratt Green, 1969).

Dear church,
Words matter. Words matter in our Scripture, in our hymns, in our governing documents, and beyond. Fifty years ago, on June 29, 1970, the Lutheran Church in America voted to change the word “man” to “person” in its bylaws and opened the door for the ordination of women. The American Lutheran Church achieved the same thing by resolution a few months later. The church was led by the Spirit to change. At the time it was scary for some. Fifty years later, it is now part of our heritage….
Fifty years after 1970, we also live in a world beset by change. I am grateful for the Spirit who continues to lead us and for the women God has called to minister to us.

I thank God for all of you who minister so faithfully.

In Christ,


Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”
Galatians 3:28.

From Bishop Bill Gohl’s weekly COVID e-Update

The Church is not closed
The Church is not closed and I see signs of it throughout our synod! Pastor Amsalu was able to secure ELCA recognition for the North Avenue Mission as an official Mission Exploration of our Synod; Zion (City Hall Plaza) prepared a second thousand lunches for the Franciscan Center of Baltimore; First English (Baltimore) and St. Mark’s (St. Paul Street) continue to field volunteer teams for Manna House; Delaware Lutheran State Office for Public Policy continues to rally support for the Clean Energy bill; the Daycare at Prince of Peace (Rosedale) has been offering childcare services for essential employees since the Covid crisis began; and the Frederick Conference is organizing a book study to capitalize on the momentum for racial justice!

MY NEW WORD I learned a new word today – “Lexophile.”  It describes a person who has a love for words, especially in word games, puzzles, …. and puns, such as “you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish”,  “To write with a broken pencil is pointless.”  Here are some original word plays submitted by lexophiles to a New York Times competition. I promise I’ll only share a few at a time
I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic.  It’s syncing now.
England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.
This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I’d swear I’ve never met herbivore.
I know a guy who’s addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.
A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.
I got some batteries that were given out free of charge.
A dentist and a manicurist married.  They fought tooth and nail.

Another new word — “logomaniac,” a person obsessed with words. I wonder if that runs in families? Do you think I should get tested?

Read 2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 17-18

6As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

17But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Reflections  Today’s Reflection and Prayer prepared by Pastor David Kaplan

Confused? The first section of this reading sounds like a faith-filled last message,
St. Paul proclaiming to his young disciple Timothy and to all who read this letter a
triumphant and hopeful farewell. In words that have been echoed at funerals
through the centuries he declares, “The time of my departure has come. I have
fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” And no
doubt about what lies ahead: “From now on there is reserved for me the crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give me on that day, and
not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” We might
assume that he wrote these words from a prison cell in Rome right before his
martyrdom – according to tradition he was beheaded (style of execution reserved
for Roman citizens) in the early 60s.

As I age, I identify more closely with these words and the assurance they offer. I
confess that I can’t speak them as triumphantly as Paul – I’ve pulled out of the
fight too many times, often stumbled in the race, sometimes wondered whether I
was losing the faith altogether. And yet somehow by God’s grace, our Lord’s
continual forgiveness and the renewing strength of the Holy Spirit, I still cling to
and dare to utter them in the sure hope that the crown is waiting for me too, and
not only for me but for all who still long for the Lord’s appearing. And we don’t
have to be martyrs to receive it. Nor do we have to be old for these words to
touch our lives. Young disciples just beginning the fight, just off the starting line
in the race, just recently plunged into faith struggles can take refuge in their
promise that the Lord who makes us his own in Baptism continues to nourish and
bless and strengthen us so that we’re never alone. And those of us close to the
finish line can hand off our baton, encouraging and mentoring those who receive
it to stand firm even in the midst of pandemics, societal upheavals and
environmental devastation, assuring them from our own experience how faithful
our Lord is through every struggle, and pointing them to the crown that awaits.

It’s the second part of the reading that raises questions. There Paul talks of being
“rescued from the lion’s mouth” (probably a symbolic reference to the Empire)
and also seems to anticipate further missionary work. That impression is
confirmed in the verses (9-16) between the two sections of the reading, which
contain specific requests: “Get Mark and bring him with you…bring the cloak…also
the books, and above all the parchments.” Those are hardly requests of someone
on the verge of being “poured out as a libation” whose departure time had come.
They rather imply new plans, ideas and mission outreach. Yet even in this second
section, Paul envisions the final outcome of all his labors and trials: The Lord will
rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. In the
heat of conflict don’t forget the end of the race.

So how do we fit these two sections together? Some New Testament scholars
believe that the first section was actually not written right before Paul’s
martyrdom in Rome, but during an earlier imprisonment (perhaps in Ephesus) in
which he anticipated execution, but at the last moment, his life was spared.
Others believe that the two sections refer to two different imprisonments with
the second chronologically preceding the first. We can only speculate about the
historical background.

But I believe there’s another way of approaching the issue from a more spiritual
perspective, which brings together the two emphases of finishing our lives and
continuing to serve. Consider another passage from Paul which we’ll hear as part
of the second reading on September 20: For to me living is Christ and dying is
gain… I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with
Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you…
Ironically from Paul’s perspective, from the perspective of the Gospel, from our
own faith perspective, life and death issues, as they apply to ourselves, really
aren’t life and death issues. Ultimately it doesn’t matter; either way is OK. Dying
is to be with Christ, living is to work for others. But even here there’s an overlap.
We may witness to and glorify God in our death, as Peter was instructed by the
risen Lord in Sunday’s Gospel (John 21:19). And in the struggle of daily life, when
the strife is fierce, the warfare long, steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again and arms are strong. Alleluia! (ELW 422, stanza 4)

Lord, living or dying we are in your hands. Sustain us in the struggle, run
the race with us, hold us tight when our faith is weak. May we serve as you
intend, and amid the cares that claim us, hold in mind eternity. Amen.
(Last sentence, ELW 579, stanza 5)

Pastor Kaplan’s suggestions:
For All the Saints, ELW 422

Lord, You Give the Great Commission, ELW 579


“I Will Stand as a Witness of Christ”
(Written for a Foreign Missionary Retreat)

For the little birds in us:1:10 / 5:42

“Sing a New Song”

“10,000 Reasons” (Bless the Lord)

June 22, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

June 22, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

June 22, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church, Hagerstown MD


Two Sundays ago (June 14) it was cloudy but the forecast showed no rain coming our way. We set up…. and it rained. Yesterday it was cloudy again, even some sprinkles. So we cancelled outdoor worship…. and it didn’t rain. We try our best, really we do.

DRIVE-UP AND OUTDOOR CANCELLATION PLAN HITS SNAGS. We hoped to have a message on our church voice message by 8:15 AM if we cancelled outdoor worship due to weather. That way, IF it is cloudy, you could call the before you leave your house (301-733-5056; hit “*” as soon as the voice message starts to get to the cancellation and worship voice mailbox). That was the plan. Yesterday, I had trouble getting into the voice mail system and it didn’t get posted until about 8:30 am. I tried sending out an email to Haven’s Family & Friend email list but it wouldn’t go out. I was able to post the cancellation on our digital sign. It was a frazzling morning. I felt very badly when some folks arrived for worship between 9 and 9:30 am.

OUR LESSON We will need to refine the plan for getting the word out when Sunday outdoor worship is cancelled. Stay tuned. We’ll post an update by the end of the week.

DADS DO NOT DESPAIR The chocolate chip cookies you were to get on Father’s Day are in the freezer for next Sunday.

Darylene Blickenstaff fell and broke her wrist. She had surgery to put in plates and screws to help it mend. The pain seems to be under control but navigating life with one hand is a challenge. Don is now the designated driver and cook. Keep Darylene in prayer.















Read  Jeremiah 28: 5-9
5The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord; 6and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord fulfill the words that you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. 7But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. 8The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. 9As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”

Reflection  (I thank Prof. Charles L. Aaron, Jr for his article on this passage as posted at www.working
A little background might be helpful. This scene is happening somewhere after 597 BCE, when the latest super-power, Babylon, initially attacked Jerusalem and 587 when Babylon overcomes and destroys Jerusalem. The people do not know what to think or to do. They are getting two different messages from men they believe to be prophets — spokesmen — for the LORD.

” Hananiah offers a word that sounds like hope. He advises resistance, trusting that Judah can shake off the attack of the Babylonians. The sense of defeat will last only two years.”

“Jeremiah tells the people to accept what has happened. He tells them to prepare for a long time of exile… He carried out the sign act of wearing a yoke to symbolize the relationship between Judah and Babylon. Jeremiah believed that God would act again, but not soon. He taught the people to make the best of a bad situation, but not to try to get out of it. That message does not get the blood pumping. That message sounds passive and even weak. It sounds like co-dependency.”

Now you can understand why the people would be confused. Is fighting or surrendering to the Babylonians the faithful and right things to do? Is it fighting or surrendering that expresses their belief in the power and faithfulness of the LORD? We now know that Jeremiah, not Hananiah, spoke the word that came from the Lord but in the midst of circumstances, it is often very difficult to discern the will of God and our willingness to follow it.

In the reading assigned to be read this Sunday, Jeremiah is warning the folks not to believe Hananiah because you like it better and it is the narrative you prefer. Jeremiah isn’t the first or last prophet to warn us to beware of those who tell us what we want to hear to win our favor or allegiance. In the reading, he says “time will tell” which prophecy was right. The problem comes in realizing that the people couldn’t just simply wait to see what would happen in two years. They needed to decide whose advice to follow. Do they practice acceptance, and wait for God to act later? Do they plan for resistance? They had to make a choice now.

“Even with our hindsight about this particular passage in the life of Judah, we do not always know which prophet speaks the truth today.” There are times when acceptance is the faithful response to circumstances. Some would say that is the healthy way to confront COVID. The wise thing is to listen to medical and scientific advice, accept the inconvenience of wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding crowds and sacrifice some comfort and mobility for the safety of the community and yourself. Yet there are other times the Christian response means NOT accepting the status quo and resisting or opposing that which is understood to be contrary to God’s will and gospel, like hunger, homelessness, poverty, racism, sexism, and hatred.

Here is yet another reason for followers of Jesus to be in community. We need to be able to have discussions with people who have a variety of perspectives AND who are seeking to be faithful to the gospel. It is no easy task to discern God’s will with the wisdom to ignore “the voice in our head that tells us what we want to hear.” It is also no easy task to discern God’s will with the wisdom to listen to God’s Word that tell us what we’d rather not hear. So we need one another as we seek to live faithfully, especially under challenging circumstances, and to know when acceptance or active resistance is the response to which God is calling us.

Prayer Lord, deepen our roots in you, your Word and your church so that we may make good choices that honor you and further your saving work. Send your Holy Spirit to give us courage and wisdom to know when we need to be still and when we need to act. We put our trust in you. Amen.


“My Faith Looks Up to Thee”

“We Bow Down” (Twila Paris)

“The More I Seek You”

“First” (Lauren Daigle)

Unrelated to the reading but a sweet story and song “God’s Will” by Martina McBride


June 21, 2020 Worship Service and Bulletin

Bulletin 06212020 (pdf)       Drive-Up instructions (pdf)

June 19, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

June 19, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

Drive – Up Instructions (pdf)

June 19, 2020 

Haven Lutheran Church, Hagerstown MD


TWO OPTIONS FOR WORSHIP THIS SUNDAY, JUNE 21, You can find Worship On-line at or Haven’s Facebook page at 9:30 am or any time after that. OR you can come to our 9:30 am Drive-up & Outdoor Worship at Haven, weather permitting.
Look at the end of today’s message to see the guidelines and parking lot map for the outdoor service. The restrooms will be available before, during and immediately after worship.
IF we will be cancelling due to weather, you can find out by calling Haven at 301-733-5056 on Sunday  after 8:15 am. As soon as the message greeting begins, push the star button (*). That will take you to the voice mail message about cancelations.

P.S. We’ll hope it’s a bit warmer this Sunday.
Can you guess who is this hardy worshipper?”\

















PRAYER LIST UPDATES NEEDED Usually when a person is placed on our prayer list they will remain there for three week and then be removed. With a simple phone call or a note on the weekly attendance sheet, a person could easily be put back on the list.

Since we have not been together for worship in our building, we have not been as able to keep track of prayer request.. So we ask for your help. PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL the church office THIS WEEK if you wish to remove or keep someone on the prayer list. And remember, if we remove someone for whom you would like to keep on the prayer list, just contact us. We thank you for your help.















BOB DEAN IS a Godsighting, don’t you think? After leaving Homewood Health Care Center for a doctor’s appointment, Bob has to be in a different room for a 14 day quarantine. As much as that may be an inconvenience, I am so glad Homewood is taking great precautions to protect their residents.  It is likely Bob will be at in his alternate room through July 2nd or 3rd and then return to his regular room. Bob gave Ed Distad permission to share his temporary phone number – 301-582-6567. Yes, he likes phone calls!

PAT PILE was happy that her unfinished crochet project was able to find a home with Cindy Rhodes. Isn’t it great when things come together so well?


Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. – Paul, Romans 5:1-15 (NRSV)

Beloved, all:
Hope does not disappoint us. What an audacious claim in a time when so many feel hopeless in the face of ongoing pandemic concerns and as racism seems rampant and unchecked, hope does not disappoint us. The Apostle Paul isn’t offering a Sunday School panacea with his words, he’s teaching a mature understanding of the Christian faith. We don’t boast because of our sufferings, we boast of Jesus with us in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is in the midst of this church’s worship, learning, fellowship and serving; Jesus goes with us in our prayers and our public witness; dear church, God’s justice comes as we respond in faith together, to the irrepressible hope we have in Jesus Christ.

Plan the Work, Work the Plan
I am very proud of the ways our congregations and ministries are doing the planning work for returning to in-person gatherings. I am also deeply moved by the candor and wisdom those congregations who have opened for in-person gatherings are showing in recognizing the mistakes and weaknesses of those plans – and then addressing them. The collaboration between lay and ordained leaders has been strong and I continue to be grateful for that kind of partnership across our territory. For the love of God and neighbor, be deliberate and vigilant in making a plan that helps us return with joy and thanksgiving. Just because you can doesn’t mean you ought. At this point, about 20-25% of our congregations are returning to in-person worship, with others whose plans start in July, August and September. Plan the work and work the plan.

Together for Vacation Bible School!
We will be offering a free, three day Synod VBS under the theme Where’s Jesus? that will be available August 3, 5, and 7! That information is now live and can be found at . Through our ongoing partnership with Mar-Lu-Ridge, our camp counselors will also be a part of this program. We hope that this will help churches who are scrambling to figure out how to do VBS during COVID-19. Why is registration required? We will be providing resources, by delivery, to all the families who register – so there needs to be lead time to secure enough materials and make sure they get to everyone! A VBS Offering will be received to benefit our synod’s COVID-19 relief fund.

Imago Dei, Embracing the Image of God – A Racial Equity Series
Our mission partners in the Metropolitan Washington, DC Synod are sponsoring a series of conversations on June 18, July 2, July 16 and July 30 at 7pm, via Facebook Live and YouTube. These conversations will allow us to listen and learn from siblings who are of African and Hispanic descent, addressing our racism by listening to those most impacted by this sin. The introductory session tomorrow will feature all of the panelists we will hear from in the next 6 weeks, including Stephen Ray (Chicago Theological Seminary), Ulysses Burley II (UBtheCURE), Rozella White (Author of Love Big), and Leila Ortiz (Bishop of the Metro DC Synod). To register go to  .

The Church is not closed
The Church is not closed and I see signs of it throughout our synod! Hagerstown Churches are working together for a mass community prayer vigil to give witness to equality; St. John (Sweet Air) had a public prayer vigil on its busy front lawn to mark the Emanuel Nine Commemoration; Pr. Emily Scott, our Mission Developer with the Dreams+Visions Community is curating an Authors in Conversation Series on Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm on Instagram Live @Broken_Bread! Thank you, one and all, for your ongoing witness!

A Personal Note
Many thanks for your kindnesses and prayers as my family returned from quarantine in Massachusetts, they arrived home safely on Sunday evening. Our eleven year-old daughter, Joyanne, will be having surgery on Friday to reset her radius bone and to place pins. Your prayers are coveted and appreciated. +bg

With my love and prayers,











Read: Matthew 10: 4-39
“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! 26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Reflection:(Today’s reflection is from the article, “The Disciple is not above the Teacher” as written by Janet H. Hunt posted on www.Dancing with The Word. It was written in 2014 but it could have been written in June of 2020.)

Jesus says today that the disciple is not above the teacher… that it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher.  Indeed, as we seek to learn from him, following him, we can expect the same fate to be ours. You need not go seeking our ‘deaths,’ for they will surely come: both large and small, as we emulate his example.  We only need to look to Jesus to know what to expect. We can look to Jesus, too, to see how it is to be done.

There is a great deal that is frightening in the words before us now. None of it sounds pleasant.  Much of it promises to be painful. In spite of Jesus’ urging not to be afraid, I confess that often I am.  If I’m honest, I have to say I wish it didn’t have to be the way it is described today.  And yet I know there is no choice.  Not in the world we are called to live and die in where so many powerful forces work against good and healing and hope. These are hard words before us now.  And yet, this much I do know. There are powerful words of promise interlaced with the rest.  For we are reminded that God loves common sparrows, so mustn’t he love us all the more?  And that we are so loved that even the hairs of our heads are all counted. And yet, for me, the most powerful words of grace and comfort come at the start where we hear that we do have a teacher, a master, whose fate not only serves as warning for all of us who follow him — but, inherent in the image itself — the certain promise is that as our teacher and master, Jesus also goes before us to show us the way.  In ways so much more profound than even those I look to in this life to teach me, we follow One who already did this.  As we are told today, it is only in this way, that we who somehow lose our lives “for Jesus’ sake will find it.”

Prayer: I wonder about those “little deaths” that come to us when we choose to live our faith in you, Lord. Death to pride, selfish desires, prejudices, complacency and other things that get in the way of your life coming to us and through us to others. What might this collision of COVID and the continuation of racism be asking of us? What is it within us that must die so that all may be freed for new life in you? Help me be open, dig deep and not walk away from whatever teachings you are asking us to hear again. Help us disciples to be more like our teacher, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

“Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus” ELW #802
(Lutheran Quartet)
“Lift High the Cross”
(organ and brass)

“Ubuntu” (“I am because we are”)








June 17, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

June 17, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

June 17, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church, Hagerstown MD



In case you are wondering why we are being
asked to wear masks, Susan Strobl shared this:


























Yesterday was such a beautiful day. Between tasks, I watered plants and found excuses to walk outside.  I had a first —- I sat in a near empty restaurant, ate slices of pizza and read Christian Century magazine. On my way home, I got what I needed to bake Father’s Day cookies. I used my hand sanitizer ALOT and wore my mask whenever I stepped out of my car. I am grateful for it all.
God’s peace IS with you,

Pastor Linda M Alessandri

P.S. Just got back from the doctor’s. I’m off my wound VAC! Yahoo!

Washington County Interfaith Coalition

Interfaith Prayers for a Difficult Time


Bambuti Pygmy Prayer


Great Father,

Let matters go well with me

For I am going

Into the forest.



Prayer is for the soul,

What food is for the body.

The blessing of one prayer

lasts until the next,

just as the strength gained from the one meal

lasts till the one after.


May we call on courage to face the forest of our days.  May we find the food of love to help us continue valuing our lives….and all lives.  Grant us the ability to be fed by new possibility.

Source of all living, help us step forward with care and devotion in our hearts.  Amen.
Reverend Valerie Wills, Co-coordinator

Washington County Interfaith Coalition






Good Morning.
I am looking for someone that crochets. I have a pink baby blanket started and I am no longer able to crochet. I would like for someone to have it and be able to finish it. I am giving it away. Thank you for your help.   Pat Pile


Read: Romans 6: 1b-11  (reading assigned to the Third Sunday after Pentecost)
1bShould we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

These words and ideas of St. Paul are expressed in our Lutheran liturgy at different occasions. We hear his words echoed in the introduction read before a baptism:
In baptism our gracious heavenly Father frees us from sin and death by joining us to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are born children of a fallen humanity; by water and the Holy Spirit we are reborn children of God and made members of the church, the body of Christ. Living with Christ and in the communion of saints, we grow in faith, love, and obedience to the will of God.
We hear them again when confirmands or new members affirm their faith:
Merciful God, we thank you that you have made us your own by water and the Word in baptism. You have called us to yourself, enlightened us with the gifts of your Spirit, and nourished us in the community of faith. Uphold us and all your servants in the gifts and promises of baptism, and unite the hearts of all whom you have brought to new birth. We ask this in the name of Christ. Amen.

We hear Paul’s words again at the beginning of a funeral. As a pall (large white clothe meant to symbolize a white baptismal garment) is placed on the casket before entering the church, the presiding minister says:
When we were baptized in Christ Jesus,
we were baptized into his death.
We were buried therefore with him
by baptism into death,
so that as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his,
we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

We probably find the significance of dying and rising with Christ most reassuring at a funeral. It is comforting to know that the eternal life promised at baptism will come to its greatest fruition as the one who died entered the longer side of that eternal life with God. But why mention this burial in Christ’s death and rising from the dead at baptism, when a young person affirms their faith or new members join a church community? Some might say that is a bit morose or gloomy.

For Paul, baptism is not only about the promise of eternity with God after death. In Paul’s view,  “baptism is also a journey or a process and its effects are not only for a moment but for an entire life. Believers are to understand that the baptism Paul is talking about in Romans 6 does not just wash away the stains of sin, but rather, it is a participation in the death of Jesus Christ and an anticipation of his resurrection.” (Prof. Israel Kamudzandu as posted on

In other words, baptism isn’t just a matter of “being dunked and done.” Christ did not live, die and rise just so we could go through a ritual. Through baptism, we are grafted into the Body of Christ. Like a successful skin graft becomes one with its host, we are made one with Christ (and therefore, with one another.) Or you may prefer Jesus own description of us being the branches and our Lord the vine. Either image means we are born anew in Christ to be like Christ in our living. Our baptism is to make a difference in us and in how we live our lives. We live our resurrected life not just after death but NOW.

Those who love and follow Jesus spend their lifetimes “Living with Christ and in the communion of saints, [so that] we grow in faith, love, and obedience to the will of God.”  We practice letting our sin, our prejudices, unhealthy desires, greed, power-hunger, our selfishness be sacrificed/crucified with Christ so we are freed to live for Christ, our neighbor and the good of all creation. As a disciple of Jesus we try to live into that resurrected life, dedicating our life to God, dying to those things that get in the way and rising again, so that through the love and grace of God we “walk in newness of life.” We are only baptized once, but assured of God’s eternal love, we are continually learning, growing, stumbling, and rising to become more of who (and whose) we are — beloved children of God for all eternity.

:  Help us remember our baptism each day when we wash our face or hands. Help us remember that in you we are a new creation, able to live a life free of doubt about our worth, free of despair about our purpose, free to be generous, free to look beyond the obstacles to the possibilities. Wash me clean each day and let me rise in newness of life, confident of your love and faithfulness in all circumstances. Amen

“Borning Cry” ELW #732 (Choir Anthem)
“We Know That Christ Is Raised” ELW#449
“We Are Baptized in Christ Jesus” ELW#451

“Same Power” (Jeremy Camp)
“To Live Is Christ” (Sidewalk Prophets)



June 15, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

June 15, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)
June 15, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church, Hagerstown MD

IT DOESN’T ALWAYS GO SMOOTHLY BUT WITH SOME PATIENCE AND GOOD HUMOR WE MAKE IT! That’s one of my learnings from Sunday morning. That and a confirmation that Haven is a good-hearted, adaptive and loving community.
FIRST STORY We decided to go with outdoor worship under cloudy skies and cool temperatures. All the weather maps showed any rain clouds would pass us by or just be “rain-less” clouds. We set up. Cars pulled in and nine people set up chairs.
We were into the sermon and I began to hear raindrops on the canopy above me. I was watching the those sitting in chairs in the open, hoping it was going to be one of those very brief rains. They were being so stoic, trying not to interrupt me. After two more paragraphs, I had to stop and ask folks to join us under the canopies to get out of the rain. Instead most got umbrellas or had umbrellas offered from one of the parked cars.

Then to our surprise, we were joined by two ducks. The female was very brave, walking among those seated on the lawn. She particularly like Elaine Michael (a duck whisperer?) who offered her hand and sweet words. I asked if we could count them in our attendance. Later, someone told me we couldn’t because they “ducked out” early. (yes, you may groan.) I wonder if they thought there would be communion bread?

SECOND STORY We asked all who were willing to wait while we got organized to follow in a caravan passed Anna Bergschneider house as a way to congratulate her on her high school graduation. Thank you, Jackie Webb, who helped make and distribute posters for folks to hold up as we went by. I had a bouquet of balloons and a gift bag with almost 20 cards from congregation members. Jackie had also gotten a cake. She took the cake, balloons and gift bag, got into the back seat of Sharron Moser’s car, to jump at the Bergschneider house to give everything to Anna from her Haven family.

Now comes the misadventure and pastor’s confession. I took the lead in the caravan, having plotted a route that would take us down Outer Drive on the side of Anna’s house. As I watched this parade of 12-15 cars behind me, I was thanking the Lord for this wonderful group of Haven folks who were taking the time to help Anna knows she was appreciated and loved.

I realized as I did the final turn onto Outer Drive, that I did not have the exact address. I was counting on Anna and her sister being outside her house (as planned with her family) and recognizing her Dad’s very distinctive vintage car being in their drive way. Neither were there. So around the blocks we go again. This time I had the church directory out, looking for the house number. But I had already gone by it again! (Are you getting how embarrassing this is?) Luckily, either Jackie knew the right house or Anna came out, because Sharron’s car (about three cars behind mine) stopped and Jackie jumped out with the cake, balloons and bag of cards. The drive-up party could now begin! I did a U-turn and came back to the end of the beeping & waving line.

I felt so terrible and embarrassed that I had led so poorly. (NOT a good thing to say about a pastor.) THEN I got a grip —- “This was not about me” — this is about Anna and her church family. Despite my mistake, Anna was on her lawn (with her sister Joy,) beaming as each car went by, beeping, waving and most stopping to give her the signs that had been made with words of celebration and encouragement. It was such a wonderful moment —- Love for a child of God proved so much more powerful than COVID restrictions and my goofs.

On behalf of Anna and her family, THANK YOU to all who sent or brought cards for Anna. THANK YOU to all who stayed to be part of our parade by Anna’s house (and those who stayed behind to move sound equipment after worship.) THANK YOU to Jackie Webb, who continues to be a great youth connector and leader. THANK YOU for your continued forgiveness and smiles when I mess up. Yesterday’s sermon ended with God saying, “I’ll always be your Daddy! Now go do [ministry]” and we did. THANK YOU FOR BEING GOD’S WITNESSES.

I’ll write you again on Wednesday. Send me any gratitudes, Godsightings, pictures and cartoons.

God’s peace be with you,
Pastor Linda M. Alessandri





Good Morning.
I am looking for someone that crochets. I have a pink baby blanket started and I am no longer able to crochet. I would like for someone to have it and be able to finish it. I am giving it away. Thank you for your help.  Pat Pile



Read: Psalm 69:7-10 [11-15] 16-18  (Assigned Psalm for this coming Sunday)

It is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
that shame has covered my face.
8I have become a stranger to my kindred,
an alien to my mother’s children.
9It is zeal for your house that has consumed me;
the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
10When I humbled my soul with fasting,
they insulted me for doing so.
11When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
12I am the subject of gossip for those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.
13But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me.
With your faithful help 14rescue me
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
15Do not let the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the Pit close its mouth over me.
16Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
17Do not hide your face from your servant,
for I am in distress — make haste to answer me.
18Draw near to me, redeem me,
set me free because of my enemies.

This is why I love the psalms. They are just so raw and honest. In this case, the psalmist doesn’t hold back about the persecution, rejection and ridicule he is suffering because of his faith and faith practices. (vs. 7-12) Between the lines you can hear: “Why?” “Do you see what’s happening to me, LORD?” “Why are you letting this happen to your faithful servant?” Certainly we can empathize. We’ve had our own times of crying out to the Lord: “How long?” “Why?” or “Don’t you care?

After expressing such deep pain, most would expect the psalmist to turn away from God or chose an easier path and would not blame him. But there is where the psalms always take us by surprise. Instead of rejecting God, the lamenting psalmist turns toward the Lord. “In YOUR time, O God… rescue, deliver, answer, draw near, redeem and free me.” Why do that when it seems following God has gotten you into this mess? Twice the psalmist speaks of the LORD’s steadfast love and abundant mercy.  There’s a history revealed in those words. It may be the history of God’s faithfulness in the psalmist’s own life. It is certainly the history of God’s faithfulness seen in holy scriptures — faithfulness to Abraham and Sarah and the Israelites and their descendants. Between the lines of the prayer contained in vs. 13-18, you can hear: “I do not like what is going on…I am overwhelmed by what is happening…Yet you are the One who has proved to be merciful, caring and faithful and so I cling to You, Lord. I stick with you. I will rely on you. I will hope deliverance will come sooner rather than later, but in any case I attach my life to yours and trust.”

Prayer: (Psalm prayer for Psalm 69)
God of hope, in Christ’s passover from death to life you restore the fallen and rebuild the broken walls. Turn to us in your great compassion, and answer us with your unfailing help, for you are the strength of your people; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

“Great Is Thy Faithfulness” ELW #733
(Choral anthem)
(Chris rice, solo)

“You Are My Hiding Place”(Selah)

“Alive and Breathing” (Matt Mahers)

“He’s Our Rescuer” (Rend Collective)


June 14, 2020 Bulletin and Worship Service Video

Bulletin June 14, 2020 (pdf)


June 12, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

June 12, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)
June 12, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church, Hagerstown MD



WORSHP THIS WEEKEND AT HAVEN Watch online any time after 9:30 am on Sunday. The link and bulletin are sent out to those on our e-mail list but if you miss that, you can access the video at our website,  Our outdoor and drive-up worship service will also be at 9:30 am on Sunday. Look at the end of today’s message to see the guidelines and parking lot map for the outdoor service. IF we will be cancelling due to weather, you can find out by calling Haven at 301-733-5056 on Sunday after 8:15 am. As soon as the message greeting begins, push the star button (*). That will take you to the voice mail message about cancelations. Right now the National Weather forecast says there is only a 30% chance of rain, most likely after 2 p.m. At home or on the lawn and parking lot, together we offer our praise and give thanks to our Lord.
(P.S. The restrooms will be available before, during and immediately after worship.)














Veronica & Mike Bergschneider

  From DE-MD Synod Bishop Gohl’s weekly The Church is not closed
The Church is not closed
and I see signs of it throughout our synod! Call Committees at places like Trinity (Boonsboro), Grace (Easton), Christ (Millersville), St. Mark’s (St. Paul Street) and Zion (Middletown) have been meeting and working diligently; St. Philip’s (Caroline Street) is partnering with the community to provide hand sanitizer in the neighborhood; and St. Benjamin (Westminster), Trinity (Smithsburg) and Christus Victor (Carney) have begun drive-in worship services! Thank you, one and all, for your ongoing witness!

Commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Emanuel 9 – UPDATED

On Wednesday, June 17 at 7:30pm, we will offer a special time of prayer with our African Methodist Episcopal Zion, African Methodist Episcopal, and Christian Methodist Episcopal siblings to observe the 5th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Emanuel 9 in Charleston. This Prayer Service of Lament, Repentance and Remembrance will be broadcast from the steps of John Wesley AME Zion Church, the AME Zion National Church, in Washington, DC.

A Personal Note
Some of you follow me on Facebook and know a bit of the celebrations and struggles of our family. I am grateful for the many expressions of support for my son David, who graduated from high school this week. David, who has some significant learning challenges, fought hard to get to that day and while we rejoice with him, we are mindful of all the high school and college graduates who have missed significant rites of passage and celebrations to mark their achievements. Our younger daughter, Joyanne, fell and fractured her forearm this last week; she has an Ortho follow-up appointment this next week – but it all looks good and she is improving. Finally, Arwyn (Bishop Gohl’s wife), Andrew (our younger son) and Joyanne went to Massachusetts on March 16 for, what we thought, would be a week or so with my in-laws. I am pleased to share our good news that our family will be returning home this Sunday after a Covid-driven three months away! We have missed birthdays, graduation and our wedding anniversary – there is a lot of celebrating to catch-up on. As a result, while I will keep appointments I already have for next week; Justina (Bishop’s secretary) will not be adding any new appointments, so that I have time to reconnect with my family. +bg


DO YOU KNOW how and why the little black boy, Franklin, came to join the Peanuts comic strip? I didn’t know until a few minutes ago. Shultz had to buck the system to do it.
On July 31, 1968, a young, black man was reading the newspaper when he saw something that he had never seen before. With tears in his eyes, he started running and screaming throughout the house, calling for his mom. He would show his mom, and, she would gasp, seeing something she thought she would never see in her lifetime. Throughout the nation, there were similar reactions.

What they saw was Franklin Armstrong’s first appearance on the iconic comic strip “Peanuts.” Franklin would be 50 years old this year. (2018)

Franklin was “born” after a school teacher, Harriet Glickman, had written a letter to creator Charles M. Schulz after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot to death outside his Memphis hotel room. Glickman, who had kids of her own and having worked with kids, was especially aware of the power of comics among the young. “And my feeling at the time was that I realized that black kids and white kids never saw themselves [depicted] together in the classroom,” she would say.

She would write, “Since the death of Martin Luther King, ‘I’ve been asking myself what I can do to help change those conditions in our society which led to the assassination and which contribute to the vast sea of misunderstanding, hate, fear and violence.’”

Glickman asked Schulz if he could consider adding a black character to his popular comic strip, which she hoped would bring the country together and show people of color that they are not excluded from American society. She had written to others as well, but the others feared it was too soon, that it may be costly to their careers, that the syndicate would drop them if they dared do something like that.

Charles Schulz did not have to respond to her letter, he could have just completely ignored it, and everyone would have forgotten about it. But, Schulz did take the time to respond, saying he was intrigued with the idea, but wasn’t sure whether it would be right, coming from him, he didn’t want to make matters worse, he felt that it may sound condescending to people of color.

Glickman did not give up, and continued communicating with Schulz, with Schulz surprisingly responding each time. She would even have black friends write to Schulz and explain to him what it would mean to them and gave him some suggestions on how to introduce such a character without offending anyone. This conversation would continue until one day, Schulz would tell Glickman to check her newspaper on July 31, 1968.

On that date, the cartoon, as created by Schulz, shows Charlie Brown meeting a new character, named Franklin. Other than his color, Franklin was just an ordinary kid who befriends and helps Charlie Brown. Franklin also mentions that his father was “over at Vietnam.” At the end of the series, which lasted three strips, Charlie invites Franklin to spend the night one day so they can continue their friendship. I just thought this was a good re-introduction of Franklin to the rest of the world – “I’m very glad to know you.”

There was no big announcement, there was no big deal, it was just a natural conversation between two kids, whose obvious differences did not matter to them. And, the fact that Franklin’s father was fighting for this country was also a very strong statement by Schulz.

Although Schulz never made a big deal over the inclusion of Franklin, there were many fans, especially in the South, who were very upset by it and that made national news. One Southern editor even said, “I don’t mind you having a black character, but please don’t show them in school together.”

It would eventually lead to a conversation between Schulz and the president of the comic’s distribution company, who was concerned about the introduction of Franklin and how it might affect Schulz’ popularity. Many newspapers during that time had threatened to cut the strip. Schulz’ response: “I remember telling Larry at the time about Franklin — he wanted me to change it, and we talked about it for a long while on the phone, and I finally sighed and said, “Well, Larry, let’s put it this way: Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How’s that?”

Eventually, Franklin became a regular character in the comic strips, and, despite complaints, Franklin would be shown sitting in front of Peppermint Patty at school and playing center field on her baseball team…. [Schulz] courageously decided to make a statement because of one brave school teacher who decided to ask a simple question…Because of Glickman, because of Schulz, people around the world were introduced to a little boy named Franklin.

From The Jon S. Randal Peace Page (I checked several other sources to confirm the facts. LMA)


Read:  Matthew 9: 35-10:15
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

10 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Reflections (Reflection and prayer prepared by Rev. Phil Formo for Trinity Seminary’s God Pause

During this week we have encountered God teaching Moses and his people, and have enjoyed the psalmist’s inspiring poetry of praise. We turn now to Jesus’ own teaching, preaching, and healing.

He began by calling twelve to work with him but quickly restricted their sales territory. At first we might wonder why, yet his reason soon becomes apparent. Jesus asks these beginners to limit themselves to those they know. Wait to encounter those you don’t understand—the foreigner, the Gentile, the Samaritan—until you have more experience under your belt. Start with your neighbor.

Jesus’ cautions continue. Unlike what many of us would prefer, he orders them to travel light. No credit card needed, not even an extra suit. All will be provided for you. Don’t let anything weigh you down.

Finally, don’t try to convince someone who is not ready for the message. When you run into those folks, turn around, shake the dust off your feet, and continue on to where you might be welcomed.


We thank you this day for those who have brought us your good news. We think of pastors, church workers, parents, godparents, and friends next door. Keep them coming, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Nancy Newkirk sent these Handbell selections she found beautiful  (“Grazioso” by Arnold Sherman)

“Nobody” (Casting Crown)

“Tell Somebody” (Danny Gokey)

“Jesus” (Chris Tomlin)


(IF there will be a weather-related cancellation, it will be announced by 8:15 am
on Haven’s answering system. Call 301-733-5056. As soon as the greeting starts, hit the star key (*) to get to the voice mail box that has cancellation announcements.)

Thank you for following the safety guidelines recommended by the state and our insurance for the love of our neighbor.

1) People who opt to be seated in cars must remain in their cars. When a gloved, vested usher comes with your bulletin, please put your window down one inch to receive it.  IF you are a parking space away from the car next to you, you may open your windows more during worship. Tune your FM radio to 106.5 to listen to worship
2) Those seated outside must remain six feet away from non-family members and wear face masks. Please be respectful of that six foot spacing when you approach anyone outside or in a car.
3) We will still not be serving communion this Sunday. Those are more complex details we still need to figure out.
4) The building will be open for restroom use only.
5) As with many things during this pandemic, we are often learning as we go along and need to be ready for unexpected “tweaks.” So we ask your continued patience and good humor.

Now that we have all the “rules” out of the way, I invite you to get excited and to attend if it feels safe for your situation. Whether at home or in the parking lot, we ARE worshipping TOGETHER, united a one through God — Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Thanks be to God.



A member has let us know that she received an e-mail, supposedly from Pastor Alessandri that came through her l.alessandri1035@gamil  account. It asked the recipient to do her a “favor” because she was caught in a meeting. The “favor” was a $500 gift card for a cancer patient. After the card was purchased, she was to scratch off the covering of a code on the back and send the code back.

First, Pastor Alessandri wants you to know that  she would NEVER use her email for such a solicitation or “favor”.  Second, this has become a common scam in our times — asking for gift cards and then the redemption codes on behalf of a cause or the person whose email address has been pirated. Beward. Lastly, it does not appear that this email account has actually been hacked. So recieiving messages from pastor will not bring any viruses.

Another sad side of the cyber world that can be used so well to keep us connected.  Feel free to pass on this message to anyone else who might get emails from pastor or the church office.