July 15, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

July 15, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church


HOP ON THE MEAL TRAIN Clare Newcomer has arrange for us to join the Lions in providing simple meals for Pastor Dave Kaplan as he recovers from hip surgery at home.
After our administrative assistant, Mary Grabill, has sent out this e-message, she will also forward an e-mail from Clare with the link to participate in the “Meal Train.”
In that email, you will find a button that says, “Open the Meal Train.” Click on that button and you will be taken to Meal Train site. 1) Click on “Review All Instructions” and you will get Pastor Kaplan’s address, preferred delivery time, and food preferences and dislikes.  2) Then select a date on the calendar that is not already taken and sign up to bring a meal that day.
A reminder — 1) Please only bring enough food for one person for that day’s meal and the next. (Too much food will lead to an overstuffed refrigerator/freezer and waste.) 2) Know your meals will be enjoyed and appreciated.
I have also told Pastor Kaplan to let us know when he begins to need rides to appointments or physical therapy. Several persons have already told me they would be willing to provide transport. Keeping casting those seeds of God’s love whenever you are able.

It is with heartfelt thanks, I sent a note of gratitude. Thank you for all the birthday cards and all the cards wishing recovery from injuries. I felt the presence of prayers with me and I felt the presence of God throughout. Thanks you my Haven family.

During this Covid19 period of restrictions, I like many in my neighborhood were joined together in preparing our gardens for the season. In that regard, we became closer caring for one and offering assistance as needs arose. I received much help from my neighbors as well.
Thank you again.
Charlotte (Loveless)

Washington County Interfaith Coalition
Interfaith Prayers For Our Times

July 15, 2020


Dear Pan, and all you other gods who live here

Grant that I may become beautiful within,

And that whatever outward things I have

May be in harmony with the spirit inside me.


Grant me

The light in my eyes, the true understanding of my faith,

The Certainty in my heart,

The sincerity in my actions, peace in my mind

And spaciousness in the means of my living.

May I offer gratitude as long as I live.

Source of living, may I be a voice of encouragement to those worn down by the sameness of days.  Grant me the certainty of a loving spirit within and the ability to offer it where needed.   Fill me with words which bring harmony to discord, gratitude to moments of assistance, and appreciation for all that is. Bless all people together that we find new acceptance while creating hope and joy. Amen

The Rev. Valerie Wills, Co-coordinator
Washington County Interfaith Coalition


From Carol Shull




Sent by Nancy Newkirk. Bethel Lutheran Church where Pastor John Lestock is pastor in Hudson, Wisconsin.










GETTING READY FOR WORSHIP IN THE SANCTUARY THIS FRIDAY AT 5 PM  Today we removed the hymnals and bibles from the church pews — less surfaces to be touched and not needed during worship since it is all printed in the bulletin. There is blue tape marking where folks can sit observing six feet distancing. Of course, when family members sit together, we’ll need to adjust. We will put cord across every other pew to maintain the suggested distancing. We are trying to get enough hand sanitizer (8 oz. bottles with pumps) to fit in the shelf where the hymnals and bibles usually sit.
(IF you see any of that size of not stinky or sticky hand sanitizer, could you buy some for the church?)

We are trying to do everything possible to make the space and experience as safe as possible. The doors will be open. Bulletins will be on seats. Communion will be distributed in cups. And we will learn more as we go.

I am excited to share worship and communion with those who attend. Yes, we will be wearing masks, sitting apart and only able to wave or bow a “peace be with you.” Still, it’s together around the Lord’s Word and table. It’s a tiny step toward finding what can be.

Read   Psalm 86:11-17

11Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
12I give thanks to you, O LORD my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14O God, the insolent rise up against me;
a band of ruffians seeks my life,
and they do not set you before them.
15But you, O LORD, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant;
save the child of your serving girl.
17Show me a sign of your favor,
so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,
because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

It becomes obvious as the psalm progresses, that the psalmist is in trouble, “a band of ruffians seeks my life.” The psalmist turns to God, confident of the Lord’s power, mercy, steadfast love and faithfulness.

Yet the psalm begins with a prayer to learn God’s ways, to walk in God’s truth and have an “undivided heart.”  It seems a peculiar  place to start when you’re in trouble and danger. Is he asking the Lord to show him what he is meant to learn or see in this crisis of his life? Or is he asking the Lord to show him how to navigate through the trouble — how to act and the direction to go? Or perhaps, he is acknowledging that in his fear or despair he has waivered in his faith or his faithfulness to the Lord and needs to turn back to the Lord with all his heart, mind and soul.

It has me thinking of the challenges, changes and uneasiness of this unprecedented year. It seems our human default is to call out to God for help and deliverance. It’s a prayer of desperation but also a prayer of trust in God’s goodness and might.

Yet what might happen if I turned my prayer to “teach me your ways, that I may walk in your truth. Give me an undivided heart, that I bind my days and myself  to you, Lord, and not take my eyes off you.” Instead of swimming in anxiety or fear, I look under the unknowns, behind the masks, in that six feet of space between us to see what God might want me to see or learn. Instead of thinking of this as simply a big mess (which it is) what if I look for God’s footprints and seek God’s way of seeing, being, dealing with what is and where God might lead us? Maybe trouble and messes are classrooms where we grow as we lean into God for strength and courage. Teach me your ways, O Lord.

Psalm (ELW Psalm Prayer for Psalm 86)
Gracious Father, when your Son called out to you in the time of trouble, you heard him and brought him out of the pit of death to the glory of resurrection. Give strength to your servants whom you have raised with him to new life, that with undivided hearts we may worship you and tell the glory of your name; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.


“There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy  ELW 588  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLqlKZe1Ckc

“Show Me Your Ways” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGp3VCKkjaU

“Who You Are to Me” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wms76AfllVE

“Undivided Heart” (Twila Paris) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSXqjNhRPVU


July 5, 2020 Announcements and Sermon

July 5, 2020 Sermon


July 5, 2020

(Outdoor Worship)
A:       Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.
C:      Worship the LORD with gladness                            (Psalm 100: 1-2a)

 * God’s blessings to all this Fourth of July weekend and welcome to worship at Haven Lutheran Church.

*Next Sunday, weather permitting, we will try adding communion to our Drive-up and Outdoor worship service. We will do all we can to use safe practices to bring communion to those seated on the lawn and to those in cars. We will ask for your patience as we try yet another new thing in worship. But what a blessing it will be to receive our Lord in holy communion once again.

*There will be an abbreviated July newsletter coming out this week. It will have news about worship and Haven’s School Supply Community Project. We will have copies available next Sunday.

*TODAY we open our Harvest for Hunger table…. well, actually a cart this year.  For a freewill offering, you may help yourself to yellow squash, zucchini and zucchini breads. All proceeds will be divided between local and ELCA hunger projects. Anyone is welcome to bring some extra vegetables or homemade baked good to offer on the Harvest for Hunger table.

This week’s concerns and joys:

*Pastor Dave Kaplan has been moved to Fahrney-Keedy to continue his physical therapy after his hip surgery. Please pray for his patience and healing. Cards can be sent to his at Fahrney Keedy.

*Best wishes to Terry Trovinger, Robert Webb and Charlotte Loveless who celebrate birthdays this week. Congratulations to Sharon and Larry Hartsock. Jamie and Jim Cannon and Stephanie and Eric Meredith who have wedding anniversaries this week.

  (after the announcements)

 A: Rejoicing in God’s saving grace, we seek our Lord’s wisdom and strength:

C: “To honor God, to reach out with love to our members and the community and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.”     (Haven Lutheran’s Mission Statement)

July 12, 2020 Sermon and Announcements

July 12, 2020 Sermon


July 12, 2020

(Outdoor Worship)
A:       I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
C:   and glorify your name forevermore.                                   (Psalm 86:12)

* God’s blessings to all of you and welcome to worship at Haven Lutheran Church.

*Next Friday, July 17th, we will add a third, weekend option for worship here at Haven. At 5 p.m. on Fridays, we will have our summer, spoken worship service with holy communion here in the sanctuary. We will ask everyone to wear masks and to sit in designated areas for proper social distancing. If you come, please be patient as we work out any complications we did not anticipate. In any case, God WILL be worshipped!

We will also continue to offer worship at 9:30 am on Sundays on line and at a Drive-up and Outdoor worship service.
Staying close to our Lord and one another in worship is essential to our wellbeing. Let God’s Word and love be poured into our hearts, minds and spirits in worship each weekend.

*Our Harvest for Hunger cart is officially open. For a freewill offering, you may help yourself today to a yellow squash, two different varieties of zucchini and zucchini breads. All proceeds will be divided between local and ELCA hunger projects. You are also invited to bring any bounty from your garden or ovens to put on the Harvest for Hunger card.

This week’s concerns and joys:

*Here are the updates on those who had recent surgeries.
Pastor Dave Kaplan was discharged from Fahrney Keedy yesterday to continue his hip surgery recovery at home. He will be letting us know if he needs rides or meals as soon as he gets settled.

Charlotte Loveless recovers at home from elbow surgery to repair damage after a fall walking her neighbor’s dog.

Ann Lochbaum’s son Mark, tells us the surgeon was pleased with Ann’s back surgery at Mercy Hospital. Ann will stay in Mercy Hospital for several weeks of physical therapy.
Please keep Ann, Charlotte and Pastor Dave in prayer. Cards and notes of encouragement are always welcome.

*Best wishes to Jackie Webb and June Hess who celebrate birthdays this week. Congratulations to Susie and Dave Resh who have a wedding anniversary this Tuesday

                                       (after the announcements)

A: Rejoicing in God’s saving grace, we seek our Lord’s wisdom and strength:

C: “To honor God, to reach out with love to our members and the community and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.”     (Haven Lutheran’s Mission State

July 13, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

July 13, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

July 13, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church



REQUEST FROM SARI KILHEFFER’S FAMILY  I just heard from Sari’s daughter, Holly. They are about to put Sari’s Smithsburg home on the market next month. Its sale will help provide the funds for Sari continued care in a great memory care facility in Minnesota.
Problem? Sari had a LOT of stuff packed in that little house! They have had yard and on-line sales. They have had antique dealers come and buy things. Now they need to get the house cleaned out ASAP. So Holly asked if there might be folks who would like a “picking adventure” in Sari’s house to see if there are items you would want and would purchase. There would be no prices on items and you may need to dig into some boxes, but whatever you would offer for items would be accepted and put toward Sari’s continued care. (Cash preferable)
How to do this in a COVID-safe way? Call or text Sari’s daughter, Heather, (507-920-0506) to arrange for your own private “picking adventure.” Heather works long hours Monday-Thursday so contact and visits to the house would be best Friday – Sunday.
Some of the things available: dish sets, mugs, housewares, stereo system, quilts, knick knacks, pictures, furniture, craft and quilting supplies, a wood chipper, some tools, video tapes, some Dvds, cassette tapes, decor, games, toys, wine glasses, jars, bottles, pillows, pillow forms, stuffed bears and other assorted critters, baskets and more.

Another possible way to help – Have you had to clear out a dear relative’s house before? Did you find a trustworthy business that took the belongings and sold them for a percentage of the proceeds? If so, please let me know (l.alessandri1035@gmail.com or 301-745-4216) as soon as possible and I will pass that information on to Holly and Heather.



Darylene Blickenstaff is wearing a brace and doing physical therapy as she continues her recovery from surgery after breaking her wrist. She is hoping she will get cleared to drive soon. Keep Darylene in prayer.

Pastor Dave Kaplan was released from Fahrney Keedy on Saturday. He is home planning to arrange for a continuation of his physical therapy. He will let us know if he needs rides and/or meals.

Ann Lochbaum continues her recovery from back surgery at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. With her hearing difficulties, it has not been possible to speak with her on the phone unless an aid is there to adjust her phone. We’ll keep trying. Ann can use encouragement! Cards, notes and prayers are appreciated.

Charlotte Loveless managed to drive herself to Drive-up/Outdoor Worship yesterday. Pray that Charlotte’s recovery from elbow surgery goes steadily and smoothly.

HOLY COMMUNION AT WORSHIP went well yesterday.  After being so careful to sanitize my hands and wear gloves as I handled and blessed the communion elements, I then forgot to wear my mask when I went to distribute communion. (Duh!) I promise to be more mindful.

A reminder that we are adding a third worship option this coming weekend. At 5 pm on Friday we will have a spoken worship service with holy communion in the sanctuary. All are required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. Communion will be bread wafers, no wine to make it simpler for these initial services.

ANOTHER STEP IN RE-OPENING HAVEN’S BUILDING The Re-opening team is putting together a list of guidelines for groups to follow if they wish to begin to meet again at Haven. Each group will need to agree to abide by the guidelines and keep a log of those who attend their meetings. We will confine meetings to the Gathering Room where social distancing can be more easily arranged. Before we notify any groups, the Council will need to approve of this step and the agreement we will ask each group to sign. Keep our efforts in prayer, that we may be wise, follow medical advice and do all we can to safeguard one another.

SCHOOL SUPPLY COMMUNITY PROJECT Tonight the team guiding this year’s project will meet and confirm the supplies we will be purchasing for our Pre-K to 8th grade students. We need your sponsorship so we can purchase the needed items on-line or through a few willing shoppers. We think an average of $20 will supply one student. Can you sponsor one or more student? Donations can be mailed in, turned in at one of the in-person worship services or left in the offering box on the parsonage back porch. So we have time to make purchases, we ask donations to be in by August 2nd!
In the GOOD NEWS category, we have received two community project grants of $250 from Thrivent toward this project! That $500 will provide for 25 students!
How many students can we help start their school year off well equipped?


These pictures have been circulating on line this weekend. Acts of kindness are priceless. (“It’s how Jesus taught us to sow God’s love,” a pastor said yesterday)

This store employee who gives extra service.









This motorcyclist who stopped to help an elderly woman cross safely.





This dog owner who mourned by giving.














Read   Isaiah 44:6-8

6Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
7Who is like me? Let them proclaim it,
let them declare and set it forth before me.
Who has announced from of old the things to come?
Let them tell us what is yet to be.
8Do not fear, or be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me?
There is no other rock; I know not one


“Once again this week, the [first lesson] invites us to reflect on God’s words of comfort to Judean exiles in sixth-century BCE Babylon, as preserved in the middle chapters of the book of Isaiah…It appears that the audience needed to be reminded of the identity of their God. Decades into the exile, all external evidence suggested that Israel’s God was a minor deity who’d been defeated by Babylon and its mighty divinities. Against this claim, the text dares the audience to reclaim faith in their God, to trust that God loves them enough and is powerful enough to bring them home.” (Professor J. Blake Couey posted on www.workingpreacher.org)

We can understand the struggle of the exiles who find themselves in the midst of a difficult time and circumstances that seems like they will never end. Most of us feel that way right now. We’re tired of the restrictions, the arguments about the restrictions, the changes that may or may not “change back,” and all the unknowns about the coming months. We can understand the struggles of those exiles in Babylon.

Maybe can also understand why the prophet-poet responds by holding up the greatness, faithfulness and goodness of God for the people to remember. In this strange place of exile — Babylon or COVID — we are surrounded by many other voices and gods seeking our attention and allegiance. But, Isaiah reminds us, there is only ONE God, who is our rock and redeemer, who is an everlasting, loving, and powerful Lord of all creation.

As we struggle, Isaiah advises, keep your eyes on the only true God. When you are feeling consumed by worry and anxiety, lean into the Lord who with us and WILL have the final words. Those words include — I love you. Do not fear. I am here. I am the truth, the light and the life. You can count on me.

When we feel helpless and things are not going well, we begin to falter, wondering why you do not do what we think is so obviously the answer. Take our sighs and turn them into songs of your glory, might and love that remind us of your faithfulness and profound, perfect love. Amen


“When Morning Guilds the Sky” ELW 853  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaUxsgkKcAo

“You Are the Only One” (Casting Crowns) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gh5dwdSTadM

“The Greatness of Our God” (Newsboys) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf8qQLGZ3o8


July 12, 2020 Bulletin and Worship Service

Bulletin 07122020 (taped)pdf

Drive-Up instructions (pdf)

July 10, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

July 10, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

July 10, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church







Strength for the journey- God sighting yesterday was the word, Psalm 65, and Pastor’s message about our journey together in this Covid year from disorientation to reorientation.  For me an additional personal layer as I struggle from a disorienting fall to resume for a while anyway a more dependent and less mobile life style.  So yesterday’s devotion came like a refreshing oasis to bring renewed hope in my heart and praise on my lips.  On to the next trail marker!

God’s peace and blessings, Haven – thanks for your thoughts, calls, cards and prayers,

Dave Kaplan


Washington County Interfaith Coalition
Interfaith Prayers for Today

July 9, 2020

Prayer from Zaire

I shall sing a praise to God:

Strike the chords upon the drum.

God, who gives us all good things—

Strike the chords upon the drum—

Wives, and wealth, and wisdom.

Strike the chords upon the drum.

Sufi (Jelaluddin Rumi)

You, the Holy, are the notes, and we are the flute.

We are the mountain, and you are the sounds coming down.

We are the pawns and kings and rooks

You set out on a board:  we win or we lose.

We are lions rolling and unrolling on flags.

Your invisible wind carries us through the world.


May we bring into symphony the beating of our hearts in love and acceptance.  May we dare to encounter that which has been alien to us.  May our bravery allow us to blend our voices with an unlikely other.

Holiness is for all. You who are the guardian of our lives, help us learn new ways in this time of illness and unrest to offer the stranger acceptance and a listening heart. Even distanced, help us learn to create music with the new instruments of possibility. Amen

The Rev. Valerie Wills, Co-coordinator

Washington County Interfaith Coalition

ANN LOCHBAUM’s surgery went well at Mercy Hospital. She is experiencing pain but hopes to soon be moved to the physical therapy unit to work her way home. With no visitors allowed, Ann is understandably homesick. Lots of cards and notes would certainly cheer her. (Mercy Medical Center, 345 St Paul Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202) And, of course, keep Ann in your prayers.

From the weekly COVID Update from Delaware-Maryland Synod Bishop William (Bill) Gohl, Jr.

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 https://demdsynod.org/vbs/ Through our ongoing partnership with Mar-Lu-Ridge, our camp counselors will also be a part of this program.

We hope that this program will help churches who are scrambling to figure out how to do VBS during COVID-19. If your congregation is doing its own digital VBS program, that’s great! We encourage you to consider signing up for our synod’s VBS program along with your congregation’s VBS for the opportunity to engage with other children and families from across our synod.

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!  Registration closes on July 12th so that materials can get out to everyone, so please help us push this out into our congregations and networks!

Mar-Lu-Ridge at Home
We are excited to share MLR at Home with you! Beginning July 5, you can visit https://www.mar-lu-ridge.org/mlr-at-home/ for FREE access to crafts, nature lessons, games, and campfires led by our amazing summer staff. Everyone is welcome to use these materials: families, congregations, youth groups, folks of all ages! We also invite you to Sunday and Thursday worship services on our Facebook page. Join us to see our summer staff and volunteer pastors as they lead joyful, Christ centered worship. We can still live and work and walk #sidebyside even though we aren’t able to be together on the Ridge this summer. We’ll see you soon for MLR at Home!

Racial Justice Series: Listen and Learn about Racism
Our Synod’s Racial Justice Team invites you to participate in an educational series about racism that will provide historical context, facilitate your personal journey, and help you find your voice in this national conversation. Recognizing that systemic racism is a sin which has been perpetuated by the institutional silence of our predominantly white denomination, these sessions are being led by predominantly white leaders in our synod to facilitate greater accountability for addressing the sin of racism within our congregations and the ELCA.  It will be held on Zoom on four consecutive Monday evenings from July 27th to August 17th. For more details and to register go to https://demdsynod.org/listen-and-learn-about-racism/.  You are also encouraged to view additional resources on the Racial Justice Ministry’s newly updated webpage. https://demdsynod.org/connectedness/racial-justice-ministry-team/

COVID-19 Response Effort
Thank you!!
In 79 days we raised over $335,000.00 together. This includes gifts, pledges and matching gifts to date, and some gifts are still arriving! We thank you once more for the generosity of all who participated. Please look for additional updates as we conclude this fundraising effort and are making the financial aid available to our churches and ministries most in need during this challenging time. Thank you once more!

The Church is not closed
The Church is not closed and I see signs of it throughout our synod! Good Shepherd (Wilmington) continues its Shepherd’s Garden Ministry, gathering from its own produce and donations from the community, over 4,000 items to share for the needs of their neighbors; St. Philip’s (Wilmington) is continuing its popular Summer of Service series, gathering school supplies for the Eagles School Readiness Program in the Dominican Republic and building a tower of food for their feeding ministries; and St. Paul (Cumberland) continues to offer its feeding ministry program, Bountiful Blessings, as a twice-monthly drive-through ministry! Thanks be to God for your creative and adaptive witness, you are the body of Christ alive in the world!

With my love and prayers,



Read:  Matthew 13: 1-19

1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9Let anyone with ears listen!”

What kind of a farmer or gardener so wildly, so generously throws precious seed everywhere and anywhere he or she goes?  What kind of Lord loves everyone and anyone without requiring or knowing if there will be a response?  “Let anyone with ears listen!”

“Lord, let my heart be good soil, open to the seed of your word.
Lord, Let my heart be good soil, where love can grow and peace is understood.
When my heart is hard, break the stone away.
When my heart is cold, warm it with the day.
When my heart is lost, lead me on your way.
Lord, let my heart, Lord let my heart, Lord, let my heart be good soil.”   ELW #512


“Lord, Let My Heart be Good Soil” ELW 512  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9VuPi0RRaM

“For the Fruits of all Creation” ELW 679 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbBUFSOkbdM

“The Sower’s Song” (Andrew Peterson) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32JRkxjSwxE
(Includes portions of our first reading this Sunday, Isaiah 55:10-13 )

“Your Labor Is Not in Vain” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPj3Kf7Dorw

“Open the Eyes of My Heart” (Michael W Smith) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idQ1n3cdgfo

July 8, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

July 8, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

July 8, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church




“AMAZING …. God continues to bless Haven with generous members that have supported Haven through uncharted times.    Church Offering is still ahead of our year to date budget now by $4,342.80 or 4.2%.  Haven’s staff] is doing an excellent job of controlling expenses that are $4,020.48 or 3.9% behind budget. This shows a continued increasing surplus of $8,233.78 to the bottom line for the first six months of 2020. Hopefully, members will sustain contributing when they see or hear “IT’S OFFERING TIME”.

CHARLOTTE LOVELESS had surgery on Tuesday at Meritus to repair a broken elbow. Walking her neighbor’s dog last week, the dog took off and Charlotte came down on her elbow. Of course it is her right arm, so I asked Charlotte to let us know if she needed help (caring for her cat, rides to therapy, etc.) Card, encouragement and prayers are appreciated.
(I just heard from Charlotte. “My treatment, nurses and other staff was over the top. Helping, caring and competent.” She is resting at home.)

ANN LOCHBAUM I’m still trying to get word on how Ann’s surgery went. I’ve been connected to her room at Mercy but no one has answered the phone. I’m hoping that is because she is up and walking. I’ll post an update as soon as I get any further information.

PASTOR DAVE KAPLAN continues physical therapy at Fahrney-Keedy. Yesterday, he even climbed steps. If all goes well, Pastor Kaplan may be discharged next Tuesday to go home and continue therapy. Keep him in your prayers.
















HAVEN WORSHIP HELPERS  As we continue to worship outside and begin a Friday 5 pm service on July 17th, we are in need of folks to help make this happen. At the Drive-up and Outside worship service, we need some more folks to take a turn distributing bulletins and directing cars to spaces. We have about 6 volunteers so far. If we get two more, each team-of-two would only need to help one Sunday a month. Could you help?
When we begin our indoor Friday 5 p.m. service, we will need two “ushers” each week to help direct people into the sanctuary, to communion  and then dismiss folks by rows at the conclusion. Nothing too complicated but important. If you plan to attend this service, could you help occasionally?
As we take careful steps toward more worship and other events at Haven, we will again need the help of the community to make it happen. Prayerfully consider how you may be safely available to help.

God IS with us,
Pastor Linda M Alessandri


Read  Psalm 65:[1-8] 9-13
1Praise is due to you,
O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
2O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
3When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
you forgive our transgressions.
4Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
your holy temple.
5By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
6By your strength you established the mountains;
you are girded with might.
7You silence the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples.
8Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.
9You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.
10You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
11You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
12The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
13the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

Walter C. Bouzard writes, “Although the central section of this psalm is comprised of hymnic praise of God, the psalm as a whole suggests that the prayer exemplifies what Walter Brueggemann categorized as psalms of reorientation.  Psalms of reorientation are prayers uttered after the disarray and disorientation of life slips into the past. Like the ancient psalmist, we recognize and give thanks to God for the rescue for which we had longed and prayed.(from Bouzard’s Commentary posted on WorkingPreacher.org

When I read “psalm of reorientation,” I had to go back to read the psalm again as a “prayer uttered after the disarray and disorientation of life slips into the past.” It is a beautiful song of deep and overwhelming gratitude. But when you add the idea of that gratefulness arising after circumstances have quaked the psalmist’s life, it adds another layer of feelings and gratitude in and between the words and lines.

I think most of us are more likely feel “disorientation” these days. It’s a good word for what we are experiencing, isn’t it? We have been totally stopped in our “usual” tracks. What use to come without much thought — leaving our homes, going out for meals, spontaneous hugs or handshakes of greeting, attending church, getting our hair cut, and so forth — now requires we make deliberate, conscious decisions for safety and health. Sometimes I think it is like someone came into my house, rearranged the furniture and I keep bumping into things that weren’t there before. I feel a bit bruised or frustrated or, dare I admit, like cursing. I want to put things back where I had them, but I can’t. Disorientation is a good word for our COVID times.

And while this is unlike anything I have ever experienced before, today’s psalm reminds me that I have had other times of disorientation — going off to seminary, the death of parents in the same year,
moving from St. Louis to Hagerstown, recovery from rotator cuff surgery. Each one was different but each put me in a situation that was new, with lots of unknowns and I was uncomfortable with the lack of control I felt I had. Today’s psalm of “reorientation” reminds me that I, too, by the grace and love of God, came through those other disorienting times to adapt and find a peace with a new way of being. “Reorientation”

I’m sure you have had your own times of “disorientation” even before COVID. Perhaps one way of coping with these unsettling times is to remember those other times of disorientation and how we came through, scars and all, to find life and joy again. In remembering, we deepen our trust in the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord who got us through before — somehow, some way — and will help us get through again.

Prayer  Steadfast, loving Lord, please hold us close as we try to navigate this very strange and strained time. Steady our hearts and open our eyes to hope displayed each day. Though we cannot see too far down the road, help us to trust you are walking with us and there is still reason to sing and ways we can show your love to others. Amen


“How Firm A Foundation” ELW #796 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JdIrdKPfHA

“You Are Faithful” (Hillsong) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXTU1JIcIgA

“Ever Be On My Lips” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhasSpSBdEE

“Just Be Held” (Casting Crowns) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yutmTFtalKs

“We Won’t Be Shaken” (Building 429 ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BJhOgb-unI

July 6, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

July 6, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

July 6, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church



PASTOR DAVE KAPLAN is continuing his recovery from hip surgery at Fahrney Keedy Home & Village (8507 Mapleville Rd, Boonsboro, MD 21713). Currently quarantined, they are still getting him up to walk and he hopes more physical therapy will start-up today. Cards, notes and prayers would cheer him on.

ANN LOCHBAUM is having surgery on her back today at Mercy Hospital. She will stay there for several weeks for physical therapy. Ann has been suffering with chronic back pain for many years. Please pray for the success of the surgery and steady progress in her recovery. Cards can be sent to Ann at Mercy Medical Center, 345 St Paul Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202.

TODAY IN THE LUTHERAN CHURCH CALENDAR Today the church remembers Jan (John) Hus, as a martyr of the faith. I had to scurry to the internet to find out about this man and why he would be included in a Lutheran church calendar.  This is what I discovered.

John Hus (Jan Hus) was born sometime around 1372 in the town of Husinec, Bohemia, in the area that is now the Czech Republic. He studied theology at the University of Prague; after his ordination as a priest (1402), he became preacher at the Bethlehem Chapel in Prague. Services at the Bethlehem Chapel were conducted in Czech, contrary to the common practice of conducting services in Latin. The Bible was read and sermons were preached in the common language. Hus was intrigued by the writings of the early English reformer John Wycliffe, though he did not agree with all Wycliffe’s teachings. Hus preached actively against the worst abuses of the Roman Church of the day. His primary teachings were:

– Hus called for a higher level of morality among the priesthood. Financial abuses, sexual immorality, and drunkenness were common among the priests of Europe.

– Hus called for preaching and Bible reading in the common language, and for all Christians to receive full communion. At the time, laypersons received only the bread during communion, and only priests were allowed to receive the wine.

– Hus opposed the sale of indulgences. These were documents of personal forgiveness from the Pope which were sold for sometimes exorbitant prices to raise funds for Crusades.

– Hus opposed the relatively new doctrine of Papal infallibility when Papal decrees contradicted the Bible. He asserted the primacy of the Scriptures over church leaders and councils.

Wow! The seeds of what would be known as the Protestant Reformation were already being sown in parts of Europe before Martin Luther. You can hear echoes of John Hus’s list of needed church reforms in Luther’s 95 Theses posted on October 31, 1517.

Hus lived at a time of tumultuous division in the Western Church known as the Great Schism. There were for a time two, and briefly even three competing Popes who each claimed complete authority over the Church. Hus’s criticisms and calls for reforms came in the midst of the Schism; high Church leaders generally regarded Hus as an irritating stumbling block to reconciling the divided Church and he was excommunicated. Led to believe he would have the opportunity to be heard, Hus journeyed to the Council of Constance (1414-1418) to defend his beliefs. (The Council of Constance was the Council which finally ended the Schism with the election of Pope Martin V.) Hus was immediately imprisoned. When finally tried, he was accused of the crime of being a Wycliffite. He was not allowed to defend himself or his beliefs. Because of his refusal to recant, Hus was declared a heretic, turned over to secular authorities and was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415.

It seems early in his monastic career, Martin Luther, rummaging through the stacks of a library, happened upon a volume of sermons by John Huss, the Bohemian who had been condemned as a heretic. “I was overwhelmed with astonishment,” Luther later wrote. “I could not understand for what cause they had burnt so great a man, who explained the Scriptures with so much gravity and skill.”

Huss was seen as a predecessor in the reform movement by Luther and many other Reformers, for Huss preached key Reformation themes (like hostility to indulgences) a century before Luther drew up his 95 Theses. But the Reformers also looked to Huss’s life, in particular, his steadfast commitment to Scripture and the faith in the face of a church’s brutal response to those who challenged its practices and power.

So there we have it, Jan (John) Hus a forerunner to the later “Protestant Reformation.” One of the options for the Prayer of the Day would be for “Renewers of the Church”:

Almighty God, we praise you for your servant John Hus, through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life. Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit, whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

RETURN OF HARVEST FOR HUNGER Each summer we set out a table for extra garden vegetables, flowers and homemade baked goods to benefit Hunger ministries. Everyone with a garden is invited to bring their extra vegetables or flowers from their gardens to church for our “Harvest for Hunger” table. Homemade baked goods are popular, too. For a freewill offering, folks can take home what they want. All proceeds will be divided between local and ELCA hunger projects.
This year, the Harvest for Hunger goods are being placed on a cart that can be wheeled out so that worshippers can check out the offerings before and after the Drive-up and Outdoor service. It’s another example of how we are finding new pathways to continue ministries even in these COVID times.



Mary saw these young deer outside the UCC Church of the Holy Trinity as she was leaving.
(Do you think they could tell their cousins near Haven to stay out of the vegetable garden?)






I found a lily with five blooms in my garden.
I had forgotten what kind of  plant it was
until it bloomed.





Read Isaiah 55:10-13

10For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

This passage concludes “Second Isaiah” (chapters 40-55), the portion of the book of Isaiah that is thought to be addressed to the Hebrews in Babylonian exile. It is a poetic vision of their return to the Holy Land in a new exodus that is cheered on by singing mountains and by trees that clap their hands.
Professor J. Blake Couey explains that ”Isaiah 55:10–11 is an extended simile comparing God’s word to precipitation, emphasizing their respective results. By their nature, rain and snow cannot help irrigating the earth, making plant growth possible. Similarly, the divine word successfully achieves its intended purposes. But like any poetic simile, this one resists simple paraphrase. Its affective impact is as important as its intellectual content. Verse 10 unfolds an image of abundance that engages the senses. We can feel the cool dampness of the rain, see the greenness of the verdant landscape, and taste the bread in our mouths. That, the prophet/poet tells us, is what God’s word is like. Refreshing. Abundant. Life-giving.” (posted on www.workingpreacher.org)

“Isaiah 55:12 describes nature’s participation in the exiles’ return. Mountains and hills break out in harmony, while the forest claps the rhythm. The very landscape transforms itself. Pernicious weeds are replaced by tall, luxuriant trees. This new creation becomes an “everlasting sign” of the life-giving power of God’s word.”

What a jubilant song and vibrant images Isaiah offered exiles who face the journey back to a place they called “home” but circumstances that were unknown. Is this our song, too, in these unnerving times with COVID? We often feel like exiles separated from “life as we knew it.” During our “exile” we depend on the Word of God, both Scripture and Jesus, that reveals God’s promises of faithfulness, steadfast presence and new life. We may feel frightened, disconcerted or alone but we also know that our feelings are not as everlasting or powerful as God and God’s love for us.

We may not be able to imagine the “new normal” that is unfolding any more than the Hebrews could imagine Jerusalem from their place in Babylon. What we do know is that God can be trusted with our lives and our future. So we look for guidance on how to proceed — in our daily lives, vacation, re-opening the church building. We look for signs of the Lord working resurrection inside us and outside. And maybe, just maybe, on days when the breeze is just right, we might hear the hills and trees making music to cheer us on to a new day.


Lord of rain and snow, mountains and trees, sing into our hearts and spirits your songs of hope and resurrection. Open us to your Word and your promises, that we might be steadied and look up to see the buds and sprouts of renewed and new life around us, that we, too might join the uplifting song of your creation. Amen


“Hymn of Promise”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RHek8k5WoY

“Shout to the Lord” ELW #821 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DKYPW3VGrE

“Thy Word” (instrumental, Michael W. Smith) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AWYOlaDq1g

“Chorus of Faith” (Michael Card) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhCzeoVI1s4







Haven Messenger (Newsletter) – July 2020

Haven Messenger (Newsletter) – July 2020 (pdf)

Please see the Haven July 2020 Messenger at the link above.

Pastor Alessandri & Administrative Assistant off for Independence Day


PASTOR ALESSANDRI IS OFF TODAY, FRIDAY, JULY 3 AND SATURDAY, JULY 4. But do not hesitate to call if there is an emergency 301-745-4216 (corrected number from yesterday’s message).

The Administrative Assistant Mary will also be off TODAY, Friday, July 3rd.