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.

July 5, 2020 Worship Service and Bulletin

Bulletin 07052020 (pdf)        Drive-Up instructions (pdf)

July 2, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

July 2, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

July 2, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church


Starting Friday, July 17, we will add a summer FRIDAY 5 PM WORSHIP service IN THE SANCTUARY. Two reasons for the switch from Saturday to Friday. 1) Since we also tape worship on Fridays, this will limit usage of the sanctuary to one day. If we limit the usage of the sanctuary to one day a week, the current CDC guidelines assure us that any of those COVID microbe will die before the next usage in seven days.  2) The second reason is for your pastor’s wellbeing. During this COVID time, I found that taking my usual Tuesdays off did not work for a variety of reasons. Thus Saturday has become my one day off a week. Spreading worship over three days would eliminate that one day of rest.
Everything else about this summer afternoon service will remain the same. It is casual, follows the usual liturgy of worship but has no music or singing and average attendance was usually between 10-18. Those factors make it a good choice to be the service we first try in our sanctuary, practicing social distancing and wearing face covering. Holy communion with the one element of bread/wafers will also be offered.











From DE-MD Synod Bishop Bill Gohl’s weekly COVID Update

Plan the Work, Work the Plan
An update, I am trying to keep track of those congregations and ministries who have completed their plans for in-person gatherings, those who are in or moving back into in-person gatherings, and those who have made some statement of opening in a later phase. At this point, roughly 30% of our congregations and ministries are offering some kind of in-person worship gatherings; another 20% have a plan in place or a date to offer some kind of in-person worship gatherings; another 25% are still planning or have already decided to wait for a longer period of time. I continue to be impressed, amazed and overwhelmed by your leadership and good work, planning the work and working the plan. Be reminded of resources for this work which are updated regularly on our Covid-19 page on our synod website.

The Church is not closed
The Church is not closed and I see signs of it throughout our synod! Our Synod’s Creation Care Team is rolling out the Climate Charter as part of their ongoing work of helping us be more informed stewards of the environment. Pastor Sandy Carlson Alexis (First English, Baltimore) invited neighbors to join in the work of making sandwiches for Manna House – she posted the invitation for folks to make a loaf of sandwiches (mindful of CDC guidelines for food preparation) to help and then did a sandwich patrol to pick-up the gifts of their neighbors! The Lutheran Campus Ministry at University of Delaware Directing Committee is organizing substantial renovations for both Paul’s Chapel and Bonhoeffer House which will bless a generation! Mar-Lu-Ridge Summer Staff are working with Youth Workers from across our synod to produce the Online VBS program we are offering in August! Thanks for being the body of Christ alive in the world!

With my love and prayers,

William (Bill) Gohl, Jr., Bishop
Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA


PASTOR ALESSANDRI IS OFF FRIDAY, JULY 3 AND SATURDAY, JULY 4. But do not hesitate to call if there is an emergency. 301-745-4216

WORSHIP AT HAVEN THIS WEEKEND Our on-line worship service premiere’s on Sunday at 9:30 am but you can view it any time after that, too.  Weather permitting, Drive-up and Outdoor worship service on Sunday at 9:30 am.

July 1, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

July 1, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

July 1, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church





HOLY COMMUNION On Sunday, July 12th, we will add Holy Communion to our Drive-up/Outdoor Worship. Like wearing masks, it may seem awkward with the precautions we need to take, yet we hope you will agree that it is a wonderful opportunity to receive the Lord in a way we have not since March.

We’ve chosen the method I will describe below so that we can continue to express the unity and oneness with Christ that is part of our understanding of holy communion. We usually experience this when one loaf of bread is consecrated, distributed and shared by all who are present. As Jesus distributed the bread and cup among his disciples at the Last Supper, we put the bread and wine on the altar and distribute it to Christ’s disciples gathered in worship. Through the one body of Christ, we are united in him and through him as the body of Christ. How then to translate that truth in a drive-up and outdoor worship service where we need to be mindful of the holiness of communion AND the best practices of COVOID spread?

First, we will begin by only receiving one element, the bread. It will likely be in wafer form for easier, safer distribution. All the bread to be distributed will be on the altar. When consecrating the bread and distributing communion, the assisting minister and I will wear gloves and masks. Communion will be brought to those sitting in chairs on the lawn. After putting the communion wafer in their hands, they can temporarily push their masks aside to consume the bread.  And those in the cars? Communion will be brought to you in trays with the bread placed in disposable, individual paper or plastic cups, saying “The body of Christ given for you.”

What about our brothers and sisters worshiping at home?  We will continue to offer a worship service on-line. Communion is a more difficult dilemma. Some say, have folks have their own bread and wine/grape juice at home and during the consecration, they hold it up to be blessed in their homes. To me, that does not continue the unity I described above —- one source, consecrated, divided and distributed to all. Yet, I know many of you are hungry for holy communion, too.

So, I would offer this. If you have an outdoor space (patio, porch) on which you and I could sit socially distanced, I will gladly bring you holy communion periodically. Again, I would be masked and my hands sanitized or gloved. I know this is not “the same” as being able to receive the sacrament with the community at church. Yet, it is still THE body of Christ given for you that does unite you to all others who receive the sacrament. Think about it and give me a call if you would like to schedule a time for communion.

ADDITIONAL WORSHIP OPTION Starting the weekend of July 18 and 19, we will add the summer SATURDAY 5 PM WORSHIP service IN THE SANCTUARY. This summer service has been an offering for many years. It is casual, follows the usual liturgy of worship but has no music or singing. In the past, the attendance at this service has been between 10-18. Those factors make it a good choice to be the service we first try in our sanctuary, practicing social distancing and wearing face covering. Holy communion with the one element of bread/wafers will also be offered, giving us the opportunity to work out the safest way to distribute communion in our sanctuary.

Washington County Interfaith Coalition
Interfaith Prayers for Our Times

July 1, 2020

Ascribed to Muhammad: O God, give me, I pray Thee,

Light on my right hand

And light on my left hand

And light above me

And light beneath me,

O Lord, increase light within me

And give me light to illuminate me.

  1. E. Cummings;

i thank You God for most this amazing

day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees

and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything

which is natural which is infinite which is yes.

Holy Spirit of all that is, bring us to “yes”.  Open us to all the ways we can seek deeper understanding and acceptance of change when it comes and change when it is not what we want.  Let the light in our lives not overwhelm us, but instead open before us new pathways to love and anticipation of the next thing.  Companion us on our particular journey of living.  Light of our Hearts, be present we pray.
The Rev. Valerie Wills, Co-coordinator
Washington County Interfaith Coalition















From Pastor David Kaplan:
In the midst of struggle, my heart is filled with thanks for you and the folks at Haven. God’s blessings and peace be with you all!  Dave













From Clare Newcomer

This is the cherry tomato I planted under kitchen window.  At least a dozen clusters of bloom and it isn’t even July.
Enjoying another gorgeous day. (June 26) And my God sighting for this week…discovered I have a tree frog… enjoy listening to him after sunset.








With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off?  He’s all right now.

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine last week is now fully recovered.

He had a photographic memory but it was never fully developed.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she’d dye.

Acupuncture is a jab well done.  That’s the point of it.

I didn’t like my beard at first.  Then it grew on me.



The latest information from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) especially for a longer period of time (greater than 10 minutes) Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Because COVID-19 is primarily an airborne virus, we can take measures to prevent getting or spreading it. You know them already — Practice social distancing and wear a cloth face covering when you are outside your home. (It should cover your nose and your mouth.) Avoid crowds where it is difficult to practice social distancing and others are not wearing face coverings. And then there is the long standing good hygiene practices for COVID and all those other infectious microbes —- Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Why repeat this information? It is good to keep in mind as we slowly try to move back into our church building for worship or other congregational activities. It is why we practice social distancing and wearing masks when seated on the lawn for outdoor worship. It is why we would insist on social distancing and wearing masks in the sanctuary or when meeting elsewhere in the building. Is it awkward and the masks uncomfortable? Yeah, we understand that. Yet, we remember that in the gospel of John, Jesus tells his disciples to love one another as I have loved you.  Following Jesus’ example, we put the health and safety of one another as a priority over our comfort or opinions.

JULY FOURTH WEEKEND BREAK  I will not write and prepare an E-Message and devotion this Friday, July 3rd.  Mary and I are going to take off Friday July 3rd as our July 4th holiday. That means, I will have two consecutive days off! Wahoo! That is a rare occurrence for many of us pastors except on vacation. Of course, I WILL be leading worship on July 5th (weather permitting) and answering Friday and Saturday e-mails that Sunday, too. HOWEVER — HEAR ME — If there is an emergency or critical difficulty please do NOT hesitate to call me at home. 301-745-4216.

I love being your pastor and I do appreciate time of rest. I have always been amazed at how understanding you are about that. I will be back with a message and devotion on Monday, July 6th and Mary will be ready to post it for you to access. I hope you have a restful weekend with sparkles of Godsightings and sprinkles of wonder. (Don’t forget to send your notes of gratitude and Godsighting to me at l.alessandri@gmail.com  I find them so encouraging and so does our congregation.)

God IS with us,
Pastor Linda M. Alessandri

Read       Psalm 145:8-14

8The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9The LORD is good to all,
and his compassion is over all that he has made.
10All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your faithful shall bless you.
11They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,
and tell of your power,
12to make known to all people your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The LORD is faithful in all his words,
and gracious in all his deeds.
14The LORD upholds all who are falling,
and raises up all who are bowed down.

Aren’t the psalms a wonder? When we read and pray verses 8-13, we use these wonderfully expansive and dynamic words and images — abounding, glorious splendor, everlasting. Notice how many times the word “all” is used. In daily life, we are hesitant to use terms like “always,” “all” or “never.” We humans are not guaranteed to be that consistent. Yet when it comes to our Lord, our God is steadfast and trustworthy — “faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.”  Even when we cannot understand, in faith we trust God is with us and desires we know great peace and joy. Notice that many of those uses of “all” refer to God’s love for everyone and all creation. God’s love is unconditional and all-inclusive. As we learn from watching Jesus, God holds all people in heart and reaches out particularly to those often excluded. this portion of the psalm that seems to sing mostly about of the greatness, splendor and power of God, but it does not miss mentioning that the Lord’s compassion and care extends to those who are “falling” or “bowed down.”

I invite you to wander in the wonder of today’s psalm selection. If you are in a good place, sing exuberantly of God’s greatness and ride on the wonder of it all. If you are not in a good place today, read of God’s faithfulness and love of all, particularly the downtrodden and take heart. Breathe in the goodness of God and rest in a trust of that never ending, never failing, abounding love of God.

Prayer (ELW Psalm Prayer for Psalm 145)
Loving God, you are faithful in your promises and tender in your compassion. Listen to our hymn of joy, and continue to satisfy the needs of every living thing, that all your creatures may bless your name, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and forever.  Amen.


“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”  ELW #733
(choral) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMACCtitfRw
(Veritas acapella) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2i7_X8RQis

“You Raise Me Up” (Selah) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DorNUsi5LE

“Your Grace Is Enough” (Chris Tomlin) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpYtYYaTFGQ

June 28, 2020 – Sermon & Announcements

June 28, 2020 Sermon (pdf)

Announcements – June 28, 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 day and welcome to worship at Haven Lutheran Church.

*We again want to thank Scott Paddock for lending his equipment and expertise so we could worship outside this week. Scott, you have truly blessed us.

*Church assistant administrator, Mary Grabill and Pastor Alessandri will be off this Friday, July 3rd for the July 4th holiday weekend.

This week’s concerns and joys:

*We are sad to announce the death of Sandy Myers last Monday. Her funeral was on Friday. Please keep her husband, Ken, and their family in your prayers.

* Darylene Blickenstaff is recovering from a surgery to repair a broken wrist. Cards, calls and prayers of encouragement are appreciated.

*Our own dear Pastor Kaplan fell on Friday during his morning walk and broke a hip. He had surgery yesterday and it went well. He is not sure if he will be doing rehab at Meritus or another facility. Please keep Pastor Kaplan’s recovery and healing in your prayers.

*Best wishes to Patty Byers, Don Blickenstaff Jr., Betty Getz and Larry Hartsock who celebrate birthdays this week. Congratulations to Pat and Dick Manspeaker who have a wedding anniversary on July 4th

(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)

June 29, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

June 29, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

June 29, 2020

Haven Lutheran Church, Hagerstown MD












PASTOR KAPLAN UPDATE. He fell on Friday and had surgery on his hip on Saturday On Sunday, they had him up walking and he could put his full weight on his hip. Wow! Maybe I should have placed this under GRATITUDE AND GOD SIGHTINGS. I think Pastor Kaplan is showing us the healing benefits of staying active and healthy.

Pastor Kaplan was hoping he would do physical therapy at Merits. He will find out today. I was already approached by several people at worship yesterday who offered to run errands or give rides when Pastor Dave needs the help. His “Garden Buddies” have told him they will watch over his garden until he is able. He was touched by the love of his home congregation.

Keep the prayers coming, that Pastor Dave has the strength, patience and perseverance for his therapy and recovery and that his healing is speedy and full.

WORSHIP AT HAVEN Every Saturday evening when we are having outdoor worship I pray the weather is good and then I add my p.s. “Or at least make it VERY clear what we should do.” Well, yesterday it was very clear that we were going to have a sunny morning. We set up.  We had folks in cars, several seated in lawn chairs and our worship team = 33.

I hope those of you who stayed home were blessed by the worship service on-line. Didn’t Steve Pastena have a remarkable “Amazing Grace” prelude and a stellar organ postlude!





From Scott Rhodes and family

Here is a God sighting from our trip to Solomon’s Island. Such beauty.




Read  Zechariah 9: 9-12
9Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war-horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

11As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
12Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
today I declare that I will restore to you double.


Background  The Babylonians defeated the last of the Hebrew nation about 597 BCE. Because of their resistance, the Babylonians destroyed much of Jerusalem and the Temple. The Babylonians then took many of the Jewish leaders and the educated and wealthier Hebrew population into exile in Babylonia. During that time of exile, the prophets upheld God’s faithfulness and God’s promise that they would once return to what was their homeland, Jerusalem and the Temple.

In 539 BCE the newest super power in the Middle East – Persia – defeat the Babylonians, The Persian king, Cyrus, released the Hebrews to return to Jerusalem, with permission to rebuild it and the Temple. Temple reconstruction is thought to have begun around 537 BCE.

The return to Jerusalem had been disappointing to many of the Hebrews who returned. Having lived on the dream of restoration of the Jewish kingdom during exile, they did not anticipate the rubble they would find. Concentrate on rebuilding the city and its fortifications first or the Temple?
Who would be “in charge” — the many Jews who had not been taken away to exile who remained in the region or the returning population with its religious leaders and priestly descendants? Casted over all of this was the fact that they were still not an independent nation but under the Persian’s authority.

This is the time when the prophet and priest, Zechariah, was active. He shared visions of the restoration of the Hebrew nation and in particular the life of the Temple. In this particular passage, he shares a prophecy about the coming of a messianic king to Jerusalem and the Hebrew nation, who will inaugurate an era of disarmament and prosperity. It is a passage that we now hear on Palm Sunday or Christ the King Sunday, seeing Jesus as the humble ruler riding on a donkey rather than a war horse stead, bearing peace.

That’s the history. What captured me, however, was the promise in verses 11 and 12. Because the Lord has made a covenant with you, which the Lord will keep, we move from being prisoners in a waterless pit to being “prisoners of hope.” Shift that idea of “covenant” from the one made with Israel, to lay over the covenant God has made with each of us at our baptism. “Prisoners of hope.” Oh, my gosh, what an absolutely stunning and beautiful description. Because the Lord is steadfast and keeps promises, hope is our home and our inheritance. We can live in hope knowing God is always with us and God will restore us to life (though it may not be the “life” we once knew.)

In yesterday’s sermon for the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, I mentioned how faith in not a matter of right thinking but trusting God and loving Jesus. When we do that, we are not leaving our minds or reasoning behind but moving into that home and inheritance of hope and faith. I wrote, “That is why faith often looks like courage. It doesn’t remove doubt, but faith is the courage to go into an unknown future in spite of doubts. Faith doesn’t remove fear. Faith is the courage to do the right thing even when your knees are trembling. Faith doesn’t remove disappointments or guarantee victory. Faith is the courage to keep on going when you may want to cut your losses and give up.”1 (Adapted from a quote from Mark Trotter, “Plant it and Stand Back” Collected Sermons ChristianGlobe Networks, Inc. 2007 0-000-0444)

We are moving into the fourth month of an active response to COVID. We have been living in unchartered waters and we are still unable to see with clarity what is ahead. We are tired and weary, yet cautious, wanting to remain safe and care for our neighbors. Into that Covid fatigue, comes these words to remind us that we are not without resources to carry on. We are “prisoners of hope.” Oh, not a Pollyanna, pat on the hand kind of hope. (“Oh, don’t worry. Everything will be alright.”) We have a hope with muscles. It’s backed by the power, love and goodness of God. Even though we may not see when or how life and church will unfold, we do not give up on our hope — our faith in God.

That doesn’t mean we won’t still have times when we are tired, agitated or downright angry at this new “abnormal normal.”  What it does mean is that we will keep our eyes open to notice God at work — in blessings, through others, in opportunities to serve our neighbors even now. We “prisoners of hope” stay curious and wonder what goodness the Lord may be able to shape out this messiness AND how we may be called to be a part of that newness. This is why we can say, “God is good all the time.  All the time God is good.” We don’t say it blindly or superstitiously. We can say it because we know it is true. We’ve seen it in scripture, in Jesus and in our own lives. In exile or home, we are prisoners of a hope in a God of love who is faithful and steadfast, right here with us and already ahead waiting for us.

Prayer (In part from Lana Gilster’s devotion on today’s reading at Luther Seminary’s God Pause)

“During this pandemic isolation I miss worshipping together. I miss singing familiar hymns. I miss our friends. Our loss can leave us wordless, breathless. God remembered Zechariah and Israel. And God promises to remember us—and to come to us in ever new ways.” Keep us captives of hope in you, that we may anticipate, see and join the renewed and new ways that you will bring into our lives, community and world. Amen.


“My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”  ELW #596
(organ, choir & congregation) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFktMLdeFac
(contemporary) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XBKxqLBefg

“Thine the Amen” ELW #826

“Hymn to Hope” (instrumental) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjmMiQCS_W8

“All My Hope” (Hillsong Worship) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyHZwkd4bys

  1. Adapted from a quote from Mark Trotter, “Plant it and Stand Back” Collected Sermons ChristianGlobe Networks, Inc. 2007 0-000-0444


June 28, 2020 Bulletin and Worship Service

Bulletin 06282020 (pdf)