May 20, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

May 20, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

May 20, 2020

Christ is Risen! Alleluia
(He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!)

I found out yesterday what a lot of people have been doing during the quarantine — they have been gardening! Yesterday I went to Orrstown, Pennsylvania to visit Lurgens, one of my favorite greenhouse/gardening places. Usually in mid May, the greenhouses would be packed with flower and vegetable plants and seedlings. It is usually beautiful and fascinating, even for someone like myself who knows so little about such things.  Yesterday, however, it looked like it was mid July. The selection was sparse and they didn’t even have any zucchini plants left! (Now how am I suppose to make zucchini bread for our Gardens for Hunger table without those club size zucchinis?) Yep! A LOT of people have been VERY busy putting in gardens during these stay-at-home weeks.

Still, it was a beautiful day. I set my GPS for the Ivy Hills Farm in Smithsburg and I was taken on a backroads adventure that was simply lovely. It was like a mystery tour as I tried to guess where I was going to come out in Waynesboro and then to Ivy Hills Farm. There I DID find the LAST green zucchini plant. (You zucchini bread lovers are relieved, aren’t you?) I was also introduced to yellow zucchini, No, it’s not the usual yellow squash. It really is supposed to taste like zucchini. We’ll see.

After a Zoom meeting of Haven’s Reopening Team, I was pleased to find Pastor Dave in Haven’s Vegetable Garden. It was nice to have company as we both hoed, raked, planted and watered. (Yes, staying aware of social distancing.) Now we work with nature to encourage these plants to flourish so we have vegetables to share with you.

Maybe a vegetable garden at the very beginning of the season is a good way to imagine our time at home in quarantine. If you look at Haven’s garden right now, you would never imagine it would produce a bounty of vegetables. It looks rather stark. Some of the plants look puny and vulnerable. Everything is spaced far apart. But in a month or two, it will look completely different. There will be buds and vegetables on the plants. The tomato plants that looked so well spaced, will look crowded. (It seems no matter how far apart you plant tomatoes, they grow into each other.) Those zucchinis will seem to go from small to huge overnight.

We who have been at home for what seems like a LONG time, may have thought we were fallow, unproductive, and far away from others. Yet, what has God been doing in and among us during this time. Maybe it has actually been a growing time in which we will only see some of the “fruits” in retrospective. What lessons have we gathered about ourselves, our families, our church, and our community? What have we learned to value even more than before? As we anticipate coming closer together, how will we live out renewed and newly found learnings and treasures? I wonder how the garden in you, the garden in me, the garden of Haven Lutheran Church will look as it has been care for by our Lord all this time? With God’s help and guidance, we will have surprising bounty and be life-giving fruit for the healing of the world.

Tend to those gardens of your life, my dear sisters and brothers in Christ. Be patient and kind. Let the Master Gardener tend to you through prayer, devotions, worship and service. Remember to look up to notice the ways God is sending you refreshment, beauty, hope and nourishment.  Let the garden that is you grow under the watchful, loving care of our Lord.

God IS with you!  God IS with us.
Pastor Linda M Alessandri






Ed Yelinek    Ohna Baker


Washington County Interfaith Coalition

Interfaith Prayers for a Difficult Time

May 20, 2020


CS Lewis (British author)

Prayer is a request.

The essence of request (as distinct from compulsion)

Is that it may or may not

Be granted.


I pray Thee, O gracious Lord,

Grant that this mendicant may

cling successfully to solitude,

Making solitude his paradise.

Holiness of life, may we step into days of new hope with care and love.  We hold possibilities for making space for others as we begin to step out from the guarded lives of recent months.  May we be so rich in the art of solitude that we return gently to our former lives. Help us as we protect and cherish each other.

Reverend Valerie Wills, Co-coordinator Washington County Interfaith Coalition


UPDATE ON JOHN BRITTON JR   It seems John was not taken to Johns Hopkins but to Medstar Washington Hospital. After many more test, John will be coming home today or tomorrow. He has been given medication and all are hopeful it will resolve any problems. Continue to keep John in prayer.

WORSHIP AT HAVEN  The ad hoc team charged to prepare plans for Haven’s reopening (which would need Council’s approval) met again via Zoom yesterday. We are currently looking to find a limited FM transmitter we could use for a drive in worship as a way to begin moving toward worshiping together. (Thanks, Kelly Bracken, for calling several churches who have been doing drive-in worship services to get information about the needed equipment.  At the same time, we are researching the cost of cleaning and sanitizing interior spaces and searching for where we could purchase other items we would need for inside worship (ex. Hand sanitizer, disinfection wipes, masks).
As you can see, this is a complex process we must navigate. To do it well and to the satisfaction of our insurance carrier (which requires following CDC guidelines), we must take our time. As I have said before, it is better that we err on the side of caution and love of neighbor so that we will not be the cause of any infection.
Today, Lutheran pastor from Washington County and Allegany County met for our weekly Zoom meeting. We each shared how our congregations were proceeding toward re-opening for worship. All but *one was proceeding as we are —- slowly, cautiously, and hopefully with safety and healthy practices at the forefront. I found that reassuring and encouraging. I hope you do, too. We’ve all worked so hard to stay at home to limit the spread of COVID-19. None of us want to undo that progress as we move into phase 1 of Maryland’s re-opening strategy. I will keep you posted. Keep praying for the Holy Spirit to guide us with wisdom and insight.

(In case you were wondering about the exception, Trinity Lutheran, Hagerstown, will open for worship this Sunday.  Its sanctuary can seat 500 so it has a great amount of room for people to social distance in designated pews. They are requiring masks and have some other health protocols in place. There will be no singing. They also have a sexton on staff.)

Read:  John 17: 1-11  (First part of the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday of Easter)
1After Jesus had spoken these words [to his disciples], he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

Gospel writer John spends a great deal of time (chapters 13 -17) giving us a portrait of what concerned Jesus on the night of his betrayal. First, Jesus spends a great deal of time instructing and reassuring the disciples. Then we get to overhear Jesus praying on the behalf of his disciples, which includes us.

When Jesus speaks of “glory” here, he is not asking God to heap on praise and let others see him as a superstar. Jesus is asking God the Father to let him accomplish what will glorify God and God’s redeeming plan for the world. Jesus is pointing to his crucifixion, death and resurrection that is to bridge a way for creation and God to be once again united, “to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.”

In part, here is what I hear Jesus praying: “Father, help me do what needs to be done. Help me be what you need me to be. Help me point others to you with every part of who I am and what I do. Help me face what is to come so that all may know eternal life. ‘And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.’ (17:3)” Jesus is seeking grandeur or acclaim. Jesus is seeking to stay true to his calling, to be the true revelation of God and to be God’s saving grace for the healing of all creation, even if it will mean his death.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me do what needs to be done. Help me be what you need me to be. Help me point others to you with every part of who I am and what I do. Show me how to do that each day, Lord, so that others may come to know your love, compassion and saving ways. Amen


“Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” ELW #310

“Glorify Thy Name”

“Glorify the Lord” (gospel choir)

From Valerie Wills
The video features a school teacher in the Town of Banff, Alberta Canada named Heather Jean Jordan, who has been climbing the steeple of a local place of worship, St. George’s-in-the-Pines Anglican Church, each day since the Coronavirus outbreak shut so much down and playing ‘Amazing Grace’ on the bells for anyone within ear range to hear. Beautiful!

On the lighter side, “Wildlife returns to Banff