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From The Pastor's Desk - Groundhog Day Edition

Dear Siblings in Christ, Hello on this chilly but sunny Saturday! I was not too excited to hear Punxy Phil's prediction this past week as I'm more than ready for winter to be over, but seeing the sun peeking through the clouds today gives us hope that spring will be here before too long . + Although it looks like our weather will be fine for worshiping together this weekend, a reminder that in the event that we will need to cancel worship because of inclement weather, we will post the closing/delay on the church website, Facebook page, email, and have it listed on WeAreCentralPA.com. If you don’t have access to these sources, please let Karen, Pat, Larry, or me know and we will make sure you receive a call or a text. We also follow the Hollidaysburg School District schedule regarding cancellations and delays - so if school is closed for a particular day, we will also cancel all activities for that day. + We are excited to be participating in the Souper Bowl of Caring again this year -- and have collected more than 575 items to date! Can we beat last year's total of 1000 items that were donated to our area food banks?! We only have two more weeks to go -- thanks to all who have contributed items so far, and thanks for keeping the momentum going on this project that helps feed those in need in our local community. Let's keep going and keep items coming in from now through Super Bowl Sunday - all non-perishable items may be placed on the "not yet counted" table in the Geeseytown Fellowship Hall. + If you have -- or are! -- a kid, grandkid, or other family member that loves snow, Camp Sequanota is sponsoring an overnight Snow Camp Feb. 25 and 26 for youth in grades 6 through 12. The event will include music, fellowship, food, crafts, fun, and – of course! – sledding. Funds are available to help offset the cost of attendance if needed; registration is open from now until Feb. 13. If you have a youth who may be interested in going or would like more info, please let me know. More info is available on the Sequanota website at https://sequanota.com/events/descriptions/ + Our parish's Women of the ELCA organization is sponsoring a service project to collect toiletry items for Blair County Community Action Agency’s Homeless Backpack Program. Items and monetary donations will be collected until the end of February; items needed include small-size soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, comb, tissues, deodorant, and other travel-size toiletry items. Donations will be used to purchase gift cards for convenience and grocery stores to place in the backpacks. A collection box is located inside the front door of Newry. + A reminder that we will be publishing our next edition of the parish quarterly newsletter at the end of February. If you have any info that you would like included, please send it to Karen at gnlutheran.news@aol.com no later than Tuesday, February 15. + Joint Parish Council will be held Wednesday, February 23, at 6:30 p.m. at Newry. + In Synod and Churchwide news, Pastor Kevin Shock (who currently serves as pastor at St. Mark Lutheran, Pleasant Gap) has been called to serve as Director for Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop for the Allegheny Synod. He will begin his new call on March 1. The ELCA has also made the difficult decision to cancel the 2022 Churchwide Youth Gathering because of the pandemic. The next gathering is scheduled for 2024; a regional youth gathering may be held later this year. We will provide you with more details will be provided as they come together. + I look forward to hopefully greeting you in worship this weekend and pray that you will experience Jesus and his love as we gather together as Christ's community.

In Christ's Love,

Pastor MJ

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