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The Fall Church Council Meeting was held on December 3rd in the fellowship hall and online following worship and a delicious meal sponsored by the youth! Approximately 73 persons were in attendance.

Moderator Joe Detrick referenced the importance of teamwork recorded in the Book Nehemiah (Ch. 1-4) as Nehemiah led the Jewish people to action in the rebuilding of the walls and Temple. The people shouted, “Let’s start building!” And the people “committed themselves to the common good.” (2:18) “For the people had a mind to work.” (4:6) In like manner, challenged the Moderator, “For the congregation at Elizabethtown had a mind to work.” This theme of “commitment to the common good” continued throughout the Council deliberations marked by thoughtful and spirited discussions.

Regular action items included the acceptance of the reports from the treasurer, church board, and pastors. Recognition was given to Jeff Eisenbise for his faithful service as Board Chair for the past two years. Joyfully approved was the 100% affirmation to relicense Jason Haldeman to the ministry in the Atlantic Northeast District! Thoughtful discussion surrounded the proposed budget for 2024. An amendment was offered to increase several line items of the proposed budget. Following much respectful deliberation, the amendment was unsupported resulting in the majority approval for the proposed budget.

The Endowment Integrity Committee reported on their ongoing conversations regarding investment holdings. Among the ongoing questions to be discerned included “What are the theological guidelines to our giving and use of the funds?” A fuller report and recommendations will be made to the Church Board in the Spring of 2024.

The Council voted unanimously to affirm the recommendations of the Gifts Discernment Committee regarding the 2024 Church Leadership Slate. Pastor Elizabeth concluded the meeting with prayer.

May the Shalom of God be with you this Advent Season!

Joe Detrick, Moderator

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During 2023, our church became a member congregation of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light (PA IPL) after a recommendation to the Witness Commission from the Climate Crisis Action Team. PA IPL’s mission is to inspire and mobilize people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change. Through environmental education, sustained advocacy, creation care, and direct actions PA IPL strives to promote stewardship, creation care, and the use of clean, renewable energy. They have sponsored many tree-planting initiatives, education programs on religion and environment, and advocate for environmental issues at the local, state and national level. We were privileged to have Katie Ruth, Executive Director, speak to us about the work of PA IPL in a faith formation class during April of 2023. We are delighted to have them back on January 14 to talk about a new PA IPL initiative, watersheds. We live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, meaning all of the water in our lakes, streams, creeks, and rivers ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. While the overall health of the bay has been improving over the past few years thanks to many agricultural reforms, we can all do more to protect our watershed. Please join us on January 14 during the Faith Formation hour!

Climate Crisis Action Team

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On Saturday, February 3 you will have an opportunity to hear stories of racism experienced by people you know–and some that you don’t know–from the nineteenth century into the present day. The purpose of this gathering is to raise our awareness of racism that we may have thought only happens in places we read about or see in the news. But, Elizabethtown has not been immune to racism. The Racial Justice Working Group has been interviewing members of our congregation and local community and recording their stories on video. While we are still in the process of doing interviews, we want to begin sharing them with you.

You and the greater Elizabethtown community are invited to come to the Community Place on Washington on Saturday, February 3 from 3:00-4:30 pm to hear about local historical events, listen to clips of some of the interviews, and share your stories of racism in small group settings that may be prompted by what you hear. The ultimate purpose of this gathering is to begin to name our hopes and dreams for the Elizabethtown community and all its residents so that we can become a welcoming community that respects all its people living and interacting with us here.

Racial Justice Working Group

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