Assembly is Underway! Follow Along

The Upper Susquehanna Synod Assembly for 2017 is underway!  You can follow along through our social media pages.  We are live “tweeting” from our synod assembly and invite others to also tweet from the assembly and use this hashtag:  #usselca17.  If you’d like to see what is happening at assembly in June, search for the […]

Director of Music Position Open

St. Michael Lutheran Church, Harrisburg, is seeking an enthusiastic and talented person for the position of Director of Music. This is a part-time position averaging 10 hours per week. St. Michael is a a vibrant and affirming congregation made up of a diverse group of devoted members welcoming all to our community located on historic […]

Up and Down the Valleys: June 2017

The Lay Ministry Institute held a reunion in May for those who went through the program over its nearly 20 years. They remembered good times and shared a meal at Mount Luther.  Pastor Melody Sell who serves as the LMI director, gave a history of the institute to those in attendance.  Rev. John Harwood (Zion, […]

Updates from our Bavarian Companion Synod

The Ansbach-Wurzburg Partnership Committee has just recently had an update from our Partnership office in Germany.   Rev. Dr. Philipp Hauenstein confirmed a date to celebrate our partnership and gave an update on the refugee crisis. Sunday, June 25, 2017, will be the date to lift up the Kirchenkreis Ansbach-Wurzburg in prayer.  This is the Commemoration […]

Highlights of May Synod Council Meeting

Here are the major actions at the May 2017 Synod Council Meeting: Approved the retirements of Pastor Cheryl  Berner and Pastor David Pennebaker Approved a revised budget for 2017, and recommended the 2018 budget to Synod Assembly for adoption Recommended salary and housing guidelines for clergy and salary guidelines for Deacons to Synod Assembly for […]

Up and Down the Valleys: May 2017

On May 21, a special joint worship service will take place officially dedicating the creation of the Buffalo Valley Lutheran Parish (Pastor John Yost).  This new parish consists of Christ’s United, Millmont and First, Mifflinburg.  Bishop Barbara J. Collins will be presiding over the worship and dedication service which will include the installation of Pastor […]

April Happenings


Distinguished Award for Retired Leader

As part of this year’s Gettysburg Seminary Spring Academy, a former synod leader received a prestigious award.  The seminary presented   Bishop Emeritus Robert L. Driesen with the Celebrated Lifetime Ministry Award.  The presentation was made at the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Service of Thanksgiving, held in the Chapel of the Abiding Presence.  In addition to […]

Holy Humor Sunday Features Academy Awards

At worship on Sunday, April 23, 2017, members at Trinity, McAlisterville (Pastor Erin Bovendam) were surprised with an “Academy Awards” ceremony.  The awards were presented to the men who were disciples in their Maundy Thursday drama, as well as others who helped with the service. Awards were given out for best costume design, best director, […]

Looking Ahead to June at Camp

Camp Mount Luther is gearing up for their summer camping season for 2017 and are accepting registrations for all programs.  Late fees will begin to be accessed on June 2, so register soon to avoid the late fees!  The summer camping session will be in full swing in June!  This summer’s staff will arrive in […]

Information on the ELCA Youth Gathering/Volunteer Registration Opening Soon

Next month (in May), volunteer applications for the ELCA Youth Gathering will go live and close on July 15.  Current high school seniors and older are eligible to apply as volunteer staff.  The gathering will be held in Houston, TX, from June 27- July 1, 2018.  Congregations should start to identify youth, leaders, and a […]

Up and Down the Valleys: April 2017

The synod’s new website ( debuted in early March.  New features on the website include a featured congregation as well as the ability to post blogs right on our website.  The synod staff plan to do regular blogging, which began on Easter Sunday.  Some new organizational items were added to make the website easier to […]

Chrism Mass is Holy Week Tradition

 The annual Chrism Mass with Renewal of Ministry Vows took place on the Tuesday of Holy Week, April 11, 2017, at Trinity, Hughesville (Pastor Cinda Brucker).  The service included the blessing of oil and the renewal of ministry vows for pastors, deacons, and Authorized Lay Worship Leaders.  Bishop Barbara J. Collins preached during worship.

Synod Assembly in June

The 30th Annual Assembly of the Upper Susquehanna Synod will be held at Susquehanna University on June 16-17, 2017.  The theme of this year’s assembly is “Together in Mission:  Relating and Reforming.”  Guest speakers and musicians from the ELCA’s Global Mission Team will be with us, including Sunitha Mortha as our ELCA Churchwide representative.  Items […]

Liberian Prayers for 2017

The following prayer petitions are prepared and sent by the Upper Susquehanna Synod Liberia Committee.   Please use them in your congregation to lift up our companion synod program; for example, include them in your intercessory prayers, print them in your bulletin or newsletter.  The committee welcomes suggestions for petitions. Click here to download the prayers

LAMPA Seeks Program Director

LAMPa is seeking applications for a full-time program director in its Harrisburg-area office. The program director is responsible for the coordination and communication of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa) statewide action network, working with the seven synods and Lutheran ministries throughout Pennsylvania, as well as ELCA Churchwide partners, particularly World Hunger. The primary objective […]

Seminary Job Posting

United Lutheran Seminary is hiring for an Associate Director of Admissions on the Gettysburg Campus.  Click here for a job description.   Salary is low 50’s plus full benefits packet.  For more information, contact Elizabeth Meighan at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg at or 717-338-3001.  

Where Do Our Offerings Go?

Many people may wonder where their “mission support” or “benevolence” money goes when they put their envelope in the offering plate.  As congregation councils prepare budgets, the question of why support is needed for the larger church often becomes a point of discussion.  Well, your mission support dollars help us work together to do ministry […]

Institute of Liturgical Studies Appoints Co-Directors

The Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University has named Jennifer Baker-Trinity and Brian Johnson as co-directors of the Institute, accepting two-year appointments effective April 2017.  In their roles as co-directors, Baker-Trinity and Johnson will lead, supervise and direct the Institute of Liturgical Studies. They will be responsible for strategic and tactical planning, oversee day-to-day […]

Up and Down the Valleys: March 2017

The synod received a thank you note from Christopher Roehrer, Development Director of Seafarers International House, for the synod’s participation in the Christmas-at-Sea gift sack program.  Forty-one congregations and individuals filled 551 gift bags.  The six congregations contributing the six largest number were St. John, Unityville (48), Mountain Grove (41), St. Luke, Williamsport (32), Siloa, […]

Summary of March 2017 Synod Council Meeting

Council members were given suggestions on how to interact with congregations in their conferences as Bishop Collins has challenged the council. Bishop Collins reported on the recent meeting of the Conference of Bishops. She has been or will be involved in several clergy installations. Reminders were made of the Chrism Mass, Bishop’s Retreat, and Synod […]

Up and Down the Valleys: February 2017

Members of synod groups, Mission Interpreters, Stewardship Committee, Mission Table, Transformational Ministry Team, and Small Church Mission Committee met in January to talk about future directions.  Assistant to the Bishop Craig Miller convened the group as they looked at ways to function in the coming months and years, including “tables” to gather around for mission […]

FREE VBS Curriculum for ELCA Congregations

Lutheran Outdoor Ministries (LOM) produces the curriculum each year that is used in camp and retreat settings and for Vacation Bible Schools and day camps.  This year, LOM is offering their 2016 VBS Bundle of “The Jesus Way” free to ELCA congregations. To repeat:  Special for this year only, the VBS Bundle of the 2016 […]

Evergreen Center Debt Paid Off Nearly Two and A Half Years Early!

The Camp Mount Luther Corporation Board of Directors received good news at their January retreat when Chad Hershberger, executive director of the camp, announced to the board that the debt on the camp’s dining hall and activities building, the Evergreen Center, has been retired.  Through the support of some generous alumni staff donors at the […]

Synod Youth Retreat to Learn More About Faith Practices

  This year’s synod youth retreat, GROW in the Snow, was held on February 10-11, 2017, at Mount Luther.  Nearly 85 youth and their adult leaders attended, looking at “Our Way of Life.”  The theme was based on Matthew 5: 13-16, and explored faith practices and living a Christian life. Those in attendance participated in […]

Up and Down the Valleys: January 2017

Clergy Notes:  Rev. Matt Schuster is now the interim pastor for Christ (Brick) and Christ (White), Middleburg. Rev. Vicky Schaffner has resigned her call at St. John, Leck Kill, and Rev. Peter Bergstresser is interim.  Rev. Timothy Bingman has retired as pastor of the Freeburg Parish (Zion/Grubbs/St. Peters).  United in Christ Lutheran Parish voted on […]

LAMPA Welcomes Terry Brown to Policy Council

Terry Brown, a member of St. John’s, Potts Grove (Pastor Tom Glasoe), has been appointed to represent Upper Susquehanna Synod on the Policy Council of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania.  Recently retired from a Fortune 50 pharmaceutical manufacturer, where he served as Chief of Emergency Services, Terry has served his local communities since the age […]

2016 Synod Year in Review

Here is the USS Ark’s look back at the past year’s highlights: COLLINS ELECTED BISHOP:  The Rev. Barbara Jeanne Collins was elected as the third bishop of the synod for a six-year term beginning September 1, 2016.  She succeeded Bishop Robert L. Driesen, who retired on August 31, 2016, after nine years in office.  Collins […]

Report Describes “Halo Effect” of Sacred Places

America’s older churches and synagogues bring major economic value to their communities, making an significant contribution to local employment, education, children and families, the performing arts, and overall neighborhood health. A new scholarly study of the “halo effect” of older sacred places – conducted by Partners for Sacred Places in partnership with the University of […]

Up and Down the Valleys: December 2016

By action of the Upper Susquehanna Synod Council, the synod office will be closed for lunch from 12:00-1:00 p.m. weekdays.  The change took effect on December 1. Zion, Turbotville (Pastor Erwin Roux), began a new worship service this fall.  They now have a Saturday 6:00 p.m. liturgy. First, Watsontown (Pastor James Fladland), celebrated their 150th […]

As Winter Begins, Think Camp!

Ask yourself this:  When was the last time you played in the woods at night or slept outside and stared at the stars?  As the cold winds of winter blow, isn’t it nice to think about lying in a field, staring at the starlit night, as a warm summer breeze blows over your body? Now […]

Seafarers Collection

Members in 42 synod congregations and two individuals filled a total of 551 Christmas At Sea gift bags for the ministry of Seafarers’ International House.  Pictured above is Brenda Krouse, synod office manager, with the bags.  The bags are given to merchant seamen who come into port to off-load their cargoes during the Advent/Christmas season.  […]