Dear Friends in Christ:

Welcome to St. Paul’s!

We think you will find St. Paul‚Äôs to be a lively gathering of faithful people who are passionate about the Gospel and who care about each other and the community.¬† We are a ‚ÄúReconciling in Christ‚ÄĚ congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Please feel free to visit with us on Sunday morning for worship or participate in some of our ministries and events.

May God continue to bless you and strengthen you with God’s grace. 

Yours in Christ,
Beth Van Hanswyk, Council President


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4900 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008

We are located between Ellicott & Everett Streets NW, between Murch Elementary School and the Fire Station.








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From the Pastor's Desk:

November 4, 2018

Dear friends,

With this being my final day of my ministry with all of you, the good and faithful people of St. Paul's, I can only thank God for the opportunity to have served as your pastor for 34 years. Someone asked why I didn't "stick it out" for another year to round it out to 35 years. Honestly, I could have stayed another ten years, well, maybe just five, but I just felt the time was right to leave. I felt it was best for me and Barbara, and for St. Paul’s.

It is time for us to move into this new chapter of life called retirement. Since I have never been retired before I am both excited and a little anxious. What am I going to do with my time that was usually taken up by church meetings, sermon preparation, hospital visits, and teaching Bible study? Maybe for the first month I’ll do nothing. I wonder if I know how to do that. We’ll see. Then maybe I’ll buy a snow blower, and make sure the hot tub is really hot, because it does get cold and snowy in Garrett County. Then maybe I’ll sign up to be a supply pastor, like the ones I would invite to St. Paul’s when I was on vacation. Then maybe I’ll become an interim pastor, but only part-time. We’ll see.

I know for sure that I will be spending more time with Barbara, who for many years played second fiddle to the church, but rarely complained. We will have longer morning coffee time, and time to visit our son in Austin. We will have time to plan for the future, but always time to remember all of you. Every one of you has been a blessing in our lives. We thank you for your 34 years of love and support. Please know, as well, that I will always hold you in my thoughts and prayers.

I probably will not return to St. Paul’s, but I will religiously read the weekly e-mail to catch up on what is happening in your lives, and in the life of the congregation. If you would like to send us a note or a Christmas card, our new address is 1719 Penn Point Rd, Oakland, MD, 21550. My email address is

Take good care my friends, and take good care of your new pastor!

Yours in Christ,


 Rev. Thomas A. Omholt                                         


November 18, 2018

Blessing of Prayer Shawls, Blankets

Blessing of Thanksgiving Baskets

Thanksgiving baskets as well as Prayer Shawls, blankets, lap covers, and baptismal blankets will be blessed during both worship services this Sunday. 

The prayer gifts will be distributed to various hospitals, organizations, the sick, and those in need of our prayers. Please take time to visit the chancel area after worship and look at these beautiful items that will soon be a source of comfort to many individuals. A special thank you to all of the devoted members of the Prayer Shawl Ministry. If you know of someone who would benefit from one of the gifts contact Deaconess Cassie at the church office.

A special thank you to members of St. Paul's who contributed Thanksgiving baskets to Friendship Place.   The baskets will be picked up this week and distributed to individuals and families in need of a holiday meal. God's blessings on you and Happy Thanksgiving!


 Letter from President of the Council 

Dear Members of St. Paul's - 

What a wonderful send-off for Pastor Tom and Barbara this past weekend!  The service was incredibly moving and the luncheon was the perfect opportunity to enjoy good fellowship and to say our final goodbyes.  Many thanks to Sue Hollar and her hard-working volunteers who put together the celebration. 

Although it will take all of us some time to adjust to Pastor Tom's departure, we are moving forward with preparing St. Paul's for an exciting future.  Our Transition Committee members met for the first time last night and are eager to begin reaching out to everyone in the Congregation to hear your thoughts and ideas about the ministries of St. Paul's and what we should be looking for in a new pastor.  The Transition Committee will take this input and prepare a ministry site profile that will be made available to potential pastor applicants.  The committee also will serve as liaison and support to our Interim Pastor, John Spangler when he arrives in early December.

These committee members will be available after the 11 am service this Sunday (November 11th) and the following Sunday (November 18th) to answer your questions and to begin the conversation about our future.  Please stop by the Portico for a cookie and a cup of coffee and meet with the committee members.  The members of the committee are Christi Barnhart (who will serve as chair), Gail Ferris, Rebecca Highsmith, Sarah Hines, and Paul Reichert. 

As always, please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.  I can be reached at 202.669.1652 or by email.


Beth Van Hanswyk


Rev. John R. Spangler  

St. Paul's Interim Pastor 

We are excited to announce that the Council has approved the appointment of our Interim Pastor, Rev. John R. Spangler.  A brief biography is set out below.

The Rev. John R. Spangler, Jr. currently serves as an Interim Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  Earlier chapters of his rostered service included Senior VP for Administration for the United Lutheran Seminary in 2017 and from 2000 to 2016 as Executive Assistant to the President for Communication and Planning for the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.  In that role, he oversaw all areas of communication and campus development, planning and operations as well as the Seminary's affiliated Washington, D.C.-based Luther Institute.  From 2006 to 2013, he also served as President of the Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation, a seminary subsidiary that created the award-winning Seminary Ridge Museum on the seminary campus.

Ordained by the Lutheran Church in America in 1983, he served as pastor to Christ Lutheran Church, West Boylston, MA in the 1980's and Christ the King Lutheran Church, Nashua, NH in the 1990's.  He also served the New England Synod staff and two bishops as chief communications officer for 15 years.  His educational history includes Carthage College, (B.A.) Kenosha Wisconsin and Yale University Divinity School (M.Div.), New Haven, CT.

Pastor Spangler serves as a board member of the Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation.  In the past, he has served terms on the Advisory Board of the Lutheran Magazine, the Board of Governors for the Religion Communicators Council (a national interfaith organization for religious communicators), and on the board of the Lutheran Home Care and Hospice program of Spiritrust Lutheran.  He also served on the Board of Main Street Gettysburg.  Pastor Spangler lives in Gettysburg with his wife, the Rev. Dr. Maria E. Erling, Professor of Modern Church History at the United Lutheran Seminary.


Transition Committee Established!

Transition Committee Outreach 

This Sunday!


Our Transition Committee members met for the first time last week and are eager to begin reaching out to everyone in the Congregation to hear your thoughts and ideas about the ministries of St. Paul's and what we should be looking for in a new pastor.  The Transition Committee will take this input and prepare a ministry site profile that will be made available to potential pastor applicants.  The committee also will serve as liaison and support to our Interim Pastor, John Spangler when he arrives in early December.

These committee members will again be available after the 11 am service this Sunday (November 18th) to answer your questions and to begin the conversation about our future.  Please stop by the Portico for a cookie and a cup of coffee and meet with the committee members.  The members of the committee are Christi Barnhart (chair), Gail Ferris, Rebecca Highsmith, Sarah Hines, and Paul Reichert. 


Social Ministry Meeting on Sunday, November 18th. 

Join the social ministry committee as we plan for upcoming holiday service projects! We'll meet in the conference room after the 11 am service on Sunday, November 18. Contact Emily Foley with questions or ideas!


News from Lutheran World Relief

 The mission quilts made by Carol Wake and blessed last year at Christ the King Sunday went to Armenia! LWR's partner there is International Orthodox Christian Charities and they distributed the blankets to Syrian refugees as well as vulnerable Armenians struggling in the grip of chronic poverty. Thanks to everyone for your generous donations of fabric and thread for the project. Please know that Carol is still quilting and welcomes any extra fabric and thread for her next batch of quilts. 


Homeless Shelter 

Volunteers Needed


We are looking to the future with excitement for continuing our ministry caring for the homeless in D.C.  We hope to work with our partners from Friendship Place, a leading provider of housing services for the homeless, to implement a new peer model for St. Paul's Shelter.  The peer model focuses on personal empowerment to facilitate connecting people to permanent housing effectively and efficiently, and is a best practice model in transitional housing.  We are looking for members of the congregation to serve on an advisory board to help lead this important ministry.  No experience is needed, just a strong desire to ensure our shelter is a welcoming and supportive transitional space for our residents.  If you are interested, please contact Beth Van Hanswyk or Kate Belinski .   


Welcome to our new Evangelism Chairs,

Blake and Holly!

Read a note from them HERE!


"CareNotes" Available

Kids, Teenagers, Adults

CareNotes are again available for all ages in the congregations. The Booklets are located in the narthex and the portico. Take a few minutes to see if there are any that may be helpful to smaller children, teenagers, and various topics that adults find challenging.  Contact Deaconess Cassie if there are other topics that would be of interest to you.


Parents of College Students: 

Please make sure that the church office has your son's or daughter's college address so we can reach out to them periodically.  

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Wackler.


Prayer Shawl Ministry 

November Meeting

The Prayer Shawl ministry will not gather in November due to the Blessing of the Prayer Shawls on November 18th.  If any members are currently working on items that you would like to have blessed please bring them to my office or to the chancel on November 18th. Please contact Deaconess Cassie with any questions.



St. Paul's Food Pantry continues to be a success, and we are hoping to add a few more  volunteer drivers to our team to keep it running smoothly! We are looking to supplement our existing driver team with new volunteers, who would be able to pick up food at the Capital Area Food Bank once a month or so. The pickup is on Friday mornings, so anyone with a flexible schedule would be ideal!

Please email Pete Schroeder if you are interested in helping out, and keeping members of our community fed!

Please consider a donation to the food pantry. We are in real need of soups, canned tuna and meats, canned fruits and vegetables, canned beans, pasta and pasta sauce, rice, cereal. Also, any type of toiletry is always appreciated-deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soaps, toilet paper, Kleenex.

You can leave the donations in the basket in the narthex or by the white cupboards in the hall by the kitchen.

Many thanks.


Prime Time

Click Here for more information about the Prime Time Senior Center.null

Our Prime Time Members participating in a meditative activity using Tibetan Singing Bowls.




We are looking for people interested in volunteering for this very important church function.  It consists of a two member team that works on Sundays after church or Monday for about 1 or 2 hours collecting, counting and recording the offering.  The teams are assigned a month at a time, usually 3 or 4 months a year (depending on how many teams we have).  Sundays can be switched with other teams.  Training and written instructions are provided.  Please contact Paula Stewart 410-956-7117 or the church office to volunteer.





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8:30 am--Worship Service

9:45 am--10:45 am--Sunday School

11:00 am--Worship Service


This Sunday (November 18th) we continue with 2 worship services (8:30 am and 11 am) and Pastor Rebecca Stelle will be our guest preacher. 

Schedule for Visiting Pastors:

November 21st (Thanksgiving Eve - 7 pm service) Pastor Katherine Cartwright Knodell 

November 25th Pastor Elijah Mwitanti 


Ordination Service for Chris Schaefer to be held on November 17th! 

All are invited to the Service of Ordination of Chris Schaefer! He will be ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on Saturday, November 17 at 3:30 pm at St. Paul's.

Chris has been called to be Pastor of Divinity Lutheran Church in Towson, MD, and served his internship year at St. Paul's during 2016-2017.

A reception to follow the service in celebration of the beginning of Chris's ministry.


                                             Image result for young kids 

And don't forget!  The church nursery is available every Sunday 10:30 am--12:30 pm (or until the last child gets picked up).  Let us give you a break when you need it!


Thanksgiving Dinner for AU Students 

          Sunday, November 18th - Please Help!

For the past several years, St. Paul's has been providing a Thanksgiving dinner for approximately 30 students at American University on the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving. We still need gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, rolls and pies. Monetary gifts towards the purchase of food can be accepted as well. 

Click HERE for a link to SignUp Genius to volunteer to bring food items.

The dinner is at 8 pm at the Kay Spiritual Life Center on AU's campus. Kay is the round building with the flame on top directly off of the Mass. Avenue entrance to the campus.Food can be dropped off anytime between 6:30 pm and 8 pm.  

If you would like to assist or if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact Joy Belew in the church office (202-966-5489). 


Annual Thanksgiving Eve Service--Wednesday, November 21st at 7 pm

On Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 21st at 7 pm, members and friends will gather in the chancel of St. Paul's to give thanks to God for all His many blessings. Pastor Katherine Cartwright Knodel will lead the service. Please join us!


Hanging of the Greens--Saturday, Dec. 1st at 10 am

Please join us in the Sanctuary on Saturday, December 1st at 10 am for fun, fellowship and refreshments! We will deck St. Paul's in all its Christmas Trimmings, tree and wreaths, garlands and bows, pine cones and holly berries. Light refreshments will be available. All are welcome! 


Advent Begins December 2nd!

Christmas will be here soon, so don't forget to take time to enjoy the special season of anticipation that is Advent. Advent is the special time leading up to Christmas as we ponder what God promised to us: That we would be sent Jesus, to live among us and be our Savior.

The Advent Workshop will be at the church on Sunday, November 18th, during the Sunday School hour. Please join us as we make a kid-friendly Advent craft, make cards for our college students, and have the opportunity to pick up the supplies to make our "Countdown to Christmas Chains." There will also be a chance for families to make an Advent wreath for their home! (No need to RSVP, but if you'd like to make a wreath, please let Lisa Wackler know, so we have enough supplies on hand.)

Our College Advent Care Packages are always a big hit with our parishioners who are away at college. Parents of college students should notify the church office of their child's school address if they haven't already done so, because we don't want them to miss out! And if anyone wants to contribute boxes of pre-packaged snacks, candy/gum/mints, powdered drink mixes, or other small seasonal items for the packages, (or if you'd like to contribute money for the purchase of these items), please let Lisa Wackler know.

Mar-Lu-Ridge Camp and Conference Center is having anAdvent Family Gathering on Sunday, December 2nd, 1:00-4:00 p.m. Bring your family and friends and start a new tradition! Enjoy the warmth of their woodstoves and campfires, create some holiday crafts for your home, make a beautiful wreath* with greens from the property, and fellowship over a delicious meal in Mar-Lu-Ridge's Agape Hall.

$7/adult  -  $3/youth ages 3-11  -  children under 3 are free!
Please RSVP by November 30: mlr@mar-lu-ridge.org800.238.9974

*Note: Please bring your own wire and wire wreath frames


Help Needed for the Christmas Pageant!

Last year, our Christmas pageant costumes received a nice uplift. But with the pageant quickly approaching, we need some assistance with enhancing our new Christmas pageant costumes. We need both sewers (hand and machine), and some donations.  Please let us know if you are interested in helping - you can contact Christi Barnhart or Amy Moorhus Baumgardner or on her cell phone - 301.602.4729.


Gifts of Hope 2018 

Gifts of Hope is our Synod's alternative gift giving program which enables people to give gifts that reflect the gift God gave us, God's Son Jesus Christ. Please consider substituting a Gift of Hope for a more traditional gift on your list for friends and family, or supplementing those other gifts with a donation that will lighten the lives of others this Christmas season.

This program gives anyone the opportunity to purchase a practical gift to help our brothers and sisters in the DC area and around the world. Real challenges of homelessness and poverty continue to grow in our community, and there are needs across the globe that call for our attention. With Gifts of Hope, you will have the opportunity to choose from a group of Lutheran social ministry organizations, camps, and our synod's companion synods abroad to directly support their mission and programs.  Many children in the Washington area and throughout the world have benefited from Gifts of Hope by receiving books, camp scholarships, free lunches, and educational trips. Social ministry organizations, Lutheran camps, and Lutheran Churches in El Salvador, Namibia and Slovakia have also benefited from Gifts of Hope.

Beginning on Sunday, December 2, you can make a monetary contribution in honor of those on your gift list. Your contribution goes to the beneficiary organization to purchase the gifts you have selected.  View all the participating organizations on the back of the catalog or on the web.

Gifts of Hope catalogs will be available in our congregation on Sunday, November 25. Watch for the display after each service beginning December 2 and ending December 23 in St. Paul's narthex. You can review the gifts, fill out an order form, and purchase your gifts. You will receive a beautiful card and insert to use as the gift. For more information about Gifts of Hope see the web site, or contact Rebecca Highsmith, or at 202.309.2812.



DID YOU KNOW is a weekly feature in observance of St. Paul's 175th Anniversary. 

Did you know that each inscription chiseled into the cornerstone of St. Paul's Lutheran Church has a specific meaning? You most likely have passed the cornerstone many times, but perhaps have not considered the inscriptions.

As you go up the steps to enter the church through the front doors, the cornerstone is on the right. The stone is Indiana limestone and weighs 842 1/2 pounds. It is 3 feet wide, 23 1/2 inches deep, and 13 5/8 inches high.

On the front face is the name, Saint Paul's Lutheran Church.

On the north face are three dates:

1844 - cornerstone laying date of St. Paul's original church building. 

1911 - cornerstone laying date of Epiphany Lutheran Church. 

1930 - cornerstone laying date of present church. 

The first two dates are placed underneath, symbolic of the fact that this church is built on the work done by the two former churches. 1930 is larger to suggest the prophetic hope and prayer of larger things to come.

In the center of the south face is the monogram of two Greek letters X (Chi) and R (Rho) which form a Christogram. To the left of the monogram is the Greek letter A (alpha) and to the right O (omega) meaning Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the first and last. Underneath is the scripture reference to Ephesians 2:20-22.

"Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."






As you come across pictures from your own time at St. Paul's, please share them with us , so we can include them on our website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and in displays around the church.  If your pictures are hard copies, we will scan them and return them to you.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Lisa or Joy in the Church Office.



Halloween Candy Collection


St. Paul's will be collecting any extra or unwanted Halloween candy again this year. We will make up small gift packages for the folks at Friendship Place to give to their clientele in the cold weather months. We will begin collecting today in the box labeled "Halloween Candy" in the portico. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Wackler.



Happy 175th Anniversary, St. Paul's!


175th Anniversary of St. Paul's!


Sunday, April 15th, 2018, marked the actual 175th Anniversary of St. Paul's English Lutheran Church. While St. Paul's first service was actually on January 8, 1843, the complete organization of the church was not until April 15th 1843 when the first church council was elected. We had a wonderful celebration to commemorate the special day! 

The day began with a festival worship service at which Bishop Graham brought greetings and presided. A brass quartet joined us and all of the choirs (the Bell Choir, Youth Choir and Adult Choir) contributed lovely music to mark the day. The congregation read Psalm 46 in unison, just as was done at St. Paul's Semi-Centennial in 1893. 

Following worship, St. Paul's hosted a celebratory luncheon and program. Thomas L. Bowen of DC Mayor's Office of Religious Affairs presented a congratulatory letter from Mayor Muriel Bowser to Pastor Omholt and then led us in Grace.  

There was a delicious buffet luncheon and while people were eating there was a video of the construction of the present day church accompanied by music of David Hearn playing the first organ. During dessert, we had a good old fashioned hymn sing! 

Following the meal we heard comments from 2 of our Trustees (June Ericsson and David Cox) and then there was a surprise visit from Pastor J.G. Butler who served at ST. Paul's from 1849-1873! He was portrayed by Dwayne Starlin, a professional impersonator and delivered parts of Rev. Butler's famous sermon from the day following President Lincoln's Assassination and answered questions from the audience.







There was also a display highlighting St. Paul's through its 175 years in the baptistry and a new brief history of St. Paul's was available. This display will be evolving throughout the year. If anyone would like to help out with the display, please contact Joy Belew in the church office. 



Our Mission Team in Houston, Texas, last November!