Visioning Process Update — March 10

March 11, 2024

The LEAD Dream Team has been busy actively listening to our neighbors – various agencies in our community – to learn the challenges and successes they see on a daily basis in and around Hanover.

On March 16 and 17, St. Matthew, once again, will be hosting Peggy Hahn, Executive Director of LEAD, and John Auger, board member, as we work together on the visioning and strategic planning process for St. Matthew Lutheran Church.

Please join us on Sunday, March 17 in Fellowship Hall after the 10:30 service (around 11:30) where you’ll hear more about what the LEAD team is learning as well as the next steps in the visioning and strategic planning process.

New Congregational Council Installation — January 14

February 2, 2024

Congregational Council members and officers for 2024 were installed at the 10:30 service on Sunday, January 14: John Mancini as president; Sara Staub, vice president; Kelli Reed, secretary; and Bob Curlen as treasurer. Welcome to Lee Baughman, Charley Lidard, Carolyn Markle, Ellen Shenk and Lexi Smith as the Youth Representative as our new Council members. May God bless and guide all of our Council members. Also, thank you to our outgoing Council officers and members for their service to the church these past three years.

Lead Committee Report on Phase 1 of Visioning Process — November 27

November 27, 2023

The LEAD Committee would like to thank all who completed our survey and participated in one of the ten forums that were held. We would like to share some of the general themes that we heard in our conversations with the members of St Matthew.

In response to how you would describe St Matthew, we consistently heard welcoming, friendly, and caring. Many expressed appreciation of the leadership of the church as well as its strong music ministry. Many were pleased with the increased outreach of the church within the community and beyond. The strength of the youth groups and meaningful sermons delivered by the pastors was also cited frequently.
The response regarding what members are passionate about centered primarily on the programs involving music and our younger members. Our music program has the ability to draw people into the church through the variety of choirs for all ages and the concert programs. Many expressed how the musical selections enhance the message of the day. There seems to be a consensus of offering a blend of traditional and contemporary music within the service.

Members have enjoyed seeing the younger members of the congregation actively involved in all aspects of the service. Interest was expressed in terms of offering a full day preschool program. In order to get more school aged children involved in activities, an effort should be made to offer invitations to be involved as the seasons change. Finally, there was interest in trying to get a young adult group formed for fellowship.

Finally we wondered how members felt about our community. The consensus was that St Matthew does care about the community as evidenced by the Caring Cupboard, Community Meals, and special drives to benefit those in need. However, many recognized the plight of the homeless, those dealing with mental health and addiction problems, and food insecurity. These problems are significant and many thought beyond the ability of St Matthew to solve by themselves. A large number of people suggested possibly partnering with community agencies to be part of the solution

The above were the main themes discussed. Some individuals provided some excellent suggestions for consideration. Again we thank all of you for your thought and willingness to share those thoughts with the committee.

We now move onto Phase 2 which will involve talking to various local agencies and organizations to get their insight on the Hanover Community. We look forward to those discussions and hope to come away better educated on the needs of Hanover and what role we at St Matthew can play in being part of the solution.

If you have any questions, please contact any of the LEAD Team members: Hunter Crabbs, Sherry Crouse, Randy Kline, Tim Peck, Kelli Reed, Kayla Steffens, Jen Troup, Pastor Kathy Vitalis Hoffman, or Vicki Wildasin

Search Committee Updates — October 26

October 26, 2023

for Associate Pastor Update

This is just a quick update as to what the search committee is doing. We are patiently waiting for the Synod to send us some names so we can review the submitted candidates. We are confident that will happen very soon. When that does happen, and we receive names for our review, we will let you know that the process is continuing forward. Please continue to keep our search in your prayers.

for Minister of Music

The Committee has received many resumes and is now in the process of initial interviews.

We are excited about several candidates and are looking forward to learning more about them and are confident we will find someone who can share their musical talents with our church family.

Thank you for your prayers as we continue on this journey.


–   The Minister of Music Search Committee

Visioning Process Updates — October 22

October 24, 2023

The LEAD Dream team is moving to the next phase of the visioning process – listening to our neighbors. We are excited for the opportunity to meet with our neighbors of all denominations and traditions, share experiences, and learn from one another. We will start these community listening meetings in November and continue through the end of the year. The full timeline depends on the availability of the places we visit.

Speaking of November, the Hanover Against Hunger event is a great way to work side by side with our neighbors with a shared mission to alleviate hunger worldwide. This is one way St.Matthew can LEAD – Living Everyday As Disciples.

In addition to planning our neighborhood meetings, the LEAD Dream team is reviewing notes from our congregation listening sessions and will share the common themes we heard.

St. Matthew is committed to investing in our church and community and seeing where God is leading us. If you have any questions, please contact any of the LEAD Dream Team members.

Hunter Crabbs, Sherry Crouse, Randy Kline, Tim Peck, Kelli Reed, Kayla Steffens, Jen Troup, Pastor Kathy Vitalis Hoffman, Vicki Wildasin

Visioning Process Update — September 10

September 9, 2023

As summer comes to a close, the LEAD Dream team is wrapping up their listening forums with the congregation. Please join them at one of three additional forums:

  • September 23 at 6:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall
  • September 24 at 9:30 a.m. in Fellowship Hall
  • September 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the Upper Room

Following these congregational forums, the LEAD team will meet with members of the community to listen to the needs of the surrounding area. It is exciting to continue to gather valuable input for the future of St. Matthew and build relationships to meet Jesus’s call to love our neighbors.

If you have any questions, please contact any of the LEAD Dream Team members.

Visioning Process Update — July 30

July 29, 2023

THANK YOU again for completing the LEAD survey. We are excited to say we received a total of 101 surveys!

  • The LEAD Dream team is reviewing all survey responses and we appreciate your thoughtful comments. So far, three of the common themes are music, youth and community outreach.
  • In order to delve deeper into these topics, we scheduled two forums thus far. The first forum is for current and former adult choir members – including bell ringers, instrumentalists, and vocalists – to be held on Thursday, August 17, at 7:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. Anyone with musical talent or interest is welcome to attend.
  • Another forum is scheduled for parents and children on Sunday, August 27, at 9:30 a.m. in Fellowship Hall. All parents and children ages 0 to 18 are welcome to join us for donuts and discussion. The Prayground will be open and supervised for young children who want some activities to do.
  • Additional forum sessions will be communicated as they are scheduled.
  • Your individual and collective voices are a valuable part of shaping the future of St. Matthew. We look forward to seeing you and listening to you.

As always, feel free to ask questions to any of the LEAD Dream Team members:
Hunter Crabbs, Sherry Crouse, Randy Kline, Tim Peck, Kelli Reed, Kayla Steffens, Jen Troup, Pastor Kathy Vitalis Hoffman, Vicki Wildasin

Council Update — June 14, 2023

June 14, 2023

The Search Committee for the Minister of Music has been at work for the past couple of months. They are determined to find the best candidate possible to carry on the tradition of excellence in our Music Program. The Committee members are as follows:

John Mancini (Chair), Lindsay Amspacher, Dennis Axline, Ruth Erb, Rollie Kunde, Nancy Leister

Flow Chart Reflecting Status of Minster of Music Search Process

The following people will be on the Call Committee for finding our next Associate Pastor. They are

Kim Cherry, Kit Curlen, Mike Jones, Andy Nace,  Barb Rupp, Aaron Smith, Gracie Troup (Youth Representative)

Please keep both committees in your prayers as they assume this responsibility for our Church.

At the June Congregational Council meeting, the following occurred:

  • Deb Smith was hired as the interim Youth Music Director beginning August 1
  • Lindsay (Zumbrum) Amspacher was hired as the interim Pre-School and Primary Choir Director beginning August 1

Council Update — May 21, 2023

May 21, 2023

As you are well aware, St. Matthew is undergoing a significant period of transition. I would like to take this opportunity to give you an update as to where we currently stand on a number of important items.

  • We are pleased to announce that Melissa Smith has been hired to be our Children and Family Ministry Coordinator.
  • We have a Search Committee that is actively pursuing a replacement for the Minister of Music (Scott Fredericks). Please see this page for a timeline detailing the ongoing progress of what has thus far been done and what is yet to occur.
  • We have had individuals express an interest in working on an interim basis with the Children and Youth Choirs.
  • We are nearing completion in forming a Call Committee to begin the work of finding a replacement for our Associate Pastor (Pastor Taylor).
  • We encourage you if you have not yet done so to complete the survey whose link was sent via email, posted on the Church webpage, posted on our Facebook page, or you may get a paper copy at the Hospitality Desk in the Gathering Place. Your voice is critical as we determine our path forward.

There are many people who have volunteered to work on each of the above items. I can assure you that they are working diligently on this and are trying to do what is best for St. Matthew. I have every confidence that we will get through this period of transition and be better for it. That is the St. Matthew way.

Randy Kline
Council President

Council Update — April 2023

May 14, 2023

At their April meeting, the Congregation Council approved contracting of the Rev. Dr. Mark Vitalis Hoffman, spouse of our lead pastor the Rev. Dr. Kathy Vitalis Hoffman, on an as-needed basis for occasional preaching and regular teaching coverage as Pastor Taylor leaves. It is a temporary position until the end of the year. Pastor Mark, Professor of Biblical Studies at United Lutheran Seminary, started teaching at the Gettysburg seminary in 2002 and has been a member of St. Matthew since 2020. The Personnel Committee is grateful for his willingness to support the pastoral staff as the Council forms a call committee who will do the Spirit-led work of filling the Associate Pastor position. You can expect to start seeing him in the preaching rotation in July of 2023.