Memorable Christmas Worship

By Jen Mabe, in News


What a blessing it is to celebrate the Newborn King! May you keep the spirit of Christmas in your heart all year long. Visit our Facebook page to enjoy memories of this year’s Christmas services and to learn more about what is new at Joy Reigns!




Thanks (for) Giving Campaign

By Pastor Sara, in News










In thankfulness for all that Joy Reigns is to you and your faith journey, your financial generosity is needed. Several safety and hospitality issues recently have been identified by the Property Team to be of urgent need. These are expenses that are over and above the general budget:

PARKING LOT: $15,000 There are significant safety issues requiring repair near the dumpster, as well as the need to resurface and restripe. This is a two stage process.

SIGNAGE: $3,000 Once in the parking lot, clear signage is needed to make the property more hospitable to visitors.

JOY THRIFT: $10,000 The Joy Thrift Ad Hoc Team made a recommendation to repair instead of replace the current thrift shop structure due to our current mortgage burden. Currently there are immediate needs for roofing, water damage repair and decking repair, as well as HVAC needs.

PARSONAGE BATHROOM: $5,000 Demolition of the leaking shower uncovered significant amounts of mold and the bathroom needs a full remodel.

HOSPITALITY TABLE: $4,000 To complete the work that was started in the Worship Center to make our space pleasing and welcoming, a permanent hospitality center to replace the temporary one is recommended.

Some funds are available from the final remainder of the generous gift given in 2015, but it will not cover all of these urgent needs. For more information please see the display board in the back of the worship space and/or speak to a member of the Stewardship or Property Team.

If you would like to financially contribute to these immediate needs that are above and beyond the current budget, please write T4G in the memo or speak with Pastor Sara at about making a gift now or through the end of the year.

Christmas by Candlelight

By Pastor Sara, in News

2016-04-12-19-00-58All are invited to an inspiring evening during this busy season to focus on Jesus, the baby born as Christ Messiah. Set aside the cookie making, present wrapping and party planning for a night of joy and relaxation. On Friday December 9th at 7:30 pm, you are cordially invited to a festive gathering with dessert and entertainment. It is a special opportunity to enjoy the musical talent of Maggie Samson, a celtic dulcimer artist.

Please RSVP now — and no later than December 1st — to reserve your seat at this free special event. Be sure to list the host/hostess you will sit with (or write ‘open’ to be assigned to a table) and include the following in your email:

Mailing Address
Email Address

We look forward to sharing the blessings of this magnificent season with you.


Join a small group – you’ll love it!

By Pastor Sara, in News

Small GroupsThe small groups at Joy Reigns Lutheran Church are an exciting place to be and you do not want to miss out on an opportunity to learn more about Jesus Christ. These groups are a place where you have the opportunity to deepen your relationship with Jesus Christ, and to broaden your faith with other people in our community.

Check out our brochure to discover the small group that works best for you:

People are excited about small groups because they have helped to create a community where people feel supported and reenergized in their walk with God. I would encourage you to become involved and active in a small group so you can help to fulfill God’s calling for all us—to share His good news so that all may know Jesus Christ and become His fully devoted followers.

GOD’S WORK OUR HANDS service day, Sunday 9/11

By Pastor Sara, in News

15002145338_5b9d09abdf_oOn Sunday, 9/11/16, we will have three rewarding opportunities to serve our local community. We invite you to consider these options and choose the opportunity that best suits your time and talent:

For those who can commit to an hour or so of service, volunteers will prepare lunches for the Light House Shelter at the church hall. The Light House, a homeless prevention support center, has been serving the needs of the Annapolis area for over 25 years. A total of 10 volunteers are needed.

Another group of volunteers will go for a couple of hours to the Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department on Londontowne Road for weeding and light spruce up of the property. The Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department has been serving our community for almost 100 years. Bring work gloves, rakes, and weeding tools if you have them. A total of five to ten volunteers are needed.

A third opportunity for those who can commit to a full afternoon is planned to help harvest fresh produce at the First Fruits Farm in Freeland, MD for distribution to local food banks and soup kitchens. Thirty-five or more volunteers are needed for this event including volunteers to drive small groups to the farm which is approximately 66 miles each way. Children must be accompanied by a parent. We will return to Joy Reigns between 5 and 6 pm. We will harvest in rain or shine as long as there is no thunderstorm. Learn more about the inspiring ministry of First Fruits Farm.

Sign up now to join in the blessings of sharing a serving spirit.

Flags to Support LGBTQ Community

By Pastor Sara, in News

This morning there was a wonderful article in the Capital Gazette highlighting our Orlando Remembrance yesterday. Here is a link to the article.

You will notice in the article that sometime between 4-6 pm the flags were taken down. They are now back up and stayed up through the night. I am hopeful that this was an isolated instance; however I am even more confident now, than I was Sunday morning, that our voice of welcome is needed more than ever.

It is a voice of welcome for the LGBTQ community. It is a voice of welcome for all races. It is a voice of welcome for all ages. It is a voice of welcome for all economic levels. It is a voice of welcome for everyone who feels disenfranchised. Joy Reigns is a place where everyone is welcome in a world where we now personally know that is not the case. Jesus calls us to share the Good News to help all be fully devoted followers of Jesus.

Should something happen again we will keep you informed. For now, I ask for your continued prayers and a reminder that yesterday we planted 50 flags. If you remember that was 49 + 1. You might say , “there were only 49 victims of the shooting at Pulse last Sunday,” and you would be correct—Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people and injured many more. While the lives of the innocent victims who he gunned down were the focus today, we also bring a message of hope and love. Hope that, in time, the families of all of those who lost their lives on June 12th will find peace and healing which means peace not only for the 49 victims’ families, but also for Omar Mateen’s. If we don’t begin the healing right here and right now, hate will give way to hate, violence to violence, and all hope is lost. [We are called to love our enemy and pray for those who persecute us.] Let us not allow hate and violence to win. Let love win here with our actions today, and let us remember the families, friends and the community of all those who lost their lives last Sunday. Let us remember and mourn all 50 of them.

Now I ask for your additional prayers for those who persecute us in such a way. This is the way of Jesus, to pray. We can certainly be angry or saddened, but love wins with our continued actions of welcome and prayer.

I’m so proud and grateful to be your pastor this day and always,

PSY (Pastor Sara Yotter)

Message from Pastor Sara

By Jen Mabe, in In the World

MIT Vigil for OrlandoSanctuary, by definition, is a place of refuge or safety. Some of us call the room that we worship in our “sanctuary.” This makes sense to me as it is one of the places we can go to be reminded that we seek refuge and safety in God amidst the chaos of life.

In Orlando and across the country, the LGBTQ community feels like they have lost one of their sanctuaries, after being attacked in a nightclub. The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued a letter in response to the June 12th shooting which states, “We must speak peace and reconciliation into the cacophony of hatred and division. We must live the truth that all people are created in God’s image.”

This Sunday at the end of worship, after we have been singing and praying and filled with God’s Word, we will leave our sanctuary and go out into the world. Before you leave Joy Reigns, you will be invited to place one (or more) of 50 pride flags in the front yard to be a visual remembrance of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history and also as a sign to the LGBTQ community that Joy Reigns is a sanctuary where everyone is welcome.

We will have time to lament and pray and also to be filled with hope. Please join me.

God’s Peace, Pastor Sara

VBS Registration Now Open

By Pastor Sara, in News

Living in God's TimeLiving in God’s Time VBS is June 20-24, 2016.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Each day at VBS is structured around worship, Bible study, prayer, singing, and having fun. In Jesus, we see God living among us and we learn of a different way of marking time as we learn about the story of Jesus through the church year. Living in God’s Time is not a way to escape time, but a way to live more fully and enter into it with the love of Christ. Each day at VBS, we will focus on a different season of the church year, and explore that holy time, even in the midst of today’s culture.

Daily Themes and Stories

Day 1: Living in Advent – John the Baptist
Day 2: Living in Christmas – The birth of Jesus
Day 3: Living in Lent – The crucifixion of Jesus
Day 4: Living in Easter – The resurrection of Jesus
Day 5: Living in Pentecost – The Holy Spirit

MLR LogoIn partnership with Mar Lu Ridge, an ELCA camp in Maryland, we will offer for the first time a half day (9-12 noon) for $35 or full day (9 am -4 pm) $75 option. Scholarships are available. Space is limited so register today:

2016 VBS Participant Registration Form

2016 VBS Participant Contact Info

2016 Volunteer Registration Form

2016 Additional Info for Youth Volunteer Form





Top 10 Reasons to E-Give!

By Pastor Sara, in News

p_sarahLast Sunday was the big kick off for the 25/25 Challenge! Why 25/25? 25: goal for the number of households using e-giving. 25: $25k additional congregational giving needed for this year’s budget.

Top 10 Reasons to Use E-Giving:

10. You don’t even know the last time you wrote a check.
9. Your donation is made even when you are on vacation or unable to attend on Sunday.
8. It will increase congregational giving and help us reach the budget goal.
7. It will help you achieve your personal giving goal.
6. It can help you manage your expense budget.
5. It helps you recognize that giving is important, even when that spiritual discipline is
4. Your giving amount can be changed at any time.
3. You can still feel like you are giving each week by using an “I give electronically” card found near the ushers.
2. It’s easy and likely free!
1. Scheduling your autopay donation the day after payday is first-fruits giving, which is a key biblical principle – I trust God that there is enough money left for me.

I often get the question, “Pastor, how much should I give?” As you can expect, my answer is not definitive, because it is not my question to answer, but each household’s with God.

What I do say is that I hope and pray that your spending/giving habits will reflect your desire to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus. Sometimes, I need data in front of me to help me see clearly. Maybe that will be helpful to you also. Here are some spending facts about Americans:

Type of Expense Avg. Annual Spending Avg. Monthly Spending Avg. Weekly Spending Avg. Cost Per Item
Mani/Pedi $600 $50 $12
Christmas $700 $58 $13
Coffee $1,092 $91 $21
Cell Phone (voice & data) $1,226 $102 $24
TV & Internet $1,932 $161 $37
Restaurant Check per person at:
   Applebees $12.42
   Outback $20.00
   Maggianos $26.72
Tattoo $150/hour
Redskins Tickets at 50 yard line (per seat) $161-$312
Vacation for 4 $4,580

The statistics above may not reflect your household’s actual spending, but these are the averages for most Americans. The 25/25 Challenge is an opportunity for you to look at your own spending/giving. This week I encourage you to have a discussion as a household and reflect on the data above and your own household’s spending to talk about where your money goes and why. Would you consider a sacrifice to grow in your faith and grow in your giving? I invite you to join others in making your faith journey a clear priority with your decision on the 25/25 Challenge Card.

The 25/25 Challenge is two fold: 25 households using e-giving and $25,000 in additional giving to reach our mission and ministry goals for our 2016 budget. Please return your paper challenge card by Sunday May 8th or go online at and click on the 25/25 logo to fill out your challenge card now.

Thanks for your generosity. If you have any questions, please let me know.

PSY (Pastor Sara Yotter)

Baby Pantry Open – First Saturday Each Month

By Pastor Sara, in News

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 4.02.56 PMWe are partnering with Christ Church West River and FoodLink Inc on the first Saturday of every month here at Joy Reigns to respond to the urgent need of babies suffering from poverty, domestic violence, teen pregnancies and unexpected family crises.

Diapers are as essential to a baby’s healthy development as a mother’s love. Keeping infants and toddlers clean, dry, and healthy is key to building a solid foundation for all children to reach their full potential. But many babies don’t have the clean diapers they need.


  • 30 percent of mothers have struggled to pay for diapers and more than 8 percent of low-income moms reuse soiled diapers on their children.
  • Medicaid covers over 1/3 of all births in the U.S. each year, yet government programs do not provide diapers as a basic need for babies.


Talk to Michelle Poole at or Angelika Fisher at to find out ways to support this ministry with your time or financial generosity.