“God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday 2018
Faith, Mount Penn
On September 9, “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday, 25 worshipers at Faith Lutheran Church in Mount Penn, PA, assembled 30 hygiene kits and 50 school kits for use by Church World Service in ministry to victims of disasters and students in need. The supplies for the kits were donated from members of the congregation and also purchased with a “Service Team” grant from Thrivent Financial.
Good Shepherd, Reading
For one month ahead of the date (9/9), members from Good Shepherd Lutheran in Reading brought in items for a hygiene kit for homeless in Reading. We made up 60 bags containing a face towel, wash cloth, bar soap, shampoo, tooth paste, tooth brush, towelettes, deodorant, and tissues. We also made up smaller bags with nine healthy snacks each in them. These were given to Hope’s Table (at Hope, Reading) where they have a dinner once a week for homeless persons. The whole congregation was involved in assembling these items during worship on 9/9. We used a Thrivent Action Grant to purchase items needed to “round out” what members brought in for the month preceding the event.
- McKinley Elementary School – Painted bathroom stalls in four bathrooms and painted a wall in the hall
- Synod office – Painted the stage area
- Rescue Mission – Prepared three meals and served dinner to the residents
- Above and Beyond Senior Living Community – Played bingo with the residents, provided bingo prizes and snacks for the residents
- Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries – filled thirty bags with non-perishable Thanksgiving food items
- Roosevelt Elementary School – decorative painting in two bathrooms and in the cafeteria and created an attendance wall
- Haafsville Animal Shelter – walked dogs and cleaned areas in the facility
God’s work. Our hands. Sunday was celebrated on September 9th with a Festive Worship service, 5K Run, and Community Block Party. The Rev. Dr. Michael Bennethum was the guest preacher and local First Responders were honored. A rain-soaked Community Unity 5K Run, Kids Fun Run and community Block Party featuring service projects, inflatable games, music, food, and more raised $2,275.00 for West Berks Mission District food pantries in the city of Reading. Congregation members also donated over $750. towards chicken BBQ meals for the First Responders. God’s work. Our hands. Sharing the love of God with our community!
St. John, Hamburg
At St. John’s Lutheran Church, Hamburg, Rally Day is more than the kick-off to Sunday School, it is an introduction to a yearlong focus not only for Sunday School, but for the entire congregation. The ELCA theme, “God’s Work Our Hands” was selected by the Parish Education Committee to celebrate the talents which we have been given by God to serve our community and the world. In order to introduce the theme to the children, they brought cans of food to donate to a local food pantry, made first aid kits, and sang songs about being a helping hand. Hand prints listing community service ideas, were hung on the church walls to encourage young and old to offer their gifts to others. Located around the church are specific “God’s Work Our Hands” crosses. St. John’s members place a “hand” sticker on one of the crosses when they have used their hands to do God’s work. As the crosses fill up with hands this year, they serve as a way to celebrate all the good work being done from one church in Berks County, collectively using unique God-given gifts to make a difference in the world.
St. Paul, Dallas
Members of our congregation participated in GWOH in three different ways:
1. Since a Luzerne County Head Start Center meets at our educational facilities, we collected 45 new sneakers for the children. This was done over a two-month period culminating on Sept. 9. The sneakers were on display in our narthex, given to the Head Start teachers and distributed to the children by the teachers.
2. Over the course of a 2-3-month period prior to Sept. 9, we prepared 20 fleece blankets and delivered them to Camp Noah being held in Reading, PA.
3. On GWOH Day, our Social Ministry chairperson requested that worshippers send notes or cards to people in Nursing Homes, first responders, veterans, etc. Thank you cards were set out on a table for people to take and use to write their personal notes. We also are continuing the suggestion by encouraging people to send cards each week for the month of September either to thank people for their service or to let them know that they are being thought about and prayed for.
Trinity Lutheran Church in Wernersville hosted a spectacular Bring-a-Friend Free Spaghetti Dinner with blood pressure checks on Sunday September 9th for God’s Work Our Hands. We vigorously advertised in the community and people came! Our church family brought friends and many came in from the community. We fed around 80 guests. A large number had blood pressures checked by our wonderful, gifted church healthcare professionals.
United Proclamation of the Gospel
Members of the United Proclamation of the Gospel (worshipping at Light of Christ and St. Peter’s congregations in Bethlehem) united to make a difference in our community with these service projects on God’s Work.Our Hands Day, September 9th. Volunteers finished six quilts for Lutheran World Relief; a bake sale raised approximately $500 for Truth for Women, a Bethlehem agency that supports women in crisis; Sunday school children made greeting cards for homebound members; and the congregation made “clip-its” – written messages on clothespins combined with a card listing our worship services to spread the word. Inclement weather meant that the car wash to support an animal shelter and a cleanup at a local cemetery were rescheduled.
“God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday 2015
This was an opportunity to celebrate who we are as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — one church, freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. On Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015 many of the nearly 10,000 congregations of this church gathered to serve communities in ways that share the love of God with all of God’s people. We are a church that boldly does God’s work of restoring and reconciling communities. Here are some of our stories.
The second annual Reformation Lutheran, (Reiffton, Reading, PA) “God’s Work. Our Hands.” Block Party on Sunday, September 13th was ushered in with an uplifting service of music, quilt blessing, and inspirational message from Bishop Samuel Zeiser. The congregation was encouraged by Bishop Zeiser to embrace the day as a symbol of how we live out our faith and how others view Christ in the body of the Church. Worship was enhanced by dozens of helium-filled balloons and hundreds of worshippers. After the “Rite of Sending for Service” at the baptismal font, our church family moved outside into the neighborhood.
Members and friends then engaged in an afternoon of activities featuring over 35 ministry and community organizational tents, first responders, health screenings, children’s activities, live music, food and service projects. We hand-knotted 13 quilts for Lutheran World Relief, collected 186 pairs of jeans for the Reformation Clothing Bank, donated 23 pints of blood to the Miller-Keystone Blood Mobile, provided over 40 BBQ dinners to local First Responders, identified recruits for Habitat for Humanity, and made dozens of wooden flags for military veterans. The event also raised nearly $600 from food sales for the ELCA’s “Walk for Water” and “World Hunger” campaigns. The day will be long remembered by Reformation members and community who came together in unity, extending hands of fellowship, to serve our God!
Our project at Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church was to host a Living Well Festival on Saturday, September 12th . Over 60 people from the community attended and 50 members of Prince of Peace volunteered to promote “Living Well” in our mind, body and spirit. Monetary donations and non perishable goods for the Portland Upper Mt. Bethel food pantry were gathered. The fun filled afternoon included free food, Jacktown Ice Cream, bingo, cake walk, puppet show, games, crafts, dance and exercise, music, Laying of Hands for Healing, blood pressure screenings and a glimpse at the many ministries that are active at Prince of Peace. Some featured groups who helped make the day a success were: Thrivent Financial Services, Totts Gap Arts Institute, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fountain Hill, local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network, Kirkridge Retreat Center and Together it’s Possible (TIPS), an awareness group for people with learning disabilities. A big hank you to Bishop Zeiser for joining us that day.
At St. Andrew’s Easton, we celebrated with Miller Keystone Bloodmobile, Alex’s Lemonade stand, and a “sock project.” 320 pairs of socks were collected and distributed to needy organizations in the community. Each pair of socks included a personal hand print message that said “God’s work, our hands to your feet.” The sock project ties into our congregation’s theme this year of walking with Jesus.
“God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday 2014
Mt. Zion Lutheran Church, Zion Grove
The first thing we did was to order T-shirts personalized for Mt. Zion from the ELCA Website. We wanted to do something ecumenical; so with all the disasters taking place in the world today, we set a goal of 100 Personal Care Kits for Lutheran World Relief. We may have reached that goal. If not, we’ll keep going until we do.
Prince of Peace, Johnsonville
After considering several suggestions the Stewardship Committee at Prince of Peace in Johnsonville, we decided to volunteer at Quiet Valley Historical Farm in Stroudsburg. It was a great day to share our time and talents that God has given us. We pulled weeds in 3 areas of the vegetable garden. Sometimes throwing the weeds to the pigs, one way of getting rid of them (the weeds, not the pigs). The weather was perfect for the task at hand, sunny but not too hot, we all had a great time. Cheryl Statham, one of our members, who works there also gave us an interesting tour of the farm. We enjoyed being in God’s creation and helping make the grounds appealing for visitors to understand the history that dates back to 1767.
St. Paul, Fleetwood
St. Paul’s ELC Fleetwood PA; came to The Potato Project harvest session for hungry neighbors in need, and helped harvest taters for The Greater Berks Food Bank at the Kutztown University PA German Heritage Center along with Fleetwood Rotary and St. John’s Lutheran ELC of Boyertown! There was a river of yellow clads living out the Word, outside the church walls. We harvested 12,343 pounds of potatoes distributed to Kutztown’s Friend, Inc. Pantry, and the Greater Berks Food Bank that weekend with Zion’s Union Maxatawny.
Reading Lutheran Parish
Members of churches in the Reading Lutheran Parish gathered for lunch, fellowship and service at Stonecliff Recreation Area in Reading on Sunday, September 7. A park clean-up was done, and 150 personal care kits were assembled for Lutheran World Relief.
St. Luke, Allentown
We served breakfast to our neighbors and had an intergenerational blanket making project for our Sunday Schoolers. Young and old, members and neighbors all pitched in together. The blankets will go to Camp Noah.
St. Paul, Dallas & St. Luke Reformation, Noxen
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Dallas, in cooperation with St. Luke’s Reformation, Noxen, had five projects: (1) baking and delivering cookies to volunteer police and fire departments and nursing homes; (2) cleaning up branches and debris from a local cemetery; (3) repairs to a neighbor’s house; (4) collecting diapers for the Women’s Resource Center in Susquehanna County and (5) collecting socks for our Head Start children. GWOH was an opportunity for people from all age groups to become involved. It was a wonderful weekend of service.
St. Paul, Hawley
On Sunday, Sept. 7th, members and friends of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hawley, PA gathered for a pot-luck dinner and then proceeded to assemble welcome kits for Lutheran Children and Family Services Refugee Resettlement Program. Throughout the summer the congregation collected the items for the kits. Then on the 7th we assembled Personal Care kits and Back to School kits which are being delivered to LCFS. In addition, we were able to assemble personal hygiene kits for the families that come to the St. Paul’s food pantry every month. The service opportunity was for all ages and we had a GREAT day of service!
Union Lutheran Church, Schnecksville, observed “God’s work. Our Hands.” Sunday by working on its new Meditation Path. It is a place of peace, meditation, and enjoying nature, located in the wooded area behind the church. Thirty volunteers achieved amazing progress in making the Path suitable for congregation/community members. With the help of a front loader, six truckloads of mulch were moved from the parking lot to the path and then spread. Growth along the path was clipped back and bulbs saved from Easter and other flowers were planted. A bench was added and refreshments were provided. Still to come: Installation of birdhouses and meditation signs with quotations designed to help users focus on God’s good gifts.
The congregation of Reformation Lutheran gathered more than 245 strong for an upbeat worship service that included dozens of balloons and festive music. Members and friends were then engaged in a variety of intergenerational service projects. We donated 21 pints of blood, hand-knotted 14 quilts for Lutheran World Relief, and wrote 176 personal notes on fabric squares to be sewn into a flag for members of the armed forces. Other members prepared the church building to house two families for the week in support of the Family Promise program. From the sale of delicious homemade baked goods, we raised $200 toward scholarships for girls from our sister congregation in Tanzania. The sale of 84 dozen homemade pierogies raised $350 for the music endowment fund. We also provided 36 pulled pork BBQ dinners to our community’s First Responders. An additional $500 was raised for World Hunger. The day concluded with a Block Party for our church community.