“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.