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Christian Revival Services Slated January 21, 2019

Pine Grove Church, 2523 Pine Grove Road, York, will hold Christian revival worship services at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15, and Saturday, Feb. 16, and at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17. The revival will feature messages from Dr. H. Douglass Buckwalter, head of the Biblical Studies Department at Evangelical Theological Seminary.

The public is invited to attend. For more details, readers may call the church at 717-741-1370.

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Hopewell UMC Serves Free Christmas Meal January 2, 2019

More than 80 people from the community gathered to enjoy a Christmas Day dinner at Hopewell United Methodist Church (UMC) in Downingtown on Dec. 25. This was the sixth year that the free meal has been offered by church volunteers.

Those who attended the event were treated to a complete holiday dinner that included turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, baked macaroni and cheese, stuffing, corn, green beans and mashed potatoes with gravy. There was also an appetizer table that offered green salad, coleslaw, crackers and cheese and other snacks. For dessert, attendees enjoyed cookies and an assortment of pies, including pumpkin, apple, peach and blueberry, which were donated by a local business.

The dinner was held in the church's Family Life Center, which was decorated for the occasion and filled with the sounds of Christmas music played on a stereo. Attendees took home cards made in advance by students from Hopewell Christian Preschool and the church's Sunday school class. The Rev. Amy Banka, the new lead pastor at Hopewell UMC, provided a prayer before the meal.

According to church administrator Becky Bennington, event organizer, about 30 church volunteers helped out at the event, including those who visited the church early in the morning for setup. Volunteer Karl Findeison, who was in charge of cooking the meal, also arrived early to place all of the turkeys in the oven.

Bennington said that each year people of all ages and backgrounds attend the dinner and some make it a yearly tradition. "It's open to anyone. It's a place where people can share a meal together," she stated.

"Some families come back every year. One man even brings his own stool because he doesn't like our chairs," she said with a smile. "A woman was here last year and asked us to pray for her because she had cancer. This year she came back and is healthy and doing well."

Following the dinner, attendees were invited to take home the extra food in takeout containers provided by the church. "Everyone goes home with a second meal," said Bennington. Additionally, 20 takeout meals were delivered to Safe Harbor of Chester County.

As they left the dinner, visitors were also presented gift bags filled with candy.

A few new people attended the dinner thanks to a free shuttle service that was offered for the first time from The Well, Hopewell UMC's community center located at 107 W. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown. "We hope more people take advantage of that service next year," Bennington said.

Hopewell UMC is located at 852 Hopewell Road, Downingtown. Worship services at Hopewell include a Saturday contemporary service at 5:25 p.m. in the main sanctuary. Sunday traditional worship services are held at 8 and 9:30 a.m. in Bower Chapel, located on the church campus. Sunday contemporary worship services are held at 9:30 and 10:55 a.m. in the main sanctuary.

For more information, readers may visit www.hopewellumc.org or contact the church office at 610-269-1545 or hopewell@hopewellumc.org. More information is also available by searching for "Hopewell UMC, Downingtown, PA" on Facebook.

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Congregation Collects Food Donations January 2, 2019

Most people are familiar with an Advent calendar, which is used to count down the days to Christmas. As part of the tradition on each day of December until Christmas, a door or window is opened on a paper calendar to reveal a prize, a Bible verse or a piece of chocolate, among other items.

At Hopewell United Methodist Church (UMC) in Downingtown, the congregation recently took part in a Reverse Advent Calendar (RAC) program by collecting nonperishable food items during the four weeks preceding Christmas. The donations were collected to benefit the Lord's Pantry of Downingtown.

"Instead of opening the day's Advent calendar door to receive a surprise or treat, we (asked the congregation) to give a gift by putting aside a packaged food item as a donation each day of Advent," explained Deb Boyd, Hopewell UMC's director of lay ministries.

Reverse Advent Calendar sacks (RAC-SACKs) were distributed to members to transport their food donations from home to Hopewell UMC. The RAC-SACKS also contained instructions and a list of items most needed by the food pantry. Additionally, participants were asked to pray for the people and the families that were to receive the food.

Congregation members placed their donations in the church narthex, which featured a large Advent calendar picturing various food items on each day of the month. Nonperishables collected by the congregation included cereal, instant potatoes and stuffing, pasta and jarred sauce and peanut butter and jelly.

The items will be delivered to the Lord's Pantry later in January when holiday food drives end or possibly on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. "In January and February (the food bank's) shelves are (depleted)," noted Becky Bennington, church administrator.

Both Boyd and Bennington said that the effort was a tangible way to help others in need. "Our goal was 4,000 items, and we surpassed that," Bennington said. "It has been amazing to watch the pile of food grow."

"This is the first year that we have done this, but it has been so successful and fun that I suspect we have started a new tradition this year which will continue," Boyd added.

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School Holds Christmas Pageant December 26, 2018

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Centennial Church Posts Service December 19, 2018

Centennial Lutheran Church, 1330 Hares Hill Road, Kimberton, has announced that on Sunday, Dec. 30, the First Sunday of Christmas, there will be a worship service at 9:30 a.m. It will be a service of Scripture lessons and Christmas carols, and Holy Communion will be observed.

Information about church events can be found at www.centenniallutheran.org or by emailing info@centenniallutheran.org.

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LUMC Sets Christmas Week Services December 14, 2018

Senior pastor Jerry McGrath has announced that Lititz United Methodist Church (LUMC), 201 E. Market St., will hold seven Christmas week services. A variety of programs are intentionally offered so people can choose from an assortment of worship styles.

The Sunday morning services will be held at regular times on Dec. 23, with a traditional service at 9 a.m. and an informal contemporary gathering at 10:30 a.m. A choir cantata titled "Joy" will be featured at the traditional service, with an encore presentation held at Brunnerville United Methodist Church, 517 Pine Hill Road, Lititz, on Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec. 24, at 6 p.m.

On Christmas Eve, LUMC will host four services. At 2 p.m. Lessons and Carols will be shared during the daylight hours. This service is geared toward those who have alternate evening plans or do not wish to drive at night.

At 4 p.m. there will be a special service that is designed for children and is open to the whole family. The interactive service will give children the opportunity to be involved in worship along with Christmas songs.

At 6:30 p.m., LUMC will invite the community to celebrate the Savior's birth with a contemporary mix of Christmas music, video, and lighting with a message from God's Word. Eric Fisher will lead worship and will be joined by Awakened Praise Band. A candle lighting will highlight the service. Nursery care will be available.

Traditional worship will be held at 8:30 p.m., with an organ recital by Keith Reifsnyder preceding the service at 8 p.m. A classic candle lighting will highlight the evening along with traditional hymns and choir anthems.

On Sunday, Dec. 30, there will be a combined "Agape" service in the social hall beginning at 10 a.m. Scriptures, stories, and hymns will be shared during a feast of Moravian sugar cake and hot chocolate.

For more information on the services or the church, readers may visit www.lititzumc.org or call the church office at 717-626-2710.

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Candlelight Services Set December 14, 2018

Candlelight services will be held at Evangelical United Methodist Church, 157 E. Water St., Middletown, on Monday, Dec. 24, at 7 and 11 p.m. The first service will present the Christmas story for young children and families, while the second service will be geared toward older children and adults. The second service will feature the chancel choir.

Each service will end with a candle lighting ceremony. A brass quartet will precede both services, with a performance starting at 6:30 p.m. and one at 10:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend. For more information, readers may call 717-944-6181 on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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Evangelical UMC Sets Candlelight Services December 14, 2018

Evangelical United Methodist Church, 157 E. Water St., Middletown, will hold candlelight services at 7 and 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec. 24.

The 7 p.m. service will focus on the Christmas story and will be geared toward young children and families, while the 11 p.m. service will be for older children and adults and will feature the chancel choir. Each service will end with a candle lighting ceremony. A brass quartet will precede both services, playing at 6:30 p.m. and at 10:30 p.m., respectively.

Everyone is invited. For more information, readers may call 717-944-6181 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and noon.

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Church Slates Special Services December 14, 2018

Ephrata Community Church, 70 Clay School Road, Ephrata, will hold special services on Sunday and Monday, Dec. 23 and 24, at 3, 5, and 7 p.m.

The community is invited to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at the services, which will be centered on the theme "Miracles of Christmas." The services will include festive Christmas instrumental music and carols, a children's choir and dance, a video of children telling the Christmas story, three speakers, spoken word, an original song, a creative testimony video, contemporary worship, and a congregational candle lighting. Christmas cookies, hot beverages, and a photo booth will be in the lobby for attendees to enjoy before and after each service.

For more details, readers may visit the events section at www.ephratacommunitychurch.com or call 717-733-4071.

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Live Nativity, Christmas Eve Service Slated December 13, 2018

St. John's Center United Church of Christ, 432 Reading Road (Route 625), East Earl, will hold its annual live Nativity on Monday, Dec. 24, from 6 to 9 p.m. It will be re-enacted outside the church for the community to drive or stop by and observe the church's celebration of what it might have been like to visit the stable the night Christ was born.

The public is also welcome to join the members of St. John's Center for their annual Christmas Eve service, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 24. The service will include a message from the pastor, the Rev. R. Kenneth Evitts, special music, and Communion by intinction.

For more information, readers may contact the church office at 717-445-5622.

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Wrightsville AG Sets Christmas Eve Events December 13, 2018

Wrightsville Assembly of God (AG), 365 Orange St., Wrightsville, invites the community to its Christmas Eve celebrations at 4:30 and 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 24.

During the celebrations, which will be geared toward the whole family, attendees will hear the Christmas story, sing carols by candlelight, and share Communion. There will be coffee, hot chocolate, and Christmas cookies before and after each service. Separate programs will be available for children of nursery to prekindergarten age.

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Church To Perform "The Promise" December 13, 2018

The Music and Drama Ministries of Lighthouse Baptist Church, 5005 Carlisle Road, Dover, will present performances of "The Promise" on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 6 p.m. and Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec. 24, at 6 p.m. Seasonal instrumental prelude music will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Other services and programs of the church include Sunday school at 9:30 a.m., Sunday services at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., and Wednesday services for people of all ages at 7 p.m. The church is handicapped-accessible.

All are welcome, and admission is free. The church, which is pastored by Dr. Sterling E. Walsh Jr., is located on Route 74, three-quarters of a mile north of Canal Road. For more information, readers may call 717-292-5000 or visit www.lighthousebap.org.

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Christmas Eve Service Planned December 13, 2018

Stehman Memorial United Methodist Church, 485 Indian Run Road, Millersville (Manor Township), will celebrate Christmas Eve with a candlelight service of lessons and carols at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 24. Glowsticks will be provided for children in lieu of candles.

For more information, readers may visit www.stehmanchurch.com or www.facebook.com/stehmanchurch, or they may email pastor@stehmanchurch.com.

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Candlelight Service Set December 13, 2018

Bethel Evangelical Congregational Church, 3716 Main St., Conestoga, invites the public to a traditional lessons and carols Christmas candlelight service on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, readers may call the church at 717-872-6755.

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West Grove UMC Sets Christmas Eve Services December 13, 2018

West Grove United Methodist Church (UMC), 300 N. Guernsey Road, West Grove, has slated five Christmas Eve services. The community is invited to attend to celebrate Jesus' birth.

At noon, there will be a Wiggly Giggly Children's Service designed with little ones in mind. Noisemakers and glow sticks will be a part of the service.

A variety of Christmas Eve candlelight services will also take place. A family service at 6 p.m. will feature a Christmas pageant and music by the church's Memory Bells Handbell Choir. At 7:15 p.m., a service will take place at Jenner's Pond with the Rev. Jim Mundell in Allison Theater. A contemporary service at 8:30 p.m. will feature music by the church's PraiseWorks Band. At 11 p.m., a traditional service will include music by the church's Chancel Choir, as well as the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Additionally, the church holds two Sunday services: an 8:30 a.m. contemporary service and an 11 a.m. traditional service. Nursery care is available for both services.

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Church Plans Christmas Eve Service December 12, 2018

Community United Methodist Church, 130 Tennyson Drive, Lancaster, will hold a Christmas Eve candlelight service on Monday, Dec. 24, at 6:30 p.m.

The service will feature music, a message presented by Pastor Kaufhold, and the lighting of candles. Congregational songs will include familiar carols and newer Christmas songs, and there will be special musical presentations.

The pubilc is invited to attend. For more information, readers may call the church office at 717-393-9182.

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Christmas Eve Program Slated December 12, 2018

Petra Church, 565 Airport Road, New Holland, will present a Christmas Eve program titled "The Extra Ordinary Christmas" twice on Monday, Dec. 24. The program, for the whole family, will be offered at 5 and 7 p.m.

The program will include the singing of Christmas carols, a drama written and produced by Petra staff, a musical number featuring a drumline, and the lighting of glow candles. The drama is adapted from Leo Tolstoy's short story "Where Love Is, God Is."

No child care will be offered. Sign interpretation will be provided at the 5 p.m. program and Spanish translation at the 7 p.m. program. The community is also invited to Petra's Sunday morning services on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 9 and 11 a.m.

For more information, readers may contact Janice Baldauf at 717-354-5394, ext. 107, or janiceb@petra.church.

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"Rock The Church" Event Held December 12, 2018

Approximately 250 people listened to solemn tunes and sang the more jovial at Rock the Church Lights Up Christmas on Nov. 30 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Lancaster.

Local musician Liz Fulmer, joined by Emily Fritz and Douglas Thomas of Wisdom's Table, performed traditional songs like "Silent Night" and original songs from her CD "Heaven Knows."

Local meteorologist Joe Calhoun was the master of ceremonies of the program. Principal Brenda Weaver asked the crowd to wave the pin lights they had been given and sing "This Little Light of Mine." She thanked the music groups from San Juan Bautista and St. Anthony of Padua churches that supported the event. Priests from St. Anthony, St. Mary and San Juan Bautista gave opening and closing prayers.

The school's student choir The Singing Saints received a standing ovation following the singing of the school's alma mater, "Resurrection, We All Love You."

The Wheatland Chorale and choirs from Lancaster Catholic High School, St. Mary and St. Joseph churches have also performed.

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Cowboy Church Plans Christmas Service December 12, 2018

Silver Spurs Cowboy Church will celebrate Christmas on Sunday, Dec. 23, at the Lewis family farm, 2200 Channel Road, Pylesville, Md. The children's message will begin at 12:30 p.m., followed by a praise and worship service at 1 p.m. led by Brad Rineholt, an ordained Cowboys for Christ chaplain.

There will be the singing of Christmas carols and the story of Jesus' birth, followed by a time of fellowship at a potluck dinner. Turkey will be provided, and attendees are invited to bring a side dish or dessert to share.

It will be the last day to bring items for the Children's Home of York.

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Church Plans Holiday Services December 12, 2018

St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 25 W. Springettsbury Ave., York, will hold its first Advent services in its newly renovated and fully decorated worship space. The activities are open to the public.

On Sunday, Dec. 23, a service including the Holy Eucharist will take place at 10:30 a.m. The crèche will be blessed, and the handbell and Cantabile choirs will ring in Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec. 24, a traditional Christmas Eve candlelight service with Holy Communion will begin at 7 p.m. Carols in Candlelight, a community carol sing, will take place at 11 p.m. The Christmas story will be read, prayers will be offered, carols will be sung, and the event will end with the lighting of handheld candles and the singing of "Silent Night."

On Christmas Day, Tuesday, Dec. 25, a service will take place at 10:30 a.m.

On Sunday, Dec. 30, the first Sunday after Christmas, a service including the Holy Eucharist will begin at 10:30 a.m.

For more information, readers may visit www.stpaulsyork.org or call 717-843-8155.

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