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MOPS Auction Will Support Pregnancy Center April 20, 2017

Approximately 60 women who are pregnant or have toddlers meet at Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church (FRPC), 611 Robert Fulton Highway, Quarryville, on Friday mornings twice each month from September through May for relaxation, encouragement, and conversation. They are part of MOPS, an "international support network of women who share the common bond of preschool-age children," as www.mops.org describes the organization that was founded as Mothers of Preschoolers.

Embracing the shared experience of parenting small children is part of the motivation behind the local group's support of Pregnancy Resources at Cornerstone, which helps parents experiencing unplanned pregnancies make fully informed decisions about the futures of everyone involved.

"As moms of young children, we can connect well (with Cornerstone's mission)," said FRPC's MOPS coordinator, Elizabeth Mindemann. "This is an opportunity for us to show love and justice and mercy. We can be the hands and feet of Jesus."

Cornerstone provides an array of services at no cost to the public, said outreach and development director Michelle Verdegem. These include pregnancy testing, ultrasounds to confirm pregnancy, options counseling, and parenting classes before and after birth. Clients range from single teenagers to married folks nearing middle age.

"Crisis pregnancy is not limited to teenagers," Verdegem remarked. "(An unexpected pregnancy) is a huge crisis for parents in their 40s. They've raised their children and thought they were done with diapers."

Cornerstone is headquartered in Gap and has satellite locations at Lincoln University, in Peach Bottom, and in Bridgeport. It also helps communities and local churches be advocates for the lives of women and their children.

"We provide training for crisis support," Verdegem said. "Our goal is to be able to meet people in these (difficult) places and be conduits of hope and love."

To support Cornerstone's mission, the MOPS group at FRPC will host an auction during its regular meeting on Friday, May 5, from 9 to 11 a.m. Group members have donated a variety of items along the theme of "Mother's Day," and contributions from the public are still being accepted as well.

"It would be nice to get car seats, (playards), and other big-ticket items," said auction coordinator Hillary Prickett.

Readers who would like to donate items or certificates for services may contact Prickett at 717-877-2059 or hfprickett@gmail.com.

Guests are welcome to attend the auction. Cash and checks will be accepted as payment for winning bids.

The MOPS group is also accepting new members for the 2017-18 season. Pregnant women, mothers and grandmothers of children through kindergarten age, and seasoned mothers able to serve as mentors are welcome to join. There is a cost for membership, but scholarships are available so that finances are not a barrier.

"MOPS is a great opportunity for us to support each other in this stage of life," Mindemann said.

Child care is provided during meetings, and supervision for homeschooled students is also available. Folks who would like to volunteer as child care workers for the upcoming season may contact Mindemann at emindemann@hotmail.com or 610-698-7627. Training will be provided, and clearances are required.

Readers who would like to learn more about MOPS may also contact Mindemann. Information about Cornerstone is available at www.pregnancyresources.org.

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Club, Church Sponsor Food Drive April 19, 2017

The Columbia-Middletown Elks 1074 and the Columbia Church of God sponsored a food drive for Power Packs on April 8.

Volunteers were stationed at three area grocery stores, where they collected a total of $242 in monetary donations and a total of approximately $1,800 worth of food donations.

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Church Plans Kids Nite April 19, 2017

Churchtown United Methodist Church, 2170 Main St., Churchtown, will hold a Kids Nite from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 27. All children ages 3 to 13 are welcome.

The theme will be "Trusting Only Christ." The event will include music, crafts, lessons, and snacks.

For more information, call the church at 717-445-5585.

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Yard Sale, Blood Drive Slated At Ironville UMC April 13, 2017

To everything there is a season, and at Ironville United Methodist Church (UMC), 4020 Holly Drive, Columbia, it is both time to give and to get. On Saturday, April 22, folks may donate blood at a blood drive and buy items at an indoor yard sale.

The sale will be held in the fellowship hall from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., while the blood drive for the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank will take place in the library room from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Everyone who donates blood will receive a voucher for admission to a comedy show in Harrisburg and a certificate for a buy-one, get-one-free pizza. For more information about the blood drive, readers may call 800-771-0059 or visit www.717giveblood.org.

The yard sale will feature an estimated 20 tables filled with items offered by church members, and the missions committee will have items for sale as well, said committee member Ellie Shirk.

Additionally, there will be plenty of hot food for sale, including hot dogs, beef barbecue, and chicken corn soup.

"We will have only one big pot of soup instead of the two that we have at our bazaar, so it won't last as long," said committee member Karen Baker.

Hot coffee will be available first thing in the morning, and pastries, cookies, and cakes will be offered all day.

"We will have lots of good homemade baked goods," Baker commented.

As at the bazaar, which is held each November, several tables will be reserved for folks to sit and enjoy their food. Takeouts will be available, however.

The proceeds from the event will be used by the missions committee to fund the church's various charitable causes. Donations are given to the Columbia Food Bank and to LUMINA, as well to a youth ministry in Rochester, N.Y., that is run by Matt Hess, a friend of the church. The church contributes to Four One Mission missionaries who serve in Hungary, Ecuador, and Brazil, and animals have been purchased through Heifer International for impoverished communities. Additionally, the church sponsors Scouting groups for boys and girls and provides weekly meeting space, and it hosts an Easter egg hunt and vacation Bible school.

For more information about the yard sale, readers may call the church at 684-8072.

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Youth Ministry Plans Auction Fundraiser April 12, 2017

"I am a youth pastor because I believe that youth ministry can change the course of a family," said Addison Roberts, youth pastor at Grace Community Church of Willow Street (GCCWS). He shared that his family had been broken by divorce and alcoholism in his childhood, but at age 13, he began attending a youth group, and the life of each family member was touched by Christ. "Simply put, Jesus changed our entire section of the family tree through a youth ministry that welcomed outsiders," he noted. "If that can happen, and I know it can, I want to make it happen."

Roberts points to a youth conference as the point at which he began following Jesus. At GCCWS, Impact Student Ministries takes middle-schoolers and high-schoolers to Momentum Youth Conference each summer, and Roberts is happy to support that venture.

"We find it to be a pivotal event in terms of spiritual growth and relational development. Students often come away feeling closer to one another because they have spent 20 hours on a bus and every moment with each other through the whole week. Also, they have shared significant spiritual moments," Roberts said, noting that having a spiritual turning point is particularly important. "Ideally, they would look back on an experience at Momentum later in life as something that pushed them toward a major decision, got them out of a damaging relationship, or confirmed a life choice that ultimately paid off for them."

Momentum is hosted on a different college campus each summer. This year, the event will be held at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind., from Tuesday, July 18, to Sunday, July 23. GCCWS will be represented by an estimated 40 to 50 students in grades six to 12, Roberts said.

To offset the cost of the conference, Impact Student Ministries will host an auction at GCCWS, 212 Peach Bottom Road, Willow Street, on Friday, April 28. The doors will open at 5 p.m., and the event is expected to run until approximately 9 p.m. Dinner provided by a barbecue caterer will be available for purchase from 5 to 8 p.m.

The auction will kick off at 5:15 p.m. with the sale of plants. Non-plant items will be sold beginning at 6 p.m. A silent auction will run concurrently with the live auction from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Among the items donated for the auctions are Penn State football tickets, an electric recliner, theater tickets, gift cards to area eateries, and a vacation getaway in Sea Isle, N.J.

For more information about the auction, readers may call the church at 464-5333, visit www.gccws.net, or fsearh for "Impact Youth Auction" on Facebook.

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Yard Sale Will Fund Mission Trips April 11, 2017

The missions committee of Middle Octorara Presbyterian Church (MOPC) will host a yard sale from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, inside the fellowship hall of the church, 1199 Valley Road (Route 372), Quarryville. Items donated by church members have been priced and will be displayed in the hall.

"We (will) pretty much have the place packed," said committee member Dan Henry.

As donations have come in, Dan and his wife, Boni, along with other committee members, have organized the items in boxes on the lower level. Before the event, Boy Scout Troop 87 members will carry the boxes up to the fellowship hall.

"They're a big help, making 50 to 60 trips up the stairs," Dan remarked.

The kitchen will be open during the yard sale, with breakfast and lunch foods, as well as beverages, available for purchase.

While the public is invited to shop the sale, community members are also welcome to sell their own items in the parking lot. The missions committee has opted to request a set percentage of sales rather than a flat fee. Folks who would like to reserve a space may call the Henrys at 717-687-8554.

The proceeds from the yard sale will be used to fund two mission trips. A group of adults will be traveling to visit MOPC's sister church in Tamshiyacu, Peru, in early June, and a group of teenagers will attend a Reach Workcamp in Crossville, Tenn., in July.

MOPC has been sending volunteers to Peru since 2005. The church has partnered with First Presbyterian Church in Jefferson City, Mo., where Dan's brother is a pastor. Teams from the two churches meet in Miami and then fly together to Lima, Peru, where they take a smaller plane to Iquitos, which is located on a tributary of the Amazon River. The group stays in Iquitos, but they take a speedboat up the river to Tamshiyacu.

This summer, the group anticipates performing repairs and maintenance on the Tamshiyacu church, school, and pastor's residence, as well as running a Bible school for children. In addition to the work, the visitors will renew friendships established on previous visits, Boni said.

Sending youths to Reach Workcamps is also a tradition at MOPC, with teams participating since 1994. During the weeklong mission of service to low-income communities, the youths clean up and repair homes for individuals in need. They may build ramps, fix roofs, paint interiors and exteriors, tidy flower beds, and groom landscapes. The youths also receive spiritual input during the week.

For the past few years, MOPC's youths have been joined by students from a church in Lebanon County. This year's team of 11 is nearly evenly divided between the two congregations. A relationship between the two entities was formed at a past Reach week, and when the Lebanon church was unable to field a team, the youths who wanted to go traveled with MOPC. The Lebanon participants have actively raised funds for the costs of the trips, Dan noted. With their help, more than 18,000 peanut butter eggs were sold last year, and that number may be exceeded this year. The eggs were sold through Easter and most likely will not be available at the yard sale.

For more information about the yard sale or the mission trips, readers may call the Henrys at the aforementioned number.

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Church Accepts Donations April 11, 2017

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Work Camps Enable Local Groups To Help Neighbors April 6, 2017

When Matt Beakes founded IMPACT! Missions in 2009, he had high hopes that local churches would popularize the weeklong work camps offered by the organization. Transportation costs to out-of-state work camps had become prohibitive, and local residents needed assistance just as much as homeowners elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the work camps have not been as full as Beakes and the nonprofit's board of directors would have liked. There is still work to be done, however, and IMPACT! Missions has adapted to meet the needs. With the help of individuals who can give a few hours here or a full day there, as well as groups that have participated in weeklong work camps, the organization has provided housing sustainability to more than 300 people in the past seven years.

"Our goal is different (than other work camps): to build relationships with neighbors to help lift them out of poverty," Beakes said. "We now have 70 homeowners who are giving back to the community in some way because groups (that worked on their homes) have become support networks." He noted that relationships built with homeowners during construction and repair projects have been continued after the work is completed, with both neighbors and volunteers benefiting.

An estimated 25 homes are on the waiting list, with repairs needed for rotted floors, leaking roofs, and drainage issues. Some houses await accessibility modifications like wheelchair ramps and interior reconfigurations. IMPACT! Missions is also serving as the project manager for the renovation of several condemned houses in Lancaster city. When completely rehabbed, the houses will be sold at reasonable costs to those who qualify. The organization has already completed 10 homes in conjunction with Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership and revitalized several neighborhoods in the process.

"We're a multifaceted organization," Beakes remarked. "Everything we do is to lift up the neighborhoods. We want to have creative ways to use our gifts and talents (in order to) spread the light and (inspire neighbors to) ask why."

Offering work camps is one of those creative ways, and IMPACT! Missions is doubling down on its initial focus. Two camps will be offered this year, and six are slated for 2018.

Groups and individuals age 12 and older may sign up now to participate in the 2017 work camps. The first camp will be held Sunday, June 18, to Saturday, June 24, and the second will take place from Sunday, July 16, to Saturday, July 22. Campers will be lodged at Grace Community Church in Millersville during the June camp, and Lampeter United Methodist Church will be the homebase for the July camp. Participants in both camps will eat, sleep, and fellowship at the respective churches, but they will shower at the Lampeter YMCA. Worship times will be held each morning, and small group devotions will be offered at night. About eight hours each day will be spent at a worksite, with the exception of a half-day midweek when groups will have free time to go off on their own.

"Part of the experience ... is building relationships within their own groups," Beakes remarked. "We feel a time of rest is important with regard to safety, too."

Campers do not need to have any home improvement skills to participate. Industry professionals, however, are needed to guide the work and teach campers how to use tools safely. There are also opportunities for individuals with acting or musical abilities to assist with worship and devotionals.

To learn more or to register for a camp, readers may contact IMPACT! Missions at info@impactcamps.org or 717-806-5770.

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Church Announces Food Ministry, Activities April 6, 2017

Pequea Presbyterian Church, 273 Cambridge Road, Gap, has announced its food-related ministries and activities.

On Saturday, April 15, the church will host a free community breakfast from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. The buffet-style meal will feature a variety of hot breakfast items, including dried beef and gravy. At 9:45 a.m., there will be a free Easter egg hunt for children age 12 and under. Free food items will be available during the breakfast and egg hunt.

Also, the church offers free fresh, frozen and nonperishable food items at noon each Sunday. The food comes from Blessings of Hope, a local food warehouse distribution center, which the church has been supporting since 2014.

Anyone in the local community and the surrounding area may come to the church and fill a box or bag with food items brought in that week. Items vary every week and are available while supplies last. Items have included chicken breasts, meatballs, frozen vegetables, fresh brown eggs, eggplants, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, lemons, zucchini squash, salad mixes, potatoes, bread, milk, iced tea and a large variety of canned and boxed goods, as well as soups, vegetables, tuna, snacks, fruit cups and juice boxes.

Anyone who does not have transportation to the church may schedule a food delivery by contacting the church at 768-3324 or pequeapres1724@gmail.com. More information is available at www.pequeapc.com.

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Couples Invited To Free Date Night April 6, 2017

Live With Purpose Church is moving up in the world by moving down. The fledgling congregation had held worship services at Conestoga United Methodist Church since its launch last year, but as of April 2, Live With Purpose Church is now firmly ensconced in the Conestoga Underground, the ground-floor meeting space located below a hair salon and offices at 3113 Main St., Conestoga.

"This thing is a massive transformation," executive pastor Joseph Sharp said of the new venue. A special ceiling was installed to meet fire code regulations, a small kitchen area was created, a freight elevator was removed, restrooms were installed, and all the walls were painted. Rows of chairs occupy the center of the room and low couches line the perimeter during worship services, offering seating for nearly 70 people. The maximum occupancy for the space is 130 people, but Sharp estimates that the venue can comfortably seat 90.

Those numbers are important as the church grows and offers use of the Underground to local groups.

"We would like to see this (space) used more," Sharp said, noting that groups and events that are creative, celebrate the arts, or embrace youths are of special interest. "We want to see the space used for good."

The ground floor of a second office building on the campus has been furnished with tables, chairs, and activity stations for children. Moveable walls divide the open space so that children can be cared for in appropriate age groups when the church meets at 9 a.m. on Sundays and from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Sharp noted that children are included in the worship times that begin each gathering, and then they are dismissed to their classrooms.

Providing opportunities for families to worship together is part of Live With Purpose Church's commitment to supporting local families. A series of events has been planned with families in mind, and parenting classes will be offered in the fall.

"We really want to be more outbound," Sharp commented. "All (of our activities) are very family-focused. We are trying to enrich families and communicate the love God has for them."

The first event will be a date night on Wednesday, April 26, at 6 p.m. The Conestoga Underground will be transformed into a restaurant, where couples may enjoy dinner before viewing the movie "War Room." Child care will be available, and dinner will be provided for the youngsters. There is no cost for any part of the event, but as seating is limited, readers must register at www.conestogaunderground.org/datenight. Other date nights in 2017 will be offered once registration is full.

The second annual Conestoga Fun Day will be held in Safe Harbor Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 16. Details about the event will be announced later.

Additionally, Live With Purpose Church has plans to host community pool parties and outdoor movie nights at the Conestoga Pool. Sharp said that when the kinks are ironed out, the dates for the events will be posted.

Sharp suggested that by hosting these fun and free events, the church will help couples and families develop better relationships, which will benefit individuals and the community. He noted that the church adheres to the Seven Mountains Principles, which outline seven areas of culture where folks can make an impact. "We want to allow people to be raised up to live their calling," Sharp said.

For more information about Live With Purpose Church, readers may visit www.livewithpurposechurch.org and www.facebook.com/lwpchurch, email info@livewithpurposechurch.org, or call 340-2274.

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