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Church Posts Surveys August 17, 2017

The Catholic Church is seeking candid feedback from youths and young adults on the topic of their faith. To do so the Diocese of Harrisburg and the Vatican have both released surveys.

The responses will be incorporated into a working document for bishops when they gather at a synod in October 2018 at the Vatican. A synod is an assembly of bishops from around the world who aim to assist the Holy Father by providing counsel on important questions facing the church in a manner that preserves the church's teaching and strengthens the church's internal discipline.

The topic of the October 2018 synod will be "Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment." Attendees will examine how the Catholic Church can better support young people on their lifelong faith journey, including how the church can lead young people to recognize and accept the call to the fullness of life and love. The church is asking young people to help identify the most effective ways of announcing the Gospel.

In preparation for the synod, Pope Francis is asking young people ages 16 to 29 to tell him about their engagement within the church. Links to the surveys are available at www.HbgDiocese.org/synod2018.

In conjunction with the 2018 synod and the Vatican survey, the Diocese of Harrisburg is also undertaking surveys of youths and young adults ages 15 to 39. Those who identify as Catholics, as well as those who do not, are encouraged to complete an online questionnaire. The results of the diocese's surveys will be used to answer questions of the Synod of Bishops and to better serve youths and young adults within the diocese.

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Church Sends Team On Mission Trip August 16, 2017

ValleyView Alliance Church in York recently sent a team on a short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic for the fourth year. The team partnered with other teams and with Marketplace Ministries, a nonprofit organization.

The team worked at Mission Twentyfive35, an organization established by Rick and Tammy Romano and their children, who had a vision to share the Gospel and plant churches. The organization got its name from Matthew 25:35-36. The Romanos' goal is to implement solutions that address the immediate needs of various communities in the El Cibao region of the northern part of the Dominican Republic.

Mission Twentyfive35 has identified four key areas of need in El Cibao: lack of clean water, lack of nutritious food, limited access to primary health care and lack of technical and vocational job training. One of Mission Twentyfive35's first projects has been to distribute water filters to families in the region. Each week, visits are made to educate and train families on the importance of drinking and cooking with clean water, and filters are given to those in attendance. Other projects include aquaponics, greenhouses, chicken coops, a goat pen and several acres of plantain and yucca plants on a 10-acre farm. Progress is being made through reaching out to community churches, which in turn reach out to people in need.

During the recent mission trip, volunteers worked on building a vocational school. Mission Twentyfive35's next tasks will be completing the vocational trade school to help provide jobs and income and completing another goat pen.

Local residents may support Mission Twentyfive35 by donating, praying for the ministry and taking part in short-term mission trips. To learn more, readers may visit www.missiontwentyfive35.org.

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Youths Serve Refugees August 9, 2017

At Rivers Edge Fellowship in Lancaster, children from Nepali refugee backgrounds recently danced to worship songs with members of Weaverland Mennonite Church's youth group as part of Eastern Mennonite Missions' (EMM) Kingdom teams program.

Kingdom teams is a summer program that gives local church youth groups the chance to spend a week with refugee children and youths from Lancaster.

This summer, two youth groups on Kingdom teams hosted a vacation Bible school (VBS) for refugee and neighborhood children, while another group worked with Leap Into Language - a summer language intensive run through a partnership between IU 13, the School District of Lancaster, and EMM - to play games and practice English with refugee youths.

Heera Upreti came from Nepal to Lancaster as a refugee seven years ago. This summer, Upreti, a member of Rivers Edge Fellowship, participated on a Kingdom team with Weaverland Mennonite Church's youth group.

In addition to engaging with refugees, youths on Kingdom teams also live at Immerse International, a residence life experience and English-language institute for international students, immigrants, and refugees, with Christian educators and partially supported by local churches, where they learn principles of discipleship each morning.

Zachary Hummel is leading this summer's Kingdom teams along with three other EMM mission interns. Hummel explained that the purpose of Kingdom teams is to help refugee children and youths feel welcome. Youth groups that come from Lancaster also get a cross-cultural experience in their own backyard.

To learn more about participating in summer Kingdom teams, readers may visit www.emm.org/kteams.

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Youth Services Receives Grant August 9, 2017

Diakon Youth Services' Center Point and Turning Point programs have received a $20,000 grant from the Kenneth Bankert Foundation of Camp Hill to support service to 30 at-risk youths.

The grant represents the third consecutive year that Diakon Youth Services has received a Kenneth Bankert Foundation grant.

Both Turning Point, located in Lancaster, and Center Point, based at the Diakon Wilderness Center near Boiling Springs, are day treatment programs that aid at-risk youths who struggle in a traditional school environment. The programs serve youths from Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, Lancaster, York, Franklin and surrounding counties.

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The Manheim Project Wraps Up Fifth Year August 7, 2017

From July 17 to 28, more than 300 volunteers from several Manheim churches came together to serve the community through The Manheim Project. The purpose behind the outreach effort is simple: to show love to neighbors in tangible ways and to honor and glorify Jesus Christ, explained Nate Minnich, a member of White Oak Church of the Brethren (COB) and one of the project organizers.

White Oak COB launched The Manheim Project in 2013 as a localized, one-week mission trip. Minnich and his family were visiting a church in the Ephrata area and heard a briefing about The Ephrata Project. "Ephrata's been doing it for a number of years," Minnich said. "I thought the concept was pretty cool and we patterned Manheim's after theirs. I see it as God putting me in that spot at that time to see that and bring it to Manheim."

Ephrata, Lititz, and Manheim all host projects in their communities. Each one is coordinated through Love INC of Lancaster County, which refers to the initiative as The Compassion Project. "We like to call it a work camp at home," said Kim Wittel, executive director for Love INC. "It's an opportunity for people in local churches to meet the needs of their real neighbors."

The project is publicized several weeks in advance through flyers and newspaper advertisements with a telephone number for area residents to call if they have a need. Love INC then fields all the calls and connects each church with service work according to the number of volunteers and skill sets they have to offer.

To meet those needs, volunteers of all ages from the following Manheim area churches joined forces: Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church, East Fairview COB, Erb Mennonite Church, Manheim Brethren in Christ (BIC), Salem United Methodist Church, White Oak COB, Jerusalem Church, and Newport Church.

According to Wittel, more than 300 needs were met by the three compassion projects in Lancaster County in 2017. In Manheim, that included anything from yard work and landscaping to carpentry, repairs, building handicapped-accessible ramps, and general cleanup. "The whole goal is to serve people, and this year we actually had a waiting list of projects that had been requested," said Minnich.

Some individuals take off from work for a few days and others squeeze the volunteer hours into their work week as they are able. "Each church participates a different amount - whether it's a whole week or just a day," Minnich said. The youth group at White Oak COB spends a week together camping out on the church property each evening and working together through the day. White Oak COB also hosted an evening meal for the volunteers from all of the participating churches on July 26.

Another new component was a community prayer event, which Minnich said was put into motion by Manheim BIC member Andy Nelson. Hundreds of individuals gathered at the Manheim Farm Show Exhibition Center on July 15 to pray for The Manheim Project and the community as a whole. "That was something new that we tried, and I think we'll definitely be doing that again," said Minnich. "It was a very good year. God is good, and it's exciting to see this grow."

After the projects are finished each summer, Wittel said that she has the privilege of hearing from numerous recipients expressing gratitude for the help they have received. "I don't think that people realize how much it really helps," remarked Wittel. "It's a great blessing to so many of our neighbors."

Manheim area churches or individuals who would like to participate next summer may email themanheimproject@gmail.com or visit "The Manheim Project" on Facebook. To learn more about Love INC, readers may call 717-735-7540 or visit www.loveinclancaster.org.

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Tools 4 School Distribution Event Planned August 4, 2017

The fifth annual Tools 4 School school supply distribution and clothing distribution event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 12, between 10 a.m. and noon at Zion Lutheran Church, 1290 River Road, Marietta.

Attendees will be able to pick up a variety of free items for school students of all ages. School supplies to choose from will include backpacks, binders, notebooks, dividers, filler paper, pens, pencils, markers, crayons, scissors, erasers, and highlighters. The event will also feature clothing that is gently used and clean, along with new underwear and socks in all sizes. Attendees will also have access to gently used books for all levels.

For more information, readers may contact Zion Lutheran at 717-426-1884.

The school supply distribution is organized by Zion Lutheran Church, and the clothing distribution is organized by St. John's Episcopal Church in Marietta. Tools 4 School is made possible by donations from businesses, organizations, and community members.

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Church Members Take Part In Mission Trip To Haiti August 2, 2017

Dr. Dan Williams, senior pastor at New Life in Christ Fellowship of Coatesville, recently returned from a mission trip to Haiti, along with 13 congregation members. Williams said he believes that he and the other missionaries benefited more from the trip than the residents of the remote village they visited.

"I am not sure we did as much for them as they did for us," said Williams. "Your eyes are opened. You get to see people who don't have cable TV, resources or (modern conveniences), but they live, they love, they worship. The impact was more on us than us on them."

Church members who visited Haiti included youth members of Girls in Fellowship Together (GIFTS). "They do a retreat once a year where they talk to young women about moral purity and spiritual formation," Williams explained. "This time we thought it would be better for them to get out and see what the world is like."

From July 12 to 19, the girls and the other church members visited the village of Creve. Activities took place in a mission compound, which included a church, an orphanage, a guest house and a clinic.

"(The girls) led vacation Bible school (VBS) in the village of Creve, using the same material they would have taught in the U.S.," Williams said. With the help of an interpreter, Williams preached during church services and throughout the day along with Kenyatta Rush from PACE Ministries, who accompanied the local missionaries on the trip. The local church members also distributed gifts to the villagers, including clothing and financial donations.

To get to the village, Williams and the others had to make an 11-and-a-half-hour journey from Port-au-Prince to Creve. "We went up the mountains in three different vehicles. You have not seen country like (that) in your life," Williams said, noting the roads were rutted and barely passable. "It was a challenge."

He noted that for the return trip, the missionaries were able to travel part of the journey by plane. "There was no way we wanted to subject them to another 11-and-a-half-hour trip," said Williams.

The village of Creve had no modern conveniences like internet access or air conditioning. "There was no hot water at all," Williams explained. "There is no running water - it is more of a trickle. Their water is located on the roof in big tanks that catch rain water. Sometimes, water is delivered. It's not like (here where we) leave the water running while we brush our teeth or let the water get warm before we get into the shower."

Williams said that events like church services are generally delayed so that all the villagers can get there. "There are no buses to bring them there. They walk and, according to one of the leaders there, they walk for as long as two to four hours," said Williams. "This is the way they live, yet they celebrate."

Williams was touched by many scenes he witnessed while in Haiti, including the site of a woman who washed her feet in a puddle before entering church. "No one is supposed to have to go without water, food and clothes and shelter," he said. "These are basic things that all humanity should just have."

On Sunday, Aug. 13, participants in the mission trip will talk about their experiences in Haiti during the church's Sunday school class, called Christian Life Development, from 8:50 to 9:50 a.m. prior to the 10 a.m. worship service. The public is invited to attend the presentation and the church service.

New Life in Christ Fellowship is located at 1 S. Fifth Ave., Coatesville. For more information about the church, readers may call 610-384-3344 or visit www.nlicf.org.

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Free Clothing Ministry Posted August 1, 2017

Harmony Grove Community Church, 6390 Harmony Grove Road, Dover, will offer a free clothing ministry as an outreach to the Dover community and the surrounding areas of York County. The clothing will be available in the small white church on the first and third Saturdays of each month, excluding holiday weekends, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, readers may call 717-292-3659 or visit www.hgcc.org.

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REYS Prepares For Backpacks To School July 28, 2017

A young person's attitude toward school and whether or not they have the supplies they need can make a huge difference in setting them up for academic success, explained Rainbows End Youth Center (REYS) executive director Joel Hughes, and that is part of the reason that the center's annual Backpacks to School program was established five years ago.

"We had some students involved in a homework program, and they could earn points to get little prizes," Hughes recalled. One student was savings his points for a backpack and eventually told a staff member he was going to give it to one of his friends who did not have one. That sparked the beginning of Backpacks to School, a collection drive to supply local students with an age-appropriate backpack at no cost.

Backpacks to School is for students in kindergarten through grade 12, regardless of where they live or attend school. To sign up to receive a new backpack fully stocked with school supplies, interested individuals may visit https://reys.org or call 717-653-9511. An individual pickup appointment will be scheduled for each family during the week of Monday to Friday, Aug. 14 to 18, at REYS, 105 Fairview St., Mount Joy.

Hughes noted that scheduling appointments instead of having one mass collection date helps to save everyone some time instead of waiting in line and it preserves the dignity of each parent and child. He anticipates more than 500 backpacks will be distributed this year, as last year's giveaway reached a total of 485.

Many of the recipients come from the Donegal and Manheim Central school districts, where REYS works alongside social workers and guidance counselors to help spread the word, but Hughes said they see more and more folks from other districts near and far each year.

Community members may think Backpacks to School is only for a single parent or a parent who is currently unemployed, but REYS staff and volunteers have learned that the stories and situations vary far beyond those groups. For instance, last summer a grandparent came to get backpacks for five of her grandchildren whom she had unexpectedly begun taking care of full time while on a fixed income in retirement. "When she came to pick them up she was just extremely grateful," Hughes said.

Several local churches, businesses, and organizations have contributed to the annual program, and donations of new backpacks filled with school supplies are greatly appreciated. High school-appropriate backpacks and three-ring binders are especially needed. Interested individuals may drop off donations at REYS by Friday, Aug. 11. "We have some people who use it as a family activity and have their student pick out a backpack for themselves and for someone else, and just buy two of everything," said Hughes.

Individuals who miss the distribution week in August are still welcome to call 717-653-9511 to inquire about receiving a backpack, and Hughes and the REYS staff members will be happy to assist.

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Volunteers Take Part In Operation Birdsboro July 26, 2017

Why do church volunteers, including children, decide to give up four days of their summer vacation to help others in need during Operation Birdsboro? While the specific answers may vary, the resounding theme is that serving others is a way to share God's love.

"As a church-based program, (Operation Birdsboro) is about the opportunity for Christians to live out their faith and strive to openly follow Christ's example of service to others and to love not in word or speech, but in truth and action," stated volunteer Stuart Wells, referencing 1 John 3:18.

Operation Birdsboro began in 2014, when St. Paul's United Church of Christ (UCC) in Birdsboro decided to help the community and families close to home. For its first effort, the church partnered with two other churches - St. John-Hill UCC in Boyertown and Alice Focht United Methodist Church (UMC) in Birdsboro - to complete the tasks in the community. That first year, 19 volunteers completed work projects at seven worksites, including the homes of elderly or disabled residents in the community, two borough parks and at Birdsboro Elementary Center.

This year, there were more than 90 volunteers with Operation Birdsboro, which was held from July 19 to 22. Volunteers assisted more than 20 homeowners, completing tasks such as sealing driveways, cutting down trees and painting. Projects in the community included curb painting.

There were volunteers from six participating churches, including St. Paul's UCC; St. John-Hill UCC; Alice Focht UMC; St. Paul's UCC, Amityville; Church of Nazarene, Birdsboro; and St. Paul's Lutheran, Douglassville. There were 65 on-site workers, and the remaining volunteers worked in the kitchen at the Masonic Union Lodge 479, where lunch and dinner were offered to the volunteers, as well as a morning devotion and evening activities.

Other volunteers served as "runners" between worksites, checking on the workers and bringing water and ice. This task was especially important this year because volunteers were battling temperatures in the 90s and high humidity levels.

Volunteers were given salmon-colored T-shirts to wear. The shirts read "God Is on the Move," making the volunteers easily identifiable while working in the community. Signs placed at each worksite read "God's Hands at Work."

Many people in the community offered financial support for the effort, including local businesses, members of American Legion Post 626, Amity Township Lions Club and the Women's Club of Birdsboro.

At one worksite, volunteers pulled weeds and cleaned out gutters for a homeowner in need. Among the volunteers was Isabel Baker, 11, a member of St. Paul's UCC, Birdsboro. She said she has been involved in Operation Birdsboro for four years, two years helping in the kitchen and two years at the worksites. "I always like to do this because it's fun and it's good for the people we are helping," she said.

Volunteer Bonnie Frankhouser took vacation from work to be part of Operation Birdsboro. "It's so rewarding to go and help other members in the community," she stated. "It's such a good feeling to say (that) God is alive in Birdsboro and our community.

"A lot of times (the homeowners) just need somebody to listen and somebody to talk to, and I like being that somebody," she added.

Operation Birdsboro concluded on July 23 with a celebration meal attended by volunteers, guests and recipients of help.

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The Lord's Lunch Marks Six Years July 26, 2017

More than six years ago, St. John Lutheran Church in New Freedom felt a need to reach out to the community to serve a hot, made-from-scratch meal. Since the implementation of The Lord's Lunch, more than 13,200 meals have been served free of charge. The meals, served every Saturday, offer an opportunity for attendees to socialize.

Four years ago, the program expanded to offer Good Food Boxes every other Tuesday. More than 3,800 boxes, filled with eggs, milk, frozen foods, meat, fruit, and vegetables and weighing up to 40 pounds, have been distributed.

Last year, St. John took another step, and the program Kids Feeding Kids was designed to give free food and snacks to children who do not receive food from school sources during the summer. Every Sunday, children pick out the food for the week to give to other children.

The endeavor is also supported by St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and Redeemer Lutheran Church in Parkton.

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Churches Donate Blankets July 26, 2017

Local area Lutheran churches recently came together to support Lutheran World Relief (LWR) by making 100 fleece tied blankets for donation. The local churches that participated in the effort included Christ Lutheran Church Filey's, St. Michael's Lutheran and Faith United Lutheran Parish (FULP), which includes Barren's, Emmanuel and St. John's Franklin.

Small groups and individuals made some blankets, and a large group effort to assemble a large number of blankets occurred on May 6. Thrivent Financial accepted the project as part of a Thrivent Action Team Grant, which allowed the volunteers to have lunch during their efforts.

On June 9, Jane Musser from St. Michael's delivered the blankets to the LWR Warehouse in New Windsor, Md., where each bag of blankets was assigned a tracking number. The tracking information will allow volunteers to see where the blankets go.

LWR is a Lutheran organization that carries out material aid distribution and relief and development programs overseas. The organization works with a variety of local partners in various countries. Partners include churches, faith-based agencies and nongovernmental organizations. To learn more about LWR, readers may visit https://lwr.org/.

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Organization Aims To Reduce Malnutrition July 26, 2017

When Christie Heimbach and Kelsey Hare were students at Messiah College, they heard a sobering statistic: Every 2 seconds or less, somewhere in the world a child dies of malnutrition. In 2011, the friends founded 2 Seconds or Less, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending childhood malnutrition by providing sustainable solutions to hunger.

The organization has an office at 227 Granite Run Drive, Suite 201, Lancaster, but the focus of the work is not within those walls; rather, it is divided between Zimbabwe and urban areas in the United States. Millersville University students Sam Winslow and Rachel Lee serve as marketing specialist and education specialist, respectively, for 2 Seconds or Less. They explained that the organization recruits and trains high school students to travel to Zimbabwe, where they work with the Nhaka Foundation to create nutrition gardens at government-run schools that are maintained by the schools and their communities.

"We provide the manpower to get the gardens started," Lee said. "We want to empower youths (through the experience). They can dream big and make a difference."

Winslow noted that agriculture is not widely practiced in Zimbabwe, so most of the food is imported. The nutrition gardens are designed to cut down on the amount of food that must be purchased. Each garden includes five sections: corn or other grains, vegetables, fruit trees, beans, and herbs for flavoring. The gardens are filled with plants found in Zimbabwe and enjoyed by children, and the tools are purchased in Zimbabwe as well.

"We buy local because in the end, we just want an area to succeed," Winslow said. "Zimbabwe was chosen (as the first country to work in) because it's one of the poorest African countries. It's also incredibly peaceful."

Teams of eight to 10 students have built eight gardens so far at a rate of two a year. The goal for 2018 is to increase to three gardens annually. Lee and Winslow will participate in a trip this December that will serve as a training venture for future team leaders.

The organization also provides "Harvesting Manna," a curriculum that teaches tactical knowledge and skills for using the crops to prevent or reverse the effects of malnutrition. The lessons are taught from a biblical perspective in order to share the Gospel through the hands-on example of God's gift of creation.

"We want to teach them that farming isn't a desperate end; it's a hopeful beginning," Winslow said.

Additionally, 2 Seconds or Less builds wells and irrigation systems for the communities where nutrition gardens are established.

"Most places where we go in, we build wells because there are no sustainable water sources," Lee explained. "If you have the funds, you can build a well in less than a week." She added, "It's about us giving them some resources so they can empower themselves and future generations."

The main funding source for 2 Seconds or Less is a half-dozen churches. Contributions are accepted from other organizations and from individuals. Additionally, 2 Seconds or Less will participate in the ExtraOrdinary Give, which will be held on Friday, Nov. 17, this year. Additionally, the organization is looking for high school students and for teachers who will recommend students to participate in garden-building trips. Folks who would like to volunteer in other ways are welcome as well.

"We will find a place for you," Lee said with assurance.

To learn more, readers may visit www.2secondsorless.org, email info@2secondsorless.org, or call 302-751-2765.

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"Faith At The Ballpark" Slated July 20, 2017

Faith at the Ballpark, featuring Bible2School, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Men of Iron, will take place during the Lancaster Barnstormers game on Sunday, Aug. 6, at 2 p.m. at the team's home stadium, 650 N. Prince St., Lancaster.

Children who register for Bible2School before Monday, July 31, will receive a free ticket voucher for the game while supplies last and will be entered into a drawing to throw out the first pitch. Bible2School students attending the game may stand with the players during the national anthem. At the organization's table, attendees may play a game and win a prize.

For Bible2School, registered children are picked up at their school once a week and transported to a local church, community center, or business for a Bible class before returning to school.

To register for Bible2School, visit www.bible2school.com/get-involved/student-registration/.

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Religious School Revitalizes Curriculum July 19, 2017

"The idea is to make them enjoy it, make them want to come, have them learn something and be proud to be Jewish. We want to make Judaism real and vibrant and enticing," said religious school director Joan Sharp when describing the goal of the Beth Israel Cohen Family Religious School, which operates at Beth Israel Congregation of Chester County in Eagle.

This summer, Sharp and other staff members are revamping and revitalizing the 2017-18 curriculum for the school, which offers formal religious education for Jewish children from kindergarten through ninth grade.

Religious education is offered every Sunday from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There is also a "One Plus" program offered on Wednesdays from 4:15 to 6 p.m. "Students in third through seventh grades used to be required to come on Sunday and Wednesday. Now, we are offering the Wednesday as an option for third- through fifth-graders," Sharp said. "We are doing that to meet the needs of community families who are involved with other activities that interfere with the timing of attending a two-day-a-week religious school.

"We do still want the sixth- and seventh-graders to attend both days because they are starting to actively prepare for their bar and bat mitzvahs, so the option is just for the third- through fifth-graders," she added.

A bar or bat mitzvah is a "coming of age" ceremony where 13-year-old Jewish boys and girls become responsible for observing the commandments. Additionally, older youths, ages 16 to 18, take part in a confirmation ceremony.

"We have a two-year confirmation program for eighth- and ninth-graders that is not mandatory, but most of our students (attend)," noted Sharp. "That is a class that is geared toward using Jewish texts and values to guide decision-making."

Also new this year is multimedia program that will help students learn Hebrew. "The new series utilizes arts, music and interactive online components," Sharp explained. "It will help students not just learn the prayer by rote memorization, but actually connect a meaning with the prayer that is applicable to their lives."

An additional program on Sundays will be a student-led community service for third- through seventh-graders at 11 a.m. "For 15 minutes, everyone will gather in the social hall and Rabbi (Jon Cutler) will be discussing a question of the week that he will send out in advance," Sharp noted. "We will also be passing around a tzedakah box, which is a charity box where people can donate coins, and we will decide as a group what charity the money will be donated to throughout the school year."

On Wednesdays, a portion of the program will be for Chugim (Clubs). "The fall club will be 'Judaism Around the World.' We will learn how Jews in other countries practice," Sharp explained. As part of the winter theme, which will be "STEAM (Science, Technology, Entertainment, Arts and Math)," youths will study Jewish individuals who have made contributions in those areas. The spring 2018 club will be a study of Israel.

Sharp said updating the curriculum will better prepare students for life as they become adults. "The big focus of change for the religious school in redoing our curriculum is trying to have more of a focus on providing students with key Jewish values that they can use to guide their lives," she commented. "We're trying to look at the entire curriculum and weed out facts that are not critical. There is only a certain amount of time we have each week with the kids, and we need to use that time to the best of our ability to get across the most important things."

Beth Israel Congregation is located at 385 Pottstown Pike (Route 100), Eagle. The Beth Israel Cohen Family Religious School will begin offering classes on Wednesday, Sept. 6, and Sunday, Sept. 10. For more information, readers may visit www.bethisraelpa.org or call 610-458-8550.

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Community Meals July 18, 2017

Several venues in the New Holland and ELANCO area offer meals throughout the month. The public is invited.

A meal is offered from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month at Evangelical United Methodist Church, 276 W. Main St., New Holland. A meal is held on the second Wednesday of every other month (January, March, May, July, September, and November) from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. at Weaverland Mennonite Church, 210 Weaverland Valley Road, East Earl.

On the third Thursday of the month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., a meal is served at New Holland United Methodist Church, 120 W. Main St., New Holland. CrossNet Youth Center, 100 W. Franklin St., New Holland, is the site of a meal on the fourth Monday of the month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

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Church Members Complete Mission Work July 12, 2017

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Smith Returns From Mission July 12, 2017

Erin Smith, 21, of York recently returned from serving an 18-month mission for the West York Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in York Township. Smith served as a proselyting missionary in the Montana, Billings Mission.

Smith is the daughter of Andy and Becky Smith, and she graduated from Central York High School in 2015. Now that she has completed the mission, she plans to work and to follow the Pathways Program at Brigham Young University - Idaho to earn a college degree.

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Poertner To Serve Two-Year Mission July 3, 2017

Ryan M. Poertner, 18, of West Manchester Township, will serve a two-year proselyting mission in the Carlsbad, Calif., mission as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He began his training on June 28 at the Mission Training Center, Provo, Utah. After three weeks, he was to be transferred to Carlsbad.

Ryan is the son of Jessica Whitney Flores of West Manchester Township. Ryan graduated from West York High School in 2017. He is a member of the church's West York Ward.

When Ryan completes his mission, he plans to attend Brigham Young University in Provo and has deferred his matriculation until after his mission.

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Ward To Serve Two-Year Mission July 3, 2017

Aaron Ward, 18, of Seven Valleys, will serve a two-year mission in the Taiwan, Taipei Mission. He left on May 29 for the Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah, for nine weeks of training, during which he is learning to speak Mandarin.

Aaron is the son of Monte and Jennifer Ward of Seven Valleys, Springfield Township. He is their third child to serve a mission. His brother Jacob served a mission in the Ghana Kumasi Mission and his brother Sam is currently serving a mission in the Thailand, Bangkok Mission.

Aaron graduated from Dallastown Area High School in 2016. He is a member of the church's Shrewsbury Ward. He has completed one year at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo. He has deferred his enrollment at BYU to after completing his mission.

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