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Volunteers Needed For Meal-Packing Event March 15, 2018

In February, Lora Mangus Wenger visited Real Hope for Haiti (RHFH), which partners with Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) to rehabilitate malnourished children by providing meals to families and teaching them the importance of regular, consistent nutrition.

"For the most severely malnourished, the children are admitted to the RHFH clinic and may stay for six to 18 months until they are fully healthy again. Many of these children are close to death, suffering from parasitic infections, tuberculosis, and malaria, but with consistent care, they fully recover and return to their families well," Wenger said. "On behalf of these children and thousands of others around the world, thank you for supporting the FMSC MobilePack. Every prayer, person, and penny count in the effort to alleviate world hunger."

Wenger is the chairperson for the Lancaster County FMSC MobilePack, which has been hosted by her congregation, Willow Street Mennonite Church, 399 E. Penn Grant Road, Willow Street, for several years. The fifth such event will be held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 6, 7, and 8. Two-hour shifts will be held throughout the weekend, and folks may sign up at

During the MobilePack, volunteers will portion raw ingredients into MannaPacks, which FMSC will ship to partners around the world. There will be a variety of work, which will range from very active to stationary. Folks may be seated to perform some of the tasks. At least 1,500 people are needed to cover all of the shifts. Many of the slots have been filled, but more than 100 remain.

"The community is very supportive, as they snatched up the volunteer slots far more quickly than expected, even after increasing from 200,000 meals last year to 300,000 meals this year and increasing our volunteer slots from 1,000 to 1,500," Wenger observed. "Additional volunteer openings often arise within two to three weeks of the event as last-minute plans change."

There is no cost to participate in the MobilePack, although participants are asked to raise funds to cover the cost of the meals that they will assemble. Donations are also welcome and may be made at the aforementioned website. Nearly $67,000 is needed for this year's event, and just under half that amount has been donated so far. A fundraising event for the MobilePack will be held at Isaac's Restaurant, 226 Gap Road, Strasburg, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, through April 8. Coupons for the fundraiser, through which 25 percent of purchases made with the coupon will be donated to the MobilePack, may be picked up at the church.

For more information about the Lancaster County FMSC MobilePack, readers may call the church at 717-464-2422.


Church To Offer Book Nook March 13, 2018

New Holland United Methodist Church, 120 W. Main St., New Holland, will offer an outdoor Book Nook to share with the community. A variety of books for people of all ages are available to check out in the bookcase outside the church's front doors.

Anyone with the desire to read is encouraged to use this free service. For details, call 717-354-0226.


Ministry Plans Conference March 8, 2018

The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry will sponsor a conference from Sunday to Wednesday, March 18 to 21, at Community Bible Church of Gordonville, 234 Old Leacock Road, Gordonville. The speaker will be Tom Simcox. Events will take place on March 18 at 9:30 a.m., 10:35 a.m., and 6 p.m. and daily from Monday, March 19, to March 21 at 7 p.m. A free lunch and a question-and-answer session will be available on March 21 at noon.

For more information, readers may call 717-823-2086.


High-Schoolers Invited To Enter Peace Contest March 8, 2018

The impact of individual efforts to bring an element of peace to the world is the focus of the 33rd annual Peace Creative Arts Contest. Lancaster County students in grades nine through 12 are invited to reflect on the topic "Peace Begins With Me." Students may submit artwork, an essay, poetry, or a video expressing ways to achieve peaceful solutions to conflicts in the world.

"(Students) have so much to say. We discount the importance of our young people," said Libby Nocheck, pastor of Hamilton Park United Church of Christ (HPUCC), which is sponsoring this year's contest. "We want to help (students) embrace the reality of their individual impact. It's like a raindrop on a pond: Every one of us has the ability to affect the world in a positive way."

The contest was created as an essay contest by the Lancaster Friends Meeting in 1981 in order to encourage young people to think about peace and peacemaking. It has been continued by the Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness and rotates through hosting congregations.

"Each congregation takes it in its own direction," Nocheck remarked. "We put a different twist on ours."

This year, the contest has expanded from a strictly writing event to include visual communication.

"We want to give more kids a chance to shine," explained contest coordinator Marti Guglielmo. "We want them to know their communication is important. (Art) is a way they can make a statement and inspire others to say, 'Hey, what a great idea. I can help (to bring peace).'"

The contest is open to any high school student who lives in Lancaster County, regardless of whether they attend public or private school or are homeschooled. Contestants are encouraged to consult with teachers and others in developing their approaches to addressing the theme. The deadline for the submission of entries is Friday, April 27. A panel of distinguished members of the community have been selected to adjudicate the entries.

All of the submissions will be displayed in HPUCC's art alley, and an awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 20, at 2 p.m. at HPUCC, 1210 Maple Ave., Lancaster. A number of cash prizes will be awarded. All of the entries will receive recognition, and contestants are encouraged to attend. The public is welcome to attend the ceremony as well.

"This contest gives (students) a voice in several different ways," Guglielmo commented. "We're hoping it will be a catalyst in their lives."

For more information or to receive a copy of the submission rules and age division information, readers may send an email with the subject "Peace Creative Arts Contest" to Folks may also call HPUCC at 717-397-9791 if they have any questions.


Women Knot Comforters For People In Need March 6, 2018

"Hopefully our cheerful blankets will do a tiny bit to cheer up a dismal situation," said Carmen Weber when describing the colorful comforters made recently by members of the Neighbors Caring and Sharing women's fellowship group, which meets weekly at Conestoga Mennonite Church in Morgantown. The comforters will be donated to the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a Christian relief organization, which will distribute them to people in need throughout the world.

The women tackled the project on March 6 under the guidance of Weber and her sister, Krista Petersheim, who provided comforters that were nearly completed and ready for the women to knot in order to finish them. Each comforter consisted of a piece of material on top, batting in the middle and more fabric on the back.

While the pieces are sewed together with machines, members of the Neighbors group use heavy thread to knot the three layers of fabric together to make the final quilted product. During the course of the recent meeting, the 20 women knotted 12 comforters.

Weber noted that the materials used to create the comforters are made with leftover fabric so that nothing goes to waste. One comforter featured a field of sunflowers, while another was bright blue with orange sunbursts. "The linings of the quilts are old blankets, and the fabric for the tops is from garage sales and the (Morgantown) ReUzit shop," she explained.

Weber said that the comforters are used by refugees in various countries, many of whom live in tents or makeshift shelters. "They use them as room dividers and then to keep them warm at night," she noted.

The women also added drawstrings to small fabric bags made by Weber, which will be filled with school supplies or health supplies by MCC before they are sent out of the country.

Both the comforters and the bags will be delivered to the MCC office in Ephrata. In the recent past, comforters have been sent to Nepal, Syria, Iraq and Haiti, as well as to victims of natural disasters in the United States.

Tina Essick, program chairman for the Neighbors group, led the group of women in a prayer as the comforters were being completed. "As we think about the final journey of these blankets, may the people who receive them feel love and give then hope with their daily struggles," she prayed. "May (the comforters) give some comfort to people who are in danger or the (victims) of a natural disaster. (May God) be with them and by them."

Neighbors Caring and Sharing meets on Tuesdays from September through June at Conestoga Mennonite Church. About 25 to 30 women attend the weekly meetings, which run from 9:15 to 11 a.m. Attendees enjoy fellowship, snacks and a guest speaker. Various outings are also scheduled throughout the program year.

Child care is provided for infants through kindergarten-age children. While their moms are at the meeting, children enjoy stories, crafts and age-appropriate activities under the supervision of a teacher. Snacks are provided.

All programs and child care are offered free of charge. When a craft is the focus of the meeting, a small fee is charged to cover the cost of supplies.

Essick noted that there are no membership dues. Women can come as often as they like and as their schedule permits.

Conestoga Mennonite Church is located at 2779 Main St. (Route 23), Morgantown. To view a complete schedule of the Neighbors group's meetings and programs, readers may visit, click on Groups and Events and choose Neighbors Caring and Sharing.

More information about MCC is available at


"Soup, Sandwich, And Talk" Event Set February 28, 2018

Word UP Community Ministries will host a free Soup, Sandwich, and Talk event on Thursday, March 15, at Gap Fire Company, 802 Pequea Ave., Gap. The meal will start at 6 p.m.

Attendees may leave after the meal or stay and hear a message. All are welcome.

Readers who would like to serve, provide soup, or volunteer may contact Buck Mowday at 717-330-0561 or


Knudson To Serve Mission February 28, 2018

Elisabeth Evelyn Knudson, 19, of the West York Ward, 2100 Hollywood Drive, Spring Garden Township, is serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is the daughter of the Lancaster Pennsylvania Stake president Dr. Conrad H. and Sara J. Knudson of York (Spring Garden Township).

On Jan. 31, Elisabeth left for the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, where she was to spend six weeks learning Spanish and training to be a missionary. Afterward, she will serve an 18-month mission in the Arizona Tempe Mission, which is a Spanish-speaking mission.

Elisabeth is a 2017 graduate of York Suburban High School. She prepared for her mission by studying Spanish and French in school, and she wrote out short testimonies in Spanish. She was the recipient of the York Suburban Academic Award for Improvement. In her church, she graduated from four years of early morning seminary, and she served as the president of the 16- and 17-year-old Young Women's Class. After she returns from her mission, she plans to attend Brigham Young University in Idaho.

Elisabeth, the third of six children, is the first of her siblings to serve a full-time mission. Among her relatives who served are her father, who served in the Southwest, and her grandfather Dr. Homer Knudson, who served as a missionary in England. Her great-grandmother Ruth Ellsworth Knudson served a mission in California, and her second great-grandparents, German and Mary Ellsworth, served as missionaries to the northern United States and Canada. Her fourth great-grandfather, George Laub (1814-1880), served as a missionary in Pittsburgh.


Ministry Seeks Sponsorships For Winter Blast February 22, 2018

Betty Pompell, youth center director with The Factory Ministries, has a specific reason she likes taking Factory youths to visit Camp Orchard Hill in Dallas, Pa., for Winter Blast.

"What I appreciate as someone who wants to be building relationships with these (students) and hearing their stories is that the camp is such a well-oiled machine," explained Pompell. "They have volunteers and staff running all the events ... (so) we don't have to worry about those (details), and we can just go and be with our teens."

Winter Blast 2018 is a weekend event designed by Camp Orchard Hill specifically for youth centers. This year's Winter Blast will be held on Friday, March 9, through Sunday, March 11. The event will bring together more than 200 students who frequent a number of central Pennsylvania youth centers. It will feature Christian hip-hop artist Kevi and speaker Josh Ott, a Schuylkill County pastor. "(Ott) has spoken before, and we love him because he relates to youth center teens in a (special) way," said Pompell. "A lot of our students don't come from a Christian background, so not all speakers can relate to them on a level that (Ott) can. The (students) love him."

The weekend is packed with activities for students. "Many of these students don't go on vacations. They don't go to summer camp, so this is a really big deal to go ice skating or snow tubing," said Pompell. The weekend also includes food, worship, sledding, snow football, an indoor climbing wall, inflatables, hockey, and bubble ball.

Pompell's favorite part of the weekend is getting to know the students who frequent The Factory Youth Center. "This is the time ... when they are eager to open up and share," noted Pompell. "These (students) are fighting battles that no one would imagine, and we get to ... encourage them and speak truth into their lives. Camp is a great time to really build them up when it feels like they're being torn down by circumstances."

The cost for a student to attend camp is $150. Each student who wishes to attend is asked to pay $10, and The Factory seeks sponsors to cover the other $140. "We would love to take 52 students," said Pompell. "Every year someone covers the cost of the charter bus, and we love to fill it."

Pompell noted that on the bus ride home, the students are asked to write thank you notes to their sponsors. "(Last year the students) wrote about what they loved about winter camp," said Pompell. "They shared their favorite memories, and it was neat to read how they really value the time to experience something they would never get to experience without the generosity of sponsors."

The Factory Youth Center is located in the Together Community Center, 3293 Lincoln Highway, Paradise. Currently, the center is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. and on Sundays from 6 to 8 p.m. for basketball. An after-school program takes place at Pequea Valley High School on Thursday afternoons. "We average 60 students on a Thursday," noted Pompell.

Readers who are interested in contributing toward sponsorship of a student may contact the ministry at 717-687-9594. More information about The Factory may be found at


Cavod Announces Summer Camps February 21, 2018

According to Meredith Bulgrien, coordinating producer for the Cavod Summer Camps, the yearly offerings are as much fun for instructors as they are for campers. "The instructors really love the summer camps because they get a lot of concentrated time with the students," said Bulgrien. "They can build relationships, and they have fun."

Cavod Academy, an organization dedicated to creating a safe community where students can develop in godly artistic expression, will hold four camps on weekdays during the summer of 2018. A musical theater camp, two creative arts camps, and an intensive dance camp will be held at Cavod, 665 W. Main St., New Holland. There is a cost to take part in the camps.

Younger students, ages 3 to 6 and 7 to 12, will have the option of taking part in a Dr. Seuss-themed camp called Green Eggs & Camp! Camps for each age group will take place Monday, July 9, through Friday, July 13, with 3- to 6-year-olds meeting from 9 a.m. to noon and 7- to 12-year-olds meeting from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. "We will do dancing, tumbling, arts and crafts, and a snack," said Bulgrien. A closing program will be held for family and friends at the end of the week. Up to 30 spots will be available for the morning camp and up to 45 spots will be available for the afternoon session.

Cavod has planned Summer Dance Intensive Camp for students age 10 through adults. The camp will be held from Monday, Aug. 13, through Friday, Aug. 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Instructors will teach ballet, modern, jazz, and hip-hop styles of dance. "We will bring in local and national guest artists to work with students," noted Bulgrien, who added that Cavod has relationships with Vivid Ballet in Connecticut and Ad Deum Dance Company in Texas. "This is something for ages 10 to adult that will really challenge (students)," said Bulgrien, who noted that the camp will hold a closing performance on Aug. 17. The camp will have spaces for 30 students.

The Cavod Musical Theatre Camp will be held from Monday, July 16, through Friday, July 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each weekday. The camp is designed for 40 students ages 10 to 18. Cavod director Cordell Huyard will oversee a production of "The Lion King Jr.," which will be staged in the Cavod Theatre at the end of the camp.

Readers who wish to register for the camps may do so by visiting and clicking on Classes and then Summer Camps. Individuals who have questions may call 717-354-3355.


Church To Host Food Packing Opportunity February 16, 2018

Community Fellowship Church, 200 Bethel Ave., Lancaster, invites the public to help pack rice and beans for refugee families around the world. The project is a mobile food packing event in partnership with Global Aid Network (GAiN). Individuals and families are invited to sign up to participate in one of two sessions: Friday, March 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. or Saturday, March 3, from 9 to 11 a.m.

There is also an opportunity to help with setup at noon on Friday or cleanup at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Children age 5 and up are welcome to help serve with their parents.

There is a fee per participant to help cover the cost of the food being packed. Community Fellowship Church will donate an additional amount per person.

Registration is available at Paper registration forms are available in the church office.

This year Community Fellowship Church plans to pack more than 40,000 meals for families living in refugee camps in Africa and the Middle East. For more information, readers may email


Released Time Program Sets Open House February 16, 2018

Warwick Released Time will hold an open house for John Beck students on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. at Lititz United Methodist Church, 201 Market St. Director Sue Rohrer and on-site director Sue Weiser invite all to attend, including students, parents, grandparents, and friends.

Attendees will experience what students are learning at the weekly Bible classes. Fourth-grade teachers Deb Lobb, Betsy Longenecker, Kim Reese, and Krista Weaver lead their students in a study of the Old Testament of the Bible. The fifth-graders, taught by Kristine Castellitto, Mindi Esbenshade, Jen Heller, and Renee Reinfried, study the New Testament and the life of Jesus.

The open house program will begin with all students singing "My God Is Powerful." The classes will then present what they have learned through skits, songs, and Scripture.

An offering will be received to benefit the Warwick Released Time program, which has been in existence since 1965. The program will end with all singing "Do, Lord," followed by the benediction by host pastor Jerry McGrath.

More information is available at


Women Invited To Program February 15, 2018

Women of all ages and preschool children are invited to attend Neighbors Sharing and Caring, a women's ministry of the Chiques Church of the Brethren, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 9 to 10:45 a.m.

Sylvia Gearhart will focus on how individuals can choose whether life experiences bring them freedom or weigh them down. Her talk will be titled "Break Free."

Gearhard is married and is a mother and grandmother. She graduated with a degree in home economics from Messiah College and is a food service director at Camp Hebron.

Classes will be provided for infants through prekindergartners. Readers may contact Rose at 717-665-9417 or Veronica at 717-626-7603 for more information and a copy of this year's schedule. The church is located at 4045 Sunnyside Road, Manheim.


Bible2School Volunteers Sought February 15, 2018

Bible2School is seeking volunteers to teach lessons to participating students.

More than 50 children, many of whom have no church connection, accepted the invitation to enroll in Bible2School. Each small group of five to six children has a volunteer leader that allows for relationship building and discipleship. Volunteers are needed for the remaining 10 weeks of the program year for the following days and schools: on Mondays at Smoketown Elementary School (Conestoga Valley School District); on Tuesdays at Price Elementary School (School District of Lancaster); and on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Hamilton Elementary School (School District of Lancaster).

For more information on volunteer opportunities, readers may visit or contact Stephanie Smith at


Student Earns Free Summer Camp February 14, 2018

Coltyn Myers, a student in the Eastern York School District (EYSD), recently earned a free week of summer camp in addition to other prizes, thanks to his efforts in the Released Time program C.I.A. (Christians in Action) at Eastern York Middle/High School.

Coltyn began earning points in the Released Time program while a student at Wrightsville Elementary School. Students earn points by memorizing Bible verses, looking up verses in the Bible, and explaining the meaning of verses. Students begin receiving awards once they reach 25 points, and they accumulate more prize opportunities for each additional 25 points they earn.

C.I.A. and the other Released Time Bible programs are available to students in grades three through 12 in all EYSD schools. The program occurs one day a week for one hour during the school day. Students are transported to a church or other facility where they learn about the Bible, sing songs, and participate in other activities.

Students who wish to attend the program must have a permission slip filled out by their parents or guardians. The program is state approved and operated by Joy El Generations, a nonprofit organization.

For more information, readers may visit


Released Time Program Sets Open House February 12, 2018

Warwick Released Time will hold an open house for John R. Bonfield students at the Lititz Moravian Church Christian Education Building, Church Square, on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. On-site director Kim Reese invites all to attend the student program, which will be presented by fourth- and fifth-grade John R. Bonfield students.

Each week, students arrive by bus at the Lititz Moravian Church to study the Bible. Warwick Released Time is provided by Pennsylvania state law for one hour per week.

Fourth-grade teachers are Heidi Limbert, Penny Stork, and Diane Weaver. During the open house, their classes will showcase what they are learning from the Old Testament of the Bible. Fifth-grade classes are studying the New Testament of the Bible under the leadership of teachers Teresa Goodhart, pastor Matt Lenahan, and Linda Landis.

An offering will be received to benefit Warwick Released Time, which has been in existence since 1965. Additional staff members include director Sue Rohrer, bus driver Donna Harnly, bus escort Dori Resch, greeter Jack Blace, host pastors Dean and Mark, and Barb Shultz, Lititz Moravian representative to the Released Time board.

For more information, readers may visit


Community Plans A Playground For Everyone February 9, 2018

Lititz COB Unveils Plans For The Tree House

On Jan. 30, Eric Landram, lead pastor of Lititz Church of the Brethren, addressed a gathering of more than 100 parents, children, and other interested area residents who had come to the church at 300 W. Orange St., Lititz, for the unveiling of the plans for The Tree House, a custom-made playground that will provide fun activities for children of all abilities.

Landram summed up his vision for the project by borrowing a quote from an elementary student named Annabelle T., who presented him with a packet of suggestions for The Tree House. "This is at the very heart and soul of what we want to do," said Landram before reading Annabelle's quote, which said, "A playground like this would represent Lititz well as a place where children of all abilities from anywhere will feel welcome and at home."

On the day of the unveiling, the committee that has been planning The Tree House, along with representatives of Play by Design, which has partnered with the church to design the playground, met with a number of children at the four Lititz elementary schools to get their input for the playground design. Earlier, children throughout the schools had been surveyed on the subject. "This town is full of bright minds with genius-level imagination," said Landram. "The designers have been hard at work drawing what the playground will become."

Landram played a song written specifically for The Tree House and recorded by Ken Medema a singer-songwriter who happens to be blind. Some of the lyrics read, "We're going to The Tree House to have some fun; there's room on the playground for everyone."

Lisa DeShano, a representative of Play by Design, spoke to the gathering about how inclusive playground projects impact not just children but entire communities. "(These playground projects) give children the opportunity for their voices to be heard," said DeShano, who shared stories and videos of other playgrounds that have been designed and built around the country. DeShano encouraged attendees to think of ways they can help with the project, including serving on committees, fundraising, writing grants, donating funds or materials, loaning tools, organizing volunteers, cooking and serving food, providing child care, sponsoring a part of the playground, or taking part in the build, which she noted will take up to 10 days.

DeShano said that The Tree House will be customized to the needs and wants of the children of Lititz. "This playground is not picked out of a catalog," she commented, adding that the drawings submitted by area children will be used to help create architectural details. She pointed ou that the playground will meet safety and ADA guidelines to make sure it's accessible for children of all abilities.

As part of the presentation, Kirsten Crosby Blose, Lititz COB director of children's ministry, and church member Levina Miller read "We're All Wonders" by R.J. Palacio. "The book is about including everybody, even when they look different from us," explained Blose.

Once the plans were unveiled, Dennis Wille of Play by Design helped bring the design of The Tree House to life for the children present by leading them on an imaginary journey through parts of the playground. Wille pointed out the giant tree house, the merry-go-round made for children in wheelchairs to use, the telephone tube system, the obstacle course, and the giant slide. When Wille mentioned the double zipline, the children broke into applause.

Readers who would like to learn more about the Tree House Playground may visit or search for "The Tree House of Lititz" on Facebook.


Building Bridges Through Simulcast And Construction February 8, 2018

In the decade since Dwight Lefever was called to serve as a pastor at Providence Church, 269 Cinder Road, New Providence, the idea of building bridges because Christ's love compels them has been an overarching theme for the congregation.

"We are not just talking," Lefever wrote in the welcome note of the NEXT initiative journey guide. "We are giving ourselves to loving and serving people across this community. We are building bridges through Awana, BRISK (youth ministry), and VBS. Hundreds of children and their families are growing in Jesus each week as we give ourselves to loving, teaching, and investing in many lives."

Adults are also growing in Jesus, and the church will host "Work as Worship," a one-day retreat on Friday, Feb. 23, to help adults connect their faith and their work. The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the church, and all materials, snacks, and lunch will be included in the attendance fee. The retreat will feature a simulcast of a live event from Dallas, Texas, in which 11 influential business leaders and pastors will share their stories and encourage attendees. VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer, pretzel maven Anne Beiler, The Village Church lead pastor Matt Chandler, and Evangel Ministries senior pastor Christopher Brooks will be among the speakers. Topics will include "Rethinking Urban Poverty: Economics That Works for the City," the importance of fruitfulness, the characteristics of an ideal team player, the power of purpose, business and its relationship to the Kingdom of God, and more.

Folks may register to attend at Attendance at the seminar is open to everyone, no matter their employment status or industry. Lefever made a special point of welcoming stay-at-home parents, as their work is raising children.

"(The retreat will emphasize) finding purpose in our every day," commented worship arts director Chad Young. "The goal of worship arts is to lead people (on Sundays) to live lives of worship the other six days."

Facilitating more bridge-building events is one of the purposes behind the NEXT initiative that Providence Church embarked upon in 2016. The current facility has been outgrown, so the church has opted to build an addition to enable expansion of the children, youth, and adult ministries. The two-story addition will more than double the size of the existing building, and it will feature a large multipurpose room, classrooms, a full kitchen, and restrooms. The new space will enable the BRISK youth ministry to meet at the church, rather than renting space at Providence Elementary School. There will also be room for more people to participate in Celebrate Recovery, and the Change of Pace South and Released Time programs that meet at the church during the school year will also have room to grow.

The addition will be completed in three phases, and nearly all of the approximately $2.5 million goal for the first phase has been met.

"It's been really neat to see God provide," Lefever commented. He noted that before launching NEXT, the church raised money to build a church in Haiti with CrossRoads Mission Haiti. The funds were enough to build two churches. "We feel like God really honored that (desire to) bless some people in Haiti before we bless ourselves," he said.

A groundbreaking celebration will be held on Sunday, March 4. A worship service will be held at 10 a.m., and the groundbreaking will take place at 11 a.m. Refreshments will be served afterward.

Construction will begin after March 4, and the first phase is expected to be completed by September. Throughout the year, Providence Church will celebrate God's goodness, provision, and faithfulness.

For more information, readers may call the church at 717-786-5580 or email


Volunteers Sought For Community Garden February 5, 2018

Yocumtown Church of God, 160 Red Mill Road, Etters, is seeking volunteers to work in the Grow It Forward Garden this year. The project is coordinated by the church and Mark Schuch, horticulturist and retired manager of Stauffers of Kissel Hill garden centers. The 40-by-80-foot garden is located on land owned by the church.

The purpose of the garden is to provide fresh organic produce to the local food bank, Redcap, in Lewisberry and also to Downtown Daily Bread in Harrisburg, which provides lunch daily to people who are hungry and homeless in downtown Harrisburg. In the past year, weekly deliveries from The Grow It Forward Garden were made from June 6 to Dec. 6.

The garden was started because Downtown Daily Bread lost a valuable source of fresh produce with the closing of an organization called Channels, which collected local gardeners' excess produce and distributed the proceeds to local organizations that provided food to people in need.

The local Community Aid organization has provided a grant for fencing, so the Grow It Forward Garden is now completely fenced for protection from wildlife. Local businesses have provided a drip irrigation system, tools, organic fertilizers, seeds, and plants. The Yocumtown Church of God supplies storage space and access to water and volunteers.

Volunteer activities may include tilling and cultivating the soil, assisting with planting beginning in March, ongoing weeding, tying up and staking plants, harvesting, and general garden maintenance. Additionally, organizers are looking for someone willing to monitor the garden for insect and disease control and to apply organic, environmentally friendly pesticides/fungicides in a responsible manner. Equipment and supplies will be provided.

To volunteer, readers may email Schuch at


Released Time Program Sets Open House February 2, 2018

Warwick Released Time will hold an open house on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. at Salem Lutheran Church of Kissel Hill, 26 Owl Hill Road, Lititz. The event will offer an opportunity to see what fourth- and fifth-graders from Kissel Hill are learning in their weekly classes. All are invited to attend, including students, parents, grandparents, and friends.

The program will begin with the group singing "My God Is Powerful," and the welcome will be by Sue Weiser, on-site director.

The fifth-grade program will begin with the class of Liz Preston and Correen Russo presenting "Following the Shepherd." The class of Mrs. Wenger will perform the song "These Are the Books of the Bible," followed by the class of Shirley Garman with "Into My Heart."

The program will continue with the fourth-grade program. The class of Mim Shenk will present "Old Testament Faith," followed by Nancy Zeamer's class presenting "The 10 Plagues." Carolyn North's class will conclude the student portion of the program with "Books of the Bible."

Hank Hershey will give the offering prayer, with all money received given to the Warwick Released Time Program. Special music will be presented by Faith Meier on the piano. Closing remarks will be given by Warwick Released Time director Sue Rohrer, followed by a closing song, "Do Lord," which all will sing. Pastor Alison Bowlan will give the benediction.

Warwick Released Time has been providing religious education for students of the Warwick School District for 53 years. More information can be found at


A Chance To Influence The Future February 1, 2018

Male Volunteers Sought For Guys Night

Carl Edwards, director of the CrossNet Youth Center, 100 W. Franklin St., New Holland, is looking for a few good ELANCO-area men to help him with a weekly program called Guys Night. "We are looking for three to four volunteers (per night)," said Edwards. "We are looking for men who have a heart for investing into the lives of youths in our community ... (men) who want to see (our students) succeed and make better choices."

Guys Night is held each Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the youth center. Edwards has endeavored to keep the program low key by focusing on things that male students in grades six through 12 find interesting: food, games, and basketball. "The Guys Night format is simple," explained Edwards. "The guys come to the youth center for a hot meal ... and they play basketball, video games, pool, and air hockey. It's extremely laid-back."

At 7 p.m., Edwards asks the students to break for round table, which he noted is another name for Bible study. "For about 25 to 30 minutes we go upstairs to engage in a Bible study using a video teaching curriculum, and I lead the discussion following the video." At 7:30 p.m., Edwards wraps up the discussion. "From 7:30 to 8 p.m., we allow them to go back downstairs and eat more food and play more games," Edwards said.

According to Edwards, Guys Night volunteers must be over age 18, and they must pass both a criminal background check and a child abuse clearance. They are also asked to commit to serving the youth center each Tuesday night. "We ask for a weekly commitment for them to have the opportunity to build consistency and trust with our students ... but we are flexible," said Edwards.

CrossNet provides volunteer training on the second Monday night of every month. "We cover current issues and youth culture," said Edwards. "We talk about social issues and how we can serve our community and our kids better." Edwards noted that a volunteer handbook that explains the expectations for a volunteer is provided. Edwards added that attendance at the monthly training sessions is strongly encouraged.

Edwards noted that the main responsibilities of a volunteer are to connect with the students. "Volunteers have an incredible position because they come in and get to do life with our students by encouraging them, dialoguing with them, and getting to know about them," said Edwards. "They really have the role of being present in the students' lives."

Volunteers are asked to arrive at the youth center by 5:50 p.m. each Tuesday. Volunteers are usually able to leave the center by 8:15 p.m.

Readers who are interested in becoming volunteers may email Edwards at or call CrossNet at 717-355-2454.

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