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Gifts That Give Hope Fair

For nearly 10 years, Jenn Knepper, founder of the Lancaster Gifts That Give Hope (GTGH) Fair, has worked with a group of volunteers to help make the Lancaster area and the entire world a more equitable place. GTGH fairs give shoppers a chance to choose meaningful gifts for those on their lists while helping others locally and around the world. Some gifts may be purchased in honor of a friend or loved one. The 10th annual fair will be held on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster.

During the last 10 weeks leading up to the fair, Knepper has been promoting "10 acts of hope," a campaign that encourages participants to share the ways they spread love, kindness, and hope in their communities. More information about the project may be found at

The 2017 GTGH Fair will feature 30 local and global nonprofit organizations that strive to improve the world. The displays will offer shoppers a variety of ways to purchase gifts that honor loved ones and help others. New organizations that will be featured at this year's event will include A Week Away, The Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), Beth Shalom, and The Common Wheel. Among the organizations that have taken part in past years and will be returning this year are Aaron's Acres, ASSETS, Brighter Day Foundation, CASA of Lancaster County, Clare House Inc., and SWAN: Scaling Walls a Note at a Time.

In addition, fair trade items and food will be available in a marketplace area Shoppers may find jewelry, candles, women's clothing, artwork from Friendship HEART Gallery, and shea butter, all of which can be purchased to help support a variety of causes. Fair trade chocolate, coffee, and olive oil will also be available for purchase.

GTGH will host a special educational activity scavenger hunt for children, youths, and adults. Participants who complete the scavenger hunt will be eligible to receive a book about human rights. A staffed human rights display will offer information and provide interested parties with the opportunity to ask questions.

Readers who would like to learn more about GTGH may visit or search for "Gifts That Give Hope: Lancaster's Alternative Gift Fair" on Facebook.



Albert Gruswitz, a member of St. John Neumann Catholic Church and one of the organizers of the church's new Bridges Ministry, has a concern about area families that have children with special needs. "A lot of families have stopped bringing their children to church because they feel they are not welcome or that they will be disruptive," said Gruswitz. "In (the) environment (we are creating for Bridges), that will not be a problem."

Gruswitz brought his concern to Father Dan Powell, pastor of the church, in the spring, and Powell was interested in helping. Gruswitz worked with his wife, Judy, and Peg Brown, who has experience in teaching and with Special Olympics, and Rosemary Denshaw, disabilities advocate for the church, to obtain approval from Dominic Lombardi, head of disabilities advocacy for the Diocese of Harrisburg. The result is Bridges, a ministry that creates an inclusive Catholic faith community for those who have intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families and caregivers without regard to religious affiliation. Therapy animals will be welcome at Bridges.

Bridges will be held in St. John The 23rd, a building located adjacent to the church at 601 E. Delp Road, Lancaster. Events will be held monthly on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m., with the exception of the December event, which will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5. Upcoming Bridges events are scheduled for Nov. 26, Jan. 28, Feb. 25, March 25, April 22, and May 27.

Bridges will include a Mass celebrated by Powell and geared to the needs of the gathering. Powell is looking forward to taking part in Bridges. "My last parish in Selinsgrove has a place called the Selinsgrove Center that houses 280 residents with a variety of disabilities who cannot be placed in community housing," said Powell. "I was in charge of the Catholic population and said weekly Mass for them, which made me very familiar with presiding at liturgies where people with various special needs attended. It prepared me for what we are doing here, and it's a community I miss working with."

Sources of music during the Mass will include a contemporary choir or singing will be led by a friend of Gruswitz named Theresa Paporello, a choir director who is blind. Parishioner Rob Weimer will sign during the Mass.

Following the Mass, each Bridges event will include a time of dancing and singing, crafts, and refreshments. Gruswitz noted that five teenagers who have gone through training and clearances will be available to help participants with activities.

During crafts and refreshments, Thomas Downing will head up a program called Coffee and Conversation, which will give caregivers and parents time to discuss whatever issues they would like.

In addition, for Catholic families that are interested, sacramental preparation for baptism, first Communion, and confirmation may be offered. "(Families of children with special needs may) have been told their children should not be making the sacraments," said Gruswitz. "The head of our religious education program will work with us and the parents for anyone who wants to prepare children or adults (for sacraments)."

Gruswitz, who lives in Elizabethtown, had been involved in a similar program in Long Valley, N.J., before bringing the idea to Powell, who saw the proposal as a matter of providence. "God is at work in the midst of this, and He puts people in the right places at the right time," said Powell. "This is where God's leading us," added Powell, who noted that he would like to see the program expand beyond the county.

"The best thing is that the participants and their families will find a loving, welcoming home," noted Gruswitz.

Readers who have questions about Bridges may call 717-209-2362 or email


Fall Festival

St. Paul's United Church of Christ (UCC), 50 N. Main St., Manheim, invites children and their families from the Manheim community to a fall festival on Sunday, Oct. 29, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The free event will be held rain or shine.

The festival will feature fall-themed games, prizes, food, and beverages. Free parking is available in the rear of the church, and the church is handicapped-accessible.

The church also invites the community to attend services at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays, followed by a time of fellowship with coffee available. Small groups meet at 10:30 a.m., and nursery care is available as well.

For more information, readers may visit or contact the church office at 717-665-2447 or


Finding God, Finding Health"

First Church of Christ, Scientist in Lancaster will sponsor a lecture, "Finding God, Finding Health," on Monday, Oct. 30, from 7 to 8 p.m. at Manheim Township Public Library, 595 Granite Run Drive, Lancaster.

Admission is free. For more information, readers may visit, call 717-394-3352 or email


Multicultural Hymn Festival

A multicultural hymn festival for the Reformation will be held on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 4 p.m. at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 750 Greenfield Road, Lancaster. The public is invited to attend the free event.

The Reformation spawned hymnody from around the globe, so the hymns and instruments used will reflect that diversity. Instrumentalists will include members of QuintEssentially Brass, African percussionists, a recorder ensemble, harpists, and bell ringers, as well as choir members and organists from area churches.

Hymns will include the Cameroon processional "Praise, Praise, Praise the Lord," the Spanish hymn "¡Aleluya! Cristo Resucitó," and the German hymn "A Mighty Fortress."

Because Anabaptists also propelled the Reformation, the Anabaptist tradition will be represented, under the leadership of Glenn Lehman. Included will be the Mennonite hymn "I Owe the Lord a Morning Song" and "Liebster Jesu," a hymn currently found in the Old Order Amish hymnal, which will be taught to those in attendance. The Rev. James Dunlop, Bishop of the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will also be participating.

On exhibition will be rare books dating from the period. An hors d'oeuvres reception will follow the hymn festival.

The church is completely handicapped-accessible. There is plenty of free, off-street parking. An offering will be received.

For more information, readers may visit or call the church office at 717-393-3958.


Holiday Bazaar and Yard Sale

Ross Street United Methodist Church, 312 E. Ross St., Lancaster, will host a holiday bazaar and yard sale on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature baked goods and other food, jewelry, and holiday and handcrafted items.

The public is invited to attend. For more details, call 717-392-0179.


Trick-or-Treat Events

Lancaster's West End residents are invited to gather for the ninth annual trick-or-treat event at historic Shreiner-Concord Cemetery, located at the corner of West Chestnut and North Mulberry streets, Lancaster, on Tuesday, Oct. 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. The cemetery is the burial place of U.S. Congressman Thaddeus Stevens.

Neighbors are welcome to bring their treats to the cemetery and share them with costumed visitors, or they may drop off their goodies for cemetery caretakers to share on their behalf. The event will feature tours of the cemetery and outdoor slideshows and videos, weather permitting.


Haunted Library

The Lancaster Public Library, 125 N. Duke St., Lancaster, will celebrate the fifth annual Haunted Library on Friday, Oct. 27, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The library will host fun festivities for everyone in keeping with Halloween, including children's story times, crafts, and games. The Hollywood Horrors Maze, appropriate for people age 14 and older and for youths ages 12 and 13 with a parent or guardian, will be set up in the basement. In addition, the library will hold a children's costume contest for children and youths from birth to age 18 at 7 p.m., a trick-or-treat trail for children age 12 and under, refreshments, and more.

Tickets are required for entry, and people of all ages are welcome. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Lancaster City Branch Library or, and a limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Youngsters age 2 and under will be admitted for free.


A Symphony of Fashions

The Women's Symphony Association will host its annual luncheon and fashion show, featuring "Elegant Fashions and Accessories for Your Night In or Your Night Out!" on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 11 a.m. The event is open to the public and will be held at the DoubleTree Resort Statesmen Hall, 2400 Willow Street Pike, Lancaster.

Proceeds will help promote classical music through youth concerts and music competitions. For more information, visit or call 717-385-1147.


Benefit Auction

The 36th annual West Fallowfield Christian School (WFCS) Benefit Auction and Potpie Takeout is a favorite event for school supporters and members of the community.

This year, the activities will start on Friday, Oct. 20, when quart containers of potpie will be available for takeout at the school from 4 to 7 p.m. "That will be the kickstart for our weekend full of events," auction chair Ashley Wright said.

"Get your tickets ahead of time because we will sell out," said Kim Hoffman, WFCS public relations director, noting that the homemade potpie is popular and quantities are limited.

While picking up a container of potpie, visitors may stop inside the school to make a purchase from the bake sale table and preview auction items that will be up for bids the next day via a live auction. Also on Oct. 20, shoppers may purchase donated gift certificates from local businesses and attractions or bid on silent auction items. The silent auction, which will close at noon on Oct. 21, will feature authenticated sports memorabilia and other items.

On Oct. 21, activities begin with an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. The menu will include pancakes, sausages, and beverages. "Eighth-grade (students are) taking the leadership on that. They will use the proceeds for their eighth-grade mission trip in February," Hoffman noted.

The benefit auction will begin at 9 a.m. and will feature a wide variety of donated items. Items of special interest include four Park Hopper passes to Disney World, handmade quilts, artwork, vacation and travel packages, indoor and outdoor furnishings, sports tickets, collectibles, plants, home and garden items, and salt-glazed and redware pottery.

Each school grade will prepare a gift basket to be auctioned, and the ninth- and 10th-grade students from the Academy at West Fallowfield Christian School will provide yard work services and other chores to the highest bidders.

Food will be available during the auction, including walking tacos, beef barbecue, pizza, hot dogs, hoagies, soft pretzels and the popular homemade chicken corn soup. A baked goods table will offer seasonal cakes, pies, apple dumplings and more. "The apple dumplings are a specialty and they go quickly, so come get them early in the morning," Wright said.

While parents are bidding at the auction, children from age 3 through third grade can enjoy supervised activities from 9 a.m. to noon for a nominal fee. This year's theme is "Down on the Farm," and activities will include games, crafts, face painting, a photo booth, pony rides and a souvenir shop.

WFCS principal Robbie Martin said that many alumni and friends of the school attend the weekend events. "As much as it is a fundraiser for us, it is an opportunity to come back here and have a fun day of fellowship and reconnect with people," Martin said. "What I love most about the auction is I get to see faces that I don't get to see as often as I would like. It's an opportunity to connect with (people), sit and have some chicken corn soup with them and catch up on life, and, at the same time, help our school move forward financially so we can be here another 75 years."

All proceeds will benefit the school's operating budget. WFCS is located at 795 Fallowfield Road, Atglen. To purchase tickets for potpie, readers may contact the school office at 610-593-5011. More information is also available at


Challenger Fall Classic

Youths ages 5 to 18 with special needs are invited to play in Exton Little League's Challenger Fall Classic on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 1 p.m. at Ship Field, located at 1425 Ship Road, West Chester. All players will be accompanied by young men and women who have volunteered to act as "buddies" to assist the players during the baseball game with running, pitching, catching the ball and hitting off a tee.

According to Bill Fritsch, who is organizing the event along with Marcia Wileczek, each of the players will get a chance to bat each inning and their names will be announced when they come to home plate. "Some will have a ball pitched to them, and others will use a tee," Fritsch said. "If they need it, we will supply equipment to them, (including) a glove and bat."

According to, the first full season of the Challenger Division was launched in 1989 to enable boys and girls with physical and mental challenges to enjoy the game of baseball. Approximately 30,000 children participate in more than 900 Challenger Divisions worldwide.

Locally, the inaugural Exton Little League Fall Classic was held at Ship Field in 2015. Due to its popularity, Fritsch, a teacher in the Kennett Consolidated School District, was able to field a Challenger team in the Exton Little League for the spring 2016 season. More than 20 players were part of that initial Challenger team. In 2017, the spring Challenger team included 18 players.

The team's opponents were from other Chester County Little Leagues, such as the Kennett Little League Challenger team. Home games were played at Ship Field.

Fritsch said that while returning Challenger team members will take part in the upcoming game, new players are encouraged to participate.

"The idea behind the (Fall Classic) game is to allow any interested children an opportunity to play in a game to see if they would like to sign up for the spring season," explained Fritsch. "If they join the team for the spring season, shirts and hats will be provided to them at no cost.

"As of now, we have 12 confirmed players (for the Fall Classic) and would like to increase that number to 22," he added.

Parents of children who are interested in playing in the game may contact Fritsch at or Wileczek at


Soup Stock Making Class

Horn Farm Center, 4945 Horn Road, York, will offer a soup stock making class on Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the historic summer kitchen. Participants will learn about various methods of making soup stock. They will learn how to save ingredients as they go so that when they are ready to prepare the stock, they just have to add water and seasonings. A variety of soups will be available to taste, and freshly baked bread will also be available.

Space is limited to 10 participants. There is a fee to participate.

To register, visit and click on Classes. For more information, call 717-332-8710 or email


Bluestone Concert

Reinholds Fire Company, 138 Main St. (Route 897), Reinholds, will host a bluegrass concert on Saturday, Nov. 4, in the fire company's banquet hall. The doors will open at 5 p.m., and the concert will begin at 6 p.m.

Bluestone will perform. The group, which has been together for more than 20 years, consists of Carroll Swam, guitar and lead vocals; Dick Laird, mandolin and tenor; Heath Laird, acoustic bass; Russ Hooper, dobro; Jeff Laird, second guitar and vocals; Jon Glik, fiddle; and Tom Neal, banjo and baritone vocals. The band brings together musicians who have played with Del McCoury, Jimmy Martin, Cliff Waldron, Bill Harrell, and others. Firmly grounded in traditional bluegrass, Bluestone's music incorporates gospel, country, blues, swing, and folk influences. Bluestone has played at various events and festivals, including Song of the Mountain in Virginia, Arcadia Bluegrass Festival in Maryland, Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, Bethlehem Musikfest, and Lucketts Bluegrass Show in Virginia.

Food will be available. Admission is a suggested donation. Children age 12 and under will be admitted for free. For more information, readers may call Scott at 610-573-0797 or search for "Farm Country Shindig" on Facebook.


Fall Fest

Smith Middle School, 645 Kirkwood Pike, Quarryville, will hold its second annual Fall Fest on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will include a petting zoo, games, a silent auction, food, hayrides, prizes, and a disc jockey.

Admission is one nonperishable food item per child.


Lancaster County Joining Forces' Community Forum

Lancaster County Joining Forces will host a quarterly community forum from 7:30 to 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, in the Stoudt Building multipurpose room at the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, 850 Greenfield Road, Lancaster.

The event is open to businesses, faith-based and community organizations, schools, and citizens and will focus on the coordination of efforts in Lancaster County to address the opioid crisis.

Presenters will share organizational efforts and updates on Joining Forces' five goals, which are to strengthen community and individual efforts by increasing access to treatment, implementing prescribing guidelines, and offering substance abuse prevention programs; saturate the community with unified messaging regarding the proper use, storage, and disposal of prescription drugs, as well as where to get help for substance misuse and abuse and mental health; improve patient safety by equipping health care providers with the data and tools needed to improve prescribing methods and increase the use of alternative therapies; improve data collection methods and public reporting to measure efforts; and launch a comprehensive county-wide resources website addressing aspects of addiction.

Attendees are asked to preregister by Wednesday, Oct. 25, to Susan Strickler Trace at


Elizabethtown Area High School Orchestra Pops Concert, "Go West!"

The 68-member Elizabethtown Area High School orchestra will present its 2017 Pops Concert in the Brossman Ballroom at Masonic Village, 1 Masonic Drive, Elizabethtown, on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m.

The theme for this year's concert is "Go West!" Familiar music will include themes from movie westerns "Magnificent Seven," "Hang 'Em High," and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"; fiddle tunes of French, Irish, Scottish, and Mexican origin; and the iconic theme from "The Lone Ranger," borrowed from the William Tell Overture. Other pieces will include "Prairie Song," portraying life on the prairie; "Anasazi," depicting a Native American harvest dance; and "Cloudburst," portraying a thunderstorm over the Grand Canyon.

The orchestra will be joined by the Allegro Ensemble, a 20-member select orchestra of seventh- and eighth-grade students. The ensemble will perform "Dakota Fiddle Hymn and Dance" and "Westward Motion" and will join the high school orchestra in the finale.

The symphony orchestra and Allegro Ensemble are conducted by Rich Winey.

Refreshments will be served following the concert, which is free and open to the public.


Diabetes Health Fair

Lancaster General Health will host a Diabetes Health Fair on Wednesday, Nov. 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Suburban Pavilion, 2100 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster. The event is free and open to people of all ages.

Starting at 5 p.m., attendees may visit vendors and participate in yoga and exercise demonstrations. A cooking demonstration featuring holiday foods and recipes will take place at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., there will be an event with Dr. Matthew A. Sauder, managing physician for LG Health Diabetes and Endocrinology, followed by a panel discussion and a question-and-answer segment.

To register, readers may call 717-544-5923.


Mount Joy Chamber of Commerce's annual Economic Forecast Luncheon

Mount Joy Chamber of Commerce's annual Economic Forecast Luncheon will take place from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8, at The Gathering Place, 6 Pine St., Mount Joy. The luncheon will feature Elif Sen, senior economic analyst, Research Department with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

Individuals that register with the Chamber office by noon on Monday, Nov. 6, will have their name entered into a drawing for a door prize. Additionally, sponsorships are still available.

There is a cost to attend. There will be no updates at this luncheon. For more information, readers may email or call 717-653-0773.


Samaritan Center Luncheon

21st Silent Samaritan Luncheon Planned

Last year's 20th Silent Samaritan Luncheon attracted more attendees - more than 550 - and raised more money - nearly $90,000 - than any past luncheon. The event helped both the Silent Samaritan Fund, which provides counseling and other services to women who do not have adequate funds to cover the cost, and the Silent Samaritan Endowment, a permanent fund started in 2015 in the names of Silent Samaritan Fund founders Linda Peacock and Alta Landis. The 2016 luncheon featured local personality Kim Lemon telling how her life and the lives of her family members were impacted by her husband's diagnosis with Lewy body dementia.

The 2017 luncheon, which will be held at DoubleTree Resort by Hilton, 2400 Willow Street Pike, Lancaster, on Monday, Nov. 27, beginning at 11 a.m., will also feature a woman with a local connection telling her own story. Jacy Good, along with her husband, Steve Johnson, will share how her life was affected by the actions of a distracted driver in May of 2008. Cathy Doremus and Cathy Gelatka are co-chairs for this year's luncheon, which is open only to women.

Good, a 2004 Warwick High School graduate, had just graduated from Muhlenberg College in Allentown when she and her parents were in an accident that involved a driver who was having cellphone conversation. The crash killed Good's parents and left her unconscious for several weeks. While Good made a remarkable recovery, the crash impaired her ability to use one arm and interfered with her memory.

The accident spurred Good to become a speaker for cellphone-free roads. She and Johnson share their story of recovering from tragedy in a presentation called "Overcoming the Unimaginable." Good has appeared on daytime talk shows, spoken at the 2010 Women's Conference, and was a guest of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at his "Call to End the Global Epidemic of Distracted Driving" gathering. More information about Good is available at

According to Lois Greene, a member of the Silent Samaritan program committee, the organization decided to reach out to Good after reading about her in the paper. Good and Johnson now live in New York state. When the accident occurred, both Good and Johnson had jobs and were looking forward to a future together. Johnson sought counseling to help him as he struggled through the month when Good was unconscious and to move forward in the aftermath of the devastating wreck.

The Silent Samaritan Fund has now raised a total of more than $1 million to aid area women, but according to organizer Ginny Klepinger, it is not easy to say exactly how many women have been helped. "It's difficult to quantify how many women have been helped because (the funds are) used in such a variety of ways to support women," she explained.

Stefanie Martin, development assistant with the Samaritan Counseling Center, said that the fund can be utilized in a variety of ways. "It provides counseling support for women who don't have insurance or until their insurance kicks in, and we also use it for some of our programs," she explained. "So if a woman would like to come to a specific program, but she can't afford it, (the fund can help)."

Women wishing to attend the luncheon are asked to make a donation of a designated amount to the fund. Readers who would like to attend may call 717-560-9969 by Wednesday, Nov. 15. More information may be found at


A Streetcar Named Desire"

Gamut Theatre Group will present "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams. The production will open on Saturday, Nov. 4, in the Select Medical Mainstage at Gamut Theatre, 15 N. Fourth St., Harrisburg. The box office will open at 6:30 p.m., and the performance will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Mysterious circumstances have brought Blanche DuBois to New Orleans to stay with her sister, Stella, and her brother-in-law, Stanley. As Blanche desperately clings to a life of perfection and grandeur, Stanley has designs and desires of his own that will challenge and change his family forever.

Following the opening night performance, a reception will be held where guests can meet and mingle with the director, cast, and crew in Gamut's lobby while enjoying food and complimentary beverages. "A Streetcar Named Desire" will continue through Sunday, Nov. 26, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets to the performance will be discounted for seniors, members of the military, and students. Sunday matinee performances will be bring-your-own-price, where any size donation buys a ticket. Tickets may be purchased in advance at or by calling 717-238-4111.

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