~ ~ ~ Past Events & Articles in 2014 ~ ~ ~


Christmas Legend - The Christmas Rose

First Sunday After Christmas

Sunday, December 28 at 10:30am

    Join us for worship on the first Sunday after Christmas to share in the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ.  Pastor Ben Motz will be sharing with us a Christmas legend on that day.  Last year he shared with us “The Legend of Christmas Tinsel.”  This year he will be sharing with us “The Christmas Rose” and “The Umbrella Man of Pennsylvania,” telling some of the Christmas traditions found in Berks County in the 18th and 19th centuries, as told by a traveling umbrella mender, and preserved by the Berks County Historical Society.  (The Christmas rose reading on Christmas Eve will be different than the December 28 Christmas rose readings, and hopefully the two sets of readings will enrich one another).

Christmas Eve with St. Paul’s UCC

    This Christmas Eve we will once again be offering two evening worship services.  We hope that you will join us for one or both of these services.  There will be some similarities between the two services, but there will be enough differences that if you come to both, you will have two different (and hopefully spiritually enriching) worship experiences.

For the Earlier Christmas Eve Worship Service:

    6:30pm - Instrumentalists will begin sharing Christmas music at 6:30pm
    7:00pm - We will begin the liturgy part of the worship service
    ✧    We will be lighting the Christ Candle for the Advent Wreath
    ✧    There will be communion in the pews
    ✧    Pastor Motz will be retelling Luke’s Birth Narrative verbatim
    ✧    There will be a children focused message from the book “Jacob’s Gift” by Max Lucado
    ✧    We will have Christmas carols during worship (different ones from the later service)
    ✧    The Senior Choir will be singing
    ✧    The Handbell Choir will be playing
    ✧    We will be ending the service with candlelight, three verses of “Silent Night”

               followed by “Joy to the World”

For the Later Christmas Eve Worship Service:

    11:00pm - The worship service will begin
    ✧    We will be lighting the Christ Candle for the Advent Wreath
    ✧    There will be communion at the chancel rail
    ✧    Pastor Motz will be retelling Luke’s Birth Narrative verbatim
    ✧    There will be two touching Christmas readings (including one about a Christmas rose)
    ✧    We will have Christmas carols during worship (different ones from the earlier service)
    ✧    There will be a soloist
    ✧    We will be ending the service with candlelight, and all six verses of “Silent Night”

                 followed by “Joy to the World”
    ✧    We hope to end the worship service just a little after midnight - Christmas Morning


CmasProgram 2013 FB01Children & Youth Christmas Program

Sunday, December 21 at 10:30am

    Join us in worship on Sunday, December 21 at 10:30am to support our youth and to share in the joy and celebration of the expectant Jesus with them for our annual Children and Youth Christmas Program.

     To view photos from this year's program, click on this 2014 Youth Christmas Program link.

     To view photos from last year's Children & Youth Christmas Program, click on this 2013 Youth Christmas Program link.

Poinsettias

Orders Due: Sunday, December 14

    Enclosed in the December newsletter you will find a poinsettia order form.  To order poinsettias for this Christmas Eve, please return the form by Sunday morning, December 14.  We will use the poinsettias to help decorate the sanctuary on Christmas Eve, you will be able to take your sponsored poinsettia with you that evening or the following Sunday, and we will print in the evening’s bulletins the sponsorships.
     For an order form, please contact the church office at office@sprucc.org" data-mce-href="mailto:office@sprucc.org">office@sprucc.org or 610-621-5770.



Congregational Meeting

Sunday, December 14 at 11:45am

     Following the 10:30am worship service we will have our Annual Fall Congregational Meeting, where we will be electing new leadership for 2015, sharing in the joy of the 2014 ministries and the anticipated 2015 ministries, and voting on the proposed 2015 Budget (as found in your December newsletter).  Voting is limited to members in good standing.



Evangelism Gathering

Wednesday, December 10 at 6:30pm

     Due to the predicted snow and ice, the Evangelism Gathering was postponed from Tuesday, December 2 to Wednesday, December 10 at 6:30pm.  We will be gathering offsite for this event.  For more information, please see the December issue of The Herald, and/or contact the church office at 610-621-5770 or office@sprucc.org." data-mce-href="mailto:office@sprucc.org.">office@sprucc.org.

New Paraments - Advent Begins

Sunday, November 30 at 10:30am

    Join us on Sunday November 30th at 10:30 for the dedication of new blue paraments (Cloths covering the altar, pulpit, and lecturn).  This will be the first service we will be using these paraments. Come and see  their beauty and share in their blessing.

    November 30th is also the first Sunday of advent and we will be lighting the first advent candle (symbolic of "Hope"), as we prepare for the coming of the Lord.  As we light the first candle of our advent wreath, we anticipate the three-fold coming of Christ: (1) his second coming - his promised return following his witness ascension; (2) his arrival on that first Christmas Day - his birth in Bethlehem; and (3) his coming into our lives daily - as we daily grow closer in our walk with him.

Thanksgiving Eve

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at 7:00pm - Cancelled

     You are invited to join us for this inter-faith, ecumenical community service, where a number of churches from the Conrad Weiser School District will gather and give thanks to God for the blessings received this year.

     This event was cancelled due to snow.  Thank you to everyone who had put in work to prepare for the service, especially the combined choirs, organist, secretary, and guest preacher the Rev. William Weiser.  We look forward to our next Conrad Weiser Ministerium combined worship event.



Harvest Home

Goal Met & Exceeded!!!

        Throughout November we had been receiving non-perishable food items for our local Food Pantry, in anticipation of our annual Harvest Home celebration, which was held on Sunday, November 23.  As of that Sunday, we received a total of 265 food items for Harvest Home, exceeding our goal of 250!  Thank you everyone for your generous support of the Food Pantry and for reaching out in Christ's name to help feed those who are hungry (Matthew 25:35).



Bible Presentation to Youth

Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 10:30am

     During worship, we will be presenting youth of St. Paul's UCC with Bibles, who are in grades 1-6.  For your child to receive a Bible, and to make sure that we spell your child's name correctly on the presentation page, please fill out a "Youth Bible Request Form" (available from the church office), and return it to the office by the first week of November.


BiblePresentation 2014Nov23Bible Presentation to Youth

Sunday, November 23

     During the 10:30am worship service on Sunday, November 23 we blessed Children's Bibles and the youth receiving them.  We handed out 9 CEV Children's Bibles and Bible covers to youth in grades 1-6.  Thank you to all those who supported these gifts through your donations and thorugh your presence and prayers on Sunday.

     For those who received a Bible, our prayers and our spiritual support and guidance are with you.  Please remember to bring your Bibles with you weekly to Sunday school.




Bible Presentation to Youth

Sunday, November 23

      During the 10:30am worship service on Sunday, November 23 we blessed Children's Bibles and the youth receiving them.  We handed out 9 CEV Children's Bibles and Bible covers to youth in grades 1-6.  Thank you to all those who supported these gifts through your donations and thorugh your presence and prayers on Sunday.

     For those who received a Bible, our prayers and our spiritual support and guidance are with you.  Please remember to bring your Bibles with you weekly to Sunday school.

Harvest Home

Goal Met & Exceeded!!!

        Throughout November we had been receiving non-perishable food items for our local Food Pantry, in anticipation of our annual Harvest Home celebration, which was held on Sunday, November 23.  As of that Sunday, we received a total of 265 food items for Harvest Home, exceeding our goal of 250!  Thank you everyone for your generous support of the Food Pantry and for reaching out in Christ's name to help feed those who are hungry (Matthew 25:35).

 

Christkindlmarkt - Christmas Bazaar

Saturday, November 22, 2014 from 9:00am-2:00pm

     Save this date, and look here for more information as November approaches.


FallLeaves 141023Fall Leaves

Saturday mornings at 8:30am

    Call for help to all able bodies, Fall project.  Assembly on Saturday morning to rake leaves at the Church/Parsonage grove.  It should only take a few minutes.  Raking can be a joy if you are working with a couple friends.  So put on those boots and that comfy flannel shirt, grab your rake and meet at the Church this Saturday morning, October 18th at 8:30am and every Saturday morning until the leaves are gone. Thank you. You'll feel good about this. See you there. The Trustees



Fire & Ice - Acolyte Ice Cream Party

Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 11:45am

     After Sunday morning worship on November 9, we will be having acolyte training.  This is intended both for those who have not yet served as an acolyte and as a refresher for those who perhaps have been serving as acolytes for years.  Plus, we hope that our seasoned, older youth will come to help our newest and youngest youth.
    After training in the sanctuary we will go down to the Fellowship Hall to enjoy ice cream.  The acolyte training is intended for 5th - 12th graders.  Siblings and parents/guardians are very much invited to share in the ice cream party.
    Although registering in advance is not required, we encourage you to sign up beforehand, to help us to plan for enough ice cream.  You can sign up by: (1) using the sign up sheet in the narthex; (2) e-mailing the church office atoffice@sprucc.org; or (3) calling the office at 610-621-5770.

Day Light Savings Ends

Sunday, November 2 at 2:00am

     Before going to bed on Saturday night, remember to turn back your clock one hour - "fall back."


All Saints Sunday

Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 10:30am

     During the 10:30am worship service we take time to pause, read the names, and pray for all those members of St. Paul's UCC who passed away since last year's All Saints Day (November 1, 2013), and who have entered into the Church Triumphant with all the Saints in Light.



UCC-2014Theme-Blessed-2aBlessed to Be a Blessing

Consecration Stewards Sunday

Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 10:30am


     Join us for a special worship service and special celebration luncheon afterwards.  During worship, we will have a special consecrating (blessing) of our hands for the work they do for our Lord.  The Children's Choir will also be signing during worship.

     Visitors and members alike are very much welcome to share in the worship and the meal.  Members are encouraged to RSVP for the luncheon ahead of time by contacting the church office at office@sprucc.org" data-mce-href="mailto:office@sprucc.org">office@sprucc.org or 610-621-5770.

Blessed to Be a Blessing - Consecration Stewards Sunday

Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 10:30am

     Join us for a special worship service and special celebration luncheon afterwards.  Visitors of course are very much welcome to share in worship and the meal.  Members will be getting special mailings, information, and invitations with more information as the event approaches.


Roast Beef Dinner

Saturday, October 25 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm

     The Men’s Fellowship Group is hosting an All-You-Can-Eat Roast Beef Dinner on Saturday, October 25 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. There will be both dine-in and take-out meals available.  Adults = $10.00; Children (5-10 years old) = $4.00; Children under 5 years old eat free.  Served with the roast beef are mashed potatoes, green beans, fruit cup, roll and butter a beverage and dessert.  All you can eat.

Wired Word - Schedule Change

NO Wired Word Class on Sunday, October 12

The Wired Word Class will resume on Sunday, October 19

     We offer two adult classes on a Sunday morning.  You are invited to join the adult class that meets in the 2nd floor Upper Conference Room on Sunday, October 12.  There will be no Wired Word class that day, due to the teachers of that class being away that weekend.  The Wired Word class will resume on the following Sunday, October 19 at 9:15am in the Fellowship Hall.

World Communion Sunday

Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 10:30am

     During the 10:30am worship service we will be joining with Christians throughout the world and throughout time, as we celebrate in the annual World Communion Sunday, recognizing that despite denominational differences between various churches, we are all one in Christ.

Reclaiming the Great Commission

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 6:30pm

     For more information on this study event, click on this Reclaiming the Great Commission link.

UCC-2014Theme-Blessed-2aBlessed To Be A Blessing

Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 10:30am

     Come on Sunday, September 21 for the kick-off of the exciting "Blessed To Be A Blessing" program this fall.

     "...all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:3b).


PSEC Sells Mensch Mill

September 23, 2014

MM Sign 140924-2     The nearly 140-acre UCC Mensch Mill Retreat and Conference Center in Hereford Township was sold on Monday, September 22 for $1.25 million to the Amitabha Buddhist Society of Philadelphia.  It has been a part of the church since 1928.  The decision to sell Mensch Mill was made by a narrow vote of delegates in 2012.  Earlier, the PSEC had estimated the worth of the property to be about $2 million.

      An article can be found on page B5 in the Wednesday, September 24 issue of the Reading Eagle.

(The following is an article e-mailed to PSEC churches and pastors on September 23).

     After a very long period of much deliberation, hard decision making, and the work of many, many people, we brought to final conclusion the sale of the Mensch Mill Retreat and Conference Center today. Settlement is complete, and the following press release has been shared with local media outlets. 

PENNSYLVANIA SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE (PSEC) OF THE UCC SELLS  

 MENSCH MILL RETREAT AND CONFERENCE CENTER

Alburtis, PA - Months of speculation about the sale of the Mensch Mill Retreat and Conference Center ended this week with the announcement of final settlement between the seller, Pennsylvania Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ, and the buyer, the Amitabha Buddhist Society of Philadelphia.

     Citing serious budget shortfalls and waning camp usage, representatives of the Conference's 169 congregations moved to sell the camp after arriving at the difficult decision at the Conference's November 2012 meeting; a decision that was reaffirmed with increased support, at the following June 2013 meeting.

     The farm property that was originally owned by the Adam L. Mensch family was purchased for $6,000 for the development of a church leadership training center on November 15, 1928 by the Eastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Reformed Church (a forerunner of the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ).   In 1947, the Jacob G. Rupp farm was purchased for $1, enlarging the Camp Mensch Mill property (an additional 70 plus acres). In 2004, the Kline Conference Center opened, on additional grounds that had been purchased from the late Annabelle Kemp, which expanded programming opportunities.  For eighty-four years, the mostly wooded area of Mensch Mill was home to summer youth camps, workshops, and retreats. Mensch Mill staff welcomed diverse groups seeking to "provide an intermingling of varied backgrounds, cultures, races, and experiences in which individuals can develop an awareness and concern for society's issues" (from "A Working Paper on Church Camping," by Rev. William H. Solly, Minister of Camping for the PSEC of the United Church of Christ, 1973-1979).  "It is with this spirit that we transfer the deeds of this holy ground to the Amitabha Buddhist Society of Philadelphia, with the hope that they, and we, may remain faithful to the hospitality and educational intentions of the former teachers and leaders of Mensch Mill Retreat and Conference Center," stated Rev. Wanda D. Craner, Minister of Spiritual Nurture for the PSEC. 

     The Amitabha Buddhist Society will maintain the property's current form and function, operating a retreat and conference center for their Society's members as well as groups from other organizations. According to Lee Ta, spokesperson, there is strong desire to not disturb the land and to honor the spiritual traditions that have preceded their purchase. The Society's first and foremost mission is to establish The Pure Land Learning Center in this holy ground. Secondly, they will earnestly seek to work with PSEC to continue retreat and leadership training programming on the Mensch Mill property in the near future; and third, they will seek to partner with other interested parties to create the next Multi-Faith Multicultural Center as a model city of peace and harmony.

     "We have an exciting and extraordinary opportunity to continue our connection with what is for many in the PSEC, sacred ground, and to do so in partnership with new friends whose stewardship of the earth, quest for spiritual wellness, and respect for tradition, mirrors our own," said Rev. Bill Worley, Conference Minister of the PSEC, after a meeting with Mr. Lee Ta.   Asked if the differences in the two faith traditions would pose potential conflicts, Rev. Worley responded, "perhaps, in the dining hall, over the menu."

     "May this mill property, which ground so much grain--crushed so much seed--now no longer crush seed; but may this place scatter a higher type of seed, and may this seed fall into good ground and bring forth fruit abundantly.  And may we all do our part to make it light and life for the Kingdom of God."  --from an address by the Rev. J. M. Blatt at the Dedication of Camp Mensch Mill, August 24, 1930.

~ # # # ~

About Pennsylvania Southeast Conference

Pennsylvania Southeast Conference is the United Church of Christ (UCC) in southeastern Pennsylvania. We are 169 congregations, open and welcoming to all people, with an extravagant welcome for you! Although our faith is 2,000 years old, our thinking is not. We are a church committed to justice, equality, healing, and peace... a church where 'God is still speaking'!

About Amitabha Buddhist Society of Philadelphia

Amitabha Buddhist Society of Philadelphia is one of many The Pure Land Learning Centers all over the world under teachings and guidance of Venerable Master Chin Kung. We first established in Philadelphia, PA in early 2000. Our practitioners have come together to properly learn Dharma teachings, praise the unsurpassed Pure Land Teachings, and to devoutly practice chanting Amitabha Buddha's name and set our hearts on reaching the Pure Land.

For more information, contact:

PA Southeast Conference of the UCC

1441 Laura Lane, Suite 100

Pottstown, PA 19464

484-949-8774

www.psec.org

AwardGroup 2014Religious Award Presentation

Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 10:30am

     During the 10:30am worship service we will be presenting 7 youth (grades 4-5) with the God and Family national religious award, and 4 youth (grades 6-8) with the God and Church national religious award.

     To learn more about these programs, click on this P.R.A.Y. Religious Award Program link.

     You can view pictures from this event by clicking on this 2014 Religious Award pictures link.

WiredWord

The Wired Word - A New Adult Sunday Class

Begins on Sunday, September 7 at 9:15am

    St. Paul’s UCC is offering two options this year for adults on Sunday mornings at 9:15am.

    One is the continuation of a Bible based curriculum study.  This class is meeting in the upstairs conference room “The Upper Room.”

    The second will involve a discussion of a current topic in light of scripture.  This class will meet downstairs in Miller Fellowship Hall.  Each week, the publisher will e-mail us a topic with scripture suggestions, discussion questions, and background information based on what was in the news earlier that week.  We can’t tell you what the first class lesson will be about, because we don’t know yet.  However, we can share with you some previous sample topics.
    Sample of past topics:
    +    The pastor in Florida planning the burning of copies of the Quran/Koran.
    +    Many Teens Embrace “Be-Good, Do-Good” Christianity Instead of the Real Thing
    +    Stephen Hawking says, “God is Not Necessary for Creation”

    We are very excited to expand our Christian education opportunities this year.  Come and visit one or both of these classes, and share in the growing knowledge and understanding of our common Christian faith.


Regular Worship and Sunday School Schedule Resumes

Sunday, September 7, 2014

     We will return to our regular worship and Sunday school times on the first Sunday of September.

          9:15am Sunday school & Bible classes for all ages

          10:30am Sunday Worship


Rally Day

Sunday, September 7, 2014

     Following the 10:30am worship service, join us for games, crafts, food, fellowship, and fun.  Visitors of course are very welcome.

     To view pictures from Rally Day, click on this 2014 Rally Day pictures link.


Blessing of the Backpacks

Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 9:30am

BlessingBackpacks 2014 01-c     All preschool and school age youth are welcome and invited to bring their school backpacks with them to worship on this Sunday.  We will have a special blessing of the backpacks, as well as special prayers for students and teachers as they begin the new school year.

05 Knoebels 2014 FB03Worship at Knoebels Amusement Park

Sunday, August 17 at 10:30am

     A great time was had by all, as we began the day with worship and lunch at the pavilion, and then enjoyed rides and park food throughout the afternoon and evening.  If you have pictures from this event that you would like added to the website, please pass them on to the Pastor or Church Secretary.  Join us next year on Sunday, August 16, 2015 for worship at the amusement park.

     To view photos from this year's day at Knoebels click on this Knoebels 2014 Photos link.

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