The Berks-Mont News (

Blessing Bags assembled at new joint Lenton service

Bernville and Shartlesville participate in soup suppers

By Adele Argot, Frieden’s Lutheran

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Supper, service and sermon are three main ingredients to a new Lenten worship experience sister congregations, Frieden’s Lutheran of Bernville and Friedens Lutheran of Shartlesville, are having together during Lenten services this pre-Easter season.

Mixed in are special music, and “a wonderful opportunity to worship together and make new friends,” according to one of the attendees.

Those experiences are the idea come to life of Pastors Karen Althouse of Friedens in Bernvillle and Inge Williams in Shartleville, with Pastor Inge sharing that, “Pastor Karen dreamed up the idea of doing service projects along with our typical weekly worship and soup supper.”

The first such service took place in Bernville with a soup supper, of three kinds of soup and bread and crackers, the starting point.

The service time followed in assembling 100 Blessing Bags to share. Those bags included items bought specifically for the service project by the church’s Thrivent Team, as explained by Bernville member Luanne Reese.

“The team, made up of members of Friedens, set up for the Lenten meal, arranged the items for distribution, and will help Pastors Karen and Inge get the items to the Reading area. A grant of $250, seed money, allowed us to purchase a pair of socks, a washcloth, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and bags to carry them in for each Blessing Bag,” said Reese.

“The congregation members supplied combs and packs of crackers for each bag as well. The bags are designed to be distributed to folks who are in need of them in the greater Reading area. The label on each bag endeavors to give a message of hope and concern from the members of Friedens Bernville and Shartlesville,” she explains, with 90 of them going to Hope Lutheran Church in Reading. They have both a food pantry and a program called Hope’s Table where the bags will be handed out.

Sheryl Manrodt said, “It was different, in a good way.”

The second service at the Shartlesville church followed the same format with the mission project being making personal care kits filled with outreach items for Lutheran World Relief, including nail clippers and new bars of soap brought by the worshippers.

“They will be shipped to people who have survived natural disaster or are refugees. We will also be making banners and designing cards for our homebound members,” explains Pastor Inge.

Snow cancelled the next service, March 7, which was to be held at Bernville. The following service is scheduled to be held at Shartlesville where worshippers are asked to bring rubber stamps with ink or stickers or used devotional books to make cards for homebound members.

Janice Evans, one of the attendees, likes the mission projects.

She states, “I think our Lenten services are very important for our benefit,” adding that, “It is good that we can do something for people who have less than we do. God has blessed us.”

The pastors were lauded for working together and, said another worshipper, “I think it is wonderful opportunity to worship together and make new friends.”