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St. Paul’s hosts first Community Day

The congregation of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Fountain Hill, is a community of believers, and the church on Delaware Avenue reached out to welcome everyone in the local community with faith, fellowship and fun Sept. 3 with its first-ever Community Days.

“We wanted to do something for the community. Our mission is to go out and do God’s work with our hands,” Pastor Marlene Werkheiser, pastoral care provider, said.

“After COVID, people needed to get out and see each other again.”

The event welcomed everyone from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and featured Sweet Scoops ice cream truck, where everyone could enjoy a free ice cream; the new fire truck of the Fountain Hill Fire Department, with Fire Chief Terry Heffner and fellow firefighters mingling with the crowd; “The Pulpiteers,” the church’s popular puppet ministry, performing in Fellowship Hall; sidewalk chalk for children; tricky tray baskets; and hot dogs, chips and a soda for only $2.

Pastor Werkheiser, Cindy Garguilo and Judy Felchock organized the event with the help of organizing committee members.

“As we are coming out of the pandemic, our church wanted to reach out to the community to let them know we are still worshipping and keeping active – welcoming all and inviting the community to come join us for worship and fellowship,” Garguilo said. “We have several things planned throughout the year and we want to let everyone know.”

“It’s a way of giving back to the community,” Karen Drake, a member of the organizing committee, said. “We’re part of the community, we’re here in the middle of it.”

Pastor Werkheiser said the tricky tray donations were all from church members. “I’m grateful for the donations and the spirit within this church – the Holy Spirit is moving them.”

St. Paul’s has returned to its fall schedule, with worship at 10 a.m. Sunday School for children ages three and up will be held from 9--9:45 a.m. on the first and third Sundays of the month.

Upcoming events include the Trick or Treat in the church parking lot from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 29; and “The Pulpiteers” annual Christmas show at 6 p.m. , Dec. 3, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.

Special Christmas events as scheduled to date are: Advent Luncheon and Workshop Sunday, Nov. 27 after worship; Sunday School Activities Sundays, Dec. 4 and 18; Advent Small Groups and mid-week worship, date to be announced.

Christmas Eve Worship will be celebrated Saturday, Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. (Candlelight and Holy Communion) and Christmas Day Worship Sunday, Dec. 25 at 10 a.m.

Isaac Ritter, center, takes a break from eating his ice cream to check out the new fire truck of the Fountain Hill Fire Department at Community Days, the first event of its kind Sept. 3 at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Fountain Hill. Firefighters with Ritter are, from left, front, Austin Heffner and Jake Rodenbach; back, Fountain Hill Fire Chief Terry Heffner, Julius Johnson, Jesus Mendoza and Rachel Fendrick.
Isaac Ritter dons the hat of Fountain Hill Fire Chief Terry Heffner while enjoying Community Days at St. Paul's. The chief made Ritter, who wants to be a firefighter, chief for the day.
Leona Pelc enjoys Community Days with her grandfather, Casmier Pelc, a member of St. Paul's and the committee that organized the event. Leona, who lives in North Carolina, was visiting her grandparents for the long Labor Day weekend.
Rivers Baier gets a spoonful of ice cream from mom Beth Baier as dad Jeff Baier looks on.
James Goins receives a dog balloon in his favorite color from Gary Dologite, a friend of Pastor Marlene Werkheiser, pastoral care provider at St. Paul's, who lent his skills to the day.
“The Pulpiteers,” St. Paul's puppet ministry, entertains the crowd. The popular ministry performs tunes of well-known songs, such as the 1967 song “Happy Together” by The Turtles, with the words changed to Christian lyrics. They perform several times a year at St. Paul's and also at other churches and senior citizen communities.
PRESS PHOTOS BY TAMI QUIGLEY Pastor Marlene Werkheiser, pastoral care provider at St. Paul's, center, gathers with church members who helped organize Community Days. “We're a small church, and we want people to know we're here for them,” Pastor Werkheiser said.
Cortney Josar-Ortiz, left, and her sister Amy Josar, both members of St. Paul's, admire the sidewalk chalk that provided fun for children. “It's a great opportunity to help and a great opportunity for the community,” Amy said. “We're here for the community, and it's a great day for this.” Cortney agreed, noting curious neighbors who were not members came over to check out the event. “That's what it's all about,” she said.
A sampling of the Tricky Tray Baskets, all of which were donated by members.
The Pulpiteers bring a saxophone player into the mix.
Sweet Scoops ice cream truck, parked on Hoffert St., is filled with frozen treats to cool off a warm afternoon.