In January the Care and Connect Team challenged our congregation to bring in 150 pairs of socks, to be donated in our community. Our church family doubled that challenge, providing over 420 pairs of socks, which will be distributed to Domestic Abuse Project, Family Services, Inc., and Catholic Charities. Many thanks to all who donated socks and to the Care and Connect Team for organizing and carrying out this challenge!
When the Altoona Food Bank had almost depleted its shelves of boxes of cereal, our church Care and Connect team announced a challenge to collect 100 boxes of cereal for the Food Bank during the month of November. This past Sunday we counted 145 boxes of cereal, which have been donated to the Food Bank, thanks to the generosity of our church family. Thanks to the organizers and to all who helped us surpass our goal!
Fall is in the air. Pumpkins and mums are appearing in yards and on porches, and our favorite autumn festivals are here.
The Circle of Hope women have resumed meeting for the first time in over a year and half and have discussed many projects for the upcoming months. One of the projects is Harvest Home, which will be celebrated on Sunday, October 17, 2021.
Harvest Home is initiated by the Circle ladies, who raise funds all year to support this important project. Food is placed in the chancel on Harvest Home Sunday and then distributed to the Food Bank. Also, the Circle of Hope will distribute checks this year to The Lutheran Home and St. Leonard’s Home in Hollidaysburg. Nonperishable items and canned goods can be brought in and placed in the box in the narthex. Monetary donations can also be made to Harvest Home using the special Harvest Home offering envelopes found in your church offering envelope packet.
A special effort is always made by the TLC children to contribute to this project. They bring nonperishable and canned goods to school, which are displayed at the entrance near the church office. We have been overjoyed by the amount of canned goods the little ones have donated through the years!
There are people near our church doorsteps who struggle to put food on the table each day, and since we were unable to celebrate Harvest Home last year due to Covid-19, we are very excited to be celebrating this year.
The next Circle of Hope meeting will be held on Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 9:00 am in the nave, as we decorate for Harvest Home activities.
On Sunday, June 13, 2021, the Circle of Hope was pleased to recognize Anna Batrus and Lisa Yarnell on their graduation from Altoona Area High School. Both of these young women distinguished themselves during their high school years. Some of their activities are named below:
Anna Batrus – Anna was a member of the Altoona Area High School volleyball team and the Horseshoe Club volleyball team. She was on student council, a member of the Girls’ League, National Honor Society, the senior and junior executive committee, the Key Club, and was on the Homecoming Court. She was selected to be part of the Blair County Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) program in which she developed her own business. She will attend Penn State Altoona with plans to major in business.
Lisa Yarnell – Lisa participated in many musical activities at Altoona area High School including band, orchestra, and chorus. She was selected to participate in district and regional festivals for both band and orchestra. In addition, she also played in the pit orchestra for the school musical for two years. She has faithfully served our congregation as an acolyte and crucifer and shared her musical talent by playing the flute and piccolo at many worship services. She will attend Susquehanna University, a Lutheran college.
Although the pandemic has prevented Sunday School from being held, teachers Sondra Thompson and Deborah Thomas miss seeing the children and their families. This past week the teachers prepared bags of activities for Advent and Christmas and delivered them to their Sunday School students to remind them of this special season of the church year.
A beautiful Gospel Book was dedicated and blessed in memory of Monta Jean Beery during the Reformation worship service on Sunday, October 25. Monta Jean, who passed away September 5, 2020, was a faithful member of First Lutheran Church. Present for the dedication were her family members: Husband Dale; children Roger, Rachelle, and Rhonda; son-in-law Tobias; and granddaughter, Emily.
The Circle of Hope recognized Emma Wilkes on September 20,2020 in celebration of her graduation from Altoona Area High School. Emma’s family faithfully brought her to worship services from a very young age and she has served First Evangelical Lutheran as an acolyte and crucifer beginning in junior high school. The Circle of Hope and the congregation of First Evangelical Lutheran Church thank Emma for her Christian service and wish her well in the future.
With Children’s Sunday School on hiatus during the pandemic, teachers Sondra Thompson and Deborah Thomas have greatly missed the children in their class. This week the teachers prepared back-to-school bags for each of the children. The bags included a craft activity based on Matthew 6 assuring the children that God will take care of them as they begin a new school year in the midst of a pandemic.