Berks priests honored for hospital service during pandemic [Religion Digest]

Mar. 11—Reading Hospital and Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center were part of a celebration of service honoring two priests who worked at both hospitals during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plaques of appreciation were presented to the Rev. Joseph Ganser and the Rev. John Anthony Hutta. Because of their training in the strictest of medical protocols and their official relationship with both hospitals, the Catholic chaplains were the only priests allowed to minister to dying Catholic patients during the worst years of the pandemic.

During the brief ceremony, Reading Hospital CEO and President Dr. Charles Barbera; Alexandra Cirko, vice president of mission and ministry; and Sr. Rose Dvorak, chaplain, both of Penn State Health St. Joseph, presented the plaques to Ganser in person and to Hutta in absentia, due to his recuperation from surgery.

The ceremony took place as part of St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church's fifth annual One Family GALA.

----Christ Episcopal Church, 435 Court St., Reading, will hold two worship services on Sunday, each including Holy Eucharist; at 8 a.m., a spoken service from the Book of Common Prayer, and at 10 a.m., a family service with music. At 9 in the parish hall, Jean Watson will present "In the Steps of St. Patrick: Celtic Music and Reflections of Ireland." Parking is available at the Abe Lincoln Hotel parking garage and the M&T Bank lot, both off of Washington Street. Handicap spaces are available beside the church on Court Street. On Wednesday, Lenten worship continues with book study in the parlor at 10:30 a.m. There will be Stations of the Cross at 11:30 and worship with Eucharist at noon, both in the sanctuary. On Thursday at 11, a Morning Prayer service from The Book of Common Prayer will be held in the first-floor chapel. To access the Centering Prayer Zoom link or to find out more about us, go to

—Epler's Church, United Church of of Christ, 1151 W. Leesport Road, Bern Township, will worship Sunday at 10:30 a.m., in person and on Facebook. Seminary student Caroline Bashore will be the guest speaker. Sunday school for all ages is at 9:30. For more information, visit There will be a potpie supper next Saturday. You can pre-order take-out quarts on the church website or by calling the church office at 610-926-1006. Cost: potpie, $9 a quart; pepper cabbage, $8 a quart, $4 a pint; pickled beets, $8 a quart, $4 a pint. Pick up orders from 3-4 p.m. A buffet dinner will be held from 4-7 p.m. No pre-orders necessary. Cost is $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 6-12.

—Reformation Lutheran Church, 3670 Perkiomen Ave., Exeter Township, will worship Sunday at 8:30 a.m., with Holy Communion, and 10:30 a.m. with Holy Communion and music by the Reformation Choir, under the direction of Dr. Heidi Rochlin. The 10:30 worship service will be livestreamed on Reformation's Facebook page and may be viewed live or later at under worship videos. Sunday school for all ages begins at 9:30. There will be a Lenten service with Holden Evening Prayer at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. A soup and bread supper precedes the service at 5:45 in the parish hall, and a Lenten Bible study, led by the Rev. Paul Metzloff, pastor, follows the service at 7:30 in the church parlor.

—Oley Valley Mennonite Church, 1571 Memorial Highway, Oley Township, will worship Sunday at 10:30 a.m. For more information, visit

—New Jerusalem Lutheran Church, 27 Lyons Road, Rockland Township, will hold a pasta dinner on March 11 from 4-7:30 p.m. Dinner includes pasta, bread, pepper cabbage, beverage and dessert. Cost: adults $12; ages 3-12 $6. For more information, call 610-682-6064.

—St. Michael's Church, 529 St. Michaels Road, Tilden Township, will worship Sunday at 10:15 a.m. The Sunday school children will sing. There will be a covered dish in the social hall at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, followed by a Nooma video and discussion at 6:45, which is also available on Facebook and DialPad.

—Christ Lutheran Church, 222 Niantic Road, Washington Township, will worship Sunday at 9 a.m. with the Handbell Choir performing "What Wondrous Love is This" during the prelude. Coffee & Conversation will be held at 8:30 and 10 in the Welcome Center. The adult Sunday school class will be held at 10 in the parlor. Confirmation class will meet in room I at 10. A Lenten service will be held with the members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1809 Sassamansville Road, New Hanover Township, Montgomery County, on Wednesday beginning with a soup supper (sign up required) at 6 p.m. followed by worship at 7. For more information, visit

—St. John's Lutheran Church, 4125 Penn Ave., Sinking Spring, will hold in-person worship Sunday at 9 a.m., with Holy Communion and special music. The service also will be livestreamed on Facebook.

—St. John's Gernant's Church (A Federated Congregation), 13 Gernant's Church Road, Ontelaunee Township, will worship Sunday at 9:30 a.m. in the church, with Holy Communion. "Calvary Covers It All" will be performed by David Yoder. Fern Kulp will be the musician for the service. The churches of the Schuylkill Valley Pastor's Association will be joining together for a soup and sandwich meal and worship service on Wednesday at noon at Bern Reformed United Church, 3196 Bernville Road, Penn Township. St. John's Gernant's Church will be holding a Vera Bradley, gift baskets and meat Tray fundraiser bingo on April 16. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $20, $25 at the door $25. Call 484 269-4204 for tickets.

—The United Church of Christ of Robesonia, 301 W. Penn Ave., will worship Sunday at 10:15 a.m. by YouTube, in person, by telephone and Facebook. Details can be found at Sunday school for all ages is at 9. Lenten worship will be held Wednesday at noon at United Church of Christ of Robesonia with host pastors, the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Motz and the Rev. Mary Etta Mest, and preacher, the Rev. Julie Osterhout, followed by lunch at 12:30 p.m. On Wednesday from 6:30 to 7, Evening Prayer will be held at UCC of Robesonia featuring a dialogue between Pilate and Pilate's wife, portrayed by the Rev. Robert Masenheimer and Sheri Rowe. On Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m., greeting card crafting will be led by Annette Pearson. Call the church office at 610-621-5770 to register or just show up. On March 20 from 7 to 8 p.m., "Addiction, Recovery, and Faith" will be led by the Rev. Jack Abel, senior director of spiritual care with Caron Treatment Centers. Call Abel at 610-743-6298 to register and learn the location in Sinking Spring. The men's group will meet today at 8:30 a.m. at the Heidelberg Restaurant.

—St. John's Lutheran Church, 45 N. Reading Ave., Boyertown, will worship on Sunday at 9:30 a.m., also livestreamed on YouTube (St. John's ELC Boyertown). Children's Sunday school is at 9:30 a.m. Midweek Lent worship Wednesdays in March is at 7 p.m. Bread Bowl and Bible, a learning and meal event, will be held Sunday and on March 19 from 3-6 p.m. Maundy Thursday worship is on April 6 at 7 p.m.; Good Friday worship is on April 7 at 7 p.m. Easter worship is on April 8 at 9:30 a.m. Free drive-through, take-out meal every Saturday from 4:30-5:30 p.m. No registration necessary.

—Maidencreek Church, 261 Main St., Maidencreek Township, will worship on Girls Scout Sunday at 9 a.m., led by the Rev. Deborah Schwartz. SaraAnn Harbonic will give the children's message. Music includes the Maidencreek Youth on boomwackers, a cello solo by Brenna Sharkey and piano selections by SaraAnn Harbonic, Julia Powlus and Kimberly Ayrton. The service is livestreamed to Facebook and YouTube. Links can be found at

—St. Paul's United Church of Christ, 5 W. Arch St., Fleetwood, will have two worship services on Sunday, at 9, also online, and 10:30 a.m., both with Holy Communion. The links to FaceBook and YouTube are found at It's Youth Sunday, and young people will provide the greeting, reading and music. There will be a Lenten meal of soup at 6 p.m. on Wednesday before the service at 7.

—Friedens United Church of Christ, 337 Main St., Oley, will worship Sunday at 10:15 a.m. with guest pianist Debbie Weinhold accompanying the choir anthem. The Mission Team will be having a drive-by drop-off today from 9-11 a.m. of food items being collected for the Oley Valley Food Bank, with boxed cereal being the focus of this month's drive. Also being collected are slightly used shoes, which will help to fund the planned Mission Team trip later this year. The service is also available via Zoom and YouTube. For information and links, visit

—Kissinger's Church, 715 Berkshire Blvd., Wyomissing, will hold an hour of prayer on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The public is invited to attend to submit prayer requests and to pray for others.