St. John’s Gernant’s UCC, Leesport: July 3, 2016

St. John's Gernant'sSharing ministry is a relatively new experience for St. John’s Gernant’s Church, a 222 year-old church in Leesport, Pa., established in 1794.

The Gernant name has been attached to the official name of the church when an acre of ground was bought from John Gernant in 1795. The Gernant’s family were German immigrants who settled here prior to the Revolution.

St. John’s Gernant’s Lutheran congregation and UCC congregation began shared ministry together 3 ½ years ago, as both congregations experienced a decline in membership. The joining together resulted in one combined worship, drawing on liturgy from both denominations, the organization of a Shared-Board who governs the worship and business aspects of the combined congregation, and other areas such as the music ministry combined choir and special committees.

Ministry outreach has been strengthened with both congregations focusing together on the community outreach and mission projects, in addition to supporting Our Church’s Wider Mission and the Lutheran Benevolence Fund.

One of their steadily-supported missions include the support of local veterans through the “Veterans Making A Difference” organization. After discussion with the leaders of this group, new or good used clothing for men is an ongoing collection to be distributed by this veteran’s program. An additional project for the veterans provided phone cards for veterans to be able to be in contact with others as needed.

Another community mission supports the local Schuylkill Valley Food Pantry through involvement on the Food Pantry Board and being available on monthly Saturday distribution days. Food items are continually collected and brought to the food pantry to add to the food being distributed.

As the shared ministry continues to develop, the congregations are exploring the possibility of joining together as a Federated Church in the near future.

Gernant’s Church is host to the local Girl Scout Troop and also the Christ Evangelical Free Church which meets twice monthly in the hall.

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