St. John's Church, 826 Mahoning Drive West, Lehighton, celebrated 160 years of United Church of Christ and Lutheran congregational worship on Sunday, Nov. 7, with a special afternoon service.
The service featured special musical selections from St. John's "Jammin' for Jesus" praise band and the senior choir, both under the direction of Colleen E. Rudelitsch, church music director and organist.
Also featured was an anthem by the unior choir and a vocal solo during Holy communion by Rebekah McFadden, junior choir director.
The congregation joined 11 guest ministers (former pastors of St. John's) in singing the hymns "We All Are One in Mission," "Lift High the Cross," "Let Us Break Bread Togetheer," "As We Gather At Your Table," and "Here I am Lord."
The guest preacher was Rev. Kurt Garbe, associate to the Bishop, Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA.
The guest lectors were Rev. Charles Kampmeyer and Rev. Wilbur Albright. The prayers were led by Rev. George Hein and the Holy communion wine, representing the "blood of Christ," was offered to the congregation by Rev. Thomas Irwin II, St. John's interim pastor.
Rev. Dody Siegfried presided over the service and during communion offered the bread representing "the body of Christ."
Congregation members said it was excited to see the former pastors. Others who attended besides those already mentioned were: Rev. Kathy Brearly, Rev. Jim Covert, Rev. David Knoebel, Rev. Nancy Kuhns, Rev. Valerie Reinhold, and Rev. Manny Stivers.
Following the service, a dinner was held at the Mahoning Valley Ambulance Hall.
During the dinner, several pastors, beginning with Rev. Knoebel, told stories and shared memories from their time spent at St. John's.
Entertainment was provided by the gospel group, Lost & Found.
This past April, the Lutheran and United Church of Christ congregations of St. John's consolidated to become "one in the lord" as one congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.