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Church hosts block party to unite community

A church in Palmerton invited the community out Tuesday evening for a night of food, music and games.

In celebration of National Night Out, Bethany Wesleyan Church held a block party on the church’s front lawn. With National Night Out being a holiday celebrating neighborhood camaraderie, the block party aimed to bring the community together for a night of fun.

Attendees could enjoy hot dogs, watermelon, freeze pops and freshly popped popcorn while listening to music and enjoying quality time spent with friends and family. People could also play a variety of outdoor games like bean bags, hopscotch and life-size Connect Four at the event as well.

BWC in Palmerton is one of three BWC campuses including their campus in Lehighton as well as their main campus in Cherryville.

Originally opening in November 2019, COVID-19 hit, causing the church to take a temporary break.

Discipleship Pastor Laura Kichline said their relaunch has been successful so far though and she felt blessed throughout the whole experience.

“I think through it all we’ve seen people become stronger in their faith and we’ve been blessed by the ability to get some things done. Like when the buildings were closed we took advantage of it and did some updates and remodeling and that kind of stuff. We just felt totally blessed and had a lot of favor throughout it all.”

Kichline said she was happy with the turnout with the event and excited to see the congregation grow.

“I think coming out of COVID that’s the thing that we are loving the most, just seeing people return and just seeing the fellowship continue to grow and grow.”

One attendee at Tuesday’s event was Lorra Haydt, who came with her two daughters and her 2½-year-old granddaughter.

Haydt said her family had dabbled in all of the games and enjoyed hot dogs and popcorn on the church’s lawn. Her overall favorite part of the event though was the opportunity to interact with members of the community.

Although not official members of the church, Haydt said they were considering joining because of the kid-friendly environment it offered her granddaughter.

“It seems that they have a lot of kid activities for her age and with COVID they need to have interaction with other kids. Socialization is good for them.”

BWC Campus Pastor for Palmerton Kathleen Dieter said she had grown up at the BWC campus in Cherryville. Her grandparents had originally attended the Cherryville campus in the 1920s, later followed by her mother and then herself.

Dieter said the Palmerton campus was unique since it is a community church within the town rather than the other rural campuses in Lehighton and Cherryville.

She was overjoyed to see the community together and having fun at the event, calling the block party a “dream come true.”

Dieter invited the community members to attend future BWC church services and events.

“Just come as you are. Our mission statement is to reach people with Jesus in a relevant way. So what’s more relevant than just providing some fellowship both now and on a Sunday morning just doing life together. We invite everybody.”

BWC in Palmerton hosts church services every Sunday at 9 and 10:30 a.m.

For more information on the church or future events, visit www.facebook.com/bwcpalmerton or www.bethanywes.org/palmerton.

People gather on the Bethany Wesleyan Church lawn to enjoy music, food and games during a community block party. LINDSEY BOWMAN/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS