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Faith in Action

The guiding principle of St. Edward’s Faith in Action activities is found in Matthew 25:37-40. ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

The St. Edward’s Refugee Welcome Team – in partnership with

On Thursday, December 2, 2021 our family of six arrived in Lancaster to begin their new life in the United States. The Rahim family is from Afghanistan. We are so grateful to be able to welcome and shepherd this family!  We would like to introduce them to everyone by name: Najibullah (husband), Malalay (wife), Tayabullah (son – 12 years old), Sohaibullah (son – 7 years old), Anfal (daughter – 2 years old), and Khateebullah Rahim (male – 10 years old) 

We are happy to relay that the family has moved into a home on December 15th and our Welcome Team has been working closely with CWS and the family to make certain that they have what they need to make their house a home and to acclimate them to living in the United States and our community.  This is true Faith in Action! We are so appreciative of our Welcome Team, who are committed to this family discovering the means to transform their lives.  Meet our Welcome Team:  Leslie Arnold, Meredith Aul Westgate, Father Rick Bauer, Candee Buckbee, Catherine Donohue, Deborah Fast, Dina Ishler, Joyce Kamm, Beth Lynch, Bruce Lynch, Linda Mamorium, Mac Miller, Ellen Milligan, Herb Johnston, Marcia Shirk, and David Rutledge.

Areas that our Welcome Team are involved in include: Setting up new home; transportation; set-up health appointments; cultural adjustments to the community; schooling; jobs and finance tutoring; social activities.  New transitions can be filled with isolation and loneliness, so it is vital to be in close connection with our family to encourage trips to the park, making crafts, eating meals together, listening to favorite music together, celebrating a special holiday, and lending a gentle spirit and listening ear. 

We offer up this prayer for refugees:

God our Creator: We ask for your loving presence and for your peace to be with refugees in our local communities and around the world. Be with all who are in fear. Be with those whose lives and livelihoods are under threat, and whose religious freedoms are being compromised. Be with us as we strive to enact your will in our welcome and support of refugees. Be with those in positions of leadership, that their decisions may bend toward peace and not division, and that they might realize the power they hold to do justice. Give us all strength and courage. Equip and empower us to be witnesses to your love – as advocates and as servants, as ministers of welcome and bearers of hope, especially for those seeking refuge. In your Holy name we pray. Amen.

[Prayer from Church of the Mediator, Allentown, PA, Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem]

All of us at St. Edward’s, as well as “friends of St. Edward’s” can support our family in meaningful ways.  You will notice a list below that would welcome your participation!

We have added a new feature (thank you, Joyce Kamm!) which is an Amazon gift registry for the Rahim family.  This is a wonderful way to support the family and allow them the opportunity to choose the items that are most important and meaningful to them as they continue to beautify and personalize their new home.  It is easy to use:  Just click the link below and you will be taken to Amazon, and the items in their registry, purchase any item that resonates with you and as you go through the checkout process, MAKE CERTAIN YOU CLICK THE “JOYCE KAMM GIFT REGISTRY ADDRESS” OPTION.  

I’m sharing my list with you on Amazon.

Another option, if you do not wish to utilize the Amazon Gift Registry list, is to a monetary donation of any amount! Donations should be made payable to St. Edward’s Episcopal Church with a memo line notation “Rahim Family.”

We are also still searching for a vehicle, as noted below.

  • If there is a parishioner who has a vehicle that is in sound condition and is no longer driving it, and would be willing to donate it so that the Rahim family can move a step closer to self-sufficiency in their transportation needs, please reach out to Father Rick. 

Should you have any questions, please contact Joyce Kamm (listed in our parish directory) or the parish office.  We encourage people to connect with our Welcome Team members to learn more about this exciting ministry and what drew them to be involved.  Let us share our stories to stay connected to the ministry, mission, and vision of St. Edward’s as we strive to support those in need. 

Hempfield Area Food Pantry Update – December 2021

In December, 2021,  the pantry served 150 families which included 126 children; 236 adults; and 91 seniors for a total of 453 people served.  Clients may visit the pantry once a week.  Of the 150 families served, 91 families came more than one week during the month, which brought the grand total of people fed in December to 1,345! 

The pantry registered  7 new families in December.

Requested items for January: 
Canned peaches
Canned pears
Canned mixed vegetables
Canned carrots
Canned sweet potatoes
Large jelly (no glass containers please)
Elbow macaroni

FOOD DRIVES – During the year specific food items are collected providing for local food banks.  Please contact the parish office if you would like to learn more about the Hempfield Food Pantry donations.  We thank all volunteers and donors to this successful community outreach!

Thank you for your continued support to the Hempfield Area FoodPantry.  In addition to regular food donations, monetary contributions help to purchase food items at the Central Penn Food Bank in Harrisburg at below super market costs (many items at 24 cents a pound). The pantry places an order with the Central Penn Food Bank once a month which is delivered to us. Financial contributions also allow our managers to purchase food items at local grocery stores and markets….such as eggs, fresh produce, meats, dairy products as well as other pantry supplies.

The success of this outreach to the Hempfield area is a total community volunteer effort with many local civic/service/social organizations, neighborhood groups, local businesses, Hempfield school students and staff, retired Hempfield teachers, private individuals, boy/girl scouts, nineteen area churches, postal employees, HARC (employees, playgrounds and day camp), retirement communities, and many volunteers.  

The Hempfield Pantry has been abundantly blessed with generous donations of food items, financial contributions and volunteers to serve families in our community who are struggling to feed their families. Our clients are very thankful for the food they receive.   God is good!  Bless you for assisting to “feed His sheep!”

Jesse Tree 2021:  Annual Jesse Tree Project

For many, Thanksgiving and Christmas represents a ‘season of giving’.  Giving to the foster children of COBYs during the holidays has been a long-time favorite of this parish.

This service is known as the Jesse Tree project. 

The Jesse Tree is a unique Advent custom and the tradition traces back as far as the Middle Ages.

The earliest Jesse Trees were made of tapestries, carvings, and stained glass. These visual displays allowed uneducated people who could not read or write to learn about the Scriptures from the time of Creation until the birth of Jesus.

What Is a Jesse Tree?

The word advent means “arrival.” Because Advent is a time to anticipate and prepare for the arrival of Christ at Christmas. The Jesse Tree represents the family tree, or genealogy, of Jesus Christ. It tells the story of God’s salvation plan, beginning with creation and continuing through the Old Testament, to the coming of the Messiah. 

The name “Jesse Tree” comes from Isaiah 11:1. “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” (NASB) The verse refers to King David’s father, Jesse, who is in the lineage of Jesus Christ. The “shoot” that grew from the “stem of Jesse,” that is, the royal line of David, is Jesus Christ.

Within your own family, you can make and add ornaments to a tree that represent the story of Jesus.

The St. Edward’s Jesse Tree

The St. Edward’s Jesse Tree provides a peaceful spot under its branch for gifts that will be given to children in foster care to make Christmas a little brighter.  Through COBYS Family Services we obtain a list of children in foster care, their ages, and their Christmas wishes. We don’t take the place of Santa. Rather, we act as Santa’s helpers by adding another gift or two for a child to open on Christmas morning.

How Can You Participate?

  • First, you have two options: buy gifts for a child or make a monetary donation that will be used to purchase gifts. (Suggested amount to spend or donate: $40 -$50 per child)
  • You will note your option when you complete a sign-up form and deposit in the box in the church or complete the online form (Link is available through Leslie Arnold or in the church’s weekly emails form Michelle.)
  • Next, you will give a check to Michelle, if you are donating, or you will receive a “child assignment” with a wish list included from the Jesse Tree committee.
  • If you are buying gifts for a specific child, you will bring your wrapped gifts to the church and place under our Jesse Tree by an assigned date.

When will this happen? 

  • Signup forms will be available beginning October 26. A downloadable form should also be on our website at that time.
  • Signup forms or monetary donations will be due November 13
  • Parishioners who are opting to shop for a child will receive the name(s)s of child and the “wish lists” by November 20 (to be placed in your parish mailbox)
  • Wrapped gifts will be due December 11


Please direct questions to Leslie Arnold


As many of you know, St. Edward’s has had a wonderful knitting ministry for decades – the Knit Wits. Due to COVID19, the Knit Wits were unable to gather, as a group, in-person. BUT, that is not to say that there have not been fruitful labors from these dedicated women in knitting so many items with love: from prayer shawls to prayer pocket squares, hats, and many items in between!

And, the “Knit Wits” is truly more than knitting – it is welcoming to ALL who engage in needle arts:  from crochet to cross-stitch; quilting to knitting; needlepoint to hemming or repairing a clothing item. . . Welcome to all, and please join us!  In speaking with Gail Irons, she conveyed the meaning if this ministry group perfectly by sharing that it is a time to be together in fellowship and to learn from one another.

And. . . great news!  The Knit Wits is now gathering in-person!!!  On Tuesdays, at 1 PM in the lounge area, please join each other for fellowship while you pursue your craft.

We are so very appreciative of this loving ministry that provides such wonderful fellowship, while providing our parish, and the wider community, with these symbols of faith, hope, and love. This ministry is touching to so many who have loved ones – friends, family, friends of friends – in need of a wrap of comfort in their time of need, illness, or recovery.  We have so many touching stories that speak to the solace one receives when presented with a prayer shawl knitted by the Knit Wits, tagged with a loving prayer and blessed by our rector. And, it is wonderful to be able to present to the parents, when they bring their child to be baptized at St. Edward’s, a baby blanket knit by our ministry group.

If you are in need of a prayer shawl, or other knitted item(s), please contact the parish office.  We are happy to share with you our blessed items for you to choose to gift to those you love and care for. Thank you to the Knit Wits ministry, for all you have done and continue to do. Your ministry is beautiful and vital to our mission.


Backpack Drive
It’s Back-to-School time again!  As in the past, we will be helping Hempfield students be prepared for school; but, this year will be a little different.  Instead of collecting crayons, pencils, etc., we will be collecting backpacks!  Specifically, we are looking for backpacks for older students.  Think plain colors and large sized.  If you’re not sure of what to buy, you may donate by writing a check to St. Ed’s with ‘backpack drive’ on the memo line and Faith in Action will buy the backpack.  All backpacks will be donated to Hempfield Student Services.  School social workers will gift the backpacks to the students that they work with and help in other ways.  Any additional funds will go toward replacement ipad charging cords.  We have experienced such generosity, gathering 45 backpacks and over $650 in monetary donations! We will be accepting donations through Sunday, August 22nd, and the backpacks will be blessed by Father Rick on that Sunday.


Books for Prisoners Update

Deacon Stacey Catigano, prison chaplain, stopped by the church recently to take about a dozen titles from the Books for Prisoners case and the check for $325 raised for this project. She was overwhelmed with gratitude to the “generous folks at St. Edward’s.” She can only take about a dozen books at a time, so parishioners will still see the shelves full as she rotates stock, depending on what prisoners prefer. Thanks to everyone who participated in this ministry!

The Faith in Action committee asks for your help collecting some books for prisoners. An Episcopalian prison chaplain, Deacon Stacey Catigano, keeps a library for prisoners, and she could use some Bibles and other devotional or inspirational titles to circulate among prisoners. You can either donate books or money to buy them. Just drop off your donations in the narthex or make out a check to St. Edward’s with “books for prisoners” in the memo line. Don’t worry about buying duplicates of the same book–that’s okay–and if you can find titles in Spanish, those are welcome, too. Paperbacks are preferable, but hardcovers are acceptable, as well. Here’s a list of the kinds of books needed:

  • Bibles: large print, children’s, comic book Bibles
  • Inspirational Christian stories and meditations, such as the following:
  • Healing Neen: One Woman’s Path to Salvation from Trauma and Addiction by Tonier Cain
  • Carried by Faith: From Substance Abuse to a Life Filled with Miracles by Sue L Hamilton
  • Heart of a Champion: True Stories of Character and Faith from Today’s Most Inspiring Athletes by Steve Riach
  • Burden: A Preacher, a Klansman, and the True Story of Redemption in the Modern South by Courtney Hargrave
  • Doing Time with God: Stories of Healing and Hope in Our Prisons by Bill Dyer
  • Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul: 101 Stories of Hope, Healing, and Forgiveness by Jack Canfield
  • Prison Saved My Life by Louis Dooley; Heidi Gruber O’Very
  • The Man I Was Destined to Be: Addiction, Incarceration, and the Road Back to God by Michael Tandoi
  • Knockin’ Doorz Down: A Story of Breaking through the Darkness and Finding Redemption by Carlos Viera
  • Doing HIS Time: Meditations and Prayers for Men and Women in Prison by James Vogelzang
  • Rising Above: How 11 Athletes Overcame Challenges in Their Youth to Become Stars by Gregory Zuckerman
  • Recipes for a Sacred Life: True Stories and a Few Miracles by Rivvy Neshmana

Click here for the downloadable pdf of the book list and details on how to donate.

St. Edward’s Episcopal Church Community Blood Drive

Saturday, June 5th 9 AM – 3 PM

2453 Harrisburg Pike | Lancaster 17601 | Parish Hall

To schedule an appointment call: 1-800-771-0059 OR click the link below to sign up:

Click here to connect to the event on our Facebook page which gives you the link and phone number to register.  You must be pre-registered to donate!  And, please wear a mask.  Thank you!

Do you know that 1 pint of blood can save three lives?  The precious resource of blood is in constant need by area medical facilities, and St. Edward’s is offering an opportunity for our parishioners to donate a pint.

Father Rick+ and our Faith in Action ministry invite you to join us in participating as “Team St. Edward’s” for the 2021 Race Against Racism event.  We are going to “race our way” and will be meeting at 12 Noon on Saturday, May 15th, downtown, to take the 5K Lancaster City walk as a group.  Learn more about this important community event by clicking these links:

St. Edward’s Team flier with registration details

YWCA Race Against Racism Brochure

Join us!!!

Soles 4 Souls: St. Edward’s, with Saint John’s of Lancaster, collects shoes through Palm Sunday and we deliver them to St. John’s during Holy Week.  Many, many thanks to all who so faithfully searched their closets and supported this ministry with fantastic donations that exceeded our expectations!

We will be participating in a Jesse Tree Gift Drive for 2020.  Stay tuned for details during the month of November.

UPDATE: A Successful Jesse Tree Project 2019!

Thank You for Providing Christmas Cheer!

COBYS Family Services is blessed by the generosity of St. Edward’s Episcopal Church during this Christmas season. You have helped make Christmas brighter with gifts for more than fifty foster children served by our Permanency Unit. Thank you!

The COBYS Permanency Unit is a specialized program primarily funded by, and working in partnership with, the Lancaster County Children and Youth Social Service Agency. The common goals are to ensure the safety of children who have been removed from their homes because of concerns for their well-being, strengthen families and secure permanency for children.

COBYS staff help children, and members of their biological families, to resolve the issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, anger, mental illness, substandard housing, domestic violence and other issues that led to their separation. These problems must be resolved so that children can be safely reunited with their families. In cases where reunification would jeopardize a child’s safety, adoptive homes or other appropriate permanent placements are sought.

To learn more about COBYS Family services, visit, or contact Anne Stokes, Director of Development at

2019 JESSE TREE PROJECT – If you would like to participate in this year’s Jesse Tree project, you will find a registration form here, or you can pick one up in the parish hall, complete it and, put it in the red box by November 20th.  Names and “wish lists” will be distributed during the week of November 24th. 

Please remember to bring your wrapped gifts tagged with your assigned child’s name to church by Sunday, December 10th.  We hope to deliver all packages to COBYS the week following and we are looking for a few volunteers to assist with the driving. Please let Leslie Arnold, Ellen Milligan, or Beth Lynch know if you would like to help.

In 2022, the Feed My Starving Children MobilePack event will be in full swing.  The scheduled dates for St. Edward’s participation are March 25 – March 27.  We will keep this information updated when we have the times available.  There will be a sign up board in our narthex during the month of February, 2022  We hope to be able to provide a ministry team for this event to assist with this very worthy global outreach project.


The 2019 Lancaster County Feed My Starving Children MobilePack that took place March 29-31, was a success! St. Edward’s had a dedicated group that participated, again, this year and we thank them for their continued commitment to this community outreach that combines those in our local community serving those to our wider global community who are most in need in Somalia and Uganda.

Final totals for 2019:

Goal:  $66,718 to cover the cost of meals.  Actual money raised was $70,380.

They met their goal of 1,500 volunteers.

Goal:  To pack 300,000 meals.  Actual meals packed was 311,040.

This will feed 852 children a nutritious meal a day for an entire year!

If you have any questions or are interested in the 2020 event, please see Peg Reiley or contact her at 717-940-2856 or

For more information about Feed My Starving Children please click on the links below:

Thank you for your support in the worthy project.  The 2020 event is March 27-29.

St. Edward’s receives THANK YOU NOTES from organizations in the local and global community that we have gathered donations for.  Click on the links below to read how our community outreach has positively impacted the lives of others.

Episcopal Relief & Development

Hempfield Area Food Pantry

The Episcopal Home

Feed My Starving Children


How St. Edward’s works with this foundation to honor those serving in the military who are members of St. Edward’s:

All are invited to make a recommendation for a Quilts of Valor for any military in our congregation who has been touched by war, by visiting the Quilts of Valor website at For any questions about this process you can contact any of the following: Dina Cerase, Sharon Hubbard, or Donna Holwager, listed in the St. Edward’s directory.  These quilts are not a charity and they are awarded to the military member in a proper setting.


St. Edward’s also opens its doors throughout the year to various groups to hold meetings and events, extending our commitment to helping the wider community.  From Anonymous Addiction group meetings, to groups such as The Pilot Club, Scouts organizations, Lancaster Chamber Singers, and the ALERT group within our own diocese, St. Edward’s enjoys being there for the community.

MILITARY CARDS – At the holiday season, our pastoral care ministry sends Christmas cards to those serving in the military from parishioners.

2017 Ministry News:

This year, on the first Sunday of Advent, the ministry had a table set up in the narthex for parishioners to write Christmas card greetings to be delivered to veterans at the Lebanon VA hospital.  The local community outreach to veterans reconfirmed St. Edward’s commitment to remember those in need of comfort during the Christmas season.  These cards will be placed on the patients dinner trays.  The cards were delivered by Meredith Westgate on behalf of the parish.

Thanks from your Pastoral Care Ministry.

Community Aid bin logo

COMMUNITY AID PA – In 2022, Community Aid has moved to accepting donations at their centers, versus a partner bin-centric model for collections.  At St. Edward’s, we can earn .06 cents per pound if we take the time to drop our soft goods (clothing, shoes) off at a donation center (there is one at the corner of Good Drive and Columbia Avenue, just a few miles from here) and give them our partner number (#40036).  This helps us earn passive fundraising dollars to support social outreach.  Please take the time to continue to support us, and the wider community, by bringing your donations to a Community Aid donation center and giving them the St. Edward’s partner number.  We earn money on soft goods, only.

CARE PACKAGES – The aim of this ministry is to reach out and connect with our young adults via sending care packages, and cards, over the course of their college year.  It is a way that they know that their St. Edward’s family is thinking of them.

CRISPUS ATTUCKS – In the past, when this organization was active in weekly food service to the homeless, St. Edward’s responded to their needs by preparing and serving balanced and healthy meals one Sunday per month.

Our ministry with Crispus Attucks started with our rector (now retired), Father Stephen Casey who had been involved in the Crispus Attucks homeless shelter since his arrival at St. Edward’s. Getting to know the manager of the shelter, he would respond to any financial requests through his discretionary fund. Doug Hopwood, a member of St. Edward’s who was working with the Lancaster County Council of Churches was informed that Crispus Attucks was seeking churches to provide weekend meals on a regular basis. This seemed like a wonderful opportunity for St. Edward’s to reach out in a very meaningful way, so the parish signed up to provide a meal one Sunday a month throughout the year.

Under Fr. Stephen’s and Doug Hopwood’s leadership, all ministry groups within the parish agreed to take their turn to prepare and serve the meals; Vestry, Men’s Group, Youth Group, The Knit Wits and individual parishioners who partnered with each other to sponsor a Sunday dinner. At the start, they fed 60 to 70 people at a time; with the deteriorating economy in 2009 and further job losses, that figure had doubled to between 125 to 140 people served on any given Sunday.

Fr. Casey explained, “Located as we are in the affluent suburbs of Lancaster, it is easy for the parish to be unaware of the needs of those who live at the margins of society. Through the Crispus Attucks meal program, the people of St. Edward’s are able to reach out to those in need and put the gospel into action.” The program was funded through the church by the congregation and subsidized through an Operation Understanding Grant. The ministry was ecumenical, and St. Edward’s had been one of the largest contributors to this meal-serving program. 

Unfortunately, Crispus Attucks shut down their meal service program several years ago.