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.’

It Feels Good to be a HERO! Thank you to all who volunteered and participated in our blood drive. We had a good turnout and we look forward to continuing to support our Lancaster community with future blood donation opportunities.

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With hearty thanks to the people of St. Edward’s for your generosity of spirit which enabled us to send our quarterly check to the HAFP in the amount of $1,600! We know that there are folks at St. Edward’s who contribute funds directly to the HAFP and we thank you so very much for your support! These dollars, combined with our dry goods collection, go a long way to serving the families in need in our wider community. We are blessed to have the opportunity to support such a fruitful outreach program.

In April the pantry served 535 children, 932 adults, and 388 seniors for a total of 1,855 people served.  Nineteen new families were registered.

Fifty one volunteers contributed 619 hours April!

In case you do not follow the numbers we report each month, it is important to note how extremely vital the HAFP, and our support to the HAFP, is to our community. Not only have the number of volunteers and volunteer hours increased, but the number of children, adults, and seniors, who depend on the services of the HAFP, has increased substantially over this past month. THEY NEED US!!!! So, please continue to donate as often as possible, in dry goods and in dollars. Nobody should go hungry in our world, and we can help eliminate food poverty in our community.

Current items requested:

Large spaghetti sauce
Spaghetti sticks
Peanut butter
Canned kidney beans
Canned tuna

There is a volunteer request from HAFP from partner churches as follows:
If you are interested in volunteering on a Monday or Wednesday, please let the parish office know and we will email your information to Diane Gerlach. There is also a need for a volunteer with a pick-up truck to collect food items at grocery stores.

Thank you for your continued support to the Hempfield Area Food Pantry!   It is contributors like you who confirm the mission of the pantry… serve those in our community who are struggling to feed their families.  Monetary contributions help to purchase food items at the Central Penn Food Bank in Harrisburg at below super market costs (many items at 76 cents a pound) Imagine how important your donations are to the HAFP! It was only a year ago when that number featured above was 35 cents a pound!  Financial contributions also allow our managers to purchase food items on sale at local grocery stores and markets….such as eggs, fresh produce, meats, dairy products as well as other pantry supplies. 

Clients may visit the pantry either Monday OR Wednesday each week.

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, retirement communities, and many individual volunteers. 

Diane L. Gerlach,

Vice President/Pantry Coordinator


Thank you to all who signed up and participated in this community event. Rain or shine, it is great to join others to raise awareness and make a difference!


A 5K race cannot end racism but naming the need to create change and working together can make a difference. All proceeds from the Race Against Racism will support the Center for Racial and Gender Equity (CRGE) and our community programs of education, training, advocacy and change.  We will keep running until injustice is rooted out; institutions are transformed, and the world sees women, girls and people of color the way we do:  Equal, Powerful, Unstoppable.

Soles 4 Souls 2024: St. Edward’s collected shoes from Ash Wednesday through Palm Sunday, delivering them to St. John’s on Monday, March 25th. Thank you to all who faithfully brought in their shoes over this Lenten season and the deepest thanks to Bev Achey, Scott Smith, Beth Lynch and all who supported and organized this amazing 2024 shoe drive. We collected 667 pairs of shoes!!!!


Thank you to all who participated in this yearly event. Helping our extended human family, across the globe, unites us in ways that speak to our hope, faith, and love of God in Christ.


The Lancaster County Feed My Starving Children MobilePack event is a 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.  St. Edward’s has participated in this global outreach project for several years with a dedicated team of volunteers.

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

Thank you for supporting this important outreach project.  

Thank you to all for supporting or 2023 Jesse Tree Project. We had an amazing response and were able to deliver a bounty of gifts and support to the families at the COBY’s Permanency Unit of Lancaster. To learn more about how our project works each year, continue reading below.

For this year’s seasonal giving project, we offer two options for parishioners to support our efforts to provide gift to the neediest foster children served through COBY’s Permanency Unit of Lancaster. (Please click on the link to learn more about COBYs.) The total number of children who we will serve will depend on the number of parishioners who participate in this year’s project. Printed forms are in the narthex and can be downloaded by clicking here.

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.

Two grocery chains are giving away turkeys. Giant and Weis run this promotion during late October and November. Shoppers are able to use their shopping points to get a certificate for a turkey.

How does this benefit the Hempfield Area Food Pantry?

1. If you are not cooking the Turkey this year (maybe you are going out of town or been invited to someone’s house) cash in for the Turkey and donate it.

2. If you shop like I do, at both stores, then donate one of the turkeys.

3. Some individuals may just wish to purchase a Turkey and donate it to HFP.

We delivered 14+ turkeys to the pantry the week before Thanksgiving! Thank you for your support!

November ushers in a season of gratitude. United Thanks Offering (UTO) is a small, but wonderful, way to incorporate gratitude into our daily lives this month. Did you know that 100% of UITO offerings are given away the following year to support innovative mission and ministry projects around the globe?

Currently all grants awarded are within the focus of Matthew 25, welcoming the stranger.*

To participate, stop by the narthex and pick up a UTO giving box, and a 30 Days of Gratitude calendar, and place them in your home for the days of November 1 -19 to reflect on the day’s question and place a little change in the box as an offering of gratitude. On Sunday, November 19, bring your box to church for our UTO Ingathering. What a beautiful way to lead up to our Advent Journey and a new liturgical year. Enjoy the journey of “thanksgiving”.



Jesus said, “Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick. . .” (Matthew 25:36)





“We do this for the homeless so they know they are not forgotten.”

– Deacon Stacey Catigano, St. John’s Lancaster

How can you provide blessings of warmth:

  • Knit hats -They are stretchy to any size head; they are affordable; they are unisex.
  • Winter Socks – Please match socks prior to donation. No dress socks.
  • Winter Gloves

No fashion scarves. No children’s clothing. Gently used is appreciated.

Where to bring your donations?

There is a donation box in the narthex of St. Edward’s. We will bring all donations to St. John’s, Lancaster, where prayers and notes of inspiration will be attached to the garments and all donations will be blessed by clergy before being delivered to local shelters or distributed during St. John’s community breakfasts and food pantry.


Thank you for participating in our recent collection of Books for Prisoners! We will have a new collection and list later in 2024.

Recent Books Suggested:

  • A Journey Through Grief, Loss, Hope And Recovery by Deb King
  • The Jesus Revolution by Greg Laurie
  • Healing Neen -Tonier Cain
  • Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story – Brian Welch
  • Washed by Blood: Lessons from My Time with Korn and My Journey to Christ – Brian Welch
  • The Big Hustle – Jim Wahlberg

Back-to-School Drive 2023

St. Edward’s partnered with the Hempfield School District for the 2023 School Backpack Drive. The generosity of spirit shown by our parish family resulted in $1,280 in monetary donations, 20+ backpacks, and several Walmart and Giant gift cards. The people of St. Edward’s have always come forward to truly lighten the load that the students in our local community!

This collaborative event was a wonderful day of peace, prayer, and public witness!  We thank all, in our faith community and our wider community, who helped make this day a success! 

Join The Diocese of Central Pennsylvania’s Diocesan Ministry to End Gun Violence at St. Edward’s on Saturday, September 17th from 9 AM – Noon for a day of community outreach with:

  • Swords to Plowshares Northeast ( Retired Bishop Jim Curry brings his forge for an active demonstration converting guns into garden tools.
  • Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence ( Memorial to the Lost – an installation of remembrance for Lancaster County victims of gun homicide.
  • East Hempfield Township Police Department visit with Sgt. Matt Miller, firearms instructor, to learn about gun safety.
  • Samaritan Counseling Center ( will be available to provide mental health resources.
  • Children’s Arts & Crafts – Join us at our “Peace Can Grow” area to paint your own flowerpot and planting, participate in a painted rock craft, or lend your artistry to our “Peace Wall.”
  • Ecumenical & Interfaith Gathering of Area Congregations – Coming together, as communities of faith, with pastors and chaplains available for 1-on-1 conversation and support.
  • Communal Prayer Service – We complete the morning with a gathering in the St. Edward’s sanctuary.

Refreshments and light snacks will be available throughout the morning.

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 have been so grateful to be able to 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) 

The Rahim family moved into a home on December 15, 2021 and our Welcome Team worked closely with CWS and the family to make certain that they had what they needed to make their house a home and to acclimate them to living in the United States and our community.  This was true Faith in Action! We were so appreciative of our Welcome Team, who were committed to this family discovering the means to transform their lives. 

Areas that our Welcome Team became involved in included: 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 was so 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.  

Let us continue to prayerfully consider supporting our loved ones, the Rahim family, in donating to our established Legal Defense Fund. We would like to thank all who have contributed to the Rahim Family Legal Defense Fund.  Your generosity of spirit and prompt response to Father Rick’s “call” to Faith in Action allowed us to raise $18,195!  Donations can be written to St. Edward’s Episcopal Church with the memo line notation of: Rahim Legal Fund. 

We invite you to continue to make a monetary donation of any amount! Donations should be made payable to St. Edward’s Episcopal Church with a memo line notation “Rahim Family.”

Should you have any questions, please contact the parish office. We strive to support those in need by sharing our stories and staying connected to the ministry, mission, and vision of St. Edward’s.


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.

The Knit Wits meet 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.

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.

Community Aid bin logo


Community Aid News: Beginning May 15th, Community Aid will be expanding the payouts to partner organizations for donated items!!!  Below is a list of items you can bring to Community Aid, mentioning they are for St. Edward’s Episcopal Church (Our Partner Number is 40036). We will receive credit for quarterly payouts that assist our Faith-in-Action ministry.  Community Aid has always accepted these items, but in the past, they did not give credit to partner organizations for electronics, toys, and household goods.

household goods  

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.