This Week In Ministry

Sunday March 19, 2023

The following Institutional Services are arranged for and reported by United Churches of Lycoming County:

  • Lycoming County Prison, 1:45 and 3:15 p.m., None scheduled.
  • Williamsport South, 2 p.m., Ms. Debra Buckman, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Williamsport.
  • Valley View Nursing Home, 2 p.m., Vicar Carol Johnson, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Williamsport.
  • We Care of Loyalsock, 2 p.m., Ms. Patricia Burket, State Road United Methodist Church, Linden.
  • Williamsport North, 2:15 p.m., Rev. Gwen Bernstine, Lycoming Presbyterian Church, Williamsport.
  • Rose View Center, 2:15 p.m., Mr. Jerry Webb, AME Zion Church, Williamsport.
  • Williamsport Home, 3 p.m., None scheduled.
  • Pre-Release Center, Men, 3:30 p.m., Mrs. Gail Slocum and Mrs. Carol Hetler, Yokefellows.
  • Pre-Release Center, Women, 3:30 p.m., Mr. Don Slocum, Yokefellows
Services during the week include:
  • Heritage Springs, 10 a.m. Tuesday, None scheduled.
  • Leighton Place, 2 p.m. Tuesday, None scheduled.
  • We Care of Loyalsock (Bible Study), 10 a.m. Wednesday, Pastor Tammey Edkin, United Churches of Lycoming County.
  • Hillside Senior Living, 2 p.m., Wednesday, Pastor Tammey Edkin, United Churches of Lycoming County.
  • Presbyterian Home, 11 a.m. Thursday, None scheduled.
On the Radio:
Radio Services are provided by the following congregations:
  • 8:30 a.m. (Saturday) Jersey Shore Assembly of God, WJSA 96.3 FM.
  • 9:30 a.m. (Sunday) Community Baptist Church, Montoursville, WJSA 96.3 FM.
  • 9 a.m. (Sunday) Pine Street United Methodist Church, Williamsport, WWPA 1340 AM/101.7 FM., WILQ HD3

Recent Articles

Laetare Sunday Rejoice!

March 17, 2023

By Ms. Tiffany Haller, Director of Faith Formation, St. Ann Roman Catholic Church

La what Sunday? Laetare Sunday. It is a Roman Catholic tradition celebrated during the fourth Sunday in Lent, this Sunday. Laetare translates from Latin and means “rejoice.” But, you say, Lent is a time for fasting (practicing self-control), prayer (seeking the Lord in scripture and meditation or contemplation), and almsgiving (sharing the gifts we have received from God, not just monetarily but of our time and talents as well). Yes, Lent is a period of forty days during which Christians remember the events leading up to and including the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus’s life and his teachings are the basis of Christianity.

Isaiah 66:10-11 states, “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exalt and be satisfied at her consoling breast.” This verse from Isaiah is the inspiration for the theme of Laetare Sunday. Even the liturgical (rite for public worship) color used for this day is celebratory: rose. The color rose represents a time of joy amid the somber Lenten period of fasting and prayer. The change in color from Lenten violet indicates a glimpse of the joy that awaits us at Easter. The timing is just before we enter the somber days of Passiontide.

The delight of Easter approaching is symbolized in a few other interesting liturgical options. During Lent, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal does not allow flowers on the altar. But there’s a temporary halt to these penitential observations on Laetare Sunday (as well as solemnities and feasts within the Lenten season). Bring on the flowers!

Here is another interesting, fun fact about Laetare Sunday: marriages were generally forbidden during Lent, but Laetare Sunday was an exception when marriages could be celebrated during this penitential season. Now marriages are forbidden on Good Friday and Holy Saturday only. But Laetare Sunday is still a fitting day for those wishing to be married in the church before Eastertide.

As we approach the darkness and horror of the days through Good Friday and Holy Saturday, Laetare Sunday is an opportunity to savor and remember what awaits us on Easter Sunday: the reality that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and that our hearts will always be filled with happiness!

I hope the awareness of this tradition and its customs helps in understanding and appreciating the beauty of faith. So, celebrate this Laetare Fourth Sunday of Lent along with the rest of the Lenten season, the fifty days of Easter, and beyond. Why not take advantage of the richness of some faith traditions, old or new (if even just to you). It just might spark some joy! Rejoice!

March 2023 Newsletter

March 15, 2023

View the Newsletter  

Beginning Discussion About Injustice With Our Children

March 8, 2023

By Rebecca Logan, Retired UPMC Chaplain, Member of Lycoming Valley Baptist Church

All of any nation’s history is unjust because of sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, they set off a chain reaction to all of humanity that will never be finally resolved until eternity. Animosity, hatred, and taking advantage of others started as early as the first sibling. Cain deliberately went against what God said, and in his jealousy, possibly embarrassment, killed his own flesh-and-blood brother. That was complete injustice; his brother had done nothing wrong but was killed. Vengefulness, anger, and jealousy has consumed humankind since.

Injustice reappears in another family later in Genesis. We see Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery. The theme of bondage, slavery, and freedom is woven throughout Scripture. Many lessons can be learned from it. Why did people do that to others? What were their motivations? Where was God in all of this?

Discussions about slavery and injustice begin in Scripture. God’s own chosen people were slaves in Egypt. We know the Egyptians needed work done, saw the Israelites as free labor, and thus took advantage of them. Yet, God had love and mercy and delivered them. At the same time, even the Egyptians were invited to join the Israelites in belief in the true God.

Judges is about injustice to God’s people, but prejudice from one tribe to another is scattered throughout the Hebrew Bible. Then, of course, Israel was overrun, and many were taken as slaves to Babylon. When Christ was born, the Israelites were under bondage to the Romans. The comparison of even “the slave woman and the free” is in Galatians 4:21-31. And salvation is being taken out of the slavery of sin. Christ repeatedly stressed in the New Testament: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36 NIV). The temple leaders were so offended to be called slaves to sin that they wanted to stone Christ then and there.

Even in Bible lessons, our children and grandchildren see and understand that injustice and wrong happens. Then the questions can be asked and answered. How did Esther respond when taken against her will to the palace? How did Daniel and his friends respond when taken in captivity? Where was God? What was He doing in this? Why did the Lord allow this? When looking at all of biblical history, what lessons do you learn from these painful experiences? (For example, Psalm 56:8 tells us that God “keeps all our tears in a bottle.”

The Bible is an excellent backdrop for all of this and a natural way to engage our children and grandchildren with the bigger questions about life. Were these things that happened right? Obviously not. Was God still there? Obviously, we know yes. Why did He allow this?

Then from the biblical backdrop, we move into any country’s history. Slavery has been practiced all over the world. Why? What are the parallels between that and what the Bible says? Does God forgive sin individually and nationally? How does God still work in these hard cases? Who are some of the amazing people who God used throughout history? What about reading their biographies?

Stressing the parallels between physical and spiritual slavery to sin helps our children and grandchildren understand the Bible’s ultimate theme: redemption and deliverance from sin. Our responsibility is to help our children and grandchildren to see how the Lord works in injustice, through injustice, and despite injustice. And that, ultimately, He as the final judge guarantees that all injustice and sin is forever dealt with!