A Time to Catch Our Breath

                            A Time to Catch Our Breath


Whew, Im still trying to catch my breath. September, October and the beginning of November were incredibly busy – special Sundays and special events nearly every week. But, there is no time to rest or wait around as Thanksgiving and Christmas are now just around the corner. Im sure I am not the only one who feels tired from a hectic schedule, as I see people every day who say they are tired and busy and dont know how to get everything done. But, if you noticed, I missed something. I said Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner – but what about Advent? Doesnt it count? Perhaps that is the problem, we for-get about Advent – a time of waiting and contemplating a time to catch our breath. Waiting is not a strength for most people these days. Taking time to catch our breath, well, we just dont think we have the time. There is an old Pennsylvania Dutch saying that goes: The hurrier I go, the behinder I get“. How true. So, perhaps, we need to take time to catch our breath during Advent. To take time for the things that are truly important in life – being present and spending time with each other, because it is our presence (not presents) that let others experience Gods presence. Because God wasnt just present 2,000 years ago through the birth of Jesus, and we do not have to wait until Jesus comes again to experience His presence at some future time we can experience God in the here in now, if we just stop and take time to catch our breath.

In Gods Service,


The Life of a Pastor

                           The Life of a Pastor

Who knew? Certainly not me. When Pastor Rob asked me to supply for him while he went on vacation two and half years ago, I had no idea where God was leading. As you know, just a few months later Pastor Rob asked me to be a consistent supply on the Sundays that he wasn’t there since he was now part time. In February of 2017, Pastor Rob announced that he was leaving for another call. At that point, I had no idea what the Synod was planning for Friedens or for me. But, I believe the Holy Spirit was moving, because I was delighted when I was told that I would be assigned as your “Interim Pastor”.

It has been a bit of a daunting task at times because Friedens is so much bigger (literally three times the size) than the last congregation I served. Yes, you read that correctly. And, being part time, it is a challenge to serve a busy congregation. BUT, all that being said – I love it here! It is a wonderful fit for me. I have come to love all of you so much.

So, this is supposed to be an annual report. I looked at Pastor Rob’s report last year and realized that it doesn’t give you a complete appreciation of all that goes into being a pastor of a church. I would like to share a snapshot of what that looks like. Remember, this is only seven and a half month’s worth of ministry.

Pastoral Visitations – 39

This includes, but is not limited to, Hospital visits, Sick visits, Shut-in visits, Pastoral visits,

Member visits, Baptism visits and Funeral visits.

Pastoral phone calls – 25

These are not just 5 minute check-ins. These lengthy calls. I find that phone calls are helpful to keep up on how people are doing without always visiting (because I live a bit far away and travel time can take up a lot of my time – I love in person visits, but this allows me to check in with more people).

Pastoral Emails and Texts – I have no idea, but it’s a lot more than you think

In today’s world of booming technology, this has become part of a pastor’s ‘toolbox’, if you will, as this is sometimes the most comfortable or easiest way to communicate for some.

Baptisms – 4

How exciting for me to baptize 4 children in my first eight months.


Funerals – 0

Although I did attend some funerals of relatives of congregational members, and participated in one funeral.

Meetings – 44

As you can see there are a lot of meetings, but, that’s because there is a lot happening.

Daily Church Work Emails and Texts – I don’t keep count, but knowing how many I get a day, it is in the

thousands. Welcome to the 21st century.

This is a pastor’s life. This is not a boast or brag. This is not a plea for pity. My goal is to show you how much I care about Friedens Church and how deeply I care about all of you. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you, and I thank God every day that He is allowing me to walk with you on this journey.

Your Servant in Christ,

Karen Althouse



Changing Focus

                 Changing Focus               

No matter how many times it happens, I always marvel at it. Marvel at what you ask? I marvel at the way people are able to put aside their anger and nastiness toward each other and exchange it for compassion and hope when tragedy strikes. Social media was so full of political nastiness (from both sides) and talk of hate for people who are different. Of course, it isnt just on social media, it permeates everything and everywhere you turn. Then, the unthinkable happens – two major hurricanes strike the US within a matter of weeks. Suddenly I see social media and other venues turn to rescue and relief efforts. Now, the nastiness doesnt magically go away, but for many, they change their focus. They change from bashing everything and everybody, to focus on helping those who are struck down, not worrying about who those victims are. Not worrying if they are Republican or Democrat, Christian, Muslim, or Jewish (or other), or if they are straight or gay. I am thankful that this happens, but, wouldnt it be wonderful if we could just keep that focus at all times?

But, I guess God understands. I mean, He sent his Son to die a terrible, tragic death. Jesus didnt die a natural death or a quick and painless death. It was brutal and it was tragic. I know that He did it to atone for our sins so we would have everlasting life with Him, but I wonder – I wonder if He also had to get our attention and change our focus? I dont know the answer to that, but it makes me wonder.

In Gods Service,


(Pastor Karen)

P.S. Please dont infer that I think God sent the hurricanes, because I do not believe that in any way. God does not create these tragedies, but helps us through them.


Green Thumb Bulb Sale -( Deer Resistant )

Our Green Thumb Team is having a  Bulb Sale, while supplies last. Not only are they beautiful but they are “Deer Resistant”, that means the white tails will hopefully be discouraged and choose other vegetation to eat first! The order form with pricing is below. Send an email to www.friedens_bernville@verizon.net or contact the Church office at 610.488-6260 to place an order. Bulbs will be available in mid-October just in time for fall planting, act now for the best selection. All proceeds will go toward our Capital Campaign.

A. Anemone blanda (Grecian Windflower) The plants
are commonly used as groundcover in Holland. Daisy-like flowers with fern leafed foliage. Blooms in April/May. Height- 4”

B. Fritillaria meleagris (Guniea hen flower or Checkered Lily)- Nodding checkered, bell-shaped flowers in shades of purple or white.
Prefer rich, well-drained soil in filtered sunlight. April/May flowering. Height: 8”

C. Hispanica mixture (Spanish Bluebells or Wood hyacinth)- Strong
upright stems with blue, pink or white pendant
   bell shaped flowers. Bloom in May. Prefer a bit of
light shade. Height: 12” – 15”.

D. Ipheion mixture (Spring Starflower)-Fragrant, star-shaped flowers range from white to pale blue to deep periwinkle. Grass-like foliage smells like garlic when crushed. Blooms April/May. Height: 3” – 6”.

E. Camassia quamas (Indian Hyacinth) is a floret studded beauty with lavender blue spires. Best grown in moist, fertile
soil in full sun although Canassia can thrive in dappled sunlight. Blooms May/June. Height: 15h (Indian Hyacinth)-

F. Allium siculum (Sicilian Honey Lily)-has two inch wide umbrels of pendant greenish-white florets, flushed purple and edged in  white. Low, strappy foliage browns out early. Full sun to partial shade. Height: 32” – 36”.

G. Wild Species Tulip Mixture- The mixture contains a number of low-growing species tulips. The mixture is brilliant in naturalized settings .

H. Leucojum (Summer Snowflake)-have umbels of pendant, bell-shaped , milky-white flowers with little green dots at the edges. Grass-like foliage similar to daffodils. Plant in dappled sunlight. Blooms May/June. Height: 12” – 15”

I. Species Tulip Little Beauty-Scented, cherry-red minature with beautiful white-edged blue center. Wonderful for rock gardens or natural settings. Blooms in early May. This species is included in the wild species mixture. Height: 4”


     Deer Resistant    

         Bulb  Sale

No. of packs/        variety        /    cost per pack

A. ______Anemone blanda     20  bulbs/ $6.00

Grecian Windflower


B._______ Fritillaria melegris   15 bulbs/ $5.00

Guinea Hen Flower


C._______ Hispanica mixture   12 bulbs/ $7.50

Wood Hyacinth or Spanish Bluebells


D._______Ipheion mixture         20 bulbs/ $4.00

Spring Starflower


E._______Camassia quamash   15 bulbs/ $5.00

Indian Hyacinth


F._______Allium siculum         10 bulbs/ $7.00

Sicilian Honey Lily


G._______Wild Tulip mixture   15 bulbs/ $7.00

Species Tulips


H._______Leucojum                 15 bulbs/ $9.00

Summer Snowflake


I._______Tulip Little Beauty   15 bulbs/ $7.50

Species Tulip


Total due*: ____________

*sales tax is included

order while supplies last




Phone__________________ Email ______________________


Sponsored by the Green Thumb Team.

Proceeds dedicated to Evangelical Friedens Lutheran, Bernville -Capital Campaign.

For information call 610-488-6260

Thank You!


A look back at 2017 VBS

Bible Blast to the Past was true to it’s word a BLAST of adventure, joyful singing, and celebration of the word of God.

Thanks to our wonderful Christian Ed  volunteers and Pastor Karen for all the hours so lovingly spent getting ready and putting on the event.

We hope to see  everyone next year!

Fall Already?

                                                                                Fall Already?

Well, not quite, but I cant believe that summer is almost gone. It went so fast. I just blinked and here it is, September. While we still technically have a few more weeks of summer, you can already see the signs of fall. Someone posted on Facebook that pumpkin spice items hit the shelves in August. Really? By the end of July, into early August, catalogs show fall clothing and fall items for sale. There are parts of me that just want to hold on just a bit longer to the warmth and sunshine. But, time marches on.

But, there will be good things happening here at Friedens this fall. Im most excited about Reformation this year. October 31, 2017 marks the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 thesis on the door of the Wittenberg Church. Throughout this year you have seen articles in the bulletin from time to time about Martin Luther and the Reformation and what it means to be Lutheran. In early August we had a wonderful Walking in Luthers Footstepsice cream social. I enjoyed all of the wonderful ice cream toppings, the wonderful documentary on Luther, but talking to Katie Luther was the best! Sunday, October 29th (Reformation Sunday) will be the culmination or our celebrations. While the plans are not complete, Im looking for a grand celebration.

So, believe me, I know its hard as we say goodbye to summer, but, I hope you will join us for an exciting fall.

In Gods Service,


(Karen Althouse)


Unleashed, Karen Althouse July/August 2017


Unleashedhas been part of the Northeast Pennsylvania Synod (of which Friedens is a part) logo for the last three years. The Bishop recognizes that we have to find new and different ways to do ministry in the twentyfirst century.

Recently, I (along with Friedens 2 delegates) attended the Synod Assembly with approximately 500 other Lutherans from around the region. Yes, church business is conducted (okay, that part can be kind of boring), but there is SO much more. Besides the inspiring worship services and speakers, there was an area called Gods Playground“. It was an area set aside to celebrate ministries and other ways to be UNLEASHED. Those attending the assembly had several opportunities to wander through the Playground and discover a variety of ministries at work in our congregations. Im sure you have heard Lutherans partnering with our UCC brothers and sisters (and some other mainline church denominations) at different times and places to do ministry, but have you ever heard of partnering with a Buddhist congregation? Yes, you read that right – a Buddhist congregation. Well, one congregation is experimenting with this type of partnership. Talk about being unleashed!

So, I wonder what being unleashed might look like at Friedens? How can we find new ways to do ministry in Bernville and the surrounding community? I dont know the answer to that but I am thankful I get to walk with you through the process.

In Gods Service,


(Karen Althouse)


Friedens Memorial Brick Walk

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