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

This is a rendering of the Memorial Brick Walk being placed at the west side of the Church. It is not too late to honor or remember a loved one, friend, pet, mentor, business group,or anyone dear to your heart, by ordering a personalized inscribed brick to be placed in the Memorial. See below for details and order information. Still have questions call the church office 610-488-6260. And please join us on June 11th for Worship and after the 9:30 am service we will hold a brief dedication ceremony for the Memorial. This will be a continuing work in process as more bricks are ordered and added.

Friedens Brick Walk Memorial

The bricks will be 4 x 8 inches with up to three line of text available (each line a maximum of 15 characters). Rather than being advertisements for your business or organization, we would request that the message inscribed would honor one, or a group of people, that you would wish to remember. We are asking that the first line of each brick begin with either 1) honoring, 2) celebrating, 3) remembering, or 4) Glorifying God. Please print clearly.
To process online, complete this form and click on the submit button at the bottom. Please be sure you have included a contact phone number and/or email address so that we may contact you regarding payment.
To process by mail, Please contact the Church office 610-488-6260 to have a form mailed or faxed to you. Or stop by the Church on Sunday during Worship, the forms are at the rear of the Church.  Complete the  form and mail with a check for $150 per brick to: Evangelical Lutheran Friedens Church PO Box 201 Bernville, PA 19506
Thank-you for your support. Friedens is a 501(c)3, your donation is tax deductible. Please check the box below if you would like a separate donation receipt sent to your address

Vacation Bible School

 Join us for our  2017 Vacation Bible School adventure “Bible Blast to the Past”

Vacation Bible School July 17-21 (6pm – 8 pm)

Picnic & program July 23 (10:30 am)

All ages welcome:  Students- Ages 2-12*         Helpers – Ages 13+

*Please note-in order for children age 4 and under to participate, a parent/guardian must attend VBS and/or picnic with the child.

Please pre-register by July 14  by completing & submitting the form below, or call the Church office 610-488-6260

Friedens VBS Registration Form

Friedens in Bloom

          Friedens in Bloom

 April showers bring May flowers. What do May flowers bring? Pilgrims. Okay, so that is an old joke. I wonder if children today know that joke, or if it has had its time?

But, what do May flowers bring to Friedens? Many things. Hopefully, by the time you read this article you will see the new brick walkway (with bench) being built. Beautiful flowers are blooming around the property and the Green Thumb team is already on the job, keeping the grounds in shape. A parade is on the horizon (Memorial Day) and the Christian Ed. committee is already planning their VBS float“. Thats just to name a few.

Gods creation and Gods ministry is alive at Friedens, blooming in ways that can only happen with Gods presence. But, God cannot do it alone. Okay, so He can if He wants, but what He really wants is for us to be active participants. We do call it the LIVING Bible after all. When you participate in the ministries of Gods church, you will be surprised at how your heart will bloom. It will be filled with love blooming in ways that you never imagined.

In Gods Service,


(Karen Althouse)

From the Pastor’s Heart

                 Well, This is What…

    Since Pastor Rob began his last newsletter article with So, Now What?I thought I would follow up with, Well, This is What“.

It seems that the transition is complete. You should have received your letter by now that I will be serving Friedens for at least the next year. It is an honor and privilege for me as, after supply preaching for almost two years, I have come to love the people of Friedens very much.

It can be a scary time when you dont know what is going to happen next. I know that I always have anxiety before a change. But, I am excited and looking forward to whats ahead. We are doing some great ministry at Friedens. You can see that by all of the things going on in this newsletter and by how long it takes to do the announcements on a Sunday — thats a GOOD problem’. That means there is life here. I want to take a moment and thank all of you who work so hard to continue the work of Jesus in this church and in the community. I would name you all, but my over 50 brain means I will probably forget someone.

Someone said to me recently, Well, youre at the helm now“. Actually, I would like to think that God is at the helm, holding on to us with His loving arms and gracious heart. So, hang on folks, its going to be quite a ride.

In Gods Service,

Carin’ Karen

(Karen Althouse)

P.S. You will see me sign many things this way, because I truly care, thus, I am Caring Karen.




 Karen Althouse, S.A.L.M.

          Today the next chapter begins for Friedens as Karen Althouse, S.A. L. M. has been assigned to us as an Interium Pastor. What does SALM stand for you ask? The answer is a Synodically Authorized Lay Minister, and Karen has been a SALM for approximately 12 years. Friedens is blessed to be able to have her guidance and compassion through this time of transition, as we continue to search, and hopefully continue to discover the paths that God points us to, to fulfill his works. She will conduct Frieden’s Ash Wednesday service this evening,  at 7:00 pm. Welcome Karen!

Well, Now What? Farewell Pastor

   Well, Now What?

 by  Pastor Robert Argot, Jr,  farewell post   Friedens Tydings March 2017

I believe it was George Carlin whom I heard ask, “If you have a bunch of odds and ends on a table, and you knock them all off but one, what do you have left, an odd, or an end?”

When seasons change, such as winter into spring or Epiphany into Lent, a (nearly) similar question could be asked…is the end, or is it the beginning?

It is a transition, and it is both an ending and a beginning. As seasons transition from one to another, one ends and one begins. It is natural. True, the timing may be different from year to year (remember last year Lent started in early February), but the transitions come regardless.

Almost ten years ago I transitioned to Friedens Lutheran in Bernville (and later Bethany in West Reading). There would come the day that I would leave Friedens. On my first day of pastoring Friedens, no one knew how long it would be, but the time would come when I would leave, even if it were due to retirement.

Retirement hasn’t happened yet, but the transition has. And now I find myself starting at Holy Spirit in Reading. Again, I say with all honesty, the day will come when I leave Holy Spirit too. This is not a threat but merely a fact. I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know if this stop will last three years or 23 years or somewhere in between. Transitions happen….it’s just a matter of how well prepared we are.

So there is the question that all three churches must face. Not only do seasons transition, but so does the world. Where as seasons are cyclical, the world often doesn’t work like that. It may be Lent again, but the world has changed since the last Lent. Are we ready for these changes, and for the ones to come? Are we talking about what it means to be the Church in these changing times? God’s love for us is constant, but the directions that love pushes us changes over time. Are we ready?

May all of our new seasons be full of blessings and peace.

In God’s service,

Pastor Rob


Farewell and Godspeed Pastor Argot

Friedens said goodbye today to Pastor Rob. Although he is not officially departing until Tuesday, he gave his last sermon and we celebrated his almost 10 years with us with a pot luck luncheon, fellowship, and a token of our appreciation. In his normal Pastor Rob fashion he jokingly commented about checking the bag to be sure nothing was going to jump out of it! The card said it best …paraphased it said “In life success is often found in the journey, not in the destination, wishing you the best as you begin this next adventure.”  He will begin his next Call on March 1st with Holy Spirit Lutheran in Reading. A framed certificate of appreciation was presented for his office, and when he looks at it, we hope he will remember the heart of Friedens.  We wish him, and his family, Blessings and happiness always.



Epiphany 6A – Matthew 5:21-37, sermon by Pastor Robert G. Argot, Jr. 2/12/2017

Epiphany 6A – Matthew 5:21-37

Last week’s Gospel lesson was the beginning part of Matthew’s “Sermon on the Mount.” That part of it gave a kind of pep talk to the crowd.  He told them that they were good, using words like “good salt” and “the light.”  He used a plural case for the word “you” to show that being God’s people is not meant to be a solo job, but instead we are part of a group.  And he reminded us that we are not perfect…that we will fall short.  This is not meant as a judgement, but as a lead in to the fact that our perfection is not something which we achieve, but which is achieved for us by Christ and the cross.

So yes, with a quick divergence to Sirach, please note what we are NOT created for. We are not created to be puppets.  We are given the ability to choose whether we follow God’s commandments or not….to choose between fire and water….when we sin, it is of our choosing.  But knowing that we have the power to choose, God wishes that we choose God’s way, which does include realizing that we can’t do it all and asking for God’s mercy, which God is just dying to give.

Now back to the Sermon on the Mount….acknowledging that God’s people are not a bunch of me’s, but a collective we, now what? Well now we get some additional instruction.  You see, even when we do see ourselves as a group, we can still have a me-oriented problem.  We can still be selfish.  We can still look inward towards our own group, rather than outwards.  So not only can we have an “It is all about me” problem, we can also have an “It is all about us” problem, and that is something which God did NOT create us for.  Instead God created us to look outward and see that we are always part of a larger community that God wants us to have a relationship with.  Today’s section of the Sermon on the Mount reminds us in a different way that we are not alone.  And since we are not alone, we need to consider our actions.

How often do you wash your hands after using the bathroom? 34% of Americans do not wash their hands after using the bathroom, and 70% do not use soap. And yes, men are about twice as bad about it as women.  But interestingly, studies show that you are a lot more likely to wash your hands if someone else is present in the bathroom at the same time as you.  So when you realize that you are not alone, you are more likely to exhibit proper behavior.

Well good news….Jesus points out that we are not alone…so maybe realizing that will help us to curb some of our sinful/hurtful behaviors. Maybe if we are thinking that we are not alone, we will realize that even some of our “lesser sins” can hurt people.  Maybe if we don’t think that “no one is watching” we will think twice about the choices we make, the things we say, the actions we take.  Even our smallest decisions, words, and actions can help to improve the lives of others.  Even our smallest decisions, words, and actions can threaten to make worse the lives of others.

(As Professor Karoline Lewis points out), “in this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus insists that life is threatened when anger and judgment and insult reign. Life is threatened when women are objectified, merely fulfillment of sexual desire or the carrying on the family name. Women, Jesus insists, are not culture’s for the taking. Life is threatened when women are consistently reduced, even discarded, based on their capacity to satisfy privileged and patriarchal needs and their capacity to bear children. Life is threatened when you do not follow through with oaths you make.”

As I first start with each new group of confirmation students, I tell them that our purpose as God’s people, as part of God’s creation, is to be in relationship with God and with each other. I remind them that Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love…love of God and love of each other as we love ourselves.  To love is to promote life, not death.  The law which God gave through Moses was meant to help preserve life and out relationships.  Jesus does not come to abolish the law, but to broaden it.

  • It’s not enough just to refrain from murder. We should also treat each other with respect and that means not speaking hateful words.
  • It is not enough to avoid physically committing adultery. We should also not objectify other persons by seeing them as a means to satisfy our physical desires by lusting after them.
  • It is not enough to follow the letter of the law regarding divorce. We should not treat people as disposable and should make sure that the most vulnerable — in this culture that often meant women and children — are provided for.
  • It is not enough to keep ourselves from swearing falsely or lying to others. We should speak and act truthfully in all of our dealings so that we don’t need to make oaths at all. (source = David Lose)So…let’s close with a couple relationship questions.Prayer of thanksgiving.Prayer for help.
  • Remember that God delights in you and loves you unconditionally and so desires the best for you in and through your relationships.
  • Second, think about another important relationship to you, but one that has suffered damage.
  • First, think about one of your best relationships….one which is healthy and good and which helps sustain you. Think about what makes it such a good relationship and why it is so important to you.
  • Yes, the law speaks, but so does the Gospel. Remember last week? What happens to those who don’t keep the law? That’s right, they are the least in the kingdom of heaven. Let me say that again…they are least in the kingdom of heaven. Last week, even the worst player on the New England Patriots could say that he won a Super Bowl. Good news…even the worst of us are still good enough to have a place in heaven. We have a place because Jesus chooses to die even for the worst of us…especially for the worst of us. Thus even the worst of us can make positive relationships, and even the worst of us is deserving of positive relationships.