2017 marks 300 years for our congregation and we’re going to celebrate all year!
Next Event: Community Picnic, September 30 at Molasses Creek Park
As a thank you for letting us be part of the community for 300 years, we’re throwing a party. Stop by Molasses Creek Park (directions) from 11 am to 3 pm for food at “historic” prices (25 & 50 cents), kids’ games, balloon art, face painting and more. Meet the Iron Pigs mascot “FeRROUS” for a photo op noon to 2. Enjoy the music of Mountain Heritage Bluegrass Band from noon to 3.
Celebration Weekend, June 23-25
Friday, June 23: Opening Bonfire, 7 pm
Kick off the weekend around the campfire. Reminisce, talk with old friends, sing some favorite songs and roast marshmallows for S’mores.
Saturday, June 24, 10 am – 7 pm
Mission Projects, 10 am – 3 pm
Stop by any time to help assemble prisoner care kits and grocery bags. We hope to make 150 of each. Donations of items are welcome (we’re collecting now), or donate money so we can get what we’re lacking for full kits or bags. Or chat with friends as you knot a comforter. Two frames will be set up in the fellowship hall.
Visit Camp Men-O-Lan, 12 – 2 pm
See what Men-O-Lan looks like today; visit cabins linked to West Swamp’s history; take a stroll around the lake or hike a nature trail. Camp staff and Lynne & Emily Rush will be on hand to answer questions.
Self-guided Cemetery Tours & History Book Signing
Pig Roast, 3 – 7 pm
This catered meal includes roast pork, chicken, hamburgers & hot dogs, sides, ice cream and beverages. Reserve your tickets by June 11 by calling the church office (215-536-7468). $10/person, children 12 and under, free. Games and activities for children and the young at heart.
Meet at 4 pm in the sanctuary to practice a number for Sunday’s worship service. Anyone is welcome to take part, but we give a special invitation to children of all ages, and adults who have ever been part of a children’s choir.
Sunday, June 25
Light Breakfast, 8:30 am
Sunday School Hour, 9 – 10 am
“A Glimpse of the Past” with guest historian, Dean Mohr
Worship Celebration, 10:30 am
Focusing on our 300 year history of service as a church community, the service will also include music from guest organist Karen (Bauman) Schlabaugh, an inter-generational choir and the West Swamp choir. A light reception will follow the service.
(Scroll down to see what we’ve done so far. Check out the Photo Gallery for more pictures.)
January 8: 300th Anniversary Kick-off Sunday
We began our celebration by looking at our roots, with the help of the Mohr family. Dean Mohr shared about West Swamp’s history in the morning message and the Mohr Sisters provided special music (as they did so many times when they were growing up in the congregation). Bonnie (Mohr) Simcox served as our guest organist. As a special treat Bonnie and her sister Joan (our regular accompanist) played an organ/piano duet for the offertory. A reception followed the service, with a celebration cake made by Amanda Wieand, a memorabilia display and history book signing by the author.
West Swamp History Book
300 Years of Faith and Fellowship: The Story of the West Swamp Mennonite Church, by Maynard M. Shelly and Lee James Irwin, is available for purchase by contacting the church office. Over 20 years in the making, we were very happy to have it published (finally!) near the end of 2015. You can purchase a book at West Swamp or at the Mennonite Heritage Center.
March 6-11: Why Knot! Week – 300 Comforters to celebrate 300 years
With the daunting task of knotting 300 comforters (when our highest total had been 211 in 2010), we added an extra day and prayed for lots of help. It turned out even better than we hoped!
After getting everything set up on Sunday, volunteers showed up on Monday earlier than the 9 am start time. Over 50 volunteers came the first day and 64 comforters were knotted. A wonderful beginning! Besides West Swamp attenders and people from neighboring churches, we were helped greatly by the Bluffton University SERVE Club, which sponsored a spring break trip to southeast PA. The group did projects at Crossroads Pregnancy Center (Quakertown), Peter Becker Community (Harleysville), and Missionary Kare Ministry (Hatfield), and visited Crossroads Community Center in Philadelphia, plus spent time each day working on comforters. Six out of the ten students were dietetic majors and blessed us by putting ham & bean soup in a roaster before they left on Friday, to provide supper that evening. (It was delicious!)
By Wednesday night we had reached 195. It seemed like nothing could stop us–not even Friday’s snowstorm. And we were right: the 300th comforter was finished at 11:40 am Saturday morning. Volunteers stayed throughout the day and brought the count to 336.
We extend a huge thank you to all who came out to help us. We couldn’t have done it without you! (Check out all the pictures from the week in our photo gallery.)
April 30: Clash of the Church Choirs “Sing for Life” Concert
In honor of our 300th year, we thought it appropriate to bring the 10th Clash of the Church Choirs back to where it first began. West Swamp hosted the first concert in 2008, when Barb Moyer got the idea from a reality TV show. What a great way to raise money for the American Cancer Society! Choirs sing and the audience votes for their favorite with their donation. The choir that gets the most “votes” takes home the “Sing for Life” banner for a year and everyone gets an afternoon of wonderful music.
This year’s participating choirs, along with West Swamp, were StillSmallVoice from Christ Church of the UCC (Trumbauersville), St. John’s UCC Cantata Choir (Richlandtown), and the Quakertown High School Varsity Singers. We raised just under $4,000, and StillSmallVoice won the banner–their fourth win. That brings the 10 year total to $36,000!
We thank all the choirs who participated in the 10 year run, and give special thanks to Jonathan Lechner who emceed 9 out of the 10 concerts.