In Matthew Jesus says “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
The Lancaster County Council of Churches coordinates a program that provides free, hot meals to anyone looking for a meal and for companionship. Every day breakfast, lunch and dinner are served on a scheduled basis at various churches across Lancaster County. St Matthew takes part in this program by preparing and serving dinner to usually about 40 people at Zion Lutheran Church in East Petersburg on the third Monday of each month.
Lydia’s Closet provides clothing for school-aged children free of charge. It is a joint effort between the Manheim Township Ministerium of Churches and the Manheim Township School District. St Matthew members and friends contribute new clothing and provide assistance in distributing the clothing.
A procession of animals, everything from dogs and cats to hamsters from around our neighborhood come to St Matthew for a special ceremony called the Blessing of Pets. This ceremony is conducted in remembrance of Saint Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures on the Sunday afternoon closest to St Francis Day (October 4th).
Members and friends of St Matthew gather every Halloween to distribute candy to neighborhood children. Great opportunity to meet and greet our neighbors.
In response to the 2017 hurricanes, Lutheran Disaster Response is working with Upbring (Lutheran Social Services of the South) and two of the Texas Synods across the impacted areas in the state, anticipating long-term work in the Dickinson and Rockport areas. St Matthew has supported this program with prayers and cash.
Lancaster County Council of Church’s Food Hub
The Food Hub provides fresh and healthy food to to about a thousand families every month. St Matthew members and friends support this endeavor through the year by contributing food and cash.
St Matthew has a small playground with swings and slide for use by neighborhood families. A ‘small library’ stocked with children’s books is adjacent to the play ground.
Hosting Community Groups
Neighborhood clubs and organizations are welcome to meet at St Matthew. St Matthew also serves as an election polling place.
Caitlin’s Smiles is dedicated to sharing smiles and laughter with children facing chronic or life threatening illnesses. Founded in 2004 in memory of Caitlin Hornung, the non-profit organization distributes arts and crafts kits to hospitals, giving kids an outlet for creativity and the means to heightened feelings of self-worth. Once a year on a Sunday morning members and friends of St Matthew assemble arts & crafts kits for Caitlin’s Smile children.