May 19, 2000 |
Anyone who has tried to find an affordable home in booming Chester County can sympathize with Rabbi Marjorie Yudkin. Her Beth Chaim Reform Congregation is without a home of its own and is struggling with the task of finding or building a synagogue. "The cost of land and the cost of building are staggering," she said. And the rabbi is not the sort to be easily staggered. She came here two years ago to take over the only Reform Jewish congregation in Chester County, a congregation that is growing fast and is dauntingly different from what she had been accustomed to. Her previous congregation was in Easton, where she was among its younger members.
May 18, 1995 |
For Paul Daniel - a 50-year-old, divorced father of two - coming out as a gay man is a "lifelong journey," and his constant travelling companions are the questions "Who do I tell?" and "What could it cost me?" Daniel took a big step on his journey about four years ago when he stood at the pulpit of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill and - after 27 years of membership and marriage and 35 years in the closet - basically told the congregation, "I'm gay. Accept me as I am. " The reception was, for the most part, "very warm and supportive, very positive," Daniel said.
September 13, 1992 |
On a Saturday morning as warm as God's love, Gamaliel Respes, his outstretched hands cradling a prayer book, bobs gently forward and back, chanting a fluid Hebrew that fills the sanctuary of the synagogue his father founded 30 years ago in this town tucked deep in the Pinelands. Behind him, a teenage boy and a cluster of men in skullcaps and blue and white prayer shawls worship with him, rocking slowly to the rhythms of his voice. The women in the back reply softly, ah-main. It is a weekly ritual for Respes, a slight, wiry man in horn-rimmed glasses.
July 13, 1997 |
The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection is building something for the Lionville community, but the community may not know what it is. "People [passing by] ask what that is back there," said the Rev. Gordon Hendrickson, pointing to the church's 10,000-square-foot community life center, which is merely a shell right now. The 12-year-old congregation decided about three years ago to build the center after assessing its own needs and those of the community. The church felt the center would enhance its own special ministries, including drama and sports - it has competitive basketball, volleyball and softball teams.
November 15, 1992 |
Like their biblical ancestors, the members of congregation Mishkan Shalom are seeking a permanent home. And the congregants hope to be settled within a year or two. Until they are, they will continue to hold their regular services at the Stratford Friends School in Havertown. The Friends, said Rabbi Brian Walt, have welcomed the 120 families of the congregation and made them feel as much at home as possible in their cramped quarters in the library of the school. And other friends also help out: Special holiday services, such as Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, are held at the Friends Meeting House in Swarthmore when more space is needed.
April 8, 2002 |
Some parishioners fought back tears, others were just numb yesterday as the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Chester celebrated its final service after 150 years. "I'm OK now," said Gary Kraus, 45, of Chester, who grew up in the church and participated in Boy Scout programs there. "The pain and emotion will come later. " Kraus said yesterday's service, which attracted almost 300 people, reminded him of the 1960s, when church membership peaked at 575. But in a city where the African American population is now more than 75 percent, the historically white congregation struggled to fill its pews.
March 12, 1999 |
It was a tough call, one that many families have faced in these parts - stay in town or relocate. And this was a particularly big family, 2,000 strong, and it was fast outgrowing its home. After a lot of debate over pros and cons, a lot of dealing with doubts and worrying about money, the Calvary Lutheran Church on New Street in West Chester decided to stay. And Sunday, after more than four years of planning and dislocation, the congregation returns home for the first service in the stunning new sanctuary in a church building that has grown by 50 percent.
December 24, 1999 |
They didn't have to wait for the holiday season to receive gifts at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Phoenixville because, according to the Rev. Cynthia Krommes, pastor, "every new member is a gift from God. " New members have been showing up at church in a steady stream during the last few years, and the reasons are less demographic than dynamic. The church has taken some creative and energic steps to bring people to its doors and keep them coming back. In the last five years, the congregation has grown from 679 to about 800. However, the "more important numbers," according to Mrs. Krommes, reflect increased attendance at Sunday services.
June 11, 1999 |
It's a "little country church" in the small village of Guthriesville. And since 1963, the Hopewell United Methodist Church has presented the Passion Play, an amateur production that church officials say has thus far attracted upwards of 200,000 people. Tonight marks opening night for the play at the 216-year-old church on Hopewell Road west of Downingtown. The play began when Hopewell was a small, rural church. Suburban sprawl has changed that dramatically. The church underwent a $1.9 million expansion in 1990, and membership has more than doubled to 1,100 since 1982.
August 22, 1993 |
Pastor Theodore Edmunds and his congregation call it a miracle of God. Miracle or not, they were able to pay off the Grace Temple Baptist Church mortgage 18 years early. "We prayed," Mr. Edmunds said, "and the members came through. " The original balance due was $312,000 in 1985. By March 1991, the amount was $165,000. This month, the 26-year mortgage was completely paid. All along, Mr. Edmunds encouraged church members to have faith. He said the mortgage would be paid off through God and their faith, according to church members.