Grass-roots event stresses the need for religious unity (Oley, Penn.)

While the Reformation of 500 years ago tore the Christian church apart into various denominations, a theme in the Oley Valley recently at a grass-roots multi-congregational event was the need for religious unity.

Drawn by musical selections from a brass quintet, a period play featuring farmers’ reactions to the Reformation and a variety of hymns to be sung and a potluck soup and bread supper to be eaten, nearly 80 members from seven Oley Valley congregations also gathered to pray and consider their future religious path.

The centerpiece of the program was an interdenominational table talk period, where parishioners shared their future hopes and dreams.
“We gather in the present to embrace the past, and lean into the future,” were the words written on the program for the Oley church community’s event to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Church ministers and congregations participating were the Rev. Robert Witmyer, Salem United Church of Christ, Oley Township; the Rev. Dr. Tyson Frey, Friedens United Church of Christ, Oley (host church); and the Rev. Dr. Anja Nicole Stuckenberger, Zion’s Spies Lutheran Church, Alsace Township.

Also, the Rev. Donna M. House, Frieden’s Lutheran Church, Oley; the Rev. Diane M. LaFauci, Christ Lutheran Church, Oley Township; the Rev. Merrill Marisseau, Zion Spies Evangelical Reformed Church, Alsace Township; and James Ralph, pastor of the Arc Bible Chapel, a Mennonite affiliated congregation, Earl Township.

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