Host Church Core Values

1.  Host Church Stays Under the Authority of God's Word.

2.  Host Church is Prayer Centered.

3.  Host Church focuses on Worship:  Being in God's Presence.

4.  Host Church Lives by Faith.

5.  Host Church is Growth Centered.

6.  Host Church Cares for All God's People.

7.  Host Church Seeks the Lost.

8.  Host Church is Mission Minded.

Host Church Celebrates Christmas Around the World!

St. John's Host Church will be the location of a special celebration focusing on the customs and traditions of other countries during this year's Advent season.
St. John's Host Church will be the location of a special celebration focusing on the customs and traditions of other countries during this year's Advent season.

Host Church Plans International Advent Celebration

   Host Reformed Church, founded in 1727, is the oldest Reformed congregation west of the Schuylkill River.  Their first church edifice was built one mile east of Stouchsburg as a Union church by Reformed and Lutheran members.  In 1736, the Reformed members built a log church midway between Womelsdorf and Rehrersburg, at the site of the present edifice.  That building was probably used as a schoolhouse for some time.  After several more building projects, the present stone structure was erected in 1775 and ten years later the building was enlarged with additions including a twelve-lamp kerosene chandelier and a painting of the Good Shepherd in the sanctuary.  The dedication of the stone church drew a crowd of several thousand people with an estimate of a thousand teams of horses and buggies.

   Having a strong interest and belief in education for their youth since the beginning, a church school annex was built in 1938 and later replaced with a larger one.

   An opportunity to learn more about the customs and traditions of the countries of their members' and friends' and neighbors' heritages will be afforded during the Advent season.  Newly elected interim pastor, Stephen Hollinger, will be leading these special services, and all are invited to attend.  These will all take place at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings during the Sundays in Advent.  On November 29th the featured country will be Germany, followed by France on December 6th, Mexico on the 13th, and Sweden on December 20th.  Each week a table will be decorated with items from the selected country and traditional foods from the country will be available for all to sample and enjoy.

   Learning about the customs and traditions of one's ancestors helps folks see and understand where some of the customs and traditions observed in our local neighborhoods originated.  Some examples of these customs would be candles in windows, receiving and giving gifts, singing Christmas carols, and portraying the birth of Christ with a creche or a parade, to name a few.  Host Church invites everyone to join in these special celebrations.  The church is located at 36 Host Church Road, and anyone needing more detailed directions can call the church at 610-488-1150 or check their website at www.hostchurch.org, which has a link containing directions.

November 29, 2015 - GERMANY

In Germany shoes are filled with straw and carrots for St. Nicholas's horses.  St. Nicholas leaves candy and gifts for the children.  Christmas Trees are decorated with lights and candy; marzipan being the traditional favorite candy for the tree.  Marzipan is almond flavored and can be colored and shaped into fruit or toys.  Germany is credited with creating the beautiful advent calendar that is often times filled with candy or small toys.  Favorite traditional holiday treat is stolen.

Merry Christmas ~ Fröhliche Weihnachten!

December 6, 2015 - FRANCE

In France on Christmas Eve, children place their shoes outside the door so Le Petit Noel (the Christ Child) can fill them with gifts.  In part of France, the family brings in a Yule Log.  This must be large enough to burn from Christmas to New Year.  Mistletoe in France is used as a symbol of good luck.  The favorite traditional holiday treat is a cake baked and decorated to look like a Yule log.

Merry Christmas!  ~ joyeux Noël!

December 13, 2015 - MEXICO

Homes are decorated with the brilliant red poinsettias.  The Christmas season lasts from December 16th to January 6th (Epiphany).  For nine nights before Christmas Eve, they reenact the trip of Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem and finally to the Inn.  A boy and girl lead the procession carrying figures of Joseph and Mary looking for shelter.  This reenactment is called a Posada.  After the last Posada a great social hour is held where everyone tries to break the pinata.  This is a beautifully decorated paper mache figure filled with candy and gifts.  It hangs from the ceiling by a cord.  Children are blindfolded, then given a stick to try to break it open.  Once broken, children hurry to gather up all they can.  A favorite holiday treat is Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings Bread).

Merry Christmas! ~ Feliz Navidad!

 

December 20, 2015 - SWEDEN

The Christmas season begins December 13th, St. Lucia's Day.  A young girl is chosen to represent St. Lucia.  She wears a crown made up of greens and candles.  The lighted crown reminds them that the long winter nights will be replaced with the longer days of summer.  Gifts are wrapped in paper and sealed with wax.  The gifts have tags that include a riddle about the gift inside the package.  The children believe that elves help them with all the busy things that must be done for the holidays.  So, in order to thank the elves, children leave food for them on the table that night.  The favorite traditional holiday treat is coffee and sweet buns.

Merry Christmas!  ~  god Jul!