Members of congregations from Northeast and Southeast Pennsylvania Synods worked together to support the 2011 Christmas Ingathering. By sorting and distributing donated Christmas gifts to those in need, the volunteers made a vital difference to the lives of children and adults throughout the area. Preparations for the 2011 Christmas Ingathering, managed by Liberty Lutheran, began months before the seasonal rush of holiday shopping.

In Northeast PA, Lutheran Congregational Services (LCS) worked with 28 congregations in the Lehigh Mission District whose members “gave from the heart.”  St. John’s Lutheran Church in Emmaus was the final destination for a collection of “wish list” gifts, stocking stuffers and supplies. Volunteers dressed in holiday attire spent two days sorting the gifts that were presented in a brief Dedication of Gifts service.

As trucks overflowing with gifts and supplies from more than 75 Southeast PA congregations arrived at Artman Lutheran Home, 70 volunteers from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Huntingdon Valley assisted with the unloading and sorting of gifts. “We’ve been helping with the Christmas Ingathering for more than five years. It’s become a real tradition and is another way to demonstrate the importance of service to our youth. Part of our ‘Marks of Discipleship’ is serving others, and this is just a small example of something that we can do,” said Jim Goodyear, Pastor and Youth Director at Gloria Dei Church.

Items distributed in Southeast PA included gifts and backpacks for Lutheran Children and Family Service (LCFS), baby items for the Nurse Family Partnership, soap for the Seaman’s Church Institute, food items for local food pantries, tool kits for the Lutheran Settlement House and quilts, layettes, sewing and health kits for Lutheran World Relief. For more information about the Christmas Ingathering contact The Reverend Jennifer Ollikainen at

To see more picture from the Ingathering, click here

Does your church collect items during the Holiday season, or at another time of year? What do you collect?