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Elizabeth Township pastor brings new ideas to post

| Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, 11:19 a.m.
Carol Waterloo Frazier | Daily News
Recently installed pastor of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Greenock section of Elizabeth Township, Erin Evans with Hershey is looking forward to introducing some new programs including Saturday's Blessing of the Animals at 9 a.m.

The Rev. Erin Evans will perform a Blessing of the Animals for the first time.

The new part-time pastor at Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Greenock section of Elizabeth Township said she “always wanted to do a blessing of the animals service” but never did. “I decided I would do it this year.”

Saturday's event begins at 9 a.m. on the basketball court at the church, 641 Zimmer Hill Drive. During the service, Evans will bless each pet — or pet photo — individually.

The blessing is in commemoration of St. Francis of Assisi.

It is one event Evans has introduced at Peace, where she began her pastorate on May 1 and was installed on Sept. 22.

She attended Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va., and the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, but the pastorate is not what the Harrisburg-area native envisioned.

“I was very active in the Lutheran church as a kid and I always thought I would be active in the church in some capacity,” she said.

As a freshman, she took a religion class and did very well. Her involvement with campus ministry prompted her pastor to suggest she consider ministry as a career.

“After awhile I started taking what people were saying seriously and started praying about it,” Evans said. “I applied to seminary and, when I got there, I knew that's where I wanted to be. I don't think this is a job you choose for yourself. It's a job God calls you into.”

Before her call as the part-time pastor at Peace, she served full time at a church in New Castle.

Prior to her arrival at the Greenock church, she was planning her May 25 wedding to fellow Lutheran pastor Brian Evans, who at the time was at Faith Lutheran in White Oak; he was installed Sept. 29 as pastor at First Lutheran along Grant Street in Pittsburgh.

For about two years the church had an interim pastor so she said her call was “God's timing. I knew I would be moving from New Castle so I was looking for something in this area. The bishop called and said there was an opening at a little church if I was interested.”

While she has some ideas for programs, she wants to take things slow. “My philosophy is to get to know the people and their history,” Evans said, noting the congregation has a rich history of more than 150 years.

Citing the success of Vacation Bible School, she said she would like to see more children involved with the church, including a youth group and Sunday School. “I want to have kids actively involved in the worship service so church will be a place they want to go. I want to invite them to help me with the service so they know they are valued here.”

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or cfrazier@tribweb.com.

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