Meadville Tribune

September 8, 2013

Lutheran congregations do 'God's Work' with 'Our Hands'

By Keith Gushard
Meadville Tribune

SAEGERTOWN — “I think it’s wonderful,” Margaret Wertz, Saegertown’s oldest resident, said as she came out to help those helping her.

Wertz, Saegertown’s oldest resident at 101 1/2, and quite possibly Crawford County’s oldest living resident, got help Sunday afternoon with yard work from members of Twelve Apostles Lutheran Church.

“The (borough) maintenance guy is going to be happy,” Wertz said with a laugh as she saw all the yard waste piled up at the curb outside her home. “These guys are wonderful.”

Members of the Twelve Apostles congregation tackled home improvement projects at a half-dozen homes in Saegertown — ranging from things like yard work at Wertz’s home to painting projects to house cleaning.

Meanwhile, a total of about 30 members from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Cambridge Springs and Christ Lutheran Church of Springboro were in Cambridge Springs to paint each of the borough’s 64 fire hydrants.

It was all part of “God’s Work, Our Hands” projects to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. The nationwide Lutheran church body encouraged its local congregations to celebrate the day in service to others.

“We’re showing we’re viable and that we are a church that does things for the community,” said Rebecca Fisher of Albion. Fisher and her son-in-law Larry Shoaf had teamed up to paint five of the Cambridge Springs fire hydrants.

For Wertz and fellow Saegertown resident Rich Nageotte, who received help with his one-story home, the aid was a godsend.

“They’re helping me get caught up,” said Nageotte, who is in a motorized wheelchair. He’s facing surgery on both his hands and one leg over the course of the next two months. “It’s just hard to keep up. I really appreciate it.”

“We’re glad to do it,” Beth Heuchert, one of the team members, said to Nageotte.

Retired school teacher Jim Marvin, another team member, said service is simply a good way to stay involved within a community.

 “I used to paint houses all the time in the summers when I was off from school,” Marvin said as he caulked windows at Nageotte’s home in preparation for painting. “This is a way to stay active.”

“We just hope others will join us (in service to others) and pay it forward,” said Alice Dalmaso, another team member who worked on Wertz’s home.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

Did you know?

Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is comprised of 87 congregations. The synod, with headquarters in Pleasantville, covers all or part of 15 counties — Armstrong, Cameron, Crawford, Clarion, Elk, Erie, Forest, Indiana, Jefferson, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Venango and Warren.