Church potluck focuses on community

MOUNTAIN TOP — As his congregation sat down to begin a community potluck on Sunday, Pastor John Broglin drew everyone’s attention to the front of the hall at New Life Community Church to make a special request.

He asked the group to wish his wife, Amy, a happy birthday, and they happily agreed before diving into their delicious home-cooked meals.

Mountain Top Church has begun hosting potluck events every fifth Sunday of the month, in an effort to bring the community and church closer together.

“We encourage everyone to invite friends and family over to hang out and have some camaraderie,” Broglin said. “It just works where there are about four a year, and it’s a good way to bring people together.”

Broglin became the senior pastor of New Life Community Church just before the pandemic hit. He explained that during his visits with his parishioners, they discussed the feeling of isolation, depression and loneliness during the shutdown and needed a way to counter the effects of the pandemic.

“Once COVID shut everyone down, we were all isolated. It’s a way to bring everyone together and join in each other’s business,” he said.

The church has also relied on technology to stay connected with the congregation and allow parishioners to continue practicing their faith. He started hosting live sermons on Facebook every week as well as Bible studies via Zoom.

“We want people to feel safe, but we also want to be smart,” he continued. “We want to follow the protocols as long as the CDC says they are.”

As the group enjoyed homemade pasta salad, beef stew, pierogis and more, Mountain Top’s Lisa Compton spoke about what makes New Life Community Church special.

Compton is a longtime member of the establishment, adding that she appreciates how the group makes everyone feel like one big family. The church also hosts a plethora of community events throughout the year.

“Everyone looks out for everyone and hugs them,” she said. “People from the community always come, it’s just fun.”

In addition to potluck, New Life Community Church offers sermons for adults and children, Bible studies, Sunday school, dinner and a movie, cafe events, and music in the park.

For G. Michael Miller, the church is more than just a building. The director of administration said his aim extends beyond preaching the Word on Sundays – it is to welcome and help the community as a whole, whether from service or weekly events.

“The church is not just four walls. The church is us who go out and share the gospel and the good news and help people,” he said.

Jerry B. Hatch