Four years ago, the members of the Disciples of Christ Committee (DOCS)
of St. Paul, Summit Hill, decided that they would like to do something for the
children of the community.
They contacted the principal of the Panther Valley School District to find out
what might be helpful to the children. One of the suggestions was to give a book
to each kindergarten child.
The DOCS Committee and members of St. Paul’s believe that literacy is a
stepping stone to the future, so DOCS committee members voted unanimously to
take on the project. They decided to provide a book to each kindergarten child
in the Panther Valley School District, including children attending Our Lady
of Angels Academy (a private school funded by the Roman Catholic Church).
Thus was born the Literacy Project of St. Paul’s.
The first year, 175 books were distributed. Each year the number of books has
In May 2007, 190 copies of the book, Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch were
presented to each kindergarten child in the Panther Valley. Pastor John F. Hazel
Jr. read a story to the children and spoke of the importance of being able to
read well. Following Pastor Hazel’s talk, members of the DOCS committee
distributed a book to each child.
In addition to distributing the books, each year St. Paul’s has held a
Literacy Sunday. Literacy Sunday features a special Litany for Literacy. A temple
talk on the impact of reading is given by a member of the DOCS committee. Members
bring some of their favorite books and place them on display. A free-will offering
is taken in support of the Literacy Program.
A variety of fund-raising projects in support of the Literacy Project are held
by the DOCS committee throughout the year. Some of the projects benefit other
causes as well as the Literacy Project.
Fund-raisers have also been held at Burger King in Lehighton. Burger King donates
20 percent of its inside sales toward the Literacy Program on a designated date
and time. On that day, members of St. Paul’s DOCS committee bus tables
and perform some general clean-up tasks at Burger King.
In addition, Walden Books, located in the Laurel Mall, Hazleton, has provided
a discount on the books. Additional funding has been provided through Thrivent
Financial for Lutherans.
The DOCS committee was first organized in 1997 to plan a One Hundredth Anniversary
Celebration for St. Paul’s church building. The committee remained together
to plan a 150th anniversary celebration for the founding of St. Paul’s
as a congregation. Following these two celebrations, members of the committee
decided to remain together as a tool for outreach to the community, the church,
and the world.
Other projects sponsored by the DOCS committee include providing funds toward
the four year high school education of a youth in Tanzania, assisting families
in need in the community through payment of fuel, electric, or hospital bills,
and working with the Summit Hill Interdenominational Youth Group on activities
such as distributing treats and Christian pamphlets to children on Halloween
The DOCS group provides services to St. Paul’s members by organizing and publishing
the church newsletter, providing a tape ministry and home communion to shut-in
members, and sending flowers to new members and sympathy or get well cards to
Members of the Disciple of Christ committee are Pastor John F. Hazel, Jr., Gary
Blake (president), Edward Nunemacher (vice president), Sheri Buzik (treasurer),
Paige Rex (secretary), Donna Miller, Emma Weaver, Mary Ann Hazel, and Robert