SHAMOKIN - Keeping a tradition of many years, Shamokin Area Ministerium of Churches will sponsor weekly devotional services each Wednesday evening during the Lenten season in a ecumenical program designed to bring together members of all denominations in the Christian community.

The series of five devotional services will feature a "soup and sandwich" meal at 6 p.m., followed by a worship service at 7 p.m. each Wednesday with the host pastor presenting a homily and attendees participating in hymn singing and prayer. The first event will be held March 12, one week after the observance of Ash Wednesday, the official start of Lent. Ash Wednesday services will be held at most individual member churches of the ministerium.

"The 'soup and sandwich' devotional services have been very successful in past years because they give members of various churches an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of Lent in their own lives and at the same time praise God for all his blessings," a spokesman for the group said.

Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Seventh and Chestnut streets will host the first gathering with the Rev. David Byerly, pastor, presenting the homily.

On March 19, the event will be held at St. John's United Methodist Church, West Arch Street, with Pastor Karen Fisher preaching the sermon.

The Rev. Dr. Robert Peiffer, pastor of St. John's United Church of Christ, North Eighth Street, will be speaker at the service scheduled March 26.

Trinity Lutheran Church, East Sunbury Street, will host the fourth program in the series April 2. Pastor David Hauck will deliver the sermon.

The final event will be held April 9 at Seventh Street Primitive Methodist Church with the Rev. David Wildoner, pastor, preaching the sermon.

Ministerium officials also announced plans for the traditional three-hour devotional service in observance of Good Friday, April 18. Under a rotation policy, this year's service will be held at First United Methodist Church, East Sunbury Street. The order of service and the names of participants representing the ministerium will be announced at a later date.

The Rev. Wildoner is chairman of the ministerium. Pastor Fisher is vice chairman; the Rev. Sam Bellavia is secretary and the Rev. Alfred Bashore is treasurer.