Monday, December 22, 2014

United Methodist Advocacy strategy gathering

Front (l-r): Dai Morgan (WPAUMC), Bishop Peggy Johnson (EPAUMC), Bishop Jeremiah Park (SUSUMC), Bob Coombe (EPAUMC). Standing (l-r): David Brown (EPAUMC), Mark Reisinger (SUSUMC), Kelly Smith (WPAUMC), Bishop Thomas Bickerton (WPAUMC) Rodney Miller (EPAUMC), Mike Bealla (SUSUMC), William Meekens (WPAUMC).
By Rev. Mike Bealla

The bishops and several representatives from the three Pennsylvania Conferences recently met at the Susquehanna Conference Center on October 28, 2014, to envision a new strategy for state-wide advocacy. In February 2013 the United Methodist Advocacy Board dissolved when the former director moved on. Realizing the important role of advocacy at the state level for the three conferences, the future of advocacy was placed in the hands of the bishops.

After prayerful study, Bishops Thomas Bickerton (Western Pennsylvania Conference), Peggy Johnson (Eastern Pennsylvania Conference), and Jeremiah Park (Susquehanna Conference) called a team of persons together for Holy Conferencing around the future direction of UM Advocacy. During the gathering the potential for significant impact through the combined advocacy of the three conferences was lifted up as essential to our social witness across the state.

A plan was drafted which will seek to hire a part-time person to develop an effective means of resourcing our local congregations and our United Methodist legislators to be about the task of advocacy. A job description has been publicized in all three conferences since November 24, prayerfully seeking the best person possible for this creative opportunity as a new way of being in advocacy is developed. In addition, conversations between the Church and Society Boards and our Mission and Outreach Team will mark a stronger connection between our conferences.

Please pray for God’s Spirit to birth a new and effective means of United Methodist Advocacy as we claim the state as part of a world parish.

How are we doing?

Several clergy of the Lewisburg District gather with Rev. Mike Bealla and Jerry Wolgemuth at Wesley UMC in Bloomsburg on December 4 for conversation concerning Connectional Ministries of the Susquehanna Conference.
The question by Rev. Mike Bealla that opened the first two of seven district conversations on December 3 and 4 was simply, “How are we doing?”

The conversations were organized to elicit evaluation of the services provided to local congregations by the Connectional Ministries function of the Susquehanna Annual Conference. Mike Bealla, who serves as Director of Connectional Ministries, was accompanied by Jerry Wolgemuth who serves as Director of Communication of the annual conference. Clergy attending were selected by the district offices.

The two December conversations were held at Hope UMC in Mechanicsburg for the Harrisburg District, and Wesley UMC in Bloomsburg for the Lewisburg District. The remaining schedule will have Bealla and Wolgemuth in the remaining five districts in January and February.

As we move into the next quadrennium, the information gathered will help to frame the kind of resourcing provided by Connectional Ministries. Keeping before us the adaptive question, “What will it look like if ---?” continues to be a central focus of the Susquehanna Conference as we move into the future.

Engaging Young Adults in Ministry


The following is part four in a series about Engaging Young Adults in Ministry. At the 2014 Susquehanna Annual Conference, we began a dialogue about the absence of young adults in the church and about how we can re-establish our relationships and ministry with them. This series is an edited transcript of that dialogue. The video of this presentation, and the full transcript, can be found at tinyurl.com/susumcAC2014.

Rev. Jake Waybright

Originally I wasn’t supposed to be in one of these chairs. I am not a millennial — I have aged out of the young adult category — but as we started to solicit young adults and millennials who could respond to some of these disconnections that David Kinnaman talks about in his book, You Lost Me ... Why Young People are Leaving the Church ... and Rethinking Faith, we had a young adult who really wanted to be able to talk to two of those disconnections. He wanted to talk about the idea that oftentimes young adults perceive the church as repressive when it comes to sexuality, and exclusive when it comes to others who maybe don’t share their beliefs or who are of different sexual orientations – one of the things that Kinnaman talks about.

The truth is that we struggled through five or six revisions of what he might be able to say, that might be able to be heard in our conference, and what might be helpful, and what would not jeopardize his relationships within the Annual Conference. In the end we came to the realization that we couldn’t quite get to that place.

The fact that I am here talking is actually a demonstration of this disconnection that Kinnaman talks about.

These issues are so hot for us right now that we don’t even know how to talk about them among ourselves. Because of that, young adults who want to be able to engage in conversation about this — who might come from a different perspective — struggle to find places where they can engage faithfully and honestly.

I want to share with you not so much from a personal perspective, but from the perspective of what I understand, and have heard, and know from young adults and millennials in this area. This isn’t about the issues of sexuality that we’re dealing with in the global church — this is about who young adults are, and what it means to engage them faithfully in conversation.

If we’re going to faithfully engage young adults in conversation, and invite them to faith in Christ, one of the things that’s really important to understand about them is that for many of them, they just come at these issues from a different place than previous generations do. The generational shift happened so fast that many of us are left at a loss to even know how to talk about it.

A survey from the Pew Research Center came out in February and it was talking about generational differences around same-sex marriage (among other things.) It was really interesting to see how wide of a gap there is. When you looked at folks who were over 68, the statistics in the general population were about 35 percent of folks approved a same-sex marriage. But when you looked at the millennial generation it was about 70 percent — that’s a huge gap. When they asked young adult millennials why they had disengaged from their faith and faith communities, 30 percent of young adults said that one of the primary reasons was seeing the way that their friends had been treated within the church, and excluded from the church.

This is a difficult reality. That I’m the one talking here, and not a young adult, speaks to how difficult this is to talk about. We are not here to debate that issue, or to say that you need to believe differently. In order to engage in ministry with young adults in authentic relationship, this is a reality that we have to understand.

This relational generation that values community over rightness is hungering for, and longing for, looking for community in diversity. Young adults are watching the way we treat others, and they ache when they feel we are hurting those people whom they love.

They are looking for places of deep conversation. This generation that is very comfortable talking about sexuality feels like there is a closed door about that conversation when they come into the church. It isn’t to say that you have to change or rethink what you think, but we need to find ways to be in authentic conversation across our differences. If we can’t, there’s a large part of this generation for which the conversation will never begin.

The person who wanted to tell you this ended with this:
“As I ruminated on Kinnaman and his understandings, I wondered if part of the disconnection with us as young adults is because honest conversations about sexuality, and about our experiences of that, and perception of that, and the way the church deals with that, are never often even brought up. 

We struggle to find a place that we can have true dialogue about these things, and it seems the church has some barriers to starting conversations that young adults are already in. 

It’s our joint responsibility to learn how to have conversations that bridge this gap so that we can move faithfully ahead, together.”

Editorial: Star of Bethlehem


By Jerry Wolgemuth, Director of Communications, SUSUMC

In the 1970s British journalist, and late-comer to the Christian faith, Malcolm Muggeridge looked around and said, “It is difficult to resist the conclusion that 20th century man has decided to abolish himself. Tired of the struggle to be himself, he has created boredom out of his own affluence, impotence out of his own erotomania, and vulnerability out of his own strength. He himself blows the trumpet that brings the walls of his own cities crashing down until, at last, having educated himself into imbecility, having drugged and polluted himself into stupefaction, he keels over, a weary battered old brontosaurus and becomes extinct."

Those are dark words from the prior century, but it is true that at Christmastide we often take the time to paint a backdrop of the present state of humankind against which our story of the Star of Bethlehem can shine most brilliantly.

The light of Christmas might shine most brightly in the simplest of terms. The family of A.L. Phipps (wife Kathleen and two of twelve children) recorded gospel and Kentucky mountain music in the 1950s and 1960s. In the Southern Gospel tradition, Mr. Phipps wrote the song “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem.” The chorus reads: 
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shine upon us until the glory dawns
Give us a lamp to light the way
Unto the land of perfect day
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem, shine on.

You’ll find several renditions of this song by the Oakridge Boys on YouTube, such as this one at http://tinyurl.com/LINKstar2014

You might enjoy learning the song and singing with a karaoke video at: http://tinyurl.com/LINKstarK


JW

The Journey: Frozen!

By Rev. Mike Bealla, Director of Connectional Ministries

I love the Advent season. Yet over the years I have resisted the temptation to move immediately into the celebration of Christmas, ignoring the power of the Advent anticipation. I’ve softened to the point that I no longer become Scrooge between Thanksgiving and Christmas, hopefully maturing a bit, realizing it is not likely my voice of protesting the pre-Christmas urge would change much of an increasingly secular culture. Having confessed that, I still struggle to keep the time as sacred — a season which the early church laid out as a practice of preparation for the coming of Christ into the darkness.

Most folks today seem to know the four weeks of Advent as celebrating “Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace”; however, the ancient celebration was based on these four Sundays: Life, Death, Heaven, and Hell. Paralleling the season of Lent, the early church lived through these weeks examining what it meant to live in the darkness awaiting God’s promise of Light in the midst of that darkness. “Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace” have become our softening of an experience during which the early church understood the need to live in anticipation of God’s arrival in Christ.

What I am coming to realize in these years of my life is the tremendous educational challenge we face in our life together. While the celebration of the seasons of the church year are not the answer to a renewed deepening of faith, walking through the seasons does remind us of our own life journey. Missing that rich part of our worship life together is a sad reality lived out in several ways in today’s church. So much of the spiritual connection we moderns seek can be found in our Christian traditions that we have inherited from those who made the journey centuries ago.

Walking through a major retail store this past week, I noticed a new holiday music CD by Idina Menzel. Idina sings a variety of hymns and Christmas favorites, and includes a rendition of “Let It Go,” the smash hit from Disney’s movie, “Frozen.” While I thought the movie was a great addition to Disney’s memorable movies, the CD is being marketed as if “Frozen” is a Christmas song. Picking up the CD album, a young teen suggested that their church should sing “Let It Go” on Christmas Eve. When her Mom suggested it wasn’t a Christmas song, the teen retorted, “Yes, it is, otherwise it wouldn’t be on this holiday CD!”

While this seems rather insignificant, I wonder if we are permitting the culture to define for our young people, who we know are desperately seeking meaning and spirituality, the meaning of our Christian holy days because we have failed to bring along the symbolism, awe, and power of our own Christian traditions built upon the experiences of those saints who have gone before us?
Thanks for listening. Maybe each of us might take this Advent opportunity to share a part of the tradition with someone who might be looking for the mystery and power of the One who is coming among us.

May God’s blessing be with you and your loved ones this Holy Day season.

Grace & Peace!

Safe Sanctuaries: Changes in Child Protective Services Law will affect the local church and user groups

In 2014 the Pennsylvania Legislature enacted sweeping changes to the Child Protective Services Law, including, but not limited to, expansion of individuals subject to required clearances from the Pennsylvania State Police, Department of Human Services (formerly Department of Public Welfare), and the FBI, expansion of the frequency of the required clearances, expansion of mandated reporters, and imposition of significant criminal penalties for noncompliance. The focus of this notification is on the new clearances that church employees and volunteers will be required to obtain under the CPSL, as amended in 2014.

Effective December 31, 2014, the CPSL requires that all incumbent and prospective employees 14 years of age or older who are responsible for the welfare of a child or have direct contact with children obtain the following three clearances:
A. Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History Report;
B. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance; and
C. FBI Criminal History Report (Fingerprint-based background check).

What about outside groups?

Every week I receive questions from pastors, church leaders, and volunteers around the subject, “what about other churches or groups using our facilities? Do they need to be following our policy or not worrying about it”?

My general response is to ask questions that help me get a better understanding of their situation. What population are we talking about? Will there be children/youth and adults present? What are the specific groups?

No matter what the group, it’s important that whatever group is using your facilities they be Safe Sanctuaries compliant. Meaning, the group needs to have a Safe Sanctuaries Policy that is at least as stringent as the church policy. They need to show proof they have background clearances that are current (within the last three years), they have had training in child abuse recognition, and they follow a proper ratio of two adults per so many children (depending upon the ages).

If a group tells you they have grandfathered in their adult leaders, this statement should send up a red flag that could potentially bring problems for the church if an incident were to occur. If the group has grandfathered their leaders, you must insist that they have a background clearance, rather than simply allowing them to be involved without a background clearance. The question that attorneys or courts will want to know is, have you done your due diligence in regard to providing a safe environment for any child (whether a church member or someone from outside the church). You need to show proof that the church is striving to do this either through a Facilities Agreement or by showing you have the background clearances for the groups using your facilities.

It’s important to remember, when the church loses its reputation, it is hard to regain the trust of the people in the community. So be willing to ask the hard questions. You will find that you are helping both the group using the church and the church itself.

For more information about these changes and how they affect your church or ministry, please contact Anne Horton at ahorton@susumc.org or call 800-874-8474 toll free.

Commentary: Christmas rearranged


By Jerry Wolgemuth
Director of Communications, SUSUMC

Friday evening we pulled out of the drive: Dad, with two daughters, one wife, and one dog, comfortably packed in our car along with assorted wrapped gifts.

Home was in Ohio. Christmas was at the grandparent’s house in Pennsylvania on Saturday.
Dad’s usual pre-trip nap was finished so daughters, wife and, dog could enjoy a restful overnight snooze to Loganton.

In a few minutes the family found its usual sleep configuration: one wife slumped in the front seat, two daughters curled up on the floor-boards in the back, with one dog (Irish setter) stretched full-length across the comfort of the back seat.

It was raining, and along about Lodi dad became aware that traction with the road pavement had become tentative. A half-pavement/half-berm position maintained an easternly trajectory.

In Akron the snowflakes out-sized the cars; the bumper pretended to be a snowplow.

At a pay phone a sleepy grandmother learned that Christmas was in jeopardy.

A return to the car revealed one bleary-eyed wife, two crying daughters, and one dog licking faces. Dad’s in pain from hitting the corner of the car door with the back of his hand. Now he’s crying.
Two hours later the defeated carload pulled back into the drive from which it emerged earlier.

There was no snow, no rain, the moon was shining.

So, in true pioneer fashion the car left the driveway again to venture into a complete replay of the previous story, except with a bit more ice and snow.

At 3 a.m. the twice-defeated carload pulled back into the driveway.

But Christmas happened anyway! Christmas was intact ... just rearranged.

Grandma’s roast turkey happened. Presents got opened with smiles and giggles. “Silent Night” got sung.

Christmas always happens, whatever the circumstances. It’s the way God invented it. The first Christmas was just rearranged a bit from what Mary and Joseph had in mind.

Have a blessed Christmas.

Glad we could get together.

Youth Grow through District Rallies








By Audrey Wilder, Director of Young People’s Ministries

The State College District “Grow On” Youth Rally was held at Faith UMC, Bellefonte, Sunday, November 2. It began with a rousing game of Rock, Paper, Scissors Olympics led by Emily Sliski, Wesley Forest Camp Director.

Members of the Young People’s Ministry Council, Kati and Lidiya, welcomed the 75 attendees to the rally by tossing out T-shirts before some dynamic worship, led by Derek Miller and the Rise Worship Band from Second Avenue UMC, Altoona. They had us clapping, jumping, and making lots of joyful noises for the Lord!

Growth Groups helped students and adult youth leaders alike grow closer to God and one another through conversation and service to the Bellefonte senior community by decorating pumpkins and making cards.

The youth raised $141 for the Bishop’s Partners in Mission through a Dance Challenge by using small change to vote for the best dancers (of three common dances), who were crowned State College District Dance Challenge Prince and Princess. Are you up for the challenge Lewisburg District youth (January 25, 2015) — can you beat the funds raised by the State College District?


Human Trafficking subject of Church and Society seminar trip

By Lisa Bender

From February 8-11, 2015, a group of persons from Susquehanna Conference will learn about human trafficking at the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society building near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The group will visit ministries in the nation’s capital and will meet with U.S. Senators and/or members of their staffs to advocate on behalf of human trafficking victims.

Human trafficking, or modern day slavery, happens around the world where individuals are forced to work in harsh and abusive conditions with little or no pay. Many of our United Methodist agencies have been advocating on behalf of victims and reaching out to help rescue those caught up in this seemingly hopeless life.

You don’t need to know anything about this subject to attend the seminar trip to Washington, D.C. from February 8-11, 2015. Clergy and laity are invited to board the bus Sunday, February 8, at 3 p.m. at First UMC, Williamsport, or at 5 p.m. at Paxton UMC, Harrisburg, for this opportunity to make a difference in the world. You may even find that some forms of human trafficking happen near your own community. The bus will return to Harrisburg at 5 p.m. February 11, and then continue to Williamsport.

Rev. Andrew Burd-Harris from Helterville/Mifflinville Charge is the organizer for the seminar trip, sponsored by the Conference Mission and Outreach Team. The group will stay at the Harrington Hotel in D.C. Three nights’ lodging and bus transportation are included in the $375 cost, along with some meals and materials at the General Board. Some free time will be included to explore the city.

Registration deadline is January 5. For more information, see the flyer online at http://tinyurl.com/susumc-church-society or contact the organizer at aburd-harris@susumc.org or by phone at 570-231-3384.

The end of an era celebrated



The Shared Ministry was a congregation formed in 1979 when Park Street United Methodist Church and Fourth United Church of Christ came together to function as one congregation. The two churches were located one block away from each other on Sixteenth Street in Harrisburg.

The Fourth German Reformed Church of Harrisburg, located on the corner of Market and Sixteenth Streets, was founded in 1893 and eventually became Fourth Reformed, Fourth Evangelical and Reformed, and Fourth United Church of Christ.

Park Street United Evangelical Church, located on the corner of Park and Sixteenth Streets, was founded in 1895 and eventually became Park Street Evangelical United Brethren, and Park Street United Methodist Church.

The two congregations did many things together and were firmly committed to serving the Allison Hill neighborhood — a neighborhood which increasingly became the area of highest crime and highest poverty in the city.

For many years after its inception, the newly formed congregation worshipped in the two buildings, alternating monthly. The Park Street Building was sold in 2002 and all of the ministry thereafter occurred in the Fourth Church building on Market Street. In 2009 the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg purchased the Fourth Church building, and the two congregations — the Shared Ministry and the Unitarians — entered into a covenant with one another, sharing the building and doing community outreach together.

On Sunday November 2, 2014, The Shared Ministry had a closing service. Participants in the service included Rev. Dr. Thomas Salsgiver, a founding pastor of The Shared Ministry, Rev. William Rader (TSM pastor 1992-1998), Rev. Richard Gordon (TSM pastor since 2009), 90-plus-year church member Betty Scheetz, Judi Shepler, a life-long member of Fourth UCC/TSM, organist Anna Royer, who grew up in Fourth UCC, and the Unitarian church choir.

The Unitarian church will remain in the building and continue many of the outreach ministries previously associated with The Shared Ministry and its predecessor bodies.


Going the extra mile


Cameron Coupe and Alexander Roman, from the Seattle, Washington, area, enjoyed the hospitality of West Side UMC during their cross-country fundraising walk.

By Tammy Byerly

Meet Cameron “Cam” Coupe and Alexander “Zan” Roman from the Seattle, Wash. area. These remarkable young men are walking across the United States to raise money for the Seattle Children’s Hospital. Both boys have ties to the hospital and want to give back.

“The reason that I am walking is to help support Seattle Children’s Hospital, specifically the Autism Center,” said Zan. “I have a younger sister and older brother in my family. My brother is autistic, and I am utilizing this walk to help fund autism research. I am using this opportunity to help many people I don’t know, and to grow and mature as a person while on this adventure.”

“I began to entertain the idea of walking across the United States ‑ Seattle to New York ‑ nearly two years ago,” shared Cam. “The ball really began rolling when I found someone crazy enough to do the walk with me! This person just so happened to be my roommate Zan.”

At that point they decided to walk for a cause, and that was to support Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“I chose to raise money for Seattle Children’s because my cousin Katie suffered through two bouts of cancer before losing the fight on September 30, 2006, at age 7. After the five month trek from coast to coast, I will return to school knowing that I gave back, and did all that I could to help out children fighting battles 100 times more difficult than walking America.”

Both boys are attending Washington State University, taking the fall semester off to finish this amazing walk for children. Both boys worked summer jobs in 2013 to earn money toward this endeavor.

They started their journey in Seattle on May 19, 2014, and made their way into Clearfield, Pa., on Friday, October 3, marking their 140th day and 920 hours of walking.

Zan called West Side UMC to see if they could pitch their tent on the property for the night. The church secretary spoke with head of trustees, Bill Emerick, who happens to live next door to see if it would be OK. He said “Yes! of course,” but he took it a little further.

Bill fed them, let them shower, let them do their laundry, and let them sleep in his home on the very rainy and damp night.

While there the boys went to Dutch Pantry for dinner, toured West Side United Methodist Church, met with the pastor, Rev. Dr. Joleen Willis, and met several local people attending a Safe Sanctuaries training before heading to Peebles for new sneakers.

Cam had worn through six pairs of sneakers, and that night he had two different ones on because of blisters. Zan was on his fourth pair. When they reached New York City October 14, 2014, they had walked over 2,800 miles, averaging around 25 miles per day.

Both boys were very thankful, respectful, and loved to share about their journey thus far.

Zan posted on Facebook that Pennsylvania was a contender for the most beautiful state on the trip.
While on their journey, both boys called/texted home daily, and journaled every day for about two hours. They appreciated all the help along the way and especially the donations for the children. You can follow their journey on Facebook at Walk for Seattle Children’s and place a donation for this journey at http://www.walkforseattlechildrens.com/.

Travelers Cameron Coupe and Alexander Roman, who walked from Seattle, Wash. to New York City, met Rev. Dr. Joleen Willis during their stay at West Side UMC in Clearfield.


Spirit of Invention: Creating a Family Worship Experience


By Sandii Peiffer

Zion United Methodist Church in York is reclaiming the lost tradition of families worshipping together, but definitely not in the way it has always been done. Leaders at Zion were intentional about creating a worship environment that was both meaningful and appropriate, where children could learn how to worship together with their families, not just learn how to sit through adult-oriented worship.

It is all part of  a new ministry stretegy with children, youth, and their families, utilizing a curriculm called Orange.

Orange is a comprehensive curriculum strategy for ministry with children and youth/students, created by The ReThink Group. The Orange curriculum (whatisorange.com) centers around:

  • 3 Stages of Life
  • 2 Influences
  • 1 End in Mind 

The foundational concepts for the preschool curriculum are:  God Loves You; God made You; and God Wants to be Your Friend Forever, with the purpose to “Incite wonder in the heart of a preschooler.”

The curriculum for elementary age children focuses on the concepts that: I need to make the wise choice; I can trust God no matter what; and I should treat others the way I want to be treated, with the goal of “provoking discovery in the heart of a child.”

The curriculum for youth and student ministries steps up the concepts and tools for living a life of faith even further.

Rather than the old Sunday school model of hearing a different Bible story every week, Orange introduces a theme, such as “gratitude,” which is explored in depth for a whole month, and by the end of the month the kids and their families really know and understand that theme, and what it looks like at home, in school, and wherever they go.

“It’s all about getting children and their parents on the same page, and equipping parents with the tools to carry on the conversations at home and make God a part of every day,” said April Urranaga, Director of Children’s Ministry at Zion.


Zion UMC takes it a step futher by using the Orange concepts and themes to create the FX Family Experience, a “VBS-style” family worship service held about five times a year that brings everything together in an intergenerational, interactive, multi-sensory worship experience.

“It’s given kids an opportunity to sit in a worship service where they are connected and engaged and participating in a meaningful way.”

In addition to drawing families together in worship, FX gives adults a chance to work alongside and mentor youth and children in creating and leading the worship time (including stage crew), and it also attracts artists and others from the community to participate.








December 2014 Poster


Volunteers In Mission help rebuild church in India


By Curt Knouse, VIM Coordinator, SUSUMC

From October 29 to November 8 a Volunteers in Mission team of twelve people served on a three-fold mission team to the Northern India Conference. The team consisted of Curt Knouse, Wendy Knouse, R.N., Ron Thomas, Donna Thomas, Rev. Jim Thomas, Lori Vogt, Nancy Lerch, Staci Moist, Dr. Gene Ver, Claudia Halstead, P.A., Rev. Bruce Woolever, and Ryan Woolever.

The group traveled from Washington Dulles International Airport via Amsterdam to New Dehli, India. It took about thirty-one hours from the time of departure to reach our base of operations, the Warne Baby Fold Orphanage in Bareilly, India. The Baby Fold is a Methodist owned and operated orphanage currently housing about 65 children. (See tinyurl.com/k986o3x)

The team took part in three projects. Dr. Ver, together with Physician Assistant Claudia Halstead, Registered Nurse Wendy Knouse, and rotating fourth team members, worked in cooperation with the Clara Swain Rural Health and Community Development Program to conduct two health clinics in villages, and the third day they gave all the children at the orphanage physicals. The clinics saw about 500 people. (See tinyurl.com/puo65wc)

A painting team helped finish the reconstruction of the Methodist church in Ujhani. The reconstruction was funded in partnership by the VIM team, the central church of Badaun, India, and donations from teachers at a Methodist school in the area. This church had been closed for many years, but there was a small core of believers asking for someone to bring them the “Word.”

Lastly, we were able to spend some time sharing the love of Christ with the children at the orphanage. One evening we did crafts and shared the Christmas story, read by Rev. Bruce Woolever in their own language, Hindi. (Bruce grew up in northern India until age 15 as the child of missionaries.) The children also put on a program for us where they sang and danced.

Other highlights included the Ujhani Church dedication and worship service. The service included communion using a communion set donated from a Catawissa area church via Chad Carter. Also, the children’s program for us.

We received news that there were 45 in worship on Sunday, November 23. Praise God!

Visit tinyurl.com/susVIMFB to see many more photos of the trip to India.

For more information about VIM opportunities, training, or speakers, contact Curt Knouse at cknouse@susumc.org or 717-994-6294.


Together we make a difference

One hundred thirty 25kg bags of rice were distributed throughout the Liberia Episcopal Area to help families struggling to find food in the midst of the Ebola crisis.
The following is a letter describing how together (through the General Board of Discipleship) we have helped those suffering through the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

I greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Resident Bishop, Rev. Dr. John G. Innis and your brothers and sisters of the Liberia Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church wish to thank the entire membership of the General Board of Discipleship for the generous gift of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00USD) for food assistance to the Liberia Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church.

As you may know, the Ebola virus disease (EVD) has created a serious health and economic crisis that has resulted in several families being unable to put food on their tables. The food assistance was indeed a great help to those we were able to reach and in a small way was able to reach across the twenty districts of our conference and one circuit.

Because of bad road conditions and considering the distance from Monrovia to most districts, funds were wired to all district superintendents to purchase rice and distribute among pastors and members.

Each district was allocated three hundred US dollars ($300.00USD). The one hundred thirty (130) employees, staff and volunteers at the United Methodist Conference Center in Monrovia received 25kg bag of rice each at the rate of $20 per bag of rice. The Bishop Judith Craig United Methodist Orphanage Home, Charles Britt United Methodist Senior Citizens Home, and the Camphor United Methodist Mission Station were allotted three hundred US dollars ($300.00USD) each.

We are very grateful for your thoughtfulness to identify with us during this very critical time in the history of our nation. Your action is truly redemptive and demonstrates the true meaning of Christianity. Kindly convey our deepest appreciation to the General Secretary and staff of the General Board of Discipleship.

In mission together,

Rev. George D. Wilson, Jr.
Director of Connectional Ministries
Chair, LAC/UMC Ebola Task Force
Liberia Episcopal Area
The United Methodist Church






Imagine What’s NEXT prepares college students to dream, go, do

By Nicole Burdakin, GBHEM

More than 680 United Methodist college students and young adults gathered in Denver, Colorado, in November, for Imagine What’s NEXT, a vocational discernment event that challenged participants to live out the event theme, “Dream. Go. Do.”

“I see God’s Holy Spirit pouring itself out everywhere,” said Bishop Minerva Carcaño, Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop in the California-Pacific Conference, who spoke at opening worship of the conference.

Imagine What’s NEXT, Nov. 7-9, was an event for young adults designed to facilitate a fertile ground for imaginative work, focused specifically on the spaces where church/world and present/future meet. The event was organized by a launch team of college students, collegiate ministers and other creative disciples from across the United Methodist connection, and was sponsored by the Division of Higher Education of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

The Bishop praised the guidance of the Holy Spirit that has touched many young people in her conference. “I've seen the Holy Spirit blessing college students who didn't grow up in the church, didn’t grow up knowing Jesus,” she said. “But even when no one takes us to Jesus, he still finds us and blesses us.”

Sarah Bollinger and the B-Sides of St. Louis, Mo.; an A Cappella Ensemble from Wiley College in Marshall, Tex.; a drumming group from First Tongan UMC in San Bruno, Calif.; and JLYRIK, a Christian hip hop artist, all contributed to worship at NEXT. Diversity in musical worship styles was specifically cultivated to show the future and breadth of the church.

Bishop Carcaño hoped for participants, “That you will dream for our church, for the body of Jesus Christ, for the whole world. That you will be agents of God’s transformative mercy and grace. That you will do all you can.”

Ali Sokolowski, student at Florida State University, spoke to the crowd on pain and healing in the Christian faith. She and Thomas Wolfe, president at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, led an oil anointment for participants.

“Each person among us experiences pain at one time in their life,” Sokolowski said. “We as Christians are being called to heal those among us.”

Sokolowski shared her personal experience of healing and told the audience how it only took one campus minister to listen and to appreciate her to bring her back to the church. “It takes one person believing in one person to change this world,” she said. “You are needed. You are called to be a wounded healer.”

Leia Williams, director of Communications and Discipleship in the Northwest Texas Conference, told the story of how she found meaningful work in the church after dropping out of architecture school and taking a risk. Her work reimagined what effective communications could look like in churches.

Tyler Ward, North Central College student; Ismail Pathan, Muslim interfaith organizer and Syracuse University graduate; JLYRIK; and Sarah Beth O’Brian, who spoke about activism to raise awareness of campus sexual assault, all shared stories of discovering their passion or ministry.

Students also attended topic-specific Pecha Kucha sessions led by United Methodist students, activists, and entrepreneurs in particular fields of interest, such as Mission/Justice, Music/Arts/Word, and Experimental Church. Pecha Kucha is a presentation style originating in Japan in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total). Designed to spark conversation in small participant studio groups, each short presentation challenged students to rethink some aspect of church or community.

Studio groups of 8-12 students met to reflect on how worship services and main stage speakers challenged them to find and act on their passions.

Bridget Taylor from the Oklahoma University Wesley, said, “I’m fairly new to the church, and sometimes individual pastors or leaders in a particular church can discourage people from building a relationship with God. Here, I’ve witnessed that true believers and true followers of Christ treat each other with respect.”

Taylor also found her small studio group to be supportive. “We talked a lot about individual, personal struggles. Being surrounded by people who aren’t judging you to discuss what’s going on in your life, even if they’re new people, was an amazing feeling.”

“I really loved the fact that my group was really open to share their testimonies and stories,” said Jakaela Davis, student at Tuskegee University. “I had prayed to God for confirmation for a lot of things, and they were all answered in this conference.”

Saturday night, students participated in a service plunge and worship concert, led by the OU Wesley praise band and headliner Jimmy Needham, in downtown Denver.

For many other students, the highlight of the conference was the opportunity to find and connect with colleagues, other young adults that want to live out their faith.

“The world is desperate for leaders who are conscious, who are compassionate, and who are courageous. Young people are on the front line of this movement,” said Chantilly Mers, representative at NEXT from United Methodist Women.

The Rev. Vance Ross from the Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., told students at closing worship that even when they put their dreams into action, they must stay attentive to God’s new agenda, not just their individual vision of what new ministry in the church could look like.

“God is looking to commission some folk to be authentic to who they are but open to God’s call, God’s blueprint and future in a new direction,” Ross said. “God’s looking for a church that is looking for justice, not just for us, but for everyone. The world is begging for that church; the world is pleading for these disciples.”

“The world has had enough Christians,” Ross said. “We need some disciples of Jesus.”

Burdakin is editorial and production assistant, Office of Communications, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

Full story at tinyurl.com/kkoanmf

God’s Calling event for laity — explore the question: “God, are you calling me?”

Have you ever wondered, “God, where/how is it you are calling me to serve”? Do you know individuals being called to the ministry of a pastor within the United Methodist Church? Have you wondered what is the difference in serving as an ordained elder, ordained deacon, a local pastor, and /or a certified lay minister? Do you know the various certified ministries honored by the United Methodist Church?

You are invited to join us on Saturday, February 28, at Wesley UMC in Selinsgrove for the God’s Calling Event, presented by the Enlistment & Interpretation Committee of the Susquehanna Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. This is a day apart for laity as we examine the ministry of the ordained elder, ordained deacon, local pastor, and certified ministries of the church. This event will include information in regard to scholarship and grant availability, educational requirements, seminaries, the role of leadership within the church, and how do I know it is God who is calling me.
This is an exciting opportunity for those discerning a call to ministry. Former participants have all agreed this event is worth attending.

If you are in the candidacy process, this is a requirement for certification, and a requirement for those in the process of becoming a certified lay minister.

Enroll now by downloading the God’s Calling brochure found on the front page of the Conference website at www.susumc.org, or go to the Board of Ordained Ministry website at scboom.org link onto Resources. Contact Carol Diffenbaugh at caroldiffenbaugh@verizon.net or 717-737-7923 ext. 104 or Rev. Sandy Kraft at skraft@susumc.org for additional information.

Wesley UMC
306 Rhoads Ave.
Selinsgrove, PA 17870

Saturday, February 28, 2015
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $20, includes materials and lunch

REGISTER NOW!

Comedy dinner theater brings laughs



By Susan Deardorff

Grace United Methodist Church in Wellsville held a comedy dinner theater Saturday, November 1, and Sunday, November 2. The play was entitled “The Real Housewives of Crickett County” by Eddie McPherson.

The cast of fourteen, known as the GUM Players, had a rollicking good time portraying this hillbilly comedy about some Crickett County housewives who want so much to be like their new neighbors, but learn that common sense and love are a great deal more important. Over 120 people attended this fundraising/outreach event, raising $1,500.

A chicken dinner, complete with homemade apple pies for dessert, was served by Dorothy Kauffman and Kim Crone. It was a wonderful evening full of laughter, great food, and fellowship.


Benefit concert and more aims to fight hunger



By Jeremy Garner

On January 25, 2015, the Runville United Methodist Charge youth group (Bellefonte, State College District) will hold their third annual 30-Hour Famine Benefit Concert featuring an hour of Southern Gospel music, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine. Tickets can purchased in advance or at the door, and a love offering will also be taken.

The concert is our kick-off fundraiser for World Vision, where we announce the beginning of the youth group’s solicitation of funds for the Famine challenge, as well as any other special fundraisers.
The 30 Hour Famine is one of our youth group’s biggest events of the year. The goal of the event is to: 1. Educate our youth on hunger around the world; 2. Raise money to feed and care for children in poverty,; 3. Complete a service project in our local community; 4. Allow students to fellowship with other Christians, and; 5. Grow a deeper relationship with Christ.

Last year we did our first annual Kiss-A-Cow fundraiser. The students nominated youth leaders, and the three leaders most nominated were in the running to kiss a cow. Votes were cast via donations at all of our charge’s three churches, and whoever had the most money/votes the night the 30 Hour Famine began had to kiss a cow during our Famine for all the kids to see, which was also videotaped and shown to the entire congregation at a later date.

Our service projects in 2014 included putting together mission central kits and cleaning up a local park’s ball field. One of the most favorite activities during the weekend was our photo scavenger hunt.

Eighteen kids and eight adults participated in the 2104 30-Hour Famine, for a total of 24 participants. Our goal was to raise $4,200 (enough to feed 10 children for a year) and we raised a total of $7,560 which was enough to feed and care for 18 children for a year. The 2014 Benefit Concert raised $4,200 alone.

Our goal for 2015 is $5,100 (caring for 12 children for a year at $425 each). Our service project is to be determined. Our 30 Hour Famine will be held March 20 – 21, 2015.

Visit www.30hourfamine.org for more information.

If you have questions about the concert, please contact Jeremy Garner at 814-571-1100 or Pastor Doug Mellott at 814-355-8027.

Book of worship resources now available free, online

Many worship elements included in The United Methodist Book of Worship are now available online at no cost for use by congregations and other worshiping or church-related educational communities.
The resources are being provided by Discipleship Ministries under a special arrangement with The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH).

Downloads of the resources are available at www.gbod.org/worship/book-of-worship.

The resource collection is divided by these categories: General Services, The Christian Year, Special Sundays and Other Special Days, General Acts of Worship, Daily Praise and Prayer, Occasional Services, Healing Services and Prayers, Services Related to Congregations and Buildings, Consecrations and Ordinations, Other Annual Conference and District Services, and General Church Services.

Tuition discount offered to children of clergy

Reprinted with permission from The Relay, Greater New Jersey Annual Conference.

Allegheny College will offer a 50 percent discount on tuition to children of United Methodist clergy, beginning in fall 2015 with the class that enters that year. As the College celebrates its bicentennial in 2015, the discount affirms its relationship with Methodism, which dates to 1833 and continues today in its affiliation with The United Methodist Church (UMC). The Ministerial Discount Policy applies to  students who meet the following criteria:

  • Unmarried, legally dependent children under age 24 of United Methodist ordained Deacons and Elders in full connection, good standing, and under full-time appointment by the Annual Conference, or of retired or deceased United Methodist ministers with the same credentials.
  • Students in their first four years who are seeking their first baccalaureate degree, excluding summer sessions and Experiential Learning seminars. 
  • Students who are full-time and remain in good academic standing with the College.
“This discount will help keep an Allegheny degree affordable for clergy families, and hopefully bring more United Methodist students to our student body. We see it as a win-win situation,” said Jane Ellen Nickell, College Chaplain.

Allegheny College is a national liberal arts college where 2,100 students with unusual combinations of interests and talents develop highly valued abilities to explore critical issues from multiple perspectives. A selective residential college in Meadville, Pa., Allegheny is one of 40 colleges featured in Loren Pope’s “Colleges That Change Lives,” among many other guidebooks, and is the only UMC-affiliated institution of higher education within the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference.

For details about the discount, contact the Allegheny Office of Financial Aid at 814-332-2701, Jonathan Boleratz, Director of Financial Aid, fao@allegheny.edu, Natasha Eckart, Associate Director of Financial Aid, fao@allegheny.edu, or visit http://tinyurl.com/pkdiscount.

New Campus Ministry Director at Wesley Foundation

Among many other fun fall activities, members of the Wesley
Foundation at Penn State University participated in an Apple Pie Baking Party.

By Rev. Sam Dull, Wesley Foundation 
Leadership Team member and Abba Java volunteer

November 2014 — This Fall we welcomed our new Campus Ministry Director, Jen Gruendler. Jen, staff, and volunteers are excited about ministry to Penn State students at Wesley. We continue to grow in numbers. Over 800 students per week visit our Abba Java coffee house. We are impacting students’ lives as they see the love of Christ in action.

Read Jen’s article and get to know her passion for ministry to college students, or some good articles from Abba Java students and volunteers, and see photos of some of our fall activities at tinyurl.com/WFNov14.

Information about the Wesley Foundation campus ministry at Penn State may be directed to Kelly Shaffer at 814-238-6739 or visit www.wesleypsu.org.

Conference students earn college scholarships from UM Higher Education agency

Congratulations to the following students who were awarded college scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year from our General Board of Higher Education and Ministry in Nashville:
Paige Allen, Courtdale UMC, attending Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School
Brooke Barrett, Christ UMC, York, attending Arcadia University
Richard Blaine, Yorkshire UMC, York, attending Ferrum College
Cayce Bower, First UMC, Williamsport, attending Messiah College
Jill Daugherty, Winterstown UMC, Felton, attending Lebanon Valley College
Mark Dodson, Christ UMC, Mountain Top, attending Drew University Theological School
Joshua Eaton, First UMC, Mechanicsburg, attending Lebanon Valley College
Adam Evanko, Park Forest Village UMC, State College, attending Lebanon Valley College
Nicalus Harclerode, Second Ave UMC, Altoona, attending Lycoming College
Denise Haskins, Calvary UMC, Harrisburg, attending Wesley Theological Seminary
Matthew Houck, Grace UMC, Hummelstown, attending Lebanon Valley College
Megan Kauffman, Grace UMC, Lewistown, attending Lycoming College
Natalie Lamoreaux, Pennsdale Trinity UMC, attending Messiah College
Natasha Maskaly, St. Paul’s UMC, Red Lion, attending American University
Emma Musto, Lenoxville UMC, attending Albright College
Caitlin Schlaline, Christ UMC, Yoe, attending Lebanon Valley College
Chelsey Steele, Wesley UMC, Selinsgrove, attending Lebanon Valley College
Abigail Troshak, Messiah UMC, York, attending Lycoming College
Joshua Wargo, Dorranceton UMC, Kingston, attending Wesley Theological Seminary
Dennis Wilt, Wehnwood UMC, Altoona, attending Juniata College
Aaron Wink, Christ UMC, Selinsgrove, attending Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Students interested in receiving scholarships should apply online at www.gbhem.org. The online application for the 2015-2016 year will be available starting January 5, 2015, with a March 5 deadline.

Thank you for your support in recognizing United Methodist Student Day, World Communion Sunday, and Native American Sunday, which help fund a portion of these loans and scholarships. The remaining funds for these awards come from gifts, annuities, and endowments GBHEM has invested and administered for decades.

Discovery Place: New Resources


The God We Can Know: Exploring The “I Am” Sayings of Jesus: In this 7-session study, Rob Fuquay explores the “I Am” statements of Jesus. The DVD, filmed on location in the Holy Land, allows us to travel with Rob and actually see the places where Jesus stood while disclosing his identity, and in what context he spoke each “I Am” statement. One by one, Jesus’ statements not only grab our imagination by revealing more about his purpose, but they also shape our own Christian identity and connect us to the God of Moses, the Great I Am. Significant — yet ordinary — images of bread, light, shepherd, vine, and more give us insightful ways to experience Jesus anew and to discover a God who is close and wants to be known.

Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer: In this four-session video-based study, best-selling author Max Lucado reveals his struggles with prayer and how he discovered that it is not a privilege for the pious or the art of a chosen few but a simple tool everyone has been given to have a conversation with God. He shows you how to let go of uncertainties about prayer, trust that God hears you, and embrace a prayer life that brings peace and rest. Lucado offers a systematic formula to unleash the power of prayer with five simple sentences: “Father, you are good. I need help. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened To The Good News?: Why does the church stir up such negative feelings? Philip Yancey believes this question is more relevant now than ever before. Research shows that favorable opinions of Christianity have plummeted drastically in recent years. Yet, while opinions about Christianity are dropping, interest in spirituality is rising. Why the disconnect? In this five-session study, Yancey shows the desperate need our world has for grace, and how Christians can truly make the gospel good news again.

Acts of God: Perhaps the greatest human question of all is the question of suffering: If God is good, why does He allow so much pain in the world? This is a question not often talked about in church. This six-episode, small-group, cinematic study offers insight and hope as Pastor Bob Russell uses the biblical story of Joseph to explore how, in the face of personal pain or the suffering of those we love, we can trust in the Lord at all times. The six episodes follow the fictional lives of seven hurting souls who are brought together through the tragic death of a child.

Look for these, and many more free resources for use in your local church, Sunday school, or small group at www.discovery-place.org

Where your treasure is: Clergy Tax and Compensation conference

Mark your calendars and plan to join us January 26, 2015, from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. for this important informational conference. Led by William H. Fordney Jr., CPA, Stewardship Foundation Staff Accountant, and held at Clarks Summit United Methodist Church, 1310 Morgan Highway, Clarks Summit, PA 18411-9503.

Here are some highlights:

Part One – Clergy Taxes:
Why are clergy “employees” for income tax purposes, but “self-employed” for Social Security and Medicare purposes?
Tax treatment of housing/parsonage allowance
Accountable reimbursement plans

Part Two – Clergy Compensation:
Withholding rules and estimated payments for federal, state, and local taxes
Base salary
Other deductions such as health insurance and retirement

This conference is open to all clergy, treasurers, and anyone interested in clergy tax/compensation issues.
Continuing education credits will be offered – 02. Registration fee is $35 and registration is on-line only at umstewardship.org. Materials and lunch are included (no refunds).

Watch for these other important events coming in 2015:

  • Uplifting Appreciation Seminar for Clergy with Emory Austin, CSP, SPAE, Speaker, Hall of Fame
  • Stewardship Event with Rev. Dr. Kenneth Sloane, Director, Stewardship, Leadership Ministries, GBOD
  • Communications and Social Media Clinic with Scott Vaughan, CEO, Scott Vaughan Communications

Let us all give thanks for each other and be appreciative of the many and varied gifts endowed upon us by the Holy Spirit. We pray for unity in Christ’s church and for peace in God’s world. We offer ourselves individually and corporately as servants of the gospel. If we may help you in any way, please contact us. We pray that your Christmas will be holy and your new year filled with God’s abundant grace and peace.

Thank you for your support in 2014.

Rev. Phyllis Bowers, Executive Director
William Fordney, Staff Accountant
Kathy Lemkelde, Administrative Assistant
Bonnie Young, Accounting Assistant;
Dolly Marzullo, Office Assistant

For more information contact Phyllis Bowers at (local) 717-766-5376 or (toll-free) 1-877-619-5974 or e-mail pbowers@susumc.org

Our Heritage

By Dr. Milton Loyer, Conference Archivist

November 100 years ago
The annual meeting of the Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the Central Pennsylvania Conference was held November 11-13, 1914, in the First Methodist Episcopal Church (now Wesley UMC) of Tyrone. The 167 persons enrolled heard addresses by superintendents Rev. B.H. Mosser (Juniata District) and Rev. S.B. Evans (Altoona District), and by Mrs. Hobbs Woodcock, general secretary of Home Guards and Mothers’ Jewels. The program also included a bond-burning service celebrating final payment on the Anthracite Slavic Mission Home at Hazelton and a “History Sketch of Central Pennsylvania Conference Woman’s Home Missionary Society.” The WHMS of 1914 included three divisions for young people: Queen Esther Circles for girls 16 and older, Home Guards for boys and girls ages six to 16, and Mothers’ Jewels for boys and girls younger than six years old.
One hundred years ago in the Methodist Episcopal Church, there was also a separate Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society with two children’s divisions – Kings Heralds for children from eight to 14 years old, and Little Light Bearers for children younger than eight years old.

December 50 years ago
December 20, 1964, was Golden Cross Sunday for the congregations of the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Church. The annual offering included a new beneficiary in 1964. In addition to the Methodist Home for Children in Mechanicsburg and Epworth Manor in Tyrone, the new retirement home at Bethany Village now received funds. The facility officially opened October 1 and hosted 1,000 persons on October 31 for tours and a consecration service led by resident Bishop Newell S. Booth. Included in the original complex were 94 apartments, a dining hall, four lounges, a solarium, a library, and a 22-bed skilled care unit. By the end of the year, all 108 spaces in the facility had been allotted. Promotional literature announced that “the home has a residential rather than institutional character and is designed for future expansion.”

On to Glory - Death Notices



Rev. L. Paul Neufer, Retired, of Westminster Drive, Williamsport, Pa., died Thursday, November 6, 2014. Rev. Neufer was serving on Honorable Location. Among is survivors are his wife, Marna Neufer, and his brother, Rev. P. Dale Neufer, Retired. Memorial Services were held Sunday, December 7, 2014, in St. John’s-Newberry United Methodist Church, Williamsport, Pa.

Mrs. Grace H. (Patterson) Reiter, of Sidman, Pa., widow of Rev. Edward N. Reiter, died Sunday, November 2, 2014, in Lee Transitional Care, Johnstown, Pa. Memorial Services were held Thursday, November 6, 2014, in St. Michael United Methodist Church, Saint Michael, Pa. Interment was in Richland Cemetery.

Rev. Carl N. Rutherford, Retired, of Stonebridge Drive, Selinsgrove, Pa., died Monday, December 1, 2014, in Grayson View Nursing Home, Harrisburg, Pa. Memorial Services were held Sunday, December 7, 2014, in Wesley United Methodist Church, Selinsgrove, Pa. Interment was in Mifflinville Cemetery, Mifflinvile, Pa.

Rev. Barton T. Schaefer of Orrs Bridge Road, Camp Hill, Pa., died November 20, 2014, in West Shore Hospital, Mechanicsburg, Pa. Among his survivors are his wife, Rebecca E. Schaefer, and his brother, Rev. John A. Schaefer. Memorial Services were held Tuesday, November 25, 2014, in Hope Eternal United Methodist Church, Newport, Pa.

Mrs. Gloria E. (Rohrbaugh) Stambach, of Eastern Boulevard, York, Pa., wife of Rev. Dr. Paul E. Stambach, Retired, died Thursday, October 23, 2014, at home. Memorial Services were held Monday, October 27, 2014, in Etzweiler Funeral Home. Interment was in Chapel Church Cemetery, Red Lion, Pa.

Constance “Connie” (Chambers) Trostle, of Harrisburg Pike, Dillsburg, Pa., widow of Rev. Martin W. A. Trostle, Retired, died Wednesday, October 22, 2014, at home. Memorial Services were held Saturday, November 1, 2014, at Maple Shade Barn, Dillsburg, Pa.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A journey to Korea


Bishop Jeremiah Park recently led a group of pastors and laity from the Susquehanna Conference on a cross-cultural experience in Korea, his country of birth. The trip included visits to vital and growing Korean Methodist Churches, opportunities for dialogue with Korean Methodist pastors and staff, praise and worship experiences (seen above), some sight seeing, and cultural experiences.

Bishop Jeremiah J. Park led a group of 34 pastors and laity on a journey to Korea in early October. The trip lasted twelve days including travel days.

The first seven days were spent learning, observing, and participating in some of the most vital and growing Korean Methodist Churches, with opportunities for dialogue with the pastors and staff of the churches.

Each morning began with worship and praise at 5 a.m., the way Korean Christians live out their discipleship — always starting with prayer and praise in their church before they go about their work and their day.

It is hoped that those who attended learned about the discipleship and spirituality of Korean Methodism, as well as how and why these churches are vital and growing. The group was also seeking to bring back helpful ideas to share with churches in each district.

The last three days of the journey were spent exploring the sights of Korea and experiencing Korean culture at its best.

Those invited to participate in the trip were members of the extended Cabinet plus two persons from each district. Some districts invited two pastors, some a pastor and lay person, some a pastor and spouse, intentionally focusing on those under the age of 40 in order to allow younger leaders to have this cross-cultural experience and receive valuable learning.

An article will follow in the December issue of Susquehanna LINK sharing some of what was learned on the trip.

A cenotaph (left) erected in honor of Rev. Henry Gerhard Appenzeller (from Pennsylvania), the first Methodist missionary to Korea, can be found at the Yanghwajin Foreigners’ Cemetery in Seoul, South Korea. His son and daughter-in-law are honored beside.

Double Take at Wesley Forest

Forty people participated in the Wesley Forest Double Take event.


By Emily Sliski and Anne Horton

The first Wesley Forest Double Take, a fundraising run held on September 27, was a great success. There were some awesome runners, amazing volunteers, perfect weather, and beautiful fall colors.

Five states were represented among the 40 runners who raised just over $2,000 for Wesley Forest camper scholarships and even registered a camper for 2015 summer camp.

The Double Take included a 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer route. Participants had the option of signing up for 5k, 10k, or both. Many runners took on the Double Take challenge and ran both routes.

Those who came out on top for the 5k were Jennifer Tims and Steven May. Those who took home the Double Take first place trophies were D.D. Shea and James Myers. How cool is it that all of those just mentioned were either Wesley Forest summer staff members or volunteer counselors this past summer.

Unique handmade trophies were given to the winners of all the races.

There were a few folks who chose to walk a 1.4 mile route who enjoyed conversation, nature, and a relaxing, slow-paced experience. They were all winners.

This was such a wonderful experience that we will be making it an annual event. We have some big things planned for the run next fall. Mark your calendars for September 26, 2015, and come out to the second Wesley Forest Double Take. See you there.

Jennifer Tims and Melanie Weidner came first and second respectively in the 5K race at Wesley Forest. Both ladies were summer staff at Wesley Forest in 2014.