Thursday, October 22, 2015

700 emerging NEJ leaders meet to ‘See Know Love’

Photos by Susquehanna Conference staff

More than 700 church leaders from the Northeast Jurisdiction gathered in Hershey for SEE KNOW LOVE, a leadership training event.

Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber

Rev. Albert Mosely
Photo gallery from NEJ here:
Article by Erik Alsgaard, UMConnection Staff, Baltimore-Washington Conference

Hearts Strangely Warmed - Pastor Jen Ryerson

“While the leader was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
— John Wesley, May 24, 1738

God calls us to tell our story so that others may come to know Jesus Christ. “Hearts Strangely Warmed” was created to share these stories about transformational encounters with the Living God.

Pastor Jen Ryerson
I grew up in a Christian home with two very loving parents. My heart warms as I think about my childhood days of church potlucks, bake sales, handbell choir, Sunday school, and singing my first church solo. I get tickled with joy when I think about the Sunday mornings I sat in the pew of my grandfather’s churches. I would watch him in awe and wonder as he would preach the Word of God with such authority, with enthusiasm, and deep passion. My grandfather, Rev. Harold J. Knepp, was a mighty man of God. He impacted my life in profound ways. He had a servant’s heart and he showed me how to love. He taught me how to be the hands and feet of Jesus, leading by his own powerful example and witness. In my heart I believe he laid the foundation for my faith, he spoke blessing after blessing into my life.

It was around a campfire at Camp Penn church camp that I was saved. I was thirteen years old that summer I became a Christian. At that moment, around that warm camp fire with tears streaming down my cheeks, I received the Holy Spirit into my life. I remember feeling so alive!

Listen, my faith journey has not always been smooth and exciting. There have been times in my life when I have doubted God’s goodness and His grace. I abandoned the church and I abandoned God for a couple of years as I ventured out on my own and began to study at cosmetology school and even into my early 20s. I was living purely on my own strength and my own terms, never consulting with God during those years. I was having fun. Or so I thought. Looking back I realize, God never left me, not once. God has been constant! He never stopped whispering His promises in my ears. Glory!

The Lord led us to an amazing church and church family in 2002 and that is where my husband and I laid claim to our own personal relationships with Jesus Christ. No longer was I living with the Jesus that my parents and grandparents found for me. I had found Jesus and I began my very own intimate relationship with him.

Fast forward many years. My husband Dan and I have four beautiful and precious children. It was shortly after having our fourth child, just four-and-a-half years ago, that I strongly felt God’s call upon my life. I knew God was up to something. There was this fire, this passion, a stirring deep in my heart and my soul. I wanted so much more of Him and I so desperately wanted what He wanted for my life. I would be lying though, if I didn’t say that when I discerned that this call was a call to a life of pastoral ministry, I fought it. I fought it hard at first, full of so many mixed emotions. The greatest emotion that overcame me was doubt. Doubt in myself and quite honestly, doubting that God would be calling me. Me, the stay-at-home-mom of four. I just didn’t believe that I discerned the call correctly. I had to be wrong. I had a hundred questions and believe me, I feel like I asked God all one hundred of them many times over.

Glory to God! He just kept pursuing me and placing mentors and friends in and out of my life who were affirming my call. When I wanted to give up and when fear took up residence in my heart, there they were. My husband and many people were encouraging me, speaking truth into me, and holding me accountable. I wouldn’t be where I am today without God so lovingly allowing me the privilege of having these people so present in my life. God used these people as His holy vessels and I am eternally grateful.

I am thrilled to share that I am currently serving Longstown UMC in York, Pa., as a licensed local pastor. The Lord continues to mold, grow, challenge, and stretch me beyond my comfort zone. And I love it. I am reminded daily of the truth that His love never fails, it never gives up, and it never runs out. I am very excited to be on this journey. So often I say, “Yes, God, I am ready. Let’s go, let’s do this!”

And in those moments when fear and doubt creep in (because we all know those emotions are real) and I find myself on my knees before the King, I turn to the words of a favorite song titled, “The River”:
Precious Jesus, I am ready 
To surrender every care. 
Take my hand now, lead me closer, 
Lord I need to meet you there!

God meets me there every single time and He is ready to meet you where you are too. Hallelujah!

October LINK poster

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Vital Congregations part III - a dialogue to inspire churches with ideas for ministries of vitality

The following is part three in a five-part series based on a dialogue begun at the 2015 Susquehanna Annual Conference around stories and experiences of congregational vitality. The team that presented included Pastor Janet Durrwachter, Rev. Rich Morris, Rev. Dr. Randy Willis, and Jaime Carpenter. The video of this session (held Friday morning, June 12) and a full transcript can be found at

Reaching Out
Rev. Dr. Randy Willis
Centre Grove UMC, Clearfield
edited transcript

The first time Janet Durrwachter and I spoke on the phone — we met each other by way of that phone conversation — she referred to us as a vital congregation. I reacted against that and said, “I’m not really comfortable saying that we are a vital congregation. I think I’d be OK in saying that we’re becoming a vital congregation, or we’re trying to become a vital congregation, but we’re not there yet.”

Over the last thirteen to fourteen years — I’ve been there seven — the church went through this ten-year slide, where its average worship attendance went from 136 to 86. That’s a thirty-seven percent decline. And I was there for the last three years of that. Then in the three years since that ten-year-period, we’ve bounced back twenty-two percent. A lot of that happened in 2013 and we definitely thank God.

God is at work, but as Rich Morris said (September LINK), there are a whole lot of other areas where we still need to grow and do well.

One of the areas that we really have excelled in is reaching out. For those ten years this is a congregation that I think I would say we were there, but we weren’t really there. Now some of the outreach that we do inlcudes free monthly dinners for the community. That’s been pretty effective for us. In the summer, which is kind of our peak season for outreach, we’ll do some free car care clinics and a lot of other outreach events, such as a block party.

Worship attendance is one number, but the number that we’re really excited about is the number of people who are getting involved in hands-on ministry that went from a very, very small number of core leaders to a lot of people.

I think the church is at its best when it’s actively reaching out. That’s the part where Janet said we wouldn’t tell you anything new — we all know we need to be reaching out. We need to be doing outreach. We need to be engaging our community with the good news of Jesus Christ.

I want to share just three quick elements that help answer, “How do we get from here to there?” Three elements from Acts Chapter 6, which was a very different situation. They were a vibrant church, experiencing a lot of vitality. And they were responding to that. But I think those three things also work in a turn-around situation, a church that needs to be turned using the same elements. I’m not going to cover them in the same order that are in the Book of Acts, and in no particular order of importance.

Proclaiming the Word
The disciples, they mobilized people for ministry. They said they would devote themselves to prayer and proclaiming the Word. I think that’s about casting vision. It’s about preaching the gospel, not so that people will just be informed by the Word, but that the people will be shaped by the Word. I don’t think first century preachers were information dispensers. I think they were culture shapers and movement makers.

Mobilizing People for Ministry
Preaching professor Michael Quick says that missionally defective preaching leads to missionally defective people. I think the flip side of that is true. I hope it is. Missionally effective preaching leads to missionally effective people. So preaching and proclaiming the word, casting the vision, calling people to action, turning consumers into contributors is huge. Then, of course, mobilizing people for ministry.

At Centre Grove that happened primarily through Matthew 28. Rich Morris was our coach. Our consultation was at the end of that ten-year slide and in the next year, we saw just a slight bump, and then we continued on growing. Matthew 28 was huge for us in getting people mobilized for ministry.

And then the last thing is prayer. We could say a lot about prayer, but I just want to say one thing — I think prayer is key for us. It’s the way that we are empowered for ministry. We receive God’s power through prayer. The word power was extremely important in the New Testament. Jesus said you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses.

As important as words are to us — they’re our primary means of communication — the Apostle Paul said God’s kingdom isn’t about words, but about power. He said, “My message and my preaching weren’t presented with convincing wise words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. I did this so that you’re faith might not depend on the wisdom of people, but on the power of God.” —1 Cor 2:4-5

So we proclaim the word. We mobilize people for ministry, and we pray, so that lives will be transformed.

Look for part four in the next LINK or go to for the video and full transcript.

Editorial: Good Exercise

By Jerry Wolgemuth, Director of Communications

If cardio exercise develops fit bodies with toned muscles, than 700-plus leaders from across the Northeastern Jurisdiction got a good cardio workout for their “ministry muscles” in Hershey. (See lead story on page 1.) Thanks is due to the design team of the “See Know Love” event and its chair Rev. Ann Pearson.

Through their choice of principle speakers it was obvious that the design team intentionally gave us three different perspectives in reaching the world outside our church buildings. They represented the academy and the world of human resources, but also a world that begs us as followers of Jesus for honesty and authenticity in what we profess.

Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber probably sent some home from Hershey scratching their heads pondering but, perhaps, re-examining, their sensitivities.

Nadia is the Lutheran pastor of Denver’s House for All Sinners and Saints. In her delivery she took her audience in Hershey on an engaging account of those she meets in bars and at her local diner. Her delivery is peppered with occasional profanity. She has been a member of Alcoholic’s Anonymous for 22 years. Heavily tattooed, she freely shares the story of her own foibles and faith. She was very clear-eyed about the personal travails faced by the marginalized and those without faith, and offered her own vulnerability.

Nadia combined her own painful insights as a youth growing up in a fundamentalist faith community. “But,” she said, “I learned how to overcome spiritual roadblocks with those to whom I have been called. I now can speak to persons who doubt in themselves, in God, and in their fellow humans to reconsider how their own conclusions may be the one thing they need to change for a better, more stable outlook.”

Some who hear and see Nadia will accuse her of playing a certain “shock value” to get attention, but in fairness to Nadia we need to step back and do a little real and honest thinking, which she certainly drove her audience to do.

So, let’s start with some honest thinking. Let’s recognize that, like it or not, conventions change. That’s almost an understatement. Over the years words drift in and out of acceptable status. Some of us will remember that “kid,” “gosh,” “darn,” were not to be used. Tattoos were considered disfigurement of the body. Many church pews in 2015 display manners of dress that would have been shocking years ago. Tattoos have become a graphic language for many.

Cultures and sub-cultures have their own conventions. Nadia may argue that certain language and dress opens doors to her that are closed to the rest of us. She has not suggested that all of us follow her example but that we provide space for someone who loves Jesus and those who Jesus loves.


The Journey

By Rev. Mike Bealla, Director of Connectional Ministries

Wow! We really are Better Together! We are not just “any-body,” we are the living body of the risen Christ alive in Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania. It is our connectionalism that empowers our work to make disciples of Jesus Christ and bring transformation to the world. Because we are people and churches connected as a denomination, we are able to do so much more than any one of our single congregations could ever hope to do.

On my way to the office one day, I happened to hear a “doomsday prophecy advocate” spouting his hopeless words for our world on a well-known radio talk show. I wasn’t surprised. This kind of fatalistic tripe seems to be permeating all kinds of media these days. Such fatalism encourages us to dwell in a sense of fear and uncertainty. More and more people say they are caught in a web of anxiety while others have sought refuge from fear by withdrawing from interaction with others.

In the church we seem to have become comfortable with the notion that there is little hope for the church which finds itself amid a culture of secularism and individualistic humanism. We look at the downward turn in membership and attendance as signs of the end for us. Vital ministry opportunities are set aside by some congregations as they simply focus upon survival. This is a misguided hope that we can return to the glory days of the 1950s by some magic means or perfect program that would rejuvenate our passion for Christ and the church.

As I visit with church leaders, I personally experience their passion for Christ and the church and hear folks painfully seeking new life for their congregations. I understand the anguish and often have to remind myself that along with the mission of going into the world (or our communities) to make disciples of Jesus Christ, is also the task of transforming the world … of changing what is un-Christ-like into the kingdom as God intended it to be.

We rightly cite Jesus’ last words in Matthew 28:16-20 as our marching orders and are seriously striving to align our work around that mission. We are making significant progress even though we know it will not happen overnight nor without a lot of intentional hard work. Still, we fall captive to a growing frustration about the world situation that seems to be ever present before us and of which we are reminded daily in the 24-hour news cycle.

But wait! Have we forgotten the very last words of Jesus? Those words he speaks after commissioning the disciples as the church and just before he ascends? The disciples certainly knew they had a challenge since Christ’s vision for the world now rested in their hearts, minds, and hands. In the face of the turmoil of their fractured world situation (much like that which we face today) they most assuredly could have simply given up and walked away.

And then Jesus spoke those all important words of promise … the very last words he spoke … “And remember, I am with you always until the end of the age.” That is God’s promise to us as well. The resurrection proclaimed God has won the battle. The clean-up is in our hands and it will not be easy. But we are heirs of that same promise … God is with us. Always. And in the end, God wins. God wins!

Let’s pray for one another that we will never forget our Lord’s promise and refuse to live as those who fear the future, but rather live as those who work continually to do no harm, to do good and most importantly stay in love with God.

Commentary: Sticking to Business

The sign in large letters pasted to the store window said, “Out of Business.” Someone had scratched below, “Forgot what our business was.” It’s probably what should accompany any sign that announces the end of a business.
When a church closes we don’t use an “Out of Business” sign. In some cases, perhaps we should.

From mega corporations to mom-and-pop enterprises, business thrives when the mission is clear to the owners, AND the employees, AND the customers, AND the potential customers. Blur the real purpose and the lights go out.

I’m not certain what the response would be if someone stopped at our churches and asked, “What’s you business?” If someone stopped at the fast food place on the corner of Walnut and Main and asked, “What’s the business of that tall brick building down the street with the fancy windows and the tall pointed roof?” I wonder what answer might come back.

So what’s our business? In 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 the Apostle Paul says (according to Peterson’s The Message) “God has given us the task of telling everyone what He is doing.” That’s a big job but it’s not exactly rocket science.
When we’re in the business of telling everyone what WE are doing we usually run amuck. If we focus on telling everyone what GOD is doing we’re “sticking to business” and we’ll stay in business.

Glad we could get together.


Story and photos by Sandii Peiffer

In July 2015 the IMPACT Festival, held at Greene Hills Camp and run by Salt ‘n Light Youth Ministry Inc., celebrated its twentieth anniversary.

Twenty-one years ago the Creation Festival held in Mt. Union, Pennsylvania, was cancelled due to flooding of the campground. With his youth prepped, packed, and ready to go to Creation, Rev. Dr. Stephen Gallaher, then a pastor at Warrior’s Mark United Methodist Church, called some of the other United Methodist youth leaders in the same boat and invited them to gather at Green Hills camp, where they held an impromptu youth gathering, camping around the manor, offering worship, large group and small group sessions in the barn, and other activities on the grounds. With participants numbering over 200, the IMPACT event was born.

The annual gathering was formalized and the first official IMPACT festival was held in 1996.

The IMPACT festival combines powerful praise and worship sessions, challenging breakout seminars, ambitious athletic and outdoor activities, life-changing lessons from God’s Word with a number of main stage gatherings, and a relational emphasis through group-building and campfire settings.

Approximately 650 young people, youth leaders, and chaperones attended IMPACT 2015.

IMPACT uses a variety of mediums to present the gospel in engaging ways such as creative arts, athletics, games, music, message, and witness. Their messages deal with pressing issues for youth in a scripturally relevant way through various art forms. IMPACT is also a place where teenagers are given the opportunity to talk openly about how God has changed their lives. “The hearts of teens are very receptive to truth that speaks to them,” said Gallaher.

When asked about the highlights of IMPACT over the past 20 years, Gallaher said those moments happen around the campfire at the end each day when kids are processing and reflecting on the events of the day with their youth groups and adult leaders. Other highlights are seeing young people offer their hearts to Jesus within their faith community (youth group/peers), whether for the first time or rededicating themselves.

Rev. John Overman, secretary of the Board of Directors for Salt ‘n Light, serves as the IMPACT pastor who is available to celebrate communion and provide pastoral care for groups and participants throughout the IMPACT event.
“We’d like to express our thanks for the joyful partnership with Greene Hills Camp, Site Director Charlie Renner, and the staff. We use every part of their facilities,” said a grateful Gallaher.

It all started with Bishop Felton May, Episcopal leader of the former Central Pennsylvania Conference. After a Great Escape youth event in 1991, sixteen young people responded to Bishop May’s invitation to answer God’s call. Bishop May asked Gallaher to follow up with those young people, and they became the foundation for the “Bishop’s Flock,” a focused youth ministry of the conference.
In 1997 Gallaher formed Salt ‘n Light Youth Ministries, an affiliate ministry of the former Central Pennsylvania Conference (now the Susquehanna Conference), and was appointed to serve in an extended appointment as its executive director.

In the beginning years, Camp Hill United Methodist Church pledged to fully fund the ministry of Salt ‘n Light, with the help of some seed grants from the General Church and other foundations to get it started. Salt ‘n Light Youth Ministries Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit, is now funded 60 percent through gifts and donations and 40 percent through services rendered (such as fees for events.) The twenty member Salt ‘n Light Board of Directors does the fundraising, and all funding for Salt n’ Light goes to people reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They have no financial obligations for buildings and facilities because Camp Hill UMC provides office space as part of their ongoing support for the ministry.

The ministry of Salt ‘n Light is to, with, and through young people. Gallaher realized early on in his ministry with youth that kids will listen to their peers before they will listen to adults. This became the basis for his ministry — letting teenagers talk about how God has impacted their life — and he saw that their peers were listening. “Youth Reaching Youth with the Gospel of Jesus Christ” became the motto of Salt ‘n Light Youth Ministry.

Salt ‘n Light has several arms to their ministry and holds about 30 events per year. Visit to view their promo videos, dramas, and dances, or for more information on each of the following: IMPACT Festival; Zeteo Conference; camps; missions; rallies; youth worker training; creative arts; consultations; retreats; Breathing Room (a renewal retreat for youth workers); and internship mentoring.

The creative arts ministries of S’nL are developed and created in-house – writing, choreography, drama, music, media, and more. A future goal of S’nL is to make some of these creative arts (such as drama videos) available in digital form.

Core staff for S’nL include the executive director; Director of Outreach, Cody Sherry; Director of Tech, Marketing, and Large Events, Ryan Murphy; Director of Creative Arts, Christie Miller (who writes all of the dramas); and Chief Financial Officer and Director of Missions, Chris Irvin. In the summer of 2015 there were 21 young people on staff participating in mentoring internships which provided significant leadership opportunities in various aspects of youth ministry. Summer staff are hired from high school, college, and seminary, and many of them remain involved year-round as they are available.

Leadership in Salt ‘n Light is collaborative. No one person is “the boss.” The executive director has general oversight and human resource responsibilities, but they work with one another. All staff have full authority in their area (including summer staff) and they work together and help one another when needed. They use failure as a learning opportunity by talking about it – together.
Salt ‘n Light is a relational youth ministry. “We know [your group/youth pastor/church] or will get to know you and then ‘cater’ to your group,” said Sherry. Part of their outreach efforts include the opportunity for youth leaders and pastors to check out any Salt ‘n Light event free of charge. Contact Cody Sherry at for more information.

Rev. Dr. Stephen Gallaher
Chris Irvin
Just as seasons change, leadership changes. At the end of 2015 Rev. Dr. Stephen Gallaher is stepping down as executive director of Salt ‘n Light. “It has been my tremendous privilege to work alongside of 119 incredible S’nL staff persons and countless youth, youth workers, parents, and pastors over the past eighteen and one half years through this ministry,” said Gallaher. Chris Irvin, who has been involved with Salt ‘n Light since he was a teenager, and employed with them full-time for the past two years, was selected to assume the role of executive director beginning January 1, 2016. Gallaher’s relationship with S’nL will continue as “Pastor in Residence”— his role being sacramental and shepherding the S’nL core team — and as a youth ministry trainer and consultant.

Outside of his involvement with S’nL Gallaher will continue to teach as Professor of Christian Ministries/Youth Ministries at Messiah College, and in his role of associate pastor at Camp Hill UMC. He will also provide consultations and youth worker training through Plum Hollow Youth Ministry Resources, in partnership with Messiah College and Salt ‘n Light.

Commentary: Focusing on God in the busyness of life

By Morgan Robinette, Young People’s Ministry Council

The world stands still for no one. There is always something to be done, a goal to achieve, a feat to accomplish. Social functions, jobs, classes, activities, and other responsibilities constantly demand our time and attention. Schedules and agendas seem to bypass the limits of human capacity, let alone the amount you can cram into a twenty-four hour day. Everyone wants to deepen their faith, but when you can barely find time to breathe, how can you remain focused on God?

Spending time growing your relationship with God is essential to living a Christian life, but often gets put on a back burner when life gets busy. Scripture is read in church on Sunday, but your Bible remains closed on the nightstand from Monday to Saturday as you race to address the demands of the week. Church services are skipped due to other obligations. Prayer falls from a regular part of your day to something you do only when the occasion calls. Your mind slowly becomes more and more occupied, until a whole day goes by and you haven’t given God a single thought.

Making time for your Father is easier than you may think. A few minor adjustments can help you stay focused on God throughout the day. First and foremost, you must have a desire to grow closer to Him. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” Once you commit to your decision, take a moment to prayerfully ask God to reveal Himself to you. After you do, you’ll be surprised with how quickly He responds.

A second key component to focusing on God is studying His Word. Not only does Scripture teach you to live in a way that is pleasing to God, but it also enables you to understand Him. A perfect way to start reading regularly is to use a devotional resource with quick, convenient readings and commentaries that are applicable to daily life. Pick up a devotional book or sign up to receive devotionals via e-mail (search online). Scroll through one with your morning coffee, read one in study hall, or stick one in your car or desk at work. Set a routine time for devotions each day. A few minutes is all it takes to refresh your thoughts and focus your heart and mind on God.

Prayer, another fundamental aspect of Christian life, is easily skipped over when you’re caught up in this, that, and the other thing. However, taking the time to pray throughout the day is fairly simple. One idea is to find a “prayer stone,” a bead, pebble, or any small object, and place it somewhere you see frequently. Every time you glance at your stone, stop and say a quick prayer. You can pray at any hour — God is omnipresent and hears you ‘round the clock. Say a brief prayer for strength when you wake up in the morning. Ask God to open your heart to help you better understand His Word before you do your devotions. Before you go to bed, take time to reflect on your day, pray for any needs, or just thank your Heavenly Father for your blessings. As with reading Scripture, praying draws you nearer to God and reveals more and more of His endless love and goodness.

Even though life can be hectic, at times even chaotic, keeping your mind trained on God whilst balancing a busy schedule is easier than you think. Daily devotionals, Scripture reading, and praying frequently are all easy ways to remain focused on God. As you spend more and more time with Him, He will become a part of your life and affect your words, thoughts, and actions without you consciously thinking about Him doing so. No longer will you go an entire day without thinking of Him once; you’ll soon see Him in everything!

Celebration of Partners in Mission

Dear Partners in Mission of the Susquehanna Conference,

Grace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Healer of our Brokenness, and Hope of the World.

I am overflowing with joy and gratitude as I share this exciting news with you. As of the end of August 2015, the individuals, congregations, small groups and friends of the Susquehanna Annual Conference have contributed close to $300,000 to Bishop’s Partners in Mission. There is absolutely no way that I can properly express my appreciation and excitement to each person and congregation for their generous support. Every gift, no matter its size, when added together, has made this awesome accomplishment possible. Thanks and praise be to God!

Because of the mission loving United Methodists of our annual conference, both Mission Central and the Imagine No Malaria Campaign of the United Methodist Church will receive a significant life-giving and life-saving gift. These worthy causes are the priorities of Bishop’s Partners in Mission. It was a moment of exceeding joy when the Cabinet and I were privileged to present a check of $143,380.09 to Mission Central on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, on your behalf. The Imagine No Malaria receives a check of $137,515.09. These gifts include some designated giving.

For too many of God’s children, malaria is a constant reality that shortens too many lives. Through your generous gift there will be more lives served and saved around the world. Over 620,000 lives, mostly children under age 5 in Africa, are lost from the preventable and curable disease of malaria each year. The efforts to eradicate malaria must go on. I would like you to know that the United Methodist Church, in partnership with prominent global organizations, is making a huge impact on stomping out this killer disease. The death rate from malaria has been cut almost by half in recent years. Our gift is a part of the $66 million dollars raised by our denomination towards the goal of $75 million dollars. I hope and pray that we will be able to raise $1 million dollars toward the denominational goal.

In 2014 Mission Central served nearly 1.9 million individuals. The total value of the resources and goods shared was approximately $7.5 million dollars. Mission Central is Susquehanna Conference in mission at its best. Once the mortgage of its facility is paid off, Mission Central will have significant additional funds from their operating budget to touch and serve more people in need. Our gift represents sizable progress toward eliminating its $1 million dollar debt. With you I am eagerly waiting for the day when we burn the mortgage. Your generous giving hastens the day.

As the circle of Bishop’s Partners in Mission continues to expand, heart-warming stories emerge. Let me briefly share some of them with you. One eight year old child of one of our pastors took $25.00 of his birthday money and contributed it to Bishop’s Partners in Mission. One pastor brought me a check of $1,043 and said, “This is for Imagine No Malaria raised by the children of my church.” Several congregations gave either all or part of their Christmas Eve offerings with an amazing result. Some congregations made a significant donation out of their funds. Some had a special offering. Some others presented “a surprise gift” when I visited them. During the annual conference this year, one of our pastors brought me a check of $120, one dollar for each of Bishop’s pushups. To my amazement, a person sent me a letter to inform me that he changed his mind and he is now going to give $5,000 a year for three years instead of his initial pledge of $3,000 a year. A gift from a small rural congregation showed their extravagant generosity. Indeed, some gifts represent the window’s mite. There are also many Leading Bishop’s Partners in Mission who have given $1,000 or more. No matter of the size of the gift, each gift represents a generous partner in mission who loves to tell the story of Jesus and his love. To each one of you, I thank you, thank you, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The Bishop’s Partners in Mission initiative will continue as long as this Bishop serves the Susquehanna Conference. I solicit your prayers and support that you continue to give as you have so generously given. 100% of the gifts received will go to either “Imagine No Mortgage” for Mission Central or the “Imagine No Malaria” denominational campaign.

Thanks be to God that we are a church in mission. Indeed, together we are making a difference in transforming the world. May God continue to richly bless and honor you, your loved ones, and your ministry. It is indeed my joy and privilege to serve God and the Church of Jesus Christ with you.

With you in Christ’s Mission,

Jeremiah Park, Bishop, Susquehanna Conference UMC

Strengthening Your Faith Family

By Audrey Wilder, Director of Young People’s Ministry

Sunday, September 13, Wesley Forest Camp welcomed the Young People’s Ministry Council and churches from across the Susquehanna Conference for a fun day of team-building and fellowship. This event was just the first in several that YPMC will be offering during the 2015-2016 school year. Strengthening Your Faith Family was designed to help youth leaders and their students to work together to build solid foundations for ministry in the upcoming school year.

Student leaders from YPMC led games that challenged youth groups to work together, from building the tallest structure using spaghetti, tape, twine and a marshmallow, to launching water balloons over a net into Hula Hoops, to human hungry hippos, everyone had a fantastic time. The Wesley Forest staff also assisted youth groups through several elements on the low ropes course. We even caught a few of the youth leaders joining in the fun.

Closing worship was lead by The Rise Worship Band, out of Altoona. An offering was collected for the Bishop’s Partners In Mission. Julia Briselli, student leader on YPMC, offered a reflection on the importance of strengthening the bonds with your faith family. She shared that because of the strength of her youth group, everyone had been able to stay hopeful and positive in the face of their youth director being diagnosed with Leukemia. This powerful testimony spoke to the importance of our faith families in times of trial as well as times of blessing.

The Bits & Pieces events are far from over. The YPMC is still planning three more events:
  • Becoming A Leader: Sunday, January 31, at Fishing Creek Salem UMC
  • Serving Jesus by Serving Others: Sunday, March 13, at Mission Central, Altoona District Hub, Covenant Helping Hands Hub, Shoemaker Hub, and Gethsemane Hub.
  • What’s Next?: Sunday, April 24, at St. John’s Newberry UMC. 
Details about these events and registration is available on the Young People’s Ministry website at

Youth Service Fund

Youth Service Fund grants are available for all churches in the Susquehanna Conference. Grants are given to fund developing new or expanding existing youth-led ministries. The full details of grant guidelines and expectations are detailed in the YSF application. Download the application by going to the Young People’s Ministry web page at, click on “Youth” and then click on “Youth Service Fund.” Application deadline is October 31, 2015.

2015 Recipients were:

  • Hope UMC, Port Trevorton: Summer outreach camp for unchurched and nominally religious children. 
  • Catawissa Parish UMC: Beginning a new youth ministry in the two-point charge.
  • McConnellsburg UMC: Summer mission project to bring hope to those in great need in Fulton County, Pa. 
  • St. Paul UMC, Manchester: Summer mission trip where youth work on crews with others from around the U.S. to serve the local community.
  • Millersburg Youth Center: Ecumenical after-school youth program focused on providing safety, tutoring, and mentoring.

Reaching out to older adults

 On September 25, 2015, Chambersburg Mall held their annual Senior Fair. As in years past, Rev. James Fox, retired, set up a display representing Older Adult Ministries of the United Methodist Church with materials provided by Discipleship Ministries.

Brochures about “Normal Aging” and “Boomers,” especially the “Boomer Quiz,” were among the top draws. The display also included a selection of books on older adult and intergenerational topics, and some lens wipes with United Methodist logos, which disappeared quickly.

The United Methodist display was selected as a place where people could get a card stamped for a special prize giveaway, which generated more visitors to the table and more opportunities to reach out on behalf of the church. “We drew people’s attention to the materials on intergenerational ministries, care giving, and “normal aging,” said Rev. Fox, who estimated over 500 visitors to the display, with at least 50-75 people engaging in one-on-one conversations.

In addition to Fox, Bruce Gowe, pastor of Conococheague Charge, and a seminary student at Wesley Seminary in Washington, D.C., manned the display table. Gowe is also a leader in Young People’s Ministries in Susquehanna Conference. As Gowe’s mentor, Fox was able to dialogue with him on intergenerational ministry issues. “As a conference, we need more emphasis on intergenerational relationships in the home and at church.”

“All in all it was a wonderful day,” said Fox. “It’s my prayer that we may have brought a few folks closer to inquiring about the United Methodist Church.”

Celebrating our camp leaders

By Anne Horton, Director of Camp & Retreat Ministry

The year 2015 has been an exciting ministry year for Camp Penn, Greene Hills, Mount Asbury, and Wesley Forest. We thank all the volunteer deans, counselors, nurses, and program coordinators for their time and energy. We thank the site directors and staffs at each of the sites for the gifts and graces they have brought to their jobs. All of these folks have helped to provide an outstanding and awesome experience for the children, youth, and adults that participated in a summer camp ministry.

We want to recognize three people who have worked tirelessly with the camping ministry for many years. These folks will be stepping away from camping ministry and we want to recognize their time and commitment to making a difference in young people’s lives.

Jay Jones has been involved in Camp & Retreat Ministry continuously for 36 years. Jay began as a counselor at Central Oak Heights with Music Camp. He moved to Wesley Forest with Music Camp and Elementary Camp, and in recent years has been at Greene Hills with an Elementary and Junior High camp.

Alan Strock has been involved at Camp Penn for 31 years. He has worked diligently in providing guidance, direction, and spiritual nurture to an Elementary Camp during these years.

Kathy Smyers has been involved at Camp Penn with Elementary Camp for 18 years. From counselor, camp nurse, to camp dean, Kathy has shown care and compassion for all of the children who have come to that particular week of summer camp.

The impact of their ministry is immeasurable, yet they are only a few of the countless volunteers who are making a difference in the lives of people of all ages. We humbly thank Jay, Alan, and Kathy for giving of themselves, and are grateful also for all the volunteers they have brought into the camping ministry.
We say THANK YOU and wish each of them well in the journey ahead.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Blessing of the helmets

After moving to Paxton UMC in July, 2015, Pastor Brent Salsgiver wrote a letter to Susquehanna Township High School football coach Joe Headen: At my previous church I worked with the coaches of the surrounding teams and had ‘blessing of the helmets’ before the start of the season … I wanted to extend the same opportunity to you and your team. The letter was warmly received.
Coach Headen invited Salsgiver to a football team practice at the high school in September, where he offered a brief devotion to the team and a blessing for each player.

“God doesn’t really care whether you win or lose,” shared Salsgiver. “I don’t think God finds more joy in the winners than He does in the losers.”
Salsgiver continued to share about how God has gifted each member of the team with certain abilities to work together as a team. “What would your team look like if you only had quarterbacks? How about kickers? Linemen? No team would be complete if you only had one type of person … God made each one of you with different abilities. Some of you God gave great strength and the ability to block. Others he gave the ability to catch or throw.”

Salsgiver told team members that God had given them brains so that they could learn and think for themselves, that God gave them the ability to have compassion and to treat others with respect and love, and that God gave them the ability to laugh and bring joy to people lives. “These are things that God cares about, that you are using the abilities that God has given you. God finds joy on Friday nights not in whether you win or lose, but in your intentional use of the gifts He has given you.” Salsgiver challenged them to be intentional about using the gifts God had given them on and off the field, declaring them to always be “winners” if they did.

Salsgiver then offered a blessing over each player. “Almighty God, bless (player’s name.) Surround him with your safety and security. Strengthen him throughout this season and give him the courage to be the man you have called him to be. Amen.”

Continuing the outreach efforts, Paxton UMC provided dinner for the team prior to a Friday night game In October.

The Courage to Lead

By Rev. Michelle Bodle

When I first heard the name of a regional retreat for clergy under the age of 35 sponsored by the Center for Courage and Renewal and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, I cringed. “The Courage to Lead” sounded corny and the description of what we would be doing together during a six month ministry intensive seemed to be lacking details. As a planner, it took me a while to take the leap of faith to apply, but I am so glad now that I did. Glad that I took the risk of going to the retreat with the corny title, because it has truly re-shaped my ministry.

As someone who is young in ministry, both in terms of age and years of service, I will be the first to admit that I have a lot to learn and a lot of places to grow. However, the Center for Courage and Renewal helped me discover new dimensions of my leadership to others by discovering the leader that lies within.
During the processes of going to seminary and ordination, leadership seems to be one of the hot topics - how to grow in your leadership skills, how to vision with a congregation, as well as other similar topics, but I do not remember the topic of leadership from within being brought up. Now, as a disclosure, maybe I just didn’t pay attention if the topic was brought up, but as a whole, the topic of being a leader didn’t seem to come with much focus on leading from the still, small voice inside of you. The Center for Courage and Renewal, under the direction of Parker Palmer, has taken Quaker spiritual practices of clearness committees, silence, and reflection, and has crafted leadership retreats and peer learning groups that help us discover and articulate who those in healing professions truly are in their soul.

In this particular experience, two retreats were held, one in April and the second in October, with six peer learning calls in between. Whether it was on a peer learning call or in a covenant group at the retreat, each participant was encouraged to embrace the touchstones of the courage movement, including but not limited to, learning how to respond with open, honest questions, turning to wonder, trusting the silence, and not fixing, saving, advising, or correcting each other. These touchstones, along with six others, acted as boundaries around our time together that encouraged deep self-reflection and honest, self-disclosure.

It is hard to put words around the courage movement, and it is even harder to fully articulate how this experience has changed me. However, I know that it has made me listen more deeply to my congregation and those I serve. It has helped me rely on the guiding of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my ministry and has encouraged me to spend more time in silence, seeking that guiding presence. It has taught me that people know what they need, if only we give them permission to truly ask.

I have always been a strong believer in continuing education that attends both to the spiritual and the practical, but this program has reaffirmed that belief in me even more. What would it look like if we attended to our own souls, in a community of support, in order to best serve in the places where we find ourselves? What if we stopped trying to fix others and instead helped cultivate a place where folks could listen to their own souls? How could individuals and communities be transformed?

Missionaries to Israel/Palestine

By Lisa Bender

Rev. Alex and Brenda Awad, retiring United Methodist missionaries to Israel/Palestine, are visiting conferences across the U.S. this fall. They shared their compelling story with Bishop Park and the conference staff as part of their time in Susquehanna Conference October 9-10.

Alex Awad served as pastor of a small church in Jerusalem and was dean at Bethlehem Bible College. Brenda Awad was an English teacher and administratator at the college. They have done mission work with Christians in Gaza and with Syrian refugees during their 26 years of service.
See “The Awads” on

The indigenous Christian community in the Holy Land is rapidly disappearing, and is now only 2% of the population.  Bethlehem Bible College was started to train young people in Palestine for careers in ministry, tourism and media in the hope that they will remain to be caretakers of our Christian holy sites.  Palestinian Christians seek the prayers and actions of Christians around the world and invite us to be part of their struggle to end the occupation.

Alex shared his family’s story of life in a Jerusalem community with his parents and six brothers and sisters that ended in 1948 when they were pushed out into East Jerusalem.  When his civilian father was killed in a crossfire of the war, his mother returned to school and became a nurse to support her large family.  Her children are today very thankful for their Christian mother who taught them to never harbor hate for anyone, and to always forgive.

 Alex has spent his life spreading this message while praying for peace in the troubled region.  He presented signs of hope that include grassroots efforts to educate the world of the dual narratives that comprise the conflict, along with actions we can take to help the governments involved to settle the conflict, cease the building of illegal settlements and end the occupation.

Prayer breakfast for state lawmakers

On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, twenty-five guests and religious leaders gathered at Grace United Methodist Church in Harrisburg, Pa., to eat breakfast and share in a time of prayer. The event was hosted by United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania. United Methodist officials from each of the three Pennsylvania United Methodist Annual Conferences participated in the liturgy.
The purpose of the prayer breakfast was to provide a non-political setting where lawmakers could gather in shared faith to pray for one another, the state government, and wisdom for the difficult decisions facing the Senate and House this fall session.

An unexpected and delightful incidence in the proceedings occurred when Representative Jesse Topper (a United Methodist), on the spur of the moment, was able to take on the role of piano accompanist during the hymn singing. Representative Topper majored in musical performance as an undergraduate.
Rev. Dai Morgan, Coordinator of United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania, observed that it has been a long time since there has been an organized prayer breakfast for state lawmakers. “I think this prayer breakfast was needed and appreciated by those in attendance. I’d like to see it happen again. This could be the start of a regular program of similar events sponsored by the United Methodist Church.”

Short-term mission “Lend a Leader”

In our continuing effort to support local Volunteers in Mission programs, we are excited to announce a pilot program for a limited number of churches. We, the VIM council and director of VIM, will offer to serve as a team leader for a limited number of congregations if your church agrees to supply a leader for a team the following year.

We recognize that sometimes the interest is present to have a team but it can be intimidating to be a first-time leader. If your church is selected we will provide an experienced leader that not only will lead but also train and mentor a follow-up leader from your congregation or cluster.

To apply, simply email Curt Knouse at with your name, congregation, and contact phone number.

“We’re Better Together” — Intentional intergeneration

By Jeff Swanger

“One generation commends your works to another; 
they tell of your mighty acts.” — Psalm 145:4

Many times we hear the expression, "we're better together". The phrase can have great meaning when connected to Intentional Intergenerational church growth.

For the first time in the history of the church there is the opportunity to receive and minister to six generations. All six generations have gifts and graces to share with each and others within and outside the Christian family.

Intentional Intergeneration is not something new, the fact is it has deep roots in our Jewish and Christian history. In Deuteronomy 6:1-9 Moses commanded the parents and grandparents to recite to their children about the statues and ordinances so their children would know them and observe them diligently. Also, from the first century onward, Christian faith communities have been intergenerational communities. Paul told Timothy to care for both older and younger men and women(Timothy 5:1-3).

The church as Christ's spiritual family has a tremendous opportunity to intentionally bring six generations together in a healthy environment whereby children can hear the stories of the past from the older folks of the church family, the younger generation can share not only their generational views but the "how to" of technology (iPAD, Computer, newer telephones, etc). Together all generations can work and learn together as well reach out in Christian love to the least, lost, and lowly.

Intentionally becoming intergenerational and bringing generations together within the church brings with it benefits and blessings:
  • A diverse congregation appears welcoming to all types of people.
  • Teaches us to care for one another.
  • Allows us to pass on traditions of the faith.
  • Allows greater faith in all generations.
  • Promotes intergenerational understanding.
  • Reclaims God's intent for faith to be shared in community and across generations.
  • Creates special relationships between youth and adults.

The question remains is, how do we as a church family intentionally reach in and outward to become an Intentional Intergenerational Church? The following suggestions open the door to become an Intentional Intergenerational Church.
  1. Form an "Intergenerational Task Force" made up from a representative from each generation.
  2. Identify intergenerational activities that could generate intergeneration growth or improvement.
  3. Integrate intergenerational programming into the age-group plan and calendar.
  4. Develop mentoring relationships between youth and adults (service involvement, Confirmation mentors).
  5. Intergenerationalize councils and/or committees.

A "healthy church" is one that intentionally reaching out to all generations knowing that we are indeed "Better Together" in sharing our faith- fulfilling the great commandment.

Roberto Robert, OUR FUTURE IS INTERGENERATIONAL, Christian Education Journal, 2012
Lancaster Lynn and Stillman David, WHEN GENERATIONS COLLIDE, Collins Business.

Internet Publications:   Becoming Intentionally Intergenerational future is intergenerational an Intergenerational Congregation

General Board of Church and Society seminar will focus on mass incarceration

Join colleagues and friends for a fun, educational trip to Washington, D.C., and the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society in February 2016. This particular seminar will focus on the work of the GBCS around mass incarceration.

Our bus will depart from two locations in the Susquehanna Conference. We will promptly depart from First UMC, 604 Market St., Williamsport, at 3 p.m., and Paxton UMC, 3350 N. Progress Ave., Harrisburg, around 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 21. We will return to Paxton UMC around 5 p.m. Wednesday, February 24, with the bus continuing to Williamsport.

We will spend time at the United Methodist Building in the heart of Washington, D.C., learning about the UMC General Board of Church and Society. We will have an opportunity to meet with our U.S. Senators and/or members of their staff. We will specifically be learning about mass incarceration. There will also be free time to explore D.C. More details upon registration.

Mass Incarceration
Currently there are more than 2,300,000 people incarcerated in the United States prison system. The tough-on-crime policies of the 1980s and 90s that included trying juveniles as adults, eliminating parole, truth in sentencing, the privatization of building prisons, the expansion of mandatory minimum sentencing, three strikes laws, and incarcerating low-level drug offenders rather than providing drug abuse treatment, have all led to an ever-increasing prison population. We will explore this issue in depth with members of the GBCS whose work focuses on this important area of justice, and we will consider how we as United Methodists might respond.

Cost will be $375. This includes bus transportation, lodging at the Hotel Harrington in Washington, D.C., (single rooms available at an additional cost), and meals and materials at the GBCS. Participants should bring money for metro transportation, meals not eaten at the GBCS, a tip for the bus driver, and any other personal expenses.

Register early, limited spaces available. Reservations and full payment are due by January 15, 2016. Full participation in all seminar activities is required. CEU’s will be available. Please contact Rev. Andrew Burd-Harris with questions: 304-554-9131 or

Backpack ministry

Pictured above: Matthew Pugh, project organizer from Muhlenburg UMC, Joseph Rasmus, principal of Northwest Area Primary School, Pastor Jim McGee of Five Mountain Charge, and Pastor Gail Kitchen of McKendree and Oakdale UMCs.

Six churches in the Lewisburg district of the Susquehanna Conference joined forces for a backpack ministry for their local elementary school.
Pastor Jim McGee of Five Mountain Charge (Bloomingdale UMC, Muhlenburg UMC, Hunlock Creek UMC, and First Shickshinny UMC) and Pastor Gail Kitchen of McKendree UMC and Oakdale UMC spearheaded the project. Congregations gave monetary donations, backpacks, and school supplies resulting in 160 filled backpacks for the primary school students.

Discovery Place resources: Advent resources going fast

By Jody Robinson, Director of Discovery Place

The Advent Season is always a hectic one in the life of the local congregation.
Extra worship services, special programs, and fellowship events all add up to a very busy schedule. If we focus only on these events, we run the risk of missing the true meaning of the season. Why not set aside some time to complete an Advent-themed small group study where you and your group can dig deeper and share some meaningful conversation around the birth of our Lord and Savior and what “God With Us” means for us today.

Finding Bethlehem In The Midst Of Bedlam, by James W. Moore: Christmas or confusion, Bethlehem or bedlam … which will you choose this year? The truth is, we don’t have to choose, because Christmas always happens right in the midst of confusion. God breaks into the confusion and is made known in Jesus Christ. God can still be heard over our human noise. This 5-session study explores how God comes to us even in the midst of chaos and how we can, in turn, be light that the world seeks, especially during the Christmas season.

The Christmas Experience, by Kyle Idleman: The Christmas Experience is a 6-week small group study that examines the Christmas story in detail, helping groups (and families) prepare for the Christmas season. Each episode will focus on how God chose each individual in the Christmas story for a specific purpose. Those participating in The Christmas Experience study will be able to find themselves in the Christmas story, as they learn that what happened then changes everything now.

Under Wraps: The Gift We Never Expected: Under Wraps is an Advent experience that explores the character of God described in the Old Testament and then revealed through Jesus Christ. Each week centers on a key word that describes a characteristic of God that is evidenced in the Old Testament and then seen more clearly through Jesus: faithful, dangerous, expectant, and jealous. Additional material on the theme of “Joy” is provided for an optional Christmas week focus. Contributors include Jessica LaGrone, Andy Nixon, Rob Renfroe, and Ed Robb.

Sent: Delivering The Gift Of Hope At Christmas: by Jorge Acevedo. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them ... —John 17:18. God sent Christ into the world as our Savior. That’s what Christmas is all about. In turn, Christ sends us into the world. But do we really understand how, where, and why we are sent? This five-week, church-wide Advent study challenges us through story, art, and Bible study to discover what it means to be Christ’s hands, feet, head, and heart. The videos, which were created by a group of dynamic young pastors, makes Sent appropriate for adults and young adults. Contributors include Jorge Acevdeo, Justin LaRosa, Rachel Billups, Lanecia Rouse, and Jacob Armstrong.

Where Your Treasure Is: Eight shifts in stewardship thinking

By Phyllis Bowers, Executive Director United Methodist Stewardship 

On September 19, Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship and Connectional Ministries at the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship, offered a powerful and moving Stewardship Seminar at Shavertown United Methodist Church. His focus on changing churches and transforming lives came down to eight vital shifts in stewardship thinking, with a summary as follows:

  1. Move from seasonal to continual: Why aren’t we talking about all ways of giving in all seasons?
  2. Move from an attitude of scarcity to one of abundance: Did you know that in 2012, United Methodists gave $6.2 billion, or $121 million per week, which is an average of $12,000 per second, 24/7?
  3. Move from “got to” to gratitude: Instead of telling of our duty and obligation to give, why not emphasize the community and hope we are celebrating as the body of Christ when we give?
  4. Move from purse to purpose: If people are inspired by ownership and difference-making in our ministries, how can we share the impact of our global collaboration as part of their story too?
  5. Move from numbers to narrative: What if we understood how stories touch hearts and lead to more giving than facts and figures?
  6. Move from theirs to ours: In what ways have we shared that our Methodist connection working together has done more than any one church could do on its own?
  7. Move from mortar to mission: What if we weren’t as concerned with maintaining a building as we were about sustaining our focus outside the walls?
  8. Move from members to disciples: If “members gather, but disciples are sent,” what’s your church’s exit strategy? 

Dr. Sloane warned that no church can do all eight changes of heart and mind at once. Yet with God’s help, one change can lead to another. May you move into this new season with a high expectation of returning to God, not just our blessings from him, but ourselves as well. Why not contact The Stewardship Foundation ( or 800-272-0113) for your next step in stewardship education, planned giving, and investing?

Our Heritage

By Milton Loyer, Conference Archivist

September – 100 years ago
The Allegheny Conference of the United Brethren Church met September 21-26, 1915, and regrouped its 26 church buildings between the Juniata River and Penns Creek into five circuits as follows:

  1. East Salem – East Salem, Brown’s, Whiteland, Richfield, Mt. Zion.
  2. Middleburg – Middleburg, New Berlin, Hummels, Kissimmee, Ebenzer, Freemont, Freeburg.
  3. Union [New Buffalo] – Hill, Reward, Bucks, Center Union.
  4. Liverpool – Liverpool, Salem, Pfoutz Valley.
  5. Susquehanna – St. Thomas, Paradise, St. Johns, Markwood, McKee’s Half Falls, Zion.

One hundred years later, over half of those congregations are still in ministry and exactly half of those buildings still house current United Methodist congregations.
The conference also passed two resolutions indicative of the times.

  1. “WHEREAS, We believe that women should be extended the privilege of the ballot … RESOLVED, That the delegates to the annual meeting of the Allegheny Conference of the United Brethren in Christ be urged to endorse woman suffrage.”
  2. RESOLVED, That this Conference go on record as endorsing the plan of the Anti-Saloon League for national prohibition in 1920; and as cooperating with our estimable Governor in his fight for a local option law in our State.”

October – 50 years ago
In the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Church, the Conference Board of Hospitals and Homes fixed October 17 and 24, 1965, as the dates for the annual Harvest Home Services – times for gathering foodstuffs, cash, and other supplies for the Methodist Home for Children and the Epworth Manor Retirement Home. While home-canned fruits and vegetables continued to be the most desired items, the publicity included this timely update: “Cash gifts have been on the increase in recent years, due to fewer gardens and less canning. Cash is always welcome and usable, and we can buy to considerable advantage at wholesale prices. Do not use cash money for purchase of canned goods.” It was also noted that congregations could send money for specific projects and that “for years the New Cumberland congregation has designated their cash money to the Children’s Home for pajamas and shirts” and “Camp Hill requests that their offering be used for jeans and trousers.” Congregations desiring suggested projects were invited to contact superintendent V.B. Hann of the Children’s Home or administrator H.W. Glassco of Epworth Manor.

On to Glory - Death Notices

Rev. Vidal L. Cordova, Retired, of South East Sixty-Third Avenue, Summerfield, Fla., died Saturday, September 19, 2015. Among his survivors is his wife, Juanita (nee Rodriguez) Cordova. Memorial services were held September 23, 2015, in Roberts Funeral Home, Ocala, Fla.

Mrs. Jean Doris (nee Schmidt) Jones, of Browning Close, Moosic, Pa., died at home Wednesday, September 2, 2015. Among her survivors is her husband, Rev. William A. Jones Sr., Retired. Memorial services were held Saturday, September 5, 2015, in Brian Arthur Stauch Funeral Home, Spring Brook Township, Pa. Interment was in Fairview Memorial Park, Elmhurst Township, Pa.

Rev. Henry E. Gable, Retired, of North Fourth Street, Hughesville, Pa., died Wednesday, October 7, 2015, in Evangelical Hospital, Lewisburg, Pa. Memorial services were held Sunday, October 11, 2015, in Bethany United Methodist Church, Hughesville, Pa. Interment was in Stoney Brook Mennonite Church Cemetery, York, Pa.

Mrs. Juliette R. Patrick, widow of Rev. M. Eugene Patrick, died Tuesday, September 15, 2015, in Middletown Home, Middletown, Pa. Memorial services were held Saturday, September 19, 2015, in Gravel Hill United Methodist Church, Palmyra, Pa. Interment was in Gravel Hill Cemetery, Palmyra, Pa.

Mrs. Betty M. (nee Getz) Stambach, of Wesley Drive, Mechanicsburg, Pa., widow of Rev. Arthur W. Stambach, died Monday, September 21, 2015, at Bethany Village. Among her survivors are her daughter and son-in-law, Rev. Chuck and Nancy Sprenkle. Memorial services were held Friday, September 25, 2015, in Bethany Village East Community Room, Mechanicsburg, Pa. Interment was in Highland View Cemetery, Red Lion, Pa.

Rev. Richard W. Swartz, Retired, of Mifflintown, Pa., died Monday, September 28, 2015, in Golden Living Center -William Penn, Lewistown, Pa. Memorial services were held Sunday, October 4, 2015, in First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, Pa. Interment was in Mt. Annville Cemetery, Annville, Pa.

Rev. Dr. William F. Woods, Retired, of Ridgecrest Center, Lewisburg, Pa., died Sunday, September 6, 2015, at RiverWoods. Among his survivors is his wife, Thelma L. (nee Bayne) Woods. Memorial Services were held Saturday, September 19, 2015, in Marlow Hall, RiverWoods, Lewisburg, Pa.