Friday, September 16, 2016

Quilted by Connection - 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference

Clergy and lay delegates of the Susquehanna Conference participated in the (quadrennial) 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference held in Lancaster July 11-15. The Northeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church covers the nine Episcopal areas (10 annual conferences) located in the area from Maine south to West Virginia. The Northeastern Jurisdiction is one of five U.S. jurisdictions, along with seven central conferences that serve United Methodists around the globe. For a summary of the week’s events and business, you can read the summary edition of the NEJ Daily Christian Advocate at

Bishop Park challenges new bishops to keep UMC united

By Maidstone Mulenga, Editor of NEJ DCA

The newest members of the Northeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops have been challenged to help keep The United Methodist Church alive and thriving despite the differences over human sexuality.

Harrisburg Area Resident Bishop Jeremiah Park issued the challenge during the consecration service for Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and Bishop LaTrelle Easterling on Friday, July 15, at First United Methodist Church in Lancaster, Pa.

Bishop Moore-Koikoi and Bishop Easterling were elected on the 11th and 17th ballots, respectively, during the 2016 NEJ Conference at Lancaster Marriott Hotel.

In his sermon before he consecrated the two to the episcopacy, Bishop Park urged United Methodists to focus on what is right with the church instead of focusing on the differences and things that were not going well in the denomination.

He pointed out such success stories as raising nearly 70 million dollars to combat the killer disease malaria; feeding of thousands of hungry people and children by our churches daily; hundreds of thousands of Volunteers in Mission serving the broken and hurting lives as they repair the damaged houses and rebuild the homes of hope. “That’s what’s right with our church!”

Bishop Park also noted that the NEJ College of Bishops has taken a stance to seek justice, repentance and reconciliation in the midst of the chaos, fear, and violence so that the church can be the church. “We seek not just to love peace, but to be peacemakers.”

“And our people responded to the statement with such a spirit-filled and passionate affirmation and gave their commitment to confront injustice and violence in partnership with the bishops and one another. That’s what’s right with our church!”

He reminded the newly elected bishops all their colleagues in the College of Bishops are “your partners in the spectacular mission, ministry, and witness of our beloved church. Let’s do our best to keep the church of our dream alive and thriving.”

Urging the church to remain united as leaders discern the best way forward in regarding human sexuality, Bishop Park used the example of his homeland Korea to illustrate the importance of unity. “The divided Korea ended the Christian presence in the North. Families and loved ones have been separated for more than 70 years. It is the only country still divided since the Cold War ended. Korea represents the pain and suffering of the tragedy of division and separation in the most heart-breaking way.”

He emphasized that United Methodists have a rich opportunity now to show and lead the broken world on the best way of overcoming fear of differences and all kinds of isms and phobias that continue to build walls of division, hostility and disunity. “Will the church show the way? Will The United Methodist Church represent healing to our broken world? Will people look at United Methodists and see a sign of hope?”

If United Methodists remain united, it would reflect the commitment of God’s people to oneness as is represented in the prayer at the Lord’s Table: “Make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world.” At the same time, it is a witness to healing and hope in our broken and divided and hurting world, he said.

Turning to the new bishops, Bishop Park encouraged them not to have fear but to remember Isaiah 41:10 shows that God is with them and that prayers are being offered for them and their loved ones.
“May the grace of God surround you as you lead our beloved United Methodist Church to a way forward in unity for such a time as this,” he said.

Bishop Moore-Koikoi has been assigned to the Pittsburgh Area where she will lead the Western Pennsylvania Conference while Bishop Easterling has been assigned to the Washington Area where she will lead the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Both assignments start Sept. 1, 2016.

Hearts Strangely Warmed

“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.

Rev. Terry Brosius (third from left) celebrated his ordination with his family in 2015.

Always motivated

Rev. Terry Brosius

Before my call to become a pastor 

After graduating from Halifax High school, I studied art at Harrisburg Area Community College. I then attended Lancaster Bible College and dreamed of becoming a youth director. My first position as a youth director was at Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church in Lititz, Pa., where after a few years I was told by Dr. Rev. Roy Haupt, “Terry, you are called to be an ordained elder.” I said no way, and like Jonah, ran the other way.

The call

Eventually I became a youth director serving under Rev. Don Nolder at First UMC in Chambersburg. I then sensed an overwhelming call of God to become a pastor. While sitting in my office, I said, yes, Lord, if that’s what you want me to be. But if I looked like a pastor, I hoped someone could tell me so I could change. In my mind, pastors couldn’t relate well to ordinary people. I continued to pursue that goal, however, and in time I earned an Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary, thanks to the pastors who checked in with me over the years as my mentors. In June 2015 I was ordained as an elder during our Annual Conference at Messiah College. Throughout my life I’ve had to persistently work hard and maintain an overcomer’s attitude to achieve my goals, so that moment brought an overwhelming feeling of joy and tears.

Since the call 

Ever since ordination, I’ve experienced a flood of emotions, affirmations, and confirmations. I’ve been told, “Pastor, after your sermon, you motivated me to clean my house.” And I’m thinking, that wasn’t what the sermon was about, was it? Through college, seminary, and working through various questions with the ordination process, I’ve had a lot of support, as many folks rallied behind my call from God. I’ve kept a lot of pastors and mentors busy with my questions over the years as I sought to understand the Wesleyan ways, to model hospitality, and to visit all who needed a visit. One book of many I purchased was one that Rev. Dr. Lew Parks wrote, titled, Preaching in the Small Membership Church, and signed: “Terry, preach well in season and out of season.”

My hopes and dreams

 I am living my hopes and dreams, and I trust I am fulfilling my purpose for the Lord. One book I love is Every Move Has a Purpose by Bruce Pandolfini, which has influenced me. In this book he says, “Seize the initiative. Play with a plan. Look at your opponent’s moves. Don’t waste material. Seek small advantages” (Pandolfini, 3). As I’ve been involved with youth groups and churches over the years, my purpose is to make disciples by investing in people. The more I discover my spiritual gifts, the more I want to use them for the United Methodist Church in Central Pennsylvania. My pastoral gifts include teaching, leadership, faith, evangelism, and administration. People tell me, “Pastor, you’re always in continual momentum.” Rev. Dr. Roy Haupt told me, “Terry, never, never land.” And I don’t intend to land. I’ve always been a goal setter in order to accomplish something for the Lord. Right now I am happy and joyful to use my gifts and talents for the Lord as an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, whether or not I look like a pastor.

Abundant Health Initiative

Over the past decade, we as a church have experienced God’s abundance through the gifts and graces of those who supported the Imagine No Malaria initiative. But there’s more work to do. The next step in our global health initiative is to fulfill our calling as a global church by reaching one million children with lifesaving and health-promoting measures by 2020.

If we can imagine no malaria we can imagine abundant health. 

Connecting for Better Health

By Olusimbo Ige, M.D., and Linda Unger, GBGM*

Thirty years ago, 6.5 million Americans held hands from coast to coast for 15 minutes in a human chain called Hands Across America. It was a compassionate gesture with a practical side: to raise money for the homeless and hungry around the United States.

Today, United Methodists are figuratively holding hands across the world in a new gesture of love with a practical commitment to improve health in communities around the globe. Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children, a new initiative of The United Methodist Church, vows to reach 1 million children with lifesaving interventions.

In the U.S., the initiative encourages churches to take decisive steps to reduce preventable deaths in their communities by increasing opportunities for healthy lifestyle choices. Administered by the General Board of Global Ministries, Abundant Health aims to sign on 10,000 U.S. congregations as health-promoting churches by 2020.

When a congregation signs onto the 10,000 Church Challenge, parishioners commit themselves to increase access in their communities to one or more of four key health areas: Physical activity, healthy diet and nutrition, tobacco- and drug-free living, and mental health education and promotion.
For each church that signs up — multiplied by 10,000 — this commitment can translate into fewer lives lost in their community due to unhealthy lifestyle choices. For more details, click here, and read this article to learn how even small actions can make a big difference to your health.

Howard walks: One church’s challenge to its community

Some of the 25 participants in the Howard United Methodist Church (Pa.) walking program. Howard UMC was among the first churches to sign onto the 10,000 Church Challenge of the Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children, a new global initiative of the United Methodist Church. 

In Howard, Pa. (pop. 718), United Methodists and their neighbors are lacing up their sneakers for a 10-week walking program organized by Howard United Methodist Church. In just the first week, 25 walkers, ranging in age from 10 years to 70+, racked up a total of 1,578,117 steps — 789 miles.

Howard UMC was among the first U.S. congregations to sign onto the 10,000 Church Challenge. For the Rev. Craig Q. Rose, pastor of Howard UMC, the decision was simple.

“The challenge of living a healthy lifestyle is a very real and present need to people, and one the community of believers can help with,” he said. “That’s God showing his love for people through his 21st century church!”

Even before Abundant Health was approved at General Conference 2016, Howard UMC was committed to healthy living. The walking program is in its third year (the step total in 2015 was 20 million, more than 10,000 miles). And the church was already offering yoga classes and mid-week chair massages to help the community manage stress and other issues.

The idea for the walking program “rose organically from conversations,” Rose said.

Finding support in local connections

Because Howard is located just 30 miles from Penn State University, the congregation availed itself of a valuable resource. “I knew somebody who knew somebody in the Kinesiology Department who happened to work on using houses of worship to promote healthy lifestyles,” said Rose.
That contact, Associate Professor Melissa Bopp, was already intrigued with the intersection of faith communities and health. “I was interested in how the close social networks of churches — between members and also with members and leaders — seemed to help people become healthier,” she said.
Dr. Bopp and her students helped Howard UMC with information on nutrition, creating a workout plan, and facilitating maps of local walking trails. They also helped the walkers set up a website to track their status, develop logbooks to record their steps, and recommended a good, low-cost pedometer.

The church also reached out to their Susquehanna Annual Conference for support and received a $500 health ministries grant. They used the grant to purchase pedometers for each of the walkers.
Before the program kicked off, Howard UMC members actively promoted it. They talked it up in services, wrote about it in the church’s bulletins and newsletters, and shared information with other faith communities and local media outlets that promote community events for free.


“The walking program has motivated me to walk when I would prefer to stay sedentary,” said congregation member Sue Repine. “It’s like counting calories: You’re just more vigilant when you are keeping track.”

Repine set her goal at 10,000 steps a day. “Knowing I will be recording my steps makes me walk more. If I get to the end of the day and I’m short on steps, I’ll go get on the treadmill or walk around the house until I get to 10K,” she said. “I find that 10K steps a day is critical to maintaining my weight.”

Rose reckoned that since the program began, many members of the congregation have come to value exercise and are more active. “I believe there is an unstated, though real, appreciation that their church supports their attempts to exercise and, by extension, that God supports them, too!” he said.

The pastor’s advice for other congregations pondering their commitment to healthy living? “It really is very easy to get started! Many people are looking for a little nudge, a little help in motivating themselves. Get some pretty good pedometers, and away you go!”

Visit the Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children web page ( and sign onto the 10,000 Church Challenge.

*Olusimbo Ige, M.D., M.S., M.P.H. is executive director of the Global Health program of the General Board of Global Ministries. Linda Unger is senior writer.

Visit the Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children Web page at 
and sign onto the 10,000 Church Challenge.

Editorial: The next generation might have named itself

“We’re more connected to people around the world because of technology. In past generations we’d be advised to fit in. Now the more you stand out, the more celebrated you’ll be.” - Youth to Nathan Heller, The New Yorker magazine.

The largest American generation since the baby boomers will soon be driving cars. By what name will they be known? Many tags have been bandied about, among them: Gen Z, iGen, Posts, Homeland Generation, ReGen, Plurals and a host of other ho-hum suggestions. So, we end up with a generation that appears to want to break away from millennial but, as yet, can’t be addressed stereotypically with a name.

MTV, the cable and satellite network, along with other commercial enterprises, has been studying this new generation for the past few years. MTV probably made the most progress in discovering an identifying moniker. In March of 2015, MTV generated 544 potential names. The list was presented to over 1,000 students fourteen years of age, or thereabouts. The name most chosen was “the Founders.” Who knows if the name will find general acceptance.

Clearly, a new segment of youth does not want the umbrella of millennials to be extended to cover them. They see the moniker, “millennials,” for those 18-35 years old as too broad. Those around the ages of 18-22 have come to feel like tagalongs, feel estranged from millennials, and would rather be part of a newer generation beginning at age 14.

MTV president Sean Adkins says the name acknowledges that, while millennials have disrupted society, it’s this new generation’s job to rebuild it. “They have this self-awareness that systems have been broken [and they] don’t want to be the generation that says we’ll break it even more.”

The consensus seems to be that millennials have dismantled this culture and the “Founders” feel themselves to have inherited a blank slate on which to write the rubrics of a new culture.

Stay tuned for more on this subject in the next issue.


From where I sit: These are the times that try our souls

By Rev. Dr. Tom Salsgiver, Director of Connectional Ministries

Thomas Paine, one of the early fathers of our country, wrote a series of pamphlets that are entitled The American Crisis. One of the most famous quotes from that series is, “These are the times that try our (men’s) souls.”

Those words by Paine have been rattling around in my mind ever since General Conference 2016. Indeed, most United Methodists — no matter which side of the same gender debate one finds oneself — find these times extremely trying. With the exception of General Conference of 1844 and the issue of slavery, I don’t think there has been a time more trying to our souls.

I have been struggling to make sense of all that is going on. My soul, like many, is deeply troubled for the division that is in our beloved United Methodist Church.

I am no great theologian. I’m simply a Christian and a pastor who is struggling, trying to make sense of living these days faithfully.

But in my struggle, I know and believe with all my heart a few things. It is these things that I cling to in the uncertainty of what tomorrow brings.

I share them with you simply as one believer to another.

This is God’s church — not mine. Before you and I were formed, before our foreparents were formed, our predecessor denominations were created by God. That means that this church isn’t yours and it isn’t mine — it is God’s. God will do with our church what God will.

 I must put away my sense of ownership of this denomination and the outcome of our struggle. It is not mine to hold on to with every ounce of my being. I must open myself up to the in-flowing of the Holy Spirit to hear and feel God’s Spirit. I must be attuned to the voice of God who speaks in the midst of chaos, of uncertainty, and, yes, even in the midst of division.

Now is the time for earnest prayer. My prayers have changed over the last few months. My prayers are now not my will for the solution and our future, but what is God’s will for the future. I have tried to stop telling God what I think about the future and simply go to God’s throne of grace to hear the voice of God. I must continually pray that my thoughts get out of the way and allow God’s thoughts to flood my soul. It’s hard, but I keep praying the prayer of Jesus in the Garden, “not my will but your will.”

We must get beyond “which side are you on” and wrap ourselves and our behavior in Colossians 3:12-17. We must move beyond gathering those around us who believe just like we do to “clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” We must “forgive each other and we must clothe ourselves with love.” And we must “let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.”

Until the Commission and the Judicial Council make recommendations and decisions, we must decide, are we going to spend all of our time mobilizing “our side” (whichever side that is) and spending all of our time talking and debating the same gender issue or are we going to make disciples for the transformation of the world?

If we spend all of our time making plans for “what if,” and if we spend all of our time deciding what will we do “if,” I think we will miss God-given opportunities to make disciples for the transformation of our community and our world. In remembering the parable of the talents, I pray that even in these next few months God won’t find me wasting my time with the what if’s. There are hungry people to feed, there are souls that need loving, and there are people in our communities that desperately need to know the love of God and the salvation of Jesus Christ. How many souls will not hear and know God’s love if I and our church spend all of our time and energy talking about the future instead of going out and telling the good news of Jesus Christ?

As difficult as it is, I must trust that God is with me and with the United Methodist Church, and we must move into the future with hope and assurance that God will be with each of us and all of us no matter the outcome.

There is a chorus that is found in The Hymnal, which is the Evangelical United Brethren Hymnal of 1957. I go back and read that chorus often. I have to believe and trust in its words so that as we face the future, we face it unafraid.

I (we) will not be afraid. I (we) will not be afraid.
I (we) will look upward, and travel onward, 
And not be afraid.

He says He will be with me (us). He says He will be with me (us).
He goes before me (us) and is beside me (us), 
So I’m (we’re) not afraid.

His arms are underneath me (us). His arms are underneath me (us).
His hand upholds me (Us), His love enfolds me (us), 
So I’m (we’re) not afraid.

He will give grace and glory. He will give grace and glory. 
His cross before me (us), His banner o’er me (us), 
So I’m (we’re) not afraid.


By Morgan Robinette, Young People's Ministry Council

In the book of 1 Timothy, Paul urges his young friend to “never let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for other believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, your faith, and your purity.” Like Timothy, the 36 youth delegates who attended Annual Conference in June took those words to heart. They were from all corners of the Susquehanna Conference, but a strong sense of unity settled over the group. The attitudes and actions of the youth exemplified the truth that, far from being the church of the future, they are a vital part of the church today.

A main goal shared by the youth at Conference was to benefit the Youth Service Fund. A lofty goal was set for Conference, a goal of $7,500. Each delegate took up the challenge with enthusiasm, and several fundraisers were hosted throughout the week. The YSF table, as always, sold T-shirts and name tags, and also hosted a basket auction. The popcorn stand in the back of Hitchcock Auditorium drew a line during afternoon sessions when the smell of fresh popcorn led to an outbreak of the munchies among the congregation. Table bussing, an annual favorite, commenced on both Thursday and Friday. This ever-successful fundraiser proved especially lucrative this year, earning the YSF fund over $2,000 during Friday lunch alone! The youth’s efforts, the generosity of the Conference members, and God’s goodness earned a final total of $7,300, just under the original goal, but still the most successful total ever reached.

While fundraisers and sessions comprised a large part of Conference, it was not all work and no play for the youth. Friendships formed immediately upon arrival, and the recreation room in Mountainview did not go unused. Devotions every morning and evening enabled the teens to strengthen relationships with God as well as one another. Though each delegate was their own person, with unique talents, interests, and opinions, the youth found unity in their love of Christ. When they took the stage Friday afternoon for their presentation, they challenged the congregation to follow five simple words, a truth they displayed themselves: Be like Jesus, love first.

The youth who attended Conference are living up to that command. The question is, are you?

An Olympian in our midst

Morgan Craft, a member of Point Bethel UMC in Hughesville, Pa., Williamsport District, was a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team as a skeet shooter. She placed fifth in the Women’s skeet semi-final.

By Sandii Peiffer, LINK staff

Morgan Craft began shooting rifles in 4-H at the age of seven, under the instruction of her father and grandparents. In high school, Craft honed her skills behind a shotgun, and her first international skeet shooting competition was at the age of 14. After competing at an international level through high school and college, this year she achieved her lifelong dream to become a member of the U.S. Olympic Team, competing in Women’s Skeet in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this summer.

Craft is also member of Point Bethel UMC in Hughesville, Pa., Williamsport District.

“The faith I have in my relationship with God keeps me resilient in everything I do,” said Craft. “I trust in Him and in myself that I have done everything during training that I possibly could to be the best athlete I can be, and that is why I have the confidence to go compete on the world stage.”

In 2015 USA Shooting named her Athlete of the Year when she became the 2015 World Champion, after medaling twice in prior back-to-back World Cup events. In 2016 Craft was the gold medal winner in the World Cup held in Cyprus, cementing her place in the 2016 Olympic team.

On December 8, 2015, the Pennsylvania State Legislature passed a Resolution designating December 11, 2015, as “Morgan Craft Day” in Pennsylvania; “recognizing Morgan Craft for her national and international championships in the sport of Women’s Skeet; congratulating her for earning a spot on the United States Olympic team for the XXXI Olympiad to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the summer of 2016; and wishing her continued success.” (House Resolution 596)

“My church has always supported me in everything I’ve done, whether that be going to school in another state or traveling around the world and earning my way onto the Olympic Team,” said Craft. “They support me 110 percent. The Sunday before I left for Rio they brought me to the front of the church and the whole congregation gathered around, held hands, and we all prayed for my safety and guidance.”

After placing fifth in the Women’s Skeet semi-finals at the Olympics in Rio, Craft posted on her Facebook Athlete page, “I can confidently say I gave it my all and never gave up! I need to trust in God and trust that everything happens for a reason! I’m blessed to even be given this opportunity to represent the greatest country on Earth at the Rio Olympics.”

Craft graduated from “shotgun powerhouse” Lindenwood University in 2015 majoring in Exercise Science. She hopes to become a physicians assistant in cardiology.

Continue your mission

Jan Bender first came to RiverWoods Senior Living Community in June 1979 when her late husband, Rev. Richard W. Bender, was appointed as the chaplain. The couple and their four children moved onto the campus just as Jan was wrapping up a bachelor’s degree at Penn State University. Little did Jan know that she would call RiverWoods home many years later.

Beginning in August 1980 as the apartment manager of Riverview Manor, Jan’s career blossomed. Soon, she was promoted to the position of personal care administrator and played an invaluable role in helping residents through the aftermath of a fire caused by a resident’s heating pad. “I am so grateful for all of the volunteers who helped,” she said. “The building had no electricity, which meant we had no heat during the winter months. I brought hot tea and soup, a small way to show volunteers my appreciation. I’ll never forget how hard we worked together to get residents back to their homes.”
The mission of serving others resonated with Jan after she retired in 1996, choosing to stay in Lewisburg. “After retiring, my husband and I went on mission trips with the United Methodist Church, traveling for three weeks at a time to help in upstate New York and Florida. We also went to Henderson Settlement in Kentucky and the Heifer Project in Massachusetts for three months at a time. Our biggest project was leading a group of Kiwanis members to Jamaica for nine trips to build an orphanage for abandoned children. I’m still a member of Kiwanis today.”

The couple moved back to RiverWoods in 2003 for a reason. “My husband and I were always impressed with the care RiverWoods provides, and that’s what brought us back here to live. I feel comfortable knowing that if I were ever to need that care, it’s waiting for me.”

 “We also knew there would be an abundance of volunteer opportunities,” Jan said. I volunteer because it gives me a reason to get up in the morning.” She had volunteered at Evangelical Community Hospital, the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross, then came to RiverWoods to continue volunteering at Slifer House Museum, Albright Care Services’ pharmacy, and Lewisburg/ Milton Meals on Wheels (MOW) program.

Now over 80 [years old], Jan hasn’t slowed down. She continues to volunteer at the pharmacy and MOW, in addition to managing the two RiverWoods Auxiliary Gift Shops, serving as auxiliary assistant treasurer and helping at Albright’s corporate office. Jan is also active in the community, volunteering at the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership and attending Beaver Memorial United Methodist Church.

Jan Bender is a shining example of being called to serve and Albright is proud that she is part of our family. Albright, celebrating 100 years of service to the Susquehanna Valley, invites you to continue your mission by joining us at one of our six locations. Visit for information on senior living, day programs, giving or volunteering.


Watts Memorial United Methodist Church in Belleville, Pa., held Vacation Bible School in July in conjunction with West Kish Presbyterian Church and St. John’s Lutheran Church. The theme was Cow-a-bunga! A total of 27 children participated, which was a significant increase over the prior two years.

Douglas Pierce, pastor at Watts Memorial UMC, set a goal for the children to raise $50 for Heifer International Project. This would allow them to donate one share of a cow to help world hunger. He told them that he would kiss a cow if they reached the goal. With the help of all three churches, $2,000 was raised, which allowed them to donate four full cows, and, yes, Pastor Pierce kissed a cow.

“God blessed us greatly and in turn allowed us to bless others more than we ever thought possible,” said Pierce.

Bishop’s call to prayer, patience, peace, unity as we seek a way forward

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12-15)

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Susquehanna Conference,

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

I am glad to return to the Harrisburg Area and am grateful for the extended opportunity and privilege to serve God and our beloved church with such faithful, generous, committed, and dedicated people of the Susquehanna Conference. I look forward to our common journey for another quadrennium to be a church alive in Christ together for the mission of the church: To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

The recent developments in our denominational church intensify the uncertainty that The United Methodist Church is facing. Its future is most likely to unfold in an unpredictable or even unprecedented way. All kinds of thoughts and scenarios about the future of our denomination may be being played out in the minds of many people. The unity of the church is at stake. But God’s people, it’s not over until it’s over.

Please, pray, pray, pray, and pray. We put our trust in a God who is in charge and who is able. Knowing that this is God’s church before it’s our church and that no one’s love for our church is greater than God’s love for her, I would like us to be assured of God’s presence with us throughout the journey ahead. God is with us. Christ is for us. And the Holy Spirit is within us and among us.

Please know that the Cabinet and I are committed to uphold the covenant of the Discipline of our church. Please also know that, as far as human sexuality is concerned, nothing has changed in the current Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church. The action of one annual conference is not binding on other annual conference, nor are the actions of the Jurisdictional Conference binding. General Conference is the only place that can change the church laws.

I would like to ask our people of faith to practice being a non-anxious presence as much and as best as you can. I understand that our church is like a boat in the midst of a fierce storm. But Jesus is in the boat. Even the winds and the waves obey Jesus. The assurance of his presence with us does bring the calmness we need to discern and decide God’s way forward.

Bishop Ough, president of the Council of Bishops, released a statement last Friday. Please allow me to bring part of the statement to your attention as it is something that resonates with me: “… However, we clearly understand the Church appropriately expects the Council to provide spiritual leadership and for bishops to uphold our consecration vows. In May, prior to General Conference, the Council again affirmed to keep the promises made at our consecrations, including, among others:

  • Shepherding all persons committed to our care;
  • Leading the church in mission, witness and service;
  • Ordering the church including administering processes for handling complaints;
  • Seeking unity in Christ…” (this would include the work the Council proposed to and adopted by the General Conference in “An Offering for a Way Forward.”) 

I would like to plead with the church to give the best chance to the mandate of the General Conference. A Commission is soon to be organized by the Council of Bishops to bring the proposal for a way forward before the 2020 General Conference. Our church deserves the best possible way forward. Knowing the magnitude of the task and that its impact will be of historic proportion, please give time to wait on the Commission even if others in the Church are not doing so. We are all to be in prayer for the Council and the Commission so that the outcomes from the process will be in harmony with God’s preferred future for our church.

We empathize with the pains of the broken heart of God as well as our broken hearts from the conflict and division of our church over human sexuality. We affirm that faithful Christians have different understandings and have their opinions, convictions, and beliefs about it from their biblical and theological foundation. We can come to the common table for a Christ like conversation, not to persuade and convert others to our side, but to listen to the hearts of each other as we seek God’s will for us and to serve as an instrument of healing, hope, and peace for our community and the church. Our Susquehanna Conference can become a model of holy conferencing and Christian conversation for others. In the coming months, I will pull together a diverse group of clergy and laity to lead us in a call to prayer and conversation for the future of our beloved church, and laity will be offered opportunities for holy conversation around the questions of human sexuality.

When our church is going through one of the most challenging, difficult and painful times, our attention and focus can dwell on “what’s wrong with our church” and thus our energy, time and resources are diverted from the mission of the church. I would like our people to continue to affirm and celebrate “what’s right with our church”:

  • People of our Susquehanna Conference are faithfully and passionately engaging in amazing missions and ministries that touch, transform, serve, and save countless number of lives in their communities and in the world each day, each week, each month, and each year. 
  • Mission Central alone touches and serves two million lives a year.
  • Thousands of new disciples are made each year. 
  • As a denomination, nearly 70 million dollars were raised for the Imagine No Malaria campaign. As a vital partner of the global force that combats the killer disease, the death rate from malaria is now cut in half saving millions of lives.

The list goes on and on and on.

Alive in Christ together, we serve our awesome God, love God’s people and are making a difference in our communities and in the world in the name of Jesus. It is my ardent hope and prayer that God’s people of the Susquehanna Conference stay focused on the mission of our church in unity for such a time as this.

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”  (Romans 15:5-7)

With You in Christ’s Ministry,
Bishop Jeremiah J. Park

Neighborhood Center welcomes executive director

HARRISBURG – Neighborhood Center of the United Methodist Church is pleased to announce that Kyla Crawford-Harvey [became] the new executive director on August 8. Mrs. Crawford-Harvey was formerly employed as a program director for the Camp Curtin YMCA. In that capacity she oversaw youth programing, including college prep workshops, community based mentoring for at-risk youth, and college and career trips for high school students. She has also organized a variety of community and family based events.

Mrs. Crawford-Harvey has a Bachelor of Science in Human Service Management from University of Phoenix, and a Master of Social Work degree from Temple University.

As Executive Director of Neighborhood Center, Mrs. Crawford-Harvey will be responsible for ensuring the center is operated in a manner consistent with the Christian faith, the mission statement of the center, and in compliance with applicable local, state, or federal rules and regulations.
Mrs. Crawford-Harvey looks forward to working with the board and the community to fulfill the center’s mission: “Better Lives, Better Community, Better Harrisburg.”

Neighborhood Center of the United Methodist Church is a faith-based nonprofit that has served a multi-ethnic uptown neighborhood, as well as the total Harrisburg community, since 1910 with educational, cultural, social service, basic needs, leadership, and recreational programs for children and their families. For more information, call the center at 717-233-6541, email at or visit the Web site at

Spirit of Invention - 5,000 summer lunches!

By Rev. Kevin Locker

The Summer Lunch program started at Trinity United Methodist Church, Roaring Spring, in 2005, where we served about 25 boxed lunches per week. The program has grown by leaps and bounds ever since. The meals were so popular that our church decided to offer a meal every day for lunch, Monday through Friday, starting on the Monday after school finished for the summer and ending with the last meal served on the Friday before school starts in the fall.

When we saw that meal numbers were increasing, we signed up with the Department of Agriculture that provides some of the funding for the program. During the last few years we have been serving an average of 117 meals per day, and on August 16 we served our five thousandth meal! The children receive a certain amount of protein, fruit and vegetables, milk, and a cookie or a piece of cake as well. Children from the community do not have to pay for the meal, and adults pay $2.50.

 We are known in our community as “the church that feeds people,” and it is not uncommon for people to bring donations of lettuce, zucchini, green beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes to share with us. We have five cooks who take turns cooking every day, and we have eighteen people who come in on a rotating basis to hand out utensils, milk, and dessert. We asked the youth of our church to come in to help with serving the milk, and they help to clean up the hall at the end of the meal.

Valerie Locker has been coordinating the meals at the church for the past three years, and she is supported by Fred Hetrick and Jerry Green who care for the online reporting and paying the bills. Valerie asks people from the church to bake cookies and cakes, and they always come in at the time when they are needed most. So we need everyone’s help, and everyone pitches in.

We serve lunch from noon to 1 p.m. The children’s favorite lunches are maxi cheese sticks, which are mozzarella cheese-filled bread sticks that are dipped in sauce, and walking tacos, which are a small bag of Doritos mixed with taco-seasoned meat, chopped onions, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, lettuce, salsa, and sour cream.

This is a not-for-profit undertaking, and Trintiy UMC prides itself that we are able to do so much good in our community. We have people tell us all the time, “I don’t know if we would have had lunch today,” and “You really help stretch our family’s food dollars.”

We have two special meals during the summer; a turkey dinner with everything made from scratch - turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, cranberry sauce, and apple pie or pumpkin pie. These items are all donated by people from the church. We also have a last day celebration where we serve five of their favorite foods, along with an ice cream bar where they can put on all their favorite toppings. Plus, we have a bounce house and a climbing wall for the kids to enjoy.

It takes a village — no, it takes a church — to feed the children from our community.

Summer Camp Wrap - Power Up! Living in the Spirit!

Summer Camp Wrap

Did you know that one week at a United Methodist summer camp is equivalent to around ten months of Sunday school?

The summer camping program brings young people together from all corners of our conference to learn about living in the love of Christ in a fun, safe, nurturing, and natural environment.
Free from the distractions of electronics and media, campers learn about and experience God through worship, Bible study, a variety of fun activities in the midst of His creation, and through real face time with their peers and caring adults — helping them learn more about themselves, their strengths and abilities, and who God created them to be.

Many young people would not be able to experience summer camp without the generosity of our local churches and many individual donors. In 2016 we had 1,316 campers (412 of them new) with 155 campers attending through the aid of scholarships.

One hundred percent of your gift to the Christian Education Offering will support the Susquehanna Conference Camper Scholarship Fund and will make it possible for more young lives to be transformed at summer camp.

Make a contribution through your church (note Christian Education Offering) or through the camping Web site at


The end of an era

By Anne Horton, Director of Camp & Retreat Ministry

Saturday, May 21, the Camp Penn family wished David Hykes, Site Director, a happy retirement. David has served as Site Manager and Site Director for 37 years, following in his Dad’s footsteps. 
David has served Camp Penn with a servants heart. His leadership has touched many with the love of Christ. Over 250 people came by to say thank you to David for his love, care, and passion for camp and retreat ministry. In honor of David a display of the history of Camp Penn will be place in the Hykes Dining Hall, with additional display pictures going into the sleeping lodges and recreation hall. Thank you David for sharing your love of Christ with the people who have come through the doors of Camp Penn. 

Camp Penn, we remember you

By Anne Horton, Director of Camp & Retreat Ministry

The Camp Penn 70th Anniversary Celebration was a spectacular day for all who attended. The stories shared ranged from the fun of the Camp Penn Chicken, to the powerful impact God placed on many a young persons’ heart, and how lives were changed, and calls to serve God where made. The friendships people have made over these 70 years shows the connection Camp Penn has had for so many people. 

All the pictures through the years not only show how people changed but also show the love people experienced through Christ. 

I believe the Camp Penn Song says it all:

By the mountains, by the forest, murmuring stream meandering through. 
Pine and poplar, oak and hemlock, Camp Penn, we remember you.

Swimming, fishing, stream exploring, stunts and games both old and new,
Softball, four-square, crafts, and hiking, fun-filled week with lots to do.

Morning watch and evening vespers, worship on an outdoor pew,
Singing, sharing, praying, caring, learning to be just and true.

Sacred spot through generations, place where we met God and grew
T’wards a life of Christian living, Camp Penn, we remember you. 

(c) Music by Anita Meiser.  Words by Anita Meiser and Diane Schmuck 1987.

Top ten churches sending campers to camp

Aldersgate, Mechanicsburg - 61
First, Mechanicsburg - 49
Christ, Selinsgrove - 37
Hicks Memorial UMC - 33
Camp Hill - 30
First, Williamsport - 30
Aldersgate, York - 23
Stewartstown - 22
Fishing Creek Salem - 18
St. Johns Newberry - 18 

Service as worship

(Above) Mike S., Zach M., Lisa M., Andy W., and Ben W. prepare to serve a hot meal to over 200 people for the Helping Hands Food Run in York, Pa.

By Layne Miller

Aldersgate York’s first-ever “Church Has Left the Building” weekend was a great success. More than 200 individuals participated in this “service as worship” weekend in June.

On Saturday, June 25, amid a crazy schedule, a record number of volunteers worked in the kitchen and fellowship hall preparing food for the Helping Hands food run. They prepared and served both a hot meal and a bagged lunch to more than 280 people in downtown York. After cleanup, the kitchen was spotless.

About 25 people attended the prayer service to begin Sunday. Rev. Dave Norris shared a powerful message and reminded us of the sign we see as we exit our lot, “You are now entering the Mission field.” Several of those attending walked down to fellowship hall to join about 50 others who participated in assembling health kits for Mission Central. The goal was 400 kits, and aided by a quick trip to Dollar Tree for more hand towels, the goal was met and exceeded; 408 kits were delivered to Mission Central.

(Left) Dan T., Jake M., and Jess H. did landscaping and cleanup at Jackson School in downtown York, Pa.

Sixteen children under the age of five were given plenty of TLC in our child care rooms. This ministry, though “inside the building,” was vital to allowing parents to get out to serve.
Jackson School was a flurry of activity, from playground to offices to hallways and classrooms. The landscape crew, on a scorching 86 degree day, pulled weeds, spread mulch, and beautified the play area in preparation for students’ return this fall. Indoors, nearly twenty more volunteers with servants’ hearts painted the entry office in bright orange and blue, organized office space, carts, and closets, and scrubbed walls and floorboards.

At least five dedicated folks served at York Otterbein, our sister church in the city.
Katallasso Clinic was the site of more cleaning and organizing. The sun is now streaming through nice, clean windows, thanks to our crew of ten. Meanwhile, down the street, eleven workers and two little guys from the neighborhood made quick work of beautifying Salem Square, a small park surrounding an historical statue.

A neighbor in need was grateful for a small crew of five who leveled and laid a 21-foot-long paver walkway and built a small ramp.

A couple of guys sanded and painted a fire escape for York Rescue Mission and still had time to finish up at Jackson School.

Some folks visited our homebound, and although an organized effort to nearby nursing homes did not come to fruition, these agencies look forward to us trying again in the future.

Dave Y., Steve H., Jacob H., Keith M., Vanessa C., Vito C., Karen E., Gavin E., Lindsay M., Kaelyn E., Brady E., Zach M., and Lisa M. did a landscaping project at Olivia’s House, a grief and loss center for children in York, Pa.

Thirteen hard-working individuals, one of whom was celebrating his fifth birthday later that day, worked unceasingly to beautify the gardens of Olivia’s House, a grief and loss center for children. The center has an open house next month and greatly appreciated the weeding, moss-scraping, trimming, and beautifying of the gardens, a critical part of their work.

Many of the workers returned to the church for a celebration luncheon. As each person entered fellowship hall, they were greeted by overwhelming clapping, table-drumming, and cheering for a job well done. The kitchen crew, never wanting to be acknowledged, served a delicious banquet for feasting. Leftovers were donated to York Rescue Mission.

Those who participated (and many who couldn’t) were so enthusiastic about the weekend. We would love for this to become an annual outpouring of service as the Church Leaves the Building. Every church family should give it a try, because we are the church!

Bishop’s Partners in Mission ambassadors receive education and training in preparation for fall 2016

Rob Visscher (top left), executive director of Mission Central, helped in the education and training of Bishop’s Partners in Mission ambassadors earlier this summer.

By Dr. Dilip Abayasekara

Bishop’s Partners in Mission is an initiative launched by Bishop Jeremiah J. Park and carried forward by the Susquehanna Conference on two fronts: raise one million dollars for Imagine No Malaria and help pay off the one-million-dollar mortgage burden of Mission Central.

On July 29 and August 4, 2016, seven ambassadors for Bishop’s Partners in Mission received information, resources, ideas, and inspiration for launching fundraising campaigns in their churches and in churches in their districts. Present for this training were District Ambassadors Pastor Jason Schwartzman (Altoona District), Russell Goodman (Harrisburg District), Rev. Strother Gross (Lewisburg District), and Larry Speer (York District). Local Ambassadors present for training were Carol Evertts (Trinity UMC, New Cumberland), Rev. Richard Bowers (Otterbein UMC, Emigsville), and Pastor Lourdes Stevens (Grace UMC, Hanover). We are also blessed to have on the BPIM Leadership team, Pastor Fred Snyder (District Ambassador, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre), Pastor Duane Coy (Local Ambassador, Greenwood UMC, Altoona), and Pastor T.J. McCabe (Lake Como UMC and Shehawken UMC, Preston, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre).

Assisting Field Coordinator Dilip Abayasekara in the education and training were Christy Mackey (Executive Assistant to the Bishop), Ann Watts (Accounts Receivable, Susquehanna Conference), Rev. Dr. Ed Zeiders (President, Dimensions 4 Consulting), and Rob Visscher (Executive Director, Mission Central). We were also inspired by Kelly Cox (Pension Benefits Officer) who shared with us the story of how her small church has raised large funds for BPIM.

We are deeply grateful to all of the above for extending themselves to help our churches answer the missional call of BPIM in restoring hope and saving lives in the name of Christ.

BPIM is in need of more local ambassadors in all seven districts of the conference and is especially in need of a district ambassador for the State College District and for the Williamsport District. To apply and for more information, please contact Field Coordinator Dr. Dilip Abayasekara at or 717-766-7441 (ext. 3108).

For God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. (Eph. 3:20)

Pokemon Walk in Greencastle

Meghan and Zach get their photo taken in the Poke Picture Center as part of a “Pokewalk” event in Greencastle organized by First UMC, Greencastle.

By Ryan Whisel, Family Ministry Director, First UMC Greencastle

If you’ve watched any sort of news report and talked to anyone who grew up in the 90s, you’ve likely already heard about the Pokemon GO phenomenon taking the world by storm. In a very short time, people of all ages and backgrounds have begun scouring neighborhoods and parks and cities for the elusive creatures. While some stories have shared unfortunate situations that have occurred due to distractions and unaware players, the possibilities for new friendships and community are ripe for the picking. First UMC in Greencastle wasted no time in exploring and setting up an opportunity to capitalize on opening its doors to this fun app.

Despite the threat of getting wet, over twenty people braved the weather to participate in the first of many community “Pokewalks” throughout Greencastle. As the family ministry director, this was too obvious an opportunity to pass up. Even parents showed up playing the game with their children on their own smart phones. With the help of congregants in a variety of ways, we were blessed to bring in individuals from our church and from the area. This is just a starting point to a much larger outreach opportunity. God was faithful in bringing people together at this first walk and planting seeds for even greater things to be done in the future.

Local businesses were excited as well. Denise, owner of Anna’s Paperworks on the square of Greencastle has mentioned the increased traffic and even has a Pokemon-themed advertisement sign for her cafĂ© in her store.

Here are just a few practical tips and suggestions for your congregation to do something similar:

  • Download the app and become familiar with some of the features
  • Spend time learning where the frequented “stops” and “gyms” are in your area
  • Chat with folks who are playing the game (I spent a good four nights a week walking around town and talking to other players of the game about this event to drum up excitement)
  • Get your church involved: we had folks donate bottles of water to hand out, someone manning a sign-in station, and a Poke Picture Center set up by a volunteer to add some fun elements and picture opportunities
  • Get Pokemon prizes and offer a drawing or even a competition throughout the event to win them
  • Above all, be genuinely excited to meet people and show hospitality. People will want to return next time when they feel they were welcomed and accepted for who they are.

Familiar treats were decorated to resemble Pikachu, a popular Pokemon character, as part of a Pokemon GO community event organized by First UMC in Greencastle.

Changing lives through connectional youth groups

Youth groups from Lightstreet UMC in Bloomsburg, First UMC in Hollidaysburg, and Trinity UMC in Roaring Spring combined for a youth mission week to work in the Bloomsburg area.

By Rev. Jennifer Parks-Snyder

In July 2016, Lightstreet United Methodist Church, outside of Bloomsburg, sponsored a youth mission week in our community. Two youth groups came from First UMC Hollidaysburg and Trinity UMC Roaring Spring, bringing thirty youth and seven adults, who combined with our youth and adults here to work in and throughout the area.

We camped at Diehl’s campground then during the day time we worked and witnessed Christ’s hands, feet, and heart.

Monday morning they hit the work week by dividing into four crews. One went to Agape, a local Mission Central Hub, to paint and sort food. Another group went to the YMCA and cleaned their yards by weeding. The third crew went to the Orangeville Food Bank where they scrubbed and cleaned freezers, as well as sorted food. The fourth crew went to Orangeville United Methodist Church, a smaller congregation, where they installed new carpet, a ceiling fan, and a white board in a Sunday school room. They also wiped down their walls, cleaned their pews, mowed their lawn, and weeded the neighborhood.

On Tuesday Salty Ferguson, who played in the Women’s Baseball League in 1951, came and inspired the youth, telling them to always follow the dreams God leads them to. Then two groups visited the Danville Ronald McDonald House, another crew painted and cleaned at Agape, and the last crew helped at the home of a church member going through health troubles.

Tuesday evening all of the youth marched in the Orangeville parade, placing fifth for their force of yellow T-shirts that say “Changing Lives.” They also handed out candy and sang songs such as My Lighthouse and I Just want to be a Sheep.

Wednesday the rest of the groups saw the Ronald McDonald House, while another crew worked on the Lightstreet UMC parsonage backyard, then we took the youth to Knoebels to have some rest and fun.

Thursday all the youth worked all day at Agape, interacting and serving the 500 people who came that day for a free meal and free food handout.

Friday we went to Rickett’s Glenn to be in nature with God.

But what was so amazing was [that] these youth not only gave of themselves in physical work, they ministered to each other and the people around them. Each day we had devotions with challenges to consider based on the text Luke 10, where Jesus sends out the 70. The youth were to face opposition with gentleness, have a clear vision, accept hospitality, and heal to gain trust. And they took those points and used them.

For instance, we met Mike, a homeless man who stayed next to us at Diehl’s, so we got him to Agape to get some help and food, and prayed for him as he chose to go to Chicago to be reunited with his daughter.

And there was a young couple whose infant passed away that week. The youth prayed for them and sent lots of food to them as I ministered to them.

These youth prayed at Agape, prayed at the Ronald McDonald House, prayed at Knoebels, at Orangeville, and trust me, it was beautiful.

We talk of being a connectional system. I am proud to see how our youth can be a full force of connection that can transform communities in the name of Jesus Christ. And I am proud of their churches for sponsoring such an event.

Youth Service Fund grants available

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 listed on the Young People’s Ministry Web page,

You can fill out your online application or download a PDF application by clicking on “Youth” and then clicking on “Youth Service Fund.”

Application deadline is October 31, 2016.

Young People’s Ministry Council
Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church

Stitches from the heart

A sewing ministry of Calvary United
Methodist Church, York, Pa.

The ladies from Stitches of the Heart display the “ugly mittens” they made and donated to the York Dialysis Center for their patients.

By Pamela Brossman

When Treva Andrews finished knitting the six baby hats her friend Pat Jacoby asked her to help make for donations to their local hospital, she was inspired to continue using her craft to benefit her community. So in May 2015, she and Jacoby started Stitches from the Heart with four other ladies from their church, Calvary United Methodist Church in York, Pa. Their mission is to create and donate items that will bring joy, comfort, and warmth to those who receive them. One year later, the group has grown to nearly 40 members from all faiths and denominations. Currently, the churches represented are Calvary United Methodist Church, St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Union Lutheran Church, Church of the Open Door, and St. Jacob’s (Stone) Lutheran Church.

In its first year of ministry, Stitches from the Heart has made and donated 946 pieces including mittens, scarves, hats, baby blankets, baby hats, blankets and quilts, “ugly mittens” for dialysis patients, lap robes, purses, prayer squares, and bandages for the Vietnam Leper Colony to the following organizations:

Tender Loving Care Ministries
Access York
Ascera Care Hospice
Bell Socialization Services
Children’s Aid Society (Lehman Center)
New Hope Ministries, Dover
New Life for Girls, Dover
United Methodist Children’s Home
Pleasant Acres Nursing Facility
Veteran’s Helping Hand for Homeless
Wellspan NICU (York Hospital)
DOVE Bandage Brigade
York Dialysis Center
York City Scarf Blitz
Wellspan Community Health Center
PPA Ministries (formerly Tender Loving Care Ministries)
as well as several individual “Special Circumstance Donations”

While their hands are busy knitting, crocheting, sewing, and quilting, this talented group of ladies also has a lot of fun while working hard. This past January, they became “scarf fairies,” braving the cold while tying 136 scarves to poles, trees, and benches throughout York City at 3 a.m. This top-secret mission for the homeless even made the front page of the local paper, The York Dispatch. One of the group’s favorite projects is their “ugly mittens.” When the York Dialysis Center requested 150 ugly mittens the group did not hesitate. To date, they have given them 99 mittens that are indeed not “ugly” but rather not your traditional mitten. Pam Earll, R.N., of DaVita Healthcare Partners, explains:

“Stitches from the Heart is an amazing group of women who have contributed to making many dialysis patients’ lives more comfortable as they dialyze at the York DaVita Dialysis Center. During dialysis, the patients can experience a cold arm and hand. If they were to cover their arm with a blanket, the nurses and technicians wouldn’t be able to see their access, which could become a safety issue. These ‘ugly mittens’ allow the patient to have a warm hand and arm while dialyzing, yet remain safe during treatment. And, because the ladies made the mittens in such great colors and patterns, they are fun.”

And their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Recently, Stitches from the Heart was recognized as an Outstanding Charity group by the York County Family and Consumer Science Association.
Stitches from the Heart meets biweekly on Tuesday mornings at Calvary United Methodist Church, 11 N. Richland Ave., York, PA. If you would like to learn more about the Stitches from the Heart ministry or how you can make a donation or be a part of this ministry, contact Calvary United Methodist Church at 717-843-2990.

Warm Hugs

Pictured from left: Julie Rudolf, Children’s’ Advocacy and Donna Urbaniak, Sharon Sollami, Joyce LaRue, Countryside Community Church. 
By Sue Youtz

Countryside Community Church, Scranton District, donated 30 Warm Hugs Children Shawls to Children’s Advocacy Center in Scranton. This is an ongoing mission and partnership that will impact hundreds of children at a time in their lives when they need it most. Warm Hugs group from Countryside has made over 1,800 adult shawls or “Warm Hugs.” The newest outreach is children -size, which over 50 shawls have already been donated. Please visit and for more information.

Where your treasure is: Don't say "thank you"

By Rev. Phyllis P. Bowers
Executive Director United Methodist Stewardship 

Don’t. Don’t write a thank you note.

Don’t write a thank you note if you are doing it to influence more giving. Don’t write a thank you note if you are doing it because it is expected of you. Don’t write a thank you note if you think it takes away from the reward the giver will be given in heaven.

One of the weakest areas in church leadership is the thank you. It is ironic that the most grace-filled people should feel too awkward or too busy or too lost for words to say those two simple ones. The current custom is to thank someone with a text, an email, or in person. Why would anyone need the outdated handwritten card? This misses the point. The thank you isn’t for them. And it isn’t for you.

We thank each other here and now for the tangible things we give, and the ways we serve, to learn how to thank God for the intangible, unmeasurable miracles, even if we never really can say thank you enough. Gratitude keeps us from forgetting whose we are, though. Gratitude keeps us from spiritual blindness and self-congratulatory pride. Gratitude helps us persevere. Thank you cards are the very shields we build to strengthen our community and our commitment.

Don’t write a thank you note. Pray first. Whatever it is that was given, thank God for this and thank him for the giver. Take a moment to consider the cost that you can’t see wrapped in the offering. Count the blessing that God connected that gift to a use and a future in which you are part of as a witness. Appreciate the trust demonstrated through what was given. Believe that those things or actions will bring God’s kingdom closer with his help. Recognize the hope that was shared in this gift and pray that it would heal brokenness. Reflect on the unseen effect this offering will have and the sacrifice that brought it here. Realize how little you know of the time it represents in work and faith and love. Pray that the giver is assured that God knows.

Don’t write a thank you note if you can’t see that a thank you is to be given as joyfully as the gift. Don’t write a thank you note if you are seeing any smallness in the amount instead of the mustard seed ready to grow. Don’t write a thank you note until … until you see the giver as the hands and feet of Jesus and gratitude becomes another way to love others more than yourself.

UMSF: Thank You for the Ministries We Share

 Gift of Life

Remember Taste of India, our 2013 fundraising program to support heart surgeries for children in India? You went the extra mile in giving and these blessings keep inspiring and changing lives.
Thanks to surgeons who donated their time and service, and your continued financial contributions, Dr. Harindi Bedi, head of CTVS of Ludhiana Medical College and Hospital, reported that 30 children to date have now had the holes in their hearts repaired so that they can lead normal lives.
Thank God for the connection we have in this ministry entitled Gift of Life. Thank you for supporting a mission vital to those we may never meet, but we still are able to love as our neighbors.
Ludhiana’s thirtieth Gift of Life Patient: 10-month-old Yuvraj (pictured above) had a congenital heart condition that caused him to suffer recurrent chest infections. He weighs the same as a three-month-old. His parents couldn’t afford treatment without the help from Gift of Life. Since the surgery, he has started gaining weight and grows stronger every day.

The United Methodist Stewardship Foundation would like to express a special thank you to Rev. Dr. Ed Zeiders, who is not only a dedicated Christian leader, but a passionate advocate for stewardship as part of disciple making. We are grateful he is walking beside us doing New Consecration Sundays, capital campaigns, visioning, and so much more. We celebrate his tireless work and insightful contributions. Even though he is a “retired” pastor from St. Paul’s UMC State College, and a former president of United Theological Seminary, he has found more ways to serve the larger church with us, with Dimensions4 Coaching and Consulting, and with his Child Advocacy leadership. Thank you!

Thank you to our new members, the Class of 2019, for your willingness to serve.

Thank you to our leadership, the UMSF Board of Directors.
We welcome our new members as well as our returning team of directors to their elected positions. The group is pictured above at our July 13 meeting, planning for the second half of the year. We look forward to all they will bring in our ministry to serve our churches and organizations throughout our conference and beyond.

Thank you to Jody Robinson, our new account manager at United Methodist Stewardship Foundation who replaced Bonnie Young when she retired in June. 
Jody, the former director of Discovery Place at the Conference office, is helping us in the growing responsibilities and services of our foundation’s work. She will be training her replacement in order to leave in October, and we wish to thank her for stepping in to help us with this transition time in our organization.

“Our mission is to serve God and the Church by promoting Christian Stewardship in the effective management of all gifts to the glory of Jesus Christ.”

United Methodist Stewardship Foundation

303 Mulberry Drive, Suite 300
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050-3141
Toll Free at the office          800-272-0113
Fax Office                          717-766-1673

Our Heritage

By Milton Loyer, Conference Archivist

July – 100 years ago
The cornerstone for the new Sunday school building was laid July 23, 1916, at Bethany United Brethren Church in Red Lion, York County. This congregation began in 1882 when the February quarterly conference of the York circuit assigned two men “to look up a preaching place in Red Lion Borough, and also to secure a lot for a church.” The first sermon was preached the following month in a carpenter’s shop on First Avenue, and in June the cornerstone was laid for a 32 x 55 frame building on the east side of North Main Street, half-way between the square and the railroad. In 1897 the congregation relocated to West Broadway, and the original building was sold to the First National Bank – who used it until 1905, when they erected a brick building (now the Red Lion Tavern) on the site. The 1897 West Broadway sanctuary was replaced by the present structure in 1929, but the Sunday school building erected 100 years ago is still the main educational facility of the 750-plus-member Bethany United Methodist Church.

August – 50 years ago
The following announcement appeared in the August 1966 Pastor’s News Letter of the Susquehanna Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren Church: “Miss Susan Wolf and the Reverend Merrill Hassinger were married on August 13, 1966, in the Lohr’s EUB Church, Hanover, Pa. Susan is a probationer in our Conference and will continue her studies at the Lancaster Theological Seminary, Lancaster, Pa. Rev. Hassinger is the assistant pastor of the Salem EUB Church, Manheim, Pa.” Little did anyone suspect at the time that Susan Wolf Hassinger of Hanover would transfer to her husband’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference in 1967, eventually become a district superintendent, and be elected to the episcopacy in 1996. Bishop Hassinger retired in 2004 – but was called back to serve the Albany Episcopal Area 2006-2010, thus becoming the final bishop to preside over the Wyoming Conference before it was divided between the Susquehanna and Upper New York Conferences.

On to Glory - Death Notices

Mrs. Patricia J. Beddia, of Kennedy Drive, Chambersburg, Pa., died Wednesday, August 3, 2016, at home. Among her survivors is her husband, Rev. Peter M. Beddia, Retired. Memorial services were held Friday, August 12, 2016, in Newburg United Methodist Church, Newburg, Pa.

Rev. Roger Q. Burtner, of South Pine Street, Brady, Texas, Susquehanna Conference clergy, died Thursday, June 23, 2016. Among his survivors is his wife, Jane Marie (Kustanbauder) Burtner. Memorial services were held in early July in First United Methodist Church, Brady, Texas.

Rev. Martin Luther Cox Jr., Retired, of Church Street, Hawley, Pa., died Saturday, August 13, 2016. Among his survivors is his wife, Margaret “Peggy” Cox. Memorial services were held Friday, August 19, 2016, in Hawley United Methodist Church, Hawley, Pa.

Rev. J. Daniel Herron, Retired, of State Route 3013, Meshoppen, Pa., died Thursday, August 11, 2016. Among his survivors is his wife, Mary A. (Arnold) Herron. Memorial services were held September 25, 2016, in Meshoppen United Methodist Church, Meshoppen, Pa.

Rev. Norman E. Huff, Retired, of South Lincoln Avenue, Tyrone, Pa., died Friday, August 19, 2016. Among his survivors is his wife, Anne Mae (Good) Huff. Memorial services were held Tuesday, August 23, 2016, in Wesley United Methodist Church, Tyrone, Pa. Interment was in Logan Valley Cemetery, Bellwood, Pa.

Mrs. Lois M. (Lester) Loewen, of Big Spring Road, Newville, Pa., died Saturday, July 23, 2016. Among her survivors is her husband, Rev. John C. Loewen, Retired. Memorial services were held Saturday, July 30, 2016, in Fogelsanger-Bricker Funeral Home and Crematory Inc., Shippensburg, Pa. Interment was in Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville, Pa.

Mrs. Rose T. Needy of Menno Haven, Chambersburg, Pa., died Saturday, July 2, 2016. She was the widow of Rev. Elwood T. Needy. Memorial services were held Tuesday, July 12, 2016, in Park Avenue United Methodist Church, Chambersburg, Pa. Interment was in Heiland View Cemetery, Red Lion, Pa.

Mr. John N. Roberts, of Pollock Drive, Pittston, Pa., died Sunday, September 4, 2016, in Timber Ridge Nursing Home, Plains Township, Pa. Among his survivors is his wife, Pastor Barbara J. Roberts, Retired. Memorial services were held Thursday, September 8, 2016, in H. Merritt Hughes Funeral Home Inc., Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Interment was in Alberts Cemetery, Mountain Top, Pa.