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Hopewell UMC Welcomes Pastors July 18, 2018

On June 23, Hopewell United Methodist Church (UMC) in Downingtown welcomed and affirmed two new leadership positions. Amy Banka, elder, was appointed lead pastor, replacing Steve Morton, who has been assigned to the North District Superintendency of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church. In addition, Eddie Cameron, deacon, has accepted the appointment of associate pastor.

Banka graduated from Arcadia University, earning both a Bachelor of Arts in 1996 and Master of Arts in 1998 in English. She later graduated from Palmer Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity in 2009. Banka joined the Hopewell staff in 2014 as pastor of Young Adults and Leadership Development and in 2016 became an associate pastor. Prior to coming to Downingtown, she served Johnson Memorial UMC in Philadelphia, Fallsington UMC in Bucks County, and Faith UMC in Stroudsburg. Banka shares that she finds deep beauty and life in Scripture, worship, prayer, music, and Christian service, and she desires to bring what God teaches her to Hopewell. She and her husband, Michael, have two daughters, Grace and Emily.

Cameron graduated from Campbell University with a Bachelor of Arts in religion in 1999 and from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with a master's degree in biblical studies in 2009. Cameron joins Hopewell after serving First UMC in Lancaster since 2009. He and his wife, Lisa, have a son, James.


Church Will Welcome New Senior Pastor July 18, 2018

Immanuel Evangelical Free Church, 1140 Witmer Road, York, will welcome pastor Sean Rajnic and his family on Sunday, July 29, at 10:30 a.m. After the morning worship service, the church will hold a cookout. The welcome events are open to the community. Rajnic began serving as the church's senior pastor on July 23.

Rajnic has 14 years of experience as a pastor. He received a Bachelor of Science in music from Penn State University, graduated with honors from Denver Seminary, and became licensed as a professional counselor. His experience includes leading a contemporary worship team, directing worship bands and choirs, and leading large-scale worship events featuring bands, dancing and special effects. He has also worked with team-based prayer and caring ministries, developed an adult discipleship plan in spiritual growth, developed curricula and communication tools, and led small group ministries. He also provides Christian counseling for couples and individuals in his private counseling practice. Rajnic is the husband of Beryl, and their daughters are Aria and Aliya.

For more information about the church, readers may call 717-755-2413 or visit or


Diocese Posts Appointments July 10, 2018

The Most Rev. Ronald W. Gainer, Bishop of Harrisburg, has made several appointments. The appointments were effective June 18.

Appointments include the Very Rev. William C. Forrey from pastor, Saint Patrick Parish, Carlisle, to secretary for clergy for the Diocese of Harrisburg and pastor of Holy Infant Parish, Manchester; the Rev. Martin O. Moran from pastor, Divine Redeemer Parish, Mount Carmel, to pastor, Saint Patrick Parish, Carlisle; the Rev. Mark E. Weiss from pastor, Holy Infant Parish, Manchester, to pastor, Saint Joseph Parish, Dallastown; the Rev. Ryan M. Fischer from parochial vicar, Saint Joseph Parish, Hanover, to pastor, Divine Redeemer Parish, Mount Carmel.

At the presentation of The Rev. Tomy Joseph, vice provincial of the Fransalian Missionaries, appointments are the Rev. Dijo Thomas, MSFS from hospital chaplain, Hershey Medical Center, to pastor, Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Marysville, and Saint Bernadette Mission, Duncannon; and the Rev. Augustine Joseph, MSFS from parochial vicar, Saint Joseph Parish, Mechanicsburg, to parochial vicar, Saint Joseph Parish, Danville, chaplain, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, and Danville State Hospital, Danville.

At the presentation of the Very Rev. Dominic Eshikena, OP, vicar provincial for North America and the Caribbean, appointments include the Rev. Bernard Ayo Oniwe, OP to parochial vicar, Good Shepherd Parish, Camp Hill; the Rev. Ignatius Madumere, OP from parochial vicar, Saint Joseph Parish, Danville, Chaplain, Geisinger Medical Center and Danville State Hospital, Danville, to hospital chaplain, Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, with residence at Saint Joan of Arc Parish; and the Rev. Benedict Faneye, OP, has been reassigned by his community.

At the presentation of the Rev. Antony Paulose, coordinator for the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, appointments include the Rev. Sebastian Thekkedath, CMI, from parochial vicar, Saint Joseph Parish, Lancaster, to parochial vicar, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Lancaster, and remaining part-time chaplain for Lancaster General Hospital; the Rev. Steven Arena from parochial vicar, Saint Joan of Arc Parish, Hershey, to parochial vicar, Saint John Neumann Parish, Lancaster, and chaplain at Lancaster Catholic High School, Lancaster; the Rev. Brian Olkowski from parochial vicar, Corpus Christi Parish, Chambersburg, to parochial vicar, Saint Joseph Parish, Lancaster, and San Juan Bautista Parish, Lancaster.

In addition, newly ordained priest appointments include the Rev. Richard J. Lyons to parochial vicar, Corpus Christi Parish, Chambersburg; the Rev. Stephen J. Logue to parochial vicar, Saint Rose of Lima Parish, York, and will return for graduate studies in Rome in September; the Rev. Kenneth C. Roth to parochial vicar, Saint Joan of Arc Parish, Hershey; the Rev. Timothy J. Sahd to parochial vicar, Saint Joseph Parish, Mechanicsburg, and chaplain, Trinity High School, Shiremanstown; the Rev. Matthew C. Morelli to parochial vicar, Saint Joseph Parish, Hanover, and chaplain, Delone Catholic High School, McSherrystown; and the Rev. Benjamin J. Dunkelberger to parochial vicar, Saint John the Baptist Parish, New Freedom, and campus minister, York College of Pennsylvania.


Glen Moore Church Welcomes New Pastor July 3, 2018

When Patrick Welch moved to Chester County 14 years ago, he discovered Glen Moore United Methodist Church, located on Route 282 near Wallace Township Community Park, during a walk around his neighborhood. Little did he know at that time that he would one day be appointed as the church's pastor.

Welch officially became pastor on July 1 during a special installation service that took place prior to the Sunday worship service. Welch succeeds pastor Ralph Cain, who retired after spending 10 years serving at GUMC.

Welch, who most recently was pastor at Friendship United Methodist Church (UMC) in Coatesville, introduced himself to the GUMC congregation by relating the story of his first encounter with the church.

"Fourteen years ago, my family and I moved right on the other side of Wagenseller Park. We (took a walk) and saw this beautiful church on my first night in Pennsylvania (and) I took pictures of it," he recalled.

He said that he spent his early years in business working for an escalator and elevator company. "All of the time, God kept calling me and I tried not to be a minster most of my life," he said. "I ended up (attending) Hopewell (UMC) in Downingtown. I wanted to get more involved in the church, and I asked the pastor what I could do. He told me that he wanted me to do prison ministry."

That event prompted Welch's work as a prison minster, which he has been doing for 11 years. "I go into the jail in Philadelphia preaching and sharing Communion," he said.

In time, Welch left his career and decided to enter into professional ministry, receiving his Master of Divinity at Palmer Theological Seminary.

During the installation service at GUMC, Welch was presented various gifts from congregation members, including the following: a new Bible from Henry Foehl; a cross from Don Graewe; bread and a cup to signify Communion from Marta Wierick; "United Methodist Church Book of Discipline" from Joni Thor; water for baptism from Gene Huffman; a globe, signifying missions, from Shawn Trego; a hymnal from Barbara Carter; a white robe from Becky Pendlebury; and a clergy collar from Bill Pendlebury. Welch donned the robe and collar following the presentation.

Welch credited Cain for his smooth transition into his new role as pastor. "Every United Methodist Church will either reappoint their pastor or appoint a new pastor every year. It's a one-year covenant," Welch said. "I am thankful that (Pastor Ralph) lived about 3 miles from my old church (at Friendship UMC). I would see him ... and we got to know each other. He was incredibly gracious (in the transition)."

Welch said he will also be spending time getting to know congregation members, as well as members of the community by visiting the neighborhood. "I walked around, visited the deli and walked in the park and (enjoyed) being able to say, 'Hi, I'm the new guy," he said. "I'm still learning."

Following the service, the congregation enjoyed cake, coffee and other refreshments during a reception to welcome the new pastor.

GUMC, located at 1920 Creek Road, Glenmoore, holds its Sunday service at 10 a.m. Sunday school for adults and children is offered at 9 a.m. For more information, readers may call the church office at 610-942-2324, email or visit More information is also available by searching for "Glen Moore United Methodist Church" on Facebook.


Church Installs Assistant Pastor June 20, 2018

Central Manor Church of God welcomed pastor Jeremy Metze as the new assistant pastor of youth and family ministries beginning on May 21. The church planned to officially install Metze in his pastoral role during the 10:45 a.m. service on May 27. Metze and his wife, Hannah, accepted the invitation to come to Central Manor Church following a 99 percent affirmation vote by the congregation.

Metze's father was at one time a youth pastor at Calvary Baptist Church. Metze's parents, answering the call to become missionaries, moved their family to Mexico City, Mexico, when Metze was in middle school. Following graduation from high school in Mexico City, Metze returned to the United States to attend Baptist Bible College, now Clarks Summit University. There he studied theology, biblical languages, and philosophy. After graduation and marriage, he and Hannah spent 10 months in Mexico City assisting in a church plant on the north end of the city. They then settled in Lancaster.

Metze, who is scheduled to soon complete a master's degree in counseling from Liberty University, is transitioning to full-time ministry after eight years working in human services with children, teenagers, and their families in Lancaster County. He and Hannah have three young children.


Hope Within Names Director Of Development June 15, 2018

Hope Within Ministries has named Aimee Bergner as its director of development. She began her role in June.

Bergner earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Shippensburg University. For the last 13 years, Bergner has been the center director at Sylvan Learning Center in Palmyra and Lancaster. She brings experience in organizational leadership and development to the position.

Bergner lives in Palmyra with her husband and three children.


18 South Bids Farewell To Director June 6, 2018

18 South Youth Ministries recently announced that Jessica Cauller stepped down from her position as executive director on May 5 after serving the organization for nearly six years. She has stepped down to focus on her growing family, and 18 South has welcomed Alia Dyke as a new ministry coordinator.

Cauller's involvement with 18 South began in 2011 when she moved to Red Lion to marry her husband, Joshua, who had volunteered at the youth center since it opened its doors in November 2007. She took her post as 18 South's first full-time employee in June 2012, leading both the youth center and the nonprofit.

In March 2016, the organization split her position into two after the birth of her son, Zeek. At this time, she remained part-time as the executive director of the ministry.

An attendee of The Brook Church in Red Lion, Cauller graduated in 2002 from Red Land High School in Lewisberry and received a bachelor's degree in English and communications from Albright College in Reading in 2006.

Under her leadership, 18 South Youth Ministries grew from an organization with two board members and 15 volunteers, serving approximately 30 teenagers a week and raising $8,000 a year, into a ministry with five board members and 30 volunteers, serving 70 teenagers each week and raising more than $70,000 a year.

The youth center is located at 18 S. Pine St., Red Lion. Readers may visit for more information.


Clouser Shares On Musician-Stewardship June 1, 2018

Jeffrey Clouser, director of music ministries at Palmyra Church of the Brethren (PCOB), has been published in the UCC Musicians' Association Journal.

In his three-page article, Clouser looks at what it means to lead a church's song in a general congregational setting of any denomination. He then examines how the specific music ministry at PCOB embraces the task of being musician-stewards of God's Word, and he discusses PCOB's mission statement in this context.

As part-time director of music ministries at PCOB, Clouser facilitates the choral, handbell, and praise team programs; participates in planning worship services; and organizes special musical events for the church. He also coordinates the Summer Melodies musical offerings for summer worship. He received his certification in Church Music through Virginia Wesleyan University and a Bachelor of Science in education from Millersville University. This summer, he is slated to begin his second year in the Master of Church Music program at Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He maintains memberships in Handbell Musicians of America, the Lancaster and Harrisburg Chapters of the AGO, ACDA, The Hymn Society, and UCC Musicians Association. He sings with the Elizabethtown College Community Choir and serves as festival coordinator for the Central Pennsylvania Handbell Festival.


Wrightsville Presbyterian Pastor Retires May 30, 2018

On May 20, the congregation at Wrightsville Presbyterian Church, 205 N. Second St., Wrightsville, bid farewell to the Rev. Christine Blackford as she stepped into retirement. In honor of Pentecost Sunday, the sanctuary was filled with red balloons and geraniums, and two giant red banners that Blackford created shortly after she became pastor in 2004 were on display. "I think what I've brought to this church is that creative piece in terms of creating a service," Blackford remarked. "There's a lot going on in this church. This church is very alive."

Getting to know the approximately 50 members of the congregation, as well as neighbors and visitors, during her time at Wrightsville Presbyterian has been a gift for Blackford. "You get to know each other so well," she commented. "When tragedy hits, this congregation will surround you and they are very good at caring for each other. Every church has its own personality, and that is something that is done well here - and missions."

Folks from the church have taken part in 10 mission trips with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) during Blackford's tenure, and she was able to join in two of those. This summer, Wrightsville Presbyterian will serve as a site for the Hands Across the Street summer lunch program for the fourth year, and that is just one of several of the church's outreach efforts. On the fourth Saturday of each month, the congregation works together with other area churches to host "Breaking Bread," a free community meal, in the fellowship hall at Wrightsville Presbyterian. Food is served from 4 to 5 p.m., and anyone is welcome to attend.

Wrightsville Presbyterian recently celebrated its 190th anniversary, and Blackford said that the church's rich history includes taking a hit from a cannonball during the Civil War. More recently - and slightly less dramatically - the building incurred damage from a windstorm in February of 2017 that caused the steeple to need repairs. Blackford said the entire roof is also being replaced. "That work began last fall, and it will be a number of months (until it is finished)," noted Blackford.

Originally from New Jersey, Blackford went to Elizabethtown College, where she majored in biology and met her husband, Nate. The couple lives in York and has three children and six grandchildren. Blackford plans to spend more time with family and travel now that she is retired.

Blackford graduated from Lancaster Theological Seminary in 2003 with a Master of Divinity, but joining the staff at a church was not on her radar when she decided to further her education. "I was originally going to expand my biblical knowledge and grounding," recalled Blackford, adding that she had been serving as an elder at her church and wanted more training. She took one class at a time over the course of several years since her children were in school at the time. "It took me a long time, but I got there," Blackford said with a laugh.

A mindset shift as far as Blackford's decision to pursue a leadership position came through encouragement from two influential individuals. "What was kind of a turning point for me was when Dr. (John) Payne came to me and told me that if I was to get into the ministry, he would encourage me to do so," Blackford shared. "Later I asked him why he said that, and he said, 'You have a love for the church that would carry into ministry.'" The second person was Blackford's father, who was living with dementia at the time. He told her: "You know, if you've got a call, you've got to answer it."

Wrightsville Presbyterian Church holds weekly worship services on Sundays at 10 a.m., followed by Sunday school from 11:15 a.m. to noon. All are welcome. To learn more, readers may call 717-252-1302 or visit


EMM Welcomes Martin May 16, 2018

Krista Martin began her role as Kingdom Team director for Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) on April 9.

The focus of the Kingdom Team program is to provide opportunities for youth groups to serve refugees and immigrants alongside local community partners in Lancaster while also participating in activities and sessions. Kingdom Teams work with refugee children and youths through clubs, crafts, tutoring, English conversation activities, sports and games, and other activities.

Continuing to develop the Kingdom Team program, Martin will coordinate planning details, oversee the daily activities of the Kingdom Teams, provide evaluation for the program, and make initial preparations for the 2019 season.

Most recently, Martin worked as a foster care and adoption social worker for Bethany Christian Services in Lancaster. She served on a 2009-10 EMM YES team to Southeast Asia and also at EMM's Harrisburg Discipleship Center from 2010-11.

Martin holds a Bachelor of Arts in social work from Millersville University. She and her husband, Tim, live in Lancaster. They attend Living Light Mennonite Church in Washington Boro.

In 2017, Angie Earl transitioned into the role of EMM community engagement coordinator. The position of Kingdom Team director was created as a result of Earl's transition.


Church Names New Pastor May 11, 2018

Silver Spring Baptist Church of Columbia recently named Joshua Bain as pastor of youth and young adults.

Bain and his family previously lived in the Houston area. While in college at Texas A&M, he met his wife, Michele, at an on-campus Bible study. After serving a brief stint in China, they returned to the U.S. to welcome their son, Josiah. A few years later, their daughter, Mayli, was born. Bain also works as a child nutrition director.


Congregation Welcomes Senior Minister May 9, 2018

On May 6, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York (UUCY), 925 S. George St., York, hosted an installation service to recognize and celebrate the Rev. Dr. Gabriele Parks as its new senior minister. Parks joined UUCY last August after a yearlong search and a formal call to ministry by the congregation.

A lawn reception followed the service. Special guests included regional Unitarian Universalist ministers as well as leaders of local organizations that partner with UUCY in community service.

Parks earned a Master of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary and a Doctorate of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. She has served congregations in State College, Maryland, and Michigan. She succeeds the Rev. Lyn Cox, interim minister at UUCY, and the Rev. Robert Renjilian, the previous UUCY senior minister.


Salem UCC Appoints New Pastor May 1, 2018

On April 22, the congregation at Salem United Church of Christ (UCC) officially welcomed Mark Harris as its new pastor. Harris, who is currently pursuing his Master of Divinity at Lancaster Theological Seminary, first connected with Salem UCC through a professor who recommended Harris to serve as a pulpit supply preacher. After a few months, the congregation opted to hire Harris as the lead pastor.

Born in Scranton and raised in Lancaster, Harris attended McCaskey High School and later earned his General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Harris was most recently employed as a church administrator for four years in Keene, N.H., and prior to that had a 25-plus-year career in restaurant management.

Entering ministry has been something Harris was interested in for a long time, and two years ago he and his family moved from New Hampshire back to Lancaster so that he could begin attending Lancaster Theological Seminary. "After a health crisis two years ago, I decided it was time to go for it," recalled Harris.

Pastoring has felt like a natural fit for Harris. "I love people," Harris remarked. "I enjoy meeting people where they are and hearing what their journey has been like and getting to know them."

Harris currently lives in Manheim. He and his wife, Angela, have five children ranging in age from 6 to 20.

"I think (Salem UCC) has a lot to offer Columbia today," Harris said. Built in 1850, the church has a rich story and originally had all of its services in German. "Salem is beautiful. It's a pretty little church, and one of my goals is to get backlighting installed for the stained glass windows so that people will be able to see those better."

Harris said that he is also eager to work with the Columbia Ministerium, which is an active group of local church leaders who encourage one another and collaborate for community activities and annual events.

Enhancing and growing the programming for children and youths at Salem UCC is another priority for Harris.

Salem UCC, located at 324 Walnut St., Columbia, has approximately 75 members. Anyone is welcome to join in the weekly worship service on Sundays at 10:15 a.m. in the second-floor sanctuary. Parking is available on the street in front of the building and in the paved lot behind the main building.

Salem UCC hosts a free breakfast at 8 a.m. on the last Saturday of each month in its educational building. All are welcome. For more information, readers may call 717-684-6498 or email


Pastor Brings 35 Years Of Experience To Local Church March 27, 2018

The Rev. Merritt Schatz has been the new pastor at Nottingham Presbyterian Church since November of last year. She is a temporary supply pastor, with the option of continuing as the permanent pastor.

"So far, things are going wonderfully," she said. "I fully expect that in the fall we'll petition the Presbytery to change to a permanent status."

Born in Kentucky and raised primarily in Pensacola, Fla., Schatz comes to Nottingham with 35 years of experience in pastorship.

"I didn't really grow up thinking I would go into the ministry. I thought I would do counseling of some sort," she said, noting that when she was growing up, the church did not ordain women. That changed in 1963, but Schatz did not think the ministry was for her.

Schatz graduated from Duke University, and after trying a number of career options, she went to Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga. "The moment I walked onto the seminary campus I felt that I was at peace for the first time in years," she said.

Schatz's first posting was in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she served for two years. That was followed by 10 years at a church in Wichita, Kan., where she met and married her husband, Noel. "It was a small rural church on the edge of the city with good, faithful people," Schatz said.

She spent 13 years as an associate pastor at Georgetown Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., and seven years as a pastor in Aberdeen, Md., where she still lives.

The commute to Nottingham is not a long one, and Schatz is pleased with what she has found in the church. "It's been wonderful. I'm excited about the potential here," she said. "The people have such good hearts, and they're willing to pitch in, and they are interested and willing to try some different things."

Schatz blends contemporary and traditional in the church. "We try to balance it because a lot of our members are older, so we have a lot of older hymns, but were also introducing some newer ones," she said. "I like the atmosphere of 'We're all in this together.' I come as a leader, but I also come recognizing that the church is people, so we talk about things before we make changes."

She is impressed with the congregation and how they have welcomed her. "They are very caring for one another, caring for the community, caring for the broader church and caring for me," she said. "They have a heart for missions, and they do a lot in the community."

Looking toward the future, she would like to see the church interact with more individuals. "One of the things we're looking at is engaging beyond big events, to see who is coming to our events and engage them person-to-person," she said. "You have to feel like having Christ in your life is valuable and can help others and you want to share that gift. You do that by getting to know the people and seeing them as a child of God."

Schatz has been married for 30 years, and she and her husband have two children, Jacob and Elizabeth. In her spare time, Schatz enjoys needlework and cooking, but most of her favorite activities are related to the church and helping others. She served on the National Response Team of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) for eight years.

"(Being involved with PDA is) one of the other things I do that is close to my heart. I'm now on the (PDA) National Volunteer Team," she said. "A lot of what I do for fun is mixed with the church."

Nottingham Presbyterian Church is located at 497 W. Christine Road, Nottingham. For more information, readers may call 610-932-0556 or visit or


Bridgeville Welcomes New Youth Director March 27, 2018

Joshua Carr, who became the part-time youth director at Bridgeville Evangelical Congregational (E.C.) Church in Narvon at the end of summer 2017, first considered becoming a youth pastor while working at a camp in the Poconos as a teenager. "When I was 15, I felt a calling to go into youth ministry, and I haven't looked back," said Carr.

Carr and his three siblings grew up in Landisville, where they were homeschooled. The family attended Grace Baptist Church on Marietta Avenue, and Grace Baptist youth pastor Mike Cortez became Carr's friend and mentor. Carr began attending Lancaster Bible College (LBC) full time a few years ago, and he is currently working toward a four-year degree in children and family ministry. "I only applied at LBC," noted Carr. "I felt if God wanted me to do this, I would do it here (in Lancaster)."

Through his work at Twin Pines Camp, Conference, and Retreat Center in Stroudsburg, Carr met Kirk Wolfe, Bridgeville E.C. pastor. "(Wolfe) directs camps at Twin Pines, and we built up a pretty good relationship," said Carr. When the youth director position at Bridgeville became available, Wolfe knew that Carr was matriculating at LBC with hopes of going into youth ministry. After Carr completed his fifth summer working at the camp, he met with Wolfe about the position. Carr interviewed with the church ministry council in the middle of August, and his first day in the position was Aug. 29.

The position held some surprising challenges for the new director. "When I started, there were not many students in the youth group and there were only girls," said Carr. "I asked what they wanted to learn about, and they wanted to learn about women in the Bible." Undaunted, Carr tackled the topic. "I was a little out of my comfort zone," said Carr, who dove in and gathered information for the lessons.

Carr is pleased that the number of students in the group has risen since autumn. "We're still a small youth group, but we're growing," said Carr, who noted that about a dozen students in grades six through 12 are now attending weekly meetings, which are held on Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and Sundays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. "I have been working hard to help them know God and through knowing God to love Him and obey Him," noted Carr. "One of my goals is to make disciple-making disciples. I want them to get discipled here and go out and radically change their schools and the communities they're involved in."

The youth group has taken part in a number of activities, including a weekend retreat at Twin Pines called Winter Thaw, which was held in February. "We went with a lot of other churches in the area, and there were probably about 159 people there," said Carr. "It was a lot of fun, and it was a growing experience."

Carr has also organized lock-ins at the church, which have included videos, snacks, and games, and he has plans for more. "In April, I want to do a lock-in that involves bowling and movies," he said, adding that he hopes to hold lock-ins on a quarterly basis.

As warmer weather approaches, Carr is considering plans to take the group into Lancaster to work with a group called Go Beyond that holds clothing and food drives. He recalled working with the organization as part of the Grace Baptist youth group. "We went to the stadium where the Barnstormers play to pack food and clothes," he said. "That's something I want to get the students involved in."

Readers who would like to know more about Bridgeville may visit The church, 5971 Division Highway, Narvon, currently holds services at 8 and 10:30 a.m. each Sunday.


OPC Pastor To Retire January 31, 2018

After 12 years of service to the Oxford Presbyterian Church (OPC), pastor Kerry Slinkard will retire this spring. He will continue to lead services through February, with his term officially concluding at the end of March.

Slinkard has been in installed pastoral ministry for 29 years. Before coming to Oxford, he was an associate pastor in Newark, Del., and pastor at two churches in Dallas before that. He came to Oxford planning on a long stay. "I had a notion this would be my last installed church," he said.

When Slinkard arrived in 2006, the congregation had been back in its building for 10 years, having rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1989, but there was still work to be done.

"One of the first things we were able to do was secure an organ appropriate for the sanctuary," Slinkard recalled. "It had been in the works for a number of years but hadn't really come together. That was one of the things I put together early on."

During his time in Oxford, Slinkard has enjoyed working with the church members and the community.

"There are good folks here. I think we've done a lot of good things in our congregation and for the community and carried on the legacy of 275 years of leadership in this borough," Slinkard said. "I love the people here at Oxford. I've gotten to know folks elsewhere through the (Oxford) Ministerium and activities of the church.

"I've particularly enjoyed the association between Oxford Presbyterian and Shiloh Presbyterian, our sister church," he added. "I really have enjoyed that relationship and supporting that congregation and that interconnection between our churches."

Slinkard is happy with the accomplishments OPC has made during his time as the pastor. "I feel very good about the things that we have done here. I'm leaving the church, I think, in a strong position," he stated. "We've just completed a capital campaign that's financing the work to replace the air-conditioning system and a new sound system. There are a number of things we've been able to tackle because of this campaign."

Looking ahead, Slinkard sees good things for the church. "I think the ministry leadership among the congregation is strong, and they are ready to take on whatever new assignments and ministries God lays before them," he said. "I am confident the congregation will continue to be strong in outreach efforts and community service efforts."

Slinkard sees the change in leadership as an opportunity for the church. "I'm not so bold as to think there are not some new ministries I haven't thought of that will come out under new leadership," he commented. "I know the congregation will step up to new ideas. It's a very creative congregation, willing to accept new ideas and explore new opportunities. I've always appreciated that about them."

As he moves into retirement, Slinkard does not expect to give up this type of work completely. "I don't think I will stop all ministry 'cold turkey,'" he said. "I will probably continue part-time ministry of some sort - I'm not sure what or where. I think I still have some work I can do."

A resident of Newark, Del., Slinkard will focus on his family as one daughter enters college and the other begins high school.

At OPC, Slinkard said that a committee has been put together to bring in a transitional pastor. "That person will be in place for a transition time," he explained. "At some point down the line, another committee will be formed to search for the permanent pastor.

"I wish this congregation the best, and I ask for God's blessings and pray that they will continue to enjoy the journey," Slinkard added.

OPC is located at 9 Pine St., Oxford. For more information on the church, readers may visit


Healing Shepherd ECC Welcomes The Community January 24, 2018

The community is invited to experience Sunday worship at the newly formed Healing Shepherd Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC), which meets at the historic Vincent Baptist Church building, 2109 Art School Road, Chester Springs.

Healing Shepherd, which met for the first time on Dec. 3, 2017, holds Mass each Sunday at 10 a.m.

The Rev. Denise Roberts-Graham, pastor, explained that the ECC Mass is nearly identical to those of Roman Catholic churches. She stressed that all are welcome regardless of religious affiliation. "Even though it is a Catholic Mass, it is open to everybody," she stated.

A stained-glass window depicting Jesus as the Good Shepherd that was once located in the church building was the inspiration for the name of the new congregation. "The stained-glass window fell into disrepair, so they took it down when it became a safety hazard," Roberts-Graham noted. "Marc (Duey, the building's owner,) was talking about having the window repaired and placing it in a corner of the cemetery (for a prayer grotto). We decided to call the parish Good Shepherd, but there are other Good Shepherds in the area, so we went with Healing Shepherd."

Roberts-Graham explained that that the ECC traces its origin to 1870 - the year of the First Vatican Council - when a group of European Catholics broke off from the Roman Catholic Church, forming the Old Catholic Church.

"We broke off from the Old Catholic Church about 20 years ago," noted Roberts-Graham. "We have parishes in the United States and in several countries in eastern Europe and in India. One of the reasons we are setting up in Pennsylvania is because we only have one parish here in Pennsylvania, and it's Old Souls in Reading."

Roberts-Graham, who grew up in lower Bucks County, previously served as an interim pastor at Holy Family Church in Aurora, Colo. She learned about Duey and Vincent Church through ECC Bishop Francis Krebs. The bishop's nephew married Duey's daughter during a ceremony held in Pennsylvania.

"I was living in Colorado and was ordained out there," Roberts-Graham explained. "I decided to move back to my family here in Pennsylvania. I called the bishop and told him that I was moving. He said (he spoke with Marc, who) owned a church and was interested in having an ECC congregation meet there." Roberts-Graham spoke with Duey who agreed to allow the new congregation to meet at Vincent Church.

"It's great to be home," Roberts-Graham added.

The church only has a few congregation members but hopes to grow over the next several months. "Right now, I play the part of the priest and musician. Once we get large enough, we will look for a musician and have a pastoral council," noted Roberts-Graham.

The church also wants to educate the public about its building and the historic Vincent Cemetery that surrounds the church.

According to a written history, Vincent Baptist Church was built in 1812 and additions were made to expand the building in 1852 and again in 1928. Baptisms were held in the Pickering Creek located across the street from the church.

The cemetery contains the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers who were treated at the nearby Yellow Springs Hospital, as well as Civil War soldiers.

Visitors to Healing Shepherd can view photographs and a written history of the church, which are displayed in the rear of the church sanctuary.

"Our plan in the coming months is to have an event where we're going to invite (local) leaders, other pastors and people from the community to come and see who we are and learn about the church (building) and its history," Roberts-Graham added.

For more information about the church, readers may visit or email


Church Names New Organist, Music Director January 16, 2018

Sean Fox was recently named the organist and music director at St. Mary's Episcopal Chapel in Warwick Township. His first service playing the organ at the local historic church was on Jan. 14.

Fox, who resides in Mohnton, is already familiar with St. Mary's and its members, including pastoral leader Alan Lindsay and parish administrator Peggy Kandle, who had served as interim music director. "(Fox) was my organ teacher for a time," Kandle noted.

Fox has been a guest organist at St. Mary's and has played for the church's Christmas service. He succeeds former organist Katie Rutt and interim organist Sharon Levering.

Fox describes the music played during the Sunday service as traditional. Some of the hymns featured on Jan. 14 included "How Bright Appears the Morning Star," "The People Who in Darkness Walked" and "Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies."

In addition to the organ, St. Mary's is home to a baby grand piano, which was dedicated during a Sunday service last September. It was donated to the congregation by Calvary Church in Conshohocken.

"I (will) play the church's old digital Hammond organ and the piano mostly for prelude," Fox said. "I also play guitar, so there's possibilities for that in the future." He added that the church has a pipe organ as well, which he hopes will be restored in the future.

Fox is the founder of a Morgantown music store, where he teaches guitar, piano and organ. He also teaches a beginner guitar class at Chester County Night School. "I have a large roster of piano and guitar students," he noted.

Fox said he is excited to play at St. Mary's Episcopal Chapel, also known as Old Saint Mary's Church, which is listed on the National Historic Registry. The current church building dates to 1843, when it was constructed to replace the original structure built in 1806.

The church is a one-story, rectangular stuccoed fieldstone structure built in the Gothic Revival style, and it features a hand-carved wooden altar and wooden doors that enclose the church pews. The church is surrounded by the parish cemetery, with burials dating back to 1806.

"I love this building," Fox stated. "It has an air about it. It's very beautiful."

He also said that congregation members all know and support each other and that they take special care of the old church building. "Everyone is so close here; everybody knows each other," he said.

"We are a family," Kandle added.

Sunday worship at St. Mary's is held at 10:15 a.m., and a Bible-based forum for adults is offered at 9 a.m. Light refreshments, including coffee and baked goods, are available before and after the service.

In addition to holding Sunday services, St. Mary's Chapel is open for tours, private meditation and prayer every Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. Kandle will guide visitors through the church and the historic cemetery that surrounds it.

The cemetery includes gravesites of veterans from as far back as the Revolutionary War. The cemetery also contains the grave of the church founder, the Rev. Dr. Levi Bull.

Lindsay also leads "Breakfast With the Bible," a Bible study group that is held every Friday at 8:30 a.m. at the Morgantown Coffee House, 4997 N. Twin Valley Road, Elverson. Attendees from all denominations are welcome, and people can join the group at any time.

St. Mary's Chapel is located at 161 Warwick Road, Elverson. The community is welcome to attend Sunday services and the Bible study group and to tour and visit the church on Wednesday afternoons. For more information, readers may email Lindsay at


Congregation Names New Leader November 30, 2017

On Oct. 21, Lloyd Scalyer transferred leadership of The Seed of Abraham Messianic Congregation over to Dennis Shatto, who is now the new spiritual leader at the congregation. Shatto and his wife Betsy live in Harrisburg.

The foundation for the Seed of Abraham began with the Jewish evangelism work of Lloyd and Judith Scalyer and Edward Rhawn, along with volunteers from different congregations. In the early years of meetings, services and Bible studies were held at various locations east of Lancaster, including the Scalyer's home. After urgings from The Messianic Hebrew Christian Fellowship (confirmed by Lancaster Evangelical Free Church Elder Board), Scalyer decided to begin a new congregation. Scalyer was ordained in 1981.

In 1994, the Scalyers, along with several other like-minded persons, began meeting on Fridays. Soon they moved to Saturdays. In 1999, The Seed of Abraham moved to the Mill in Lititz, where it currently meets on Saturdays at 10:15 a.m.


Church Wards Receive New Bishoprics November 22, 2017

The Lancaster, Elizabethtown, and Ephrata wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received new bishoprics during October.

The Lancaster Ward is presided over by Bishop John W. Hume, and his counselors are Kevin Turner and Carlos Juarez. Hume provides software support and training. He is married and has five children. Turner works as a health care administrator and is married with two children. Juarez works as a commercial IT specialist and SAT coach. He is married with two children.

The Ephrata Ward is presided over by Bishop Simon Elmore, and his counselors are Karl Ludwig and Chris Baird. Elmore is a senior project engineer. He is married with six children. Ludwig is self-employed and is married with four children.

The Elizabethtown Ward is presided over by Wayne Bushey, and his counselors are Adam McBride and Kent Alexander Meldrum. Bushey restores Pintos, is married, and has five children. McBride works for the church as the regional coordinator of seminaries and institutes of religion. He is married with six children. Kent Meldrum is an OB/GYN physician. He is married with four children.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has four wards of the church in Lancaster County. Each ward consists of between 300 and 500 people, with organizations for children, teenagers, and adults. Each ward is overseen by a bishop and his two counselors. These men are called by higher church authorities and approved by a vote of acclimation from the congregation. They serve without compensation, volunteering their time and talents without receiving a salary. A bishop can easily spend 20 hours per week serving members of the ward.

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