East Petersburg Mennonite Church (EPMC), 6279 Main St., strives to be a community of people who are learning to live and love like Jesus Christ. The church was formed nearly 300 years ago in 1720, when some neighbors first found themselves gathering together to worship God, celebrate community, and follow God's mission to share His love.
It is from this place that newly appointed lead pastor Jeff McLain has developed a sermon series titled "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" During the 10 a.m. main worship gatherings on Sundays from July 9 to 23, McLain will explore how followers of Jesus can be good neighbors and make a positive impact wherever they live.
"We love being part of this town," McLain said. "We've been here a long time, and I choose to believe that God put us in this neighborhood to announce, embody, and demonstrate the reigning good news and goodness of the Kingdom of God."
McLain believes churches should be deeply invested in their local neighborhoods, and he practices what he preaches. In addition to serving as a local pastor, McLain is actively involved with the East Petersburg Events Committee and with facilitating the East Petersburg Minister's Meetup. He also lives in the borough with his wife, Katie, and their three children.
In April, McLain stepped into the role of lead pastor after serving as associate pastor at EPMC for three years. It is a second career for McLain, who was a concert promoter for more than 16 years and also worked numerous side jobs. A native of Lancaster County, McLain worked with animal training at a local theater after graduating from Penn Manor High School in 2000. He then traveled with friends' bands, doing artist management. Later roles included retail clerk, greenhouse worker, limousine driver, and youth care worker at a substance abuse rehabilitation center.
"If you knew me in those years, you wouldn't have expected I would have wanted to be pastor, because I knew I didn't want to be a pastor," McLain said. "Churches and church leaders didn't leave the best impression on me growing up, so I enjoyed living and breathing adventure (instead)."
It was through a mentoring pastor, Jerry Shannon at the Lancaster Vineyard Church, that McLain began to change his mind about churches and pastors. Thanks to Shannon's influence, McLain discovered a love for neighborhood community and the joy in a shared mission. Following one more adventure out of the area, which included planting a church, McLain returned to Lancaster County and began his tenure with EPMC. As associate pastor, McLain helped the church to form neighborhood connections, and he worked with young adults and families with young children within the church. Now as lead pastor, he will continue to focus on neighborhood connections and find ways to lead the congregation and overall faith community into deeper discipleship and spiritual health. McLain graduated this year from Eastern Mennonite University's Study and Training for Effective Pastoral Ministry program.
Guests are always welcome at EPMC. Sunday school for people of all ages is offered from 9 to 10 a.m. The main worship gathering is held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. For more information, readers may visit http://www.eastpetemc.org, call the office at 717-569-9931, or email email@example.com.