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Youth Group Mission Trip Retrospective

June 1, 2013

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Each day started with chores.  The animals needed fed:  alpacas, chickens, llamas, rabbits, not to mention the running of the sheep and goats!  Each day ended with chores and our youth made them happen.  “Here, sheep, sheep, sheep!  Here, goat, goat, goat!”  Was the call issued forth from the youth member leading the sheep and goats to and from their pasture.  The sheep were fairly easy, but often, the goats led us to pasture!

The animals were unbearably cute and much time was spent with them.  One of our youth was even observed singing to a favorite goat as he scratched behind the goat’s ears.  Cute animals are only part of the story.  Our youth learned about where food really comes from.  They gave their time and energy caring for the one acre garden, stacked fire wood, and built fence for two very big hogs in a new piece of pasture.

Most importantly, our youth learned about the life-changing work of Heifer International.  The 18 hours spent in a simulated global village helped to drive home the importance of food and health.  The youth who “lived” in Tibet and Ghana learned a lot about themselves and the culture in which they lived.  They worked hard to make meals from scratch and had to share resources with one another in order to survive.  They also learned some tough lessons about life when each group’s “baby” died.  The baby was only a water balloon, but meant a lot to the youth as they took turns caring for the little one, willing it to survive.  The Ghanian group brought flowers to the Tibetans as they silently mourned.  Both groups made memorials for their departed child.

Youth and adult participants brought home with them not only great memories and some good pictures, but a renewed sense of purpose and mission in our own ministry.  Over the next year, they plan on carrying out four projects within the community:  Serving a cross-cultural luncheon for the church, organizing a youth lock-in for the community, hosting a movie viewing festival for children, youth, and adults, and organizing a mini-mission outing to Ronald McDonald house in Pittsburgh.

We are thankful for the support of our church family and are grateful for the nurture and care we received from our mission partners at Overlook Farms.  This trip would not have been possible without your love and support!

With Gratitude,

Overlook Farms Mission Team

Youth:  Bethany Bailey, Mya Cameron, Anna Geary, Kolby Glessner, Nathan Hainzer, Tiereni Hitechew (United Church, Shellsburg), Becca Gary, Carly & Matty Stutzman, Megan Wertz (United Church, Shellsburg), and Hunter Younkin (Unity UCC)

Chaperones:  Wes Conn, Susan Geary, Amanda & Matt Deal

Living Life High on the Hog!

Living Life High on the Hog!

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60 Years Ago: Remembering the Ministry of Rev. Richard Shellenberger

May 31, 2013

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For more than a quarter of a century the members of St. Paul’s UCC had know only one pastor, Rev. Richard Shellenberger.

Pastor Shellenberger began his ministry in Somerset on June 2, 1953, although he had served as supply pastor of the church several times before.  At that time, the Somerset Charge included the congregations of St. Paul’s, Somerset, and Salem in Lavansville.  On August 15, 1953, he married Carolyn Dunn of Lancaster, PA, and they later became the parents of five children.

Rev. Shellenberger was a creative and devoted pastor.  During his ministry in partnership with The Lord and the cooperation and support of his “church family,” most of his dreams for progress and  development in the church were realized.  St. Paul’s and Salem, were merged into St. Paul’s UCC, Somerset in 1966.  A new educational facility was built in 1961-1962 and developed into a functional unit so that any activity or project could be accomplished.  St. Paul’s acquired four properties according to plans projected in the early part of his ministry, as well as a recreational retreat at North Fork for a future reclamation project.

Pastor Shellenberger once said “the ministry has always been hard work, but it’s always been gratifying.”  He had a personal philosophy that the minister needed to be with the people, to love them, and grow with them.  That one accomplishment seems to be the beginning of the next one.  Part of his ministry to the congregation was trying to show the people what they could become if they let the Lord take over.

His love of people and interest in their problems spread into the community as he shared his time and talent in many ways.  During his years in Somerset, he served on many boards and committees, like the Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Library Board, and Tableland Community Association, to mention a few.

Rev. Richard Shellenberger died on April 29, 1982 at the age of 56 after a seven month battle with lung cancer.  His merry whistle, as he went about his work makes us remember, he left us a challenge to go on, to grow, to become what we were meant to be.  How can we better say it than through the words of his favorite hymn. “Go labor on, spend and be spent.  Thy job to do the Father’s will; It is the way the master went; Should not the servant tread it still?”

An inspiration to everyone who knew him and a caring, dedicated leader, friend, and teacher, he will never be forgotten.  His ministry lives on through the devotion of his beloved wife, ‘Lyn, and daughter Marcy, not to mention all of us who are proud to be spiritual kin to Rev. Shellenberger, through the blessing of the Holy Spirit.  In every sense, Rev. Shellenberger was a “Shepherd of his Flock” and lives on in his church family.

(Excerpts taken from the April 1997 Edition of “The Cornerstone)

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A New Creation Springs Forth!

April 16, 2013

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A New Creation Spring Forth!

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