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Blue Christmas Service, Christmas Eve, 9:30am

December 22, 2017

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Please join us for A Blue Christmas Service on Christmas Eve at 9:30am.
 
The Blue Christmas service acknowledges the hard reality that for many people Christmas is a very challenging time. Some folks are dealing with grief, depression, or other challenges that make this joyous time immensely difficult. The hustle, bustle, and cultural pressures leading up to Christmas makes it hard for some to find meaning in this Holy Season. The Blue Christmas service is an opportunity for folks who are anxious, mourning, depressed, lonely, or otherwise searching for quiet amidst the noise of everyday life to pray, worship, and experience healing. We hope that you can join us.
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Christmas Musical: December 16 & 17

November 27, 2017

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The Children’s & Youth Choirs will be presenting their annual Christmas Musical on Saturday, December 16th at 7:30pm and Sunday, December 17th at 9:30am in Fellowship Hall.

This year’s production is “All About That Baby.”  Please join us as this group of over 30 talented youth help us to celebrate the birth of Jesus!

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Winter at St. Paul’s!

November 22, 2017

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We have a long tradition of being open all the time!  Whether it is sheltering the homeless or for those who just need a place for some solitude, the church is always open.

Our inclement weather policy is that we will worship whenever two or three are gathered.  However, we ask that you  use your judgement when venturing out in bad weather.  We’d love for you to worship with us, but rather you’d be safe than end up in the hospital.  Regular Sunday worship begins at 9:30am, followed by Sunday school at 10:45am.

Tuesday Bible Study:  Bible Study will be cancelled anytime the Somerset Area School District is cancelled or delayed.

We will endeavor to keep our website updated with recent sermons and devotional materials so that your spirit may be warmed even during our blustery Somerset County winter.

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Easter Worship–Sunrise 6:30am, Festival of Word & Sacrament 9:30am

March 26, 2016

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Please join us for our Easter worship services as we celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

The Easter Sunrise Service:  Sunday, March 27th, will be held in the Union Cemetery with a procession leaving the church at 6:30am. (weather permitting).  We will meet in the Edgewood Avenue Narthex.  The service will be followed by a breakfast served in the fellowship hall.  The service will be led by our Youth Group.

Sunrise Breakfast:  Our annual breakfast will be served by the Men’s Brotherhood in Fellowship Hall following the Sunrise Service.

Easter Worship:  Begins at 9:30a.m. and will include the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

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Salem Church: A Celebration 50 Years in the Making!

September 10, 2015

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On Sunday, August 30th, the congregation of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their merger with sister congregation, Salem United Church of Christ, Lavansville, PA.  The following article was written by Denise Weaver following her conversation with three Salem Matriarchs.

 

Fond Memories of Salem Church

The overarching sentiment of our three matriarchs of Salem Church–Ferne Hay, Dorothy Moore, and Floy McClintock–is that the church at Lavansville felt like a happy family, and members enjoyed spending time together. Additionally, the three ladies affirm that Rev. Shellenberger was very influential in their lives and credit him with the smooth transition to St. Paul’s.

Dorothy (Bowman) Moore and Floy (Barron) McClintock, first cousins, both grew up in Salem Church. Ferne (Hentz) Hay joined after she married Jennings Hay, who was a longtime member.

All three have fond memories of the women’s guild meetings, plays and programs, picnics and festivals. Dorothy and her brother Dean Barron both recall the annual Harvest Home Service when members brought in produce from their gardens and gave the items to the minister.

Dorothy still has her cradle roll cards from when she was enrolled. “It was up to three years of age. Our family always went to church, and many times we walked there. Until Rev. Shellenberger came, we only had church service every other Sunday and communion once a quarter. But we had Sunday School every week.”

Her earliest memory of church is that women sat on one side and men on the other. “There was just one large room, and there were furnaces halfway on both sides. That changed soon after, I think. My father started attending Salem Church when he was about six years old. That was in 1907.”

Floy also attended Salem as a child, arriving each week with her mother and two of her five siblings. “My dad was Lutheran and my mom was Reformed. With six kids in the family, the first three went to the Lutheran church with my dad, and we last three went to Salem with my mom. Why it was that way, I have no idea.”

“We were just a little parish. Dr. Roth was the first minister that I remember. The windows in the church were colored leaded glass. They were the most beautiful windows around here. The round stained glass window we have today in Salem Chapel was above the altar at Lavansville.”

Ferne, having married into the church, is grateful that she did. “Jennings didn’t try to force me to come to his church, it’s where I chose to attend. It’s nice that it was my decision, and I respected him a lot for that.” She grew up in the Beachdale Church of the Brethren. “I remember being baptized in cold water in a stream. I can feel it yet!”

She recalls the many social gatherings of Salem Church members. “The women’s guild met at homes; you’d put your name in for which month you wanted to host. One month, Darius Dixon had a square dance for us at the guild meeting. We had a lot of fun.” Ferne enjoyed summer church picnics at the home of Marian Barclay. “We were mostly farmers, so you know the food was good.”

Dorothy also recalls a festival at Conestoga Inn, hosted by Ida Hetzel, where hot dogs, hamburgers, and soft drinks were served and everyone played games. She says her mother was an “instigator” in many of the activities, directing plays and being active in the guild. Floy and Ferne enjoyed the many plays that Dorothy’s mother, Harriet Bowman, lead. There were Children’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day programs, as well as Christmas and Easter.

Floy commented on how the participants always had their parts memorized. “We had the Children’s Day program in June; it was a Sunday night service. All the children and youth participated and people in the community would come to watch. There were recitations and poems, and I remember that the girls would march.”

Ferrell Stahl, who was Dorothy and Floy’s aunt, played piano at services for many years. Dorothy filled in for her occasionally. “I played hymns, but couldn’t play all the music Aunt Ferrell could play.”

Ferne, Dorothy, and Floy were active in the church, whether participating in guild projects, teaching Sunday School, serving on committees, or helping out where needed. Once when there was a remodeling project in the church and it wasn’t cleaned up by Sunday, Dorothy hosted all the Sunday School classes in her home that week.

Because the church building was just one large room, there was no nursery, and Sunday School classes met in different corners of the room. Floy was most influenced by her first Sunday School teacher, Binnie Will. “She was just really nice, an elderly lady from Lavansville. She really talked to all the kids.”

Ferne, the first woman to serve on consistory at Lavansville, and Homer Dickson were delegates to a conference where they heard the benefits of smaller churches merging. Ferne took many notes and was asked by Homer to present the topic of a merger to the consistory. “Homer felt that since I hadn’t gone to the church as long as some of the others, that I was not as attached to the building.” She presented the merger idea to the consistory of the Lavansville church and then again to the Somerset church. “They discussed it, and it took a while to approve, but they did.”

Dorothy, Floy, and Ferne have wonderful memories of Salem Church, a small church in numbers, but a large congregation in heart, love, and community. They also came to feel at home at St. Paul’s, largely due to Rev. Shellenberger’s efforts to make a smooth transition, and thanks to the St. Paul’s welcoming family.

~dw

Note: Salem Chapel was refurbished in October and November of 2014. Helen Brown was coordinator, about nine members of St. Paul’s helped with painting, cleaning, moving furniture, and many other jobs. Their help was so greatly appreciated. ~Lyn Shellenberger

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Along the Journey–Finding the Holy in Lent

February 20, 2015

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The Season of Lent is the 40 day journey that proceeds Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection.  During Lent we are encouraged to think about our relationship with God and our neighbor.  Our relationships are often a complicated mix of emotions and experiences.  We sometimes fail miserably at them and inflict pain on others.  There are victorious moments of love and celebration where all seems right in the world.  Lent gives us the opportunity to think about lives, repent of our sins and celebrate our victories.  The fact of the matter is that our lives mirror the life of Christ and his disciples.  Just as we struggle with being faithful to God an our neighbors, they too struggled in their own faith journey.  May we be strengthened by their witness to us.

You will find below a number of resources to help you along your Lenten journey.

The Society of Saint John the Evangelist (An invitation to a daily Lenten devotional series)

The United Church of Christ’s Still Speaking Devotional (A daily devotional sent to your inbox by UCC pastors)

There are Lent Calendars and devotional books for adults and children in the Edgewood Avenue entrance at the church.  Please feel free to pick one up the next time you visit St. Paul’s!

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Rally Day: September 7th:  Let Your Light Shine!

September 4, 2014

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Consider giving Sunday School a WHIRL this year as we join in fun, fellowship, and service.  WHIRL is the brand new program we are using with our grade-school classes.  Children are accompanied on their faith journey by a number of funny, kid-relatable cartoon characters.  Together, they encounter Bible stories and are encouraged to ask questions about God and the church that we often hesitate to ask!

Sunday School fun isn’t just for the kids.  St. Paul’s has classes for all ages.  

Junior High (grades 7 & 8).  Teacher:  Sue Geary.  The Junior High Youth will be exploring their faith journey in light of major themes in the Bible using Sparkhouse’s Echo the Story.  The Junior High class meets in the Library Extension.

Senior High (grades 9-12).  Teacher:  Rev. Matt Deal.  Youth members will go deeper in their reflection of how God is working in their lives using Echo the Story for Youth.  Senior High students will meet in the Pastor’s Office.

The Adult Class.  Teacher:  Craig Weaver.  Learners engage scripture, theology, and church tradition in a stimulating discussion of current events.  This class meets in the back of Fellowship Hall

The Young at Heart Class.  Team Taught by:  Carole Wilson, Max Ankney, Lyn Shellenberger, and Gary Cameron.  The Young at Hearts will be studying Ecclesiastes and will meet in Salem Chapel.

Graded Classes (Children’s Classrooms are on the main floor in the education wing.  Each classroom door is clearly marked.)

3 year-old–Kindergarten:  Teachers:  Isabel Shumaker and Kim Keim

1–3 grade:  Teachers:  Suzy Housley and Christy Schneck

4–6 grade:  Teachers:  Kristen Mumau and John Harris

Come grow with us as we let our light shine for Jesus!

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Youth Group Members attend Mid-Atlantic Youth Event

July 11, 2014

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Four members from St. Paul’s and one member from Trinity UCC in Berlin, PA departed on Wednesday for the United Church of Christ’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Youth Event.  Attending the event are: Becca Gary, Anna Geary, Colby Keim, Katelyn Matthews (Trinity UCC, Berlin), and Adam Yeckley.  Susan Geary and Westley Conn are the group’s chaperones.

Participants will be engaging in 5 days of high energy worship, fellowship, fun, and mission.  The youth event’s mission project this year is the local back-to-school program.  Youth members from Somerset County took with them donations of pens, pencils, notebooks, crayons, and rulers in support of the mission project.  St. Paul’s & Trinity Youth thank their church family for supporting them and this important mission!

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Observing Lent at St. Paul’s

March 5, 2014

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The Season of Lent is a time to reflect on your relationship with God and other people.  Acts such as worship, prayer, fasting, study, and devotion are just a few spiritual practices that guide us through our Lenten journey.  Sunday morning worship is a great place to start (we worship at 9:30am); we’d love to have you join us!  Here are some other great opportunities to discern God’s presence in your life:

  • Lenten Bible Study:  As part of our Lenten spiritual disciplines, we will offer a weekly Bible study.  Please join us each Tuesday at 10:00am in the Library.  The study will begin on Tuesday, March 11th.  For those who cannot attend the weekday study, the study will be repeated each Sunday at 6:00pm in the Library.  The first Sunday session will occur on March 16th.
  • Prayer Jar:  A major theme of this year’s Lenten journey is prayer.  You are invited each Sunday during Lent to put a prayer request in the Community Prayer Jar that is on the table in the back of the Sanctuary.  Prayers of praise, confession, thanksgiving, and petition are different types of prayer that make up our community prayer life.  Each petition may be done anonymously.  Pastor Matt will be praying over the requests each week in his personal devotion time and we will offer them all up collectively on Maundy Thursday.
  • Holy Week Services:

Holy Week (April 13-19) is a sacred time in the life of the church.  During the week we will come together for special worship opportunities.  I hope that you will join us during this holy time for worship, prayer, repentance, and praise of our risen Lord.

Maundy Thursday:  April 17th, the service will begin at 7:00pm. We will commemorate the Lord’s Supper and celebrate with the children who will partake of their first Holy Communion.

Good Friday:  April 18th, will be the traditional Tenebrae Service (Service of Darkness).  The Adult Sunday School Class will lead us in worship. Service begins at 7:00pm.

Easter Vigil: April 19th at 7:00pm.  We will observe highlights of the ancient Christian Easter Vigil service as they recall the saving work of God throughout human history.  The original service lasted hours; ours will last 60 minutes.  The Easter Vigil will mark the conclusion of the 24-hour prayer vigil.

The Easter Sunrise Service:  Sunday, April 20th, will be held in the Union Cemetery with a procession leaving the church at 6:30am. (weather permitting).  We will meet in the Edgewood Avenue Narthex.  The service will be followed by a breakfast served in the fellowship hall.  The service will be led by our Youth and Confirmation Class.

Easter Worship:  Begins at 9:30a.m. and will include the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

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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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