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Pastor Matt’s Musing

July 17, 2020

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Grace and peace to you in the name of our risen Savior!

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God…” (Romans 8:19)

The Apostle Paul makes quite a claim in the eighth chapter of Romans when he asserts that we, as God’s adopted children, are the awaited ones to redeem all of Creation.  That’s some heavy responsibility and a very high calling!  Nevertheless, Paul believes that through our kinship with Jesus Christ, we too are capable of participating in God’s saving work, freeing all of creation from the bondage of death and decay.

And yet, this triumphant claim is tempered by the very real and often frustrating call for watchful patience as God’s transformation is happening, but not yet completed in our midst.  We groan and wait for salvation, literally defined as wholeness and abundant life, hoping for the full arrival of God’s kingdom in the midst of our (and Creation’s) shared decay.

As we live our lives in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic, social and political unrest, and the usual challenges and worries that we face as individuals and a society, groaning and waiting are things with which we are all too familiar.  I’ve often been asked by others and have wondered myself:  When will this end?  When will things get back to normal?  When can we do church programming like we used to?  

Paul’s words are both encouraging and frustrating.  We hope for what we do not see and we do it with patience (paraphrase of 8:25).  I am convinced that although we don’t know when these current crises will end, they will come to an end.  I am also convinced that God’s salvation is unfolding in our midst and that we are called to be active participants in that saving work.  We are the greatly anticipated Children of God of which Paul is speaking.  It’s up to us to work toward abundant life and wholeness (salvation) for all of Creation.  This means doing a lot of hard work: taking measures to help slow the spread of the Corona Virus; ministering to those who have lost jobs and have experienced hardships because of the pandemic; being faithful witnesses for the cause of racial and economic justice; continuing to nurture young and old in their life’s journey; and the list goes on and on.

It’s clear to me that our words and actions are able to move us a long way through the process that is God’s saving work.  May we be patient, brave, and open to the Spirit’s guidance and call in our lives.    

While we wait with hope and expectation, please don’t hesitate to contact me for pastoral care or for help.  My number is: 814-279-5504.

Blessings and Health,

Pastor Matt

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Church Council Update: Worship in July

July 3, 2020


Church Council had a special meeting on Tuesday evening to consider our status relative to holding services during the ongoing pandemic. It was a unanimous consensus that we should not at this time attempt to hold indoor worship services. This decision was made in light of rising numbers of cases in and around our county and out of concern for the safety of worshippers and worship leaders.

It is Council’s decision to “stay the course” with continuing to offer outdoor services in Shellenberger Park (weather permitting) as well as the virtual online and telephone services. Again, these decisions are not easy. We appreciate the feedback received from many of you. We have given prayerful consideration of the wide range of comfort levels and opinions. Each and every member and friend of our congregation is precious to us.
We are continuing to develop plans for what an indoor service might include for that time when we can once again worship together indoors with a reasonable feeling of safety. Church Council will continue to monitor changes in the number of cases as well as guidelines from reputable sources and authorities. The next scheduled meeting of Council is July 21. Please continue to monitor our website and Facebook pages for updates.
Please keep our church leaders in your thoughts and prayers as we continue to discern the appropriate measures, precautions, and ways to meet your faith needs and expectations.

Craig WeaverChurch Council President

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July’s Mission Offering is the SAM Van

July 3, 2020

Comments Off on July’s Mission Offering is the SAM Van

The SAM van provides medical transportation to Somerset County residents.  Their routes include Johnstown, Pittsburgh, Altoona, Greensburg, and all points in between.  Since its beginnings in 2004 the vans have traveled over 250,000 miles and provided service to over 3,000 people at no cost to the rider.   

The SAM van is run by the Somerset Area Ministries and is supported by donations from individuals, churches and other organizations. If you are in need of this service or would like to volunteer to drive the SAM van you should contact Charles Olson at Grace United Methodist Church at 443-6354.

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Worship With Us!

June 19, 2020


The congregation of St. Paul’s UCC continues to worship during the Pandemic. Beginning this Sunday, June 21, 2020 we will be holding in-person services each week at 10am, in Shellenberger Park, as the weather permits. We are following CDC guidelines, so wearing masks and social distancing are encouraged. Please bring a lawn chair if you plan to attend, a limited number of folding chairs and disposable masks will be available for those who need them.

Our online worship presence continues as well. We invite church friends and family to join us online for worship on Facebook and YouTube beginning at 9:30. The service will be available on demand on both platforms following their streaming at 9:30.

Facebook users should go to the church page, Saint Paul’s United Church of Christ and like us to follow church event. Here is the link for Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh3D9gXPMXUT5_LxQdoLgzA?disable_polymer=true&fbclid=IwAR1aG7XS7u_uoyFzhvlkBP5nhHYKJWQdZQcKx_6tz2F6dj2p6ZU8yCe7294

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A New Way To Give

March 27, 2020


The current COVID-19/Corona Virus pandemic has forced many individuals, businesses, and organizations to rethink how to accomplish day-to-day functions.  The church is no different.  

St. Paul’s continues to do vital ministry:

  • Reaching out to the homebound & lonely
  • Caring for the sick
  • Comforting the dying & their families
  • Working with the Somerset Area School District, Meals on Wheels, Somerset Area Ministries, and other agencies to ensure our most vulnerable community members are fed everyday
  • Online children’s programming
  • Online fellowship events
  • Live-streaming and videos of worship services on Facebook & YouTube
  • Launching a COVID-19 community mission fund to assist those in need because of social distancing, job loss, and illness
  • Honoring our monthly mission partners

A number of our members and friends have asked for an online way to give, so we are pleased to offer this service through tithe.ly.  You can make a gift by accessing our website (see the “Give” button on the homepage or the button below), www.stpaulsuccsomerset.org.  You may also download the free tithe.ly app to your smartphone or tablet and customize it to meet your needs.  Although the service is free to the church, credit card and transaction fees are assessed to each gift, so when making an online contribution through tithe.ly, please consider using the bank funds transfer feature, which has the lowest fee of one percent per transaction.  For your convenience, you may also select the reoccurring gift option if you would like to make regular gifts to the church.  If you have any questions or need assistance using this service, please do not hesitate to contact Cindy, our financial secretary.  And as always, we still accept and appreciate your mail-in contributions!

We value your continued thoughts and prayers during these challenging times.  On behalf of the staff, and lay leadership of our church, we wish you good health and strength as we encounter each day together.  Relying on God and one another, we will get through this!


Pastor Matt

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