Rev. Gwen Bernstine, Executive Director of United Churches, said that the program will continue to operate under new leadership. This ministry meets the personal, emotional and spiritual needs of homeless, hungry, unemployed and troubled individuals in Lycoming County. She noted that while the overarching goal of the Shepherd of the Streets program has not changed, the primary focus of the program at this time is to help people with their health concerns.
In acknowledging Dr. Smith’s resignation, the United Churches’ and Shepherd of the Streets’ Executive Committees noted the tremendous impact he, as the Shepherd, has had on the needs of the population in crisis in our county. Dr. Smith has served the program well for twenty years! His dedication to the underserved has been honored in many places throughout the community including by receiving the Sr. Vincent Humanitarian Award, the YWCA Racial Justice Award and the Pickelner Brotherhood Citation.
Ms. Yvonne Shenuski, President of the Shepherd of the Streets’ Advisory Committee gratefully acknowledges Dr. Smith’s work and ministry to the needy. The Shepherd Program has generated generous support from both organizations and individuals in our county. Through the Shepherd Program, we try to meet needs that are not being addressed in other areas of the community. The Shepherd ministry helps people in need purchase medicine, medical equipment, and make it to out of town medical appointments. Some of us take these things for granted, and others look at them like someone is asking us to climb the tallest mountain.
Mrs. Phyllis Girven, President of United Churches said, “The United Churches thanks all those who support the Shepherd of the Streets’ Ministry. We look forward to working with residents and organizations throughout Lycoming County as we continue to address the needs of our county. We have always appreciated Dr. Smith’s willingness to work in the community, serving on the MH-MR Joinder Board of Lycoming-Clinton Counties, the FEMA-HAP Advisory Board and as a past president of the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition.
Dr. Smith and his wife Barby are planning to move closer to family in the Kansas City, Missouri, and enjoy retirement. Please join us in wishing them many blessings!
We will also miss Barby who added much to our community life, and always inspires us musically. She is a member of the Williamsport Music Club, several local Bands, and often led the singing Church Women United Celebrations, when she wasn’t busy at St Joseph the Worker Parish.
God has indeed called us to provide pastoral care and spiritual guidance to those whose spiritual needs are not met by our churches, especially the hungry and homeless, the unemployed and the unemployable.
Please join United Churches in sincere prayer and cooperation that this special ministry will continue to contribute to the deepening and advancement of God’s kingdom of love and service in our community.”