This Week in Ministry

The following institutional services are arranged for and reported by United Churches of Lycoming County:

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The following institutional services are arranged for and reported by United Churches of Lycoming County:

County Prison, 1:45 and 3:15 p.m., None scheduled.
HCR Manor Care South, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
Valley View Nursing Home, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
Aristacare, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
HCR Manor Care North, 2:15 p.m., None scheduled.
Rose View Center, 2:15 p.m., None scheduled.
Williamsport Home, 3 p.m., None scheduled.
Pre-Release Center, 3:30 p.m., None scheduled.

Services during the week include:

Presbyterian Home, 11 a.m. Thursday, None scheduled.

On the radio

Radio Services are provided by the following congregations:
8:30 a.m. (Saturday) Jersey Shore Assembly of God, WJSA 1600 AM/96.3 FM.
8:15 a.m. (Sunday) St. John’s-Newberry United Methodist Church, 1600 AM or 104.1 FM
9 a.m. (Sunday) Community Baptist Church, Montoursville, WJSA 1600 AM/96.3 FM.

County Prison, 1:45 and 3:15 p.m., None scheduled.
HCR Manor Care South, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
Valley View Nursing Home, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
Aristacare, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
HCR Manor Care North, 2:15 p.m., None scheduled.
Rose View Center, 2:15 p.m., None scheduled.
Williamsport Home, 3 p.m., None scheduled.
Pre-Release Center, 3:30 p.m., None scheduled.

Services during the week include:

Presbyterian Home, 11 a.m. Thursday, None scheduled.

On the radio

Radio Services are provided by the following congregations:
8:30 a.m. (Saturday) Jersey Shore Assembly of God, WJSA 1600 AM/96.3 FM.
8:15 a.m. (Sunday) St. John’s-Newberry United Methodist Church, 1600 AM or 104.1 FM
9 a.m. (Sunday) Community Baptist Church, Montoursville, WJSA 1600 AM/96.3 FM.

Ecumenical luncheon

United Churches Wednesday noon ecumenical lunches: None are scheduled during this time.

Devotion line

The United Churches telephone devotion line is available 24 hours a day by calling 570-322-5762. These devotions change daily and are hope filled and inspirational. The devotions this week will be provided by Yvonne Shenuski, of First United Methodist Church, Williamsport.

Footsteps To Follow

By The Rev. Todd Baker, First Baptist Church, Elimsport

I was recently at a safety training seminar, and the instructor said, “We tend to believe that in a crisis people will rise to the occasion and meet the challenge, but that is not true. We only rise to the level of our training.” As I write this article, the world is experiencing a crisis unlike anything any of us has experienced. Furthermore, I have no idea what things will be like by the time you are reading this. Currently, as I write on Friday, March 20th, we are adjusting to the idea that all but essential, life supporting businesses are closed until further notice. The Johns Hopkins University situation map shows that Pennsylvania has 303 (100 more than 5 hours ago) confirmed cases when there weren’t even 30 a week ago. There are now 272,000 cases confirmed in the world. What are we to think, and what are we to do in this moment? Really, the same things we should always think and do, but at a more intense level. We are to be looking up and out, not inward. Unfortunately, that won’t be our reaction if it isn’t what we have already trained ourselves to do.

It is so tempting, especially when social distancing is of critical importance, to become completely self-absorbed. By the time you read this, you will have probably heard of many ways you can reach out and help others, and you will have been reminded of how important it is to connect in some way with others to combat the ills of isolation. It may be, though, that you feel too despondent or fearful to do that. You may want to help but find yourself retreating or just plain feeling overwhelmed. That is why the first step needs to be looking up – getting your eyes on God. We have been trained to look within ourselves to find strength and guidance, but it is at times like this that we realize that is not the answer. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Apostle Paul wrote: “But He [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me” (CSB).

It is now, more than ever, that we need to find our strength in God, and it is not too late to do so. We see two kinds of prayers to God for help in the Bible. Many times, we are reminded of Psalm 46 where the psalmist prays, “God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” That, however, may not be where you are. You don’t feel that confident, and you don’t feel that connected to God. In Psalms 4, 5, and 13, we see prayers of desperation, pleading with God to come near, to hear and answer. Maybe that is where you are, and God brought you here, so you will call out to Him. In James 4, we are told that when we draw near to God in humility, He will draw near to us. It is a promise you can count on. Then you can find yourself praying out of the confidence seen in Psalms 27 and 46. Look up, cry out to God, read His Word, and embrace the promises of James 4. It is then you will have peace and the strength to reach out.


Faith Matters – by-The Rev. Dr. Ronald Shellhamer is ordained through ELCA, a former missionary, he is presently serving both the Lutheran and Presbyterian traditions.

A Real ID

Time passes swiftly. Ready or not, the hands of time propel us forward into a future filled with uncertainty, yet never void of purpose.

October 1, 2020 is a date in time which will greet us sooner rather than later. On this date, “The Department of Homeland Security will require a REAL-ID…driver’s license/photo ID Card marked with a Gold Star, or another form of federally-acceptable ID to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation” (PennDOT Document).

Identification(s) are important. ID’s inform others about who we are as we engage in daily travels. Proof of who we are helps us enter social events and secure financial purchases with greater ease. Conversely, where identity theft is real and potentially catastrophic, proper (real) ID brings safety and security.

For Christians who align themselves with The Reformation Movement, the Feast of the Transfiguration (of our Lord) was observed recently. The occasion ushered in the Season of Lent. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus’ real ID brings affirmation, security, and safety to the lives of Peter, James, and John (three of Jesus’ disciples).

We ponder scripture when Jesus was transfigured in a brilliant display of illumination and light. As his clothes dazzled white on a mountain top location, the disciples witnessed Jesus’ appearance alongside Moses and Elijah. Moses, the lawgiver to the people of Israel, and Elijah, representing the prophets of old, gathered with the Christ in one place. At this moment, Jesus’ real ID was re-established as the long expected, long awaited Messiah uniting Israel’s past with future hopes and promises. Later, Jesus turned his sights to Jerusalem and Mount Calvary. On the Mount of the Transfiguration, the Kingdom of God arrived (again), with all its power and authority as past, present, and future are re-united.

We learn that the Kingdom of God is complete. What followed at the scene was the voice of God, from the clouds. We also hear the clear whisper, the profound words: “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” The Feast of the Transfiguration confirms the real ID of The Kingdom, along with the favor God affirms for all people. This is Good News.

Whenever a real ID is established, whether from Homeland Security or any other government agency or community initiative, awareness of it brings purpose and completeness to the endeavor. Everyone benefits from the minimal inconvenience, which captures first our attention and then action.

In the spiritual life and journey of faith, the same truth applies. Jesus’ real ID is renewed and re-established through Divine initiative on that sacred mount. His ID reminds us who God in Christ is for us and all humanity: a brilliant source of Light, Love, Forgiveness and Hope. As we study this act of grace through faith, may we share this same grace in all we say and do throughout global villages everywhere.

Lent is a good time to reflect on these matters of faith.