This Week In Ministry
- Lycoming County Prison, Pastor James Bond, Revival Tabernacle, Watsontown,Pa
- Roseview Nursing Home, None scheduled.
- Leighton Place, None Scheduled
- Valley View Nursing Home,None scheduled.
- We Care of Loyalsock,None scheduled.
- Williamsport North, Tracey Mulcahey, St. Paul Calvary Church, Williamsport, Pa.
- Williamsport South,None scheduled.
- Williamsport Home, 3 p.m., None scheduled.
- Pre-Release Center Women, 3:30 p.m., Gail Slocum,Yokefellow Prison Ministry, Williamsport, Pa.
- Pre-Release Center Men, 3:30 p.m., Don Slocum, Yokefellow Prison Ministry, Williamsport, Pa.
Services during the week include:
- Heritage Springs, None Scheduled
- Leighton Place, 2 p.m. Tuesday, None Scheduled
- Hillside Senior Living, 2 p.m. Wednesday, Mrs. Carol Hetler, United Churches of Lycoming County
- Presbyterian Home, 11 a.m. Thursday, None scheduled.
- 8:30 a.m. (Saturday) Jersey Shore Assembly of God, WJSA 96.3 FM.
- 9:30 a.m. (Sunday) Community Baptist Church, Montoursville, WJSA 96.3 FM.
- 9 a.m. (Sunday) Pine Street United Methodist Church, Williamsport, WWPA 1340 AM/101.7 FM., WILQ HD3
By Tiffany J Haller, Director of Religious Education & Youth Ministry
St. Ann Catholic Church
When I was asked to write a “Faith Matters” article, I did not know what I was getting myself into. I enjoy writing and thought it would be a good experience. Then, as the deadline approached, I had a question. What is the purpose of “Faith Matters”? The answer: usually it involves socially relevant topics. An example was the recent shootings. I then thought to myself, “Oh, Lord! I do not want to go there! It is too hard, too devastating, too controversial. Then there are COVID, masking, and vaccines. There is the war in the Ukraine. The rise of anxiety and depression as a result of all of these occurrences is at an all time high. If we have learned anything through all of this, it is that life is unpredictable and we all suffer. And this is why faith matters.
As the Holy Spirit does, He showed up in a big way for me today. When listening to podcasts while working, I noticed the app shuffled podcasts in an order I would not have chosen. However, Ave Spotlight Episode 94 “Saints Who Struggled with Mental Issues” with Tommy Teigle popped up while I was too involved in my work to change what I was listening to. The saints are people we may feel very out of touch with. Weren’t they “perfect” people who lived some type of idealistic life? Most lived decades, if not centuries, before our time. What could they possibly have to teach us? But as I listened, I was reminded that, as humans, we have more in common than we often realize. There were several saints mentioned in the discussion: women and men from all different walks of life and time periods. I was familiar with all of them, but I was not aware that they all suffered from mental illness to various degrees. These were real people who had suicide idealizations due to the desperate state of their minds and lives. But God had better plans, and by His grace, they were able to overcome their suffering and live extraordinary lives.
What is God trying to tell you in your suffering? We were all created in love, such love that our hearts and minds cannot even fathom it! Each of us was created in love, by love, and for a specific purpose. We all have a purpose that no one else can fill. No one else was created in the family, the community, or the time in history as you. The statistics for our specific existence are astonishing! So, I would like to ask, what is your heart’s ache? If there were one thing you could change, what would it be? That is a very good indication as to your purpose, your calling to make this world a better place and your distinct contribution to this unpredictable world. Could it be that our suffering can teach us and offer us a way to find solutions to some of the challenges we face? Through it, we are uniquely able to help others who come after and alongside us.
Yes, we are living in trying and devastating times. May I offer that we are the solution. Faith matters because through it we are called to higher things: things we cannot achieve in our own strength but in God’s loving plan for us. Philippians 1:6 states: “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV).
Force Multiplying By Jesus
By Pastor Kathy Behrens
Picture Rocks and Tivoli United Methodist Churches
Once upon a time in the Civil Air Patrol, we lost a lot of clergy. They did not want to have their fingerprints taken to continue to serve, and many left. One of our “regs” assigned a chaplain to every unit, especially those units that had cadets or teenagers in the program. Part of their training consisted of moral leadership, which was to be taught by a chaplain. In an effort to meet the demand when there were so few chaplains, the national office established requirements that persons who were not ordained and could not meet the requirements to be a chaplain could still serve. They were persons who were pastors but who could not meet the requirements, as well as Sunday School teachers and others who went through training to teach the Moral Leadership Program. It helped us cover slots for chaplains. They were not made chaplains, nor could they do the work of chaplains, but they had the authority to conduct moral leadership classes. The Civil Air Patrol is not the only group to face a shortage of workers.
Similarly, Jesus realized that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Luke 10:2). He anointed or called people to go into the nearby cities to spread the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven.
He gave them a command to do the following things: “Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’… Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house” (Luke 10:4, 7, 9 NRSV). They were to “cure the sick” and tell them that ‘The kingdom of God has come near to them.’” These persons went on before Jesus, who could not be everywhere, and did the work so the harvest of people could be brought in. Jesus told them not to be excited by what happened at their hands, but that their names were “written in the kingdom of heaven” (Luke 10:20).
We live in a world that needs to hear the Word of God more than it has for years. People are disillusioned by their leadership, denominations go against the beliefs of the people they are serving, our government has its own agenda, which is usually more focused on the desires of the leadership and what is in it for them, than it is to represent the people who place them into office. People need to have their spiritual needs met, and they are hungry for the Word. In much the same way, it was in the days of Jesus.
On the day of Pentecost, which we celebrated several weeks ago, the words from Joel 2 were quoted by Peter: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke” (verse 28, Acts 2:17-19). Said a little differently, the word of God is now going to be proclaimed by all people, young and old, men and women. For those gathered on Pentecost, this was a major change.
You are called to be one of those voices today; are you willing to tell them about your faith and to encourage them to come and follow? Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Are you fishers of men for Christ, or are you fishers of fish?
By Mrs. Gail Landers, member of New Covenant United Church of Christ
United Churches of Lycoming County’s Christian Social Concerns Committee
Experts define pilgrimage as “a journey to a sacred place or shrine, a long journey or search.”
A decade ago, a long-awaited journey with my just-graduated seminarian and youngest daughter, now an ordained pastor with the United Church of Christ, welcomed the end of May. It was a retreat to the peace-filled Island of Iona with Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development. Accessibility was limited via two ferries.
Our life journeys are always in progress, more than one big list. Being off the beaten path in the Sea of Hebrides, due West of Oban, Scotland and the Isle of Mull, sits the three and a half mile long and one mile wide Island of Iona.
It is just half the size of my first week-long island exploration off the coast of Boston: Thompson Island.
There is no need for cairns direction on this sacred ground, full of history. The mixing of Celtic Christianity and Pagan traditions blends from the founding by Saint Columba.
When people asked me what I did there, “Did you stay in a castle?”, I find it difficult to give an understandable answer. When you have your senses heightened through the beauty of nature, new bird songs and sightings, historical memories at your feet, fresh air and late night light; walk around sheep scat bedecked with flowers; view flowers growing through rocks-new life from the old past; freedom to walk off trail (with respect to closing any gates/styles) to roam the land of endless mounds of grass and stones, I had one of the simplest, healthiest, and rewarding pleasures of life: “the walk.”
Robert Reber, managing editor of Illinois Stewardship, refers to “the walk” as “one of life’s most intimate experiences with nature.”
When eyes and hearts are opened to the beauty of nature and our human connection to it, new awakenings occur. Sometimes this is referred to as an “ah ha” moment. The ability to connect is realized. Respect for the colorful embedded stones and labyrinth root the history of Iona, mirrored through the legacy of Columba.
Later this month, I will join another pilgrimage stateside, this time to the Southwest and the Ghost Ranch of New Mexico, two hours from Albuquerque. It was formerly the residence of artist Georgia O’Keefe and is now under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church. My sister will be joining me, along with a small group of other Oasis Ministry travelers.
Like the spiritual gifts of strengthening that the apostle Paul shared with the Romans, we will be hoping for what is not seen and waiting with patience and renewing of minds, “rejoicing in hope and persevering in prayers, extending hospitality to strangers and living peaceably with all” (Romans 12:12-13).
“Sometimes one must travel far to discover what is near” Uri Shulevits, The Treasure.
“Hold on to what is good, even if it is a handful of earth. Hold on to what you believe, even if it is a tree that stands by itself. Hold on to what you must do, even if it is a long way from here. Hold on to your life, even if it is easier to let go. Hold on to my hand, even if someday I will be gone away” Pueblo Prayer.