This Week In Ministry

Sunday March 19, 2023

The following Institutional Services are arranged for and reported by United Churches of Lycoming County:

  • Lycoming County Prison, 1:45 and 3:15 p.m., None scheduled.
  • Williamsport South, 2 p.m., Ms. Debra Buckman, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Williamsport.
  • Valley View Nursing Home, 2 p.m., Vicar Carol Johnson, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Williamsport.
  • We Care of Loyalsock, 2 p.m., Ms. Patricia Burket, State Road United Methodist Church, Linden.
  • Williamsport North, 2:15 p.m., Rev. Gwen Bernstine, Lycoming Presbyterian Church, Williamsport.
  • Rose View Center, 2:15 p.m., Mr. Jerry Webb, AME Zion Church, Williamsport.
  • Williamsport Home, 3 p.m., None scheduled.
  • Pre-Release Center, Men, 3:30 p.m., Mrs. Gail Slocum and Mrs. Carol Hetler, Yokefellows.
  • Pre-Release Center, Women, 3:30 p.m., Mr. Don Slocum, Yokefellows
Services during the week include:
  • Heritage Springs, 10 a.m. Tuesday, None scheduled.
  • Leighton Place, 2 p.m. Tuesday, None scheduled.
  • We Care of Loyalsock (Bible Study), 10 a.m. Wednesday, Pastor Tammey Edkin, United Churches of Lycoming County.
  • Hillside Senior Living, 2 p.m., Wednesday, Pastor Tammey Edkin, United Churches of Lycoming County.
  • 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 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

Recent Articles

Interpretation Of The Scriptures

February 15, 2023

By Rev. James Behrens, Retired United Methodist Pastor

Sunday, February 19th, is Transfiguration Sunday. This year the scriptures are Exodus 24:12-18 and Matthew 17:1-9. Exodus focuses on Moses, who went up on the mountain and was covered with a cloud, which could be described as the Holy Spirit. The Glory of God shone upon him, which was witnessed by Joshua, his successor. In the Gospel account of Matthew, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain, where they witness Jesus being transfigured before them.

The three disciples were told not to share what they witnessed until after Jesus’ death. The Glory of God that day was seen by his disciples who also saw Moses (the greatest law giver,) Elijah (the greatest prophet) and Jesus. They were all present, as was God the Father and the Holy Spirit. In Exodus, as Moses was on the mountain, he was covered with a cloud. Similarly, in Matthew’s account, a cloud covered God the Father, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. A voice spoke from the cloud, which identified Jesus as God’s Son. Matthew 17:5 says, “While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’” (NRSV). It sounds a lot like the words heard when Jesus was baptized except for “listen to him.”

Later in the Epistle of Second Peter, we hear Peter witness to what he saw and experienced that day. Peter said in Second Peter 1:17-18, “For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory…We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.” Peter is testifying to his audience that he was shown the Glory of God and heard the voice confirm Jesus as God’s Son. He did not mention the other disciples who were present by name.

Not all of us have seen the Glory of God. Peter cautioned people then, and I want to do the same. I have been in many Bible studies and Sunday School classes over the years. Some of them were as simple as sitting at a table and reading the Bible and sharing our thoughts. Peter today says, “that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.”

It is fine for us to share our thoughts with one another. But make sure that your interpretation is accurate and not just an opinion. It is nice to have different perspectives, and we can learn from one another.

I once knew a man who had read passages from Revelation. He came to me and began to interrogate me. He asked, “Where is the church in Philadelphia?” It took me a while to realize that he believed that the church in Philadelphia was Philadelphia, PA. We need to understand how others interpreted the scripture and why it was interpreted that way. We have too many people in society who seem to think that they are experts on everything. However, their reading and interpretation may or may not be true.

When I was a chaplain at SCI Muncy, I told the ladies when I preached to prove me wrong. If they proved me wrong, I was willing to change. Either way we both won; they engaged more with the scriptures, and even if they proved me wrong, we found the right answer. In Second Peter 1:21, he gives the following as the reason: “because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” There are many who will twist scriptures by their human will. They will make verses say what they want them to say to prove a point. On all scriptures, we need to understand through the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost. Amen.

-Rev. James Behrens, Retired United Methodist Pastor




February 2023 Newsletter

February 15, 2023

View the Newsletter  

Coins And Gifts

February 9, 2023

By Richard DeMarte, Board Member at Large, United Churches of Lycoming County

The saying is “a penny for your thoughts.” They jingle in your pocket, rattle in your purse, and collect in the cup holder in your car. You might even have a coin jar or dish on your dresser (as I do). My loose change goes in there each evening. And then I get more as I make purchases in my daily walk. Businesses have penny dishes to allow customers to pay and round off the purchase price, and many churches have penny jars or even coin drives to help with their mission giving. Coins are place holders for our folding money and allow our economy to divide our cash into smaller units that can be handy and yet cumbersome to some.

According to Stan Hudson, a numismatic consultant for the Horn Archeological Museum of Andrews University Theological Seminary, “Few tangible reminders of everyday life have seen as little change over the centuries as have coins. Except for production techniques, coins have received little improvement in concept from Bible times.”

His article, “Coins Of The Bible” in states, “Before coins in standard shapes and sizes were invented, payment was determined by weight. In fact, the terms ‘to pay’ and ‘to weigh’ were expressed by the one word shaqal. From this verb we get the word shekel (or more accurately, sheqel), which came to denote a somewhat fixed weight of approximately 12 to 14 grams.” Hudson goes on to state that in Genesis 13:2, “Abraham’s wealth was measured in gold, silver, and cattle.”

Exodus 30:13 states, “This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to the Lord” (NASB).

“Coins Of The Bible” continues staters “were silver coins” which were “equal to shekels” and came “from the city of Tyre and were used in the business of the Temple…Jews were forbidden to issue their own silver coins, so they were forced to use coins from this merchant city.” In Proverbs 20:23, “Solomon warned against the practice of cheating by using more than one set of weights.”

Money changers sat in the temples and exchanged Jewish money for staters, often at an overinflated price or using rigged weights. This was a key factor in Jesus’ clearing of the money tables in Matthew.

Coins are small, but small is not always insignificant. We have pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, even half dollars as our breakdown of folding money, and almost all cultures, past and present, have such small divisions as well. These coins serve more than place holders; they allow us to post charges and payments in very small units. In our early history, this was important because the average person did not possess larger amounts. We have carried the practice on into today.

This discussion of the usefulness of small coins relates to Paul’s admonition in Romans 12:4-8: “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully” (NIV).

We know that churches operate best with the various members using their gifts for growth and missions rather than rely on the pastor and a few key leaders to do it all.

Coins and gifts are both important small divisions that carry big returns.

Thank you for letting me put my two cents in.