December Awards at WUMC

The following article was submitted to local newspapers and the General Commission of United Methodist Men; the topic of the article are three award recipients at Watsontown UMC and their support of children and youth.

Right to Left: Arion Moser, Terri Mincemoyer, Pastor Ryan, Bill Bryan, Paul Huffman

On December 17th at the Watsontown United Methodist Church at the 10:30AM service two Cross and Flame Awards and the Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence were presented. Bill Bryan from the Boy Scouts of America and Terri Mincemoyer from the Girl Scouts of America received the Cross and Flame Awards. Both are devoted leaders in the church, community and the scouting organizations that are sponsored the church.

Right to Left: Paul Huffman, Linda Smith, Pastor Ryan, Arion Moser

The Susanna Wesley Award of Excellence was presented to Linda Smith. She received her award for outstanding service to the church and community. Her excellence in service includes past leader of Girl Scouting at the church, church choir, bell choir, organizer for Kids Cafe that provides meals and activities to children every day during the summer through a federal school lunch program, food bag program for low income families at the Turbotville Elementary School, Shepard’s Kitchen an outreach program to provide a meal monthly to low income families, Joseph’s Closet an outreach program that provides clothing to low income families, and many other community and church activities.

Lynda Schlegel Culver State Representative for Northumberland County presented special citations from the PA House of Representatives and Senator John Gordner presented special citations from the PA State Senate to each recipient.

All of these recipients are devoted and outstanding leaders in the community and church.

2017 Cross and Flame recipients Terri Mincemoyer and Bill Bryan join the class of 2016 Cross and Flame Award recipients: Camy Brungard, Krista Yoder, Charlotte Bryan, and Harry Hefty

A Big Thank You from Pastor Ryan and Family

The following is a direct excerpt from the October Newsletter, however, I’ve decided I’d also like to publish it directly to the Pastor’s Blog:

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his work as God did from his. Let us, therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:9-11, ESV)

From August 29th through September 25th, my wife Linsey, my son Beckett, and I received an incredible gift. By the approval of the Conference Cabinet, the awareness of Watsontown UMC’s Pastor-Staff Parish Relations Committee (P/SPRC), and the diligent commitment of leaders within our church, I received the gift of paternity leave. Culturally in the U.S. paternity leave is still stigmatized. While 89% of men agree that employers should offer paid paternity leave, only 9% of American companies offer paid leave to fathers; moreover, fathers—for various reasons—typically only take one day off to bond with newborn children for every MONTH that a mother takes in leave (statistics from theBump.com). I mentioned these numbers primarily out of gratitude for the opportunity, so willingly offered, to bond with my son Beckett over the last four weeks.

How has leave blessed our family? My wife and I have had the opportunity to spend more time together in September than we have in most other months of our nearly two years of marriage; through quality time and conversation we’ve been able to live into the Scriptural prescription to love, respect, and submit to each other (Ephesians 5:33). We’ve blessed God for the chance to watch Beckett grow. We’ve seen his smiles, heard his laughs, and have begun to set routines and foundations for healthy, godly family life. What can we say but that we dearly, dearly love this person whom God was forming even before July 12, 2016 (Jeremiah 1:5). Finally, we have also had time to rest. Leave has been for me a Sabbath, a time to renew and recharge in the love and grace of God. The Lord wills a rest for us who are in Christ (Hebrews 4:9), and we all do well to seeks moments to renew our souls on a regular basis.

If you have been following Christian news circuits you may have heard of two megachurch pastors (Pete Wilson of Cross Point Church and Perry Noble of NewSpring) who recently resigned their posts due to burnout. As a pastor I empathize with their professional struggles, yet I know, too, that everyone struggles with exhaustion and overwork. For some reason, our culture has made coffee, late nights, and overtime badges of honor rather than family time, work-life balance, and meaningful leisure. The writer of Hebrews provides a stark reminder that rest is a godly thing! Time away is God-honoring! And if we want to call ourselves disciples of Jesus Christ, if we want to follow in his footsteps, maybe many of us need to rethink our calendars and schedule more Sabbath and less “Sorry-Honey-I’m-going-back-to-the-office.” I mean literally. Go home, get out the pen, and write in “REST.”

So once again, Linsey, Beckett and I are grateful to God and to you all for the gift of leave and Sabbath. We believe our family is closer, more loving, and stronger because of the time we had together. We are also so very excited for you to meet the little guy! The family of God is made up of all kinds: old, young, big, small, male, female, all different colors. Praise God for new life and all of the great spiritual blessings that God showers on us every single day (Ephesians 1:3).14457532_10211054843911837_2019822138358050638_n

The Summer’s Not Over Yet!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance” (Colossians 2:23-24).

We’ve been having a busy summer at Watsontown United Methodist Church! Here is a snapshot of many of the ways we hope you’ve been connecting with us (and even more importantly, seeking to connect with Jesus Christ).

1) Every weekday since school let out, volunteers from Watsontown UMC have made the Watsontown Memorial Park their home. The Kids Cafe outreach serves a free meal all children and youth who show up to eat. You can find these volunteers, kids, and families chilling out by one of the pavilions from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. No one is turned away. How blessed we have been, too, for the partnership of the Hoeganaes Corporation and Watsontown’s First National Bank who have given of their own time to serve. This program will continue until the beginning of the school year.

2) The Watsontown UMC’s 5th Annual Blueberry Festival has come and gone. Food, vendors, games, a bounce house, model trains, and scouting stands took center stage as our congregation opened its doors for a summer community event. Sincere and heartfelt thanks go out to the Blueberry Festival Planning Committee under the leadership of Faith Hoover and Melinda Pick for another successful event. Be ready to mark your calendars for next year as the blueberries keep coming back!

3) Another GoFishGuys Vacation Bible School went out with a literal splash! What better way to conclude a week-long journey of singing God’s praise, dancing, reading the Bible, and growing in faith than to invite the Warrior Run Fire Department to hose down three “lucky” fundraisers. Mission efforts for the Wounded Warriors, Warrior Run Fire Department, and 2017 Vacation Bible School raised over $1,000. Way to go! But the greatest gifts of the week cannot be bought or counted; so we pray for all of the children who drew close to God over the week. We are also grateful for the work of the VBS Committee and for chairperson Camy Brungard’s leadership to touch the lives of community young people!

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But the Summer is not done yet! Below is glimpse of what we have planned as August rolls around and families prep to go back to school.

  • You are invited to Worship @ the Campfire every Thursday at 7:30PM until Labor Day. The fire ring has even had a face-lift!
  • You are invited to a Blessing of the Backpacks on August 14 at 8am and 10:30am worship services. Children are asked to bring their back packs full of school supplies to be blessed and prayed over. If you know someone who might need a back pack, call the church office.
  • You are invited to a Church Picnic on August 21 at 3PM. This year, the location will be Montour Preserve, Heron’s Cove A Pavilion. This will be a pot-luck event so you are encouraged to bring a dish to share. Worship services will be held as normal that morning.

No matter what your summer holds, don’t forget to make time for you and God, and God’s Spirit in you. You are loved by the people of the Watsontown United Methodist Church.

Pastor Ryan

Every Season is a New Season

Fall has come, September 2015. Even though the warm afternoon temperatures still cling to the valley, evenings are noticeably chillier. As the weather changes, as school is now underway, as sports teams run here and there, we also celebrate the newness that this season brings to Watsontown United Methodist Church. The 2015-2016 Happy Harbor Preschool class started walking the church halls this week. On September 13th the Fall Sunday School classes kicked-off with a Rally Day to learn about being “Hands On” with the Bible. And, of course, Advent and Christmas will be here before we know it.

Fall Update #1: Blessing the Animals

On September 20th, at our normal 10:30 worship time, we are joyfully celebrating a Blessing the Animals service. Such services have a profound history in the Church thanks to St. Francis of Assisi. By recognizing and praying over animals together (usually pets), we honor the goodness of God’s creation (Genesis 1) and say thank you for the natural world that God has so wonderfully made. So, the Watsontown and surrounding communities are invited to join us on the church’s side lot under canopy cover for an outdoor service. It is recommended to bring a lawn chair. All are also invited to bring a pet, an animal, or a picture of an animal for the blessings. Please properly restrain pets for the safety of everyone who comes.

Fall Update #2: Jim Thorpe Train Ride

On October 11th, a group from Watsontown UMC will travel together to Jim Thorpe, PA for what is becoming an annual train ride fellowship. The group will depart after the first worship service (8:00AM). Please meet everyone in the parking lot so that car pool arrangements can be made. For more information on this event’s coordination, contact Veronica Irvine at virvine@ptd.net.

Fall Update #3: Trunk and Treat

On October 25th, Sunday evening, Watsontown UMC will once again open it’s doors for an annual Trunk or Treat event. Trunk and Treat is a safe, wholesome, friendly alternative to trick-or-treating. We will line the church parking lot with themed cars and trunks to hand out candy to children in costume. Inside the church, we will have refreshments, games, story telling, a mission project, and maybe even a costume parade and contest. Everyone is welcome; the doors will open at 4:00PM until 6:00PM. Tell a friend, invite a neighbor, and start planning your trunk decorations today!

Stop back soon for more updates on the happenings at the WUMC faith community.

Pastor Ryan

Vacation Bible School and Annual Blueberry Festival

Wow, how did July get here so quickly! The summer is in full swing and the people of Watsontown UMC are keeping busy as ever. If you haven’t connected to the weekly Kid’s Café ministry yet, you don’t know what you are missing! Every weekday in the park, volunteers from the church and community have been serving over 50 free lunches every day. And, of course, church leaders have been working hard to put together our premiere events for July: the Blueberry Festival and Vacation Bible School.

Come on out to the church Sunday July 5 to Thursday July 9 starting at 6:00pm each night for Vacation Bible School. Brought to you by the Go Fish Guys, this year we are going Backstage with the most important book in the world, the Bible. Young people will be engaged in Bible reading, games, sports, crafts, snack and dancing. Get pumped with great tunes, skits, and the fire found only in God’s Holy Spirit. No preregistrations are required but are certainly welcome. Click on the drop-down menu above to learn more about how you can connect to this great event.

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And stick around for July 11 for the 5th annual Blueberry Festival. Running from 9:00AM until 3:00PM, there will be food, vendors, crafters, kid’s games, pony rides, friendship, fellowship and more! Click on the Blueberry Festival dropdown menu above for all of your Blueberry Festival needs.

Be blessed and keep enjoying your summers!
–Pastor Ryan

Reflection on WUMC’s 2015 Women’s Retreat

Retreat - Group Shot

The following is a written reflection by Camy Brungard about the WUMC Women’s Retreat that occurred in April 2015 at the Timberwind Lodge.

What a great weekend for our 2nd annual Women’s Retreat. Each person needed the weekend for different reasons, and we all embraced each other. We listened to each others’ stories. We laughed together & we cried together. I walked away feeling more connected to my WUMC sisters.

During our Bible Study we took time to ‘stop and smell the roses’ during our ‘Walk in the Garden.’ We discussed the different seasons of life our Master Gardner has each of us in. During the study, everyone did an individual prayer walk where we enjoyed the beautiful day, reflected on Scripture, answered questions, and talked privately with God. We came back together to consider the weeds in our lives and be grateful for the gifts God has given us, affirming the beauty God is growing in us.

Retreat - FoodWe were treated to a weekend of wonderful food. Snacks & appetizers, soup & sandwiches, meatloaf & macaroni and cheese, and many different breakfast ites to choose fro, plus many desserts. No one walked away hungry. THANK YOU to Carol Parker and Edna Miller for shopping, prep cooking, cooking, & cleaning up after all our meals.

What else did we do all weekend? You could find ladies taking walks, sitting on the porch enjoying fresh air, and watching for deer. Inside many games were played and sewing skills were put to the test. You could find others sitting quietly enjoying a good book or taking a much needed nap. Sunday morning we had a wonderful hymn sing before everyone headed home.Retreat - Bible Study

We hope next year to welcome many more WUMC women to join us. Mark your calendar now for April 1-3, 2016. We make sacrifices all the time for our families and work. Make this a priority for yourself next year. Join us for the weekend and leave feeling rejuvenated and loved. – Camy Brungard