CURRENT OFFICERS AND CONSISTORY MEMBERS

PresidentDeb Dietrich
Vice PresidentAllen Dennis
SecretaryBrad Bunnell
TreasurerChris Dietrich
TrusteesDiana Decker
Sandy Kleger
Jim Stewart

Penn Northeast

 



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Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in Breslau in 1906. The son of a famous German Psychiatrist, he studies in Berlin and New York City. He left the safety of America to return to Germany and continue his public repudiation of the Nazis, which led to his arrest in 1943. Linked to the group of conspirators whose attempted assassination of Hitler failed, he was hanged in April 1945.
To me, Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a wonderful example of discipleship and also the cost of discipleship. In his landmark book by the same name, “The Cost of Discipleship” draws on the Sermon on the Mount, the collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus, which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew (chapters 5, 6, and 7).
The Cost of Discipleship is a compelling statement of the demands of sacrifice and ethical consistency from a man whose life and thought were exemplary expressions of a new type of leadership inspired by the Gospel, and filled with the spirit of Christian humanism and a creative sense.
Not only Bonhoeffer, but the Prophet Isaiah gives us the same example of discipleship, but this time by Jesus in his writings. The church today needs the simplicity of men and women who know what discipleship is, and how to let their light shine to others.
Look for more examples of being a disciple for Christ as I continue to learn with you in Sunday!

Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ

Allow me to once again express my thanks to the congregation of Emmanuel UCC, Dorrance. My wife and I are thrilled with the prospect of my ministry with you! Traci is especially thrilled that many thought that she was my daughter, something she has referred back to throughout the week! Anyway, that did not overshadow your “extravagant welcome” as the UCC church says.
We were especially impressed with the great group of young people attending the service. They really made my son Nick feel great. Also, their work on the posters, the spread of food and sweets afterward…I could go on and on, but it all boils down to a committed group of Christian people who exemplify the motto “Wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.
I tend to view life as a journey. As I looked at the pictures of the past ministers that have served Emmanuel, there is a great sense of pride in knowing I will join that list. I can promise you nothing but the best I have to offer both pastorally and personally.
This week we will once again visit with Isaiah, hearing from Isaiah 49: 1-7 and the Gospel lesson John 1: 29-42. Call and vocation in ministry lie at the heart of this week’s lectionary texts. The unknown servant in this reading is in dialogue with God. The prophet Isaiah confronts human failings amid his desire to fulfill the calling of God which was determined in his mother’s womb. The unknown servant in the text brings an address which identifies a call to the nation of Israel, and to us. It sounds interesting, so invite a friend to come along with you on Sunday!
For those congregation member’s I have not met, I look forward to it, and I will be visiting our sick and shut-ins as I progress throughout the weeks.
Shalom,

Pastor Lou Aita

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!

To all congregation members of Emmanuel UCC,

I am so happy to be considered the new Pastor of your beautiful church! I come to you with 15 years of Pastoral experience, having served as organist and assistant minister at Faith UCC in Hazleton, and most recently with the Nuremberg Charge as the head minister for three churches, Emmanuel UCC in Nuremberg, Trinity UCC in Rock Glen, and St. Peter’s Union Church in Beaver Valley, which I share with a Lutheran congregation.

For me, it all began at a small Catholic church in Kelayres PA, (outside of McAdoo), which my family attended. From a young boy, I wanted to be a priest. I knew God was calling me to the service of a church. I began playing the organ for masses at Immaculate Conception when I was 14 years old. I held this position for 9 years.

As a music student attending Misericordia University, I majored in music education and minored in organ and church music. Upon graduation, I accepted a position with the U.S. Army as pianist for the 389th Jazz Band. I also played mallet percussion with the concert and marching band.

When my three years of service came to an end, I decided to begin teaching, taking my first assignment with the Newark, NJ. School system. I also taught for the North Bergen School district located in Northern NJ.

As I longed to move back to Pennsylvania, I accepted a job with the PA Department of Corrections as a GED/Adult Basic education instructor, and as organist for Grace UCC which was formerly located on Laurel street in Hazleton (Grace is now immersed in Faith UCC). I spent 10 years in the prison system and was then offered a job with the Hazleton Area School District. I accepted this job as my children were young and I was able to be home with them all summer! Not as easy as it sounds!

With all of the changes in my life, the one thing that remained was my love for God and church and family. I have a wonderful wife Traci, and step-daughters Katie and Alli, my daughter Antonia, and a son Nicholas.

I was licensed as a UCC minister in 2001, and never looked back! My time serving the church in this capacity has been the most satisfying and spiritual experience of my life.

Recently, I completed graduate school attending Capella University and now hold a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling and am currently working part time in this field as I complete the required counseling hours for Capella and the state of Pennsylvania.

The only thing that ever slowed me down was a massive stroke I has in March of 2015. This devastated my family and I. Being paralyzed completely on my left side, unable to speak or eat, I faced a life that included a wheelchair and a feeding tube. What healed me was prayer. I am totally convinced of that. My mantra was and is “Be still and know that I am God” taken from Psalm 46 vs. 10. I have decided to not let the stress and pain of my affliction rule my life, but allow these simple and clear cut words of God to guide me. And guide me well they have! I do walk with a cane, and sometimes have trouble breathing, but I am mobile with a mind that functions better than ever. This is all I wanted, and of course to keep preaching. So, thank you again for this great opportunity to serve Emmanuel UCC and I look forward to meeting every one of you and working with you for the good of God and our Savior Jesus Christ.  

God Be With You,

Pastor Lou Aita

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!

Starting with “Alone, Yet Not Really Alone” (6/19), concluding with “What’s Next?” (12/25), and not forgetting the 26 sermons in-between, we have been on a journey together – a journey that has now reached its conclusion. It has been a fascinating time for me, and one for which I am very thankful. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to share these 28 weeks with you, to learn about you and Emmanuel UCC, to witness your worshiping and working together, to play a small part in your time of searching for a new leader, and to be able to see that search near its end. For the wonderful gifts and the lasting memories that you have given to me, I thank you. I do pray that you will continue in your striving to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ, and that the New Year will bring exciting new developments in your life together. May you be the church in this place, living and sharing the Good News that brings hope and peace and love into a world that is in need of those priceless gifts.

May the very best of God’s Blessings be yours for each new day!

Rev. Stout

2017 OFFERING ENVELOPES

Whether you receive a full box of envelopes, a partial, use the pew envelopes or electronic giving, Emmanuel UCC depends upon your support to be a vital influence to our members and our community. Please remember your church and its programs throughout the year. Your gifts are important to continuing the work of Christ through your church. Consistency is the key.

Generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.          Isaiah 32:8

DISTRIBUTION OF OFFERING ENVELOPES

For those members who wish to receive a box of envelopes, they are on the table in the narthex. Please take a box and sign on the sheet next to the number of your box so that Connie can ensure your offering is properly recorded. If you have decided not to take a box and will be giving on a monthly, semimonthly or biweekly schedule, Penny can provide you with labels for your envelopes to help you track your giving.

Thank You!

Esther Heller would like to thank everyone for her card shower in celebration on her 92nd birthday. It is greatly appreciated.

Lex and Anna Mae Koons would like to Thank those who sent Birthday and Christmas Greetings.

Phoebe Ministeries sent us a Christmas Thank You card. Our gifts to Phoebe help them care for elderly members in their facilities who often have no financial support of their own.

Bernie Baluta sent a cards thanking us for the turkey “Baskets” and Trimmings, as well as the Christmas Gifts; toys, clothing and personal care kits. It is so much appreciated and brought joy to so many people in need.

The Youth and Staff of Bethany Children’s Home sent us a Christmas card with beautiful artwork depicting a stainglass of Bethany. We received a Christmas card from St. Joseph’s Center wishing us happiness in the Christmas season and in the coming year.

I would like to thank everyone who supported our Christmas gifts to the McKinney Clinic to be passed out to the children whose families need to use the services of the clinic. The gifts you provided from the Giving Tree were also delivered and distributed to those whose needs are so much greater than ours. Thank you for supporting the Sunday School.

Lisa Rinehimer

Our Condolences

We offer our sincere condolences to the Myers Family on the passing of Sandra Myers, on December 3, 2016. We pray that God’s love and strength will sustain you in your time of need and sorrow.

Valentines for Vets

A box will be in the bell tower for your Valentines for Vets. These Valentines are appreciated very much by those who are housed at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center. The last date to deposit your Valentines will be Sunday, February 5. Remember those who served.

SCRIPT GIFT CARDS PROFIT REPORT

March 43.5
May 76.34
June 141.35
July 53.90
October 55.00
November 89.45
December 126.50
Total $586.04

Forms to order the gift cards from Script are on the table in the narthex. This is an easy way for you to donate to our church. Just mark how many cards you want and give the money to Jim. Script gives to the church a discount on purchasing the cards and the difference is donated to the General Fund. There are over a hundred stores from which to choose – fast food from Burger King to Wendy’s; restaurants from Applebee’s to Ruth’s Chris Steak House; sporting goods like Dick’s and Cabela’s; department and clothing stores from Aerie to Wet Seal; kid’s stores like Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us; auto shops; pharmacies; and so much MORE!! Grab a form and get some cards – you’re going to shop at these stores anyway, so why not help your church while you do?

Picture Perfect

Janet Tillet, Leona Brown and Nick Fenstermacher are
pictured enjoying a delicious meal at our annual Pork
Dinner held on November 19.

Leona Brown and Nick Fenstermacher
Grayson Bunnell is among his preschool classmates
enjoying some books at the newly refurbished Story
Center in the Mt. Top Kids Learning center and also
enjoying a Halloween story time program with the Kirby
children’s librarian.

Grayson Bunnell
Morgan Rinehimer along with other 4-H members were
recognized for their achievements during 2015-2016
program year. The award recipients participated in
county, district and state 4-H events as well as all
4-H leaders for their year of service.
Michelle Heller is pictured along with her teammates
from the Crestwood Girls Soccer Team which reached a
school milestone this season, as the first team in the
history of Crestwood School District to bring home a
District II WVC Division 1 Championship.
Congratulations !

Michelle Heller is pictured along with her teammates from the Crestwood Girls Soccer Team

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!

The year 2016 is rushing past! Summer is long gone – the first snow has been “weathered” – the Thanksgiving feast
has been enjoyed! And now, it’s on to Christmas! The stores have been decorated for months (it seems). We are now
bombarded with ads on a daily basis – through all forms of media – newspaper, radio, television. They tell us what we
must have – the latest, the best, the greatest in technological gadgets. And, in the midst of it all, we are called to
witness the beginning of the Advent Season. The signs are around us – the wreaths on the windows, the tree and
Advent wreath in the Sanctuary, the new carillon playing familiar seasonal tunes. There will be caroling, requests for
cards for the troops, ongoing needs for the Food Bank, and other special events. All of it culminates with the
Christmas Eve Service and a Christmas Day Service.
So, to help us prepare, I offer my projections for what the message will be for each upcoming worship experience.

  • Advent 1 (11/27) “No Time for a Snooze” – This message focused on Advent as a spiritual undertaking, a way for
    us to deepen our relationship with God, and certainly “no time for a snooze.” If we rush through this special
    season, we may miss an opportunity to focus more intentionally on the gift of Jesus Christ and what that means
    for our lives today. The texts focused on Christ’s 2nd coming – and called us to be alert, watchful, and vigilant in
    our lives as his followers.
  •  Advent 2 (12/4) “Snakes, Axes, and Fire – This Is Good News?” – This message will present a conversation
    between “Rev” and John the Baptist – in an attempt to understand John’s harsh words (Matthew 3: 1-12) directed
    toward the religious leaders. Are we also included as targets? Or do his words contain Good News, even though
    hidden within his seemingly insulting words? Find out on 12/4.
  •  Advent 3 (12/11) “New Life in Unexpected Places” – Amazed at the words in the text from Isaiah (35:1-10), I
    will dig into these images and see whether new life is being offered to us in our unexpected places. Will this
    Advent Season be the one that excites and enthralls and brings about amazing changes in our lives and the life at
    Emmanuel? Time will tell how this one turns out.
  •  Advent 4 (12/18) The Christmas Program will take the place of the Sermon. So, plan to come and receive a
    seasonal message in a different form, with music and readings, offered by the younger folk.
     Christmas Eve (12/24) “Step Back and Wonder” – With the well-known text from Luke (2:1-20) as the
    cornerstone, this message will draw us into the experience of the shepherds – common folk invited to witness the
    event of a lifetime – and how we are invited, as well, into experiencing this event in the common places of our
    lives.
  •  Christmas Day (12/25) “What’s Next?” – Using the same text as Christmas Eve, this message will probe how our
    lives are changed, if at all, by the celebration of Christ’s birth. Does the “event of a lifetime” produce anything
    lasting in our daily lives? Whatever happened to those shepherds? What will happen to us after Christmas is past?
    I wish you, and your families, the very best of God’s Blessings
    for the Advent Season and for the celebration of Christmas!

Rev. Stout

PS: Please remember – I can be reached by phone at 409-658-7136 (cell) or e-mail at cstout53@earthlink.net – please contact me if a need/emergency arises. I will also be available at the Church on Sunday morning or Tuesday usually from 9am-1pm. I can be available by appointment at other times/days that may be more convenient for you.

Gift Card Fundraiser

We have Gift Card Fundraiser
through Great Lakes Scrip Center
and includes tons of cards – from
Advance Auto Parts to Wet Seal
(young women’s clothing). By
purchasing the gift card through Great Lake Scrip, our church
earns a percentage of the sale price. With this newsletter is a
copy of the list and more copies are on the bulletin tables.
Just write in the quantity of the cards you want and give the
list and the amount due to Jim Rinehimer. He will order
them and distribute them as they arrive. If you have any
question, please see Jim. If more lists are needed, please
tell Penny.

Mile-marker Birthday

ESTHER HELLER will celebrate her 92
nd birthday on
December 2, 2016. Let’s all wish her a happy birthday
by giving her a card shower! Look! It’s raining birthday
cards!

ANNUAL MEETING OF THE CONGREGATION

The Annual Meeting of the Congregation will be held on
Sunday, December 4, after our Worship Service. The
proposed 2017 Budget was approved by the Consistory
for distribution in the weekly bulletins and extra copies
are available on the table in the Narthex.
NOTICE TO ALL COMMITEES, TEAMS AND
ASSOCIATIONS: In accordance with our Constitution
Article 10, All committees should have a report prepared
for the Annual Meeting of the Congregation.
“Article 10. ORGANIZATIONS, SOCIETIES. All
organizations and societies of the Congregation are
subordinate to the Consistory and shall make an annual
report (Activities and Financial) to the Congregation.”

CHRISTMAS CAROLING

We will meet after Worship on December 4 for caroling.
We’ll raise our voices and spirits as we sing songs of the
season to residents of our local nursing homes and to our
homebound. Come with us and sing glory to the
newborn king!

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. — James 1:5 (NIV)