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,