Tomorrow’s service and Sunday school has been cancelled. Pastor is working closely with our own computer guru, Chris D. to record a short service that will be available for everyone to watch. Stay tuned to this page for details on how to access it. Stay healthy and stay safe, remember we are here for you. […]
Tomorrow’s service and Sunday school has been cancelled.
Pastor is working closely with our own computer guru, Chris D. to record a short service that will be available for everyone to watch. Stay tuned to this page for details on how to access it.
Stay healthy and stay safe, remember we are here for you.
Given the times we are in I feel we would be remiss in our duty as your Consistory if we didn’t reach out to you now. We may not be able to gather in our beautiful church on the hill, but that church still needs us. The bills will not stop, our devoted Pastor and […]
Given the times we are in I feel we would be remiss in our duty as your Consistory if we didn’t reach out to you now.
We may not be able to gather in our beautiful church on the hill, but that church still needs us. The bills will not stop, our devoted Pastor and Secretary are still hard at work for us. Now more than ever we need to be aware of the “business” behind the scenes.
Please consider mailing your Sunday offering to the church until we can return in person. There are online payment options we can elect to enact but they have processing fees associated with using them. If we can avoid that, we can ensure 100% of your tithes remain at Emmanuel, just as it always has.
Please know that we are aware of the financial struggles many will face with layoffs and reduced work hours. There is no judgement if you cannot continue to meet your weekly tithe.
We are here to support you in any need that we can address. Reach out to Pastor or call the church office for assistance. Remember we house the Wapwallopen Food Bank and all appointments are held confidential.
7768 Blue Ridge Trail
Mountain Top, PA 18707
Christian Pilgrimage and Personal Sense of Call Pastor Lou Aita The Christian pilgrimage is a journey that begins with a sense of call. The call serves as the opening clarion of the spiritual journey. My initial exposure to Christianity was through the Catholic Church. From a very early age the concept of church […]
Christian Pilgrimage and Personal Sense of Call
Pastor Lou Aita
The Christian pilgrimage is a journey that begins with a sense of call. The call serves as the opening clarion of the spiritual journey.
My initial exposure to Christianity was through the Catholic Church. From a very early age the concept of church and attending the weekly mass was ingrained in me by devout parents. Finding that there was more to the church than just the Sunday worship experience, the church became a major factor in the formative years of my life. Immaculate Conception church became the center of my life as well as my families lives. It was also the center of many family’s lives in the small town I lived in.
As a young man of 14, my musical abilities were honed enough to serve as church organist. This position opened to me a deeper understanding of Catholicism, the propers of the mass, and a greater appreciation of how the church functions within the lives of its congregants. The initial desire to heed the call of servitude to God, Jesus Christ, and the house built upon Christ came to me while at the organ console. I felt a deep human desire to be in the house of God, and share my experiences with whomever would listen.
My goal upon graduating high school was to become a Catholic priest. I had many unanswered questions which were affirmed by my uncle who was actively serving in that capacity. He was very open to my attending seminary but always instilled in me that it was more than just a career, it was a lifestyle that needed to be lived daily.
Upon graduating from Misericordia University with a degree in Music Education, my desire to perform music led me to the U.S. Army Band. I served as piano player and vocalist for the 389the Army Band at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey from 1986 to 1989. While in the Army, my thoughts changed from seminary to education. I did teach music for 13 years in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and spent 10 years as an adult basic education and GED instructor with the Pennsylvania State Education System, assigned to a maximum security prison, SCI Mahanoy, located in Frackville, PA.
My pilgrimage into education did not lessen my desire to continue church work. The still strong sense of call and performing church music directed me to Grace United Church of Christ in Hazleton, PA, were I began part-time work as organist and choir director. The United Church of Christ made a profound effect on me as I began to learn more of the polity and procedures of this institution. Coming from a Catholic background, it was refreshing to find a church that had such autonomy and an opportunity for involvement. Always being one that embraced further education, I became involved, with the help of the minister Rev. Dr. Jane Hess, in the licensing program for ministry while still serving as organist and choir director. The strong sense of call began to see fruition as I began learning more about the Bible, the Reformed traditions of worship and of course, Protestantism. Many family members and friends found it strange that I had separated myself from Catholicism, but that was not the case. Although traditions are different, the same God spoke, urging me to embrace servitude within the church.
My studies provided by the Penn Northeast Conference drove me directly to the heart of the matter. While absorbed in the academics of ministry, a curtain began to unfold along the journey. What became evident to me was that, as my uncle stated, this was a life that needed to be lived.
In contemplation, I looked at long range goals for myself as a minister. I realized at some point there would be an opportunity to pastor a church. Affirmation of this was further solidified by my work as assistant to Rev. Hess. She guided me through the procedures of hospital, personal care home, and congregation members home visitation. This was done through direct observation and role playing. I also gained confidence from a natural ability to become engaged with others and show respect for their position in life, thoughts, and feelings. As a young man, I was taught respect for humanity and that all of God’s people need each other in order to survive and thrive. This was one of the tenants that formed my thought process on reaching out to others. My classroom experience provided me with success in being in front of people speaking and teaching.
At this time, Grace United Church of Christ and three other local UCC churches in Hazleton began planning to join together resulting in the formation of a unified congregation, now known as Faith UCC. As assistant minister to Rev. Dr. Jane Hess my pastoral abilities were to be tested, and my personal call becoming a reality through action and example.
The next part pf my pilgrimage which was being involved in the jointure process along with the congregants allowed the call to ministry to flourish. Within the jointure process I saw joy, disappointment, and anger. Here then we have the separation of the academic minister and the human, feeling minister. I spoke to countless people about the joy of worshipping together as a unified body of believers, and how the Holy Spirit will continue to be our counselor and guide. This awoke in me my love for all people and a deep desire to reach others on a personal level as well as a pastoral influence.
The pilgrimage I was on thus far showed me the need for spirituality in each person’s life and the desire to be heard. Always a good listener, I entered into a graduate program in licensed counseling through Capella University. While at Capella, I accepted a call from the Nuremberg Charge as head minister as Rev. Judy Wadsworth entered retirement. Utilizing Jane Hess’ guidance and mentorship, as well as my own studies, I assumed the duties of pastoring three churches within the charge. My call to ministry had now been made real as I encountered the work of minister.
Serving three churches with three distinct personalities was a daunting task at first, but through organization, my love for the people, the help of God and Jesus Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I became quite successful as a minister. A “successful ministry” marks success through the congregation’s response to our study of scripture, their excitement about the future of the church and what we learned about Christianity and each other. Not every road was smooth. We encountered rocks and stumbling stones on our journey, yet, the sense of call was still very strong with me and my pilgrimage was continuing.
On March 10th, 2015, while at the Nuremburg Charge and in my fourth year of graduate school, I suffered a severe stroke. The stroke was due to an increase in plaque within my body causing the plaque to become trapped in the veins at the base of my brain. My prognoses was listed as poor and I was not expected to live through the cerebral incident. My first month in the Lehigh Valley hospital in Allentown still remains a blur to me till this day. I have only the testimony of my family as to what went on. Slowly, I began to regain cognition and some semblance of strength. My left side was completely paralyzed to include the loss of sight in my left eye, complete paralysis of the left vocal cord, and the loss of the swallowing reflex. My family was told none of these bodily functions would likely return. In addition, I developed pneumonia and a very bad case of MRSA in my lungs, as well as diabetes due to damage to the pancreas…. The journey continues.
While bed-ridden, I decided to take that time to take stock of my life as musician, teacher, husband, father, and minister. I began reciting Psalm 46 to myself and others, especially the words, “Be still and know that I am God.” I felt that only the power of God could help me overcome this major setback.
My sense of call, still very much alive, told me I must get back to church, I must continue my education. So, here the pilgrimage took on a different meaning. This pilgrimage was now one of a life that would possibly be confined to a nursing facility, or a life that continues on the road of servitude.
God did provide for me professionals that worked extremely hard to get me upright and out of a wheelchair, training me to walk with a walker and eventually a cane. I worked with a speech therapist daily and retrieved the swallowing reflex. Slowly, I began to see from my left eye again. Three months out of the hospital saw me back on the alter. I sat for the service, and the people within the congregation performed a major part of the service. The Veterans Administration operated on my vocal which allowed me to speak once more. I felt all of these things were a blessing to me from God. There was a plan orchestrated and through the power of the Holy Spirit, that plan was saving me and allowing me to return to my initial pilgrimage and call.
After one more year with the Nuremburg Charge, I accepted the position I now continue to hold. That is pastor of Emmanuel UCC in Dorrance, PA. This positive experience has provided the call to ministry a new life as I now feel much more secure and accomplished as a minister and my enthusiasm has become contagious to an aging congregation. Slowly, word is beginning to spread in the community of Emmanuel becoming a church that is vibrant and alive.
The pilgrimage is ongoing. I feel that because God is always working within us, always speaking to us, always urging us forward. Ministry is a life that is to be led both in church and the community. We spread the example of servitude to the church and its people to a larger global community. The pilgrimage and the sense pf call have made me what I am today. I am ready to once again move forward.
Two highlights of Februaries worship were Scout Sunday and Ash Wednesday. Troop 433 worshiped with us on Sunday, February 16th. They provided the scripture readings, took up collection, and provided a great coffee hour after worship. They also expressed how happy they are to be attached to Emmanuel UCC, and of course we feel […]
Two highlights of Februaries worship were Scout Sunday and Ash Wednesday. Troop 433 worshiped with us on Sunday, February 16th. They provided the scripture readings, took up collection, and provided a great coffee hour after worship. They also expressed how happy they are to be attached to Emmanuel UCC, and of course we feel the same way. Another high point was our Ash Wednesday worship service as this moves us as a body of believers into the Lenten Season.
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. The English word “Lent” comes from the Anglo–Saxon word Lenten, which means “lengthen” and refers to the lengthening days of “spring.” The season is a preparation for celebrating Easter.
Historically, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts and then became a time for penance by all Christians. The First Sunday describes Jesus’ temptation by Satan; and the Sixth Sunday (Passion/Palm Sunday), Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his subsequent passion and death. Note that the readings during Lent, until Passion/Palm Sunday, focus primarily on the meaning of baptism and discipleship, in continuity with the season’s original purpose. Because Sundays are always little Easters, the penitential spirit of Lent should be tempered with joyful expectation of the Resurrection.
Holy Week is the final week of Lent, beginning with Passion/Palm Sunday and concluding with Holy Saturday. It is during these days that the readings focus primarily on the last days and suffering and death of Jesus.
The Great Three Days—sometimes called the Triduum or Pasch—from sunset Holy Thursday through sunset Easter Day are the climax of Lent (and of the whole Christian year) and a bridge into the Easter Season. These days proclaim the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. During these days, the community journeys with Jesus from the upper room, to the cross, to the tomb, and to the garden. They should be seen as a great unified service beginning with a service of Holy Communion on Holy Thursday and concluding with the services of Easter Day. These services may be connected with a prayer vigil lasting from Holy Thursday evening (or Good Friday) until the first service of Easter and may be accompanied by fasting.
Visuals for Holy Week may include red paraments, stoles, and banners, and symbols such as perfume, coins, a whip, a crown of thorns, a torn garment, nails, a spear, a sponge, or a broken reed. On Good Friday and Holy Saturday the church may be stripped bare of visuals.
We also hold a mid-week Lenten service which begins at 6:00 with a covered dish meal lade by our congregants who elect to prepare the food for that evening. At 7:00 we move to the sanctuary for an abbreviated service. This provides us focus for the Lenten season, and keeps us even closer to God.Of course all are invited to not only our Sunday worship, but the mid-week services as well.
As we worship together and learn together, my hope is that this Lenten season brings wholeness and peace to you and your family, and moves you closer to God. Peace be with you,
The season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 26. We are again preparing Lenten suppers prior to our services on the Wednesday evenings during Lent. These light meals will be shared in the Fellowship Hall at 6:00 pm. We will then gather at 7:00 pm in the church for service. A sheet is on […]
The season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 26. We are again preparing Lenten suppers prior to our services on the Wednesday evenings during Lent. These light meals will be shared in the Fellowship Hall at 6:00 pm. We will then gather at 7:00 pm in the church for service. A sheet is on the table in the narthex for those who will volunteer to prepare meals. Our Lenten meals and services are open to everyone and we welcome you to come and join us. Whether you can come for supper or not, you are welcome to gather with us for worship.
The envelopes for the annual OGHS offering are on the tables where you retrieve the bulletins. We will collect this offering through March 22. Our Sunday School is also participating in the OGHS offering and the kids will bring their donations and we will put them in the “refugee tent” collection box. During […]
The envelopes for the annual OGHS offering are on the tables where you retrieve the bulletins. We will collect this offering through March 22.
Our Sunday School is also participating in the OGHS offering and the kids will bring their donations and we will put them in the “refugee tent” collection box.
During the year, there will also be envelopes for Neighbors in Need, Strengthen the Church and the Christmas Fund (for retired pastors and their families on very limited pensions). We also give to Our Churches Wider Mission through our fundraisers. That’s 5 UCC missions each year. In addition to those, we can give to VBS Mission, McKinney Clinic, CROP Walk and, in past years, Disaster Relief (which we hope won’t be needed this year). All these opportunities to give to these missions are provided because members have a “soft spot” for one or another, or perhaps all of them. We are encouraged to give to the ones that move our hearts and that we feel strongly about. These offerings are given “above and beyond” our regular envelope and plate offerings that are needed to support our church at Emmanuel and continue our local presence in our own back yards. Your generosity is appreciated here at home and around the wider world. May God bless you as much as you bless others.
Starting in 1849, Emmanuel (then the Reformed Church) began its service to God. Men, women and children would gather in a one-room schoolhouse to worship Jesus Christ. Throughout the years, there has been a great deal of growth at Emmanuel. Membership has grown, the church building has been expanded and lives have been changed spiritually.
The next Consistory meeting willbe on Sunday, March 29 following 10:30 worshipservice/counting.