All posts by Lesley

Madi’s Annual Coat & Blanket Drive

Madison Klick, a Sunday School student at COCU, is collecting coats and blankets for her annual coat and blanket drive.  There is a large box in the entrance to worship where you can drop off your donations.  All sizes of unwanted sweaters, coats, sweatshirts and blankets are welcome.  The drive will end on October 31.  All received donations are split between Ruth’s Place and St. Vincent De Paul Soup Kitchen to help local people in need of warm clothing for the upcoming winter season.  Thank you for your support!


October Lunch Bunch

Don’t miss an opportunity to learn and grow with friends at our Lunch Bunch study!  Broken and Blessed is a study of the families in Genesis that are our ancestors of faith.  No one was perfect!  It was through their brokenness and ordinary trials they discovered God’s blessings and thus became a blessing to others who struggle with faith and life issues.

October 1- Isaac and Rebekah
October 8- Jacob and Esau
October 15- Jacob and Esau
October 22- Rachel and Leah
October 29- Joseph and his brothers


October Worship

October Worship begins with our World Communion service- reminding us of the faith that unites us to Christians around the world, and ends with Anniversary Sunday which is the annual celebration of our call to be united as Methodists and Presbyterians together.  Our lectionary readings for this late ordinary time in year B come from Job and Hebrews and will inform Pastor Carol’s preaching emphasis on the nature in the world of human sin.

October 4
World Communion Celebration; Peace and Justice Ministry Offering

Scriptures:  Job 1:1, 2:1-10 God allows his faithful servant Job to be tested by Satan; Mark 10:2-16 Jesus is tested by the Pharisees on the question of divorce; Hebrews 1: 1-4, 2: 5-12 Jesus is the reflection of God’s glory even as he shares our human nature.

Hymns:  O God of Every Nation, This is My Song, In Christ there is no East or West

October 11
Columbus Day Weekend but your church is NOT on vacation- so don’t miss out!

Scriptures:  Job 23: 1-9 Job wants God to answer for his suffering; Mark 10: 17-31 The rich man asks Jesus what he must do to be saved; Hebrews 4: 12-16 Scripture judges us.

Hymns:  Immortal Invisible God only Wise, Will You Come and Follow Me? O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee

October 18

Scriptures:  Job 38: 1-7, 34-38 God answers Job’s demand for an audience; Mark 10: 34-44 James and John want special treatment from Jesus; Hebrews 5: 1-10 Jesus is the great high priest who interceded for us with God

Hymns:  Praise to the Lord the Almighty; Blessed Jesus, at your Word; To God be the Glory

October 25

Anniversary Sunday- The Rev. Robert Kazinski guest preacher

Hymns:  Come Sing, O Church in Joy; A Mighty Fortress is our God; Lord You Give the Great Commission


Women’s Fellowship Upcoming Events

Women’s Fellowship is sponsoring two upcoming events in November.

On November 3rd at 6pm, Women’s Fellowship invites all men, women, children and friends to come out to a covered dish dinner, which will be held in Church of Christ Uniting’s Fellowship Hall.  Devotions will be given by Michelle Giza and the Hostess Coordinator for this dinner is Ethel Drasnin.   Amy Roccograndi, Robyn Ruckle and Jackie Tona will be presenting information about their business, Reaching Beyond Limits, and on Misercordia University’s Ruth Matthews Bourger Women with Children Program.  Please bring your favorite casserole, salad or desert to share and enjoy good food and fellowship.

On November 12th, Women’s Fellowship will be sponsoring a bus trip to the American Music Theater in Lancaster to see the Christmas show.  They will be eating lunch at Shady Maple.  The price for this trip is $89.00.  Please send your check to Beverly Sobocinski, 293 Highland Avenue, Trucksville, PA 18708 or call the church office at (570)288-8434 with any questions regarding this trip.


Pastor’s Message- October

Fall always sneaks up on me, especially when September is beautifully warm and I’m not ready for summer to end.  But pumpkins have appeared on every doorstep, the leaves are beginning to change into an array of colorful display, squirrels are bagging nuts for winter, the corn stalks are dry in the fields, the harvest is being gathered and we know the seasons are changing.  It is a process we cannot stop, even if we would like to, nor should we.  Every season has its gifts to share with those who are open to new discoveries and opportunities.  After all- fall brings us Halloween and Thanksgiving as chances to gather in with loved ones and celebrate the season.

Seasons come and go in our church life as well.  Change is usually slower because we try to stop time or turn back the clock to some well-remembered hey-day in the past, but even the church that is ‘the rock of ages’ must change and adapt to new circumstances or face the barren landscape of winter after the last colored leaf has fallen.  Some are forecasting ‘the death of the church’ or at least the decline of denominations with empty pews and austerity budgets.  Those loses are the ‘chaff’ Jesus warns us that blows away in the wind- those for whom church was a convenience or a status symbol or entertainment have no doubt found other pursuits.  Church may no longer be the social center it was in the fifties and sixties, but that reality has been long the case and still we are here- because the church has never belonged to us.  It is God’s creation as the continuing body of Christ on earth.  Our faith is being tested in the crucible of Christ’s sacrifice and service.  I see God challenging the church and its members to a deeper level of commitment.  When we are most faithful to that calling rather than dwelling on the minutia of ‘running the organization,’ we find these are exciting times to dream and do perhaps in some new and creative ways.

Throughout this year our program planning mission team, charged with strategic planning for the long range future of our church, has been hard at work listening to the members and friends of our congregation.  We have now had two worship opportunities to discuss in small groups where the energy lies for mission among our members.  We are finding there is most commitment and desire to experience hands-on ministry opportunities and short term efforts to be serving in our community.  Though we have less available time to give- with many families stretched by two working parents sandwiched between caring for elderly family members while still raising children at home- there is still a yearning to be part of a community that cares for one another and reaches beyond our small sphere by what we can do together.  This is why the church will never die- though we will certainly have to change many of our structures and priorities.  Those still center on meaningful, engaging worship, discipleship where we learn and grown together, fellowship networks for support and care, and mission opportunities to serve that are hands on, local, immediate, and short term.  We want to know and see that our giving of our time and resources is really making a difference.  We’ll keep you posted!

Pastor Carol


Flapjack Fundraiser

On Saturday, October 17th, the Mission Ministry Team will host a Flapjack Fundraiser from 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. at Applebee’s Restaurant on Wilkes-Barre Blvd.  The all-you-can-eat menu includes flapjacks, sausage, syrup, butter, juice and coffee.  Tickets will be available in the Narthex and Fellowship Hall after worship and from any member of the Mission Ministry Team.  Cost for tickets are $7.00 for adults and $4.50 for kids under 12.  All proceeds benefit our major mission commitment:  United Methodist Children’s Home, Mechanicsburg, PA.


Second Sunday Singers

People are needed who enjoy singing with the choir but are unable to commit to Wednesday night rehearsals.  The Second Sunday Singers meet the second Sunday of every month at 9:15 A.M.  in Fellowship Hall.  The group rehearses an easy, very singable anthem for that Sunday.  All voices, male and female, who want to sing with the choir are welcome.  See Carl Ruck, Leslie Bullock or call the church office at (570)288- 8434 for more information.


September Stitch Ministry Gatherings

Stitch Ministry will meet on Wednesday evenings from 7 until 9 in the church’s Education Office.

Stitch Ministry is a group of crafters that create items to be donated to community members throughout the year.  The crafters have created over 100 projects (including hats, scarves, blankets, sweaters and sleepers) within the last two years that have been donated to adults, children and babies in need within our community.

If you are a crafter and are looking for a place to share your crafting talents and pick up new ideas while making friends, this is a great way to do it.  There are snacks, toys and activities to keep little ones happy while parents work on projects.


September Worship

September 6- Labor Day Sunday

Sermon:  Work is Our Christian Vocation- Dr. Fleming

Scriptures:  John 6: 60-71 “The Words of Eternal Life” & Ephesians 6:10-20 “Put on Christ”

Hymns:  Soldiers of Christ Arise; A Charge to Keep I Have; Come, Labor On

September 13- Communion; Rally Day

Sermon:  DIY- If you want it done right- you must Do It Yourself?

Scriptures:  Proverbs 1: 1-7, 20-28 “The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom” & James 3: 1-12 “Tongues like Rudders”

Hymns:  How Can We Name a Love; God is Here; Go, Make of All Disciples

September 20- Theological Education Remembrance

Sermon:  Teaching By Example- Dr. Fleming

Scriptures:  Proverbs 31: 10-31 “A Good Woman is Hard to Find” & James 3: 13- 4:8 “Two Wisdoms”

Hymns:  Our Parent, By Whose Name; Pass It On; We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations

September 27- Evangelism Sunday

Sermon:  You Could Be the Difference!- Dr Fleming

Scriptures:  Esther 7: 1-6, 8: 1-8 “The Queen Saves Her People” & James 5: 13-20 Prayer of Faith

Hymns:  He Leadeth Me, O Blessed Thought; Blest Be the Tie that Binds; Beams of Heaven



Pastor’s Message- September

You can take the student out of the school, but you can’t take the school out of the student! Each September I get a sense of excited anticipation- another ‘program’ year begun! What will it bring? What new discoveries will we find? What new developments? One of my favorite all time (oldies) movies “You’ve Got Mail’ expresses the feeling well. What message will arrive today? And as Tom Hanks writes to Meg Ryan about fall in New York, he says he would give her ‘bouquets of sharpened pencils.’ Now, that is poetry! Who can forget that smell- letting us know some new great potential was in store- sharpen your pencils- get ready to get down to work on another year of discovery and learning.
We’ll be doing just that on our “kick-off” Sunday this September 13th. So sharpen your pencils and come to worship ready to work on the next part of our “buzz group” discovery of what programs and ministries will begin at COCU this fall, and what new ways will they be accomplished. No, we have not forgotten the feedback from our ‘conversations’ way back in March. Program planning has studied those comments, along with the Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threat brainstorming done by our council. There were six areas of work and witness that emerged from that input: Worship, Mission, Communication, Administration, Christian Formation, and Fellowship. It was also firmly believed that any changes in our program and/or structure must come from the congregation and not from one single group- a committee or the council. It is up to our membership and friends who will be the volunteers giving your time and talents who will accomplish our work together. So we are planning to ‘take it to the pews’ again for your active participation and ‘buy in’ with your enthusiasm for what you would like to see happen (and thus your support and commitment of the same). No longer able, or willing to be the church of our past, we trust and pray that our witness for Christ will continue to inspire faith and dedication of our very active membership in the present. It’s up to you! What an exciting and open time for us as a congregation as we take the next stops this September to determine who and how Church of Christ Uniting will continue to be Christ’s body in this place and for this time. Bouquets of sharpened pencils indeed!
I hope you read the Alive Now bi-monthly magazine available for thought and prayer as I do. September/October theme is Stability- but that doesn’t mean staying in place- none of us can do that since change is an integral part of our lives as people come and go. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove writes of stability’s Wisdom, which insists that spiritual growth depends on human beings rooting ourselves in a place on earth with other creatures. For me, and for those of you reading this page I assume that includes being an active participant in Church of Christ Uniting. We are rooted not in a building but by people, ‘the communion of saints’ who are with us on this journey of life and faith. And again, writing on the spiritual practice of stability which is part of the Benedictine vows, he writes: The practice of stability is the means by which God’s house becomes our home. Your house is not a home unless you are there with those you love and cherish and support- and neither is our church home. So sharpen those pencils this September as you return ready to be a full participant with your church family in the ministry of Christ we share together. See U in CH_RCH.

Pastor Carol


Covered Dish Dinner- September 8th

Women’s Fellowship invites all men, women and friends to come to the covered dish dinner on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. Please bring your favorite casserole, salad or dessert to share. The Hostess Coordinators are provided by the Wednesday Circle. Program will be presented by Clancy Harrison. “Making the Community a Better Place One Apple at a Time.” No reservations are required.


Rally Day & Sunday School News

Mark your calendars for the beginning of the 2015-2016 Church and Sunday School Year.  Rally Day will be held on Sunday, September 13th.  We will be handing out bibles to all of the 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th grade students during worship.  During Fellowship Hour on September 13th, information will be displayed on upcoming church projects and group studies that the church community can be involved in throughout the year.  The Director of Christian Formation, Lesley O’Boyle will be available for Sunday School registration and to answer any questions you may have about the Sunday School or youth program. 

Sunday School for all ages will begin Sunday, September 20th.  Sunday School for children in Preschool through 12th grades will be held during worship.

If your child is in 5th, 6th or 7th grades they will be part of the confirmation class in the 2016-2017 year.  The last confirmation class went through a year of prep work prior to their confirmation class year.  This additional prep year was found to be very helpful with their faith development and also helpful in the development of the friendships within the class.  This prep work was all done during Sunday School but used a confirmation curriculum which is more faith developing and in-depth than a regular Sunday School curriculum for their age.  They also worked on service projects, created their own classroom space and had fellowship time together.

If your child is in one of these classes please talk to them about this opportunity which will be afforded to them again this year.  Please express to them that this is just the beginning of a lifetime of exploring their faith and connecting all of what they learn to issues going on in their life.  If you and your child would like to look over the curriculum or ask Lesley O’Boyle, Director of Christian Formation, or a previous student questions about the program please feel free to email Lesley at or visit her on Rally Day in Fellowship Hall.



August Stitch Ministry Gatherings

Stitch Ministry will meet in the church’s Education Office from 7pm to 9pm on August 5th and 12th.

Stitch Ministry is a group of crocheters, knitters and crafters that create items to be donated to community members throughout the year.  The stitchers have created over 100 projects (including hats, scarves, blankets, sweaters, and sleepers) within the last two years that have been donated to adults, children and babies in need within our community.

If you are a stitcher or crafter and are looking for a place to share your crafting talents and pick up new ideas while making friends this is a great way to do it.  There are snacks, toys, coloring and activities to keep little ones happy while parents work on projects.