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One church joining faith and action

Church to reopen for weekly services starting June 6

During its May meeting, the Consistory voted to open the church on Sunday, June 6, for regular weekly services, with restrictions in place. Previously, the Consistory had voted to have services only once a month. All congregants will be asked to wear masks at all times while in the church building. Social distancing will be…
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Sunday sermon, May 16, 2021

The Gospel reading for this Eastertide sermon is the book of John, chapter 17, beginning with the 6th verse, in which Jesus prays for his disciples and followers. Building on this, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about truth in today’s sermon — how different people perceive it differently, and how we often try to bend it…
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Myers honored in Shepherd University recognition program

Mary Beth Myers, administrative assistant of Veterans Student Programming at Shepherd University, was given the first-ever Equity, and Inclusivity Award by the school for her commitment to inclusivity, social justice and diversity during a Zoom ceremony on April 22. Myers, who is the sister of church member Sylvia Stubbs, was one of four staff members…
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Rinker inducted into education honor society

James Rinker was inducted into Shepherd University’s Delta Psi chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education, on April 16.  Membership is by invitation only and is limited to the top 20 percent of students in their respective fields of study. The ceremony took place outside, with guests staying in their cars…
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Sunday sermon, May 2, 2021

This Sunday’s sermon begins with a reading from the Gospel of John, chapter 15, in which Jesus says he is the vine and God is the vine dresser. We must abide in the vine in order to bear fruit, Jesus tells us. Pastor Tom Hartshorn looks at the image of the vine and how it…
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Sunday sermon, April 18, 2021

In today’s sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn discusses the importance of the church. He talks of how the Scriptures tell us that the aim of the church is to establish a physical space for the body of Christ to inhabit the world. It is also the place chosen by Christ to be made known. And while…
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Consistory votes on limited reopening in June

On Sunday, April 11, the Consistory met and had a long discussion about the safety and other issues surrounding reopening the church. It was decided by unanimous vote to begin holding in-person services once a month starting June 6! Many details still need to be finalized, but safety restrictions will be in place, and the…
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Sunday sermon, Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021

Christ is risen! This Easter sermon begins with a reading of the resurrection story from the book of Mark, chapter 16. The tomb is empty and Christ has risen, Pastor Tom Hartshorn tells us. You can believe it or not, but that choice makes all the difference in our lives. After the sermon, Director of…
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Sunday sermon, March 21, 2021

This sermon for the 5th Sunday of Lent begins with a reading from John 12:20, in which Jesus compares himself to a seed that falls to the ground and appears to be dead, but later produces wheat. Like the seed, Christ died on the cross, but rose again to give new life to all who…
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Sunday sermon, March 7, 2021

The sermon for the third Sunday of Lent centers on the story from the book of John, chapter 4, which tells of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. When he asks her for a drink, she is shocked because he is violating two social boundaries: He is speaking to a woman in public,…
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Sunday sermon, Feb. 21, 2021

On this first Sunday of Lent, we enter a time of introspection as we approach Easter. Today’s scripture is from the book of Luke, chapter 4, which tells of Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness and being tempted by Satan. The pandemic has already forced us to give up so much, Pastor Tom Hartshorn…
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Thursday night dinner cancelled due to snow

The regular Thursday night community dinner for Feb. 18 has been cancelled due to inclement weather. Stay home and stay safe!

Kansas City wins the Soup-er Bowl!

Soup-er Bowl Commissioner James Rinker reports that the Kansas City Chiefs have won the church’s annual Soup-er Bowl competition, netting 139 cans of soups to the Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s 46 cans. The real winner, of course, is CCAP, which will be the recipient of all of these cans of soup to help those in need.…
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Sunday Sermon, Feb. 7, 2021

Today’s Bible verse, Isaiah 40:20, centers on something we don’t all have, but we sorely need: patience. In today’s sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn notes that while it is hard to wait for things we want — like our turn at vaccination — patience is our most-needed virtue right now. Following the sermon, Director of Music…
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Sunday Sermon, Jan. 24, 2021

This weeks sermon is centered on the story of Jesus’ first recorded miracle from the book of John. When there was not enough wine at the wedding feast Jesus was attending, Mary asked her son to help, and Jesus turned water into wine. Building on this story, Pastor Tom Hartshorn considers how much is enough…
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Coming soon: Soup-er Bowl 2021!

The annual Soup-er Bowl is returning to Christ Reformed United Church of Christ despite the church’s closure amid this pandemic.  Here’s how it works: congregation members donate cans of soup around the time of the Super Bowl, donating in the name of their favorite team. Our unscientific soup-can method doesn’t always predict the Super Bowl…
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2020 Annual Report

Normally in January, the church makes it Annual Report available in print form to the congregation, and it is approved in a meeting by voice vote. The pandemic has closed our church and made in-person meetings too risky, so the Consistory has decided to publish the Annual Report online. This link will take you to…
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Welcome new Consistory members!

The new year brings a new Consistory. The group met for the first time on Sunday, Jan. 10 in the sanctuary. As you can see from this photo, masks and social distancing are enforced during the meetings. After many years of service, Harvey Reisenweber completed his term on the Consistory and stepped down as president.…
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Sunday sermon, Jan. 10, 2020

Today’s sermon marks the first Sunday in Epiphany. Pastor Tom Hartshorn reads from the 43rd chapter of the book of Isaiah and talks about baptism, which is one of the celebrations during the Epiphany season. Baptism, he reminds us, is the washing away of our sins in anticipation of the coming of the kingdom of…
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Sunday sermon, Dec. 27, 2020

Reading the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, Pastor Tom Hartshorn tells us that Christmas is a “Christ event.” These events are still happening today — in the nurses who hold the hands of the dying in COVID wards, in the front-line workers who continue to do their jobs and in the…
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The last Advent candle, a Christmas eve story and some music

The last candle of Advent is the Christ candle. Watch the video below as Pastor Tom Hartshorn lights the candle and talks about its meaning. Next, Sylvia Kesecker reads a Christmas Eve story, “The Crippled Lamb” by Max Lucado, to remind us that God has a place for all of us. Click on the arrow…
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The Chrismon Tree

In this short video, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about the traditions behind the church’s Chrismon Tree. Click on the arrow in the image below to watch, then go to the next image to see the lighting of the fourth Advent candle. The fourth Advent candle is for love. Click on the arrow in the image…
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Sunday sermon, Dec. 13, 2020

Today’s scripture reading is from the book of Isaiah, 12:2. The passage is one of thanksgiving to God, and Pastor Tom Hartshorn reminds us there is joy in gratitude. In these challenging times, we may not feel joyous, but we can all find things to be thankful for that give us joy. After the sermon,…
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The second candle of Advent: Peace

On this second Sunday of Advent, join Pastor Tom Hartshorn as he lights the Advent candle signifying peace. Click on the arrow in the image below to watch the candle lighting.

Light One Candle for CCAP during Advent

Our church tradition is to sing the song “Light One Candle” each Sunday during the Advent season while presenting either non-perishable foods or monetary gifts for CCAP. Although we can’t gather for services right now, we can still take part in this giving tradition. Every Thursday during the Advent season, you can bring your non-perishable…
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Sunday sermon, Nov. 29, 2020, and the first Advent candle

Emily Dickinson called it “the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.” Today’s sermon, like the first candle of the Advent season, is about hope. Reading from the book of Jeremiah, chapter 33, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about how, in these difficult times, we should remember that our hope comes from God. In God,…
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Sunday sermon, Nov. 1, 2020

In today’s sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn reviews the Beatitudes, given during the Sermon on the Mount. Although no one wants to be meek or poor in spirit or persecuted, these are hard times, and many of us have become passive, hurtful and worn out. He reminds us that the good we do lives on, and…
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Sunday sermon, Oct. 18, 2020

In Luke 17:5, the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith, and he replies that all they need is faith the size of a grain of mustard seed. In today’s online sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn says this passage is a reminder of what it takes to be faithful. “Mustard seed faith,” he says, is all…
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Sunday sermon, Oct. 4, 2020

There is a lot of talk about the economy these days, but the one that matters to people of faith is Christ’s economy — which is an economy of generosity. In today’s sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn revisits the parable from Luke chapter 16 about the dishonest steward and urges us all to be good stewards…
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Sunday sermon, Sept. 20, 2020

Pandemic, protests, wildfires, hurricanes … as we hunker down in our homes waiting for all of the bad things to be over, it’s easy to feel hopeless. In today’s mini-sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn reminds us that we are still a church and encourages us to embrace life. To view this week’s sermon, click on the…
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So you want to be a “pew sitter”

The church has been putting out the call for people to join us as “pew sitters,” and you may be wondering what that is. Good question! When we started taping sermons earlier this summer for airing online, we realized it is not easy for Tom to preach to an empty church. There were two of…
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Sunday sermon, Sept. 6, 2020

“That they may all be one.” It is the motto of the United Church of Christ, and it is Jesus’ wish for us as He left the world. In this mini-sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about what unity means, especially in our divided society. And he reminds us that “oneness” is not “sameness.” To use…
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Sunday sermon, Aug. 23, 2020

We can’t worship together yet, but we can be together in spirit. In this mini-sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about how we can benefit our neighbors and ourselves by speaking up and, in the words of the late Rep. John Lewis, getting into some “good trouble.” Click on the arrow in the image of Tom…
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Sunday Sermon, Aug. 9, 2020

We can’t worship together yet, but we can be together in spirit. In this mini-sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about the importance of hope during these trying times. Click on the arrow in the image of Tom at the pulpit to start the video.

End times…or just the beginning?

Recently, I finished reading the book of Revelation. That’s no easy feat, and I will not pretend that I understood a lot of it. I recall a sermon in the not-so-distant past in which Tom remarked that Revelation was written using imagery that would have meaning for the people of the author’s time; we aren’t…
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Sunday Sermon, July 26, 2020

Our church remains closed, but we can all be together in spirit. In this mini-sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about how we can be the church out in our daily lives. Click on the arrow in the image below to start the sermon.

Dreaming of a solution to the COVID-19 crisis

I don’t put much stock in the meaning of dreams, but last night I had a very vivid one I feel compelled to share. My dream was an algorithm. I don’t remember all the details, but essentially the goal of the algorithm was to escape a puzzle. The puzzle was the algorithm itself. As in…
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Sunday Sermon, July 12, 2020

We can’t worship together just yet, but we can bring the Sunday service into your homes virtually. Enjoy this short sermon put together by Pastor Tom Hartshorn.

To open or not to open: That is the question

This coming Sunday, the Consistory is going to talk again about whether to reopen the church. I will be honest — I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I miss it so much. I miss the fellowship. I miss the music. I miss Tom’s sermons, even the ones in which the science goes way over…
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Though I call for help, there is no justice

Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this. Maybe I shouldn’t be giving an opinion about the violent deaths of black men and women at the hands of police. I’m not black. I’m not a police officer. I enjoy the tranquility of knowing that my family and friends, my home and things, are safe due to the…
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Who do you trust?

Here’s a trivia question: What game show did Johnny Carson host before taking on “The Tonight Show”?  It was a very popular show called “Who Do You Trust?” which ran from 1957-1963. The question remains relevant, even if today it is not funny and certainly not a game. Who do you trust?  Who can you…
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Overcoming fear through community

We live in dangerous times and not just from the risk of becoming ill, but also from the feelings we may be harboring about our neighbors locally, nationally and globally. In times of prolonged crisis and stress, annoyance can quickly boil over into anger. And without a visible presence to attack, our frustrations with COVID-19…
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No life is lived in vain

Paul reminds us in Corinthians that in Christ, no life is lived in vain. There should be comfort in that message regardless of our age or how fairly life has treated us. Certainly for families and friends of people who have succumbed to COVID-19, these are powerful words. I think of families forced to grieve…
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False prophets

Once upon a time there was a prophet in the Hebrew court named Hananiah. He was very well liked and enjoyed the riches of his position. Hananiah was well-known for his position that God lived in Jerusalem. Therefore, no army could prevail against the city. When the mighty Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem, Hananiah told…
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Church events cancelled through April 30

Christ Reformed United Church of Christ Consistory President Harvey Reisenweber has announced that, in order to adhere to federal guidelines about social gatherings, church services and other church meetings and practices will continue to be cancelled through at least April 30. The Thursday night Community Dinner has been converted to carry out. Stay home and…
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Christ is risen!

For many people, the main symbol of Christianity is the cross. We see crosses everywhere, even worn as jewelry by people who have never been in a church. However, the true symbol of our faith should be the empty tomb. It is in the mystery of the resurrection that we find our hope. If we…
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Thoughts on Palm Sunday morning during the pandemic

When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-9), the people laid palm branches in his path shouting “Hosanna!”  I learned just this past year from our Pastor, Tom Hartshorn, that rather than being an exclamation of joy or adoration, “Hosanna” is a plea for help. “Save us!” is what the people of Jerusalem were shouting…
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Finding the bright spot in these scary times

As I write this, the world looks very different than it did a week ago, when I was gathering information for a totally different blog post. Coronavirus has come to West Virginia, and it’s very close to home: the first recorded case is in Shepherdstown. The panic shopping that my friends in the Washington, D.C.…
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Services cancelled through Easter

West Virginia’s first case of coronavirus has been identified in the Eastern Panhandle. In order to follow medical and governmental regulations restricting gatherings for public safety, Christ Reformed United Church of Christ has cancelled religious services through Easter. This includes all Sunday worship services, all special services and Sunday school. Choir practices are also cancelled.…
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Lessons Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can still teach us today

Black History Month is coming to a close, and writers much more knowledgeable than me have written countless articles about the black leaders who have shaped our nation, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first among them. I will not presume to add to the literature here. Instead, I want to share the article that…
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