November / December / January

A Note From Pastor Kevin . . .
Hello St. John's community and friends,

This is an exciting time to be the church of Jesus Christ and to be a part of the St. John's community as we move into the future with hope.  Please remember that we have a very important meeting together on Sunday, November 14th at immediately following the 9am worship service.

At this meeting we will consider a Shared Ministry Covenant with St. Mark's UCC in Cressona.  We will then consider a Call Agreement with Pastor Kevin Fruchtl (me!).  If these two documents are approved, we will then consider a Spending Plan for 2022.  We also need to elect nominees for the various leadership positions that need to be filled.

This sounds like a lot!  It is, but in reality we are putting onto paper an arrangement that we have already lived for at least the last 6 months.  So please come to this very important, very exciting gathering.  

I know that there is much in this world that is uncertain.  As we make decisions for our future together, we remember that God is our firm foundation, our very present hope in times of trouble, and our source of encouragement and hope. See you in church.


Pastor Kevin

Notice of Annual Meeting . . .

This is the official call to all members for the annual meeting of Saint John’s Congregation which will be held on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14 following an abbreviated worship service @ 9:00AM. It is the responsibility of all members who are able to attend this meeting as stated in our Constitution & By-Laws, Article V, Paragraph 1. The agenda for this year’s meeting will include presentation of the proposed 2022 budget, presentation of the shared ministry covenant between St. John’s UCC and St. Mark’s UCC, the election of representatives for 2022, and extending an official call to Rev. Kevin Fruchtl to serve as Pastor of St. John’s Church. Please plan to attend this important meeting as we begin an exciting new chapter in the life of our church.

Proposed Shared Ministry Covenant . . .

Concept of Shared Ministry:

A Shared Ministry Covenant between St. Mark's UCC Cressona PA and St. John's UCC Schuylkill Haven allows the two congregations to share a full time pastor. The Pastor will minister to both congregations without compromising the integrity of either. The Pastor will serve both congregations without exhibiting preference to one over the other. Both congregations, while sharing a pastor, will maintain their own Consistories, finances, identity, and autonomy. 

Shared Ministry Council:

The Shared Ministry Council will be composed of 6-8 voting members with an equal number from each congregation. The members will be appointed by each church Consistory from the Consistory or congregation and will serve for a 2-year term. No member may serve more than 3 consecutive terms. The shared ministry Council should meet quarterly. The Council will meet at the home congregation of the council President, so the location will move between the two congregations from year to year. The officers of the Shared Ministry Council will be President, Vice President, and Secretary. The President and Vice President shall be from different congregations. All officers will be elected annually by a simple majority vote of the Shared Ministry Council. The office of President will rotate between the two congregations on a yearly basis. The Shared Ministry Council will provide overbite on behalf of the two congregations in areas of pastoral compensation, expectations, concerns, and mutual ministries that take place between the two congregations.


St. John's UCC will reimburse St. Mark's UCC for 50% of the Pastor's salary and 50% of all benefits. Each church will maintain its own complete financial responsibility for all expenses, fiscal records, upkeep, benevolences, and obligations.

Time of Sunday Morning Worship Services:

St. John's UCC:  9:00AM

St. Mark's UCC:   10:30AM                


Special services and activities for both churches to be considered may include but are not limited to: Lenten and Easter Services, Christmas Services, Vacation Bible School, special musical offerings, Bible Studies, and other educational opportunities.

Office Hours:

It will be necessary for the Pastor to have some set office hours for each congregation. The time for such hours will be determined by each Consistory in consultation with the Pastor.

Christian Education Programs:

An important part of the Pastor's job is to instruct candidates for confirmation. The Pastor should work closely with the Christian Education committees of both congregations to determine the schedule and frequency of the Confirmation program.

Joint Children/Youth Ministries could include: Confirmation classes, Vacation Bible School, andYouth Group meetings and programs.

Pastoral Compensation and Insurances:

Payroll is scheduled for the second and fourth Fridays of the month for a total of twenty-four (24) payroll dates in a year. The week prior to a scheduled payroll date the treasurer of St. Mark’s shall submit to St. John’s a list detailing the St. John’s share of the components of the pastor’s compensation (salary with housing allowance, pension [annuity], life/disability insurance, Social Security allowance) as well as insurance costs (medical and dental). Since there are twenty-four (24) payroll dates, the components of the pastor’s compensation and insurance costs will be reimbursed to St. Mark’s divided into twenty-four installments. St. John’s will then issue a check made payable to St. Mark’s United Church of Christ to cover St. John’s share of the costs of the pastoral ministry by the date of the scheduled payroll.

Pastor will be responsible to keep track of mileage accrued for each congregation and submit them to the respective church treasurer for reimbursement.  Mileage will be reimbursed at the current recommended rate from the IRS.   


If a church member has a concern about the Shared Ministry covenant, that concern should first be brought to the Consistory of the appropriate congregation. If the Consistory is unable to resolve the concern, it should then be brought to the Shared Ministry Council. If the Shared Ministry Council is not able to resolve the concern, the guidance of the Office of the Conference Minister of PSEC or the guidelines of the denominational by-laws will be used.

Dissolution of the Covenant:

The Shared Ministry Covenant and appropriate Call Documents may be dissolved with appropriate congregational action as defined in the Constitution and by-laws of St. John's and St. Mark's. Pastor shall inform both congregations of a planned departure 90 days prior to the effective date.

If one congregation is no longer financially able to continue the covenant, the covenant will be dissolved. If the covenant is dissolved, both congregations are relieved of financial responsibility. The other congregation may choose to seek suitable arrangements with Pastor.

In the occasion of a pastoral vacancy, the congregations may choose to join together to seek pastoral leadership. They also may choose to search separately.

Modifications to the Shared Ministry Covenant:

The Shared Ministry Council may recommend changes to this agreement at any time, in consultation with the Pastor, Association and Office of the Conference Minister.

Such planned changes should be referred to to congregations' Consistory which will arrange to have them considered at congregational meetings. Approval by two-thirds majority vote of those in attendance at each congregational meeting shall be necessary to activate or modify the covenant. 

This covenant becomes effective immediately following approval by St. John's and St. Mark's at properly convened congregational meetings.

Nominating Committee Report . . .


            Deacon (2-year term): Roberta Mengle, Kim Umphrey

            Elder (2-year term): Susan Gipe, Sherry Stump

            Youth Representative (1:year term): Anna Schaeffer


            Schuylkill Association Delegate (2-year term): Winnie Reed

            PSEC Delegate (2-year term): Karen Toback

Christmas Eve Services . . .

Our partnership with St. Mark’s Church allows for many opportunities to celebrate Christ’s birth this Christmas season.  Feel free to attend the service or services that best fit your schedule. There will be offering plates marked “St. John’s” and St. Mark’s” at all Christmas Eve services at both churches for your convenience. Please join us for any of the following services:

12:15PM - Informal/Abbreviated Communion Service @ St. John’s

6:30PM - Christmas Eve Service @ St. Mark’s

7:45PM - Annual Organ & Handbell Recital @ St. John’s

8:15PM – Candlelight & Communion Service @ St. John’s

9:30PM - Christmas Eve Music @ St. Mark’s

10:00PM - Christmas Eve Service @ St. Mark’s

Church News . . .


During the month of November we will be selling "Saint John's Wear". Items for sale will include: short sleeve tees, long sleeve tees, polo shirts, crew neck sweatshirts, pull-over hoodies, full zip-up hoodies and beanie hats, as well as short sleeve tees and crew neck sweatshirts for the kids. Items will be embroidered with the church logo and name. Beanies will only have the church name. Pick up your order form at the church or call the church office to place your order.


As you begin your Christmas shopping, remember our collection for the "Hat & Mitten" tree. We will be collecting hats, gloves, mittens, scarves and socks. Socks are the number one requested item for shelters and the homeless. All items are donated to the Salvation Army. Thanks in advance for your generosity.



After missing 2020 due to COVID, we were excited to get back at it. This year was a lot different. We held it outside and updated how it was handled, using the computers and spreadsheets. We had about 35-40 people involved, between getting prizes, donating prizes, cash, time, or labor, and purchasing tickets. We had about 215 prizes raising over 49,200 for our church ministries.


The "Free Winter Clothing Giveaway" sponsored by the Mission & Outreach Team was a huge success this year! It was held on the front lawn on Saturday, October 24. St. John's, along with 5 other local churches, made donations to this important mission project. We are planning a "Free Spring/Summer Clothing Giveaway" on April 23, 2022.


Beginning in January, all flowers sponsored for worship will be chancel baskets unless altar flowers are specifically requested. Consistory approved this is due to many factors including the ease of handling the baskets, difficulty in cleaning up the foam/filler, bagging and delivering the altar flowers, and lack of volunteers to care for them. Price for each basket will be $30.00.


Throughout 2021, the entire first floor of the church received a much-needed refresh. In the Narthex, the old drinking fountain was removed and a utility closet with sink installed where the phone booth had been located. In the Conference room, the dropped ceiling was removed revealing beautiful cornice work and energy efficient LED lighting installed. The outdated folding dividers in the Chapel were removed, the altar area rearranged, and hardwood floor refinished. The main hallway and offices were also updated. All ceilings, walls, and trim have been repainted in a fresh, new color scheme. ADA door handles have also been installed on most of the doors.  New hand sanitizing stations and updated décor were also added. The project will wrap up in the next few months as the classroom and mission room receive their updates. Almost all of the work was completed by volunteers using donated materials. 



Earlier this year, Consistory approved using Comcast Business as our internet/telephone provider with the changeover completed in early summer. The installation of a WiFi network throughout the church building and a new office computer were also approved but have been delayed due to ongoing supply issues. We hope to have this project completed by the end of 2021. This will enable us to stream our services in a more efficient way and have technological resources available for meetings and worship.

Upcoming Services & Events . . .


     07 – Holy Communion Service, 9:00AM

     09 – Spiritual Council, 6:00PM

     14 – Worship Service & Annual Meeting, 9:00AM

     21 – Annual Memorial Service & Dedication of Memorial Gifts, 9:00AM

     28 – Advent Communion Service, 9:00AM


     05 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

     12 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

     19 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

             Blue Christmas Service @ St. Mark’s, 4:00PM     

     24 – Christmas Eve

             Informal/Abbreviated Communion Service @ St. John’s, 12:15PM

             Christmas Eve Service @ St. Mark’s, 6:30PM

             Annual Organ & Handbell Recital @ St. John’s, 7:45PM

             Candlelight & Communion Service @ St. John’s, 8:15PM

             Christmas Eve Music @ St. Mark’s, 9:30PM

             Christmas Eve Service @ St. Mark’s, 10:00PM 

     26 – Worship Service, 9:00AM


     02 – Holy Communion Service, 9:00AM

     09 – Epiphany Worship Service, 9:00AM

     16 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

     23 – Worship Service, 9:00AM

     30 – Worship Service, 9:00AM