Month: September 2020

2020 Hershey/Hummelstown Virtual CROP Hunger Walk

The annual Hershey/Hummelstown CROP Walk is just around the corner! This year the walk will be quite different. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Decide if you will walk alone or with a small group. If walking with a group, please abide by local, state, and CDC guidelines.
  • REGISTER ONLINE at (Team: Derry Presbyterian)
  • Encourage friends and family to support you. Donations can be made online by credit card.  Checks can be made payable to CWS, notated Hershey/Hummelstown CROP Walk. Mail or drop off checks to Derry Church by Oct 31. 
  • Choose a date/time/distance to walk.  Officially, the virtual walk is scheduled for Oct 25, however, you can walk any day prior to that date. 
  • Select a safe place to walk such as a park, your neighborhood, a walking trail, the church grounds, etc.
  • If you have participated in previous CROP Walks, dig out your old t-shirt and wear it during your walk.
  • Prior to beginning your walk, take a moment to pray for the vulnerable in our community, nation, and world.
  • As you walk, take photos/videos and send them to Sue George for posting on Derry’s Facebook page.
  • Questions? Contact Jane Robertson.

This year’s walk may be virtual, but the need is real.  Please join Team Derry and help to end hunger.

Thank-You Notes for Our Church Family

Derry Friends, thank you for your recent contributions of meals and Giant gift cards to Family Promise. Keeping families sheltered and fed during this pandemic has been especially challenging. Your kindness and generosity has helped tremendously and is much appreciated! Jane Robertson, on behalf of the MIssion and Peace Committee

We want to thank Personnel Committee, staff, and everyone who came out to Gilbert’s celebration on Sunday. We also want to thank Lois Harris who helped plan the event. We are grateful for everyone’s hard work to host such a fun and special celebration. We are thankful we had the opportunity to celebrate with you. Verity had so much fun being the “Princess Big Sister” and was very impressed by all the donations you brought in for Love INC and the food pantry (450 pounds of food!). Thank you for your prayers and generosity. We look forward to the day when we can really introduce Gilbert to the church. We know he will be welcomed and loved. The McKinney-Whitaker family

Worship at Derry Church in October

Tuesday Evenings at 6 pm:

Oct 6    (communion/outdoors)
Oct 13  (outdoors)
Oct 20  (outdoors)
Oct 27  (Sanctuary, limited to 60 persons)

Sunday Mornings in the Chapel from 8:00-8:30 am (limited to 25 persons):

Oct 11 
Oct 18 
Oct 25 

Join Derry Church pastors, musicians and friends for in-person worship! Please bring your own mask, and observe social distancing.

Outdoor services are held weather permitting. If a service is cancelled, everyone who signed up will receive an email notification, and the cancellation will be posted on

Sunday morning Chapel services will offer organ music, a sermon, and congregational participation through responsive readings and corporate prayers, but no singing. Dress comfortably and be aware that windows in the Chapel will be open. When registration has reached capacity, that date will be removed from the sign-up form.

Registration is REQUIRED: click to sign up.

In-Person Education Opportunities Begin Oct 4

The ADULT ISSUES CLASS will meet in room 7 with a maximum of 25 people. On Oct 4, Dr. John Messmer will present “Going Viral: COVID, Flu and More.” His update on the COVID pandemic will cover the current situation in the US, in PA and at Penn State Health as well as testing, masks, sanitizer, vaccines, influenza and more. 

GRADES 6-12 will meet in the Youth Room with a maximum of 12 youth.

CHILDREN (AGE 4 – GRADE 5) will meet in Fellowship Hall with a maximum of 20, and include activity stations, fellowship with friends, and music.

Class sizes are limited: when a class is full, that option will be removed from the registration form.

Registration is REQUIRED. Complete one form per participating child/youth/adult

Derry Church Would Like to Include YOU as a Part of Live Streaming Worship on Sunday, Oct 4!

Take a photo of you and/or family members IN LANDSCAPE FORMAT that features any of these elements:

  • Bread you baked
  • A traditional bread from your native country
  • A favorite bread your family enjoys
  • How your family celebrates communion

Submit your photo to Sue George by Wednesday, Sept 30, then look for your photo during the time in the service when communion is served.

On Oct 4, Join Bob Hanna on Zoom

9-10 am Sunday, Oct 4 • Call the church office for the Zoom Meeting ID

Join Bob Hanna for a lively online discussion of Darrell Woomer’s book, “The Lost Christianity of Jesus: How the Early Church Chose Paul Over Jesus.” Discover what it meant to be a follower of Jesus in the earliest days, but also what this might mean for Christianity today. Woomer’s book calls the reader to rethink the legacy of Paul, the Jerusalem Movement and forgotten role of James the Just, and more broadly the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. 

September 2020 Session Highlights

  • Approved baptisms for Nyla Gawron, daughter of members Elizabeth & Luke Gawron, Nathaniel and Neil Boyd sons of members Kevin & Tessa Boyd, and Charlotte Lupole daughter of members Charles & Rebecca Lupole.
  • Reviewed the Treasurer’s report, both income and expenses are below budgeted projections. 
  • The theme of this year’s Stewardship campaign is “Invest in Hope.”  It kicks off on Oct 1 with a letter to the congregation and will conclude on Nov 8 with our pledge dedication and a “Music at the Movies” online celebration. Committees are preparing budgets for 2021 with cutbacks in spending where appropriate to compensate for an uncertain economic outlook.
  • The COVID-19 Task Force submitted its recommendations for a plan that will allow for the phase-in of in-person gatherings at the church.  After much discussion, the Session approved the following schedule:Sunday School starting Oct 4 offering three classes from 9-9:45: adult Issues (max of 25 people in room 7), children’s class (max of 20 in Fellowship Hall), and youth (max of 12 in Youth room).
  • 8:00 am Chapel worship starting Oct 11:  30 minutes with a max of 25; no singing, some responses & organ music.
  • Tuesday evening worship: current outdoor services will continue as long as weather & daylight allow; beginning Oct 27 the service moves indoors to the Sanctuary with a maximum of 60 people.
  • Details of this information will be communicated several ways: a video from Elder David Han will air following the Sept 20 worship service, a letter via email and USPS on Monday, Sept 21, and in this eNews. Registration is required for all gatherings and those attending must wear masks and follow Derry’s COVID-19 guidelines.
  • The Elders reviewed and after discussion affirmed the decision made at the August session meeting to permit a staged re-opening of Derry Discovery Days based upon the “COVID-19 Plan and Procedures” prepared by the DDD Board.
  • Approved several fundraisers for Derry Discovery Days including reaching out to Chipotle and Duck Donuts for contributions from meal purchases and a Usborne card fundraiser.

Officer Elections Will Be Held Online Sunday, Oct 11

Following live streaming worship 

Derry members, join us for an online congregational meeting following the 10:30 am service on Oct 11 to elect five elders and five deacons for the class of 2023, and four church members to serve on the 2021 nominating committee.

Accepting the nomination to serve as elders are Gregg Robertson, Claudia Holtzman, Jessica Delo, Laura Williams and Duncan Campbell. 

Daniel Forslund, Patti Jo Hibshman, Ray Delo, Sara Matthews and Chris Bevins have been nominated as deacons. 

Jim George, Lauren Talhelm, Susan Kastelic and Karen Carns have been asked to serve on the nominating committee. 

Details on on how to cast your vote will be included in the Oct 8 eNews.

Invest in Hope

This fall our sermon series and stewardship theme is “Invest in Hope.” We will read stories of hope from the Bible and share our own stories of hope with each other in worship and the eNews. The story of God found in the Bible is fundamentally a story of love and hope.

When you invest your lives and resources in Derry Presbyterian Church, you are making an investment in hope. When you financially support Derry Church, you help us to profess, practice, and share hope with the world. Our hope is eternal and it is too good to keep to ourselves. It is a gift and a privilege to give and invest in hope that can change and transform people’s lives.

Join us this fall as we reflect, invest, and live in hope together.

Sept 2020 Financial Snapshot

Cash Flow – Operating Fund as of 8/31/20

Income YTD:     $836,929    $906,747
Expenses YTD:$787,860   $906,751
Surplus/(Deficit) YTD:    $ 49,069   $         (4)

Notes from the treasurer:

  • Contributions are trailing 2019 and budget. This was expected with COVID.
  • Committees in general are spending less than in 2019. We expect this to continue while church activities are occurring remotely and as we have asked committees to be mindful of spending. Personnel spending will start to increase with the associate pastor and music director positions filled.
  • Cash flow remains okay with an increase in Net Assets of about $49k so far this year. The expectation is that this will start to decrease as we are now fully staffed and with the financial impacts of COVID.

September Updates from Presbyterian Women

  • The next coin collection for Change 4 Children will be at the outdoor service at 6 pm on Tuesday, Sept 22. If you will not be there, please bring your change to the church during the week. This spring, schools across Zambia were closed due to COVID-19. Alliance for Children Everywhere has seven elementary and a secondary school in the country. This interrupted the provision of a daily lunch to their students, a vital lifeline for children experiencing hunger. Thanks to financial gifts, the team quickly responded with emergency food relief while the students were not in class. Recently, some classes were approved to resume for children in grades 7, 9, and 12 who will take their national exams this year. Also provided are protective and hygiene supplies for students and staff. who maintain social distances and wear masks during the school day. Return coins in ziplock bags and check that no other items such as paper clips, buttons, stray pieces of metal or anything not legal tender is in the bags. Foreign coins must be bagged separately. Thanks, Derry!
  • Needed for the hygiene bags: 26 sample-sized tubes of toothpaste (expiration date of 2020 or 2021) and 26 toothbrushes. If you have any around your house, please consider donating to the Domestic Violence Center. A collection box is on the bench at the downstairs church entrance. 
  • Thanks to all who donated to the PW Birthday Offering, which totaled $2,237. A great response!

Derry Church History in a Nutshell

In recent months Pam Whitenack has been spending a day each week sorting through our heritage room files and finding the tidbits that we’ve been sharing with you in this space on Thursday afternoons. Today you’re in for a special treat as Pam takes you through the history of Derry Church in about three minutes. This video is the first in a series she is working on that will be posted on so visitors and friends can learn more about the fascinating history of our nearly 300-year-old congregation.

Recent Session Highlights

  • At several called meetings over the summer, it was the joy of the Session to welcome the following new members from the 2019-20 Confirmation Class:  Mina Achorn, Kathryn Kyper, Riley Mehaffie, Kate Patton, John Potter, Mayangela Speicher, and Piper Stagg.
  • The August session meeting opened with prayer and the introduction of Derry’s new staff members, Rev. Pamela Meilands and Grant Wareham. The Elders were happy to welcome both and look forward to working with them and the entire staff as we move through these challenging times.
  • Much of the meeting was devoted to discussions related to Derry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Elders reviewed results of the survey distributed to members in which 381 responses were tabulated. After discussion, a motion was passed to accept the COVID Task Force’s recommendation to continue our current protocols through the end of September. Continued deliberation on our response to the pandemic will be discussed at upcoming Session meetings. 
  • The Elders reviewed and debated the proposal for a staged re-opening of Derry Discovery Days based upon the “COVID-19 Plan and Procedures” prepared by the DDD Board. A motion was made, seconded and approved permitting DDD, if the way be clear, to move forward with opening the 4-year old classroom on September 21 and the 3-year old classroom the first week of October. This plan will be reviewed at the Session’s September 16 stated meeting in the event that changing conditions indicate a need to change the plan.
  • Elder David Hann will be preparing a video to speak to the congregation on the Session’s COVID-19 deliberations and decisions and a congregational letter will be sent to members.
  • Approved membership roll updates based upon member requests.
  • Approved the baptism of Tyler Brandt, son of members Emily & Gregory Brandt, for Saturday, September 12 at the outside font.
  • Accepted, with regret, the resignation of Kelly Mehaffie as Director of Derry Discovery Days.
  • Approved a request from Cub Scout Pack 200 to use the church parking lot on Saturday, September 26 for a drive-through pick-up of pre-ordered chicken BBQ.
  • Heard the Treasurer’s report that contributions are lagging compared to this time last year. However, cash flow remains positive and church committees are generally spending less than in 2019. With a rise in the stock market, Derry’s investments are recovering previous losses.
  • The Building & Grounds committee recommended limited use of the church van due to ongoing repairs and safety concerns. The Session agreed and approved a motion to discontinue use of the van and dispose of it through sale, donation, trade-in or other means of removal.
Joann Brong
  • In 1983, Russell and Joann Brong created a scholarship program at Derry (the “Brong Scholarship”) with an initial gift of $50,000. Through the years, this scholarship has been used to provide financial aid to students working toward full-time service in Christian ministry, members of Derry’s staff for continued education, and for others preparing to serve in social and humanitarian service. Mrs. Brong (pictured at right: she joined us for outdoor worship on Sept 1) has generously gifted an additional $100,000 to continue and expand the Brong Scholarship. New uses for the fund include: up to a $3,000 gift each year to Derry’s Youth Leadership Scholarship, expansion of the fields included in the social and humanitarian sectors, support for staff sabbatical expenses, and support to any member of a Presbyterian USA church in the Carlisle Presbytery who is attending a graduate school program in a field related to Christian ministry. The Session is responsible for making grants to eligible applicants. The Stewardship & Finance committee will have financial oversight of the fund with the Christian Education committee reviewing applications and recommending distributions.  After review, the Session gratefully accepted Mrs. Brong’s contribution and approved the amendments to the fund.
  • A Called Congregational meeting has been scheduled for Sunday, October 11, 2020 for the purpose of electing new church officers. Details of the meeting together with information on the incoming officers will be distributed over the next several weeks.
  • As requested by the Building & Grounds committee, the Elders approved granting Met-Ed a temporary right-of-way for access to the church parking lot along the western boundary for the purpose of replacing a power pole. The access is granted subject to Met-Ed agreeing to satisfactorily re-landscape the area around the pole and inform the Hershey Country Club of the work due to possible impact on golfing operations.
  • The meeting closed with prayer and the introduction of one of Derry’s newest children, Gilbert Charles Whitaker. Congratulations Pastor Stephen, Courtney, and Verity!