Month: November 2020

Pastor Stephen Introduces Advent Sermon Series: ‘Tis the Season

Christmas is my favorite holiday; it always has been. I’m not a very nostalgic, traditional, or cheesy person, except at Christmas. Suddenly, after Thanksgiving, I’m all about those cheesy romantic comedy movies on ABC Family or the Hallmark channel. I know I’m not the only one who loves classics like Mrs. Miracle, The 12 Dates of Christmas, or Snow Globe.

I have certain traditions as Christmas I just have to keep that go back to childhood. There are certain parts of Christmas that just have power for me, that at first look may seem like they are just the secular parts of Christmas, but I think upon deeper examination, they speak to the joy, hope, peace, and love of the Biblical Nativity story.

Christmas Dinner is always big for me. When I was a child, it was the one time of year we had what I called “Little Chickens” (Cornish game hens). It was a big day when I was finally old enough to get a whole one to myself. Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas dinner were important to me not just because of the traditional foods we ate, but because who I was with, and what was about to happen.

Christmas Lights are another tradition that I love. Every year, after the Christmas Eve service, my family would go look at Christmas lights. Sometimes we went to official light displays, and sometimes we just drove through neighborhoods, but we HAD to look at lights. We’d drive by and my mom would say, “ooooh pretty,” and we knew she’d say that all the next day as she opened her presents. Christmas lights in the cold dark of Christmas Eve was always peaceful and reminded me of the joy that would come the next morning.

We all have our favorite Christmas Carols we look forward to hearing and singing each year. The carols remind us of the story of Christ’s birth, and also what it means for us and the world.

Christmas Gifts are also a pretty important part of Christmas for me, but not necessarily for the reason you’d think. Yes, I loved unwrapping gifts, and I still do. But I loved finding the perfect gifts for my family. I still love gift giving. Courtney tells me Christmas isn’t a competition, but I admit to trying to outdo everyone else with my personal, creative, and perfect gifts. Sure, I like to say, “I win Christmas!” but it’s all a joke really. What it’s really about is showing someone how much I love them, not with an expensive gift, but the perfect gift that shows I know them, listen to them, and understand them. I love gifts and giving because they are expressions of love and relationships.
           
Tis the Season is our opportunity to preach on these familiar elements of Christmas and explore how the traditions of Christmas speak to the hope and joy of the coming of Christ, 2,000 years ago, in our lives today, and when Christ returns in glory to earth. I hope you’ll  join us throughout Advent to celebrate the Good News and respond in our lives once again to the God who comes to us, lives with us, dies for us, and loves us even to the end of the age. With Christmas Dinner, Lights, Carols, and Gifts, we’ll celebrate the love and grace of God with us, Emmanuel.

NEW! ‘Tis the Season Facebook Group

Starting Nov 29, Facebook friends are invited to reflect on the season of Advent and Christmas with our new “Tis the Season” Facebook group. Join the group now, and add your voice to the conversation starting on Sunday. Each day we’ll share memories of the past and hopes for the future centered on the themes of Christmas Dinner, Christmas Lights, Christmas Carols, and Christmas Gifts. New prompts will be posted daily by 6:45 am.

A Derry Christmas Drive-Thru


1-2 PM SUNDAY, DEC 6 IN THE CHURCH PARKING LOT

You’re invited to a Christmas drive thru where you can drop off Giving Tree gift cards and hats and gloves (details below) as well as items for the Hershey Food Bank and Personal Care Closet. We’ll also have some things for you to take home ahead of the holidays: a special devotional booklet written by Derry members and staff, even an opportunity to purchase the 2020 Mark Smith Christmas ornament. We’re finalizing details now… check next week’s eNews for the scoop.

How You Can Help Families in Need in Our Community this Holiday Season

You can help support families in need this Christmas season through our partnership with Derry Township Social Ministries. Here’s how:

  • Donate $25 WalMart gift cards: drop off in the church office 
  • Make a cash donation that Mission & Peace committee members can use to purchase gift cards on your behalf.
  • The Giving Tree is ready, and you’re invited to decorate the tree with winter hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves that will be distributed to families in need in local school districts.

Deliver all gift cards and winter apparel to the church by Sunday, Dec 6.

The Mission & Peace Committee has set a goal of 150 gift cards that will be distributed to DTSM families, the Race Track Ministry at Penn National Race Course, and to support emergent needs seen by church staff through the holidays. The committee thanks you for your continuing, generous support of families in need in our community.    

Nov 2020 Financial Snapshot

Nov 2020 Financial Snapshot
Cash Flow – Operating Fund as of 10/31/20

ACTUALBUDGETED
Income YTD:     $1,053,102   $1,133,436
Expenses YTD:$ 969,907   $1,133,434
Surplus/(Deficit) YTD:        $83,195                $2

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 good and net assets increased about $25k in September.

Wondering about an Installation Service for Pastor Pam?

Plans were in the works to hold Pastor Pam’s installation service by live stream in early December. Because this service requires many participants from across Carlisle Presbytery, we’ve determined it will be safer for all concerned to postpone the service until spring 2021. Watch for details next year.

Winter Reading Opportunities

The Monday evening study group will Zoom at 7 pm (meeting ID 829 3865 1608) to discuss these books:

  • DEC 7: The Thursday Club by Richard Osman 
  • JAN 4:In Order to Live: A North Korean’s Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park and Maryonne Vollers 
  • FEB 1: Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World by Amy Stanley

The Faithful Readers will Zoom at 9:15 am Sundays (meeting ID 731 554 7262) to discuss these books:

  • DEC 13: The Christmas Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini
  • JAN 17: The Golden Road by LM Montgomery
  • FEB 21: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Download the complete Faithful Readers list for 2020-21 and check out the Faithful Readers’ Facebook Group.

Copies of all titles are available to borrow from the church library.

Presbyterian Women: Nov Updates

  • Nov 25 is Orange Day, when Presbyterian Women wear orange or an orange ribbon to show awareness of exploitation of females and support for people working to end it. One of the recipients of this year’s Thank Offering is the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County which provides community healing circles for first-person story telling. This is a safe space for those impacted by domestic violence to share their stories, hear the group/s collective wisdom, learn to take control of their narratives, and rewrite their stories. Remember to wear orange next Wednesday.
  • Look for details on the “Bakeless” Cookie Walk in January.  Due to Covid-19, there will be no Cookie Walk/Jumbles shop this year.  If anyone has Jumbles items, you’re invited to get creative and sell them yourself, then donate the proceeds to PW.
  • Remember to make cards for Caitlin Smiles children. They do not need to be in envelopes but need to follow the guidelines set up by the organization. The drop-off basket is located outside the entrance door. Deadline is Dec.15.

A Christmas Carol: Live Radio Play Features Derry Youth

7 PM FRIDAY & SATURDAY, NOV 20 & 21 AND FRIDAY, DEC 18

Enjoy the familiar story of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as told in a staged radio drama, complete with sound effects and music cues similar to old time radio programs. Hershey High School’s fall play, “A Christmas Carol – A Live Radio Play” can be streamed online by purchasing access for $12.50 through this website: http://hersheyhs.booktix.com

Participating Derry youth include:

  • Hattie Gavazzi: Ghost of Christmas Past and Fred’s Wife
  • Mayangela Speicher: Pianist
  • Ethan Barna: Tech Leader

Note of Thanks

Dear Derry Church Family, Words can’t possibly express how touched our family was after the death of both my brother and mother within two weeks of each other.  Your many calls, texts, cards, prayers and flowers let us know that so many of our church family were with us in spirit during these difficult days. We also want to thank the staff: Marie, Teresa, Dan, Sue and Grant for their hard work in making a most beautiful memorial service for my mother happen. The new video and sound equipment enabled many family and friends to join us via livestream, which was important to them and us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  Jim and Cindy Royer

Thank Offering Brings Hope: Story #4

When in 1888 women were asked to give one dollar over their regular giving as a thank offering to the Lord, the Thank Offering was born. Since 1888 more than $26 million has been granted to 1,700 projects locally and internationally. 

Out of the 49 applications, 15 projects were chosen for funding this year. 13 projects are in the US and 2 are international. Over 40% of the projects are related to health ministries. 

Here in our own Synod of the Trinity a domestic violence center in Chester county will be able to expand their counseling services.

In this season of gratitude we give thanks for the blessings we have received, both the plentiful food on our tables and the loved ones around it. We are reminded that we need to do more than simply voice our thanks: we must show it through our actions. We offer thanks for God’s blessings that we can share with others, and we pray for those who will receive these Thank Offering grants to continue their important work.  

Please give generously to the Thank Offering as you are able. The 2020 offering will be received on Sunday, Nov 22. Give online or make checks payable to Derry Church notated “Thank Offering” and mail your check to the church (248 E Derry Road, Hershey 17033).

Stewardship Sunday Recap

On Sunday we dedicated the financial commitments to Derry Church made for 2021. So far we’ve received estimates of giving from 213 people totaling $902,183. We are on track to meet our budgeted needs if we continue to receive pledges from those who have pledged in the past, but we’re not there yet. Our church Session will meet next month to finalize our budget based on what we believe will be received.

Click here to submit your estmate of giving online and help us to build a faithful and balanced budget for the church… you can also email Sandy Miceli to ask her for information on Derry Church’s 2021 budget plans and an estimate of giving card that you can return by mail. Thank you for your continued support of Derry Church, where we proclaim God’s Word, share God’s love, and practice God’s justice.

Watch the Music of the Movies virtual concert presented on Sunday, Nov 8. Thanks to everyone who shared their talents as we bring our stewardship campaign to a successful conclusion. 

National Donor Sabbath: Nov 13-15, 2020

National Donor Sabbath is observed annually two weekends before Thanksgiving, from Friday through Sunday. This three-day observance seeks to include the days of worship for major religions practiced in the United States. Jim Carns is one Derry Church member waiting on the transplant list: read his story. Carl Rohr is also a transplant recipient. Learn more by watching this video and register to be an organ donor.

Thank Offering Brings Hope: Story #3

When in 1888 women were asked to give one dollar over their regular giving as a thank offering to the Lord, the Thank Offering was born. Since 1888 more than $26 million has been granted to 1,700 projects locally and internationally. 

Out of the 49 applications, 15 projects were chosen for funding this year. 13 projects are in the US and 2 are international. Over 40% of the projects are related to health ministries. 

A project in the Synod of the Sun will purchase a truck to be able to pick up Presbyterian Disaster Assistance disaster kits from churches in the surrounding area to eliminate shipping costs.

In this season of gratitude we give thanks for the blessings we have received, both the plentiful food on our tables and the loved ones around it. We are reminded that we need to do more than simply voice our thanks: we must show it through our actions. We offer thanks for God’s blessings that we can share with others, and we pray for those who will receive these Thank Offering grants to continue their important work.  

Please give generously to the Thank Offering as you are able. The 2020 offering will be received on Sunday, Nov 22.Give online or make checks payable to Derry Church notated “Thank Offering” and mail your check to the church (248 E Derry Road, Hershey 17033).

Fall Raking & Outdoor Cleanup

3:30-5:30 PM FRIDAY, NOV 13
8 AM TO FINISH SATURDAY, NOV 14 

Bring your rakes and wear your mask as the Gardeners of Derry work outdoors to prepare the church grounds for the winter. Pickup trucks and wheelbarrows also welcome and appreciated. 

NEW! In-Person Family Worship Service

5 PM SATURDAY, NOV 7 IN THE SANCTUARY • RSVP REQUIRED

After many conversations with Derry Church families, we’ve learned of a need and desire for worship that lets families truly connect with the church and continue to grow their faith in person. So we’re introducing a monthly Saturday evening service led by Pastor Pam and Mrs. Steelman. We’ll gather in the Sanctuary for a short worship service, with each family assigned to their own pew. RSVP for Nov 7

Oct 2020 Session Highlights

  • Received 10 new members into Derry membership.
  • Approved baptisms for Gilbert Whitaker, son of Derry member Courtney McKinney-Whitaker and Pastor Stephen & Jacquelyn Lytle, daughter of Derry members David and Allison Lytle.
  • Reviewed the Treasurer’s report: both the income and expenses are below budgeted projections. Invested funds appear to have recovered from earlier losses and are at a breakeven point.
  • Approved Derry Discovery Days’ request to hire Kyla Miller as an Aide for the Busy Bee classroom. 
  • The Elders discussed the request from the Communications Committee to approve the purchase and use of projectors in the Sanctuary which would allow individuals in the Sanctuary to see what is happening on the live stream. The projectors make it possible for everyone in the Sanctuary and at home to have the same worship experience. It is important to note that there are no screens associated with the projectors; information will be projected onto the walls at the front of the Sanctuary. Currently, a projector is used to perform this function on the Sanctuary back wall so that the Pastors can see the video that is live streaming. Additional uses for the projectors beyond the current live stream and pandemic application were also noted. The cost for the purchase and installation is $23,379.57. A portion of this cost ($10,000) will be funded through a generous gift and the balance will be taken from Derry’s Futures Fund. This request was reviewed by all church committees at their September meetings, and all supported the request. After discussion, the Session approved the request to purchase/install the projectors and the funding.
  • Approved a request from Stewardship & Finance to amend the voucher approval procedure by which church invoices are approved by committee chairs and submitted to the church office for payment. Due to limited access to the church, the approvals for regular and routine invoices (Example: copier invoice) do not always occur as needed. The change to the policy would permit a Committee Chair to annually pre-approve certain regular reoccurring monthly, quarterly, etc. payments in advance for as long as the amounts stay within the pre-approved dollar range. The revised policy was approved.
  • The Mission & Peace Committee requested approval to use $30,000 from the Futures Fund for three consecutive years beginning in 2020 to help fund a new wing at the Boys’ School in Sargodha. In addition to this $90,000, the Committee is committing $10,000 a year from its budget for three years bringing Derry’s contribution to the school to $120,000. A lengthy discussion occurred which included background of the Presbyterian Education Board and the Sargodha school, the critical need for the education of boys in 6th through 10th grade, the need for more classroom space to accommodate the increasing number of applicants, and the financing and construction of the project. In addition, several Elders who were part of Derry’s traveling group that visited the school last year spoke of their support of the project. Members of the traveling group are currently making three-year pledges to the project which to date total $150,000. After discussion, the request was approved.

PW Offers New Card Making Opportunity

Derry’s Presbyterian Women are partnering with the PW of Paxton Presbyterian Church to support Caitlin’s Smiles, an organization that provides gift bags of small craft projects to hospitalized children. Inside the bag is a handmade card of encouragement signed by the maker of the card. You’re invited to support this effort by making some cards! This program takes the place of Santa Shops this year.

Through Dec 15, Derry’s PW will receive cards in a basket on the bench at the Mansion Road church entrance. Cards may be any size of shape but NO glitter. DO NOT SAY GET WELL as many of the children are terminally ill. DO NOT INCLUDE ANY RELIGIOUS MESSAGE as the children are from many different religions. Focus on sayings such as: sending smiles, sending bear hugs, thinking of you, sending warm wishes, you’re a star, you’re a champion, and similar encouraging messages. 

Children love bright, bold, and silly cards. Jokes, riddles, and funny sayings are great to include. Sign your first name only on your card, along with your town. Children and youth are invited to make cards, too. Remember to say a prayer for the child.

Love INC Community Auction: Nov 9-15

Loving Our Community multi-day online event features local artisans, neighborhood businesses, and handcrafted pies to benefit the ministries of Love INC of Greater Hershey. Shop from the comfort of your home from a bountiful selection of items including art, jewelry, home decor, services, gift cards, gift baskets, and, of course, PIES! Find auction links on Love INC’s website, Facebook and Instagram.

Thank Offering Brings Hope: Story #2


When in 1888 women were asked to give one dollar over their regular giving as a thank offering to the Lord, the Thank Offering was born. Since 1888 more than $26 million has been granted to 1,700 projects locally and internationally. 

Out of the 49 applications, 15 projects were chosen for funding this year. 13 projects are in the US and 2 are international. Over 40% of the projects are related to health ministries. 

In the Synod of the Northeast the grant will allow for the renovation of a building for Family Promise use. It will be a daytime resource center and emergency overnight shelter.

In this season of gratitude we give thanks for the blessings we have received, both the plentiful food on our tables and the loved ones around it. We are reminded that we need to do more than simply voice our thanks: we must show it through our actions. We offer thanks for God’s blessings that we can share with others, and we pray for those who will receive these Thank Offering grants to continue their important work.  

Please give generously to the Thank Offering as you are able. The 2020 offering will be received on Sunday, Nov 22. Give online or make checks payable to Derry Church notated “Thank Offering” and mail your check to the church (248 E Derry Road, Hershey 17033).

Fill Out Your Estimate of Giving Card Online

You can participate in Derry’s 2021 “Invest in Hope” stewardship campaign by returning the Estimate of Giving card you received in the mail, or you can complete the card online. Go to https://www.derrypres.org/give/give-online and your information will be securely delivered to Sandy Miceli, our financial/office manager.

If you use online giving and the information you enter represents a change from 2020, please be sure to make adjustments on the online giving site. Estimates received by Sunday morning, Nov 8 will be counted and reported in the live streaming “Music of the Movies” Concert and stewardship celebration at 4 pm Nov 8.

Thank Offering Brings Hope: Story #1

When in 1888 women were asked to give one dollar over their regular giving as a thank offering to the Lord, the Thank Offering was born. Since 1888 more than $26 million has been granted to 1,700 projects locally and internationally. 

Out of the 49 applications, 15 projects were chosen for funding this year. 13 projects are in the US and 2 are international. Over 40% of the projects are related to health ministries. 

In the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, the All about U Adoptions program will use their grant to purchase a transitional living home for expectant mothers. They will also use it for counseling and adoption planning.

In this season of gratitude we give thanks for the blessings we have received, both the plentiful food on our tables and the loved ones around it. We are reminded that we need to do more than simply voice our thanks: we must show it through our actions. We offer thanks for God’s blessings that we can share with others, and we pray for those who will receive these Thank Offering grants to continue their important work.  

Please give generously to the Thank Offering as you are able. The 2020 offering will be received on Sunday, Nov 22. Give online or make checks payable to Derry Church notated “Thank Offering.” Learn more in this video.