Month: October 2021

Derry Church Hires Artist-in-Residence in Choral Arts

Eric Riley

Derry Church is delighted to welcome Eric Riley as Artist-in-Residence in Choral Arts. Eric will work with the choir and provide mentorship for Grant Wareham.

When Grant was hired last year, we said we would provide an opportunity for Grant to study under an established director who could serve as a teacher and mentor as Grant grows into the role of Director of Music Ministry. It wasn’t possible to offer that opportunity during the pandemic. Dan Stokes has ended his time working at Derry and we are incredibly grateful for Dan’s service, leadership, music, and friendship as he moves into retirement and other opportunities.

We look forward to having Eric share his gifts and passions for choral music with the choir and congregation at Derry Church.

Eric Riley was appointed Artistic Director of the Wheatland Chorale (Lancaster) in 2012. He recently retired as Artist in Residence at St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church in York, and before that, he served nine years as the organist and director of music at Harrisburg’s Market Square Presbyterian Church.

Eric graduated from Syracuse University School of Music with a degree in organ performance, and later earned his Master’s in Music from the Scarritt Graduate School of Vanderbilt University. Eric is an accomplished conductor and organist who has led programs across the country and in Europe.

Eric lives in Hummelstown with his wife Christine, who sings alto in the Wheatland Chorale. He begins work at Derry Church on Nov 1 and will be present in worship on Sunday, Nov 7.

Introducing our Children’s Ministry Coordinator

Children’s Ministry Coordinator M.E. Steelman

M.E. Steelman has served as our transitional children’s coordinator since 2018, and last week the Session voted to make her a permanent member of the church staff. We are delighted to introduce M.E. as Derry Church’s Children’s Ministry Coordinator! 

In this role, M.E. provides leadership for our children’s ministry programs through fifth grade, including faith-based education, fellowship, worship, and mission — all with the goal of supporting their daily lives and equipping children and their families as they grow in faith and discipleship.

Organ Demo with Grant Wareham


You’ve heard the Aeolian-Skinner organ play … now find out how it works! In this brief demo you’ll learn the four basic kinds of pipes, how wind pressure is regulated, and how the organist puts everything together, as well as why wooden louvers are so crucial to the organ sounding the way it does. You’ll also learn about the basics of designing an organ, and the practical reasons why this organ sounds more rich and full compared with our previous Reuter organ. Bring your questions!

Did You Know You Can Fill Out Your Estimate of Giving Online?

You can participate in Derry’s 2022 “Growing in Grace and Gratitude” stewardship campaign by returning the Estimate of Giving card you received in the mail, or you can complete the card online. Go to and your 2022 estimate 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 2021, please be sure to make adjustments on Derry Church’s online giving site

Stewardship Sunday is Nov 14 and giving estimates can also be submitted during both worship services that day.

Join the Derry Daytrippers on an Excursion to Longwood Gardens


This trip to Longwood Gardens begins in the daylight, then enjoy the beautiful Christmas lights as it gets dark. Cost is $23 per person. Please RSVP to Sue Whitaker, then send or take your check to the church payable to Darry Church and notated Longwood Gardens. Since we have to pay for the tickets in advance, once you sign up you are committed to attend. Payment is due by Nov 7. We hope to see you there!

Ryan & Sarah Bartz • Derry Members

When we returned to this area, we felt at home the first time we attended worship at Derry Church. Through warm greetings from folks like Nancy Kitzmiller, membership classes, and the nursery volunteers, we felt welcome. Now, whether we are in person, worshipping via the live stream, learning at Derry Discovery Days, watching classes on YouTube, or hearing what our kids did at VBS, Derry Church has truly become a home.

Sarah, Ryan, Oliver and Hudson Bartz

Gratitude gives us the eyes to see the grace of God all around us, particularly in the ways it is demonstrated by our church family. We are thankful for the beautiful musical gifts of Grant, Dan, and many others, to share in that ministry, and for the moments when the music grabs our kids’ attention and draws them into worship.

We are thankful for Pastors and staff who take a few minutes out of their own busy days to acknowledge birthdays or send a postcard. We are thankful for Shepherd Group leaders who check-in and truly show God’s love in sharing peace and joy.

Our kids have been regular visitors to the church nursery, and as new parents, we have always been thankful for the love of volunteers who comforted them and let them know that we were close by if they could hear the music (thank you, Sue Fox). As parents of young kids, our church family has shown us love in making the quiet room on the side of the sanctuary a welcoming space. Hudson has been part of Derry Discovery Days since he was a Ladybug, and Oliver joined this year as a Turtle. Our gratitude runs deep for the amazing teachers and the connections our boys have made to Derry during their time at school.

For our family, being a part of Derry has looked like church on Sundays, followed by fellowship, Easter egg hunts, Zoom scavenger hunts and learning with Mrs. Steelman, drive-thrus to offer donations and to share God’s love and grace far beyond the walls of our church, new friendships, and delicious breakfasts on Easter morning. Who can forget Pastor Stephen’s Derry Good News series during the early days of COVID? What a gift during that uncertain time to be reminded regularly of God’s grace all around us.

The gift of God’s grace and faithful, steady presence can be seen at Derry in the beautiful tulips planted around our church many years ago. We know the tulips will bloom each spring without fail, just as the sun rises each morning. We can count on this ever-present reminder of God’s love. We know we have the ability to impact others through a genuinely warm welcome or “how are you?” because we have experienced it, and by showing up for one other, the church itself, and the greater community and world. Being a part of the Derry church family has allowed us to inhale grace beyond measure, and exhale our gratitude. We hope the same is true for each of you.

Rudy & Marcy Sharpe • Derry Members

Marcy & Rudy Sharpe

Because our friend and former student, Dan Stokes, became interim organist at Derry, we decided to spend a few Sundays visiting Derry Church to hear Dan play. We realized from the first Sunday service that there was a friendliness and sincerity at Derry that led us to attend membership classes and become a part of that family.  Then COVID hit, and the opportunity to know more members of the congregation and to become involved in the life of the church seemed to disappear. The streaming services allowed us to continue to worship each Sunday, but we still felt removed from the actual life of the church and from fellowship with its members.  We couldn’t possibly know at that point just how important our connection to Derry Presbyterian would become in the following months.

As the pandemic continued to preclude worshipping in person, we adjusted ourselves to “remote” membership in the anticipation of full participation when the pandemic subsided.  Then, in a blink of the proverbial eye, our lives were upended, as Rudy was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. No warning signs. Just a quick trip to the emergency room, a diagnosis within hours, and brain surgery scheduled within days. Seeking some direction and support at a particularly difficult time, we turned to the Derry ministerial staff.  While one would expect the clergy to offer their guidance, we were not prepared for Derry’s pastors’ numerous expressions of care via phone calls, texts, emails, and cards. Indeed, their sincere expressions of concern extended far beyond what we could possibly expect! Their calm, reasoned guidance and encouragement provided a much-needed respite from the chaos that enveloped us during those dark days.

Even more astonishing (at least to us) was the outpouring of sympathy and offers of help from members of the Derry congregation, many of whom we didn’t even know.  Hand-delivered flowers, apple cakes, a stunning prayer shawl, and numerous cards with handwritten notes of encouragement were indicative of Derry community’s commitment to care for its parishioners.

Sometimes, when one reflects upon past events and their influence, one can see what Marcy would call “God winks,” events that display God’s grace without great fanfare, but rather with a whisper that says, “I’ve got this; here’s a special gift to ease your burdens.”  Derry Church is one such “God wink.”  How could we know that the clergy and the members would be right where we needed them, when we needed them?  Perhaps we didn’t need to know. “God winks” arrive without our requesting them or deserving them. They simply reflect God’s grace, most often through faithful, unselfish messengers, like the community that is Derry Presbyterian Church.

Oct 2021 Financial Snapshot

Cash Flow – Operating Fund as of 9/30/21

Income YTD:$907,914      $937,500
Expenses YTD:   889,866        989,531
Surplus/(Deficit) YTD:     18,048       (52,031)

Notes from the treasurer:

  • Contributions are about $30k behind 2020 and budget.
  • Committee spending generally in line with or under budget. 
  • Cash flow at 9/30 is about $50k lower than last year.

Outdoor Work Days


Many hands needed to prepare the church grounds for the winter. Bring rakes, wheel barrows and leaf blowers. At least one pick up trip is also needed each day. 

Help Repair Flood-Damaged Homes in North Carolina Nov 14-20

Lend A Hand is taking a work crew to New Bern, NC from Nov 14-20 to help repair flood-damaged homes through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Cost of the trip is $175 per person, which covers transportation, food at the site, and lodging. Proof of COVID vaccination is required and masks must be worn for all inside work. Applications available online. Questions? Contact Pete Feil (717-566-8250).

Presbyterian Women October Updates

  • Presbyterian Women observe Orange Day on the 25th of each month to highlight the exploitation of females around the world. This month is focused on Afghanistan and those working to provide escape routes for females and families wanting to leave. “Islamic Rule” gives evidences of hunger, fear, disrespect, non-permission to work, a ban on women in public places, an education ban and dismantling of co-educational institutes, no participation of women in the formation of interim Taliban cabinet, and many more rights violations. These are some of the examples that will make Afghan women suffer more under Taliban rule. On Monday, wear orange or an orange ribbon to show support for the females of Afghanistan and people who are trying to improve the lives of females there.
  • Fifty hygiene bags were delivered to the Domestic Violence Center in September. Thanks to everyone who contributed items to fill the bags.
  • The Synod PW Mission Project for this year is the prison ministry of Rev. Stanley in Malawi. He serves eight prisons by carrying the work of God, bringing supplies of food, water, soap, and treasured aspirin as well as supplies for infants incarcerated with their mothers. He has also bought coffins and paid for funerals. He needs a truck to haul supplies and prisoners released or in need of medical attention. PW in Derry has sent $700 towards this purchase.

Jamie & Ellen Mosher • Derry Members

We originally began visiting Derry Presbyterian about ten years ago on the recommendation of some member friends. We were immediately impressed by the positive energy exuded by the congregants as a group as well as those we met individually. Our visits soon turned into exploring the new member classes and eventual joining as full members. Since that time we have continued to be lifted by the love and positive attitude of the church displayed by our pastors, session members and fellow congregants.

We have been particularly grateful for the family-oriented worship activities afforded by the 10:30 service. Our daughter enjoyed KIWI when she was younger and now is thankful to be able to learn from the messages delivered as a part of the regular service. We have also been grateful for the grace and humility demonstrated by our leadership throughout the Coronavirus pandemic as they have followed expert medical science in designing different worship opportunities in hopes of safely reaching the most people while simultaneously validating the rights and feelings of those who disagree with the decisions made.

More directly, we experienced the grace and love of church members helping us during some health care issues a few years ago as well as the support during Ellen’s mother’s recent transition into death last year. We have been able to enjoy the grace of helping others through the church’s many affiliations with various mission organizations, through the Pakistan student support as well as local families in need through the Lutheran church at Christmas.

We continue to be grateful for the many opportunities for involvement offered by our church. Jamie has enjoyed sharing in the music ministry through composing, arranging and performing. Ellen has grown during her participation as a deacon.  Meredith has had wonderful experiences participating with Pilgrim Fellowship, Pastor Pam’s summer Bible studies and now the Youth Group.

These sentiments all came into sharp relief during the October 2 service as we sang, “To everyone born, a place at the table.” From its upbeat rhythmic feel to its positive message of inclusiveness, this song encapsulates the spirit and attitude that we appreciate most about Derry Church. We have friends in the church from both sides of the political spectrum, from various sexual orientations and from many walks of life different from our own. We are therefore ever grateful that our church is a welcome place for everyone to come; where we can learn from each other and through our personal interactions be inspired to fashion a world where, “God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy.”

Editor’s Note: if you were fortunate enough to attend or live stream Grant Wareham’s organ recital on Oct 10, you heard the world premiere of “Up to Eleven” a piece composed by Jamie Mosher in honor of Dan Stokes and Grant. Click to watch an introduction by Grant and comments by Jamie before watching Grant play the piece.

The Children of Derry Give Thanks

This colorful 11 x 17″ page has been printed and is being shared with local animal shelters, vet centers, zoo/nature reserves, and those who dedicate their service to animals. The painted animals were created by the children attending Sunday school: they prayed for these people who care for creation as they learned more about the story of Noah’s Ark.

It Takes a Village

Taken after the organ recital on Sunday, Oct 10, 2021, this photo shows those instrumental in bringing the Aeolian-Skinner Op. 1132 to Derry Church. Left to right: Nicholas Thompson-Allen, President, A. Thompson-Allen and Co., Grant Wareham, Geoff Johnson, head of Church of the Redeemer organ search committee and husband Damian, and Dan Stokes. 

Your Contribution Requested for our “Christmas Tour of Homes Advent Devotional”

This year’s Advent sermon series imagines how each Gospel writer celebrates Christmas in his own home. We’ll also explore how we celebrate the birth of Jesus in our own lives and homes through music, online discussion groups, and our Advent devotional.

For the 2021 Advent devotional, you’re invited to share a story about a meaningful or faithful tradition, event, or memory about celebrating the Christmas season in your house as a child, youth, or adult. These stories will invite our church family into our homes as we each reflect on how we celebrate the birth of the Savior and what it means for our lives.

Please send your story of 500 words or less to Pastor Stephen by Monday, Nov 15. Include a photo if you have one.

The 2021 Advent Devotional will be available for pickup at our Holiday Drive Thru on Sunday afternoon, Dec 5. 

Trunk or Treat on Oct 30


Derry Church is hosting its first Trunk or Treat event for families of the church and the Discovery Days Preschool. Children can come dressed in costumes and trick or treat at various cars and tables set up in the back parking lot. Derry friends, you’re invited to decorate the trunk of your car (or a table) and hand out candy: click here to sign up. If you can’t come that day, you can support the event by providing donations of candy: bring bags to the church office.

NEW! Kids In Christ (K.I.C.) Club

5:45 – 7:15 PM TUESDAYS IN ROOM 7

Kids In Christ (K.I.C.) Club welcomes Derry Church children on Tuesday evenings to participate in creative ministries… fellowship groups, music ensembles (vocal and instrumental) and creation time. This program has a Vacation Bible School vibe where children rotate between classrooms and participate in all three areas of ministry.

K.I.C. Club is open to all children age 4 – 5th grade. Children must be signed in each week in Room 7, and have completed information and medical forms on file with the church. Once children are registered, their adult is free to hang out in the church, attend Tuesday night worship at 6:15 pm, or run a quick errand or two. Children will be dismissed at 7:15 pm from Room 7. MORE

Hope Within Ministries Seeks Director of Development

Hope Within provides primary health care, counseling and dental care to the uninsured low-income residents of Lancaster, Dauphin and Lebanon Counties. Through the grace and goodness of God, Hope Within is excited to share His love by offering excellent and free primary medical care, cost sliding scale counseling and donation-based dental care via the hands of more than 30 volunteer medical and dental providers, therapists and nurses.

Hope Within is seeking a part time (20 hours per week) Director of Development to enhance its efforts in serving the community. With this position, Hope Within desires to strengthen its relations with current donors and broaden its fundraising efforts, including new major donor cultivation, foundations, grants, special events and capital campaigns. The Director of Development will be responsible for establishing, implementing, and leading a comprehensive development program for Hope Within under the direction of the Executive Director.

Cover letters and resumes should be sent to David F. Sheppard, Jr., CAE (Ret), 924 Palmer Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17112 or by email to

Organ Dedication Sunday, Oct 10

The communion table and organ console have been repositioned in preparation for the organ dedication and recital on Sunday, Oct 10. Please note the live stream will launch at 10:15 am and the prelude will begin at 10:20 am as Kathy Yingst, Dan Stokes and Grant Wareham take turns playing our new Aeolian-Skinner. At the end of the service, a congregational meeting will follow the postlude, with voting by Derry members attending in person. The meeting will be live streamed. 8 am worship and Pastor Stephen’s 11-Minute Lessons will return on Sunday, Oct 17.

The peace cranes have also returned to their roost. Thanks to Charlie and Joanne Koch and Josh Pearson for helping the cranes settle back into the rafters. They’ll be in flight until Advent begins.

Rev. Stephen McKinney-Whitaker • Pastor

Several decades ago, the British writer and lecturer C.S. Lewis was asked to speak on the subject of Christian stewardship. He began with these words: “On the whole, God’s love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him.” I feel that way, too. Sometimes it is much easier, and safer, just to skirt around the whole subject of stewardship, of how we give shape and substance to our love for God.

We may choose to skirt the subject entirely, but the fact remains that stewardship is the way we define our faith and make it personal. It’s how faith becomes concrete — a part of our lives, not just a feeling we have or something we say.

I believe our faith is shaped by our experiences of grace and gratitude, which is why our stewardship and sermon theme this fall is “Growing in Grace and Gratitude.”

We all know the benefits of grace. Grace is a gift, an undeserved, sometimes even unasked for gift. Grace connects us with God. Grace gives us new life. Grace gives us a second chance. Grace welcomes us into the family of God. Grace is being welcomed in love. We all need grace in our lives. We need God’s grace and we need the grace offered by one another: the grace of relationships. Growing in grace is growing in love, life, and wholeness. We know we need grace.

But do we know we need gratitude? A research study done about ten years ago reported the shocking news that those who live from a posture of abundance and gratitude live happier, statistically longer lives. Gratitude makes us happy, deeply happy. Gratitude connects us to other people. Gratitude connects us with God and, in itself, makes us better stewards of all that we have and of this planet on which we live.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll hear stories of grace and gratitude from Scripture and from each other. We’ll be reminded of the power of God’s grace in our lives and what gratitude looks like. We’ll celebrate how God’s grace has been manifested through the ministry of Derry Church. We’ll show our gratitude through our financial gifts, to ensure God’s grace touches people’s lives for generations to come.

We grow in grace and gratitude as we proclaim God’s word, share God’s love, and practice God’s justice. And this year, our giving needs to grow in order for the ministry of this community of faith to flourish. Growth in giving is a sign of a spiritually healthy church. I encourage you to prayerfully consider how you can grow in your giving and your involvement at Derry, because your investment here can have a life-changing impact — not only for you and for our church, but for our community and the world.

Derry is an amazing faith community. It’s a place where I have grown in grace and gratitude, and I hope you have, too. Together we can show our gratitude with more than words. Let’s ensure that Derry Church continues to be a place to worship, serve, and belong for at least another 300 years. 

Officer Elections on Oct 10

A congregational meeting will follow 10:30 am worship on Oct 10 for the purpose of electing one elder for the class of 2022, six elders and five deacons for the class of 2024, and four church members to serve on the 2022 nominating committee.

These Derry members have accepted nominations: 

Elder, class of 2022: Tim Mosher

Elders, class of 2024: Becca Farbaniec, Cindy DeMuth, Tom Kitzmiller, Julie Yutesler, Pam Whitenack and Ryan Bartz

Deacons, class of 2024: Michelle Califf, Dave Hibshman, David Kuntch, Ellen O’Keefe and Susan Hubbell Whyte  

2022 Nominating Committee: Lauren Talhelm, Mike Leader, Lee Webber and Jane Robertson

Sept 2021 Session Highlights

  • Approved baptism of Nikolai Minnich, son of Derry members, Sean and Valerie Minnich.
  • Stephen Guenther has indicated that he will be stepping down as church Treasurer over the next year. Craig Kegerise has volunteered to accept this position. The Session thanks Craig for his willingness to offer his assistance and Steven for his leadership and financial expertise. The Session unanimously elected Craig as Vice Treasurer. He will be working with Steven and becoming familiar with the church finances as he prepares to take on this role.
  • Reviewed the preliminary 2022 church budget and Stewardship Sunday plans.
  • Approved revised “Guidelines for Burial of Cremated Remains in DPC Cemetery.” The revisions include increasing the cost of a plot to $1,000 and adding an administrative fee of 25% to the cost of the ground level marker.

Loving Our Community Online Auction


Featuring local artisans, neighborhood businesses, gift baskets, gift cards, home decor, electronics, services around the house, and homemade delicacies (pies and more!)

PERISHABLE Items may be picked up from the donor or delivered to the following locations: Hummelstown (17036), Hershey (17033), Middletown (17057), Palmyra (17078), Elizabethtown (17022). 

NON-PERISHABLE Items may be picked up curbside at the Love INC office during the week of Oct 25.

Fall Reading Opportunities

The Monday evening study group will Zoom at 7 pm to discuss the following books:

NOV 1: “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann
DEC 6: “Suzanne and Gertrude: A Novel” by Jeb Loy Nichols
JAN 6: “Stolen: The Astonishing Odyssey of Five Boys Along the Reverse Underground Railroad” by Richard Bell

Faithful Readers will Zoom at 2 pm on Sunday afternoons to discuss these books:

OCT 17: “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” by Grace Lin 
NOV 14: “Cranford” by Elizabeth Gaskell
DEC 12: “Christmas: A Candid History” by Bruce David Forbes
JAN 9: “Two Old Women” by Velma Wallis

Contact the church office for Zoom login information.