Month: December 2021

Christmas Eve at Derry Church

Christmas Eve brings three opportunities to worship in the Sanctuary:

  • Join Pastor Stephen and the Derry Brass at 2:30 pm for worship with communion
  • At 5 pm, bring the family for a service led by Pastor Pam, Pastor Stephen and M.E. Steelman
  • Our Sanctuary Choir and Derry Ringers sing and ring in Christmas at 7:30 pm in a service led by Pastor Marie and Pastor Pam, with organ prelude starting at 7:15 pm

Child care is available at the 2:30 pm and 5 pm services. The lounge has been designated a candle-free zone.

Click here to view and download the Christmas Eve bulletin

Click here to join the 5 pm live stream

Click here to join the 7:30 pm live stream

Face masks are required indoors at Derry Church. With the coronavirus variant on the rise, social distancing and use of hand sanitizer (available throughout the building) is recommended.

December 2021 Session Highlights

  • Installation and ordination of incoming church officers is scheduled for January 9, 2022. 
  • Steven Guenther presented the Treasurer’s report which showed that giving in November was less than projected. Committee spending is generally in line with or under budget.
  • The Session has been discussing whether to loosen restrictions for wearing masks at the 8 AM Sunday service. Given the current unknown effect of the Omicron variant and the increase in hospitalizations locally, no changes were proposed at this meeting. This topic will continue to be reviewed at future meetings.
  • Duncan Campbell, Chairman of the Stewardship & Finance Committee, presented Derry’s 2022 proposed budget. After review, Session approved the proposed 2022 Operating Budget in the amount of $1,250,000 projected revenue and $1,293,937 projected expenses.  
  • The Session also reviewed and approved the 2022 Rental Committee’s budget for income and expenses relative to the 275 Mansion Road and 233-235 East Derry Road properties.
  • An amendment to the “Covenant of Agreement for Pastoral Relationships-Temporary Pastor” with Rev. Dr. Marie L. Buffaloe was approved which permits Pastor Marie to reduce her hours to half time beginning January, 2022 with an associated salary adjustment.
  • The building used as the “Scout House” is in need of repairs to preserve its structural integrity. The Buildings & Grounds committee submitted a Capital Procurement Requisition to use $25,000 from the Futures Fund to cover these repairs. This proposal will be reviewed by Derry’s committees and voted upon at the Session’s January meeting.
  • The Session reviewed and approved a submission from the Building & Grounds Committee to the Stabler Foundation for a grant to assist with cemetery restorations. Thank you to Bill Alexander for his work in preparing the grant request.
  • A contribution from HERCO to the repairs previously made to Derry’s Session House glass enclosure was reviewed and accepted.
  • Special 2022 Offerings/Fundraisers as submitted by Presbyterian Women were reviewed and approved.
  • Due to staffing shortages, Derry Discovery Days requested approval to fill a substitute teacher position. The Session approved the hiring of Haily Radnor as a substitute teacher.
  • Communion dates for 2022 were reviewed and approved.
  • A big “thank you” was extended to those Ruling Elders finishing their terms for their dedication and leadership over the past three years.

Holiday Schedule Changes

  • No 8 am worship or KIWI on Dec 26
  • No 11-Minute Lessons on Dec 26 and Jan 2
  • No Tech Time on Monday, Dec 27
  • Church office closed Monday & Tuesday, Dec 27 & 28
  • No evening worship on Tuesday, Dec 28 or Jan 4
  • No eNews next Thursday, Dec 30: newsletter returns Jan 6, 2022
  • Church school and youth group resumes Sunday, Jan 9
  • Kids In Christ Club resumes Tuesday, Jan 11

2022 Lend-A-Hand Work Trip


This fall 12 volunteers helped repair four occupied homes damaged by Hurricanes Mathew (2016) and Florence (2018), but there is more work to be done to help families devastated by storm damage. For a trip application, to make a donation, or for more information go to or call 717-731-8888. Cost of the Jan trip is $175, which includes room, board, and transportation.

Epiphany is Coming… and so are Star Gifts!

Come to worship at 8 or 10:30 am on Epiphany Sunday, Jan 2 to worship and to choose a star gift for 2022! Baskets of stars will be at the Chapel and Sanctuary entrances. Choose a star gift and reflect on that word for the coming year. Take it home and hang it up where you can see it every day. Ponder what significance this word might have in your life, and how God might be speaking to you through that simple message.



Where Do Your Mission Gifts Go? One Place is Stop the Violence

On Dec 16, members of Derry Church’s Mission & Peace Committee visited Stop the Violence (STV) to deliver gift cards, hats and mittens, toys, and canned food that was collected at the Dec 5 drive-thru. This long-time mission partner is a Harrisburg non-profit dedicated to providing counseling for women of domestic violence, as well as food, clothing, gifts, and school supplies to community residents in need.

Stop the Violence, led by Rev. Mim Harvey, offers many outreach projects and programs including:

  • A back-to-school drive that provides children with new backpacks and school supplies
  • Thanksgiving turkey baskets – more than 120 – for families in need. STV also provided food to three other local churches with needy families.
  • Deliveries of soup, crackers, and homemade cookies to elderly people to spread love and brighten spirits.
  • New coats, toys, and food to 100+ children so that they could have a joyful and warm holiday season. Santa also visited the children on a fire truck!
  • A shelter in Steelton that currently houses three people. The shelter has recently been renovated but still requires some additional care. STV has asked for a new fence to ensure the safety of the children living there, flower boxes to beautify the location, and children’s play equipment (playhouse, swings, etc) to make the shelter not only safe, but a nice place to live.
  • A food bank (open twice a month) that also fulfills emergency calls for food and supplies.
  • Encouraging and assisting members of the community with COVID vaccines.

December 2021 Financial Snapshot

Cash Flow – Operating Fund as of 11/30/21

        ACTUAL       BUDGETED
Income YTD:   $1,117,244      $1,145,833
Expenses YTD:       1,051,494        1,209,421
Surplus/(Deficit) YTD:           65,750          (63,588)

Notes from the treasurer:

  • Contributions are about $45K behind 2020, but contributions have been variable in the second half of the year
  • Committee spending generally in line with or under budget. 
  • Cash flow at 11/30 is $35K behind last year

Christmas Joy Offering

This month and on Christmas Eve, Derry Church is receiving the Christmas Joy Offering, a cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s. Half of what’s received this year will be given to Church World Services Lancaster to aid in the resettlement of Afghan refugees in our area. Many families have already been resettled in the area with nothing but the clothes on their back. CWS needs our support to help these families start life again here in Central Pennsylvania.

The remaining half will benefit the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions and Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. The Assistance Program provides critical financial support to church workers and their families. Presbyterian-related schools and colleges provide education and leadership development while nurturing racial and ethnic heritage. This has been a Presbyterian commitment for nearly 140 years.

Support the Christmas Joy Offering by giving online or writing checks payable to Derry Church and noting “Christmas Joy” on the memo line. Thanks, Derry!

Presbyterians Impacted By and Responding to Weekend Tornado Outbreak

The catastrophic destruction of Mayfield, Kentucky is one of the harrowing stories the Rev. Jim Kirk, Associate for National Disaster Response for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), heard about over the weekend following a severe weather outbreak that impacted nearly a dozen presbyteries Friday night and early Saturday morning.

“There’s an incredible number of people who have been displaced, because their home has either been heavily damaged or destroyed,” Kirk said. “So, sheltering is going to be a significant need. This will be an event that will require a long-term response for the rebuilding — just an incredible amount of emotional, spiritual care needs, given the number of fatalities and injuries.” Read more and give generously to PDA through Derry Church.

NEW! Noontime Organ Recitals in the Sanctuary Begin Jan 4

12:00-12:30 PM TUESDAYS, JAN 4, 11, 18 & 25 IN THE SANCTUARY

Just as every organ is unique, every organist makes an instrument sound slightly different. Come and enjoy a series of noontime organ recitals every week in January, beginning on Jan 4 with Shawn Gingrich, Director of Music at First United Methodist Church, Hershey. In coming weeks you can look forward to hearing Eric Riley, Dan Dorty, and Grant Wareham play Derry’s Aeolian-Skinner Op. 1132.

Read This if You Use Derry Church’s Online Giving Portal

Thank you for using Derry Church’s convenient online giving platform, Vanco Payment Solutions. The platform has been upgraded recently, so if you have not visited the site for a few months, you will need to refresh your account by adding your payment preferences (credit card/bank ACH). When you complete this task, the site will update your account and you will be able make changes to any scheduled payments.

This helpful guide can assist you through this process. If you have questions as you update your information, you’re welcome to reach out to Sandy Miceli (717-533-9667) for assistance.

If you are making a change to your pledge for 2022, you will need to will need to apply that adjustment in your Vanco account. Thank you for your ongoing support to Derry Presbyterian Church.

Note of Thanks

To the church family of Derry Presbyterian Church, thank you so much for your generous investment in our students by covering the cost of the field trip to the Oakes Museum at Messiah University. Your generosity enabled our students to enjoy an enriching experience learning about bears, big cats, and other animals in North American and African habitats. For many of our students, this was the first time to ride on a bus or cross “the river.” They were truly mesmerized by that experience, before we even arrived at the museum. Your partnership with Logos Academy Harrisburg over these last several years has been so very encouraging. Your investment is a significant part of what enables us to provide a quality, Christ-centered, private school education for our students, many of whom would never have such an opportunity. Andy Phillips, CEO/Head of School, Logos Academy Harrisburg

Susquehanna Chorale Presents “A Candlelight Christmas” Concert


The Susquehanna Chorale honors the sacred mystery of the season with Gustav Holst’s “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” Egil Hovland’s “The Glory of the Father,” and Matthew Culloton’s “In Dulci Jubilo.” Other musical treats include a new work by Dan Forrest commissioned for the Chorale’s 40th anniversary, Mack Wilburg’s “Christmas is Coming” and Gordon Langford’s “Jingle Bells.” Two of our Sanctuary Choir members sing with the Chorale: look for Greg Harris and Janice Click Holl in this premier 39-member ensemble.

Join a Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic in June 2022

Make your plans now to join Derry members from June 11-19, 2022, as they return to the Dominican Republic with Bridges to Community to build a new home and do Bible school activities. Those aged 14 or 15 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

All participants MUST have proof of full vaccination prior to the trip. Cost of the trip is $1,300, a special re-introductory price. Application and full payment are due by March 6, 2022. Oak Fund grants to cover up to half the cost are available.

Sign up on the Mission and Peace bulletin board in the Narthex near the nursery. For more information, contact Pete Feil

Make a Fleece Blanket and Bring Warmth and Hope to Someone in Need


The Christian Education and Mission & Peace committees invite you to join them for an hour to make warm fleece blankets for people in need. No sewing skills required: if you can tie a knot, you can make a blanket! Donations of fleece fabric are welcome: to make one blanket, you need two pieces of fleece in two-yard lengths. Blankets made last year were shared with Stop the Violence in Steelton.

Community Churches Offer Services of Comfort and Hope

If it’s not convenient for you to attend or live stream Derry’s Longest Night service at 7 pm Tuesday, Dec 21, consider attending one of these comforting services offered by our church neighbors:

Blue Christmas: A Service of Hope
2 pm Sunday, Dec 19 at Palm Lutheran Church, 11 W. Cherry St. in Palmyra
Prayers, scripture and music that acknowledges God’s presence is for those who mourn and for those who struggle, and that God’s Word comes to shine light into our darkness. Followed by fellowship and light refreshments.

Longest Night: A Blue Christmas Service of Remembrance
3 pm Sunday, Dec 19 at First United Methodist Church, 102 W. Chocolate Ave. in Hershey
A worship gathering in the darkness of the winter solstice especially for those experiencing loss, grief, or other pain amidst the joy of Christmas. The service will include a litany with candles, reflection, and prayers.

Winter Reading Opportunities

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

JAN 6: “Stolen: The Astonishing Odyssey of Five Boys Along the Reverse Underground Railroad” by Richard Bell. Discussion led by Eleanor Schneider.
FEB 7: “The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth” by Sam Quinones. Discussion led by Chris Gawron.

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

DEC 19: “Christmas: A Candid History” by Bruce David Forbes
JAN 9: “Two Old Women” by Velma Wallis
FEB 13: “Every Heart a Doorway” by Seanan McGuire

Pastor Marie Announces Her Retirement as of March 2022

An eBlast on Nov 29, 2021 and a mailing sent this week brought news to the congregation that Pastor Marie Buffaloe will retire on March 31, 2022.

Click here to watch her video announcement.

Click here to read letters from Pastor Marie and Pastor Stephen that provide more information.

Pastor Marie has richly blessed all of us in her 25 years of ministry at Derry Church. Plans are under way to celebrate Marie and her ministry next year.

Ice Cream Gift Cards are Perfect for Gift-Giving – and Supporting our Preschool!

Looking for that perfect stocking stuffer, teacher gift or coach thank-you? Consider Fox Meadows Creamery Gift Cards! Your purchase of gift cards in any amount will benefit Derry Discovery Days Preschool.

Fox Meadows Creamery in Ephrata offers farm fresh ice cream and dairy treats as well as delicious lunch items. It has won Best Ice Cream of Lancaster for many years. Discovery Days will earn 25% of all gift card sales now through Dec 13.

To purchase gift cards, send Laura Cox an email that includes how many gift cards and their dollar value. Make checks payable to Derry Presbyterian Church notated “Creamery Gift Cards” and return to Laura Cox’s mailbox by Monday, Dec 13. Your gift cards will be available for pick up later that week at the church.