What’s the Plan for Holy Week and Easter?

We’re making plans for virtual and in-person services at 7 pm on Maundy Thursday, April 1 and 7 pm on Good Friday, April 2, as well as in-person and virtual services on Easter Sunday, April 4. When Session meets on March 17, the elders will review and vote on updated regathering recommendations from the COVID Task Force. With Session approval, details and registration links for in-person worship services in April will be included in the March 18 eNews. 

Church Attendance in Pandemic Times

You may be wondering: how does live stream attendance from the past year compare with Derry’s in-person church attendance? In pre-pandemic times, ushers counted everyone sitting in the Chapel and Sanctuary and the number was recorded in a notebook. Each year, those numbers were added up, giving us an average in-person attendance figure for the year. In 2019, that number was 321.

In 2020 we had live streaming numbers that Sue George records on a spreadsheet each week. Pre-pandemic, our Sunday live stream averaged 35 IP addresses. From March-Dec 2020, live stream attendance averaged 270, and so far this year we’re at 280 across all three platforms people use to join us on Sunday mornings (our website, YouTube and Facebook).

Each IP address represents a single computer, TV or mobile device. In many homes more than one person is watching, so for actual attendance, it’s realistic to estimate 1.5 to 2 times 280, giving Derry a range of 420-560 viewers each week who attend from a dozen states.

When the adult Issues Class met in person, the class averaged 10-15 participants. On Zoom, the class averages 30 participants with many more watching afterwards.

In children’s programming, Derry Church welcomed on average 20 children in person ages 4-grade 5. On Zoom we’re seeing 25 participants at church school and fellowship opportunities. 

Youth fellowship often saw 15-20 in-person participants and now 12-15 youth are joining virtually. This group spends the most time staring at screens during the week, so we’re not surprised to see that they want a break on the weekends.

Derry Church continues to attract new members, with 10 people joining last November and eight in the current class that will be received on March 14. Some new members have not yet been inside the church building. 

Issues Class with Lee Barrett

Lee Barrett


Lee Barrett presents the first class in a four-week series, “Christian Perspectives on Polarization and Reconciliation.”

The pandemic, political turmoil, solitude, the disruption of ordinary routines, and too much Zooming have made many people anxious, disoriented, irritable, and angry. Society seems to be becoming so polarized that erstwhile friends cannot even talk to one another. Relationships in families, churches, businesses, and communities have become dangerously frayed, often leading to feelings of alienation and hostility.

This series will explore the roots of this problem, and the resources that the Christian faith offers for healing and reconciliation. Join the Zoom class on March 17, 21 and 28 to hear more.

Dr. Barrett is the Mary B. and Henry P. Stager Chair in Theology, Professor of Systematic Theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary.

Shares for Scholarships Campaign: Fantastic Final Report!

Our 2021 “Shares for Scholarships”campaign has come to a close, and your response was overwhelming: 50 donations were received totaling $12,394! Thank you for your generous outpouring of love for the children of Pakistan. Your gifts make it possible for 32 day students and one boarding school student to benefit from a year full of learning. We can’t thank you enough for your kindness. Bless you and shalom from Derry’s Friends of Sargodha committee

In January 2021 this video was shown in live stream worship to kick off Derry Church’s Shares for Scholarships campaign. Watch to be reminded of why the shares program resonated with so many this year. Thank you for your support!

Mission Madness is Back and Better than Ever!

It seems like years since last March, when the pandemic hit and the NCAA Tournament was cancelled, but we quickly pivoted and fashioned our “Derry Madness” games and videos to take the place of the basketball. As fun as that was, with the return of NCAA basketball we are returning to the ‘traditional’ mission fundraiser!

Proceeds will go to student scholarships for the Sargodha School in Pakistan. A suggested $10 donation per entry can be made on the church’s secure online giving portal: select “Pakistan Scholarships.”

If you participated in the last NCAA pool two years ago, you should be automatically re-enrolled in the Yahoo site where you will enter your picks. If you are new, or unsure if you played before, or have a new email address, just email Pete Steelman and he will add you to the mailing list.

You may pre-register on Yahoo now, although picks cannot be made until “Selection Sunday” in mid-March.

A trophy and engraved plaque for the overall winner will be presented next month, as well as multiple engraved medals for winners of subgroups (Best Youth, Best in Staff, Best on Session, Best in Music etc). And yes, you can also look forward to Pete’s traditional email updates, nicknames, and jovial banter that recaps the action after every round of games.

Invitation to Explore Racial Injustice

Derry Church received an invitation from Messiah University to apply for a program to learn and explore more about racial injustice. Thriving Together: Congregations for Racial Justice is being planned by Dr. Drew Hart and Dr. Brian Smith and local Harrisburg community leaders. Churches interested in participating for the two-year study will apply, and 12 churches will be selected. Two or three members from each congregation will take part in the program for two years. Read more about the program and application process in the link above. Interested? Contact Pastor Marie as soon as possible: Derry Church must submit its application by March 12.

Notes of Thanks

Derry friends, thank you to all who sent cards and condolences on my Father’s death. Thanks so much. Jack Keene

Dear Friends at Derry, Thank you for all your prayers, flowers, cards and phone calls after my recent hospitalization. They helped my recovery and lifted my spirits. Gratefully, Dave Gloeckler