A Day In Western Pennsylvania

I got up this morning to a fresh 10 inches of new snow on top of the 6 – 8 we already had. The radio announced that school was cancelled, to the delight of my wife the teacher, so the day started kind of slow. I was surprised when the local radio station announced that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, prognosticating another 6 weeks of this winter stuff. For the life of me I didn’t see enough sunshine at 7:30 this morning to cast anything close to a shadow. But, some traditions live far beyond their usefulness.


My I phone came alive with a early morning text from my church secretary. I have pastored the Sawyer Evangelical Church for 24 years. It was really no surprise that she is not coming in to work today. Even her four-wheel drive Dodge truck has its limitations when the PennDot plows are slow in getting out on the road.


So if I want to get my truck out of the garage, I am going to have to turn my attention to some serious snow removal. It wouldn’t be hard if not for the fact that my 30 year old Ariens snow blower threw a part out of the transmission last night. That is going to make the job a lot harder. I started in with the shovel until the handle broke. No kidding. If I were a little more mystic by nature, I would conclude that God didn’t want me to shovel snow. On the other hand, I am also a guy, so the job must be done. With a hastily repaired shovel and a little help from the guy who plows the church parking lot, I made it to the road. That’s how things work here in western Pennsylvania.


Western Pennsylvania is not the sunny south and our churches are not in urban centers. We have found ourselves to be OnMission in small communities scattered amidst hills and trees in rural settings. For us, OnMission was a youth retreat last weekend. We call it SNOASIS for obvious reasons. OnMission is working with a ministerial candidate who is seeking God’s direction and opportunity to use his very unique gifts in full time ministry. OnMission is going down to Altoona to be with one of the pastor’s wives for a pacemaker  operation on Wednesday. For me, OnMission means balancing out a delicate walk between local church pastor and small Conference Superintendent in western Pennsylvania. By the way, did I mention that I have 2 grandchildren and another on the way. That puts a different kind of wrinkle in life. I kind of like the wrinkle.


On behalf of the Eastern Conference, I would like to say hi and welcome to OnMission News. As a first publication of OnMission news, I wanted you to get some idea of who we are as a Conference. In the future we will talk about other things. We will talk about Conference activities, life insights, Christian living and the like. But, for now let’s just say hi. We are eight churches OnMission in western Pennsylvania, glad to be serving and glad to be a part of a great movement of God’s people in The Evangelical Church.


                                                            Conference Superintendent, Rev. Brad Preston




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