Recent News

The Staff-Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) is pleased to advise the congregation that Rev. John L. Shellenberger will be joining the First Church staff as Assistant to the Pastor. Pastor Shellenberger will begin part-time work with us in late summer or early fall. He will be filling the vacancy created by Pastor Reed’s full-time retirement.

Pastor Shellenberger will focus on visitation, but will also preach, serve as liturgist, lead Bible studies and Sunday School classes, support Access Ministries and Rejoicing Spirits, and assist Pastor Denny and the rest of the staff team as situations require.

Pastor Shellenberger earned a B.A. from Messiah College and a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary. He has served a range of congregations in his career, mostly in Central Pennsylvania. He will be retiring from the position of Lead Pastor at Grace United Methodist Church in Lemoyne at the end of June.

He and his wife, Merri, have three children: Jonathan, who died in 1983, Beth, and Megan; and three grandchildren. Merri is a reading specialist in the Shippensburg School District. He and Merri enjoy traveling and spending time with family.

In addition to pastoral activities, Rev. Shellenberger is an avid golfer, woodworker and gardener. His agricultural credentials include the Master Gardening Certificate from Penn State Extension. He feeds the soul with a certificate in the Ministry of Spiritual direction and the body with an interest in cooking.

Pastor John and Merri are as eager to be part the First Church Community as we are to have them. Each conversation strengthens our conviction that once again, God has blessed us with the right people at the right time.

Please join us in welcoming them, and making them part of the First Church family!

First Church’s annual Fall Kick-off Picnic is Sunday, Sept. 10 at the Adventure Zone Playground in Enola from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m. A pot-luck supper will be held at 5:00 p.m., followed by outdoor worship at 6:00 p.m.

All are welcome! Please bring a side dish and/or dessert to share. Also, bring your own place settings and lawn chairs.

For more information, call or e-mail the church at (717) 766-4611 or

Regular Sunday School classes resume on Sept. 10. Sunday School runs from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Walk-in visitors and new class members are always welcome in all classes! Here are the options for adults:

• FAITH IN EVERYDAY LIFE – A group of singles and couples age 25ish and above. A discussion-based class that values friendship, sometimes getting together outside of class. Will be studying The Case for Christ in Fellowship Hall.
• FAITHFUL FAMILIES – This class is made up of parents who are in the child-raising stage of life, and who enjoy discussion-based Bible studies related to living a faithful, Christ-centered life. Will be studying The Case for Christ in Fellowship Hall.
• CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP – A multi-generational adult class that selects short-term studies which generate challenging discussion of Christian principles. Meets in room 223.
• GROWING IN CHRIST – A mixed class of single adults and couples of all ages that select short-term studies intended to challenge thinking and create fruitful conversation of Christian principles. Will be studying The Case for Christ in Fellowship Hall.
• GUYER CLASS – A well-established group of elders in the church who study the United Methodist Quarterly Adult Bible Studies, which are designed as encouragement and instruction in living a life of faith. Meets in room 123.
• HELPING HANDS – A group of active seniors who focus on studies designed as encouragement and instruction on living a life of faith. Interactive studies and discussions are led by several class members. Also, class members enjoy many Christian social activities together. Meets in room 105.

First Church’s new Assistant Pastor, Rev. John Shellenberger, begins on Sept. 10, and he would love to spend some time getting to know you! He is offering a four-week “lunch and devotion time” as a part of The Case for Christ study beginning Sept. 14. It will be held at the West Main Family Restaurant in Mechanicsburg from noon to 1:30 p.m. If you are interested in participating, please sign up for this group at The Case for Christ display in the main lobby at church. Lunch is “Dutch-treat”.

Contact Tina Eaton at or call 766-4611, extension 104 if you have any questions or would like more information.

Our men’s group, the Men of First Church, will take a break from normal meeting times during September to participate in The Case for Christ study. All men (and their significant others) are invited to participate in this special study group on Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 8:00, beginning Sept. 14 at the church in room B005. Please sign up for this group at The Case for Christ display in the main lobby.

New Men’s Group members are always welcome! For more information, call or e-mail First Church at (717) 766-4611 or

What a tremendous experience awaits you as you study the book of Romans! Join us as we study this letter from Paul, which is called the “Master Key” to understanding the New Testament and Christian life. Your heart will be humbled as the majesty of God’s redemptive work is laid before you.

This 14-week study begins on Aug. 31. Classes are offered in the mornings from 9:00 to 11:00, or in the evening from 6:45 to 8:45. The cost of the workbook for this inductive Bible study (by Precept Ministries International) is $25.

Please sign up in the main lobby at church, or contact the church office at (717) 766-4611 or

Did you know that through Moms in Prayer International, thousands of mothers around the world gather to passionately pray for the lives of their children in more than 140 countries? The impact on children, their teachers and their schools is profound, and it is life-changing for the mothers who pray as well.

First Church hosts a Moms in Prayer group. This group will resume meeting on Aug. 21. The group meets on Monday evenings from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m in the new Tower Meeting Room (formerly the children’s library).

All mothers are invited, and no prayer experience is required. Your child can be any age and at any stage of life. All prayer requests remain private within the group.

Please contact Tina Eaton at or (717) 766-4611, extension 104 if you have questions or would like to participate. You can also check out for more information or to find another group that fits your schedule.

Wednesday, Sept. 27 is See You At The Pole day. At 7:00 a.m., students across the nation and around their world will voluntarily gather around the flagpole at their schools, both public and private, to pray for their school, friends, families, classmates, teachers, churches and communities. Inquire with your church or child’s school for information on local events, or arrange your own See You At The Pole event!

Don’t miss the seventh annual Bless Our Schools Sunday, being observed at First United Methodist Church during the 8:15 and 10:45 a.m. worship services on September 17, 2017.

Every year on the third Sunday in September, churches around the world take special time to pray specifically for the schools, teachers, staff, and students in their congregation.

As a result, students and staff feel bolstered in prayer and ready to stand firm in Christ. In addition, parents who are unfamiliar with Moms in Prayer discover a powerful way to impact the lives of their children and schools.

For more information, call or e-mail Tina Eaton at 766-4611, extension 104 or

Children ages three through sixth grade and their families are invited to attend the fall session of the Wonderful Wednesday family fellowship program.

This year’s curriculum is “The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss.”
“The stories of one of the world’s most beloved children’s authors are both imaginative and entertaining. But a
closer look at Dr. Seuss’s stories reveals that many are also inspirational. In this accessible and immensely
enjoyable resource, Kemp finds parallels between the actions of cats in hats, Grinches, Snitches, Sneetchas and
other “creachas” with the lessons found in Scripture. Each reflection begins with an insightful biblical passage
and features lines from the original Dr. Seuss book. Thus, as the author shares his enthusiasm for the creativity
and wisdom of Dr. Seuss, both the meaning and relevance of many Bible passages come to life.” Review from
This unique program, held weekly on Wednesdays, provides a family-style diner, Bible study and fun activities for children, and allows families to spend quality time together. The fall session starts on October 18 and runs through December 6. The program lasts from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. 

Non-church members are welcome to attend, but all participants must be pre-registered. The cost is $15 per child, per semester, which includes meals.  Click here to download a registration form.

For more information, call or e-mail the church office at (717) 766-4611 or

First Church will again host Third Friday Food Truck Feast on Friday, August 18 from 5 to 9 p.m.

The following trucks will be pulling into the church parking lot: MAD Sandwiches, The Chicken Truck, Mad Dash, Nomad Cuisine, Up in Smoke BBQ, Bountiful Feast, The Sweet Spot and Ice Cream Express. In addition to good food, the event offers a fun time to meet and socialize with other community members.

The Third Friday Food Truck Feast relocated from Harrisburg to the West Shore this summer.

Is there evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the son of God?

Join First Church on a journey, along with Lee Strobel (former award-winning legal editor of the Chicago Tribune and best-selling author), in a quest for the truth. Our prayer is that all of us will come to see Jesus in a new way, and that many lives will be transformed.

We invite you to watch the recently released movie, “The Case for Christ” on Thursday, August 30 at 5:30 p.m. or Friday, September 8 at 7:00 p.m. The movie is free and no registration is required.

The journey begins on September 10, 2017 and runs for four weeks. All are welcome! You don’t have to be a member of First Church or any church to participate.

The pastors of First Church will hold a corresponding sermon series during Sunday morning worship services at 8:15 and 10:45.

Participate in the study through Sunday School (9:15 to 10:15 a.m.), or through small groups hosted by First Church members. For more information, contact the church office at (717) 766-4611 or

First Church will hold a Rejoicing Spirits worship service on Sunday, Aug. 27 at 4:00 p.m. All are welcome!

The service is specially designed and adapted for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families. An informal atmosphere, brief messages, and lots of music and fellowship opportunities.

Rejoicing Spirits services are held on the fourth Sunday of each month.

Bethany Robinson, and Matt and LeeAnn Herring will discuss their experiences as CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ) missionaries on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the multi-purpose room.

CRU’s mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ through on-site groups at colleges worldwide. Matt and LeeAnn are recent graduates of West Chester University and lead the CRU chapter on that campus. Bethany is a 2016 graduate of Bloomsburg University, and served as a missionary intern with CRU in Williamsport this past year.

The presentation is part of “Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus,” a Bible study by Pastor Mike Slaughter. The study, being held this summer at First Church, explores Jesus’ teachings and what our response should be to similar problems in today’s world.

For more information, call or e-mail the church at (717) 766-4611 or

School aged children are invited to bring their backpacks to either the 8:15 or 10:45 worship service for a special blessing to be prayed over their backpacks. We will pray for a safe and wonderful school year and for all our students, teachers, school administrators and school support staff.

© 2015 First United Methodist Church | 135 West Simpson Street Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 Phone: (717) 766-4611.
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