The United Methodist Women groups of First Church are collecting personal care items to support several Afghan families who recently resettled in Carlisle.
The Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church is working with the International Service Center in Harrisburg to support the families by providing essential items while they look for permanent housing.
Specifically, First Church is seeking the following items: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and feminine hygiene products (pads, panty shields, etc.). Donated items will be accepted through mid-February. Look for the collection boxes at the Alley Entrance and outside of the Multipurpose Room. Items can be dropped off on Sunday mornings or on weekdays during normal business hours.

Read more about the resettlement effort in The Patriot-News here.

First Church is pleased to support Isaiah 61 Ministries, a local organization that serves the needs of the homeless in Dauphin County. They provide a variety of services including a soup kitchen, clothing bank and LifeGroups.

Specifically, First Church members help serve meals to the homeless in downtown Harrisburg on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. A carpool leaves from First Church at 6:00 p.m. for those who are interested.   All safety protocols will be followed, such as wearing gloves, masks and distancing. The meal is served outside.  Please contact the church in advance, if you plan to carpool.

All are welcome! To volunteer, call or e-mail the church at 717.766.4611 or

Please join us for worship and communion on this first Sunday of the New Year! We invite you for in-person worship at both the 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services and continue to offer live-stream worship at our 8:30 a.m. service. Pre-filled communion cups and wafers will be used at in-person worship. If you are worshipping from home, remember to bring your own crackers or bread and fruit juice while our pastors provide instructions for Holy Communion. All are welcome! You do not need to be a member of First Church or any church to participate.

What does the word resolution mean? It comes from the Latin word “resolvere”, which means “to loosen”. We can also find it in the Bible in Psalm 51:10… “Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me!” (New English Translation). In this context, the word means to be “firm, established, rooted, prepared”. So, to be successful in making a resolution, we must loosen our grip on the things we hold on to in order to stand firm and be rooted in Christ!

For early Christians, the first day of the new year became the traditional occasion for thinking about one’s past mistakes and resolving to do and be better in the future. In 1740, John Wesley, founder of Methodism, created the Covenant Renewal Service, most commonly held on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Also known as known as watch night services, they included readings from Scriptures and hymn singing, and served as a spiritual alternative to the raucous celebrations normally held to celebrate the coming of the new year. Read more about this month’s prayer challenge and John Wesley’s Covenant prayer here.

You do not have to be a member of First Church or of any church to participate in the prayer challenge. If you have questions or want to share a story related to this, email Tina Eaton at

Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we have observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage.” They see something of significance in the baby in Bethlehem, even when many of those closest do not.

Like the wise men, we who have seen the light of Christ are called to reflect it so that others see Christ through our loving presence!

As we begin 2022, First Church invites you to journey with us through a series of powerful messages from the teachings of Paul. Our pastors will present “You Are the Body,” sermons based on Paul’s instructions in I Corinthians 12-15 to let the light of Christ shine around in, around, and then through us to a world yearning for the love that “never ends.” Sermons will be accompanied by recommended brief daily Bible readings to enhance your understanding of the Scripture.  Find the Daily Bible Readings for January and February here.

You do not have to be a member of First Church or of any church to join us for worship. Sunday morning services are held at 8:30 a.m. (traditional) and 11:00 a.m. (modern). The 8:30 a.m. worship is also offered via livestream on our website.  First Church continues to observe the recommended COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of all who attend. See more details here.

For more information, call or email the church office at 717.766.4611 or

Weekly Messages

January 9 Weather Cancellation
January 16 You Are the Body: God’s Beloved” Luke 3:15-22
January 23 You Are the Body: Gifted to Serve” I Corinthians 12:1-11
January 30 Youth Sunday–Luke Wertz/Youth Band
February 6 You Are the Body: Knit Together” I Corinthians 12:12-31a
February 13 You Are the Body: A More Excellent Way” I Corinthians 13
February 20 You Are the Body: Holding On to The Message” I Corinthians 15:1-11
February 27 You Are the Body: Christ Alone” Luke 9:28-36

First Church invites the public to join us online for a worship service in honor of Ash Wednesday on Feb. 17.

Ash Wednesday is the day when Christians gather to begin and prepare spiritually for the 40 days of Lent, leading up to Easter. It is traditional for Christians to have ashes placed on their forehead by clergy members in observance of this special day.

In adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols, First Church continues to hold all of its worship services virtually. Because we will not meet in person for Ash Wednesday, our pastors have prepared a brief instructional video on how to prepare your own ashes. Click here to watch the video in advance of the service.

We will also be observing Holy Communion at this service. Remember to bring your own crackers or bread and fruit juice.

The Ash Wednesday Service will be available to view anytime after noon on our website at on Wednesday, February 17.  See the Ash Wednesday bulletin here.

The pastors of First Church will present a series of sermon messages on the “Seven Last Words” of Jesus during worship services this Lenten season.

The messages, based on the book The Hope of Glory by Pulitzer Prize winning presidential historian and lifelong Episcopalian layman Jon Meacham, reflect on the gospel accounts of the final words of Jesus during the six hours he suffered on the cross. The “words,” or more accurately statements, of Jesus convey in a powerful way the message of the Savior’s radical love. May we experience anew the depth of his love for us, and discover the meaning of his words for us today.

In addition, Senior Pastor Denny Keller will lead a Bible study based on the new book Seven Words: Listening to Jesus From the Cross, by Susan Robb. Robb is the Senior Associate Minister at Highland Park United Methodist Church. The group will meet via Zoom on Wednesday evenings beginning Feb. 24, from 6:45 to 8:00 p.m. To register, please email by Feb. 21. Participants are invited but not required to order a copy of the book.

First Church offers worship via Livestream on Sunday mornings at 8:15 a.m. on our website at and our Facebook page at First United Methodist Church of Mechanicsburg, PA.  Recordings of our services can be viewed anytime on our website at

You do not have to be a member of First Church or of any church to worship with us or participate in the Bible study. Find the Daily Bible Reading plan here, which corresponds to a personal reflection in the 2021 Lenten Devotional Booklet.  For more information, call or email the church office at 717.766.4611 or

Feb. 21                 “Father, Forgive Them”
Feb. 28                 “Today You Will Be with Me in Paradise”
March 7                “My God, My God”
March 14             “Woman, Here Is Your Son”
March 21             “I Am Thirsty”
March 28             “It Is Finished”…”Into Your Hands”

Are you looking for some new meal ideas? The Youth Fellowship Group of First Church will hold two fundraisers in conjunction with Strock’s Catering Barn in Mechanicsburg this month. Freshly-prepared, ready-to-eat meals for adults and kids can be pre-ordered and picked up on the following dates:

Thursday, Feb. 18
Slow-roasted brisket sandwich or legacy pork barbecue sandwich, with sides of mac & cheese and coleslaw. Or, kid’s meal of chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, applesauce and cheese stick. Cost: $13/meal.

Order by noon on Feb. 16 online at

Thursday, Feb. 25
Charcoal roast pork or marinated grilled boneless chicken breast, with sides of scalloped potatoes, green beans and dinner roll. Or, kid’s meal of meatballs, noodles, applesauce and cheese stick. Cost: $13/meal.

Order by noon on Feb. 23 online at

Meals for both dates must be pre-ordered by noon on the Tuesday before pickup.  They can be picked up from Strock’s Farm on Williams Grove Road between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. on the designated dates.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Youth Group and its mission endeavors.

For more information, call or email the church at 717.766.4611 or, or visit

We have put together a special playlist for February! Click here or copy and paste this URL into your browser:

We will be sharing a new playlist the first Wednesday of each month. For Spotify users, search for the user First UMC of Mechanicsburg, and click on the playlist titled “Where Words Fail, Music Speaks”.

If you don’t have a Spotify account, you can easily create one for free. Enjoy!

Did you know that the search for “how to pray” on Google increased by 50 percent in 2020? We all are searching for answers and guidance, and want to pray more – for ourselves and our loved ones, our country, the church, and the world!

Through our connection to Alpha, everyone is invited to join hundreds of others from all over the world in the freeing work of praying together.

Specifically, from Feb. 9 to 11, we encourage you to pray faith-filled prayers for God’s kingdom to come on Earth as it is in heaven. You can pray during a lunch break, in the middle of the night, or any time in between.

We invite you to be a part of this movement of pray! Sign up to pray from home on your own for a specific hour (or more!) during those days at You will receive an excellent, free download of the Kingdom Come Prayer Guide.

If you have questions, contact Tina Eaton at

First Church is pleased to offer the following online Bible studies via Zoom beginning this winter. All are invited and encouraged to join one!

You do not have to be a member of First Church or of any church to participate in the Bible studies. For more information, call or email the church at 717.766.4611 or

Online Study on the Prophet Elijah
Best-selling author Priscilla Shirer offers this study of the Prophet Elijah’s personal story. Learn to understand the value of seasons of growth and testing in your spiritual maturity, learn His purposes for your life, and be encouraged to wait on God’s good work.

This seven-session online Bible study begins Feb. 16 and runs through Lent. The $24.99 registration fee includes the online videos and workbook, and access to bonus materials and occasion live discussions with Ms. Shirer. Register at Scholarships are available to help cover the cost.

First Church is offering an additional opportunity to discuss the videos on Wednesdays over lunchtime via Zoom. If you are interested in joining this discussion, contact Tina Eaton at

Seven Words: Listening to Christ from the Cross
Join Pastor Denny via Zoom to explore in-depth the seven last words of Christ on the cross, each from a Biblical and historical perspective. This unique study offers a hopeful and contemplative look at the cross during the weeks of Lent. The six-week study begins Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 6:45 p.m. Contact Pastor Denny at to sign up and receive the zoom link for this online study.

Wednesday Men’s Group: Race and the Gospel
In this five-part series, race, racism, and injustice will be addressed using Paul’s words in Ephesians. Through teaching and honest dialogues, this group will discuss a way forward toward healing, justice, and hope for multiethnic harmony in the church. The group meets via Zoom on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, at 8:00 p.m. Contact Barry Eaton at if interested.

Jesus in Me – Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion
In this eight-session Bible study, you will learn why the Holy Spirit is a divine necessity and not an optional extra in the Christian life, and develop a more intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit in the process. Led by First Church member Juanita Guise, this group will meet on Thursdays from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. via Zoom, beginning Jan. 28. Contact Juanita ASAP at to register and receive your workbook, along with the Zoom link for this online study.

Men’s Bible Study: Walking in Power, Love & Discipline
This study began in the fall with Paul’s letters to Timothy, and resumes this winter with completion of Timothy and further study of Paul’s letter to Titus. These letters provide timeless lessons in sound doctrine (real truth) and sound discipline (right behavior) for all times. New group members are welcome at any time! Led by First Church members Ken Guise and David Mengle, the group meets on Sundays at 6:15 p.m. via Zoom. Contact Ken at for details and the Zoom link.

Moms in Prayer
Several First Church women are engaged in continual prayer for our children and students through the Moms in Prayer international group. New members are invited to join at any time! The group meets on Monday evenings via Zoom from 7:30 to 8:30.

What a blessing is it to join other mothers and grandmothers in lifting our children in prayer! This group prays for children at any age and stage of life! Contact group leader Deb Noss at to learn more, or for the Zoom link.

First Church will hold a Rejoicing Spirits worship service on Sunday, January 24 at 4:00 p.m. All are welcome!

Once again, we will be worshipping via Zoom video conference. If you had ever wanted to attend, but were not able to, this is a great opportunity. The service will include music, scripture, prayer and a brief message. To join in the service, please contact Pastor John Shellenberger at before Sunday afternoon.

The service is specially designed and adapted for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families.

Rejoicing Spirits services are held on the fourth Sunday of each month. To view the Disability Awareness Sunday/Rejoicing Spirits service, click here.

First Church is collecting nonperishable food items for the Little Free Pantry located on our property to help local families in need.

The Little Free Pantry collection will take place on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in the parking lot of First Church, 135 W. Simpson St., Mechanicsburg through February 24.

The items will be placed in the Little Free Pantry, as needed, throughout the winter months. Requested items include: pasta and sauce, peanut butter, canned vegetables, canned soup, snack bars, snack crackers, cereal, macaroni and cheese and any non-expired, nonperishable food items. For more information about the Little Free Pantry movement, visit their website at

You can find a complete list and the collection dates on our Facebook Page at First United Methodist Church of Mechanicsburg, PA.

First Church will offer “ Oneness Embraced,” a Bible study by Dr. Tony Evans that explores reconciliation from God’s Kingdom perspective, and how we are stronger together.

The six-week study begins Sunday, Jan. 24. Classes will be held via Zoom from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

The Bible study is free and open to the public. You do not have to be a member of First Church or of any church to participate in the Bible study.

To register or for more information, call or email First Church at 717.766.4611 or

First Church will observe Holy Communion on Sunday, January 3. Please join us for worship and communion on our website or Facebook page on Sunday morning at 8:15 a.m. Our worship services are now live-streamed, starting at 8:15 a.m. or you can watch anytime after 9:45 a.m. Remember to bring your own crackers or bread and fruit juice while our pastors provide instructions for Holy Communion. All are welcome!

New Year celebrations are a time for reflection and hope.

First Church is offering a special worship service on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31), to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new one. Click here to view the pre-recorded service on our website after 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 31.

“As we reflect on the past year, many of us see challenges,” said First Church Pastor John Shellenberger, who will lead the service. “But I trust we share faith that Jesus Christ gives us hope. We are confident as we stand on the promise of His presence with us in the year to come.”

Participants are invited to prepare bread and cup at home, to join in Communion during the service.

You do not have to be a member of First Church or of any church to join in the service. For more information, call or email the church at 717.766.4611 or

Are you ready for a new year? As 2021 begins, we continue to feel the lingering effects of the pandemic and the unrest of 2020, but the new year is a time to embrace new possibilities.

To that end, the pastors of First Church will present “Good News!”, a series of messages based on the gospel of Mark, during weekly worship services beginning Jan. 3.

At the beginning of his gospel, Mark declares that the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is good news. (Mark 1:1) In this series, we’re going to walk closely with Jesus through the first chapter of Mark. As we do, we’ll discover why the coming of Jesus is still the good news we all need and how believing it makes all the difference in our lives.

All are welcome! You do not have to be a member of First Church or any church to attend or enjoy the messages. See below for the schedule of messages.

During this sermon series, our services can be experienced via livestream at 8:15 a.m. on our website and FB page, with recorded versions on our website to watch anytime.

Daily Bible readings are recommended to accompany each weekly message. Find the Daily Bible Reading plan here.

For more information, call or email the church office at 717.766.4611 or

“Good News!” Messages: Jan. 3 to Feb. 7

January 3                    “Make Room for Jesus!” (Mark 1:1-8)

Holy Communion Sunday. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus’ arrival. He shows us how to make room for Jesus and why it is the most important thing we can do as we begin this New Year.

January 10                  “Listen to the Voice!” (Mark 1:9-13)

At his baptism, Jesus saw heaven split open and heard a voice that called him chosen and dearly loved. In a world of many voices, we discover who we are, and whose we are, as we learn to listen to his voice.

January 17                  “Jesus Uses Ordinary People” (Mark 1:14-20)

When Jesus called, ordinary fishermen left everything and joined in the extraordinary work of his kingdom. Jesus still calls, yearning to use ordinary people like us today.

January 24                  “Jesus Has Authority” (Mark 1:21-28)

In the synagogue in Capernaum, Jesus revealed his power to save this broken world. He invites us to turn the reins of our lives over to him so that we might be made whole and be a healing presence for others.

January 31                  “Early Riser” (Mark 1:29-39)

Even with many demands pressing in upon him, Jesus prioritized time with God in prayer. We find rest for our souls, strength to love, and direction for our days when we follow his example.

February 7                  “Jesus Isn’t Afraid of Your Mess” (Mark 1:40-45)

Moved with pity, Jesus touched and cleansed a leper who lived on the fringes of society. Jesus is with us in the messy situations of our lives and calls us to join in his ministry of compassion in this messy world.

First Church will offer “Alpha”, a free Bible study that explores key questions about life and faith, beginning in January. Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith. Talks are designed to engage and inspire meaningful dialog on the big issues around faith, addressing questions such as Who is Jesus? and How can we have faith? Participants are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas in an open and friendly environment. Alpha sessions are held around the world in churches, coffee shops, universities, and homes.

The Bible study will be offered via Zoom on Tuesdays, Jan. 5 to March 30, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. The study will be led by First Church Pastor John Shellenberger and his wife, Merri Shellenberger.

All are welcome! You do not have to be a member of First Church or any church to participate.

Interested persons are asked to pre-register. To register or for more information, call or email Tina Eaton, Director of Discipleship, at 717.766.4611 or

© 2015 First United Methodist Church
135 West Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, Pa 17055
Phone (717) 766-4611
Sunday Services:
8:30 a.m. In-Person & Live Stream Worship
11:00 a.m In-Person Worship
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