Spaghetti Dinner Drive-thru Fundraiser

posted Sep 17, 2020, 10:29 AM by Middle PA District

Middle Pa District and the Middle PA District Disaster Team are joining together to plan a Spaghetti Dinner Drive-thru fundraiser for Saturday, November 7, 2020. Please watch for more details coming soon!

Second Mile Giving

posted Sep 17, 2020, 10:27 AM by Middle PA District

Second Mile Giving  continues to be a way that you can support Middle PA District in helping ministers in training with scholarship assistance; exploring with a group of potential ministers their sense of call to the ministry and their spiritual gifts; providing opportunities for pastors to have support; consulting with congregations about pastoral transition or reaching out into their communities; assisting congregations with placement; and providing opportunities for our youth to not only come together in fellowship, but working with them in the development of their faith and leadership skills. Our goal is to continue to cultivate a healthy District. Your support is appreciated. 
Make checks payable: Middle PA District- Memo line: Second Mile

Pennies for Witness Offering

posted Sep 17, 2020, 10:27 AM by Middle PA District

With District Conference cancelled this year, we will still accept the Pennies for Witness Offering. Pennies for Witness is an offering emphasis for our outreach ministries. It has been our hope to continue to increase our outreach to a “tithing” level-10% of our budget. Those outreach ministries are: Trucker Traveler Ministries, CentrePeace, Prince Gallitzin Park Ministry, Small Church Fund, Outreach Ministry Matching Grant, Global Outreach. We encourage the members of your church to collect pennies, dimes, nickels, quarters and dollars. Our goal is $10,000. That is a lot of spare change, but if every member gives $1.25 we can exceed that goal. Together we can be the Body of Christ.            Make checks payable: Middle PA District- Memo line: Pennies

Middle PA District Hoss's Fundraiser

posted Sep 17, 2020, 10:22 AM by Middle PA District   [ updated Sep 22, 2020, 11:08 AM ]

Middle PA District will have a Hoss's Fundraiser on Thursday, October 1, 2020 at the following locations: Bedford, Duncansville, Huntingdon, Lewistown, Altoona and State College. You can eat in or take out. Bulletin insert with coupon information is attached.

Golf Tournament Winners

posted Aug 13, 2020, 7:21 AM by Middle PA District

Thank you to everyone who golfed at the Brethren Open Golf Tournament on Tuesday at Iron Masters. Thank you to all our sponsors. We had 103 golfers.
Huntsman Family Foundation
Dr. Ramon Burket, MD
Gatter & Diehl, Inc.
Cove Flooring & Design
Cordell Ebersole
David & Linda Banaszak, Dean & Jerri Wenger, Kris & Rick Shunk, Brian & Alyssa Bert, Joe & Renee Keith, David & Ann Flumerfelt
Juniata College
Bolger Brothers, Inc.
C.G. Angle Inc.
Ameriprise Financial-Hinish & Associates
Cove Lumber
Smith Transport
Mingle Contracting Inc.
Blair Mill Outlet
Everett Marble & Granite Works
John K Bolger Funeral Home Inc
Stuckey Automotive
The Paterson Agency
Janet Sell
Doing Better Business
Overhead Door
Lock Mountain Strawberries
Brumbaugh Transmission Service
Mutaul Aid Agency
Heller's Gas
Kim & Greg Stoudnour
Spring Cove Container
Teeter Group
Frederick's Meat Market


Closest to the pin - #3    John Ake 2' 11"

                                  #9    Corey Jones  9' 6"

                                  #13  Jeff Glenny  6"10"

                                  #16  Steve Metzger  12' 4"

 Long Drive -   men -     Jesse Lasure

                      women -  Jen Treese

 straightest drive -  John Berry

  Low Score overall -   56     Jeff Crist

                                              Jesse Lasure

                                              Jim Wingard

                                              Doug Wishart

 Second "A" flight  -   57     Duane Della

(determined by card-off)   Gary Hudson

                                               Thad Spiridiglozzi

                                               Dane Smith

First "B" flight -    62           Corey Amick

                                               Dan Crist

                                               Tony Montreal

                                               TJ Young

 Second "B" flight -  64       Chris Borden

                                              Anita Ohashi

                                              Mark Robbins

                                              Chuck Valenza

 First "C" flight -      66        Bill Creps

                                              Brian Creps

                                              Joe Hershberger

                                              Gary Trivelpiece

 Second "C" flight -  68       Brian Bert

                                              Todd Dobson

                                              Jeff Glenny 

                                              Brent McNeel


Virtual Heritage Fair

posted Jul 23, 2020, 7:42 AM by Middle PA District   [ updated Sep 17, 2020, 10:24 AM ]

We are sad that we cannot be together this year for Heritage Fair. We hope that your congregation can support Heritage Fair this year in a different way. If congregations raise $25,000, or more, for Heritage Fair 2020, Leadership from Camp & District will be drenched with ice water from the camp tractor’s bucket. Deadline is October 15, 2020. Virtual Heritage Fair 2020 Poster -  This “all-in-one” piece offers suggestions, presents challenges and may boost creativity.  If your congregation is known to provide Heritage Favorites (like beef & noodles, fudge, apple cider, apple butter, apple butter pies, gob cake, ox roast, BBQ chicken, ham & bean soup, how sausages and homemade pies), please consider preparing these delicacies and sell from your church parking lot!  All proceeds support the ministries of Middle PA District and Camp Blue Diamond. Donations can be sent to Middle PA District.!AoS-HGxUnUcqgtwMXUlJIvOGUqGZtA?e=Fifel1

As you know, Heritage Fair will not take place at Camp this summer.  After a lengthy discussion concerning the health risks related to large gatherings, the Heritage Fair Planning Committee concluded that it is in the best interest of those we love to make alternative plans for Heritage Fair 2020.


Attached you’ll find these attachments: Click here


Virtual Heritage Fair 2020 Poster -  This “all-in-one” piece offers suggestions, presents challenges and may boost creativity.  If your congregation is known to provide Heritage Favorites (like beef & noodles, fudge, apple cider, apple butter, apple butter pies, gob cake, ox roast, BBQ chicken, ham & bean soup, how sausages and homemade pies), please consider preparing these delicacies and sell from your church parking lot!  We’ll help you advertise in the classifieds.

Classified Ads  -  The talking animals explain how Camp and District can help your congregation promote your Heritage Fair project.

Dunk-the-Dunkard Water Bucket Challenge  -  The dunking tank is not a possibility this year, but imagine the fun of choosing someone in your congregation to dunk and raising money to make it happen.


Hike/Walk/Run-a-Thon  -  If your congregation chooses to do a Hike/Walk/Run-a-Thon, feel free to use the sponsor

sign-up list attached


Golf Tournament  -  The Golf Tournament is August 11.  Please find the attachment and help promote!  Thanks.


This is certainly a unique time to be promoting and planning.  We know that many churches are not meeting for

worship, others are meeting in parking lots, and others may be meeting as usual, but we all know that it’s not

“business-as-usual.”   We’re going to figure it out and when it’s safe to be together again, it will be wonderful.

Be well, be prayerful and soon we'll be together,
The Heritage Fair Planning Committee


posted Jun 29, 2020, 5:45 AM by Middle PA District

Dear sisters and brothers of the Middle Pennsylvania District of the Church of the Brethren;

As our society and churches navigate their way through the questions and protocol of reopening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as your District Executive Minister, I share with you my thoughts related to the reopening of our churches.  All  our churches are located in areas that have moved to the governor’s green phase of reopening where the aggressive mitigation orders have been lifted.  Everyone is urged to follow CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines.  Coronavirus infections have decreased in some areas and have increased in other areas.  How do we as churches interpret the data and respond?


Our reality here in the United States is that almost every response to COVID-19 thus far has been criticized and politicized.  The testing, infection and death rates have been called into question.  Face masks especially have become a political symbol over and above their intended protective purpose.  Accusations of political conspiracy abound.  The overall result is widespread confusion about what to do or not do.  How are we as Christians to respond in the spirit and teachings of Jesus Christ?


Within our district, there are some churches which have not yet reopened.  Likewise, there are several churches which have reopened with various social distancing and disinfection measures in place.  Some churches have taken advantage of the summer weather to continue with outdoor parking lot services. Some are not meeting but continue to broadcast their services through various social media venues.  Others employ some combination of these. 


I have already reminded our pastors that the question of when and how to reopen is contextual.  It is not a “one size fits all” scenario and depends greatly on the demographics of your particular congregation: age, travel distance, predisposition to the virus based on past health history, emotional comfort level of members, ability to implement routine disinfection.  Until there is a vaccine or herd immunity is developed, there is a certain amount of calculated risk involved with reopening in any form.  The question of reopening involves the amount of risk a church is willing to take, as well as the degree of protective measures a church is willing and able to implement in reopening.  All of these should be guided by our singular love for our members and the desire to keep them safe.  Yes, you might be criticized for your decisions, but any other motive for reopening is misguided.


Whatever your choice is as leadership of our congregations, I urge you… no, I beg you to make your decisions based on love and care for your congregation’s welfare.  I also urge and beg you to be extremely careful in implementing your disinfection and social distancing measures when worshipping in person, even if it is parking lot worship.  The coronavirus is real and it is a merciless killer given the proper conditions and host. 


That observation became painfully clear to us in the Middle PA District this past week, when one of our former pastors, Robert Detwiler passed away from COVID-19 complications.  Bob was a healthy individual for his age. After experiencing extreme fatigue and a fever for about a week, he tested positive for COVID-19. He was at home under quarantine until his breathing became so difficult that he was taken to the hospital.  Other complications appeared and he died a few days later in the ICU of Conemaugh Hospital in Johnstown. My point in telling his story is to ask for prayers for his family.  But also to emphasize to all of you: 1st  - how quickly all this happened in a span of about two weeks.  And 2nd  – this happened locally, at home, within the Middle PA District.  The coronavirus is real;  it is out there close by; it is a killer given the proper host and conditions and we are all fools if we don’t take it seriously.


Please don’t interpret this writing as a fear-mongering tactic to direct you towards any certain action.  Nor am I trying to scare you into delaying reopening. That is not my purpose.  Managing a congregation in the face of the coronavirus cannot be done with a cookie-cutter approach.  My purpose is to direct you towards common sense caring actions given what we know about the coronavirus, and away from any response that is politically motivated.  Prayerfully analyze and assess the risk factors presented by your particular congregation. Consult with your trusted leadership. If you decide to reopen, determine and insist on the disinfection and social distancing measures you will take, regardless of individual complaints. (A list of suggested protocol was included in my last communique.)   Make a decision and stick by it.  That’s what responsible church leaders do.


Together With You In the Service of Christ

David F. Banaszak

District Executive Minister

Middle Pennsylvania District

Church of the Brethren

Calling the Called Event-Spring Event

posted Jun 17, 2020, 10:48 AM by Middle PA District   [ updated Jul 19, 2020, 2:40 PM ]

Greetings in the name of Jesus,                                          BROCHURE: Click here

The purpose of this communication is to alert your leadership and congregation to an event that will help you and your District to identify future pastoral leadership. A Calling the Called event is scheduled for April 17, 2021 at Hollidaysburg COB or May 1, 2021 at Camp Eder. The Area 1 District Executives are jointly sponsoring two Saturdays in an effort to identify individuals who are gifted for potential set-apart ministry in the church. The day is intended to be an exploratory time and designed to encourage and assist those individuals who may be experiencing the call of God on their lives for ministry.

As members of this team, we believe calling people to ministry is one of the most important things congregations do. Congregations are the lifeblood and source of leadership for generations to come. Trends indicate that more and more congregations are looking within to train and equip future leaders.

Thus, we strongly encourage you to identify individuals within your congregation who would benefit from such an experience. Of all the tasks and functions that we do together, we believe the call and development of leadership is a critical priority. Healthy, committed and creative leadership is vital for growing congregations.

This initial invitation is designed to assist you in identifying names of members who have the gift to be a part of a Saturday event. We will be following up with more specific information but for now ask you to begin the task of alerting individuals in your congregation to this opportunity.   

Serving Christ Together,

Calling the Called Committee

David Banaszak, Joe Detrick, Gene Hagenberger, Pete Kontra, Kim McDowell, Cheryl Marszalek, Donna Rhodes, Kris Shunk, William Waugh, William Wenger

DE CHECK-IN Friday, May 8, 2020

posted May 8, 2020, 4:36 PM by Middle PA District

Returning to public worship                                            Guidelines for resuming gathered worship

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, pastors and friends of the Middle PA District of the Church of the Brethren;

Governor Wolf this afternoon announced the latest round of counties being moved from the red to the yellow phase of COVID-19 restrictions.  As this announcement applies to our Middle PA District churches and as I survey the counties where our churches lie: as announced by the governor last week, Centre County which includes one of our churches, University Baptist and Brethren, moved to the yellow phase today, May 8.  Our Area 1, 2 and 3 churches along with Fairview and Williamsburg Churches will move to the yellow phase next Friday, May 15 at 12:01 am.  Huntingdon and Mifflin Counties are not listed to move to yellow in this afternoon’s statement by the governor.  So most of our Area 4 and Area 5 churches (Huntingdon, Mifflin, Snyder Counties) will remain in the red “Stay -At-Home” phase until the governor’s next announcement.  Generally speaking, about two-thirds of our Middle PA District churches will be in the yellow phase beginning next Friday, May 15, while one-third of our churches remain under “stay-at-home” orders in the red phase.


What does moving to the yellow phase mean in practical terms for our churches? (You can read the business applications on line at the PA Dept of Health Coronavirus website)  Most significantly, according to the state guidelines, in the yellow phase, large gatherings of more than 25 are prohibited and all CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning must be followed.  Crowds of no more than 25 is easy to understand. But please pay particular attention to the second stipulation regarding social distancing and cleanliness.  Included within this guideline are the by-now familiar 6 feet of separation between persons and the use of personal protective equipment (masks).  But it also includes numerous other health considerations related to traffic patterns, continual restroom cleaning, no communal physical contact with offering plates and door knobs, no socializing in the narthex, etc.  To this end, attached are links to several documents which provide a detailed outline of these considerations which pastors and church leadership need to take into account when planning re-opening.  I did my best to create a condensed version of these documents which follows this letter as well. This is not to say that you need to implement everything detailed in these documents.  But do as much as you can to ensure the safety of your congregations.


I have received several inquiries from our pastors yesterday and today.  Most are feeling pressure from their congregations to resume meeting in person for worship.  They long to get back to what they remember as “normal.” To reopen resembling anything like “normal” would take a move to the green phase, which I do not see happening anytime soon.  Even then, there will need to be sanitation and cleaning measures in place for churches. Some have said that the “normal” as we remember it might not happen for a very long time, if at all.  It’s a sobering recognition of the effects this COVID-19 pandemic has had on our lives.   To add to this misery, while some deal with relative minor inconveniences, there are also others whose economic livelihood hangs in the balance. Epidemiologists have already said on the news media:  re-opening the economy too early risks trading dollars for lives, and that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time until a vaccine is developed. Finally, there is the undeniable physical health threat that COVID-19 poses to all of us.   As your DE, I have always been up-front with all of you concerning how I view the coronavirus.  The front-line health care workers are not lying.  The coronavirus is real and can be potentially lethal to individuals and communities if one toys with it.  It is incumbent upon us as churches and the faith community to protect the health of our churches and the communities in which we live.


To those of you in or soon to be in the yellow phase, if you can project a crowd of 25 or less, then re-opening is within the governmental parameters.  But you can’t do this without preparation and planning. Review and implement the social distancing rules as well as the other sanitation measures mentioned in the documents included here.  Again, we as churches must do everything we can to ensure the safety and health of our congregations. 


To our brothers and sisters in Areas 4 and 5 still in the red phase, I know the continual waiting is difficult. Pray for God’s patience in this time.  Look for ways to help others while still under the stay-at-home order .  It’s not too early to start planning and preparing for physical reopening.  Things like cleaning, sanitizing, making provisions for our more vulnerable elderly attenders, how to take the offering . . . All these things need to be considered. 


Again I want to say how proud I am of the job you are all doing in your service to Jesus Christ as well as the care you extend to God’s children near and far.  Let’s continue to walk faithfully with our Savior so that no one can accuse us of anything but love for our neighbor. I pray that the documents here will help you and that Holy Spirit will give you discernment as you look to the future.


Together With You in the Service of our Lord

David F. Banaszak

District Executive Minister

Middle PA District – Church of the Brethren


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



*Adapted from the following resources: Returning to Public Worship (Presbyterian Church USA); CDC Document - Interim Guidance for Administrators and Leaders of Community- and Faith-Based Organizations to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19); Ohio Citizens For Community Values Document – Guidelines For Re-engaging in Public Religious Gatherings


  1. In air transmission—the virus particles can be apparently be found and transmitted for 2–3 hours in the air.
  2. On surfaces—the virus particles can be found and thus transmitted for 2–5 days on various surfaces.
  3. The Covid-19 virus surface is made up of a fatty substance that can be broken down by soap and water or alcohol or disinfectant.
  4. Inside building factors that increase risk of virus transmission: air conditioning, sealed windows, or conditions that encourages recycling of air within a small area.
  5. Close proximity to a person who is infected.
  6. A person who is not symptomatic but who is infected can generate and transmit the virus for days.
  7. A person who is symptomatic has a high likelihood of transmitting virus.


  1. Singing increases likelihood of in-air transmission: Congregational singing and choral music are particularly risky activities when it comes to the spread of Covid-19, these elements of worship should be omitted when churches first return to public worship. Feature instrumental music and find other ways for worshipers to participate in musical offerings: for instance, humming with masks on, clapping or moving in rhythm, or using small percussion instruments.
  2. Multiple people touching something—the virus can be picked up through people touching the same item and then touching mouth, nose, or a cut.
  3. Multiple people in same room regardless of proximity.
  4. Close proximity to other people. (Family units may sit together)
  5. The risk increases as more people are in the same room. Each person brings the risk of the number of people with whom they have been in contact. The risk to persons who live together also increases.





  1. All persons wearing personal protective equipment over mouth and nose—have clean personal protective equipment (PPE) available if someone is without personal protective equipment.
  2. Face mask: tight weave cotton cloth, medical grade cloth, two or more layers, inserts. Face shields: clear plastic covering, covering to seal face mask, etc.
  3. Reduce or discontinue singing or yelling as it may increase risk of transmitting virus as airborne particles.
  4. Reduce items that need to be touched.
  1. Door handles—can they be left open or made to open without touch?
  2. Papers, hymn books, and objects—what can be reduced? 
  3. No hugging or handshaking or touching other persons.
  4. Reduce people allowed in one inside room at a time to reduce risk of in-air transmission.
  5. Clean common areas that may be touched with alcohol or disinfectant.
  6. Clean common areas that may be touched repeatedly after each touch.
  7. Provide Individuals the opportunity to wash hands with soap and warm/hot water after touching a common element.
  1. Increased Hygiene
  1. If possible, rearrange gathering, passage, and seating spaces in a way that allows for physical distancing to continue (although households may group more closely together).
  2. Provide hand sanitizer and/or hand-washing stations in convenient, accessible places. 
  3. Reduce nonessential items from common spaces, eliminating surfaces of contact.
  4. Use projection, if possible, to reduce contact with printed worship aids and books.
  5. Clean high-touch surfaces regularly and frequently, after each service of worship or other public event. Routinely (at least once per day, if possible) clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched. This may include cleaning objects/surfaces not ordinarily cleaned daily (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops).
  6. Provide additional time and coordination for gathering and sending so people can do so in a way that minimizes close contact; block doors open to reduce contact with handles.
  7. Offer additional times for worship in order to accommodate multiple small groups, rather than a single larger assembly.
  8. Consider alternate locations for worship, including larger rooms in the church or exterior spaces such as parks, lawns, gardens, or parking lots..
  9. Avoid handshakes and hugs or embraces;
  1. Develop and promote opportunities for electronic contributions, particularly for the sake of those who are worshiping at home or joining the congregation’s worship from a distance through online services.
  2. Encourage worshipers to mail checks.
  3. Make baskets for the offering available in prominent places (near the doors of the church or in a center aisle) to avoid the need for passing plates. Remind worshipers about this opportunity.
  4. Provide suggestions for how members might use their time and talents for the benefit of those who are struggling with illness, isolation, or loss of income.


  1. Have a plan for the orderly dismissal of the congregation to maintain social distancing. (For example, have the last rows leave first, then second to last row, and so forth; encourage ushers to direct the process.)
  2. Block doors open to reduce contact with doorknobs and handles and/or encourage greeters and ushers to hold doors open for worshipers to reduce contact.
  3. No close socializing in groups in narthex or parking lot.


DE Check In for April 24, 2020

posted Apr 24, 2020, 10:21 AM by Middle PA District



Hello Everybody and Happy Friday April 24th to you all.  My last check-in with you was Easter, so it’s time for me as your DE to let you know my latest thinking as we make our way through this COVID-19 shutdown.


First, we need to always reminder that our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is not just about us. It’s about all our neighbors and communities and states surrounding us.  Let’s continue to remember that as we all become increasingly frustrated with this shutdown.  As I said to you more than a month ago when this all started, the coronavirus threat is real and the deaths associated with it are real. The testimonies we have from health care workers who deal with it are ample evidence of that. So even though there is much emotional, economic and political reaction happening now, let’s not forget the stark reality that we along with more than 150 countries are dealing with death resulting from COVID-19.  As Christians, we must respond out of love for our neighbors near and far.


Several weeks ago, in keeping with our state mandate, my recommendation was to continue NOT meeting in person through April 30th. As you probably know, Governor Wolf extended the state-wide stay-at-home order to May 8.  Yesterday plans were announced for a gradual reopening of the state based on the division of the state into 6 health districts: NORTHWEST, SOUTHWEST, NORTHCENTRAL, SOUTHCENTRAL, NORTHEAST and SOUTHEAST. Most of the Middle PA District lies geographically in the SOUTHCENTRAL district. Broadly speaking, the governor’s plan involves the easing of restrictions in a particular district when it reports a 14-day average COVID-19 caseload of no more than 50 total cases per 100,000 people. The PA Secretary of Health said that individual counties would also be specifically addressed. As of yesterday, the SOUTHCENTRAL district we are in reported 91.2 cases per 100,000 people, which is almost double the minimum required for the easing of restrictions. That says we must continue to do our best with social distancing and mitigation efforts so that number is reduced. The governor’s plan for reopening the state also involves what is called a “phased” reopening involving a red, a yellow, and green phase. We are currently in the red phase which involves the stay-at-home order and the prohibition of large gatherings.  As I understand  the plan, once a district meets the criteria of no more than 50 cases per 100,00 people, only then would it be moved into the yellow phase, which includes the lifting of stay-at-home restrictions and the opening of  businesses.  However, (and this is of particular interest to us as churches), according to the guidelines for this yellow phase, “large gatherings of 25 or more would STILL be prohibited.  Unless I’m missing something, that guideline would still keep many if not most of our churches from meeting in person, even after we move into the state’s yellow phase.  My point is: according to this plan outlined by the state, it seems to me that our churches should plan to continue with virtual and other forms of long-distance worship for the foreseeable future beyond May 8.  I know this is not a good prognosis, and I would gladly love to be proved wrong in my interpretation of the governor’s phased reopening.  But as I read what has been published yesterday and today, that’s how I see our future. 


The other note I want to pass on to you is that even though I’m not optimistic for a quick return to physical in-person worship together in our churches,  there will be CDC (Center for Disease Control) guidelines in place even when we move into the green phase and stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.  So now is the time to start planning and preparing for physical reopening.  Things like cleaning, sanitizing, making provisions for our more vulnerable elderly attenders, how to take the offering . . . All these things need to be considered. 


Well, enough for this communique. Before I sign off, I want to say again how proud I am of the job you are all doing in continuing your ministries, broadcasting worship, devotions and bible study and extending care to our church members.

Thanks for your devotion to the Kingdom of our Lord. You pastors are the best!  You as church leadership are the best!  Middle PA District, you are the best! Let’s continue to walk with Jesus Christ through this bizarre time that no one could ever have anticipated. Let’s continue to walk faithfully with our Savior so that no one can accuse us of anything but love for our neighbor.

                                                                         Together With You in the Service of our Lord;

David Banaszak – DE Middle PA District Church of the Brethren

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