The first presbyterian church

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Gwen Bernstine, Executive Director

Welcome is a word I often hear at the pantry. It’s heard as a greeting as someone comes through the door. It’s heard after someone has says Thanks and their kind acknowledgment is greeted with approval. And now “Welcome Mona” will be the words on everyone’s lips when they come in the pantry door.
Mona Rundio has just accepted the position as our Food Pantry Coordinator, and she began on December 7. Mona lives in Montoursville with her daughter, Autumn. They are active members of Montoursville Presbyterian Church. She has a background in hotel and restaurant management and is looking forward to joining the team at the Pantry, meeting each of you and learning how everything works there. So drop by and ... welcome Mona!
We assist about 450-475 people each month, and we appreciate your continued generosity.
Monday, January 18, at 9:00 a.m. there will be a Peace Walk in honor of Martin Luther King Day of Service. It will begin at the Dr. Yasui Peace Monument on the corner of Little League Boulevard and Pine Street, walking to Fourth Street, and ending at the Bush Campus Center of Penn College. Shuttle buses will return walkers to their cars at 10:00 a.m.

This past year, Victor, our oldest son, Kevin, and I had the privilege of traveling to New York City and visiting the 9/11 site and museum. It was a very moving experience and was highlighted by discovering a small church not even half a block from ground zero. We stumbled across it walking to the museum and learned of St. Paul's miraculous survival as an intact place of respite and ministry for the rescue workers. St. Paul's has a rich historical background but really shined following this national tragedy.
The following article is superbly written by Kayla Darling, a senior at Lycoming College and who attends services at First Church, as she shares my recollections.

Ann Recchi

It stood.  Not a window broken.

Not a Stone dislodged.

It stood when nothing else did.

It stood when terrorists brought

September down.

It stood among myths.  It stood among ruins.
To stand was its purpose, long lines prove that.”

The hustle and bustle of New York City passes along the sidewalk of Broadway and Fulton Street.  A tall church stands there, pillars supporting the front, a lone spire reaching skyward, its brown-and-white exterior warm and welcoming in the morning sunlight.  Stepping beyond the fence into the church yard is like stepping into another world; the chaotic streets fade abruptly into a sense of calm.  If one didn’t enter the church or move to the garden out back, it would be easy to miss that this building, despite being directly near the Twin Towers on 9/11, survived the attack, and it would be easy to miss its history.

When the planes crashed into the Twin Towers, locals say that the St. Paul’s Church was spared by a large tree that blocked the brunt of the debris.  During the chaos that followed, first responders and volunteers would stop in the chapel to rest, their gear still on, scraping the pews and leaving memories of their actions behind.  Church volunteers thronged to help, offering prayer and service to those valiantly doing what they could to ease the pain of that day.  For the next eight months they continued to offer aid and service to those affected by the attacks.
Now, years later, the scratched pews remain as a memorial.  A uniform, plastered with badges from volunteers, serves as a reminder of many who served.  And a chalice—roots for a base, curving up into hands that cradle the cup—is used to remind others of the miracle that allowed the church to survive.
St. Paul’s is a powerful symbol, not only of God’s grace, but of small spots of hope appearing even in the most chaotic, troubled times.  The church still stands as a testament to that.  Yet it is also easy to forget that these events had a very strong personal effect on many.  A women stands at a memorial, caressing the name of a lost loved one; a man who escaped the terrors of that day by chance wonders why he was spared.  In a time when attacks such as 9/11 have been reflected in other places across the globe, such as the terrorist bombings in Paris, we must remember that not everything is hopeless—there are people who have lost loved ones, whose lives have been turned upside down, but there is always the ability to recover, and the amazing tenacity of Christians to try and show God’s love, despite the circumstances.  St. Paul’s shows that miracles can happen, and it shows that no matter how dark things seem, a light will always shine.

A Poem for St. Paul’s Chapel”

“It stands, and around it now, a shrine of letters,

poems, acrostics, litter of the heart.

It is the standing people want:

To grieve, serve, and tend

celebrate the lasting stone of St. Paul’s Chapel.
And deep into its thick breath, the largest banner

fittingly from Oklahoma climbs heavenward

with hands as stars, hands as stripes, hands as a flag;

and a rescuer reaches for a stuffed toy

to collect a touch;

and George Washington’s pew doesn’t go unused.
Charity fills a hole or two.
It stood in place of other sorts.

It stood when nothing else could.

The great had fallen, as the brute hardware came down.
It stood.” –

by J. Chester Johnson
Submitted by Ann Recchi and Kayla Darling

Thanks to all for their contributions or pledges for the new organ console. We have collected $50,400.00 (or 85.0%) toward our goal of $59,300.00.

I like the fact that “listen” is an anagram of “silent”. Silence is not something that is there before the music begins and after it stops. It is the essence of the music itself, the vital ingredient that makes it possible for the music to exist at all.

Alfred Berndel

submitted by Judith Youngman

Lord Jesus, bless all who serve us, who have dedicated their lives to the ministry of other—all teachers of our schools who labor so patiently with our little appreciation; all who wait upon the public, the clerks in the stores who have to accept criticism, complaints, bad manners, selfishness at the hands of a thoughtless public. Bless the mail carriers, the drivers of streetcars and buses who must listen to people who lose their tempers.
Bless every humble soul who, in these days of stress and strain, preaches sermons without words. Amen.

Sub mitted by Jim Bryden

ch@t pray pattern
c cheer God on for who He is

what fact about God makes you glad?

h humble yourself

if Jesus took a tour of your heart, what would

he find?
@ appreciate what he has done

what happened in your life today that you

can thank God for?
t tell God your needs

where do you need God to work in your life?

Church Staff

The Reverend Sam (Awun) Hwang


The Reverend David L. Phillips

Pastor Emeritus

Philip Krepps

Music Director and Organist

Karen Davenport Bahr

Administrative Assistant


The Reverend Sam (Awun) Hwang

Session Moderator

Charles Kemnitz

Clerk of Session

Victor Recchi


Frank Moltz

Associate Treasurer

Mimi Petts

Presbyterian Women Moderator


Class of 2017

Class of 2018

Class of 2019

Youngsuk Kim

David Craig

Charles Kemnitz*

Victor Recchi

Evelyn Landis*

Judith Youngman

Maggie Little*


Class of 2017

Class of 2018

Class of 2019

Ann Recchi

Judy Kolb*

Susan Kemnitz*

Alison Hopper

Dorothy Snyder

Tammy Winters

*Denotes second term

Stated Meetings

The Session meets on the fourth Thursday of the month.

The Deacons meet on the second Monday of every other month.

Non Profit Organization

U.S. Postage Paid

Permit No. 161

Williamsport, PA 17701


102 East Third Street, Williamsport, PA 17701

Phone: 570-326-3706


Our Website:

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