September 9-15, 2013

 FIRLU header

Good afternoon!

It has been a LOUD day here at First! We are having our fire alarms checked and inspected (good for safety…bad for mouse ears!) I may have to go into hiding for the rest of the afternoon!

For those of you who attended Worship in the Park and Rally Day yesterday, it was a HUGE success! The worship in our beautiful First Lutheran Park was fantastic and we had the chance to witness two baptisms and the commissioning of our Sunday School teachers!!! What a treat!

Speaking of treats, Marvin was running a delicious cotton candy stand! YUM! We enjoyed lunch served by our wonderful Fellowship committee,  games organized by the Christian Education committee, a duck pond, face-painting…even Pastor Jerry had his face painted! It was a really fun and enthusiastic way to kick-off our brand new Sunday School year!

This Week:

Mary-Martha Circle met this morning at 10:00 in the Fellowship hall to enjoy sewing projects and lunch.

This evening, Monday, September 9th, Monday Night Bible Studies are back! Pastor Bob Smith will be teaching a 2 month series on the Parables of Jesus. It starts at 7:00 PM in the Conference Room.

Wednesday, September 11 we will host Food from the Heart, our weekly free luncheon. This is open to the public and everyone is invited so come on down to First Lutheran and enjoy some food and fellowship. This week, they will be have cranberry roasted chicken! Sounds delicious! Also on Wednesday, following Food from the Heart, join Pastor Jerry in the Parlor to “Parlez” (that’s French for “speak”)! Pastor Jerry will be hosting a time to relax and just chat with him in the Parlor every Wednesday from 1:00 – 2:30 PM. come on in and say hello. I heard there will be coffee and cookies as well!

Thursday, we welcome back the Bell Choir and Adult Choirs as a new year of music begins at First Lutheran. There will be Bell choir practice at 6:15 Pm in the Choir room, followed by Adult Choir practice at 7:00 PM in the choir room. If you would like to join, or you would like to speak with someone about joining, please speak to Marvin Huls, our wonderful music director. He is in his office here at the church Monday through Friday. Also, feel free to contact the church office Monday through Friday for more info our check out the choir page.

Thursday evening, Ruth Circle will be meeting in the Parlor at 7:30 PM.

Friday from 2-9 will be the last day to get your pictures taken for the directory, so if you haven’t already had the chance to get your pictures taken, please call the office to reserve your spot!

This Sunday, September 15th, we will return to the Fall/Winter worship schedule. Worship times will be at 8:15 Am and 10:45 AM. Also, Sunday School classes will begin this week and The F.L.Y. Café will open for high school students! WELCOME BACK!!!! Hope to see everyone at Sunday School for a great year!


God’s Grace & “Squeaks”,

firlu printFIRLU


August 19-25, 2013

FIRLU header

Good afternoon friends!

Today started off with some rain, but it seems to be clearing up a bit now, especially since we just had a visit from the church’s tiniest member (besides me of course!).

Congratulations to Pastor Marleen and Don on the birth of their baby girl, Katharina Scarlett!

We will all be wishing them many blessings as they start this new journey together.

On a less exciting note, today is the Newsletter deadline, so I you have an article for the newsletter, please be sure to get that turned in to Joanie, ASAP!

Tomorrow: Tuesday, August 20, there will be a Rebekah Circle meeting in the conference room at 10:30 AM. The Stewardship Committee will also be meeting in Pastor Jerry’s office at 4:00 PM. Finance Committee will be meeting in the Conference Room at 6:30 PM. The Christian Education Committee meeting that was previously scheduled for 7:00 PM has been moved to Wednesday, August 28th at 7:00.

Wednesday, August 21 we will be hosting our weekly free luncheon, Food from the Heart, from 11:30 Am – 1:00 PM. Stop in an grab a bite! There will also be a Personnel Committee meeting at 7:00 PM in the conference room.

Sunday, worship will be held at 8:15 AM and 10:00 AM. Many people are heading back to school or work after summer vacation, so this Sunday, we will have a “blessing of the Backpacks”, where people can receive a special blessing to begin the new year! Even if you haven’t been on vacation this summer…bring your bags, purses, backpacks and briefcases and receive a blessing that you can literally carry with you!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful week!

God’s Grace & “Squeaks”,

firlu printFIRLU

FIRLU header


Good morning friends and family!


How was your weekend?

This week at first, we are heading into the second week of August. Can you believe it? As this mouse gets older, I feel that time goes faster and faster!

We have no events happening at the church today, but it has been filled with activity. We have had the fortunate opportunity to help several people this morning, by providing food from our food pantry. Please continue to donate non-perishable items to our food pantry, as this is a vibrant and necessary ministry. We are currently in need of protein items, such as canned tuna and chicken, and peanut butter. The folks that we serve truly appreciate your donations!

Tuesday, August 6th, there will be a Congregational Council meeting at 6:00 PM in the Conference Room.

Wednesday, August 7th, we will open our doors from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM to serve a free lunch to the community. This is our Food from the Heart ministry, which is open to the public every Wednesday. We invite everyone to come join us for good food and good fellowship!  Later Wednesday evening, there will be a Fellowship Committee Meeting at 7:00 PM in the Fellowship Hall.

On Thursday, August 8th, Ruth Circle will be meeting at 7:00 PM. For more information on the location, please contact the church office at (724)-834-1457. There will also be an introductory Confirmation Meeting held on Thursday evening at 7:00 PM, which will include Acolyte training for our new confirmation members. All those who plan to affirm their baptism through confirmation should attend this meeting.

Sunday, our worship times will be 8:15 AM and 10:00 PM. There is no Sunday School during the summer months. Sunday School will resume on September 15th at 9:30 AM.


Just to recap the past month…

VBS was a huge success, hosting over 50 children ages 3 – 10. THANK YOU to Rachel Krunszyinsky for being our director and doing such as wonderful job! Thank you also to all our amazing teachers and helpers that dedicated their time and talents to VBS!

We had two baptisms in July: J. Duncan, and A. Bayles. Welcome to the First family!

Pastor Jerry presided over the Ulishney/Sias wedding and it was absolutely beautiful! Congratulations to the newlyweds!

The Park has seen many beautiful improvements over the past few months, including planting. The latest addition will be 4 park benches!

Our Directory Pictures had such a wonderful response that we had to open up two days in September (13 & 14) to allow for more pictures to be taken!

We received several NEW members!


Coming up…

There are EXCITING THINGS happening at first!

Coming up on August 23-24, the Congregational Council will be sponsoring an overnight family camping trip to Cedar Creek County Park. There will be biking, hiking, fishing and boating available. children under 16 can attend for free, and adults are asked to contribute $5 to cover the cost of food. Bring your tent and join the fun! I am going to hitch a ride in Rick Druschel’s backpack! I hope they save me a s’more!

The fall is quickly approaching, and that means Rally ReCreation day is upon us!!! This year, the Christian Education Committee has BIG, make that “BIG TOP” plans for RR DAY! Welcome to the First Family Carnival, where there is room for everyone under God’s Big Tent! There will be a duck pond, games, food, prizes, face painting and more! join us for outdoor worship (weather permitting) under the “Big Top” in our Park to kick off the new Sunday School Year!

Sunday School will begin on September 15th, and we will return to our 10:45 AM second service schedule.

There have been all kinds of exciting things floating through the church concerning the High School Sunday School class. They will have a teacher this year: Ginger Shultz! There are big things planned for the class and the entire congregation will be filled in at a later date. I will say this though…I walked through the FLY room the other day and its looking SPECTAULAR!

The annual WELCA Women’s Retreat to Lutherlyn will be held September 20-22.  the theme this year will be “Count Your Blessings”. There will be small groups, large groups, workshops, seminars, prayer, and worship.  The registration deadline is August 11, so please stop by the office if you are interested! We have several women from our church attending!

The women of our church are contributing cookies to the Churchwide ELCA Assembly in Pittsburgh from August 12-17th! All these baked goods around here are making me hungry!


As you can see, the church has been very busy this summer! I hope everyone has a great week, and starts to get excited about the many amazing things happening at First!


God’s Grace & “Squeaks”

firlu printFIRLU



Be Still and Know…by Gus Keiser


Good afternoon friends!

We have a slow week at First! There will be a Youth Committee Meeting this evening at 7:00 PM. Wednesday will be our weekly Food from the Heart luncheon. Sunday worship will be at 8:15 and 10:00 AM. We had a wonderful time celebrating with Pastor Marleen & Don at their baby shower on Sunday with a very large turn-out! Since this week is a bit on the slow side with activities, we had decided to have a special installment of “Be Still and Know”, by Gus Keiser. Enjoy and have a great week!

God’s Grace & “Squeaks”,

firlu print



“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. ~ Isaiah 1:18

 Well, the major trial in Florida is over and the verdict is in.  Granted, there are a lot of people not pleased with the decision of the jury, a lot of people who are convinced that there should have been some form of guilty verdict, but the law is the law and the lawyers did the best they could to convince the jury to see it their way.  And, based on the evidence, or lack thereof presented by both sides, the jury had to base its decision on those facts presented

 Good lawyers are known for debating with such authority that anyone listening can’t say anything to refute their arguments.  Well, God isn’t called our Defender, Counselor, and Advocate for nothing.  Once he takes a case, it is as good as settled because he argues with ultimate authority, and always wins.

 Who though, would have imagined he would argue against us for us?

 We are guilty… we know it and he knows it.  However, sometimes we struggle to accept his forgiveness.  For one reason or another… whether a guilt complex or some backward sense of pride convincing us that we don’t need to be off the hook… we allow ourselves to remain in bondage to our guilt.

 And while this might sound just a bit humble and holy, in reality, both of these attitudes disrespect the price God paid to free us from our guilt.  We are each big time sinners, and that’s not something that’s up for debate.  But God not only sees all the evidence of our sins, he also takes it upon himself to clear our names and restore our record to a cleaner state than it originally was.  What an incredible deal God works on our behalf!  For us to even try to go back and attempt to pay the penalty ourselves is like telling God his way and his sacrifice wasn’t enough.  .

 You know, you can argue with God all you want about your sin, but that would be about as futile as trying to convince some baseball umpire he made a wrong call…the facts are the facts and they are not going to change.  God still sent his Son to die for us, and accepting his sacrifice is all any of us needs for forgiveness.  In truth, it’s the only way to forgiveness.

 Your case was settled in God’s courtroom a long time ago.  So, be willing to accept his verdict and his forgiveness, leave those chains that you think are binding you behind, and move on into the life of freedom he bought for you.

Thank you, Father, for being our heavenly Advocate and for releasing us from the guilt of our sins.  Please remind us not to cheapen the price you paid by trying to pay it again ourselves.  Amen.



July 15-19, 2013

FIRLU header


Good afternoon friends!

VBS Kingdom Rock was a HUGE success! We had over 50 kids! Thank you to all the wonderful people who helped out! On Sunday, we celebrated by sharing songs from VBS with the congregation.

This week:

Mary-Martha circle met today in the fellowship hall from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM for sewing projects and lunch.

Tuesday, Rebekah Circle will be meeting at 10:30 AM. There will be a Finance Committee meeting at 6:30 PM, and there will also be a Christian Education Committee meeting at 7:00 PM.

Wednesday will be our free weekly Food from the Heart ministry in the fellowship hall from 12-1 PM. Come join us for a delicious bite to eat!

Thursday will be our food bank distribution day. We are always looking for people to help out with loading and unloading, so if you are interested in helping with this ministry, please call the office at 724-834-1457. If you are interested in signing up to receive food, please contact Westmoreland County Food Bank, or call the office at 724-834-1457 for more information. Pick up for people currently receiving food is between 9:30 – 10:30 AM. Please arrive on time. We are not able to hold food, or deliver food. If you cannot make it, please either call the office to inform us that you will not be able to make it, or send someone to pick up your food for you  (Must have valid ID).

Sunday, we will have worship at 8:15 and 10:00 AM.  There will also be a Youth Committee meeting at 7:00 PM.


Pastor Marleen and Don are expecting a bundle of joy in the coming weeks and we are holding a baby shower in their honor. The show will be held following the 10:00 AM service this Sunday, July 21st, and it is open to all members of the congregation (men, women and children)! If you would like to attend, please contact the office at 724-834-1457 so that we can get a head-count for food and refreshments.

It’s supposed to be hot and in the 90’s all week, so make sure you stay cool! I would go outside, but I am not sure how to get the sunscreen on without it making my fur stand up!

Have a great week!

firlu printFIRLU

July 7-14, 2013

FIRLU header


Good afternoon friends and family!


This week is First’s Vacation Bible School! There are kids everywhere, having TONS of fun!!!

Our theme this year is “Kingdom Rock: Where Kids Stand Strong for God!”, and it is a medieval theme…so don’t be surprised if you see a King, a royal guard, or some knights walking through our hallways!

Food from the Heart will go on as normal this week, and will get the chance to see some of our wonderful VBS decorations and artwork!

Many thanks to our VBS director: Rachel Krunszyinsky and all the wonderful assistants, teachers, leaders and helpers we have donating their time this week to make Vacation Bible School a HUGE success!

Worship will be held at 8:15 and 10:00 AM this week and the 10:00 AM service will be a tribute to Bible School, where our VBS friends will share what they learned and sing some VBS songs from the “Kingdom”.

Looking ahead, Mary-Martha Circle will be meeting next Monday morning in the fellowship hall at 10:00 AM.


Have a wonderful week!

God’s Grace & “Squeaks”

firlu printFIRLU

May 6-12

 FIRLU header

Dearest friends, how was your weekend?

I dare say, I think I saw some of you at worship on Sunday morning, and it was wonderful worshipping with you! Also, a big “Congratulations!” is in order for the newest member of God’s family, Aubrey Elyse Hoyle, who received the Sacrament of  Holy Baptism yesterday!

Tonight, we will have Bible study with Pastor Marleen. We will continue our study of the Devil and all his empty promises.

Tuesday evening, Congregational Council will be meeting at 7:00 PM in the conference room.

Wednesday, our weekly Food from the Heart lunch will be served from noon until 1:00 PM in the fellowship hall. Come join us and share some food and friendship. We serve the entire community of Greensburg, and everyone is welcome!

Thursday, Adult choirs will practice at 7:00 PM. There will also be a Ruth Circle meeting held at 7:30 PM.

Sunday, as always, we will have worship services at 8:15 and 10:45 AM. This week, Kip Boggs, our Stewardship Committee chairperson will be speaking briefly in order to kick off our big stewardship “Plan of Thanks”. I think this year; I will show my thankfulness by donating some of my cheese to our hunger outreach programs! Our weekly Sunday School will be held in between worship services, beginning at 9:30 AM, and is for all ages. There will be another baptism this week as well! Hallelujah!

I sure hope everyone has a wonderful week! Maybe I will see you if you stop into the office around lunchtime. The office ladies are so nice and sometimes they offer me some leftover nibbles from their lunches!

God’s Grace & “Squeaks”

firlu printFIRLU

April 29 – May 3

FIRLU header


Hello Friends!

First, I want to send my apologies…I was busier than a bee this Monday and as I was writing this week’s blog, I feel asleep!

Second, let me just say that Sundays service was lovely! Pastor Jerry, three young ladies in the congregation (Rachel Krunszyinsky, Ginger Shultz & Elise Etelamaki), and our very own Teresa Graziotto presented a musical sermon entitled “No Folly in Zarephath”, highlighting the story of the Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. It went beautifully and had everyone swaying in their seats, as they learned about God’s greatness.

We had a lovely Bible Study last night!

This evening, Tuesday April 30, there will be a Christian Education Committee meeting at 7:00 PM.

Tomorrow, Wednesday May 1, we will be hosting our weekly luncheon, Food from the Heart, from 12:00-1:00 PM. This is a free lunch that is open to all! There will also be an Executive Committee Meeting at 6:00 Pm and a Fellowship Committee Meeting at 7:00 PM.

Choirs will meet on Thursday: Bell Choir at 6:15 PM and Adult Choir at 7:00 PM. Also, Thursday May 2, 2013 is the National Day of Prayer! Take some extra time to pray today, to thank God for all his blessings!

Saturday will be the annual Social Ministry Roadway Clean-up! Everyone will be meeting at 9:00 AM in the parking lot of Lynch field, across from the Dairy Queen on Route 119. Help us to keep our community beautiful!

Sunday, we will have Worship at 8:15 and 10:45 Am, and Sunday school for all ages will be at 9:30 AM.


Just a quick overview of all the exciting things

 that are going to be happening this During the month of May!


  • Stewardship is planning a “Plan of Thankfulness” stewardship drive, focusing on Giving Thankfully and Living Thankfully. As part of the series, Pastor Blair Morgan, as well as members of the Stewardship Committee, will be speaking on various Sundays throughout May. The Plan of Thankfulness series will end on May 26, when the “pledge” envelopes will be burnt, unopened, in the Park as an offering of thanks.
  • Mother’s Day is may 12th! This year, we are hosting a blanket “sale”. For a $10.00 Donation, you may “purchase” a Disaster Relief Blanket in honor of or in memory of your mother or a special woman in your life. Each $10.00 donation will go toward providing Disaster Relief Blankets for those affected by disaster events around the world.
  • Confimation will be held on Pentecost Sunday, May 19th. Our Confirmands this year are:

Laura Miller

Sawyer Rehak

Brett Schugt

We will be hosting a dinner in their honor following the 10:45 service on May 19th and invite the congregation to celebrate with the Confirmands and their families. We will also honor the reaffirmation of baptisms on this day.

  • Sunday School will come to a close for the year on May 26th. We will have an intergeneration park day (weather permitting) for the last class.
  • Preschool graduation will be held on May 23rd at 6:30 PM. The class will present “God Made the World”. There will be 9 three year old students being promoted into the four year old class, and there will be 17 graduates! There will be a reception with cake and punch following the ceremony.
  • Mary-Martha Circle is having there meeting on May 13th. Ruth Circle will meet on May 9th. Rebekah Circle will meet on May 21st.
  • The last Fair Trade sale for the year will be held at the Java Table on May 19th in between church services.
  • We will be honoring high school graduates on May 26th.


My! That update was a workout, (especially considering I have to hop from key to key)!

I guess I can have that extra piece of cheese at dinner tonight!


I hope that you all have a wonderful week!


God’s Grace & “Squeaks”,

firlu printFIRLU


April 15 – April 21

 FIRLU header


Good Monday morning to you! I hope that you had a blessed Sunday, and that you were able to join us for worship yesterday morning!

As I was visiting with Pastor Marleen this morning, scurrying across her desk in search of new curtains for my Mouse House (I have found that post-its work nicely and are very colorful!) she informed me that it is going to be a busy week here at First!

First of all, the May newsletter deadline is today, so anyone that has information to put in the newsletter should make sure to email Joanie as soon as you can to submit your articles!

Monday evening will be Bible Study @ 7:00. Pastor Marleen will be leading an interesting topic discussion about the Devil and all his empty promises.

On Tuesday, the Rebekah Circle will be meeting at 10:30 AM in the conference room. There will also be a Finance Committee Meeting at 6:30 PM and a Christian Education Meeting at 7:00 PM.

On Wednesday, we will be serving a free lunch through our Food from the Heart ministry. Food from the Heart serves meals every Wednesday from 12:00-1:00 PM in our fellowship hall. There is always wonderful food! Everyone is welcome, so please join us!

Also, on Wednesday evening the Personnel Committee will be meeting at 6:30 PM.

Thursday is Food Pantry Day: our distribution date for the Westmoreland County Food Bank. This is a wonderful opportunity to help others through compassionate ministry, and each month over 100 families are provided with food through the Westmoreland County Food Bank! We are always looking for people to help out with food distribution, so if you are an individual or are representing a group that would like to help out, please contact us at .

There will be NO choir rehearsals this week!

I hope to see you on Sunday morning at one of our worship services! I usually hang out in the rafters of the balcony…it’s the only way a little mouse like me can see anything! We have services at 8:15 and 10:45 AM and hold Sunday school for all ages between worship services at 9:30 AM. We also have a Continental Breakfast every Sunday morning between the worship services, serving coffee, teas, rolls, fruit and pastries. I am excited to join the church in welcoming Kaleb into the Body of Christ through the sacrament of Holy Baptism this Sunday!

I have also heard that Pastor Jerry will be working with the Young Adults and High School Youth on a musical about the Bible story “The Widow of Zarephath” to be presented on Youth Sunday, April 28th! Practice will be held at the church for the next two Sundays from 6-7:30 PM, and pizza is on Pastor Jerry! If you are a young adult (age 18-35) or a high school youth (grades 9-12) and you would like to be a part of the musical, please contact Pastor Jerry for more details!

Have you “liked” us on Facebook? Are you “following” us on Twitter? You can find us on social media and catch up on all the happenings around the church!

Have a wonderful week!

God’s Grace & “Squeaks”,

firlu printFIRLU

April 8-April14


FIRLU header

What a beautiful Monday Afternoon!

The sun is certainly shining and creating a glorious spring day here in Greensburg!

It just so happened that I was searching for an early afternoon snack, and I ran into some of the women from the Mary-Martha Circle! They were holding their monthly meeting today at 10:00 AM.

Later in the day, I overheard Pastor Marleen talking about the new topic for Bible Study; “The Devil and All His Empty Promises”. Sounds like an interesting topic! If you would like to join us, Bible Study begins tonight and every Monday at 7:00 PM in the Conference room.

As always, we will host our weekly free luncheon, Food From the Heart, which is open to the public from 12:00 – 1:00 PM every Wednesday.

Marvin Huls, our fantastic music director, will be having Bell Choir and Adult Choir practice on Thursday, April 11. Bell Choir practice will begin at 6:15 PM and Adult Choir will begin at 7:00 PM in the choir room.

Thursday is a busy day this week! Ruth Circle will meet this Thursday,April 11 at 7:30 PM.

The Worship & Music Committee will also meet on Thursday April 11 at 7:45 PM.

Of course, we will also have our weekly Worship services at 8:15 AM and 10:45 AM on Sunday, April 14. Sunday School will be held from 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM, in between services.  Following the service, the Youth Committee will have a meeting at 12:15 PM.

Don’t forget to have a look at the new April bulletin board in the lobby, to catch up on all the great upcoming events at First!

This is the Church Mouse signing off and wishing you a wonderfully blessed week! I think I am going to find a nice quite spot on a windowsill and enjoy some of the warm breeze on this lovely spring day!

God’s Grace & “Squeaks”,

firlu print FIRLU