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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”

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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”,

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“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

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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!

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July 7-14, 2013

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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”

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July 1-7, 2013

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Good morning friends!

My, it is a wet, rainy day here in Greensburg! Rain, rain and more rain! It has been raining here for many days, and though in our minds the weather seems dreary and damp, let it instead be a reminder to us that God’s grace and mercy are always raining down on us. I say: let it rain!


Happening this week:

Tuesday, July 2, there will be a Congregational Council meeting at 7:00 PM in the conference room.

Wednesday, we will be hosting our weekly free lunch, Food from the Heart. Please come ad invite your friends. This dinner is open to everyone!

Thursday is July 4th, the anniversary and celebration of our country’s independence. The office will be closed!

Sunday, Worship will be held at 8:15 AM and 10:00 AM. There will be no Sunday School during the summer months.

Just a reminder…Vacation Bible School will be held NEXT WEEK: Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM (noon). This year’s theme is “Kingdom Rock: Kids Standing Strong for God” and all kids ages 4 years to grade 5 are invited! We also need adult or teen helpers to make it even more fun! Our coordinator is the wonderful Rachel K. There will be games, snacks, Bible lessons, Music and more so come on out and bring your friends!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! I will leave you today, with this very weather appropriate song:


God’s Grace & “Squeaks”,

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June 24-30, 2013

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Good morning! Good morning to all of my dear friends!


I would like to apologize to the church’s readers for not posting for the past two weeks, but I was away on a Mouse-Study! I was working my little tail to the bone trying to learn how to be a better Church Mouse, and how to serve God in His plans for me.  It was a difficult and busy trip, but I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to grow in knowledge and faith! Now, I have returned to you, my First family, a better mouse!

While I was away, I heard that the “Concert in the Park” on the 12th of June was a huge success! I am sorry that I had to miss it. What a blessing that these youth were able to share their talents and love of God with us! The WELCA also had their annual picnic at Bogg’s Pavilion on the 19th and we began planting in the Park as well!

This week is a rather slow week here at First.

On Wednesday, the Property committee will be meeting at 6:00 PM in the Fellowship Hall. The Executive Committee will be meeting on Wednesday as well, at 7:15 PM in the Conference Room.

We are currently accepting applications for the position of Full-Time Custodian. For details, or to apply for the position, please stop in the office to pick up an application. You can also apply online, here.

The youth will be traveling to the nation’s capital, Washington DC, this Saturday! While there, they will be taking in the sights, visiting museums and monuments, learning about our nation’s rich history, as well as feeding their faith through study and worship, and learning how to impact the world through service. They will leave from the church on Saturday morning, June 29th, at 6:00 AM. They will return on July 2nd at about 8:00 PM.

The Church’s trip to PNC Park for the Pirates Game and fireworks night will be this Saturday, June 29th. If you purchased tickets and plan on attending, please be at the church by 4:45 PM on Saturday, where we will meet and board the bus to Pittsburgh.  If you are still interested in going, there are currently 5 tickets left for purchase.

We are currently following the summer schedule for worship and have services at 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM. There is NO Sunday School during the summer months.

I hope that everyone has a very blessed week, and I am SO glad to be back!

God’s Grace & “Squeaks”,

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May 27-June 2

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Good morning to you all!

This week I am writing to you on Tuesday, because yesterday was Memorial Day, where we celebrate and remember all those who fought for our country and our nation’s freedom.

On Wednesday, we will host our weekly Food from the Heart lunch from noon until 1:00 PM. This week’s menus will be Tuna Salad on a Croissant, Waldorf Salad and a Brownie with ice cream and chocolate syrup, yum yum!… There will be a Property Committee meeting at 6:00 PM and an Executive Committee meeting at 7:15 PM.

Thursday, there will be an IT Committee meeting at 6:00 PM

This Sunday will be the FIRST Sunday of our Summer Schedule! Our worship services will now be held at 8:15 AM and 10:00 AM.  Also, Sunday School is on its Summer Break, so there will be NO Sunday School classes until September.

Some upcoming events to look forward to:

Our Social Ministry Committee will be collecting donations for Malaria Prevention nets to benefit the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Donations can be made in honor of or in memory of your father or a special man in your life as a tribute to Father’s Day. The last donations will be taken on Father’s Day, June 16, 2013 and the tributes will be printed in the bulletin the following Sunday.

Our Church Council is planning a trip to PNC Park for a Pirates baseball game and fireworks night on June 29, 2013. There are still 9 seats left at $43 per person, which covers the cost of the ticket, plus the bus. If you are interested in going, please contact the office! Boy, I wish I could go…it would be a great place to find some delicious morsels to nibble on. On second thought, with all those people around, I might get stepped on…yipes! I think I will watch the game from home, much safer for a mouse! I wonder if Pastor Marleen would let me borrow her big screen TV (she insists on calling it a cell phone).

On June 12, 2013 at 6:30 PM, we will be hosting a youth choir all the way from Naperville, Illinois. “Eagle’s Wings”, a high school choir of about 50 students from Our Savior Lutheran Church in Naperville Illinois will be returning home from a ministry tour and mission trip in New York City and will be stopping here to rest and put on a concert in our Park! We will be having a hot dog feast as well! I can’t wait to hear the joyful noise coming from our lovely Park!

The Women of the ELCA will be hosting their annual picnic on June 19, 2013 at 6:30 PM at Bogg’s Pavilion in Greensburg.  This event will be hosted by the Priscilla and Mary-Martha Circles. There will be good food and great fellowship! Don’t forget your white elephant gift! This event is open to all women of the church. Please bring your favorite casserole or dessert to share!

The youth group will be taking a trip to Washington DC from June 29 – July 2. They will be visiting museums, learning about our country’s history, participating in worship opportunities, and learning about poverty in the city. This is a wonderful opportunity for the youth to grow in their faith and have some fun too! Another opportunity for the youth is Mission on the Mon, which will be held in July! The registration deadline for this week-long local mission event is June 10, so sign up in the office if you are interested!

Looking ahead, July 8-12 will be our Vacation Bible School! “Kingdom Rock: Kids Standing Strong for God” will be held from 9:00 AM – noon each day. We will have snacks, games, bible lesson and tons of fun for kids ages 4 years – fifth grade. I will be making appearances as well…I just hope I can avoid being spotted by that lion I’ve heard rumors about!

That’s all I have for this week, so I hope everyone has a nice week! Keep your eyes open for all the upcoming events which will be posted on our bulletin board this week!


God’s Grace & “Squeaks”,

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May 20-26…2013

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Good Monday morning to everyone!

We had a lovely reception yesterday following our 10:45 AM worship service to honor our newest confirmed members: Laura Miller, Brett Schugt and Sawyer Rehak. Congratulations!!!

We also held our last Java Table until September.

Our Monday evening Bible Studies are on summer break and will return in September with a brand new study topic!

Tomorrow, Tuesday May 21st, 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.

Our weekly free lunch, Food from the Heart, will be served on Wednesday from noon- 1:00 PM. This lunch is open to the community and all are welcome to join us! This week’s menu will be: Pizza Burger

My little mouse whiskers are twitching with excitement for our Preschool class, which will be graduating this Thursday with flying colors! We have 17 wonderful graduates moving on to Kindergarten! Hip-Hip-Hurray! Please come join us to celebrate with our “little graduates” and their families at 6:30 PM in the sanctuary!

This Sunday, May 26th, we will honor the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our worship services will be at 8:15 and 10:45 AM. At 9:30 AM, we will hold the LAST Sunday School meeting until September! We will be closing our Sunday School doors for summer break and will end the year with a bang by having an intergenerational event…in our PARK! This will also be the LAST Sunday before beginning our summer worship hours, so all you 10:45’ers, relish that extra 45 minutes of sleep Sunday morning!

As a general announcement, there are still 9 seats left for the Pirates baseball game and fireworks night on June 29th! If you are interested in going, please contact the office!

I also have to say a big thank you to our custodian, Dennis Hall, for installing the air conditioner in the office. It jumped from winter to summer pretty quick around here and the humidity in that room made me want to cut all my fur off! Now I can go and visit my office friends without melting like a block of Velveeta cheese! (Hmmmm….now I’m hungry!)

I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

God’s Grace and “Squeaks”,

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May 13-17

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Good afternoon friends!

I hope that you were able to join us for worship yesterday, May 12th, Mother’s Day Sunday! We celebrated all the mother’s in the congregation by giving our lovely pink carnations! Also, we welcomed yet another child into the family of God through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. Welcome to the Body of Christ, Maria Catherine Gacek!

This has already been a busy Monday here at First! Our Mary-Martha Women’s Circle met this morning at 10:00 AM for sewing projects and lunch. They are making some beautiful quilts! Tonight at 7:00 PM, Pastor Marleen will be ending the Bible Study topic discussion on the Devil and all his empty promises. Tonight will be the final Monday Evening Bible Study until September.

On Wednesday, we will continue our weekly lunch ministry, Food from the Heart, from noon – 1:00 PM. It is free and everyone is welcome so come join us in the fellowship hall for food and friendship. This week’s menu will be baked ham, baked potatoes, and peach crisp….YUMMY! Wednesday is also the newsletter deadline, so make sure you have your articles to Joanie by 3:00 PM!

Thursday is Westmoreland County Food Bank distribution day. If you receive food from our food pantry, please arrive between 9:30-10:30 AM. For more information about our connection to Westmoreland country Food Bank and Food bank distribution, click here!

This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday and we have several important things happening! First, we would like to say CONGRATULATIONS to our confirmands on their confirmation:

Laura Miller

Brett Schugt

Sawyer Rehak

We will be hosting a dinner in their honor following the 10:45 Am service. The congregation is invited to celebrate with them! We will also be remembering our baptisms. The baptismal font will be open and the congregation is invited to touch the baptismal waters when they come up for communion, in remembrance of their own baptisms. Sunday will also be the last Java Table until September, so if you would like to purchase any products from Fair Trade, please be sure to stop by the java Table in between worship services. Finally, this Sunday will be the last time Sunday School Classes will meet in te classrooms until September.

Have a wonderful week and prepare for the beautiful weather that is supposed to meet up with us this week!

God’s Grace & “Squeaks”,

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May 6-12

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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”

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