Pastor, United Church of Christ Ebensburg
My spouse, TJ, and I have two daughters, and a young English Setter, Wesley, and we live in Vandergrift, Pa. When not in Ebensburg, I am a firefighter and EMT and I love to serve the community. We are a crazy busy family just like anyone else but we enjoy slowing down on Sunday and gathering with our church family to recharge and praise God. TJ and I are both pastors so sometimes you will see both of us and/or it will be just me the kids and other times I will be solo.
As a faith leader I am interested in providing a genuine space for community building and faith formation. I invite all who wrestle with their faith and are seeking a space where they can ask questions to come do so. I promise not to give answers but instead give direction. You are invited to drop by the office hours any time and have a cup of coffee or tea with me. It's an open door, always welcome policy!
I am excited to continue to see and participate in the work that God is doing through First and South Ebensburg churches!
From the Pastor
"We all have our own experiences of our peace and comfort being disrupted."
As many of you know, I am a firefighter for my town of Vandergrift. Sadly, over the last few months, our department has been dispatched to various structure fires and most of them resulted in families losing their homes. It is a tragic time for people when they lose their clothes, pictures, furniture, and most importantly their comfort of a home. Every year, this happens during the cold months as folks overload power strips, run space heaters at high temperatures and close to other objects, and use fireplaces and wood stoves to heat their homes. With caution, some of these things are not inherently bad but a fault or misplaced item can create a dangerous situation. The end result is often the same and families are forced to live in short-term housing or with relatives and their peace and comfort is disrupted.
We all have our own experiences of our peace and comfort being disrupted. It may not be as sudden as a fire or losing someone to the rapid onset of an illness but we are creatures that are used to routine, comfort, and our own sense of normalcy. For some, this discomfort comes in the form of a chronic issue that breaks us financially, emotionally, and/or physically. Being out of our comfort zone is unfortunate and we cannot build on something when it is broken. It takes a lot of our energy and resources to recover from both chronic and sudden issues… but it’s work that we have to do in order to rebuild. As individuals this is very true and as a church, we can be in a similar position. Our mission and gathering as a fellowship can be disrupted by the loss of a member or leader or can be challenged by a more chronic issue like decreased enthusiasm in fulfilling our Gospel call.
Thankfully, I don’t think that our church is broken, and as we go through this time of transition in leadership, it creates an opportunity for growth and opens up ways for us to dream. Transition and change is often uncomfortable for folks that are used to one method of ministry but I assure you that through our mutual discomfort, there will be growth in ways we could not have expected.
My prayer for you is that whatever causes you discomfort can be taken away or transformed into something that can be built upon. We are all works in progress and God is forming us into people that can overcome life’s obstacles for the furtherance of God’s will. We are witnesses to the light of God in the world and may we continue to be witnesses to the redeeming work of God in our lives and in our community.
Grace and peace,
~ Pastor Ryan