by Amy Karr

As the Witness Commission and all church board members continue to thoughtfully plan how we can best serve our community and beyond, sometimes it is necessary to take “pause” on things in order to reassess if it is best serving our needs.

The Run for Peace is a beloved event that has been an opportunity for us to connect with the community and also openly proclaim our peace stance. After the 2019 run, Karin Laszakovits and Paula Knudsen Burke both decided to step down from planning the event so they can focus on their other priorities in the church. We are grateful to them and the other Run for Peace committee members—Kurt DeGoede & Stephanie Kardohely—who have provided countless volunteer hours to make this event successful. Due to the overwhelming number of 5k events in the area, the Witness Commission has decided to take a break from the Run of Peace in 2020. We believe that this will be a good opportunity for the commission and other church members to determine if/how this event should continue in the future and also determine if it is the best way to spread our message of peace.

Etown CoB relies heavily on volunteers to make every event/project successful. If you have a passion for a particular project or idea, please reach out to Amy Karr. The Witness Commission believes that 2020 will be an exciting year for our congregation! We look forward to sharing more with you in the months to come.

by Nancy Hivner

By a vote of 73% at the November 2019 meeting, Church Council approved the Board recommendation to proceed to the next phase of the building project; design development. During this phase, which will begin in early 2020 and will continue for 4–6 months, specifications for the remodel and expansion of our building will be done. This effort will involve consultation with many building users including our Commission members, Sunday School teachers, hospitality team, staff members, ECNS and ECCC representatives, and others. The cost for this work (up to $500,000) will be paid from accumulated building project pledge money.

In addition to this decision, Church Council also approved 87% the Board recommendation to reallocate $1.3 million in invested funds to a conservative investment option to eliminate risks associated with stock market fluctuations. An approach to this will be designed and implemented by the Finance Committee.

Once the design development phase of the project is concluded, preparations will be made to solicit bids from construction companies to do the expansion and remodel work according to the specifications. After the bids are received and project costs are known, a recommendation on a financial package to pay for the project will be prepared. This will likely include a combination of pledge money received, new pledges, use of invested funds, and borrowed money. Decisions on these matters will be made by votes of Church Council, expected to occur in the fall of 2020.

It is an exciting time to be engaged in our ministry together. We look forward to continued growth in our programs and in our people as we practice peace, service, and openness to all.

by Paula Knudsen Burke

Ever hear of Church Board Blob Tag?

Well… nobody else had, either, but on January 11, twenty-nine members of the Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren were game to try an ice-breaker activity during our annual Church Board Retreat. We played, prayed and planned during one busy half-day.

We reflected on some highlights of 2019:

  • We finished with the strongest giving year in the history of Etown CoB!

  • More than 500 people gathered to worship on Christmas Eve.

  • A first “date night” provided families with young children the opportunity to leave the kids behind in a safe space while enjoying some adult time.

And looked forward to what we’re planning in 2020:

  • The design and development phase of the building project is underway with various user groups meetings being scheduled with the architect.

  • Rolling out small groups that will start in February.

  • Christian Education is planning a new adult series for March.

  • Witness and Nurture are planning an event that will involve the popular Christian speaker John Pavlovitz.

  • More opportunities for building interpersonal connectedness, spiritual and Biblical growth.

The board used the results of the fall congregational survey as it considered priorities and planning for 2020. A big thank-you to John David Bowman, who in consultation with Don Kraybill, designed the survey. And a shout-out to the church office staffers for helping to administer the survey. Our last major internal survey was in 2008, so the results from this survey gave us a lot to consider as a board on questions such as clarity of and commitment to our mission. We’ll continue to review the survey results throughout 2020.

Another big-thank you to the outgoing board members, including Chair Nancy Hivner. Our congregation is blessed with many gifts! Thank you for everything you do to make the ministry of our congregation meaningful.

In closing our time together, Moderator Joe Detrick led us in a short devotion on the feeding of the 5,000 as recorded in Matthew 14:13–21. When the disciples wanted to send the crowd home for supper, Jesus said, “No, you feed them.” The disciples found a young lad who was willing to share his meager lunch of loaves and fish. Jesus blessed the food which feed the huge crowd with 12 baskets left over. That which was little became much that satisfied many! In the same way God is able to take our gifts, talents, and ideas and expand them beyond measure. God can take the small seed of ideas generated by the congregational survey and with the creative efforts of many talented people, continued input from the congregation, sacrifice, and prayerful discernment, God can create far more than we ever believed possible. May we continue to be blessed with God’s extravagant mercy as we practice peace, service, and openness to all! Amen.


Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren

777 South Mt Joy Street

Elizabethtown, PA 17022

Tel: 717-367-1000

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© 2018 Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren.