& Sunday School

10:00 a.m.

April Newsletter Deadline:

March 23rd

Please send submissions via email

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From the Pastor's Desk

Many years ago now, I had a wise friend teach me a lesson about forgiveness. We had gotten in a fight about something. Lord knows what now. But after days of not speaking to one another, I sought this friend out in order that I might apologize – for I was most certainly the main offending party in whatever had happened. 

I’ll never forget what my friend told me that day: you were forgiven even before you asked.

If you ever want to know what God’s forgiveness looks like, well, my friends, that is it.

This season, we are focusing on the idea of The Wonders of Redeeming Love, which comes from so many of our beloved hymns, Lenten and beyond. 

The most obvious is clearly Beneath the Cross of Jesus, where all of our brokenness is laid bare and yet all we ask is for the sunshine of Christ’s face as we look beyond the grave.

Then there is What Wondrous Love is This? when we reflect with haunting melody upon the incredible marvel of a God who would take upon God’s own self all that we have wrought and deserved.

And who could forget When I Survey the Wondrous Cross where love and sorrow meet, love that is amazing and divine, bidding us to die to our hurtful ways and live the life that love truly entails.

Beyond that, there is the old Appalachian hymn, Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy, when we recall that in the arms of our loving Savior there are ten thousand charms.

Or what about that old standard, Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling, which speaks of wonderful love, mercy and pardon for all of us who will just come home.

It is true that all of us have sinned and fallen short. 

More important than anything else we have broken the commandments that Jesus said to hang all the law and prophets on: we have not loved our neighbors and we have not loved ourselves. In so doing we have not loved God as we should. And oh how that brokenness has wrought such a hurting world. Everywhere around us.

Yet the wonder of God’s redeeming love at work, not only during Holy Week, but also during every moment of our lives, is that Jesus still reaches out his arms and says, come home. The forgiveness is already here, waiting. Because love has already Won. It. All. 

We still have a month to go before Holy Week really sets in. Nevertheless, the importance of this message is as essential now as it will be then: the wonders of God’s redeeming love are all around us, because God has already won and continues to do so, every time that love rules the day. 


Pastor Janie

Together in Worship

Holy Communion

This month we will celebrate the Lord's Supper on the Second Sunday of Lent, March 5, 2026.

Did you know?

Worship isn’t God’s show [for us]. God is the audience. God’s watching. The congregation, they are the actors in this drama. Worship is their show. And the minister is just reminding the people of their forgotten lines.

– Søren Kierkegaard

The Church is God saying: "I’m throwing a banquet, and all these mismatched, messed-up people are invited. Here, have some wine."

– Rachel Held Evans

The truth is that worship is found in a wonderful dance between these two quotes. 

It is an honest fact that many times we lose sight of the reality that worship is meant to be centered on God’s glory alone. Our songs sung, our prayers prayed, our words all spoken for that single purpose. At times, we are so used to our twenty-first-century world that is consistently catering to our every whim and desire that we forget that worship is meant to be our production for God. Not the other way around.

At the same time, there is nothing more glorifying or, I would suggest, gratifying to God than worship that resembles a joyous (maybe even a raucous) family gathering. Perhaps the most important worship of Jesus’s own life was the Last Supper, centered around a literal meal with his best friends, sharing food and wine, fellowship and prayer, song and wisdom. Even with the somber moments, it was still a celebration of God’s beloved misfits gathered together – one last time. Or so they thought.

So yes, we should be sure to keep our eyes focused on God’s wonder every time that we come to worship. Nevertheless, that should not come at the expense of losing sight of the wonder God sees in us, God’s own image-bearers who are drawn together around the family table to share our lives. 

Lent is here! Click on the picture above to check out our website for the fullest set of opportunities available during this special season!

The Sundays of Lent

Original Sin

Lent I: Sunday, February 26

Genesis 2 & 3

Matthew 4:1-11

Artwork: "Who Will You Listen To?" 

by the Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman


Lent II: Sunday, March 5

John 3:1-17

Psalm 121

Artwork: "Renacimiento"

by Carmelle Beaugelin

Give Us Water

Lent III: Sunday, March 12

Guest Preacher: CLP Ken Lynch

John 4:5-26

Exodus 17:1-7

Artwork: "Living Water" 

by the Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman


Lent IV: Sunday, March 19

John 9

Psalm 23

Artwork: "Insight" 

by the Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity

Can They Live?

Lent V: Sunday, March 26

Ezekiel 37:1-14

John 11

Artwork: "Rubble" by Carmelle Beaugelin

This month's Lenten Lunch...

Thursday, March 16

Zion Lutheran Church

12:00 p.m.

A light meal and message from one of the members of the Hollidaysburg Ministerium.

Holy Week Preview

Sunday, April 2 - Palm & Passion Sunday

Palms, Communion, and beloved hymns as we move from the grand processional into the holy city of Jerusalem to the hill at Golgotha. 

Artwork: "Power Play" by the Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity 

Thursday, April 6 - Maundy Thursday

6:00 p.m.

Join us for a service like no other as we join in Communion together around a common supper table in our Chapel before moving to our Sanctuary for our traditional service of Tenebrae, the Latin word for "shadows," as we come closer to Christ's final hours on earth.

Artwork: "Re-Member Me" by the Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity

Friday, April 7  - Good Friday

12:00 p.m. Lenten Lunch Series (Smith Hall)

7:00 p.m. Hollidaysburg-Altoona Area Presbyterian Churches Worship Service (Sanctuary)

Artwork: "Why Have You Forsaken Me" by the Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

Sunday, April 9 - Easter Sunday

10:00 a.m. 


Join us for Easter Sunday worship with choir, handbells, trumpet, organ, flowers, and Communion as we make a joyful noise to celebrate the resurrection of our Risen Lord!

Artwork: "Fullness of the Tomb" by the Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

Learning Together

J.A.M. is back for Lent!

Everyone's favorite Night Church program is back for the season of Lent! Through Sunday, March 26, we are gathering at 5:30 p.m. for a light supper before we disperse to programs for all ages.

Have you ever wondered why we always seem to be studying and using our brains so much? Or why we talk about love and grace all of the time? For our adults, we have a very special class, "Why Presbyterians Are Like That" which will be taught by beloved friend of our congregation, Lay Pastor Ken Lynch.

Up next for our children and youth is an evening learning about One Great Hour of Sharing by coloring our "fish banks" before traveling to visit some of our homebound members to spread a bit of early almost-springtime cheer.

We want candy!

On Palm Sunday, April 2, we will hold our annual Easter Egg Hunt for our children. In preparation for this, we need your help with donations of candy. (We have plenty of plastic eggs.) All of the candy needs to be individually wrapped and to be able to fit inside an Easter Egg. Please have donations into the baskets outside the Church Office by Sunday, March 26. Thank you for your help!

As a gift from your Christian Education Team, here is another one of the coloring pages from our Family Devotional this year... Enjoy!

Serving Together

We are once again going to be having an opportunity for our staff, members and friends to become certified/recertified in CPR & AED trained. On Monday, April 17 at 5:00 p.m., Jay Reilly of Hollidaysburg Ambulance Service will be with us to do our training in Smith Hall, which will last approximately three to four hours. Minimum age is 12. Cost is $35 per person to be paid via cash or check on the day of training. We will have twelve spots that will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Please contact the Church Office if you would like to join in on this great opportunity!

Easter Flowers: Once again our Deacons are selling flowers to decorate our Sanctuary on Easter morning. Options this year include Easter lilies, tulips (available in yellow, pink, and lavender), and hyacinths (available in blue, pink, and white). All plants cost $15 each and can be dedicated in honor or in memory of your friends and family. All of our plants will come from Warners Greenhouse and the extra monies raised will be going to support Evolutions Expressions to support at risk youth in our community and their families. To order your flowers online, email the Church Office your selection of plants and colors by clicking here and then pay for your plants by clicking here. Thank you for supporting our community!

Caring Together

Please hold in prayer members of our church family and friends who are in special need: Reggie Arford, Ann & Laird Benton, Nancy Buchanan, Caleb, Eleanor Carson, Anne Forsht, James Hammonds, Rodger & Sally Hammond, Paula Heim, Ticky Hendricks, Bobbi Hill, Ron Kennedy, Norma McPhee, Betty Meyer, Tristan Myers, Vivian Norris, Sarah Ocker, Ray Overdorff, Pat Parnell, Ed Pratt, Jill Reigh, Aleta & Brad Reist, David & Judi Rhoades, June Slep, Doug Soisson, Carol Stultz, John & Diane Stultz, Bill & Deb Wandersee, Avery Marie Wineland.

Please also hold our troops in your prayers, including Trent Sipes, Kyle Gardner, Andrew Rosamilia, Cameron Sellers, and Harrison Heim, who are directly related to our congregation. Pray for our leaders and the leaders around the world as they are making decisions in the coming days. And please pray for all those who find themselves in harm's way that they may know God's presence and that they will have what they need.

Giving Together

What does FPCH mean to you?

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Leading Together

Our Session met on Tuesday, February 21, for their stated meeting. During their time together, they discussed the updated financial system, ICON, and how incredibly well it is going, received a financial update on the year so far, looked together at the plans for the Lenten Season and the updates recently made to the church website, and spent a bit of time discussing the future beyond Easter.

Just in case you were unable to make the Annual Meeting on Sunday, February 5, click on the photo above to get your copy of the 2022 Annual Report.

Presbyterian Cemetery Lots For Sale

Want to be laid to rest near the site of our church's founding? Contact John Stultz of Stultz Real Estate for more information, 814.695.4463.

Our Leadership Team


Rev. Janie McElwee-Smith, Moderator

Jessica Stanek, Clerk

Alan Musselman ('25), Assistant Clerk

Sally Unger, Treasurer

Gail Allen, Brandon Burns, Shannon Carper, Kathryn Gardner, Joel Seelye, Diane Zink

Deacons - Pastoral Care & Mission

Nancy, Michael, Moderator

Joe Carper, Vice Moderator

Kathy Draskoczy, Barb Evans, Molly Goldstein, Binky Moxin, Carroll Osgood, Pat Parnell

Administrative Committee

Dorothy Moore Liller & John Stultz, Co-Chairs

Gail Allen, Susan Musselman, Joel Seelye, Linda Snider

Christian Education Committee

Becky Burns & Amanda Seelye, Co-Chairs

Kathy Draskoczy, Diane McClanahan, Nancy Michael, Ashtyn Whyte

Fellowship & Outreach Committee

Leigh Casey & Brenna Tatusko, Co-Chairs

Sue Ann Hess, Lynette Luke, Alan Musselman

Property Committee

Brandon Burns, Chair

Bill Edwards, Barb Huff, Kathryn Gardner, Carroll Osgood, Dennis Zink

Worship Committee

Julia Benton & Diane Zink, Co-Chairs

Catherine Cone, Janet Hines, Bonnie Ward


PDF Calendar

Our Staff

Rev. Janie McElwee-Smith, Pastor

Email: revjaniefpch@gmail.com

Walter Yatta, Music Director

Email: walyatta@verizon.net

Angela Koelle,

Church Administrator

Email: churchmouse10@gmail.com

Phone: 814.695.9019

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