My First Parish Expresses Gratitude

Testimonial by:  Becky Woodman

When I was asked to write about gratitude, I certainly did not hesitate.  I have such a depth of gratitude flowing form my heart for all God’s gifts and for all that God has done for me and given me.  I have come to realize that gratitude can be expressed in sorrow and in joy.  An example of the juxtaposition between joy and suffering can be seen through my recent struggles for about 9 years.  I realized that this was my second chance at living for God.  He is a God of second chances and uses broken vessels for His Glory.  I had a great sense of gratitude for all the support I received from my family and friends and for the lessons God taught me through this experience.  I know that God has a purpose for my life.  He created me, He loved me, and He would not let go of my hand.  Then in March 2011 I was re-diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.  This came as a total shock and once again, I need to dig deeper into my faith.  It is only by God’s grace and mercy that I am still here today.  I have had the prayers from this church and from many other churches.  God is good and God answers prayers. I feel continually God’s presence in my life and I feel the healing and recovery that occurs daily and for that I am very grateful.

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My First Parish Embodies Joy

Testimonial by:  Judy/Don Schriefer

When we came to York seventeen years ago, we were making a lifestyle change and searching for a church to help us reclaim our faith.  Life had simply become too work centered, too busy and less fulfilling.  The first church we visited was First Parish and we thank God for directing us here.

Over years we have attended First Parish Church regularly, but in the past few years we have become more involved with committees, Bible studies and faith enrichment classes.  Our circle of friends in faith has grown and we find ourselves wanting to give more and at the same time feel that we are being given more and growing in our faith. 

As we are aging, we find ourselves looking for and finding more good in life and in our community.  Our Church has become a large part of our lives.  We feel that our faith has grown and we are more spiritually connected than we once were.  We ask ourselves questions such as “What is God’s plan for us?” and “How do we want to live out our lives?”  All of these actions and a sense of gratitude are bringing us greater peace and joy.  Through First Parish Church and the multitude of opportunities offered for participation in the life of the Church, we are truly learning that the best way to be part of the Church is to be active in the Church community just as the best way to have a friend is to be a friend, and the best way to be loved is to love. 

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstance.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”  Philippians 2:2

Church Testimonial for Sunday November 15, 2015

It was a typical Friday afternoon on January 17, 2003 when the phone rang in our cozy little office in Upstate NY.  Three hours later I would leave the office and not return for nearly a year and a half on what would be the most exciting and scary adventure of my life.

Until then, my faith was meager at best, even apathetic and ultimately untested.  I attended church nominally, and rarely prayed outside of the sanctuary.  I felt little connection to the rituals, mantras repeated each Sunday.  But on that January weekend that began to change.

Within hours our Pastor was in our house praying with us, her energy and the circle she made with us felt very reassuring.  Three days later my wife and I stood at the Army Reserve Center in Pennsylvania where I’d been assigned.  I did not know a single soul with whom I would soon go to war, and to say I was scared on all levels is a vast understatement.  But officers can’t show fear, so I tried to “suck it up” as best I could.

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My First Parish Engages Generosity

Testimonial by:  Jeff McConnell

The dictionary defines generosity as a willingness to give or share; a quality of being unselfish.

The Bible is more definitive…  Psalm 112:5 :  “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice”.

 1 Timothy 6:18 : “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”

 When we think of generosity, our thoughts automatically go to the gift of money, but there are numerous other gifts that have no monetary value - yet they are priceless!  For example, some people have the gift of time to give. Some have special talents and abilities to share. Others have the gift of a big heart, enabling them to give someone a second chance or to give someone the benefit of the doubt.  God gave each of us special gifts, and He asks that we share these gifts with others.  Giving in whatever way we can brings unmatched satisfaction and joy. It helps the giver, and it helps the receiver. 

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