By Timothy Coppess
God has been at work at University Park Church of God in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. As God has moved, he gave a theme for each of the last three years, but the special focus of each year has continued on into subsequent years. The theme for 2014 was “A Year of Healing.” God continues to perform wonderful healings of past hurts and division, as well as miraculous physical, emotional, and mental healings in the congregation and outside the congregation.
God has completely healed an unstable vertebral fracture that the doctors had never seen without the patient also experiencing paralysis. God also caused a highly branched brain tumor around the optic nerve to shell out easily in surgery with no visual complications. A child with a growing cyst in the brain experienced difficulty learning and remembering significant events, but through God’s touch he has recovered from surgery and is now excelling in his studies! These are just a few examples of the goodness of our gracious God, and he is not done yet!
The theme for 2015 was “A Year of Prayer.” God continues to answer prayers for healing, unity, and growth in faith and obedience in our personal walks with God. The theme for 2016 is “A Year of Service.” As God continues to heal and answer prayer, he has called University Park Church to reach out in service to each other within the congregation and to those in our community, state, nation, and world. As we have reached out in faith to accomplish our God-sized mission assigned by God, we have seen his faithfulness and provision.
Although University Park Church and Dunmeyer Evangelical Lutheran Church have been neighbors diagonally across the street since the early 1980s, there was little, if any, interaction between the two congregations. When Pastor Tim Coppess accepted the call to serve as pastor of University Park at the end of 2013, he reached out to neighbors, including Dunmeyer Lutheran, which was then searching for their next pastor. When University Park Church of God hosted Paul Wilbur (a Messianic worship leader with a global ministry) in concert on both a Saturday evening and Sunday morning at the church facilities, Pastor Tim and the congregation invited the members of Dunmeyer Lutheran and others from the surrounding area. The services were a picture of heaven, as Christians from many denominations and church backgrounds were in attendance. University Park then hosted a concert by Doug Anderson (from Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, and Gaither Homecoming events) to accompany the Flood City Region Antique Automobile Club of America’s car “cruise-in.” The congregation opens its doors in outreach to the car club which meets monthly at the church facilities. God was present and ministered to individuals at the Saturday concert and in the Sunday worship service led by Doug Anderson.
When Dunmeyer Lutheran called Pastor Bill Beck to serve as their new minister, the congregation shared about the new contacts with University Park Church of God. In the evening of October 20, 2015, University Park Church hosted a special joint “Service of Thanks.” Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ from Dunmeyer Lutheran joined us to worship and thank God for his faithfulness and goodness. On Christmas Eve, Dunmeyer Lutheran hosted a special candle-lighting and Communion service, and most of the members of University Park joined in this rich time of worship.
The working relationship has been continuing to grow! In late January 2016, a member of University Park had an extended period of recuperation from surgery and was unable to work. Members of University Park arranged a spaghetti dinner and silent auction to raise funds for the individual, and members of Dunmeyer Lutheran prepared items for the auction, as well as attended in support of this fellow believer.
Pastor Tim and Pastor Bill are prayerfully looking forward to opportunities for joint outreach to our neighborhood as the local part of accomplishing God’s Great Commission of Matthew 28. University Park Church of God is excited as we look forward to opportunities for radical service for God through the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. May God be glorified in and through his one church.
Timothy Coppess is the pastor of University Park Church of God in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.