Annual Meeting 2021

 Pastors Report

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Times of transition are never easy. Like kids on a long journey, we’re tempted to yell from the back seat of the car: are we there yet? Unfortunately, a preoccupation with the destination ruins the journey. Although we don’t want to meander along the back roads of a scenic route, we do want to take the time to learn important lessons the Lord has for us along the way.


We had a great start on this journey, and we expected a little slow down for the holidays in November and December. But the outbreak of COVID in our county and church family along with the multiple winter storms brought us to a crawl in January and February. We also relocated from Lansford to the wonderful parsonage in Lehighton and appreciated the help and preparation provided. We are revving our engines and looking forward to the road ahead trusting the Lord to lead us onward in His perfect timing!

IPM’s Roadmap identifies 5 stages in the work of the Transition Pastor for this journey:

  1. Connect: Building Relationships. We characterized this phase with the words: Look, Listen, and Learn. Kathy and I greatly enjoyed getting to know over fifty of our youth and adults in our church family through the Koffee with the Keeleys. These have been fun opportunities to get to know people and learn about our church. During this stage I’ve also connected several times with leaders from our District Office, John Nesbitt and Randy Hunt.
  1. Assess Health: Clarifying Reality. We characterize this phase as a time to Assess, Analyze, and Align. The Ministry Insight Tool launched on March 7th and will close on March 29th. It will highlight the many strengths of our church as well as some of the areas of challenge we face in ministry. This is one tool among others that the Transition Team will use to discover how to strengthen our ministry and what we need in the next pastor of our church. Our present Search Committee will serve as the Transition Team for the next few months. This part of the process needs to be completed before the Search Committee can begin the search process.

This stage will also include a Life Cycle and Outreach seminar that presents foundational leadership principles for understanding church life cycles and how to become more outwardly focused in reaching our community. The creation of a Journey Wall will also be scheduled to review how God has been at work in our church’s history and to uncover any patterns that need to be addressed.

The Transition Team will be reviewing the results of the Ministry Insight Tool, assessing and analyzing our ministry programs and the demographics of our community. They will assess the primary focus and effectiveness of our programs and events. This process of assessing and analysis will help us determine what needs to stay the same and what needs to change to help us align everything that we do with our mission and vision in an effective strategic plan. This will lead us in into the third stage of the IPM Process.

  1. Facilitate Action: Addressing Needs. In this phase we Celebrate what is going well, Correct what needs improvement and Create new opportunities to help us accomplish our mission and vision. Our leadership will address the issues discovered in the assessment phase and seek to remove the barriers to optimal kingdom fruitfulness and facilitate a healthy culture ensuring that we are inwardly strong and outwardly focused. As this work of addressing needs is being pursued, we move into IPM’s fourth stage.
  1. Lead Strategic Planning: Discerning Direction. This phase will be characterized by the words: Discover, Develop, and Deploy. We want to discover and be captured by God’s vision and direction. We will then intentionally develop and deploy a plan that seeks to accomplish it. This strategic plan is used by the Pastoral Search Team to develop three profiles to be used in the search process: The Community Profile, the Church Profile, and the Pastor Profile. They will then be ready to begin the final stage of this journey and discover the pastor the Lord has prepared for us.
  1. Coach Search Team: Discovering God’s Man. This final stage includes Securing our new pastor, Strengthening the ministry, and Soaring with faith to new heights for the next season of ministry. I will train and assist the Pastoral Search Team in discovering God’s man to shepherd and lead our church toward God’s vision. Utilizing the resources from our district office we will search for God’s man for the next season of ministry. During this phase, we will also prepare to welcome our new pastor to a healthy, functional, and spiritually vibrant church community. Our hope is to prepare the way for launching our church to soar with faith to new heights with their new leader-shepherd to the glory of God.

Dr. George Bullard describes faith soaring churches as “congregations who effectively soar with faith to achieve exceptional ministry. FaithSoaring Churches are congregations who boldly and effectively soar with faith into a future known only by God where they have never gone before, and which they cannot see at the beginning of their journey. They respond to the pulling of God. They journey to places of inspiration, imagination, and innovation. They progress through processes of spiritual formation and missional engagement. They continually transform their capacity to reach their full kingdom potential.”

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Strength for the journey is found in waiting and trusting in the Lord, the Sovereign Head of His church to direct our paths Throughout this journey we want to continue to mobilize our church to be on mission for making disciples of Jesus by being inwardly strong and outwardly focused. This journey can continue to be one of joy and encouragement as we seek to refresh the hearts of the Lord’s people and seek His will and direction above everything else.

I look forward to continuing this journey with you as your pastor for this season of ministry and trust the Lord will accomplish His work in and through us…

To God be the Glory!

Pastor Randy


Deacons Report

This past year was very unusual to say the least. The men who served as deacons all did it with a willingness and a joyful heart. Many individuals and families were assisted by the deacons. After three years, we finally had the two large sections of the roof completed.

Also, the food pantry was picked up by Tonya Sterling and Dale Tripp after our brother, Al Sebia went home to be with the Lord. These two ladies really got it organized and supplied well to meet the needs of those who used it from our community.

Some other updates within the church are:

  1. A water filtration system has been installed.
  2. Security cameras have been put up throughout the church and more are to be added.
  3. Pastor Randy was able to move into the Woodlawn parsonage house in the later part of January.

Amidst the COVID crisis, our church leadership overcame many obstacles and, for the most part, didn’t lose too many Sunday services when other churches shut down and could not adapt or open up.

We, as deacons, thank the Lord that we can serve in the work and ongoing ministry of CEFC.

Keith Taylor for the Deacons

John Lichtenwalner, Dick German, Art Sterling, Terry Kamm


As 2020 certainly was a very different year in how we interacted with each other and our missionaries, God was faithful in supplying our needs as well as those of the missionaries that we support.  We continued to support the missionaries as we did in 2019. There were only minor changes to the Missions Budget as we incorporated the needs of Operation Christmas Child into the Special Projects and reduced the amount of money that we set aside for special projects from 300 dollars per month to 200 dollars per month.  We were able to meet the Missions Budget throughout 2020 in spite of the challenges that the year brought to our Congregation.  We praise God for his many blessings in allowing us to be faithful to the promises that we made to the various missionaries and organizations that we support.

2020 presented many changes for missionaries as they served.  Dean and Ada Overholt returned to the U.S. in March.  Dean was able to share his gift of teaching as he preached several times to our Congregation during the spring and summer.   The other missionaries faced challenges and changes to their ministries as well. Please remember to faithfully pray for and support the missionaries   and organizations that CEFC is supporting.

Names of Missionaries Area Where Serving Organization Location
 Akers Freedom Community Church in Lehighton Care Net Carbon County
 Blough With Christar in Kentucky Camp Orchard Hill EFC Camp in Dallas, PA
Goodrow AWANA missionary in Northeast U.S. Child Evangelism Fellowship Carbon and Lehigh Counties
Killar Women at Risk in Thailand Peaceful Knights Lehighton
Miller Source of Light Ministries in Kentucky Touch the World Cuba
Overholt Thailand but presently serving in Hershey, PA    
Portillo Italy    
Shogren Costa Rica    

Slatina Church

(Adi & Nicoleta Popescu)

Taylor UNTO(part of CRU) Texas    

Respectfully submitted,

  Barb Leiby for the Missions Committee

  Jenn Florea, Lori Hoppes, Rick and Barb Leiby, Mark and Dale Tripp

Worship Ministry

This was an interesting year for the worship team! I’m sure any ministry group would probably say the same about 2020. We are truly blessed with a very devoted team of musicians and singers! It’s a usual occurrence for most of us to actually arrive at practices early and ready to worship together.

This past year found us in some quite different configurations with our online early spring worship done mostly from the Shelly living room with my daughters and an Easter worship outdoors on a windy crisp day under our church carport with Jordan joining us.

Then there was the springtime “drive in” worship which was different for us; worshipping in front of a lot of car windshields.

When we finally returned to in-person worship inside the sanctuary, we were thrilled to be able to connect face to face in worship with our church family! I personally am enjoying the relaxed atmosphere in our auditorium with the lawn chairs! It feels a lot like a family picnic setting!

While COVID has been a challenge, it’s also given us all an opportunity to find creative ways to connect with each other in worship. I miss the close connectedness of our normal worship, the handshakes and the hugs, but I’m glad that we can still come together and sing and open God’s Word together! We are so blessed to have Randy and Kathy Keeley as our transition pastor team. It is such a great opportunity for us to have Randy to help us to grow into what God has for us as a church.

Gary Shelly for Worship Team

Carol Taylor, Carson Schoener, Lee Siglin, Dave Marks, Dorothy Getz, JoAnne Lictenwalner, Lori Hoppes, Jordan Lictenwalner


We are so thankful for the ability to hold AWANA in person this year.  We have put in place some social distancing measures, and wear masks, hand sanitizer, etc… just like when we have church.  We registered 31 children for club and have been averaging about 27 or so each night.

I want to thank each of the directors:

  • Charlene Kunkel has been the Cubbies Director (preschool).  Pray for us as we look for a replacement for her for this coming year.
  • Jenn Florea has been leading Sparks (K – 2nd grade).
  • Joanne Lichtenwalner is the TNT (grades 3-6) director.

Each night has a theme and we try to tie it all in with the Bible lesson, although sometimes we are just having fun.  We held a Harvest Fair in October and saw almost 50 children come.  In the spring we will be having a Rain Gutter Regatta, racing boats down 10 foot long rain gutters.  We pray these special events draw more kids, where they will ultimately hear the gospel.

Most importantly, we are helping the children to hide God’s word in their hearts.  Pray that God’s word plants a seed in their lives for future growth.  Pray that we can explain the scripture to them in a way they understand.  Pray that we can reach out to the family also when they are in need.  Pray for our safety with COVID.  We had to shut down club for a few weeks in January while many of us recovered from it.

Thank you to my amazing leaders, game directors, song leader, secretary, and helpers.  We will plant the seeds and God will give the increase.  Come see what AWANA is like any Wednesday night at 6 pm.  It is exciting.  If you would like to help, contact me.

Carol Taylor

CEFC AWANA Ministry Leader

Prayer Chain

What an awesome responsibility and privilege it has been being part of the Prayer Chain…to be called on at a time of someone’s greatest need and/or urgent requests for help or healing from our Almighty, All Knowing God and Father. We see the impossible happen on our knees. People comforted, strengthened, healed, protected and ministered to as we lift them up to our Heavenly Father on our knees. We know the LORD always hears our urgent, heartfelt prayers and answers them in the best possible way…they are never in vain!

Everyone on the Prayer Chain is valued and appreciated and is blessed ministering to God’s children in this most loving, caring and powerful way. Someday we will learn of how important these prayers were and the impact they had and how God, in his perfect wisdom, answered them.

We welcome and extend an open invitation to anyone who senses God’s call to join our prayer warriors. Thank and praise the LORD for so great a calling! We an awesome God we serve!

In His service and for His glory,

Lois Woodring

Prayer Chain Leader

P.S. to the Prayer Chain

We also now have a Call Chain for emergency closings. If we must cancel church for any reason, we have a Call Chain leader (Althea Lorah) who makes a few initial phone calls to get the chain started so the members of our congregation who don’t use email can be informed.

Ladies Bible Study

To say that 2020 has been an unusual year would be a gross understatement. When the COVID19 virus hit us, we were unable to finish our Spring 2020 study. Finally, in October 2020 we started our new study; Precept Ministries International, “Forgiveness: Breaking the Power of the Past.”  We managed to get the first half done. When we tried to get the second half of our book started, snow and freezing rain prevented us from starting. We were finally able to resume our study and it has been a wonderful study.

Our first lessons were on the life of Joseph and how after many years of problems in his life, he was able to forgive his brothers and see how God work everything out for him when was willing to turn it all over to God. As Christians, God is asking the same of us. Just turn our lives to Him and He will work miracles in our lives.

Keep us in your prayers. With God’s help, we will be able to get through the remaining lessons on Tuesday evenings and Friday mornings.

Althea Lorah

Ladies Bible Study Leader

Visiting Friends

The COVID19 virus has definitely put a damper on our visiting. Each one of us would like to be serving the Lord as part of our Ladies Visiting Friends group. We have only been able to visit two of our individuals in their homes. We have been very careful as to not bring any sickness to them. These visits have been requested and approved by the families of those we have visited. As of yet, we have not been able to visit any of the Nursing Homes.

Our prayers are that God will work out something for us so that we can start visiting again. We want to bring joy to those we visit. Please pray with us as we wait on the Lord.

Althea Lorah for our group:

Elizabeth Briener, Chrystal Gilbert and KC, Mary Ann Klotz. Creda Sebia, Jill Tarr, Donna White, Lois Woodring, Mary Zellner

New Commandment Ministries

The Food Pantry

Though the New Commandment Ministry has had its ups and downs during 2020, a wonderful ministry came out of the effort. The CEFC Food Pantry, run by Tonya Sterling and Dale Tripp has boomed in terms of growth. The Food Pantry serves families in the community once a month and the donations we have received have been amazing.

There have been several monetary donations. We have used these to add to our supplies and put in more shelves.

Tonya Sterling contacted other food pantries in Minersville and Lehighton who have donated food trucks of fresh produce. This enabled the food pantry to provide even more to those in need in the community as well as church members. The hours of the CEFC Food Pantry have changed to every 3rd Saturday of the month from 9AM – 12 Noon to better serve the community. However, emergency needs will also be handled.

Jillian Stone

New Commandment Ministry Leader

Dale Tripp & Tonya Sterling

New Commandment Ministry – Food Pantry Leaders

Card Ministry

Our goal in starting the welcome table was to be able to get a better understand of who was attending regularly attending and then stopped attending. Once we could determine that, Dale Tripp, who oversees the card ministry, sends out a Thinking of You card just to let those people, or our shut-ins know we are thinking about them. Dale also sends out Get Well Cards and Sympathy cards to those who aren’t feeling well or families who have lost a loved one top let them know we are praying for them.

Dale Tripp

New Commandment – Card Ministry Leader

Family Fellowship

One of the areas of ministry that really suffered in 2020 because of COVID, was our Family Fellowship time. We’ve been slowing starting our special events up again and finding new and creative ways to be COVID-friendly. Our first get together of 2021 was “Movie Night” on February 27th.  We plan on meeting again the 4th Saturday of each month at 6 PM.

Mark & Dale Tripp

Family Fellowship Ministry Leaders

Meals Ministry

Since 0ctober 2020, 17 Meal Ministry cooks have made a total of 42 meals that ministered to those with various ailments and injuries. I would like to give a big “Thanks” to those who have been willing to serve in this ministry. You have blessed so many with your food, visits during drop offs and given those in need a chance to rest and heal.

Lisa Krouse

Meals Ministry Leader

Hebrews 6:10 “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

Sister Chix

As some of you know, Sister Chix came about out of a dinner for women I knew who were either widowed or divorced. It was never mean to be a ministry. However, it seems that God had other plans. The ladies enjoyed meeting together so much that we all decided we wanted to meet on a regular basis and so our ministry Sister Chix was born! You might say, we came out of our shells that night. J

So Sister Chix became a ministry for women who have lost their husbands either through death or divorce. We have been together for 7 years so far and God keeps adding to our number. Some ladies leave after they feel they are able to move on, others have been with us since the beginning in 2013. Ladies bring other ladies who are grieving and so the group adds new women to minister to each year.

From the beginning we have wanted to grow the group nationwide; sort of like Women of Faith. We had a retreat planned for May of 2020 but COVID put our plans on hold. We were very disappointed because we saw the retreat as the start of moving the concept of Sister Chix to other churches, starting with churches in Pennsylvania.  However…God gave us a new direction!  Sister Chix now has a website that we hope to market throughout the nation. The goal is to have information on the website that other churches could then adapt for their own churches as a way to care for women who have lost their husbands.

The mission of the group is to care for each other, pray for each other, and support each other emotionally, spiritually and practically. Our monthly meeting consists of eating a meal together, praying together, sharing the difficulties we go through as women without husbands, and having a devotional together. The ultimate goal is to help women in this season of their lives to completely rely on God as their provider, protector, counselor, and “husband” rather than jumping into another relationship too soon as a means of escaping the pain.

God has been so good to us and we have grown so much closer to Him by helping each other to recognize His faithfulness and love in our lives since the loss of our husbands. God is always faithful and loving, but as women who have lost a husband, we are able to see the evidence of this in a very deep and rich way.

Please check out our website at and consider sharing it with a woman you may know who has lost her husband.

Trusting God,

Jillian Stone for Sister Chix

Donna, Doreen, Barb, Bonnie, April, Marge, Lorraine, Sandy, Lewanne

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