Sunday Worship Service 11:00am Office Hours: M-TH 8:30am - 12:00pm
First United Methodist Church - Ellwood City
Monday, January 21, 2019
416 Crescent Avenue, Ellwood City, PA 16117 -- Reverend Angelique Bradford -- 724-758-6278

Lay Leader

Words from our Lay Leader, Jerry Rectenwald

Miracle, Bread and Sign

     Well, we did it again! Our church put on yet another successful Turkey Dinner. “The Miracle of the Turkeys”, as Bill Kness calls it, is always challenging. But great leadership and a tremendous effort by dedicated folks made the miracle happen again. Thanks, church. You’re awesome!

     The pots and pans had hardly cooled before we were at it again! As our church does whenever the Lincoln High School Musical has two Saturday shows, we provided a pasta dinner for the cast and crew.

     After the matinee show, hungry students, directors and musicians made the short walk across Crescent Avenue and entered the 5th Street door to the aroma of a delicious, freshly cooked meal (free of charge!). This gracious gesture was very much appreciated this year by “The Little Mermaid” gang. Thanks, church. You’re awesome!

     On November 5th and on November 12th, our church was a blessing to our community, and a witness to the inviting and generous love of God! And these are just two examples of the many ways that our church is a blessing to Ellwood City, year in and year out.

     We all know that food isn’t everything (even our Lord indicated as much when he declined the offer of some “stony devil’s food” bread). And of course most of what 1stUMCEC does week after week is non-food-related ministry.

     But there is something beautiful and meaningful about the simple act of feeding someone. The need for nourishment is basic, connecting all people. And the act of providing sustenance to a guest is a basic expression of hospitality.

     Our providing of food, in the name of Christ, points the recipient to the Divine Providence from whom all good gifts come, and to the Savior whose open arms beckon to hungry souls.

     Jesus’ first miracle recorded in the gospels was a merciful and gracious act of hospitality, as he changed water into wine, averting social embarrassment for the wedding families at Cana.

     Later, with echoes of manna in the wilderness, Jesus miraculously multiplied a child’s fish sandwich lunch, feeding thousands.

     And, most poignantly in the upper room, when instituting a holy remembrance of his imminent sacrifice on the cross, Jesus “broke bread and gave it to his disciples”.

     So, it seems very fitting that one of the main ways we serve people is by serving them food – lovingly, and in name of Jesus.

     Whether it’s for fundraising or direct ministry, we at 1stUMCEC do a lot of cooking and serving; and I hope we continue. But as we do so, I hope we always remember to reflect on the Kingdom of God sense of it as both radical hospitality and as a sign pointing to the Bread of Life.


     God’s Peace,




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Jerry Rectenwald

     I have been a member of First UMC Ellwood City since the mid 1980’s, and have been blessed and privileged to serve my congregation, my community and the world in the name and power of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, but came to personal saving faith primarily through the testimony of my wife, Sandi and her parents, Vic and Molly Brown.  Those three (United Methodist) saints remain three of my faith heroes.


     I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, one of 9 children of Bob and Audrey Rectenwald.  I met Sandi while attending college at Slippery Rock, and we married and settled in Ellwood City.  Sandi and I are the parents of four grown children, all of whom love and serve the Lord, and one child – born premature – who is with the Lord.

God has gifted Sandi and me with musical talent, and we are privileged to minister in that capacity: in our church’s praise band, and as a Christian music duo.  

     Since 1998, I have been blessed to work as a manager for a fine construction company that builds retail stores nationwide.  Prior to that, I worked in the field of Physical Therapy.

     I enjoy reading and hiking.  But my favorite thing is to spend time with my family: talking, telling stories and laughing till my stomach hurts.

     I have strong interests in Christian theology, prayer and worship.  Writing is a passion of mine, and I enjoy penning an article for our church’s monthly Newsletter.

      I have come to appreciate more the connectional nature of the UMC, and have answered God’s call to serve in leadership positions beyond my local church.  That experience has opened different avenues of ministry, and it has brought me in contact with many inspiring saints.

     I believe God has placed me at First UMC so that I may learn how to be part of a loving, forgiving, worshipping church family.  I have always been a slow learner, and it seems that every day I learn something new about being a loving Christian brother.

     I find being a disciple of Jesus to be endlessly challenging, severely humbling and immensely engaging.  I have made many mistakes.  But time and again I have been the grateful recipient of forgiveness from God and God’s people.


Sunday Worship
Sunday School: 9:45 AM
Worship Service:  11:00 AM
Office Hours
Monday - Thursday
8:30 AM - 12:00 PM