LEWISTOWN - For decades, pastor's wife Narda Druckenmiller supported her husband's ministries from the pew.
But last November, the Milroy woman reversed roles when she began serving as the lay pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Lewistown.
Druckenmiller said she has had a desire to become a minister since she was a young child. It was not until after the family's three children grew up that she decided to pursue a pastorship through the denomination's 21st century lay ministry program.
Narda Druckenmiller is the new pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Lewistown.
A licensed lay pastor, Druckenmiller will be installed at 3 p.m. Sunday at Trinity, Oak Street, Lewistown.
Already, the small but active congregation has initiated children's programs under Druckenmiller's leadership.
The church hosts a Thursday night children's choir program with music, snacks and learning activities that draw youth from the community as well as the church.
A new children's church program also functions during the worship hour. Children spend half of the worship service with family before going a separate children's program.
Druckenmiller also is considering starting a Good News Club at the church, a children's ministry that she grew up with.
While many of Trinity's members are older, they are welcoming and open to ministry in the community, she said.
"I'm trying to find opportunities for them to pray about," Druckenmiller said. "We want to go beyond our four walls. Ministry means reaching out."
They have a great love for others, she said, telling the story of a young woman who recently visited the church and commented that she never felt so welcomed by a congregation.
The beautiful stone and wood building has been faithfully taken care of by its members, the pastor said. She hopes to challenge them to take care of their spiritual growth, too.
The church has worked through many challenges, she said. Its denomination, the UCC, usually is the first denomination to stick its neck out on controversial issues, and therefore the churches get labeled a lot, she said.
"We don't stay away from issues," Druckenmiller said. "We meet issues head on."
Still, the denomination basically allows its churches to hold their own beliefs, whether they be conservative or liberal, she said. Some UCC churches are pro-life, some are pro-choice, she said.
Most importantly, the UCC stresses love and acceptance of everyone, Druckenmiller said, referring to Jesus' greatest commandment to "love your neighbor."
Druckenmiller lives in Milroy with her husband, Bruce, who has been a pastor for 32 years. He currently serves as the director of Hartman Center and the director of outdoor ministries for the Penn Central Conference of the UCC since 2002.