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Kish Valley welcomes new pastor

Doug Sabin retires after 36 years in ministry

REEDSVILLE — Since taking on his position as pastor at Kish Valley Grace Brethren, Luke Shinskie has had a number of people comment that it was “quite the time to become a pastor.”

“I often have replied, ‘I didn’t pick the time, God picked the time.'”

Shinskie was voted into his position in November 2019, replacing longtime Pastor Doug Sabin, who built it up from a small missions church and held the position for 36 years.

A Lewistown High School graduate, Shinskie attended Penn State University, then Biblical Seminary in Hatfield.

“I hope to continue to share the greatness of the gospel of Jesus, to build healthy relationships both within the church as well as with family structures and be open to serving and helping Mifflin County be a better place as a whole,” Shinskie said.

A former math teacher at Mifflin County School District, Shinskie attended Kish Valley Grace Brethren as a congregant. When Sabin announced his retirement, Shinskie decided it was time to try a new role.

He started in his position in June under Pastor Sabin and organized his first official service on Aug. 2.

Sabin has taken six months away from the church to allow Shinskie to get himself settled into his position before coming back to join the congregation.

“I am tremendously thankful for him and his selflessness and humility in encouraging me,” Shinskie said. “He had a faithful ministry here for years. For me to pastor at a church where I already knew a lot of people has been a blessing.”

Shinskie said he is excited to be working alongside other staff members, including: Pastor Chris Garland, student ministry; Jodi Cram, office administrator; Larry Kauffman, worship leader; Adam Weaver, children’s ministry director and Terry Knouse, financial secretary.

Shinskie has been married to his wife, Ingrid, for 10 years. Together, they have three children, Audrey, 7, Abram, 5, and Enid, 8 months.

He is also involved in outdoors activities like hunting, fishing, biking, birdwatching and hiking. He also enjoys reading and woodworking.

Kish Valley Grace Brethren holds mask mandatory services at 8:30 a.m. Sunday mornings and a mask optional service at 10 a.m. Sundays. Services are also live streamed on Youtube at KishValleyGVC.

Sabin retires after 36 years

Originally from New Jersey, Sabin took his position in January 1984 and has overseen immense growth from what started as a small home missions church that met in a basement and accepted visiting pastors.

“Little by little, it started to grow,” Sabin said, explaining that land was purchased to build a church in 1987 and that it has expanded several times since then.

Through his ministry, Sabin said he kept the church’s mission statement, “Real life, one person at a time.”

“I look at changes in people more than accomplishments,” he said. “We have a beautiful group of people at our church. If anything would be considered successful, those are the reasons why. We’ve done a lot of things. We had mission trips and we’ve started ministries, but it’s the changes in people’s lives that mean the most to me.”

Sabin described feeling humbled during a surprise retirement dinner that was held in honor of he and his wife.

“The testimonies from people and the beautiful words and cards were so humbling and encouraging because usually those are the things that are said at someone’s funeral and I had the privileged of hearing that…I kind of evaluate the success of my ministry not so much by programs…but in changed lives,” he said. “I don’t take the credit for it because there are a lot of factors that play in to it. I look at that as the biggest accomplishment is changed lives.”

Sabin said he credits his supportive wife, Barbara, who has “kept the home fires burning. She has really encouraged me along the way.”

Sabin maintains the importance of keeping Christ central in church ministry.

“Any accomplishments that I’ve been able to achieve — very little of it ultimately is because of anything that I can lay claim to,” he said.

Now, Sabin is enjoying the retired life, but does miss the connection with his congregation. He has decided to take a six month hiatus from Kish Valley to allow the congregation to reconnect with Pastor Luke.

“During this time, we are trying to take a rest and get rejuvenated for the next step, whatever that may look like,” he said. “We are loving retirement and that we are able to spend more time with family and on hobbies.”

Sabin has been married to for 45 years to his wife, Barbara. Together, they have three children and nine grandchildren.

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