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Local pastor to pick up where Bernstine leaves off

When March 1 arrives, Tammey Aichner, will assume the position of director of the United Churches of Lycoming County and when she talks about her new job her excitement is infectious because she knows God has placed her there for His purpose. It was really a God moment, Aichner shared, one that took several years and many prayers to come to fruition. “I have been praying, not knowing what I was praying for, for a very long time,” she said. “Just, how can I continue to just praise and give glory to God? How can I just worship Him? What can I do in my life to have more of that?” Aichner, who is a pastor at First Church of Christ Disciples and also does Campus Ministry for United Churches, admitted that had been her prayer for years. Then about four years ago, she had been offered a promotion at the company where she had worked for 25 years. It would have meant more time away from her family and no time off at all. When she finally needed to make the decision whether to take it, she declined because of her commitment to her ministry. She noted that once the decision was made, she felt a peace about it. She then received a call about interviewing for the pastor’s position where she now serves. “Over the course of those years, I kept praying. What does it look like? How can I pursue more ministry? How can I continue to glorify God in everything I do,” she said. A little over a year ago, she said she expressed the thought that she would love to be able to do “something like Gwen does.” About a week later, someone shared with her that Bernstine was considering retiring. This person also said she could see Aichner fulfilling similar duties.

“She sits in my office and prays for that. That God’s wisdom and God’s hand would be on whatever decision is made,” Aichner said. This past summer, when the Shepherd of the Streets announced his retirement, Aichner decided, after wrestling with the decision, to apply for the position. After being interviewed for that position, she was notified that the search had narrowed to her and the person who eventually was hired for that position. Aichner, however, was then offered the director’s position at UCLC. She will also be able to continue with the Campus Ministry Program, which she admitted she loves. “God is just amazing in His timing and in how everything works. There is no way in my human mind that I would have imagined something like this to be possible or to have been able to have orchestrated it,” she shared. One of the things that Aichner plans to focus on in her new position is getting the word out about what the United Churches is and what it does. “My immediate vision is that we really create more awareness of United Churches. I think within the circle we have kind of taken it for granted that everyone knows about United Churches,” she said. She added that outside of that circle many people in the community did not know what that was or what it does. “That is probably going to be something that I’m going to address initially, is just awareness,” she said. “Getting out there and to introduce us and to share what it is that we do in this community.” Aichner would like to increase the group’s social media presence as well as get out into the community once restrictions for the pandemic are lifted. Referring to some of the new ideas that are being brought into the group because of recent changes in committee positions. “It’s an exciting time for United Churches,” she asserted.

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