Local Methodist Churches Reorganize Their Ministers

First United Methodist Church of Kittanning celebrated 100 years in the current building in 2009. As of July 1, 2018, is the newest member of the Allegheny River Charge.

by KP intern Kyle Predmore

First United Methodist Church of Kittanning will be the newest addition to the Allegheny River Charge.

The three current members of the charge include Ford Memorial, Manorville and Union Avenue United Methodist Church.

Twelve days ago, two new pastors have been appointed to work within all four churches.

Pastor Deborah Kociban was appointed as the Senior Pastor for the charge.

“I’m responsible with what happens at all 4 of the churches and I also oversee my associate,” Kociban said. “We communicate on a regular basis several times throughout the week. We also we preach from the Revised Common Lectionary which is our standard of scripture text that will basically cover the life of Jesus Christ in a year. A lot of denominations use that. Both my associate and I will be preaching the Common Lectionary so that you can pretty much go to any of those churches. The message won’t be the same but it will be pretty similar.”

According to the Kittanning First United June/July newsletter, the new pastors will spend time working within all 4 churches in the charge, something Kociban is getting used to.

“I’m still just trying to settle in, being this is only my second week,” Kociban added. “I have main responsibilities with Kittanning First United Methodist and Union Avenue United Methodist and my associate has major responsibilities for Manorville and Ford Memorial.”

Kociban grew up near Williamsport. She worked at the Allegheny General Hospital for 25 years as a cancer research assistant and earned a B.S. in Biology. She entered seminary and was involved in night school for six years where she served at a church in North Braddock as a student pastor. In 2007, she went full time pastor and was ordained in 2010. She was appointed to the Templeton church in 2017. Now she has been appointed as the Senior Pastor for the Allegheny River Charge.

“To be honest I fell away from the church,” Kociban said. “I grew up Methodist but when I went to college, I stopped attending church frequently. It was later on after marriage, and my daughter got to be five years old, that I decided it was time for me to go back to church. The calling came when I was doing youth ministry. That is when I really felt God tugging at my heart.”

Kociban resides in Kittanning and say she has had no trouble fitting in.

“I find the people here amazing. They’re friendly, welcoming and have just accepted us with open arms.”

Her associate, Pastor Brenda Sommerville Schall will also be helping out with her new responsibilities with the charge. She was previously serving the Germany United Methodist Church in New Florence, PA.

“I spend one day a week at Manorville at their church office and two days a week at Ford Memorial,” Schall said. “I also do visitations at the hospitals and homes. We take communion in homes, to shut-ins, and some of the nursing homes.”

Schall grew up in Buckhannon, West Virginia as the oldest of eight children and currently lives in Elderton.

“I love it here,” Schall said. “I’ve lived here, or at least in the vicinity, for about 30 years. My children were raised here. My son is in the Army and my daughter works at Indiana Regional Medical Center.”

Schall loves mission work at visiting with people and that that her desire is to do what God wants of her.

“God is good,” Schall added. “He can use anyone if that’s His purpose. I feel very blessed to be doing what I’m doing and feel very good about the charge that we are at now. God has us here for a reason. “