REV. DR. CHRISTOPHER D. RODKEY
"Pastor Chris" has been our minister since 2012. A native of Columbia, Lancaster County, he is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Drew University, holding a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion. Pastor Chris is passionate about St. Paul's, our community, and the Good News of Jesus for our world come of age.
Pastor Chris's "life verse" is John 3:17 (quoted from the NRSV Bible):
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world
to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through him.
You will find his sermons challenging, provocative, and Biblical. The goal of his preaching is to be instructive in understanding the Bible and its historical contexts and in applying Biblical knowledge to the present, for individual participants to be inspired as co-interpreters and Biblical agents in their lives beyond the walls of the church.
To do this, some of his sermons are the traditional kind where the Bible is read, followed by the sermon. At other times he preaches right from the Bible, line-by-line, to teach the scriptures in a deep way.
Chris found his way into the ministry after being forced out of the United Methodist Church while in seminary over his belief in the inclusion of lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons in the church. His perspective is to attempt to rethink Christianity for a hurting world that the church has generally shunned.
Prior to coming to St. Paul's Chris was pastor of a rural church in Lebanon, PA, and was a youth and young adult minister for eight years. He has also worked in prison, homeless, and higher education ministries.
Pastor Chris and his family live in Dallastown, where they are engaged in scouting, karate, dance classes, school activities. Chris is an active member of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon and sits on a committee with the school district.
As an academic, Chris teaches at York College and at Penn State York, where he has been awarded the James H. Burness Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has authored numerous articles and books, including three devotional coloring books (Coloring Advent, Coloring Lent, and Coloring Women of the Bible) which were created from inter-generational ministry experiences at St. Paul's.
His Amazon author page is here.
You can e-mail him here.
Services Provided by Pastor and Congregation
Pastor Chris is available for prayer, pastoral care, counseling, and special services, including hospital visitation, home blessings, community consultations, communion, weddings, child dedications, naming ceremonies, and baptisms.
Community or activist partnerships: We are happy to partner with local organizations in the community whose values align with God's call for a just, loving world.
Volunteer Opportunities: We can connect potential volunteers, church members or not church members, to community service based on your interests.
Baptisms are normally done as part of our Sunday morning worship service. We baptize both children and adults. We will honor requests for second baptisms and child dedications.
Church Membership is one way individuals and families declare a commitment to the life and ministry of St. Paul's. Membership is not required to participate in our public events and worship. Membership is required to be in a position of leadership, teach or lead a children's program, or vote as part of the congregation.
Weddings are performed in and outside of the church. Fee structures differ for members and non-members. We can also host small to medium-sized wedding receptions. Pastor Chris will honor requests for private weddings on-site or off-site. As an open and affirming church, we celebrate all forms of marriage between loving couples.
Counseling and pastoral care are available for church members and residents of our surrounding community in the church office or in a clinical environment (hospital, nursing home). Pastor Chris is an APPA-certified client counselor and takes a problem-solving approach to counseling.
Premarital counseling: Pastor Chris offers and is trained to administer the Prepare/Enrich premarital assessment, which couples may do together before or after they are married. Church members are required to do premarital counseling with the pastor or with another trained professional.
Funerals and Memorial Services: We can host large funerals for both members and non-members. Pastor Chris will also help with memorial services and funerals off-site, including for individuals who can not afford a traditional funeral. Please call the church for details.
Rentals: We often host special events by community or church members. Please call the office for more information.
The whole congregation
Open and Affirming Covenant
We are an Open and Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ. Our ONA covenant was accepted by a unanimous vote by our congregation, which makes a clear and explicit welcome to all:
Nationalities and status of citizenship
Sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions
Persons with disabilities, including developmental and intellectual disabilities
Veterans and those who serve in the armed forces
Families of every variety
Those who are single, divorced, or separated
Widows and widowers
Those of all economic strata and educational backgrounds
Those struggling with addictions and those who are in recovery
Children and nursing mothers
Seekers and doubters
Saints and sinners
All are invited equally into ministry and the full religious life of St. Paul's United Church of Christ.