Several years ago, a prayerful conversation started and we began to prepare our hearts for the season of transition that our church family entered this past year. We have been deeply blessed and inspired by Pastor Bill and Teresa Ellis’ 32 years of loving, faithful, and sacrificial service to the Lord. We have watched them shepherd the Riverside family through so many stages in the life of our church. We give thanks to God for the beautiful legacy they left for us to continue to build upon.
Thank you for trusting Amie and me with this new role and for allowing us the privilege of continuing our service to the Lord as a part of the RCC family. Your expressions of love, support, and prayer have blessed us as we learn new levels of dependence upon the Holy Spirit in what has proven to be a particularly challenging time. We face new realities as followers of Jesus in a world that has been torn apart in so many different ways. But thanks be to God – He is faithful and remains in control of it all!
Amie and I have been studying, praying through, and meditating upon a passage from the story where King David passed the torch of leadership to his son Solomon. The focus was the plan to build the Temple for the Lord. Consider these encouraging words from a father to a son as they step into their succession …
“Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary … be strong and do the work … be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” 1 Chronicles 28:10, 20 (NIV)
During this year of succession, our constant reminder has been Do The Work … keep building the house – the family of Riverside. In a year of so much chaos – from a global pandemic to social unrest to the tension and division of an election year, we have sought to focus on helping kids, students, young adults, and adults find and follow Jesus. I’m so grateful for all that you do to help make our church the healthy, special community that it is!
This year has also been one of transition for our staff as we saw Dave Longstreth and Dana Nichols step off of our leadership team after many years of faithful service. I’m so glad they’re still a part of the family! I’m thankful for the addition of Jay Newland in Oakmont and for the new roles Michael Evans, Joshua Kennard, and Melissa Terebessy have stepped into at the Mills. We have an incredible team who desires to love you well and serve with a passionate zeal as they honor the Lord with their callings, gifts, talents, and treasures. I’m fortunate to serve alongside these dedicated, hard-working leaders!
In addition to our staff, we are blessed to be led by an exceptional Board of Deacons – Andrea Bender, Lee Huffman, Mark Schubert, Taylor Schubert, and Mike Wolf. Their prayers, encouragement, support, and guidance in a year of uncertainty have been life-giving and have helped us carry the burden of ministering in a year unlike any other. Their belief in our mission and core values has enabled us to remain steady and committed to revering, connecting, and contributing to the world around us.
As you watch the videos from each of our team leaders and their ministry areas, I hope you’ll offer prayers of thanksgiving for all that was accomplished this past year in Jesus’ Name. Keep in mind that when you sacrificially gave, you were investing in changed lives! And though it looked significantly different than any of us could have dreamed, we continue to do the work and build His house. I hope you’ll join me in praying, “May Your kingdom come and may Your will be done.”
With my love,
David Kennard // Lead Pastor
In 2020 we financially supported 15 missionaries in 11 countries as well as 11 local ministry organizations on a regular monthly basis. We raised over $50,000 to feed children through Convoy of Hope’s One Day to Feed the World offering and we coordinated the distribution of two semi-truckloads worth of food through 9 regional partners. Your generosity has allowed us to come alongside others to provide over $25,000 through our Pandemic Emergency Fund. We raised $6,650 to provide necessary updates to children’s facilities in Myanmar through our SEAPC Care for Kids campaign. We raised $3,800 for our 5 local food banks and we were able to provide 66 gifts for over 20 kids during our Christmas Giving Tree initiative. We’re also thrilled to report that in a year filled with so many challenges our bell ringing campaign set a new record as we helped to raise $25,000 for the Salvation Army!
You served the needs of our surrounding communities by providing free community dinners, stocking the Little Food Pantries all across our area, volunteering at The Blessing Board, The Building Block of Natrona, Light of Life, visiting the homeless, ringing bells for the Salvation Army’s kettle campaign, and donating food, toiletries, and clothing to our annual food/clothing drives. Bless you for seeing the many needs and responding with selfless, sacrificial generosity. We do more as a church when everyone gives and participates, even in small ways; it adds up to make a very big difference in our world! And there is no better return on investment than the return we will one day see when God’s Kingdom is fully and finally established. Thank you for contributing to the needs around us both near and far!
To watch the highlight videos of our two Convoy of Hope food distributions click on the pics below.
- Kevin & Sandy Barner, Asia Pacific
- Missionaries to China
- Bryan & Kimberly Burr, Kenya
- Dan & Debbie Ecker (First Light Ministries), Thailand
- South East Asia Prayer Center, Southeast Asia
- Scott & Karen Hanson, East Africa Region
- International Justice Mission, Cambodia
- Chad & Terri Nelson, Dominican Republic
- New Hope For Orphans, Cambodia
- Missionaries to India
- Tim & Kelly Pollick, Indonesia
- John Paul & Paula Sprecher, Global
- Alex Bryant Ministries
- Allegheny Valley Young Life
- The Blessing Board Oakmont
- The Building Block of Natrona
- Compassion Network,
- Cutting Edge Relief
- Free Little Pantry - 12 locations
- Lead The Generation
- Life Choices
- Light of Life Ministries
- Lower Valley Cooperative Ministries Community Food Bank
- Rosedale Food Pantry
- Salvation Army Food Bank (New Kensington)
- Adult & Teen Challenge, Western PA
- University of Valley Forge
- Verona United Methodist Church - Food Bank
- Women’s Choice Network
- Young Lives, Penn Hills