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Salem UCC installs pastor

Salem United Church of Christ of Moorestown held an installation service recently for Pastor Donald Brown, of Whitehall.

The service was conducted by the Rev. Alan Miller, conference executive of the Penn Northeast Conference of United Church of Christ.

"My ordination is in the Presbyterian Church of USA, but since I'm serving this United Church of Christ church, I have dual standing," Brown explained. "I'm ordained in both denominations for as long as I serve this church. That's the reason why there was a delay between when I got here around the 19th of January of 2014 [and now]."

There was a delay because Brown had to take a class in history and polity within the denomination.

Brown attended seminary in 1998 at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga., and was ordained on March 5, 2005.

Brown's calling to become a pastor is "traced back to young people," he said.

Brown realized the impact he had on youth when he completed mission trips to other countries with his home church in Detroit, Mich. Brown traveled to many countries, including Israel, Palestine, Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Mexico.

One of the young adults he worked with, Matthew, a senior, had a particular impact on him. At the end of a mission trip, seniors shared what they were going to miss the most about the youth group.

"This kid, who you didn't think you were making any impact on at all, lit the candle, set it in the middle and said, 'I hope that when I get to the University of Michigan, I can find another place where I feel safe because this is the only place I feel safe in the whole world.' That makes you realize the impact that you're making and also emphasizes your responsibility that you have," Brown said. "I'm still in contact with many of them.

"That's when I realized the same kind of impact I had on young people, I could make on adults, too," Brown added

Brown hopes Salem UCC can attract younger generations again. Last summer, the church had a very successful Vacation Bible School, and church members are looking to keep that going.

"I worked really hard to revive Vacation Bible School," Brown said. "We had almost 50 kids."

Salem UCC of Moorestown is located at 2218 Community Drive, Bath. Brown welcomes all to Sunday worship services at 8 and 10:15 a.m.

PRESS PHOTO BY STACEY KOCH The Rev. Donald Brown stands at the altar of Salem United Church of Christ of Moorestown, where he now serves.