St. Matthew's UCC in Kunkletown extended the call to the Rev. Suzanne Brooks-Cope to be the full-time pastor. She accepted and was installed on Sunday, Jan. 27.
The service was conducted by several guest pastors.
Pastor Brooks-Cope's husband, the Rev. Scott Brooks-Cope, director of Pastoral Care of Phoebe Ministries, welcomed everyone. He gave the Charge to the Congregation. He also sang her favorite hymn, "Here I Am Lord," accompanying himself on the piano and accompanied by their son, Taylor, on the cello.
The Rev. Jeff Brinks, pastor of Greenawalds UCC in Allentown gave the Call to Confession and the Exhortation; the Rev. Allen Heckman, pastor of Zion UCC, Lehighton read the Epistle lesson; the Rev. Laura Stone, pastor of the United Presbyterian Church, Slatington read the Gospel Lesson; the Rev. Steve Shussett, Executive Presbyter at Lehigh Presbytery, conducted the Covenant with the Rev. Alan Miller and offered the Prayer of Installation.
The Brooks-Copes' dear and longtime friends, the Rev. Tom Albright, pastor at Ripple, Allentown and his wife, Carolyn Albright, lay pastor at Ripple in Allentown, participated in the service. The Rev. Albright offered Prayers of the People and led the congregation in the Lord's Prayer. Mrs. Ripple gave the Charge to the pastor.
The Rev. Alan Miller, the Penn Northeast Conference minister, gave the sermon, titled "If Only I Didn't Have to Work with the General Public," an often amusing but inspirational message. He also conducted the Declaration part of the service.
Leon Barlieb, St. Matthew's UCC's council vice president and Dan Wunder, past council president of St. Matthew's, also participated in conducting the service.
The choir, led by music director/organist Daniel Smale, sang "I Will Serve the Lord All My Days" by N. Price and D. Besig.
St. Matthew's held a reception immediately after the service to celebrate the new pastor's installation and also the 25th anniversary of her ordination. The Rev. Faith Williams was the pastor who gave the prayer before the meal. She is a half-time chaplain at Phoebe Ministries and a part-time pastor in a UCC church north of Philadelphia.
Of Pastor Brooks-Cope's four children, two were able to attend her sons, Taylor and Timothy. The couple's older children, Patricia and Trevor, live out of state.
Pastor Brooks-Cope was born in Baltimore, Md. and graduated from Hollins College in Roanoke, Va., a biology major studying pre-med and active in chapel and religious activities on campus. After graduation, she did a year of full-time volunteer work, joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corp (JVC), where she was placed in an inner city health clinic while living in a Christian community. She continued working with JVC for two more years in an outreach center for the homeless.
She enrolled in Princeton Theological Seminary where she met her future husband, who was also a student. They both worked at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital as student chaplains and married while attending their second year.
After they graduated, the Rev. Scott Brooks-Cope accepted a call as pastor of Lower Saucon UCC and she, as associate pastor of Zion UCC in Lehighton.
Her husband then accepted a call to begin a new UCC church in Jacksonville, Fla. and they moved there in 1992.
She served two churches in Florida, first as assistant pastor at Orange Park Presbyterian (six-plus years) and then as pastor of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, (almost 13 years.)
A little over a year ago, her husband accepted his current position at Phoebe Ministries in Allentown. She agreed to be St. Matthew's UCC's Stated Supply pastor until she accepted the call as full-time pastor.
"It is a joy and honor to be installed as the pastor of St. Matthews," said the Rev. Brooks-Cope. "While serving this past year as the Stated Supply pastor, I have found St. Matthews to be a warm and loving church family that looks after each other and cares for its surrounding community. I look forward to helping St. Matthew's complete its vision of a having a more accessible church building that will be able to offer improved meeting space for all ages.
"I also look forward to helping the congregation discern its strengths from its past as we seek to follow God's will for our church family in the future. On Jan. 17, I celebrated my 25th anniversary of ordination. I have been blessed to serve four wonderful congregations and look forward to my time in Kunkletown."