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Longtime educator becomes pastor at Meed’s Memorial UMC

He knew it was time.

John Mylecraine was an educator for the past 20 years. He was a special-education teacher for 15 and a principal at Warren County Technical School in rural New Jersey for five more.

Now, he has a new title. The Rev. John Mylecraine.

And his first day on the job for Meed’s Memorial UMC in Nesquehoning was on Wednesday.

“It’s kind of the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me,” Mylecraine said. “I always kind of planned to go into the ministry. When I was in high school, it’s something that I planned to do. I took one of those years off between college and the ministry and took a job as a teacher’s aide, quickly became a teacher and 20 years later - I’ve been in public education for 20 years.”

Mylecraine, his wife and two children have been living in Lake Hauto for about two years. Mylecraine said his grandfather, who passed about 10 years ago, built his home in the 1970s with his own hands. The time eventually came to make a decision - to sell the house or move to Pennsylvania.

“As soon as we moved out here, I started Googling the local conference.” The first thing that popped up was their local pastor licensing school. Then on a leap of faith, I started down that road. I started following the steps and I got hooked up with a great church out here, Grace-St. Paul’s in Jim Thorpe. The world just kind of started pushing me in the direction of serving and what the lord expects and wants for me, and trying to help others to do that.”

Mylecraine is excited to get to work and meet everyone in the Nesquehoning area, and those involved with Meed’s Memorial UMC. It’s been tough to do so due to COVID-19, but he has been proactive and improvising.

Mylecraine has constructed a brochure with information about himself, the church’s website (meedsumc.org) is updated and he has been calling as many people as possible.

“I’ve been reaching out to all of the members of the congregation personally, even just to let them hear my voice and put myself out there digitally as well, so they can see what I’m all about. We’re trying to reach out to everybody.”

For now, Mylecraine will use the church’s YouTube channel to conduct services. However, he said the church will resume on-site services on July 19.

“We do have a large sanctuary, so we will be social distancing and wearing masks,” he added.

Meed’s currently offers a number of services. A free monthly community dinner, a free daily lunch for children five days per week and also the food bank.

“I definitely come into the ministry as someone that just wants to be a humble servant of God. To follow where God is leading. I don’t come in with an agenda, or it has to be my way. That’s not who I am. I’m not here to tell people what to do. I’m here to help them build a closer relationship with God and help the community.”

Mylecraine will be busy, as his appointment is a quarter time and he will still teach in New Jersey. He’s ready for the challenge and is exactly where he wants to be.

“My wife and my kids are on board. I have a 9- and 7-year-old; they can’t wait to help with the church. … We all couldn’t be more excited, and I personally couldn’t be happier following where God wants me to go.”

The Mylecraine family is seen on the back porch of their home. From left, Henry, Sheena, the Rev. John and Jack. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO