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Blawnox church pastor enjoys beat of the season

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Holy Week has a special rhythm for the Rev. Cindy McClung.

As the pastor of Hoboken Presbyterian Church in Blawnox, along with her regular ministerial beat, McClung presided over several special services.

“Christians are Easter people,” McClung said. “We're talking about being renewed, and things are popping up from the ground.”

The pastor said she especially enjoys the seasonal hymns that are filled with joy and celebration.

“Music is a real crucial part of worship. It sets the tone and creates an atmosphere,” she said. “It allows us to praise God in a specific way. I try to mix the oldies but goodies with newer hymns.”

McClung has a degree in music education and went to Westminster College.

She was planning a career as a band director when, she said, she heard the call in her mind and heart. She applied to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

However, she felt she was given an extra sign when she was offered a job as an intern minister and choir director.

She was ordained Sept. 18, 1988. She arrived at Hoboken Presbyterian Church 12 years ago as the part-time minister.

It is a smaller congregation, but she keeps to the usual pattern. She leads and preaches at the Sunday service and teaches Sunday school.

She sits on church committees and visits parishioners in the hospital or caring facilities.

She maintains open channels with her cellphone and email. This technology is especially important because of McClung's other job as full-time chaplain at Friendship Village in Upper St. Clair.

“Listening is such an important part of ministry,” she said.

Hearing what others say, how it's said and watching body language are part of the pulse of her ministry.

McClung listens to her internal voice, too.

Since her husband died, she has moved back to her hometown of Clinton in Findlay Township. From there, she travels to Upper St. Clair and Blawnox.

Spending time in her car provides a measure of quiet that McClung said enables her to think, pray and listen to music.

In the car, McClung also plans her sermons.

She likes to use stories in her sermons because “people seem to hang onto them.”

She especially enjoys the part of the service at the Blawnox church when the members of the congregation share requests for prayer and moments of happiness.

“It's a welcoming congregation, a good place to be,” McClung said.

Even though Holy Week is barely over, McClung is picking up the tempo as the church prepares for a dinner, flower sale and summer Bible school.

“I'm always preparing for the next season, long-term planning,” she said.

McClung smiles when she talks about future plans, whether they are months, or hours, or minutes away.

Sharon Drake is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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