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United Church of Christ welcomes new conference minister

| Thursday, July 10, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
The Rev. David Ackerman, the former pastor of Trauger United Church of Christ, has been named conference chair for 108 United Church of Christ congregations in eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.

The Rev. David Ackerman will be on familiar ground when he begins work next month in Greensburg as conference minister for the Penn West Conference of the United Church of Christ.

Ackerman, 46, who grew up in Export, was elected to the post during the conference's annual meeting in May.

He will be responsible for 108 churches in Western Pennsylvania and Garrett and Allegany counties in Maryland.

“I'm absolutely thrilled by it,” Ackerman said. “It's something I've given a lot of prayer and thought to. To be able to serve in this way, in my home — it's an honor beyond words.”

Ackerman explained his role will be to serve as a facilitator between churches and pastors. In addition, he will be involved in the search and call process for prospective ministers.

He served 21 years as pastor at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Trauger, Mt. Pleasant Township.

In 1993, he graduated with a master of divinity from Harvard University. He received his bachelor's degree from Grove City College and graduated in 1986 from Franklin Regional High School.

Ackerman has been a delegate at two general synods of the United Church of Christ.

He is the author of several publications, including “Beyond the Lectionary: A Year of Alternatives to the Revised Common Lectionary.”

The book contains sermons that Ackerman developed since 2009 that are focused on portions of the Bible not frequently explored as part of the three-year cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary — a collection of readings in keeping with the liturgical year.

Ackerman has directed camps at Living Waters in Bedford County, and served on the boards of Triangle Meals on Wheels and the St. Vincent Prevention Project.

He is the son of Becky and Senior Westmoreland County Judge David Ackerman.

Ackerman and his wife, Marsha, a high school math teacher in the Ligonier Valley School District, recently moved to a home in Unity.

“So far, so good,” Ackerman said of his new home. “I've been doing a little weeding and I got a little poison ivy; but other that, it's good. It's very much home for us.”

In his free time, the former cross-country coach at Greater Latrobe High School enjoys running, fly-fishing, biking, reading and writing.

He expects to spend time learning his duties after he officially starts Aug. 1 in the conference's headquarters on South Maple Avenue in Greensburg.

“I think there's going to be a time of learning the ropes,” Ackerman said. “I can't anticipate any drastic, immediate decisions right from the get-go. I want to learn and grow into the position.”

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or