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About Second Church

Second is a thriving family of faith including about 550+ members of all ages in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  We’ve been making disciples who make a difference in our world since 1833.  We are a member congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

We call ourselves a “Second Family” because God has adopted all of us and made us brothers and sisters of Christ. 

Maybe you’ve been Christian for a while.  Or maybe you’re skeptical of what people say about Jesus.  Or maybe you’ve been burned by so-called Christians.  You’ll be in good company at Second. In our Family, you can share your doubts and hopes, experience the life-changing power of God, and join Jesus in his mission of love.

What kind of congregation is Second?

A Great One!


O.k., seriously:  We are a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest and oldest Presbyterian body in the country.  But almost half of our members grew up in other denominations, including our Senior Pastor. We have much in common with all of our Christian friends, especially Methodists, Lutherans, and members of Brethren in Christ and Church of the Brethren congregations.  Several members came from no faith background at all.  And now they are fully-devoted followers of Jesus Christ.  We also have members from Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Baptist, UCC, and Congregational traditions. Trust us, you’ll find your people at Second.

We are a “disciple-making” congregation.  We do everything we can to help people follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior in their daily living.  We also value spiritual growth, real community, hands-on service to the Greater Carlisle area, and compassionate caring. In other words, we are serious about living out our faith. 

What makes our Second Family special?

  • We’re multi-generational.  In so many areas of life today generations are separated or even pitted against each other.  We follow the Biblical model of church, with each generation blessing and learning from others.  We include children in worship from birth and make worship accessible to people in their 90s – because every generation matters to us and to God.

  • We don’t have it all figured out.  Simple solutions are illusions.  The questions facing us as a society require sophisticated thinking.  We may not have all the answers.  Humility is called for.  Curiosity is required.  Two phrases you’ll hear a lot in our Bible studies:  “I don’t know,” and “I may be wrong.” 

  • We welcome everyone. Really.  Gay and lesbian people are welcome in every part of our life together.  So are people who’ve come out of prison. And people who have doubts about God.   And people who have been divorced.  And people with physical or intellectual disabilities.  However God made you, you’re welcome in our family.  

  • We value science.  God created this amazing world and we have been called to care for with all our heart, soul, and minds.  Scientific study is one way we discover and appreciate the gift of God’s creation.  We encourage our children to become leaders in scientific research and application.

  • We don’t have to be like each other to like each other.  We actively pursue relationships with congregations and faith communities that are quite different from our own Second Family.  Some of our closest relationships are with the local Bosnian Muslim community and a Christian African-American congregation in the Pentecostal tradition.  We grow in our Christian faith by learning from other communities and cultures.

  • We care about the most pressing issues of our time:  Poverty, racism, immigration, and the climate are the focus of many of our mission efforts.  Instead of taking up arms in the culture wars we seek to engage our community in solving the issues that surely grieve Jesus’ heart.    

  •  We are a “teaching” church.  We are a congregation that supports young people in discovering and pursuing their God-given callings.  We’ve trained seminarians, provided stipends to young musicians, and scholarship grants to kids in college.

  • We have fun.  We take our faith seriously, but ourselves, not so much.  We laugh in worship, we enjoy “family” meals, and don’t sweat the small stuff. 

What are our Short-term Goals?

  • Re-think all our ministries to reach next generations for Christ.

  • Ensure that Second Church has the leadership and financial resources to thrive in ministry.

  •  Lead Carlisle in addressing urgent social justice issues.

What are our Core Commitments?

We are committed to God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to:

We Make Disciples Who Make a Difference By:

  • Sailing with the Spirit: We trust God’s power more than our own effort. We take risks for the sake of the Gospel. We pray. (Ephesians 3:21, John 14:12, Luke 1)

  • Focusing: We focus our energy on helping people to grow, care, connect, and serve like the first disciples. (Luke 10:38-42, Luke 12:31)

  • Moving Outward: Second doesn’t exist simply for the sake of our members. We exist for the sake of the world, beginning with Greater Carlisle. (Matthew 18:12-14, Acts 1:8, Luke 8:21-22)

  • Thinking Forward: We live with eternity in mind. We invest in things that last: our church, our community, and our world. (Luke 14:28, Matthew 13:31-32, Philippians 1:6)

  • Expecting Transformation: Relationships with Jesus Christ are literally life-changing. Our goal is complete transformation of ourselves and our community. (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Philippians 2:5-7)

Deciding to Follow Jesus is a Decision to:

  • Grow: Followers of Jesus never stop growing. (John 15:1-11, 2 Peter 3:14-18)

  • Care: Christians care for each other like Jesus did. (Matthew 25:31-46, Acts 4:32-35)

  • Connect: Followers of Jesus live in community, even when it’s not easy. (Psalm 100, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

  • Serve: Followers of Jesus serve God by serving others. (Luke 10:25-37, James 1:27)

What We Are Doing

We make disciples who make a difference

Where We're Going

With God’s love and grace, 

Welcoming all 

Growing relationships 

Serving joyfully 

Being a Second Family

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