DuBOIS — It was Miller time at Christ Lutheran Church, DuBois, when congregation, family and friends gathered to celebration 65 years of ordination for Pastor Emeritus Vernon Miller and 20 years of ordination for current Pastor John Miller.
Pastor Vernon Miller was born in Selinsgrove and spent the first 12 years of his life in Sunbury before his family moved to the Altoona area. He graduated from Altoona High School and entered the U.S. Army. During World War II he spent time in the Pacific Theater including time in the Philippines. He also met and married his first wife, Roberta, during his military service. They had three children, Mary Jane, Deborah, and Mark.
Upon leaving the military, Vernon, entered college completing a four-year degree at Susquehanna University. He followed that with three additional years at Gettysburg Seminary training to become a Lutheran pastor being ordained on May 27, 1953.
Pastor Vernon’s calling as a minister started at Bethany English Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Ohio, where he spent nearly three years. Moving back to Pennsylvania he led the Lutheran Church in Kernsville, near Altoona, for three years and followed that up with 14 years at St. John Lutheran in Clearfield; 12 years at Moxham Lutheran Church, Johnstown, and then capped his career at Christ Lutheran from 1984-89.
Roberta Miller died in 2004. Vernon and Carolyn Finalle were married in 2008 and are celebrating 10 years of marriage this year.
Pastor John Miller was ordained on June 28, 1998, at Christ Church, Baltimore, Md. He is a graduate of Penn State University and the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg. Prior to ordination, he worked as a draftsman, than as an analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. He also served as an officer in the U.S. Army.
Pastor John’s first call was to the staff of Christ Church, Baltimore. In 2000, he and his wife, Pastor Amy Godshall-Miller received a call to the Talbot Lutheran Parrish – St. Paul’s Lutheran and Grace Lutheran churches on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. In 2007, they moved back to Pennsylvania receiving a call to Schwarzwald Lutheran Church in Reading. Pastors John and Amy accepted a call in 2013 to Christ Lutheran in DuBois. They have two grown children, David and Mary.
In the wider church community Pastor John is president of the board of directors of the Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries and serves on the synod finance and endowment committees. He is president of the DuBois Area Food Pantry and is a member of the DuBois YMCA board.
One hundred and sixty four people attended a catered dinner in Christ Lutheran’s social hall. Speakers included Pastor Steve Lynn, senior pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, State College, and a former Christ Lutheran pastor; Father Bob McKay retired from Church of Our Savior, DuBois; Dr. Pat Savage, Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries; two of Pastor Vernon’s children, Deborah Barefoot and Mark Miller; and Pastor Amy Godshall-Miller, pastor, Christ Lutheran.
Congratulatory letters were read from Bishop Michael Rhyne, Allegheny Lutheran Synod; Bishop Emeritus Gregory Pile, Allegheny Lutheran Synod; Pastor Chris Ramsey, retired, former pastor DuBois Area Cooperative Lutheran Ministry; and Pastor Lynn Miller, Pastor John’s sister. Two more of Pastor John’s sisters, Debbie Wagner and Diane Miller, attended as did two of Pastor Vernon’s granddaughters, Katy and Kelly Miller.
In lieu of gifts, both pastors selected a charity to receive a donation in their name. Pastor Vernon selected Agape in DuBois, and organization he helped to found; and Pastor John picked the Wounded Warrior Project. As of June 18, $1,127 was received for the Wounded Warrior Project and $1,121 for Agape.