“At Connect Church, we believe God is offering hope to a hurting world.”
— Pastor Brett Dinger
In 2013 and 2014, four United Methodist Congregations in Blairsville, PA, began praying, thinking, and dreaming about how to reach new people in our area with the message of Jesus.
After beginning several new ministries together, our four churches (Black Lick, Blairsville First, Hopewell, and Strangford) came together in 2015 to form the Greater Blairsville Cooperative Parish. By sharing staff, resources, and a common vision, we believe we can accomplish far more together than we could separately!
blankFour years after those first conversations, Connect Church is a growing and vibrant worshiping community. We have a growing Connect Kids ministry, along with exciting ministries like Wildfire Student Ministries, Connect Church Recovery, and Growth Groups. Connect Church is a place where all will feel welcome. To learn more about our story and vision, contact us today.
Pastor Mark Heckman
Pastor Mark officially begins July 1. A former high school choral director, secondary principal, and elementary principal, in Brookville; and assistant superintendent, and superintendent of schools in DuBois, Mark has also served the Church in music ministry.
Mark recognized God’s hand on his life at his confirmation into the United Methodist Church at age 12, but really didn’t hear God’s call until 20 years ago, when he ignored God and instead chose to pursue school administration. God’s “yes” became louder than Mark’s “no” five years ago when he finally agreed to follow God into ministry. Following an early-morning encounter with God, God began to move powerfully in Mark’s life. Mark’s spiritual gifts of healing and word of knowledge demonstrate God’s anointing on his life and the manifestation of God’s Spirit in the world today. God’s love can be seen through the healing ministry that He has developed in Mark, all pointing to God’s glory.
Mark’s goals in ministry are to share the gospel message in every opportunity God puts before him, and to have others find and employ their own spiritual gifts so that through His Church, a hurting world can find a loving God.
Pastor Dawn Krishart
Pastor Dawn joined our staff July 2016. She is a Local Licensed pastor and completed her course of Study in Delaware Ohio in 2014. After closing her family’s business in 2008 she served the Methodist Church in the Punxsutawney/DuBois Areas. . In her previous appointments she focused her ministry developing small group ministry with a focus on starting new places for new people. She is a volunteer for the Blairsville Salvation Army and a longtime member of Rotary International . She also has served on the board of Jefferson County CYS and Clearfield Drug and Alcohol Commission, Pastor Dawn joined the connect staff July 1,2016
Pastor Dawn and her husband Tom have to two sons, Matthew who lives in DuBois, and Jonathan resides in Black Lick Ohio with his wife, Amy and their two sons, Cameron and James. Her family enjoys camping and attending her grandson’s soccer games.
Maranda Ruhl Children’s Ministry Coordinator
Maranda joined the Connect Church team in the fall of 2018. With years of public school and private school teaching experience, Maranda blends a passion for children with a desire to make disciples of Jesus Christ! Her favorite things about Connect are the sense of community and love for reaching out! Maranda’s favorite Scripture is Psalm 37: 23-24. Your kids will love learning about Jesus from Maranda!
Maranda is accompanied in ministry and in life by her husband Dave.
Music Ministry Coordinator
Lauren Yackuboskey is the worship leader at Connect. Known throughout Indiana County for her love for music and Jesus, Lauren is a tremendous addition to the Connect Church staff. She is married to husband Jesse and together they have a beautifully active household with son Joshua (who often plays the djembe with mom) and daughters Kristen and Grace.
Lauren finds strength in her favorite Bible verse from Proverbs 3:5,6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.”
When Lauren was 21, she moved to Las Vegas and later to Santa Cruz, California to pursue a music career. In those two years, Lauren was signed by an Indie Label and recorded a demo album. She came very close to living in her car for a few months to make that happen! That experience helped to shape her music career into what it is today and eventually led her to express her love of Jesus through leading others in worship.