Our Story

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!

Four years after those first conversations, Connect Church is a growing and vibrant worshipping 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, email connectblairsville@gmail.com.

Our Staff


Pastor Brett Dinger

Pastor Brett has been serving as a United Methodist Pastor in the Blairsville Area since July 2009. Prior to his arrival, Brett served as a youth pastor, dabbled in church planting, and attended seminary in Pittsburgh, PA.

Brett’s passions include preaching, teaching, small group ministry, and youth ministry. In addition, Brett works with the youth at Cherry Run, a family-oriented church camp and sits on the Board of the Indiana County Family Promise.

If you can’t find Brett doing any of the above mentioned ministries, there’s a good chance he’s watching the Pirates, Penguins, and Steelers, or taking in a Saturday afternoon watching the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Brett is accompanied in ministry and in life by his wife Joanna and their daughters Reagan and Carmyn.

Check out Pastor Brett’s blog – preacherofhabit.blogspot.

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.

Photo Shape Editor: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/shape-tool

Courtney Rizer
Children’s Ministry Coordinator

Courtney Rizer is a Blairsville native. She graduated from Blairsville High School in 2010, obtained an Associate Degree in Child Development and will complete a Bachelor of Science in Human Services with a concentration in Child Welfare and Family Services with a minor in Women’s Studies May 2017. She is actively following her calling in Children’s Ministry.

Courtney’s passions include volunteering, teaching children about God and the gifts that he provided through play, drama, music and crafts. In addition to Connect Church, Courtney works at S&T Bank and is active in her community. Courtney really is a child at heart. Her favorite movie is The Lion King. If you can’t find Courtney at Connect Church, you can catch her at The Koffee Shoppe, actively volunteering/helping organizations in the community or at Blairsville activities.

Courtney is accompanied in ministry and in life by her husband James.

Lauren Yackuboskey
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.