About James R. Sands
Jim Sands is a life-long United Methodist born and raised in Carmichaels, Pa. Jim served his home church of Carmichaels First United Methodist Church in just about every way imaginable, from Sunday School teacher, to custodian, to president of the youth group, sound technician for worship, and even head of the trustees before being called into itinerant ministry. A 1995 graduate of Carmichaels Area high School, Jim attended California University of Pennsylvania as an education major.
After graduation from Cal U in 1999, Jim served for seven years as a substitute teacher for two school districts. During that period, he also worked for a pizza restaurant, becoming general manager and winning several awards: Manager of the Month, customer service, and highest sales increase in the company. Jim served for 11 years as the chairperson of the Greene County Church Dartball League and also severed as league statistician.
In 2011, Jim began serving in itinerant ministry as pastor at Eldersville UMC while attending Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Robert M. Ezzell Homiletical Prize for excellence in preaching. Jim was then appointed to Scalp Level Trinity UMC in Windber and he was ordained as an elder in 2017. Jim serves as the registrar of the Johnstown DCOM and enjoys mentoring.
Jim is an avid bowler. He is a self-described “Bible nerd” and enjoys studying scripture with an emphasis on history, science, and philosophy. He is passionate about women’s issues, particularly as an advocate for women as leaders in ministry, serving on the district COSROW.
Jim met his wife Kristen while counting offerings at church. They were married and have two children, Ryan and Molly. Ryan is 9 and was born with cerebral palsy. He loves electronics and dinosaurs. Molly is 2 and loves pestering her big brother. Kristen is an avid reader who serves as the co-chairperson of the Conference Disability Concerns Committee. Jim and Kristen enjoy traveling and visiting museums and historic sites.
About Northeast Somerset Cooperative Parish
This new cooperative ministry in the Johnstown District consists of four churches in Somerset County: Central City, Scalp Level Trinity, Shanksville, and Windber Calvary. It’s an exciting time for the churches.
Central City UMC is is deeply committed to meeting the needs of community members through a variety of soup meals and “Love Give Away” events that provide household essentials and clothing offered without price in a yard sale style. The congregation is dedicated to supporting UM camping ministries. In addition to supporting many local ministries such as the Central City Food Pantry, church members of all generations go all in to plan, host and participate in their yearly VBS program attracting children from other local churches and offered weekly during the Lenten season. Most recently, the church has become aware of their reputation in the community as a church entrusted to faithfully pray for the people of Central City and are currently planning to be even more intentional in those efforts.
Scalp Level Trinity UMC was established as an Evangelical congregation in 1866. The current building is its fourth, the third building having been destroyed in the 1977 flood. Upon the previous building’s loss, the church moved to a site of about 10 acres on a nearby hill and has become known as “Christ’s Lighthouse on the Hill.” The church’s building and grounds are used for a variety of community activities including Scouts, soccer practice for the local high school, and as a location for supervised parental visitations for child services. The church’s mission is based on Matthew 25:40 – that when we care for those in our community, we are encountering Jesus in everyone we serve. The church’s annual coat drive has given away more than 2,000 coats to area residents in need. Its annual school supply collection provides materials for many local school districts, and the annual Christmas food drive brings in necessary supplies for multiple area families.
At Shanksville UMC, worship is a vital practice of the faithful community. They are known for being a vital resource in the response to the September 11 terrorist attacks and providing comfort to the families of the flight 93 victims, as well as local emergency responders. Currently, the congregation financially supports many local and international ministries such as the Berlin Food Pantry, Heifer International and Operation Christmas Child, and collects toys and gifts for local families in need at Christmas.
Calvary UMC is a community-minded congregation located in the heart of Windber. It is known for its hospitality to many outside groups that operate and meet within its walls, including Cub and Girl Scout groups, Christian Counseling Associates, AA, Al-Anon, GED classes and, most prominently, the Windber Area Community Kitchen or WACK. WACK serves hundreds of meals twice a month to anyone in the community who wishes to come and be nourished, body and soul. In cooperation with local schools, this vital ministry also serves area school children by providing “WACKpack” meals for weekends and other health essentials such as toothpaste and other toiletry items. In addition, Calvary hosts a Tea Time fellowship and Prayer Shawl ministry that includes members from other area churches. They continue to step up in mission efforts, recently partnering with other local UM churches for outreach events such as Trunk or Treat, Easter Egg Hunt and the Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box project. Internally, they support both local and international missionaries and both clergy and laity members are active in the Windber ministerial group.