Pastor Mark Terwilliger joins Countryside family

First Posted: 8/19/2014

Pastor Mark Terwilliger joined the Countryside Community Church on July 1. Before moving to Ransom Township with his wife Phyllis, his journey as a pastor began in many places.

Born in Franklin, Pa., Terwilliger attended grades 1-4 in Santiago, Chile. Then, he and his family moved to Edinboro where his father was a professor of elementary education at Edinboro University. Terwilliger became a student of Edinboro University, where he met Phyllis. In 1981, he received his bachelor’s degree in music education. Then in 1982, he received a master’s degree in musical performance specializing in classical guitar.

After getting married, Mark and Phyllis joined the Edinboro United Methodist Church and did mission work as teachers at Colegio Bolivar, a bilingual prep school in Cali, Colombia, through the Mennonite Central Committee. For two years, Mark taught music and Phyllis taught third grade elementary. Afterwards, they both completed seminary at Boston University.

“I appreciate that the church is comprised of people from all ages, nations and races, and the strengths that various traditions bring to Christianity,” said Terwilliger.

Then, Terwilliger had his first pastorate at Edmeston, N.Y., a town near Cooperstown, where his two sons were born. He was a chaplain of Pathfinder Village, a residential facility for people with Down syndrome, for five years. Then, he moved to Wilkes Barre, where he served at Central United Methodist Church for five years.

Afterwards, the Terwilligers moved to Honesdale where Mark served three appointments. For six years, he served as a pastor for Central United Methodist Church in Honesdale. Then for two years, he commuted from Honesdale to the Global Praise Program in New York City, an international music program in which he published church music from around the world. Then for eight years, Terwilliger was appointed to Beach Lake United Methodist Church, his most recent appointment before Countryside.

A pastor and a family man, Terwilliger has been married to Phyllis for 32 years. Together, they have two sons, Nathan, 24, and Michael, 21. Nathan is a resident of Bethlehem, Pa., where he’s an engineer of Flowserve. Michael is a senior at Susquehanna University, where he’s majoring in junior biology and works in the sports training department.

Mark enjoys traveling and gardening with his wife. He also enjoys playing basketball and disc golf with Nathan and watching Michael run track meets. He recently played electric guitar with local band Stan Kalafut and the Brass Majors at the Harford Fair on Aug. 18.

Nearly two months into his appointment, Terwilliger enjoys being the pastor of Countryside Community Church.

“The folks here are so friendly and hospitable,” he said. “They’re very motivated, hard-working and very positive. Lots of good ideas come from them and they act on them. The first month has been a really encouraging experience.”

Phyllis also enjoys her new church.

“I really like the hospitality of the people,” she said. “They had the vision to create a new church building and ministry, and they enjoy working together.”

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