About our Pastors

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi has recently announced that effective July 1, 2017, Rev. Dr. Rich Phipps will be appointed as Senior Pastor of Community United Methodist Church of Harrison City. Rich was appointed to CUMC in July 2010 as “associate pastor,” having previously served for nine years at Homestead Park United Methodist Church and before that he served in the South Georgia Conference for nine years. 

Rich and pastor John Ciampa were named “co-pastors” of Community Church in July of 2014, equally sharing the  leadership role of this growing and vital congregation. Pastor John will continue at CUMC, functioning in virtually the same ways as he has since his arrival at Harrison City in 2005, except for administrative leadership. That responsibility will now rest with Pastor Rich. As of this July John’s appointment status will be “associate pastor.” 

A bit of history; when Rich was appointed here in 2010, CUMC had been without an associate pastor since pastor Ron Geisler left in August of 2006. Rather than have a new associate pastor appointed at that time, CUMC developed other staff positions to broaden and deepen the ministries of the church. When growth and resources permitted an associate to be appointed in 2010, the leadership of Community Church petitioned then Bishop Bickerton and District Superintendent William Meekins, Jr. to appoint a pastor with the experience and skills necessary not only to enhance the ministry of our church, but also have the capacity to one day take the lead role, as senior pastor. The reason was to provide continuity and vision for CUMC when the time would come for pastor John to retire. This change of appointments, Rich as “senior” and John as “associate” has been in the works since Rich arrived in 2010.

The Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC), with full agreement of pastors John and Rich, formally requested this  action with a letter sent to Bishop Moore-Koikoi in December 2016. All the administrative committees of the church have been kept apprised of this process and all have indicated their support for this change in appointments.  This is a very important step for Community Church as we have recently voted to go forward with the Building and Renovation Project we have been working on over the last 4 years. Pastor Rich will provide steady and unified vision for CUMC as we move into a new era. Rich will help guide the continued work of building upon the foundation laid by all the pastors and committed members of our church dating back to 1961 when we moved to this location.

Pastor John Ciampa

It has been my great joy and privilege to serve as a pastor at Community Church since 2005. I believe we are aptly named, because we truly seek to be a “community” of faith, and we welcome you to join with us in our journey to be faith-filled and faithful disciples of Jesus. At CUMC, our vision is to “Know Christ and share Christ with others.” 

I am married to Patsy and we have two grown daughters, Tina, and Liz, who is married to Matt Annibaldi, who are parents of Jackson and Piper. In addition to my passion for my calling as a disciple of Jesus, I like to travel, camp with my family, fly fish for trout, bow hunt for deer, and fly light aircraft. 

Please let me know if there is any way I can be of assistance to you.



Pastor rich phipps

I am a Western Pennsylvania native. After growing up in Butler and graduating from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, the Lord led me south. I attended Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky where I met my wife, Marsha. 

After seminary, Marsha and I felt God’s call to her home state of Georgia. Serving two appointments in the deep South taught me how to speak southern and appreciate real iced tea. 

I returned to Asbury to earn my Doctorate of Divinity in Biblical Preaching and Advanced Church Leadership. From there God led me back to Western PA. 

I am an outdoor enthusiast. From trail running to bow hunting to wading the mountain streams looking for trout, I love spending in the woods and water. But my greatest treasure is spending time with Marsha and our three children: McKenna, Abby, and Matthew.

I love to preach and teach. My highest delight is watching the Holy Spirit win hearts and transform lives.



Minister Jim Decker


Greetings! I am a retired United Methodist pastor who has served five congregations here in Southwestern Pennsylvania. I have several responsibilities, including making visits to home bound members and friends of the church, assisting in worship services and working with the lay pastoral care team. 

I am married to Carol, and I have an adult son who lives with his family in Atlanta. I enjoy traveling, and I have been to Europe five times as well as Israel, Singapore, the Caribbean and Alaska.