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Christ United Methodist welcomes new pastor

Christ United Methodist Church in Tyrone has welcomed a new pastor to the church.
Barry E. Neal has been on board since the beginning of July and a church picnic was held last week to welcome the pastor and his wife Sandy. Yesterday, a service of welcome was held at the church located at Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street.
In an interview last week, Pastor Neal called Tyrone “a great town.” He said he was born and raised in Altoona. Neal said he became familiar with Tyrone growing up, but more recently had a chance to become better aquatinted with the town.
The pastor said he and his wife bought a home in the outskirts of Tipton on Grazierville Road several years ago as “a getaway place.”
“We started coming from Williamsburg and traveled through Tyrone to go out to Tipton,” said Pastor Neal.
He said during those travels he noticed the improvements that had been made and “what a nice town it looks like.”
Neal said, “The borough has taken care of things in sprucing up and fixing up and has a pride in itself.”
The pastor said when he found out he was coming to Tyrone he and his wife had the chance to talk to and get to know some people from Tyrone and “were blessed to get to know them and find out who they were and make connections.”
Pastor Neal and his wife’s children are grown and they have five grandchildren.
Prior to coming to Christ United Methodist, Pastor Neal was at the Williamsburg-Cove Forge United Methodist Parish serving two churches in Williamsburg.
Pastor Neal is a graduate of Altoona High School and has a degree from Penn State in zoology. His Masters of Divinity was conferred at Lancaster Theological Seminary in 1992. He also has a military background and worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection before starting his pastoral work in the 1990s.
He has been the chaplain of AIGC (Blair County Army National Guard) since 2003.
Prior to Pastor Neal, Bernie Bookhammer was pastor at the Christ United Methodist Church. The church celebrated its 150th anniversary in November of 2005. It has also recovered from an arson fire that damaged the church in June of last year.