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The heavens declare the glory of God,
   and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 

Psalm 19:


          It is such a blessing to do ministry and serve the Lord on this ridge where St. Thomas Lutheran church is located. God’s beauty surrounds us as we worship God and then as we GO from this “Citadel on the Ridge” to the world to tell the Word and show God’s love.


            Whether it is Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter God displays His handiwork all around us at St. Thomas. From the Church building, cemetery, athletic field, chapel or grove you can see the beauty of creation and feel the presence of God. This beauty inspires us, the disciples of Christ, who are part of this faith community to tell others and invite others to be part of the fellowship that we enjoy.


            I invite you to come and worship with us and hear the Words of salvation that Christ has demonstrated to us in his crucifixion and resurrection.


In Service to Christ,

 Pastor Nila Cogan



Many of you have seen me over the years throughout the mission district in various ways; as a pastor, a member of the mission district council, an assistant to the Dean, as coordinator of youth activities and as camp director, but let me introduce myself. I was born and raised in Somerset County on a large dairy farm. My maiden name was Shaffer, hence my German Lutheran roots. I married my high school sweetheart, Larry Cogan in August of 1974, yes, I have been married for 49 years. We are the proud parents of three daughters and one son and have been blessed with ten grandchildren.


I felt a call from God when I was fourteen years old but had no idea what that meant at that time. I have always been involved in my church and I was very involved (prior to 2009) in the Allegheny Synod. Larry and I have always been involved in agriculture. In his younger days Larry worked for Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and then in 1984 we purchased a large greenhouse and floral business near Somerset. In 1999 I attended classes offered by the Allegheny Synod to be a Lay Worship Leader and then attended Gettysburg Seminary in a program to be authorized as a youth minister. I started my seminary studies in 2005.  While doing my seminary studies I served a small congregation in the outskirts of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Dunmyer Lutheran, and received a call to continue serving them when I was ordained in 2009. Dunmyer was one of the original churches of the NALC. When St Thomas Lutheran joined the NALC in 2011, their pastor stayed with the ELCA so Dunmyer graciously extended help to St Thomas by offering to have me serve them until they could call a new pastor. Ten months later I was installed as that called pastor. St Thomas Evangelical Lutheran is a rural congregation in northeast Somerset County, surrounded by farmland and is also the home of the location of our In-Tents Camps.  

In 2018 Larry and I bought a small farm north of Somerset and we raise sheep and pigs and make hay. My passions are first – GOD, second – family and third – farming.




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