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Pastors' Column

Each week one of our pastors or staff members writes a column observing what is going on in our congregation, the Church and the world, and offering reflections on the Christian life and faith. Through this series of columns, we hope to connect your and our story to the enduring story of Christ; to offer pastoral reflections on our ongoing congregational life and mission; to report on news of the Presbyterian Church and Church universal; and to invite further reflection and deeper discipleship. We welcome your comments and suggestions. In other words, our words here are an invitation to continue the conversation.

The Power of Songs

Last month I had the opportunity to attend Massanetta Springs Church Music Conference. Situated in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, Massanetta is a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of city and Main Line life. The conference was packed with choir rehearsals, music reading sessions, social times, and numerous worship services. I always enjoy this type of conference because I’m able to get ideas for the upcoming season while also having the opportunity to be a congregant and actively participate in worship throughout the week.

Read more: The Power of Songs

The Peace of Wild Things

“When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
 - Wendell Berry

Is it possible to capture the complexities, the joys and concerns, the energy and exhaustion, the wildness and freedom of our yearly journey to Camp Kirkwood in a simple post?

Read more: The Peace of Wild Things

The Spirit is Alive!

The congregation I served in northern Indiana - Sunnyside Presbyterian Church - had a catchy slogan they printed on their bulletin and maybe even bumper stickers at one point in their history: “The Spirit is Alive at Sunnyside!”

Read more: The Spirit is Alive!

Announcing Interim Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care & Senior Adults

As I transition from a time of study and planning to vacation, I am thrilled to announce that the Session has hired the Rev. Dr. Andrew Mann to serve as our Interim Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care & Senior Adults. He will begin on Aug. 29 and be formally introduced during worship on Rally Day, Sept. 9.

Read more: Announcing Interim Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care & Senior Adults

Help Students Prepare for New School Year

Presbyterians love education. From the very beginning in Geneva and in Scotland, Presbyterians were working to assure that every member of their community could read and understand the word of God.

That early interest in education has only grown in our 500-year history. Presbyterians were quick to establish universities, seminaries, and schools around the world. They started Sunday Schools to help educate children and adults working in mills. Our love of education was never limited to scripture and the church, but toward the formation of the whole child: body, mind and spirit.

Read more: Help Students Prepare for New School Year

Summer Travels

July seems to be a good time to get away. I say that because it feels like half of our congregation is “down the shore,” and I’m currently wandering the halls of our office suite in the Ministries Center wondering where everyone is who is supposed to work here. 

Read more: Summer Travels

The Miraculous in the Everyday

In this Sunday’s 10:00 a.m. worship service we will commission our Middle School Mission Team to New York City (July 8-12) and our High School Mission Team to Mexico City (July 22-28). I am reminded of a brief prayer by John Phillip Newell as our teams prepare to disembark:

Read more: The Miraculous in the Everyday

A Reflection of the Kingdom of God

Every two years Presbyterian Elders and Pastors, youth, young adults, volunteers, activists and lay people gather for our denomination’s General Assembly. This year’s assembly took place last week in St. Louis, Missouri, as the church gathered to discuss issues related to fossil fuels, immigration, mission partners living and working all over the world, ongoing issues in Israel and Palestine, issues of inclusion and justice across our nation, Christian education and evangelism, and even restructuring our national church and local churches to put their best foot forward for the future.

Read more: A Reflection of the Kingdom of God

Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis

On Palm Sunday of this year, some of the wisest, most esteemed elders in the Christian Church, including such leaders as Walter Bruggeman, Tony Campolo, Bishop Curry, and Jim Wallis, released a statement reclaiming the centrality of Jesus and restating the church’s charge to change the world through the life and love of Jesus Christ. They quote Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said: “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.”  This new confession of faith advocates care for people in vulnerable situations.

Read more: Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis

In the Beginning...

Next week BMPC will welcome over 120 children to our church. They will be supported by more than 70 volunteers as well as many members of our staff. We will be learning about God’s good creation, about our mission partners who are working so that people have good water to drink and those who help teach people new ways of farming. We’ll be making habitats for local wildlife and even “upcycling” some worn-out shoes.

Read more: In the Beginning...