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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.

Gifts that Matter

My Christmas shopping list seems to get smaller and smaller every year. I can remember in years past taking day trips to Chicago to shop on the Magnificent Mile, window shopping and looking for the perfect gift that would catch my eye and make me think of a particular loved one or another. It also would often include an afternoon spent inside Marshall Fields looking for the one thing that would express my appreciation to my parents or roommates. I remember as a child heading out in December with my mother to consider how I would spend my hard-earned babysitting money on a gift for my brother or my best friend.

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Post Election

The church shares all the beauty, acceptance, forgiveness and expansive love that a family shares…

It’s been a week for winners and losers as it is during any major election. We’ve heard new ideas about how our elected leaders feel called to work for the common good, and we’ve heard many of the same old horribly divisive platitudes. We’ve seen change and refusal to change; we’ve experienced hope and a longing more akin to despair. We have done the work that a democratic society is called to do – we have voted our conscience in freedom. It is a complex and beautiful way we affirm one of our most historic principles of the Reformed Tradition: God alone is Lord of the conscience.

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Eternal Hope Amidst Quiet Grief

This Sunday, we observe All Saints Sunday, that day when we come together to remember the loved ones who have joined the company of saints over the past year. This is always a powerful and poignant service, one that is filled with a wide gamut of emotions. We read the names of the departed, sing the familiar hymns, hear God’s Word, share in the feast of communion, and bask in beautiful music. We come together as a church family, united in experience and in faith.

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The Divine Comedy

It was not my plan to have spent the past 46 years in the pastoral ministry; I had other ideas. My idea was to be a chemical engineer. That was my plan. Organic chemistry dissuaded me from that plan. When I finally decided to go into the ministry, I had planned to get a Ph.D. in counseling and hang out a shingle. The worst thing I could imagine was to end up in a parish. That was decidedly not part of my plan 46 years ago.

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Just Come Anyway

Scholars are unsure when the first potluck took place in the record of human civilization. Maybe it was the Egyptians or the Assyrians. Perhaps the Israelites. Or an ancient tribe in the Sub-Sahara. But I’m not sure it really matters much. The historical account of the event is far less significant to me than the meaning.

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2018 Theologian-in-Residence

Each year, in honor of the leadership of David and Ruth Watermulder, our Adult Education Committee invites a scholar of excellence to share their work and passion with our greater community. This year, we are especially delighted to welcome the Rev. Dr. Craig Barnes, president of Princeton Theological Seminary.

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From Gratitude Flows Generosity

In the life of most congregations I know, when the seasons shift from summer into fall, the church also welcomes stewardship season. It is our annual opportunity to focus on God as the source of all that we are and all that we have, and to respond with renewed commitment of our time, talent and financial resources.

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Caring for Those With Dementia

Rabbi Abraham Heschel, from the 1971 White House Conference on Aging, said: 

“It takes three things to attain a sense of significant being: God, a soul and a moment. And the three are always there. Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy. “  

 Beautifully said but not easy to live when you or a loved one are in the stages of memory loss.  

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Christian Formation Summit

When we formally began the youth ministry “renovation project” in the summer of 2017, the task before us was a momentous one. BMPC’s youth ministry was strong. The foundations were solid. Our youth were engaged and our parents were committed. Nevertheless, we knew we needed to rekindle our sense of mission and cast a vision for the future.

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An Invitation

“The true and real sacrament of the Protestant church,” observed one visitor, “is the coffee hour.” For better or worse, he may be on to something. Those 60 minutes following a morning service are often the only time in a given week that a congregation is actually in community with one another, conversing over coffee and cake. Labeled as the fellowship hour in churches across the country, its name might be a bit misleading. What is fellowship anyway?

Read more: An Invitation