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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.

At the Start of a New School Year

I remember getting ready for the first day of sixth grade. I had a backpack packed and my outfit picked out — a bright yellow sweatshirt and purple shirt with coordinated bow. I needed to be ready because it was my last year in elementary school, and I knew it would be a “BIG year.”

Deep Work

It has been almost three weeks since I returned from a three-month sabbatical that I took this past spring and summer. Many of you have asked how it is being back in the office, back in worship, and back to the busy work of the church. It is good to be back. But it was good to be away. I spent the majority of my sabbatical alone in Northern Minnesota where my husband Joshua’s parents retired almost 20 years ago. My days were filled with long walks, long paddles on their lake and creeks, long stretches of reading books or listening to audiobooks, and long days of reacquainting myself with some of my more artistic hobbies that have taken a back seat during the past few years.

The Power of Music

The summer in between my junior and senior years of high school, I participated in a trip to Malawi, Africa, with about 50 others from the Pittsburgh Presbytery as the first of what would become many exchanges between Presbyterians in Western Pennsylvania and Presbyterians in Malawi.

Summer Camp FAQs

The sunlight is filtering through oak leaves and a breeze is rustling through the branches. Although it is quiet time, the occasional squirrel, local birds, and the sound of pen on paper means it’s not silent. I am sitting with a small group of students enjoying the peace of the “Old Chapel” at Camp Johnsonburg. It’s hard to believe that this time tomorrow we will be packing up and heading back to Bryn Mawr. I could tell you about camp, but our students will do a better job. 

Johnsonburg 2022

Some of my favorite memories from my adolescence revolve around summer camp trips with my church’s youth ministry program. I remember sitting around campfires, singing silly songs, learning about Jesus, and getting to know the people I was with in brand new ways. My teen years were punctuated by adventures with other young people to places I’d rarely, if ever, been so I could get to know God, myself, and my neighbor a little better. I pray at some point in your life that you’ve had similar experiences – going somewhere different with people you may or may not love yet and learning to see God in a new way.

Coming to the Rescue

Last Sunday evening a 20-year-old man, carrying a rifle and multiple rounds of ammunition, opened fire indiscriminately inside the Greenwood Park Mall and in 15 seconds killed three people before being stopped. The Greenwood Park Mall is in my wife’s hometown, only six minutes from her childhood home, and only 25 minutes from mine. It is a grand shopping center we have visited countless times.

Staying Afloat with Prayer

I am a beach person. The mixture of sun, sand, and the seashore lifts my spirit and renews my body. It is a balm I reach for every summer, a place I go to replenish myself for the year ahead.