photo showing part of a bible.

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 Gift of Advent

There is a deluge of mail that arrives in mid-November.  Each bright catalogue declaring to have the perfect gifts for the season. Models in fuzzy sweaters carrying newly cut pine trees frame the words, “something for everyone on your list.” I’ll glance through these and doubt if my 9-year-old nephew really wants a fair isle sweater, but I still pause wondering if my list is long enough and if the gifts will indeed be “right.” This year the catalogues arrived again, and I was back to worrying about lists and gifts and wondering if this would be the year, I finally get a Christmas Card sent before Lent.  As I was worrying about Christmas, my hands were busy prepping craft material for the upcoming Live Nativity.


O God, from whom we receive every gift of life, we gather at Thanksgiving grateful for your abundant blessings. We are thankful for the gift of love which steadies us and opens our hearts to another, for passion that keeps attentive to the joys and challenges of our Christian calling, and for compassion which expresses our faith in tangible ways as we reach out to neighbors in need.

Thanksgiving Pancake Breakfast 2023

This coming Thanksgiving the Youth Ministry is hosting our annual Thanksgiving Day Breakfast! From 8:30-11:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day all are welcome to come and enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes in Congregational Hall for $5/person or $20/family. All proceeds go to support the youth ministry in the coming year, including our summer Mission Trip to Peru in 2024.

2023 Advent Gift Market

When I was a child, my church in Pittsburgh always hosted a little “shop” on a Saturday morning in December where children of the congregation could come and buy small items for everyone on their Christmas list. Some items were donated by church members and others from a local wholesaler who traded in dollar store items. I am sure the day will come in the future when I clean out my parents’ home and I find all of the switchblade combs and costume cocktail rings that I bought for them over the years. Even though the gifts weren’t significant, there was a significance in teaching me what it means to give gifts at Christmas. 

All Saints’ Sunday

A number of years ago, a woman named Sara Miles wrote a memoir called Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion.  It was about her experience of coming to faith. She had grown up in a family of atheists. But she was a journalist who was by nature curious, so one Sunday morning when she was walking by a church in San Francisco, she went in and sat down to see what was going on in a worship service.  It was a church that practiced open communion, and she found herself transformed by receiving the sacrament. She shared her experience saying, “I think what I discovered in that moment when I put the bread in my mouth and was so blown away by the reality of Jesus was that the requirement for faith turned out not to be believing in a doctrine, or knowing how to behave in a church, or being the right kind of person, or being raised correctly, or repeating the rituals. The requirement for faith seemed to be hunger.  It was the hunger that I had always had and the willingness to be fed by something I didn’t understand.” 

Theologian in Residence

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. David and Ruth Watermulder Theologian-in-Residence lecture series. The goal at the time was simple. As Dr. Eugene Bay described it in a letter to the Watermulders, the plan was to bring to BMPC on an annual basis, some prominent churchman or churchwoman, who would be in residence for up to a week’s time, teaching, lecturing, and preaching. 

Christ is Made the Sure Foundation

mock up from scan 5

The text dates to the seventh century, written originally in Latin, the lingua franca of the western Christianity for centuries. But I stumbled across it recently in our archives, a place in which I have spent an inordinate and unnatural amount of time over this last year in preparation for our 150th anniversary celebrations. You can see it in the photo here. It’s a copy of the worship bulletin from January 7, 1923.