Welcome

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 Presbyterian Rebellion

This is always a good week to think about our country’s history, amidst the fireworks, cookouts, and national declarations. I suppose it’s in our blood as Presbyterians. Since the beginning of this American experiment, our denomination’s forbearers have always been engaged in the machinations of our self-governance. A courtier in service to King George III once referred to the Revolution as “the Presbyterian rebellion.”

Homiletics and Trauma

Since announcing that I would be departing BMPC this summer to pursue a Ph.D. in Homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary, several people have asked me variations on the same two questions:

  1. What is “homiletics”?
  2. What do you plan to research?

Building the City of God: Vacation Bible Camp 2023

This morning before our first campers arrived, I took a moment to walk through the gym. Over the past week, our VBC campers have been building a city out of boxes. The tallest building stretches almost a story in height, the smallest building is a shoebox covered in tape, tucked between several other buildings — a house for children to play in. There are a few surprises — pieces of tape stretch between buildings — ziplines that let people move around the city; there is a hospital for fish, a gigantic trampoline, and a home for lost animals.

Summer Reading

It’s that time of year when libraries, news organizations, book stores and schools publish lists of recommended “summer reads.” In that same spirit, I wanted to share with the whole church some of the books that our mission committee members have added to their summer reading lists, and the reading that I am doing for the fall. 

Summer’s Sabbath

According to our Judeo-Christian tradition, each week we are called to celebrate sabbath. When God freed the ancient Hebrews from slavery and gave them the law and promised them land, God commanded a sabbath day to be set aside as holy. Near the top of the list of the Ten Commandments, Exodus reminds us that even God rested on the seventh day of creation after all the work God had done! So too, we are meant to work during the week and set apart a day to rest and devote to God.

Seasonal Traditions

During seasons of transition, one of the passages of scripture that many find comforting is from Ecclesiastes 3. I’ve been asked to read it at weddings and funerals, and was once invited by a Confirmation class to use it as the text for the sermon on the day those youth joined the church. Those of a certain age remember its words set to music by Pete Seeger’s “To Everything There Is a Season” with his folk song refrain, Turn, turn, turn, which rose to the top of the music charts when The Byrds recorded it in 1965. 

Thank You Teachers

At every baptism the congregation answers the same question: Do we as members of the church of Jesus Christ promise to guide and nurture these children by word and deed, with love and prayer, encouraging them to know and to follow Christ and to be faithful members of Christ’s church? Do we?" The answer is always a resounding, “We do.” But what does this promise look like in the day-to-day life of this congregation?