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.

2021 Theologian in Residence

In just a few weeks we will welcome our 2021 Theologian in Residence Jonathan L. Walton to be with us, virtually, for a weekend of conversations on the ways that scripture – when read through a Lens of Love - empowers and informs the work of the church in the world.

Anticipating Easter Joy

Easter feels long overdue this year. As a pastor I tend to mark the passage of time by the liturgical seasons of the church year, from Advent to the Reign of Christ, every bit as much by the Gregorian calendar, from January through December. The pandemic has skewed our perception of time in such a way as to feel like we have been through a yearlong Lent, a protracted season of solemn contemplation. However, nearing the end of Holy Week on this Maundy Thursday, we are assured that Easter is coming.

Travel Beckons

Three years ago, I wrote a Messenger article about the Sanctuary Choir’s proposed 2020 tour to the Middle East. With an itinerary that included visits to Caesarea, the Church of the Annunciation, Mary’s Well, the Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Western Wall, the Via Dolorosa, Mount Zion, King David’s Tomb, the Dead Sea, Petra, Amaan, Jordan, and much more, this tour promised to be an adventure that would transform our understanding of this sacred ground.

Good Friday Prayer Stations by the Youth of Student Serve

Around this time last year, we canceled our annual Good Friday service led by BMPC youth because of the pandemic. Now, amid all the fluctuating wisdom concerning COVID-19, the youth department sought to figure out a way to have an in-person Good Friday event accessible and safe for everyone. As such, this coming Good Friday, April 2, youth will lead Outdoor Prayer Stations from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the front lawn of the church. 

One Year Later

Everyone remembers the day it happened to them. For me it was March 12, 2020; the day the world around me “shut down.” I remember those first few days: waiting in line at the grocery store for two hours, monitoring infection maps online, calling members to see what they needed. The unknown was unsettling. Would we actually need to suspend worship? How high would the “curve” go before it could be flattened? Would anyone close to me get the virus and die as a result?

As We Emerge Creatively

Exactly one year ago we became aware of a mysterious virus named COVID-19 making its way across the globe. Initially we were warned the virus lived on hard surfaces and we had to sanitize everything we touched and minimize our touching. The church staff and lay leaders began to plan worship without handshakes and bulletins, with masks and social distancing. Then suddenly everything shut down. 

Resilience = Pure Joy

One year ago this weekend, I enjoyed an early celebration of my 65th birthday party. At that point, the United States had registered 60 cases of the novel coronavirus. Each day following that party the alarm bells grew. Two weeks later on March 8, the Sanctuary Choir and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia presented a glorious concert of works by French composers. When I peeked through the doors into the Sanctuary on March 8 and saw how few people had shown up for the concert, I realized that our world was about to be turned upside down.