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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.

The “Re-“ Factor

As one of my pastor colleagues responded recently to a question I had asked, “We’re deep into August here.”  That’s one way of saying that we’re experiencing the calm before the storm.  We haven’t begun our full fall program yet, and the vacation Bible camps, youth mission trips, summer camps at Kirkwood – all of those – are now part of the summer’s history.  It’s a time when pastors fill in for one another to allow much-needed vacation and study-leave time away.  August is a good month for those things.

Read more: The “Re-“ Factor

Camp Kirkwood 2015

“The impact of camp is not program or facility but people…long after games and adventure are forgotten, campers will remember their counselors.” –Lloyd Mattson, The Camp Counselor

I believe there was an essential reason that Jesus “would withdraw to deserted places and pray” (Luke 5:16). There is something about getting out of our usual routines and surroundings that helps us to get in sync in our walk with Jesus. Disconnecting from our cell phones and other devices also enables us to connect with God in a fresh way. When we are clear of distractions and renewed in our faith, we can also forge relationships that last a lifetime.

Read more: Camp Kirkwood 2015

Why I Love Bible Study

I’ve been engaged in some form of Bible study for more than 30 years. Ever since I attended a small study group for young mothers at Selwyn Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC in 1978, I’ve been hooked. I’ve regularly participated in Bible study since then because I often find it difficult to understand scripture on my own. Too often, I’m left wondering, “What’s the point? What does this really mean – especially in the context of today?”

Read more: Why I Love Bible Study

Urban Plunge 2015

What do serving hot meals to seniors, cleaning up Central Park, and sorting clothes at a homeless ministry have in common? The Middle School Urban Plunge in NYC! From our mission base at Brick Presbyterian Church, this year's middle school mission trip has taken place in the city that never sleeps, with our group of youth tirelessly serving a number of organizations.

Read more: Urban Plunge 2015

Settling in at Bryn Mawr

How are you settling in? This is the question that we are hearing again and again these days as we meet so many folks from the congregation. It is hard to really express how much more smoothly this transition to this new call, this new city, and this new life has been for our family compared to what it meant for us to move to Egypt just a little over two years ago in the midst of the 2013 revolution.

Read more: Settling in at Bryn Mawr

Giving Thanks for Church Pillars

It’s a common expression to describe a highly involved, deeply committed church leader as a “pillar of the church.” Derived from an architectural feature, the idiom translates easily. A vertical column upholds the building; people called by God to special roles in the community of faith uphold the congregation’s witness as a supporter and stabilizing influence.

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People and Pastor

As we prepare to welcome a new pastor among this Sunday – The Reverend Rebecca Kirkpatrick – we are called to consider again the unique relationship that exists between a congregation and its pastors. There is nothing quite like this relationship in any other organization. Sometimes the calling of a new pastor seems to take excessively long – I’ve heard more than a few complaints about the seeming lugubrious Presbyterian process of replacing a pastor! And, frankly, there is some merit to those complaints.

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Meaningful Mission

What makes for a life-changing experience? Perhaps it includes going somewhere you’ve never been or doing something you never dreamed you could do. While I don’t know all the ingredients of life-changing experiences, what I do know is that mission trips often offer this kind of opportunity.

Read more: Meaningful Mission

Vacation Bible Camp: Hometown Nazareth at BMPC

It’s Vacation Bible Camp week! More than 200 students and volunteer leaders have enlivened our front lawn and Ministries Center with laughter, friendship, stories, and singing from 9 a.m. to noon each day. Good memories are in the making as we learn about Jesus’ childhood and life in Nazareth and grow in God’s love, serve neighbors, and build a community together.

Read more: Vacation Bible Camp: Hometown Nazareth at BMPC

Summer’s Sabbath

Summer offers time for renewal that no other season affords in quite the same way. We slow down and spend more time outside. We break our regular routine with travel and adventure. We play more. While attendance in church wanes a bit as people come and go, these changes in the rhythms of how we spend our days invite a different kind of opportunity for holy reflection.

Read more: Summer’s Sabbath