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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.

Thanksgiving Pancakes

When I started my ministry at BMPC more than five years ago, I wondered about what motivated church members to gather for pancakes on Thanksgiving morning. I found myself asking, “pancakes on Thanksgiving?” However, it didn’t take me long to see what makes this morning so special.

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Election Prayer of Jill Duffield

The long-awaited presidential election is over. Many in our nation are celebrating; others are dismayed and grieving. Some think we elected the perfect person in Donald Trump to shake up the establishment in bold new ways; others are fearful for what this “outsider” candidacy might mean as we move into the future as a nation amid an increasingly complex global reality.

Read more: Election Prayer of Jill Duffield

For All the Saints

Several years ago my wife Kathy and I were traveling in Italy in late October. On November 1 we were nearing the end of our journey, but we had one task still to accomplish. We were looking for a set of pottery pasta dishes that we hoped to take home as lasting and useful remembrances of our trip.  Driving through the Tuscany countryside we soon discovered that nearly every shop that would have met our needs was closed. Why?  We suddenly realized that we had forgotten so far from home that it was All Saints’ Day. And on All Saints’ Day in Italy nearly all commerce stops. Instead, families gather with flowers and memories at the gravesides of dear ones now departed. It is a lovely sight to see.

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Together, Growing in Generosity

Whenever the Session meets to receive new members, I am fond of including in prayer some words to the effect of: “Thank you, God, for making of this old, historic church a new church today!” The church is made up of the people of God, and together we share similar qualities and characteristics to any living thing.

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Family Conversations

A church member recently shared with me that in parenthood, "the days are long, but the years are fast." As a parent, I'm regularly reminded that our children are growing up in a culture that is changing more quickly than at any other time in history.

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Doing Good Together

After washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus offers this new commandment for his followers: “This is my commandment: You shall love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).

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Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church has a wonderful tradition of inviting scholars from around our country to spend time with us to share their research and apply it to our life and work as a congregation. The Theologian-in-Residence program was created in appreciation for the ministry of David and Ruth Watermulder here at BMPC for 24 years.

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World Communion Sunday

Last week I hosted a lunch for area Presbyterians to meet Dr. Reeta Rao from Dehrundan, India. While BMPC’s mission support in India goes to Emmanuel Hospital, Dr. Rao is supported by the Pottstown and Ardmore Presbyterian Churches, and our gathering gave folks in this area of the presbytery an opportunity to learn about the good educational and medical work she is doing among the poor.

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Third Grade Bibles

I was convinced that my Third Grade Bible was especially holy.  On the day of the presentation, two wonderful women wrote our names and a special verse in beautiful calligraphy. At the bottom of the bookplate, the ministers had dutifully signed in illegible scribbles noting the day when the Bibles were presented.  The cover was burgundy and the page edges were gilded. I remember a sense of pride that I was being entrusted with such a beautiful book.

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Studying Scripture in Community

I still use the study Bible that I bought my first semester of seminary. It was the first Bible that I actually bought myself. Every other Bible I ever owned was either given to me by my church or one that I took down from my parents’ bookshelves at home.

One look at my study Bible and you will know that it has seen a lot of miles. The binding is taped up to keep it from tearing any more than it already has. The thin onion skin pages are dirty from being turned and flipped through. The pages are a little dirtier at those books I was required to translate in seminary. The pages are a little cleaner and fresher at the books and passages that I have neglected or that don’t appear in our regular cycle of lectionary scripture readings.

Read more: Studying Scripture in Community