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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.

Youth Sunday

One of the first times I felt called to the life of pastoral ministry was on Youth Sunday in my grandmother’s church (First Baptist Church of Rhodhiss, NC). My mother, brother and I had been looking for a congregation to call home, but it was difficult for us to find a place where we felt welcomed and supported. We met my grandmother’s pastor at a community gathering, and he invited me to take part in the service. I hadn’t been to his church in years, but that didn’t faze him. He asked me to read Psalm 139:

Read more: Youth Sunday

The Election of Officers

This coming Sunday’s Congregational Meeting is called after the 10:00 a.m. worship service for the purpose of acting on changes in the Pastor’s Terms of Call and to elect persons to serve in important leadership roles. The Nominating Committee will put before the congregation names of persons who have agreed to serve as Ruling Elders, Deacons, Trustees, and members of the Nominating Committee.

Read more: The Election of Officers

Heeding the Call to Follow Jesus

“Follow me,” Jesus shouts over his shoulder, “and I will make you fishers of people.”

Neither the gospels nor the rhythms of the church year allow us to hold onto baby Jesus for very long. It’s been less than a month since Christmas and already Jesus has grown up and begun his public ministry. He announces that the kingdom of heaven has come near and God is doing a new thing among the people. 

Read more: Heeding the Call to Follow Jesus

Do Small Things with Great Love

Six years ago this week, our son Owen came home from kindergarten and talked to us about the things he had learned that day about Martin Luther King Jr. How he marched for civil rights; how he gave bold and remarkable speeches that we still remember today; how he put himself in harm’s way to change who we are as a country.

Read more: Do Small Things with Great Love

Creating Connections in the New Year

Each day as I walk through the church campus, I am struck by the stonework on the buildings. I imagine the skill it takes fits each stone next to another. As I look at the stones, I am reminded of the early church. In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul tells the members of the church that they are being built into a new holy temple – a dwelling place for God. Peter describes the faithful as “living stones” brought together by God to create something new. 

Read more: Creating Connections in the New Year

Testifying to the Light

“In the beginning was the Word.” These words from the beginning of John’s Gospel will have new meaning as we worship this Sunday on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2017.

Read more: Testifying to the Light

A Prayer for Christmas

This weekend our church family, on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will come and go through the sanctuary for the glorious singing of carols, to hear of a most remarkable birth with hope in our hearts, and with deep appreciation for the light of God that shines in the world.

Read more: A Prayer for Christmas

Special Worship

What a joy and privilege it is to plan worship services at this lovely time of the year. I love the way the sanctuary is decorated over a period of time with increasing beauty for the Sundays of Advent, culminating in the coming Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve. First the wreaths on the doors, then the garland and center aisle candles, then the poinsettias in their full glory. The growing array of color matches the increasing intensity of the joyful and hopeful expectation Christmas brings.

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A Happy and Healthy Family

Last week, feeling a little antsy on my long train ride from Connecticut to Philadelphia, I typed “Family at Christmas” into Google search. Much to my horror, among the top three hits were “How to survive family Christmas” and “Estrangement from family at Christmas: How we cope.” After a burst of sadness, my next reaction was, “Thank heavens we can look forward to a concert on December 11 that will be presented by the entire family of BMPC choirs.” Best of all, this is a happy and healthy family that ranges in age from 5 to 95. That’s not something to survive, but something to celebrate.

Read more: A Happy and Healthy Family

Gifts that Matter

I don’t know about you, but my Christmas shopping list seems to get smaller and smaller every year. I can remember in years past taking day trips to Chicago to shop on the Magnificent Mile, window shopping and looking for the perfect gift that would catch my eye and make me think of a particular loved one or another. It would also often include an afternoon spent inside Marshall Fields looking for the one thing that would express my appreciation to my parents or roommates. I remember as a child heading out in December with my mother to consider how I would spend my hard earned babysitting money on a gift for my brother or my best friend.

Read more: Gifts that Matter