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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.

Summertime Worship

The Wisdom of Ecclesiastes reminds us of how God has created life to be lived by a certain rhythm. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…God has made everything suitable for its time… We do not always understand the rhythms of life and unexpected interruptions, but we can trust God to hold every season in holy hands and bestow upon it meaning and purpose.

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Remembering

At 6:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning several weeks ago, 26 senior adults boarded a bus in our parking lot for a trip to Washington, DC, to tour the Washington National Cathedral and visit the National Art Gallery.  A light but persistent rain lengthened the travel time considerably, but the sights of that day linger indelibly, I’m sure, in the travelers’ memories.

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Teacher Appreciation

Each Sunday more than 50 volunteers take on the enormous task of teaching our children in Sunday School and leading our youth in the Youth Gathering. That’s over 1,400 volunteer hours between September and May. Some of our teachers are dedicated veterans with years of service under their belts. Others came into the classroom for the first time this year. Every week we have gracious substitutes and the occasional special guest to help lead an important project or conversation. As pastors, we are blessed by the time, energy, imagination and love they share with the children and youth of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. We could not do our work without them.

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Confirmation Disciple Project

When Confirmation began earlier this year, we asked the question: “What can we do to encourage the participation of our youth in the church after they are confirmed?” We decided to do a “Confirmation Reformation” and revamp the project and process that our 8th graders undertake during the year of Confirmation. The result of revamping the program was a new name: The Confirmation Disciple Project.

Read more: Confirmation Disciple Project

He Ascended Into Heaven

The season of Easter lasts for 50 days – 7 Sundays in total! A seminary professor of mine, from whom I came to appreciate and love the rhythms and themes of the liturgical year, taught me that while Lent is a season set aside to reflect on who we are as disciples of Christ, the season of Easter is a season set aside to reflect on who we understand Jesus Christ to be – the Good Shepherd, the Vine, the one who prepares the way for us.

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Being the Branches of Christ

The scripture reading for this coming Sunday is one of my favorite passages of scripture. In the Gospel of John, Jesus is giving final instructions to his disciples, and he uses a beautiful image for them to hold onto even though their Lord is about to take his earthly leave of them. He says, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit.” It is a lovely and powerful reminder that God is the source of life itself and all that we do as followers of Christ grows out of his life and love for us.

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Doing Mission in Partnership

This Saturday we will gather as a congregation committed to a deep and wide experience of mission in our community and around the world. This will be the third year that BMPC has held an annual Mission Summit, and each year the event has looked a little different. This year is no exception.

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Celebrating Lay Leaders of the Church

This Sunday, during the 10:00 a.m. worship service we will celebrate the Ordination and Installation of elders and deacons. The ordination of lay leaders for the church goes back 500 years, to the Protestant Reformation, when our tradition parted company with an ecclesiastical hierarchy of church governance and ceased to have bishops entrusted with the power and authority to appoint church leaders. Presbyterians believe we make more faithful decisions together than any one person could alone, and affirm the “priesthood of all believers” by electing lay leaders to govern the church.

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Walking the Walk: Youth Interfaith Dialogue

This Sunday, April 10, high school youth from BMPC will take part in an interfaith program called “Walking the Walk,” coordinated by the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. The event will include youth from other local congregations including Mainline Reform Temple, New Horizons Islamic School, and Mainline Unitarian Church.

Read more: Walking the Walk: Youth Interfaith Dialogue

Partnering in Syria and Lebanon

During our second year working at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, a new student entered the Master of Divinity program from Syria. In many ways Mathai (not his real name) slipped into the comfortable camaraderie that all of these young men shared. But in other ways Mathai was different. Because of the struggle to get a visa into Egypt for school, he would not be able to travel back to his home until four years later when he will have finished his degree, while all his classmates travel home each weekend to be with their children and families. Though many of our Egyptian students lived and even worked in congregations through the various revolutions and violence that Egypt has experienced over the past several years, Mathai had experienced much worse. His jokes were a little edgier. His patience for dealing with difficult situations was shorter. His grief at the violence and destruction happening back home didn’t make him miss it and his family any less.

Read more: Partnering in Syria and Lebanon