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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.

A Prayer for Thanksgiving

O God to whom we belong, we celebrate this Thanksgiving Day by rejoicing in the abundance of your many blessings. We are thankful for all your gifts that make life meaningful and pleasurable: for love which binds us to one another in community, for passion that keeps us alive to the goodness of life, for compassion that opens our hearts to others.

Read more: A Prayer for Thanksgiving

The Gifts We Need

The other day as I was walking my son to the bus stop, we had a brief conversation about our expectations for Christmas this year. Living in Egypt for the past two holiday seasons meant very modest Christmas celebrations. Western toys that we could get our hands on in Cairo were far more expensive than they were worth, and in the back of our minds anything bought in Egypt would need to fit in suitcases when we moved home.

Read more: The Gifts We Need

A Time of Gathering In

All signs point to it. This is a time for gathering in. Nature’s harvest where we live is nearly complete for the year. We’ve had our spring berries, the abundance of summer fruits and vegetables, and now the apples and pumpkins and squash. Our harvest is nearly complete.

Read more: A Time of Gathering In

Never the Same

He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ. –Ephesians 1:4-5

At 8:18am on Easter morning this year, Sarah and I received the most incredible gift. At Bryn Mawr Hospital, as the church began its first Easter service, our daughter Hadley Claire was born and changed our lives forever. As we have discovered, life would never be the same.

Read more: Never the Same

A Family of Support in a Time of Grief

Regardless of one’s stage in life, certain dates are remembered. A child’s birthday, a couple’s first date, the birthday of a beloved pet, perhaps the date you were offered your dream job and, of course, wedding anniversaries! For most of us those landmark dates also include the date a loved one passed from this life to the next. While birthdays are typically observed in a group with much festivity, dates such as the passing of a spouse or parent or child are more typically observed with some solitary reflection. I have lived long enough to now observe a couple of those dates – in honor of my brother and mother – and I can tell you that, even with the passage of time, those observances are difficult.

Read more: A Family of Support in a Time of Grief

Spiritual, Practical and Impractical Goals for Our Stewardship Journey

What are the goals of this year’s Stewardship Campaign to support BMPC’s ministry?

The first is a spiritual goal – to grow in appreciation for the abundant life we have been given by God and to respond with the generous offering of our lives as we seek to follow Jesus Christ. Making a financial commitment to the church is a tangible response to the intangible reality of God’s love and grace and goodness. Faithful people embark on a spiritual journey with God that leads us to grow in generosity.

Read more: Spiritual, Practical and Impractical Goals for Our Stewardship Journey

Serious Faith

For our Sunday morning Youth Gathering, I’m always looking to connect our teens with theological depth and biblical insight in a relevant way. So far this fall, we’ve completed a sermon series on Sabbath called “Refresh.” During the series we talked about finding rest in a restless world, something especially challenging for our youth who face many demands on their time and energy. We just began a new series called “Emoji Christian.” If you’ve sent a text message, you’ve probably used an emoji character, which symbolizes an idea or emotion. During this series, we’re asking the question: Is your faith just a symbol or something you take seriously?

Read more: Serious Faith

Theologian in Residence: The Rev. Dr. Brian Blount

I am very excited about the Reverend Dr. Brian Blount coming next weekend as our Theologian in Residence and hope that you will take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity. Brian is not only a fine biblical scholar, but he also presents his keen insights about the intersection of the biblical tradition and contemporary faith in easily accessible and understandable ways. He was a pastor before he pursued his doctoral studies and loves the church with a pastor’s heart.

Read more: Theologian in Residence: The Rev. Dr. Brian Blount

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Every year on the first Sunday of October we mark two significant moments in our life as Presbyterians.

Read more: Blessed are the Peacemakers

3rd Grade Bible Sunday

We are people of the Word. Scripture shapes everything we do: from the prayers we pray, to the service we engage in, to the format of our worship. Scripture is “a witness without parallel” to the unfolding story of God. It is “sharper than any two edged sword” and “a light to our path.” Scripture is important. At times it is also confusing, filled with difficult passages, archaic practices, violence and more. The Bible has been used to justify evil acts as well as to call nations to repentance and new life. It’s amazing what approximately 800,000 words can do.

Read more: 3rd Grade Bible Sunday