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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.

Christian Formation Summit

When we formally began the youth ministry “renovation project” in the summer of 2017, the task before us was a momentous one. BMPC’s youth ministry was strong. The foundations were solid. Our youth were engaged and our parents were committed. Nevertheless, we knew we needed to rekindle our sense of mission and cast a vision for the future.

Read more: Christian Formation Summit

An Invitation

“The true and real sacrament of the Protestant church,” observed one visitor, “is the coffee hour.” For better or worse, he may be on to something. Those 60 minutes following a morning service are often the only time in a given week that a congregation is actually in community with one another, conversing over coffee and cake. Labeled as the fellowship hour in churches across the country, its name might be a bit misleading. What is fellowship anyway?

Read more: An Invitation

Join us for Rally Day!

Every September I welcome the return of the program year with joy. After the comings and goings of summer with vacations and travel, mission trips, camps and adventures, it is good to regather and kick off a new season of congregational life. Like a lot of churches, we’ve come to call this Sunday Rally Day, which by definition means to reunite, to gather again, to pick up, come back and recover. After the slower pace of summer, of rest and renewal, we now recover a full throttled life in Christian community and mission. 

Read more: Join us for Rally Day!

Praying at the Start of a Year

For the past few weeks, we’ve been finalizing fall mailings and class lists.  As I skim over all those names, I think about the coming month.  A new school year always represents enormous possibility.  The vast potential for new friendships, new learning, new mastery, and new opportunities is tempered by the dangers, anxieties, and challenges that are also ahead for each of our students.  How do we as a church help prepare our students for the year ahead?

Read more: Praying at the Start of a Year

What’s in a Name?

I read recently that God had spoken to Russell M. Nelson, president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and articulated that God didn’t want the church to use the terms “Mormon” or “Mormonism” anymore. Apparently, the Lord told Nelson that God didn’t much care for that name and nomenclature, and that adherents should stop using it without delay.

Read more: What’s in a Name?

The Power of Songs

Last month I had the opportunity to attend Massanetta Springs Church Music Conference. Situated in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, Massanetta is a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of city and Main Line life. The conference was packed with choir rehearsals, music reading sessions, social times, and numerous worship services. I always enjoy this type of conference because I’m able to get ideas for the upcoming season while also having the opportunity to be a congregant and actively participate in worship throughout the week.

Read more: The Power of Songs

The Peace of Wild Things

“When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
 - Wendell Berry

Is it possible to capture the complexities, the joys and concerns, the energy and exhaustion, the wildness and freedom of our yearly journey to Camp Kirkwood in a simple post?

Read more: The Peace of Wild Things

The Spirit is Alive!

The congregation I served in northern Indiana - Sunnyside Presbyterian Church - had a catchy slogan they printed on their bulletin and maybe even bumper stickers at one point in their history: “The Spirit is Alive at Sunnyside!”

Read more: The Spirit is Alive!

Announcing Interim Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care & Senior Adults

As I transition from a time of study and planning to vacation, I am thrilled to announce that the Session has hired the Rev. Dr. Andrew Mann to serve as our Interim Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care & Senior Adults. He will begin on Aug. 29 and be formally introduced during worship on Rally Day, Sept. 9.

Read more: Announcing Interim Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care & Senior Adults

Help Students Prepare for New School Year

Presbyterians love education. From the very beginning in Geneva and in Scotland, Presbyterians were working to assure that every member of their community could read and understand the word of God.

That early interest in education has only grown in our 500-year history. Presbyterians were quick to establish universities, seminaries, and schools around the world. They started Sunday Schools to help educate children and adults working in mills. Our love of education was never limited to scripture and the church, but toward the formation of the whole child: body, mind and spirit.

Read more: Help Students Prepare for New School Year