photo showing part of a bible.

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.

The Wonder of It All

What I love most about summer is the wonder of it all. Clear nights, bright stars and visible planets. The comforting rhythm of waves breaking upon the sand and receding only to do it again. Fish rising from the deep, shining and silver and reflecting the sun. Footprints in the sand. Fireflies. Mountain vistas. Ferns unfolding on the wooded floor. Tomatoes ripening in the backyard. Birds singing to summon the dawn.

Reclaiming Evangelism

For the past month, we have been engaged in an Adult Education forum after worship on the topic of Reclaiming Evangelism. I wasn’t quite sure what kind of response a class like this would have, since so many of us tend to shy away from doing any kind of evangelism in our own lives - and have story after story of being made uncomfortable both by strangers and friends who seem bent on trying to save our souls.

A Peace Which Transcends Understanding…

I recently clipped a little factoid out of a periodical I subscribe to that I thought was interesting:

“Amazon says that the most highlighted Bible passage on Amazon’s Kindle e-reader is Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Peru Mission Trip

It was just a few short months ago that PC(USA) Mission Coworker Jed Koball stood on the gym stage at our Sunday morning Youth Gathering and told the story of his ministry in Peru. Jed described how his initial work of meeting basic human needs transformed into systemic work of mission advocacy. Jed and his wife Jenny partner with a mission network called Joining Hands in Peru as they discern how God is leading them to address the root causes of issues such as poverty, mining contamination, and unfair trade agreements.

A Prayer for Independence Day

The Fourth of July is one of our two quintessential American holidays along with Thanksgiving Day of course. Many of us will be at home hosting family gatherings, picnic suppers, and looking for places to watch the fireworks. Others of us will be heading to the shore or some other vacation destination. Small towns and large cities across the country will gather along parade routes to watch and cheer as the bands march, the flags are waved and the joy of living in “the land of the brave and the home of the free” is celebrated.

General Assembly 2016

As I write today, I am watching as the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) debates, amends and celebrates a new Directory of Worship for the denomination. This means hard conversations about who is welcome to participate in the Sacrament of Communion, what it means to present a child for Baptism in our congregations, and how we shape our life of worship together. It also means conversations about language and practices, hospitality and grace.

VBC 2016

What will happen next week during Vacation Bible Camp?

A pile of cardboard boxes will become a village.
Old t-shirts will be woven into new rugs.
Broken pottery will form garden mosaics.
Bible stories will become familiar.
Canned food will be gathered and distributed Philadelphia.
A garden will be harvested and there will be fresh strawberries available at Chester Eastside.
Children will serve sisters and brothers in Philadelphia, Syria, Mexico City, and in our church.
Birdhouses will be built.
Youth will be leaders.
Strangers will become friends.
New songs will be sung.
God will be praised.