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 Twisting Vision

My American flag waves proudly on my front porch; albeit occasionally getting twisted by the wind or by the jumping grubby hands of my nearly-feral children. I love this country, the national ideals we work to espouse, and the dreams we hold for our posterity. I give thanks for the men and women who have served protecting our sovereignty. And as we feast on hot dogs and hamburgers and take in the bursting lights and sounds of fireworks, it seems a fitting weekend to do just that.

The Race Set Before Us

17 weeks since the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
15 weeks since the murder of Breonna Taylor.
4 weeks since the murder of George Floyd.
4 weeks since the flood of protests against systemic racism and police brutality.

There are more now: Rayshard Brooks, Sean Monterrosa, Jamel Floyd, and even Justin Howell, a protester shot by “less lethal” rounds by police, is now hospitalized with a fractured skull and brain damage.1

Counting and Planning Our Days

“Teach us to count our days,” says the psalmist, “that we may gain a wise heart.”

Perhaps you, like me, have been literally counting your days a lot recently. If so, you’ll know that today marks the beginning of week 15 since the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered our community on March 12. Tomorrow will be day 100. That’s 100 days without in-person community, of forced separation, of journeying into an unknown future; 100 days that none of us could have planned nor predicted.

This Work is Going to Be Hard

Almost every day now someone asks me "What can we do?" to fix the systemic and deeply ingrained problems of racism in our country and in our community. I struggle to give an answer that provides for any kind of easy solution.

Because there is no easy solution.

This work is hard. It takes time and sustained commitment by the people who do it to learn, change, confess and rebuild together. 

The primary reason this work is hard, and the reason this work often falls short, is because we have to be willing (especially as white people) to say that our lives - personally, communally, professionally - will have to change in ways that we do not understand at the beginning of the work.

Today’s Apocalyptic Moment

Last fall, at an out-of-town gathering among clergy friends, I admitted that I felt like I was repeatedly preaching the same four-point sermon: the world is a mess, we have reason to despair, but the future is in God’s hands, therefore we have hope. The backdrop then was increasing polarization in our country, anxiety about a government failing to govern equitably, increasing economic disparity across the globe, and mounting concerns about climate change which is related to all the rest.

A Pastoral Letter from the Reverend Agnes W. Norfleet

Dear BMPC Friends and Family,

We are a people on edge watching fires fueled by a history of systemic racism erupt around the United States of America. The horrifying death of George Floyd under the knee of one Minneapolis police officer, while three other police officers stood by participating, has raised our righteous anger. The fact that this act of injustice followed the recent incidents of Ahmaud Arbery being hunted down and killed while jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, and EMT Breonna Taylor being shot to death in a botched police raid in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment has enraged anyone with a conscience. The ensuing peaceful protests have been appropriate demonstrations of civil unrest and a cry for justice. The violent eruptions that have accompanied them have not.

Thankful for All Things - Bright and Beautiful

Being home with my children full time has been much different than I thought it would be. As a working parent, they're in daycare five days a week. I get home from work and I’m exhausted… and I just try to get through the evening without letting my exhaustion take over.