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.

What is a Church?

On Sunday, June 20, I will welcome my third class of new members who have joined our congregation since the pandemic began. To be honest, I don't blame folks who prefer not to join in the middle of a global health crisis. Too many of us were worried about finding toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and antacids to have found much time for joining another organization.

Anti-Racism Summer School

Over the past year we have had a lot of conversations about the work of anti-racism. I know we have said this before, but the truth that this work does not look like a straight line bears repeating. Even for myself, I need to re-read books and articles to gain an accurate understanding of the author’s perspective. I can have the same conversation multiple times before a conversation partner and I have reached a shared understanding. The number of new articles, documentaries and commentary on these issues of equity, language, history and community can be hard to keep track of.

Virtual Power

Many of you have met my dear sister Julie. She was born with a congenital heart problem, and as a toddler, was electrocuted in a terrible accident. As a result, Julie has lived her life under the care of my parents. She is sheer joy, always looking at life with the most positive of attitudes and a delicious sense of humor. She loves visiting us in Philadelphia and especially enjoys attending BMPC services during those visits!

Confirmation in 2021

I graduated from Confirmation in 2001. My strongest memory is of my friend Jeff's mom (who found her calling as a competitive ballroom dancer) doing a rap of the verse Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans that I have you-oo-ooh, declares the Lord. Not for calamity-ee-ee, to give you a future - and a hope! Jeremiah, twenty-ninah, verse 11." While I rolled my eyes in class and vividly remember watching Jeff's growing mortification at his parents, I never forgot that verse. I don't know how much PCUSA theology and polity I learned in the class, but I still remember those parents' engagement, attention and care.

Forty Days Later

It has been 40 days since we celebrated Easter. Forty days since we took comfort in the truth that death does not have the last word. Forty days since we gathered on the front lawn of BMPC, or around our computers at home, to proclaim the truth that Christ is risen! Today, 40 days later, we add two words to that proclamation: Christ is risen, and ascended!

Regathering after being apart

As our congregation begins regathering after a long season of being apart, I am really looking forward to the first in-person worship this coming Sunday. It will still not be like it used to be for some time. We continue to deal with the necessary safety issues of being inside together with physical distancing, wearing masks, and meditating on the hymns rather than signing them boldly. But it’s a beginning, a significant step forward, and a welcome sign pointing to a post-pandemic future.

Adapting to Changing Seasons

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve opened my front door. A pair of enterprising birds decided that my winter wreath would make an excellent place for a nest. I had initially ignored the random twigs I saw in the wreath and thought they were nothing more than a reminder of an early spring storm.