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.

The Last Gift

In February 2019, I underwent a cardiac ablation, the result of a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation in December 2018. Like most people facing a health crisis, I scoured the Internet during the weeks leading up to the ablation to learn as much as I could about the procedure. I read about the possibility of severe bleeding, heart valve damage, stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, and yes… death. Yikes! When I got to that last possibility, my mind began to race.

Caring for Someone who is Suffering

When was the last time you found yourself in a difficult situation and were at a loss for words? Was it when a friend shared that they and their spouse were getting a divorce? Or when you learned your sister’s cancer had returned? Or while sitting next to the bedside of your dying loved one? When the moment arrives, whatever its cause, we can freeze, not knowing what to say.

Gaining Some Sense

When I contracted a breakthrough case of COVID this past summer, along with other mild symptoms, I completely lost my sense of taste and smell. My spouse remarked to me that I didn’t have any taste to begin with, but I’m uncertain what she meant by that. In any event, losing two of my five senses was profoundly disorienting. All these many weeks later, I am just now slowly regaining them.

Hoping for Peace

It often surprises people when I tell them that during the two years we lived in Egypt, we never visited the Holy Land. Now some Egyptian Christians would take offense at that description, since they consider Egypt to be a holy place – the refuge to which Jesus and his parents fled, according to the Gospel of Matthew. It is only 700 miles across the Sinai Peninsula to get from one country to the other, if you don’t take the circuitous route Moses did when leading the people to the promised land. Of course, years of conflict, both political and violent, have meant that traveling between the two countries is fairly inconvenient.

Celebrating Church Officers

This coming Sunday during worship we will celebrate the Ordination and Installation of two classes of Elders and Deacons. These church leaders were elected in January of 2020 and 2021 and have begun their service, but we wanted to wait until we were worshipping together in person to have them respond to the Constitutional Questions and ordain and install them to their respective offices.

The Winning Numbers

If you are someone who notices changes in the liturgical lineup on Sunday mornings, then you may have observed that in our desire to retain the ritualized act of offering as a part of worship, we have introduced the phrase “Invitation to Discipleship.”

Rally Day and Regathering

We have come to call the first Sunday after Labor Day when we kick off a new program year “Rally Day.” To rally means to come together again to renew an effort; to join in common cause; to recover and rebound after illness; a mass meeting of people for a purpose. Each of these definitions seems appropriate just now as we begin a new program year of Christian nurture and discipleship. Continuing to emerge from this long pandemic season we have much to celebrate as a community beginning to regather.