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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.

Sighs too Deep for Words

Sixteen months into the pandemic, I didn’t think I could be more overwhelmed with everything going on in our world.

Then came August. Clearly, I was wrong.

Back Home Again

Like some of you, I am a transplant to this area. And because ordained ministry can be fairly nomadic, clergy often find ourselves settling for seasons in locations far from where we grew up. Which leads me to think about how we talk about “home.” Is home a place? A person? A feeling? An idea? A dream? Is it something we can taste or smell? How often do we go home?

Another Hard Moment

I have frequently shared stories and fun facts from the time that our family lived as Mission Co-Workers for the Presbyterian Church in Cairo, Egypt before we came to live and work among you here in Bryn Mawr. While we loved the experience, I don’t often share publicly how hard it was. As the pandemic has taken yet another turn in recent days, I am reminded of how difficult our first months in Egypt were, primarily because of the revolution/coup that took place just three days after we arrived.

Where is God leading me?

Almost from the start of my Christian journey I’ve wanted to know God’s will for me. I desired a clear message that would let me know I was on the right path, that I was being faithful. I dismissed my own faculties of discernment, convinced that any conclusion I reached on my own couldn’t be correct. I’m not God, after all. I sought a voice from the heavens to tell me what to do and point me toward the right path.

New Camp, Same Gospel

Camp for our youth this year is different than it has ever been, and not just because it's happening during a pandemic. This coming Sunday, we'll be taking 34 BMPC youth and adults to a camp that is new to us — Johnsonburg Camp in Johnsonburg, New Jersey. We'll sincerely miss our summer youth experiences at Camp Kirkwood which was an incredible ministry of the Presbytery of Philadelphia. I'm grateful our youth were able to have so many memorable moments there during the last decade. The closing of that chapter means the beginning of another. When we learned about Kirkwood's closure, we asked their staff for recommendations of other camps. Johnsonburg was their first choice. 

BMPC Summer Podcasts: Season Two Ends This Week

There are so many things we have done during the past year and a half that I don’t think I would have ever believed we would or could do them as a church before the pandemic _ and all the other social shifts we have experienced since March 2020.

One of them has been our summer podcast. I could have imagined us hosting our own podcast, but I never thought we would have been able to share and reflect on the kinds of conversations that have taken place on our podcasts during the past two summers – conversations with mission partners, members and pastors sharing their struggles and hopes when it comes to a life of faith, and open dialogue around issues of race.

That is especially true when it comes to last week’s episode.

In Gratitude

To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything God has given us – and God has given us everything…. Gratitude, therefore, takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

 ~ Thomas Merton

The slower pace of summertime, I find, lends itself to a deepened sense of gratitude. Some of that arises simply from a break in the daily rhythms of life that comes with the season – trips and adventures, family reunions, expansive vistas along the seashore or from a mountaintop, an extended Sabbath rest from the usual routines of life. Longer days seem to spark an inner light and lightness of being that allow me to linger over the beauty of hydrangeas blooming at every turn, the birds feasting and flying around the yard, the fresh herbs overflowing their containers and the promise of green tomatoes on the vine. Summer just naturally invites grateful mindfulness for the gifts of life in the beauty of God’s creation.