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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.

Good Friday Prayer Stations by the Youth of Student Serve

Around this time last year, we canceled our annual Good Friday service led by BMPC youth because of the pandemic. Now, amid all the fluctuating wisdom concerning COVID-19, the youth department sought to figure out a way to have an in-person Good Friday event accessible and safe for everyone. As such, this coming Good Friday, April 2, youth will lead Outdoor Prayer Stations from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the front lawn of the church. 

One Year Later

Everyone remembers the day it happened to them. For me it was March 12, 2020; the day the world around me “shut down.” I remember those first few days: waiting in line at the grocery store for two hours, monitoring infection maps online, calling members to see what they needed. The unknown was unsettling. Would we actually need to suspend worship? How high would the “curve” go before it could be flattened? Would anyone close to me get the virus and die as a result?

As We Emerge Creatively

Exactly one year ago we became aware of a mysterious virus named COVID-19 making its way across the globe. Initially we were warned the virus lived on hard surfaces and we had to sanitize everything we touched and minimize our touching. The church staff and lay leaders began to plan worship without handshakes and bulletins, with masks and social distancing. Then suddenly everything shut down. 

Resilience = Pure Joy

One year ago this weekend, I enjoyed an early celebration of my 65th birthday party. At that point, the United States had registered 60 cases of the novel coronavirus. Each day following that party the alarm bells grew. Two weeks later on March 8, the Sanctuary Choir and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia presented a glorious concert of works by French composers. When I peeked through the doors into the Sanctuary on March 8 and saw how few people had shown up for the concert, I realized that our world was about to be turned upside down.

Praying through Lent

Lent is a journey. It began yesterday with Ash Wednesday and the reminder that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. The journey will eventually conclude at Easter morning with the celebration of our resurrected Lord, who is Lord of even the dust. In between the start and the finish, the 40-day journey between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday lends itself to contemplation, meditation and action.

Beginning Lent with Thanksgiving

Part of me feels like next Wednesday will mark the 366th day of Lent. There is something about the past year that feels as though Lent has never really ended. Despite my best attempts at hallelujahs and Easter declarations, Pentecost celebrations, and even Advent and Christmas decorations, there is something about the weight of the days and weeks that have felt more like an extended Lenten season than anything else.

Youth Sunday: Hope

It’s hard to believe it is Youth Sunday again already. Youth Sunday was the last significant event in Youth Ministry before everything changed because of the pandemic, and here we are again, in the year 2021. When I asked the high school seniors what they thought the church needed to hear from them, they kept returning to the idea of hope.