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.

Renovations Nearing Completion

As the renovation work on the church campus moves toward completion, I hope that you have already enjoyed walking through the updated Education Building and enjoyed the lovely expansion of the Memorial Garden. This past Tuesday the Renovations Committee had the opportunity to walk through the Ministries Center and new Atrium which connects to the Sanctuary. I can hardly wait until everyone can see and live into the use of these newly renovated spaces.

All the Saints

In every time and place, the Church of Jesus Christ has been inhabited by saints. Through faithful living, these saints have left their mark on the world, their community, and on all of us. This Sunday is All Saints Sunday, a day in which we remember all the saints who have come before us, and we lift up by name the saints of this congregation who have died in the past year.

Far from Perfect

When I was in divinity school I took a graduate course on utopian societies. Over the semester we examined among others the likes of the Harmonists of New Harmony, Indiana; the Shakers of Mother Ann Lee; and the Oneida community in upstate New York. Born out of certain assumptions of human nature and a vision for society, each of these groups were experiments in communal living, attempting to create not just a new social order, but a kind of ideal civic life.

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.