I hope this first newsletter of 2018 finds you well and holding on to the joyful spirit of Christmas which exudes from the story of our savior’s birth. Yet, right after Christmas we are flooded with these themes of fresh starts, resolutions, and life style alterations.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the beauty of the season is always a favorite of mine. Many of you know that I love children’s books. One book that I acquired this past year is a little book called “Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect” by Richard H. Schneider and illustrated by Elizabeth J. Miles. This is a profound little book, filled with thoughtful reflection on the season.
Advent is approaching quickly, and so with this last Pastor’s Pen before Christmas preparations are completely upon us, Pastor Audrey and I wanted to highlight the journey we will experience together in the weeks preceding Christmas. We have been impacted by a little book called “The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem” written by Adam Hamilton ....
As you may have already heard, our fall Love Feast is undergoing some changes this year. Love Feast in the fall will continue to be on World Communion Sunday which this year is October 1st, but this year we are going to move Love Feast right after the 11:00am worship service.
Some people have called it the “all hands on deck weekend.” And we are certainly hoping we get some divine help too on September 16-17 when we host our annual Fall Festival on Saturday and a Homecoming Sunday. These are all church events, both with strong invitational themes.
Our 2017 Annual Conference theme was “Risk Hope.” During our Sunday morning worship on August 20, we will spend some time reflecting on the week of Annual Conference, both the business and the theme. To prepare for this time, I am going to give you some of my initial reflections from the week of conference. We don’t often think about hope being a risky venture, but it is, in fact, something that comes with a cost. Hope often means looking beyond what seems to be our current reality.
Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians by John Paul Lederach
I have been reading this book that I bought at last year’s Annual Conference. I read several books written by John Paul Lederach in college as a Peace Studies minor and was pleased to see that he had written a new book. Lederach is well known by Anabaptists for his work in conflict transformation. This new book, Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians, is a different style for Lederach.
You have probably started to hear some rumblings around the church about the new BAT Team. And no, this is not a church team of vigilantes working alongside Batman to fight crime in Hagerstown. Our BAT Team stands for the Building Analysis Task Team. This team has been selected to do a comprehensive analysis of our building. We do this for a few reasons:
As we enter into June, Pastor Tim and I begin our fourth year of ministry with the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren. Can you believe how fast the time flies? Each year we have marked the movement into another year of ministry by naming a focus for the new year. Hopefully, you remember that this past year we focused on strengthening our biblical call to hospitality. This focus was to prepare us for this year’s focus on being invitational.
The Art of Christian Listening by Thomas Hart
During college, Pastor Audrey was a Student Peer Minister assigned to her dorm as a trusted spiritual companion for other students needing to process their faith life. To prepare for this role, she read The Art of Christian Listening and found its instruction so helpful that she passed it along to me. Maybe this was a subtle hint for me to become a better listener. But isn’t it the case that we could all be better listeners?