I am still in awe of the ways God worked last weekend at our BECA launch. How powerful it was for us to be all together! One of my many favorite moments was introducing a couple that worships in the contemporary service to a couple that worships in the traditional service. They had never met. I was so happy to introduce two wonderful couples.
The morning exceeded even my very optimistic outlook... It was an "only God" morning. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Thanks to each and every volunteer team - from prayer... to set up... to parking... to music... and hospitality... and children... and students... and pack up... I am so proud of the ways you came together to serve in this amazing next step of our journey - how good it is to see God's faithful and sovereign hand guiding us. I can't wait to be together again on Sunday. I hope you will join me in inviting people to experience all God is doing in our midst.
The next 3 weeks, in worship, we will turn our attention to God's vision for the church. We will be looking at the "one another" phrases in the Bible. "One another" is two words in English but only one in Greek -- ἀλλήλων(ah-LAY-loan). It's used over 100 times in the New Testament. 47 times it gives instructions for the community - for Christians to know how to live together. And 60% of those instructions come from Paul. Mark will start this week with: "Encourage One Another." What a great series to jump in as God works in our community moving us forward together.
These are exciting times. One of the next steps in our journey together is to name our church. As you know, the judge ruled that the real and personal property of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem were held in trust for the benefit of the PCUSA, which includes the name. So, now we have the privilege of claiming our new name! We have engaged a brand specialist to assist us. Our goal is to reveal our new name on Easter weekend. We invite you to fill out a survey with your thoughts - click here.
One last thing...
Speaking of encouragement, I bring you greetings back from the ECO National Gathering. Your pastors and some of our elders went as voting commissioners to the meeting in Houston, Texas. I had the privilege of preaching and telling our story at one of the sessions. When I shared about Sunday at BECA, there was thunderous applause. People are encouraged by your conviction and your bold step. And they are praying for us as we continue our 140 year old mission of inviting people to find and follow Jesus. I met later that night with all the large church pastors and we prayed together and shared how God is at work in our congregations. I am so glad to be in a denomination that has its focus on growing flourishing congregations. All of us who went were encouraged, made new friends and exchanged best practices with others we met. There are now 400 churches in our growing ECO denomination.
So glad to be on the adventure with you. Here we go!
Your pastor and friend,