Tag Archive | bible

Pastor’s Post – May 2016

From the Pastor

What I Did on Spring Vacation. . .

My family spent a lovely week in a beautiful place:  Portland, Oregon.  Both my wife and I have close relatives living there, and Louis and Velma found a lot of cousins to play with, on both sides of the family.

Portland is a study in contrasts:  on the one hand, it is a self-consciously beautiful city with wonderful plantings, attractive and user friendly public transportation, plentiful benches and resting stops for pedestrians, laid-back coffee houses (not all Starbucks!) and striking views of the Willamette River and the great volcanic mountains to the east and north. Much of the waterfront has been transformed in recent years from a dismal commercial wilderness into a lovely public park.  On the other hand, the poor and homeless are omnipresent, often asking for a handout.  Recently, the mayor declared that the homeless could legally camp on any public green space, and this has led to small tent settlements springing up in many neighborhoods.  Permanent residents near these areas are not amused, and political trouble is brewing.  In addition, I learned from a college friend who is now a prominent attorney in the city that Portland’s high school graduation rate is abysmal.  And this in an area that is now heavily dependent on tech industries that demand a highly skilled and highly trained workforce.

On Sunday morning, I visited a local Presbyterian congregation in a suburban area about 15 miles from city center.  The Oak Hills Presbyterian Church has a membership of about 140 but a remarkably high attendance record, averaging over 100 each Sunday morning.  The congregation seems about evenly divided between an early “contemporary” service and a later traditional service.  The annual budget runs close to $250,000. The church’s modern building sits on an attractive site with some open space around it.  The Rev. Jeremy Sanderson, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and a man in his early thirties, gave an inspirational sermon based on the life of David.  I attended the 11 a.m. traditional service, which is preceded by the 9:30 “contemporary” service.  Although labeled traditional, the service I attended featured liberal use of visual aids—a computer-based use of projected images during the service included lyrics for all hymns sung as well as pictures and outlines to supplement the words of the pastor and to advertise congregational activities.  The worship space uses a lot of natural light and movable chairs that allowed for a variety of seating arrangements.  I was not able to attend the contemporary service at 9:30, but judging from a large drum set that is a permanent feature in the sanctuary, I would guess it uses modern, youth-oriented music.

Should anyone be interested, I have a copy of Oak Hills’ 2015 annual report.  I could not help but imagine how a church such as this one might serve as a model for what our two churches might be able to build—in terms of modern facilities–if we are successful in our merger efforts and can begin to re-build our ministry as one congregation.

 

 

Lenten Studies Series

Meeting Sunday February 21st. & 28th. & March 6th. & March 13th. at 6:20pm

Hosted at the Massapequa Community Presbyterian Church

The Lenten study sessions will be held at Massapequa Church, beginning at 6:20 p.m., following the contemporary service on February 21st.  Rabbi Marci Bellows from Temple B’nai Torah will join us on February 21st. to discuss how the Jewish community understands their Scriptures and uses them in worship and as a moral guide for life.    After Rabbi Bellows appearance on February 21, we will meet on the next three Sundays:  February 28 and March 6 and 13.  The specific topics for each discussion will be announced a week in advance.

Lenten Study Series

Pastor’s Post for December 2015

Dear friends:

Well, here we go again with this “war on Christmas” thing.  How dare Starbucks change the design of its holiday cups!!  What were those shopping mall managers thinking when they took the Christmas trees out of the backdrop for Santa!  It is easy to make fun of such silly criticisms, but behind these rather extreme points of view about the danger of Christmas slipping away, you can sense an authentic anxiety about growing secularism in the culture.  It’s not so much that we are losing Christmas but that we are losing touch with the sacred.  People are looking for meaning and fulfillment in all the wrong places, while houses of worship gather dust.

There’s that old cliché phrase we use sometimes:  “Is nothing sacred?”  We could ask that again today, in light of the overwhelming commercialization and secularization of holidays in general, Christmas being exhibit numero uno.  Have we abandoned all sense of purpose beyond our own material enrichment?  Is it finally true that he or she who dies with the most toys is the winner?

I’d like us to take a step back this year and re-discover Christmas by studying the sacred texts in which all of our yuletide traditions are rooted.  How did lowly shepherds find their way into the story, along with high born kings, or sages from the East?  What do the Christmas stories tell us about Jesus Christ himself?   What does it mean to “believe” and to “have faith in” these stories today?   And, perhaps most important, what would be an appropriate and meaningful way to observe Christmas that would help us restore its place in our spiritual lives?  Please join me for three evenings of discussion:  Wednesdays, December 2, 9 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the Massapequa Church.

Pastor Lou

ADVENT BIBLE STUDIES

Bible

Pastor Knowles will lead a series of three Advent Bible Studies on the Christmas stories as found in Matthew and Luke and the “non-Christmas” stories of Mark and John.  The study sessions will be on Wednesdays, December 2, 9, & 16 at

7:30 p.m. in the Boardroom at The Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa.  There will be 45 minutes of study and 15 minutes of prayer each evening.

Worship Schedule for December

Dear Members and Friends,

The First Presbyterian Church of Levittown will rotate worship services with the Presbyterian Community Church of Massapequa for the month of December.  Please click on the link below to see our worship schedule.  We hope you come to Meet God & Friends Here.

December Worship Service