Tag Archive | lent

The Gathering Sundays following Worship

During Lent, the Gathering will meet in Miles Hall following a brief coffee hour.

The following four Sundays, March 17, 24, and 31 and April 7th the Gathering will  offer opportunities for group discussion on our new life as one congregation under the following themes:

March 17               How we worship

March 24               How we govern ourselves

March 31               What is the future of our buildings?  Issues and ideas.

April 7                    What is our Mission both local and global?  How do we achieve it? –                                         Massapequa location

These sessions will be planned and led by the Pastor with input from elders and other members.

 

Pastor’s Post

Dear Members of United Presbyterian Church:

What a joy it is to address you in this new way!  We have traveled a long way over the past three years, we have gotten to know each other well, and we have learned to worship and work as one body of Christ’s followers.  Now, our shared experience is being validated in official unification of the two historic churches.

I am thankful that the ecclesiastic and legal processes of unification have synchronized, so that we can move in coming weeks to consolidate our legal and financial management even as our new, unified session will begin to make decisions.  We need to work on creating a new system of committees, being clear about the tasks each committee is assigned, and appointing chairs.

 

Most important, I believe, is that during the next several months, we need to systematically think about the nature of our life together and our mission in this new era.  In 2016, almost three years ago, a joint committee wrote a “Plumbline Report” to assess the community we serve and the direction we wished to take in congregational life and mission.  The Report was accepted by both sessions.  Now, we need to re-visit that report, and see if we can develop a more specific set of goals as we consider where we are now.

To assist with this new process of discernment and planning, I am organizing the Gathering sessions for the Lenten season Sundays of March 17, 24, and 31 and April 7.  We will meet in Miles Hall (4/7 will be held in the Massapequa Social hall) following a brief coffee hour.

 March 17         How we worship

March 24         How we govern ourselves

March 31         What is the future of our buildings?  Issues and ideas.

April 7              What is our Mission both local and global?  How do we achieve It? 

These sessions will be planned and led by me with input from elders and other members.

I will create a summary of points made and ideas brought forward.  This will become a background paper for a one-day member planning retreat I hope to organize sometime in May.  (I should add that this plan of mine will be discussed at the first meeting of the unified session, so it is subject to change.  Stay tuned.)

 

-Pastor Lou

 

 

Pastor’s Post – March 2017

 

From the Pastor

From the Pastor:

 

Special events this Lenten-Easter Season

 

This year, we are adding two activities that I hope you will support by your attendance.  First, we are arranging home communions to occur each week of Lent.  You will receive a personal invitation to one of these, a week or ten days in advance of the event.  The communion service will take place either in the home of a member or at one of our two church buildings.  We will meet at 7:30 on a week night and be done by 9.  People from both congregations will be invited to the evenings, to create an opportunity to get to know each other better as we move closer to merger.  In addition to sharing the Lord’s Supper, we will spend some time sharing about our respective church experiences and what we hope for from a merged and renewed congregation.  

 

Our second innovation will be an early Easter morning service on the lawn at Levittown Church.  We will gather at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 16 to celebrate the events of that long-ago Easter dawn when the world was changed forever.  (If the weather is bad, we will go inside.) This will be an act of public worship that will demonstrate to one and all the promise of our new life together in Christ.  There will be a breakfast following worship, and many of you I’m hoping will stay to attend the 10 a.m. service, also at Levittown.  

 

 -Pastor Lou

 

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Pastor’s Post – March 2016

From-the-Pastor-2

Dear brothers and sisters:

As part of our Lenten emphasis on the Scriptures of the Old Testament, we have recently read in worship the story of the great gathering of the people of God convened by Joshua at Shechem to re-commit their national life to God.  This story contains the Old Testament in a nutshell:  1) God offers the covenant of his steadfast loyalty and love to the people; 2) the people promise in return to be faithful to God and his law for their lives; 3) the people then wander away from God and forget their promises to be faithful; 4) God punishes the people through defeat and occupation by hostile forces; 5) the people repent and cry out to God for salvation; and finally, 6) God hears their cries and restores them to their lives of peace and prosperity in return for their promised faithfulness.  This is the cycle of human behavior repeated several times in the Old Testament.

This Lent and Easter season, I would like us to borrow a script from Joshua and re-examine our covenant relationship with God and each other.   In our worship services the next several Sundays  and in our Sunday evening Bible studies, we will continue to explore the story of the people of God and their covenant relationship to God as it is told in the Old Testament.  On Easter morning, we, as one people, will make our own re-commitment to the divine covenant. Let us for the moment set aside the technicalities of merger and a new identity, and assume our identity as the unified assembly of the people of God.

I want us this year during the Easter service to renew our covenant relationship with God through a litany that we all will help write. So, I would like you to write down on a sheet of paper the things that God has done for us over the years. Now, I’m going to ask you to write in two columns—one column can be for the blessings that God has bestowed on you and your family, and the other column will be for blessings that God has bestowed on us as a people, as a church—you can think of your own church, Massapequa or Levittown plus our combined effort, should you wish to mention that.

On the other side of the form will be an opportunity to say what we should include in our re-commitment—what promises we should be making as a people to our God. This one too, will have a column for your personal re-commitments, and for the re-commitments you feel should we should make as a people of God—as one church growing out of two, however you want to think about it.

I’m going to distribute the form next week in church (March 6) and give you one week to work on it, and I’ll be the editor, to turn it into a litany of thanksgiving and re-commitment. You can sign the form if you so choose, or just contribute it anonymously. On Easter morning during our 10 a.m. service we will gather as the people of God gathered at Shechem to re-commit to the Lord and to the future of his ministry in this place.

Let this liturgy of re-commitment be the beginning our goal-setting for our life together, our renewed community life that we will live in the marvelous light that shines forth from the face of the risen Savior.  The apostle Paul reassures us in I Corinthians 10: 13 that God will not abandon us, that He will not let us succumb to the enticements of the devil, if we approach him with humbleness and repentance. Through his covenant, God will reward us beyond all that we ask or think, so let us turn our hearts during this special month toward God, our pillar of fire by night and cloud by day who will lead us through the wilderness of doubt and confusion into the promised land of love, justice and peace.

-Pastor Lou