Wednesday, June 24

“There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.” — Thomas Merton

Good morning, church,

I think little Aiden Coover is coming home from the hospital today. We wish him well on his continued recovery from the emergency appendicitis. It can be such a shock for young people to discover that your health is vulnerable. I remember spending two weeks in a hospital one lousy summer when all my classmates from 11th grade went on a class trip to Italy!!! During that summer I had somehow developed the beginnings of shingles and meningitis at the same time. It began with some headaches and milder symptoms that only my mother recognized, which was a huge blessing because it got caught early. The shingles were treated right away and never became a problem. The meningitis, even though it was also caught and treated in the beginning stages, continued to cause headaches that stayed with me for quite some time and into 12th grade.  Needless to say, it was not my favorite summer. But at some point the headaches disappeared, thanks be to God! Many of us have witnessed children who are sick, some of them very severely so, and it always makes you sad since you feel that our bodies should “work” when we are young. But life is not perfect, has never been perfect, and our bodies are vulnerable to disease and injury. Sometimes it hits little guys. Let us pray today for all children who are fighting health battles. I know that my wife has come into contact with more than a few parents with very sick and chronically ill children through her work with Lyme disease. When children are sick it is always heartbreaking. All of you little guys, may the Lord bring healing and hope to you!

In Montgomery County, we are supposed to enter the Green phase on Friday. It will not grant us permission to let our guards down. We have seen too many countries and states experiencing a resurgence of cases, often triggered by careless gatherings. So, we will be very careful even as we plan to do a few more in-person meetings as a church, starting with a small service on July 5.  Some of you might wonder and say: ”Why do it at all at this time?” It’s a good question, but I think in some ways the summer season is an opportunity to refuel our very human need for community a little bit. I saw it last Sunday at our ice cream social in the parking lot. People were appropriately careful but I could also sense that they were happy to see some of their friends from church.  Someone said, “I needed this.”  It also convinced me to gather for in-person church services outdoors whenever the weather allows this summer. (Bring your own chair). It is without any doubt the safest option. I don’t want to be a pessimist, but I could see that we might experience a bigger resurgence in the fall and winter and won’t be able to see much of one another. And that could be a mighty long time of isolation. That’s why I am in favor of doing a few more things in-person this summer. More about the July 5th service later this week…  We will also offer another pop-up summer night gathering via our Adult Faith Formation Team.  Please stay tuned.

We have received a good number of responses to our survey, but would like to get a few more to get a good picture of where people are. Here is the survey link.

Please do not forget the Car Wash on Saturday, which will benefit the Innocence Project. (See attached flier.)  

Or the Food Drive today (Wednesday) from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

We are taking a little break with Bible Studies. To be continued in a few weeks!

We are adding this virtual mini-series to our summer calendar had come out of my conversations with Rabbi Parmenter from Tiferet Bet Israel (TBI) in Blue Bell. It is called “Tender shoots of Righteousness: Re-discovering religious Civil Rights Leaders – A Jewish/Protestant conversation in the Black Lives Matter Era. We will offer the following three sessions via Zoom. A flier and the invitations to the sessions will be shared very soon.    

July 7:  Abraham Heschel: “When I marched in Selma my feet were praying.”  – A Jewish mystic on a journey toward justice – what he can teach us and what we can learn while our feet are praying. With Rabbi Danielle Parmenter.

July 21: The Civil Rights Movement in our front yard: Black leaders in Philadelphia from 1963 to 1985 and the Move Bombing.  With Assistant Prof. Emeritus for African American Studies, Dr. Richard Stewart.

August 4:  Lessons learned? Reinhold Niebuhr and the Civil Rights Movement. With excerpts from 1954 until late 1968 written by one of the best-known Civil Rights Ethicists of the time. With Pastor Andreas Wagner.

Today are the birthdays of Lara H., Pastor Shin, and Shane W. Happy birthday!!!

Be blessed and be safe! Pastor Andreas Wagner