Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Musings

Resolved: To live our lives as part of the Kingdom of God.

Resolved: To welcome others as we have been welcomed by Jesus Christ.

Resolved: To find the place where our passions meet the needs of our community, and use that passion to meet the needs.

Resolved: To explore our spiritual gifts and the best way to use them.

Resolved: To look at our personal and family finances and support mission instead of consumerism.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Giving

This year for the first time, Community Presbyterian Church of Malverne adopted three families in need for Christmas. Some went shopping for Christmas presents. Some donated complete Christmas dinners. The deacons provided grocery store gift cards. The best kind of shopping is shopping for those who really need the things we're buying. Who need the joy of a festively wrapped Christmas present and the sustenance of a good meal--both physical and spiritual.

We were also reminded that, there but for the grace of God, go we. One event--the loss of a job, a home foreclosure, a medical emergency--could put us in these same circumstances.

As you celebrate Christmas this year, pray for the three families we adopted as part of our church family. And remember, it can be hard to see those who are struggling, even when they live right next door.

Take a gander at these pictures:

Many thanks to Mary for her hard work connecting with the families for sizes and details and organizing this mountain of presents!!

Pastor Fritz, the Yangs, and the Moons dropped off presents for these kids and their mom.

This family has promised to light their candle during our Christmas Eve service, to pray for us as we are praying for them. Hallams, Engleses, and Beatrix played Santa.

The Birchs and Pages dropped off gifts for the third family. The smiles on everyone's faces tell you how meaningful this project was for everyone--the givers and the receivers.

One of the mothers we delivered to said that she hopes that next year, she'll be the one delivering presents to another family in need. We hope so too!!

This is what Christmas is all about. As Rob said, it's Jesus' birthday, and this is how we give him a birthday present.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Christmas Caroling is still on! The rain is supposed to stop sometime this afternoon, and lots of people are counting on our cheerful singers to brighten their day.

So, there will be a quick, light supper at 5:00, and carolers will head out around 5:30.

Bundle up and bring your Christmas spirit!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


In her sermon on Sunday, Marilyn Johns called Community Presbyterian Church stubborn. The nerve! The gall! The.... Oh, yeah--she meant it as a good thing, at least in part. We cling to our church, determined to keep it going despite all the societal pressures that seem to be pushing us toward extinction.

She also, though, suggested that some stubbornness is not necessarily something to be proud of: the refusal to look at new ways of doing things, the deliberate blindness to those same societal pressures we're battling and possible new ministries they might require of us.

Being a small church is not a Bad Thing. If we had 300 people in worship every week, do you think we'd still be able to describe CPC as a family? I know that's something that a lot of members really value about our small church. Being a small church is not something to be fixed. It's something to be embraced--and that means recognizing that we have particular gifts (remember those spiritual gifts Pastor Fritz has been talking about?), and we have certain strengths. It's a matter of figuring out what those are and how to use them.

It's time to think about the true purpose of the church. Is it:
  • To make money?
  • To do God's will?
  • To show up the Church of the Intercessor with our Sunday morning attendance?
  • To spread the gospel?
  • To be a static presence in a changing neighborhood?
  • To serve our neighborhood, no matter how it's changing?
Everyone will have a different answer or combination of answers. Let us know what you see as the purpose of CPC and how we can fulfill it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Kingdom of God

One of the many arguments against Jesus being the Messiah is that the prophesies, like the one we read in church yesterday--swords into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks, etc.--all promise that with the Messiah will come the Kingdom of God. Eternal peace and harmony, no hunger, thirst or tears, the rule of God only. Clearly that didn't happen.

Here's what I think: The Kingdom of God must start inside each individual. We must have peace within ourselves and allow God alone to rule over us. Only then can the Kingdom begin to spread. Jesus, as the Messiah, showed and taught us what we need to do to achieve the Kingdom of God. Now it's up to us.

If that lion and lamb are ever going to lie down together, we'd better get to work.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Lighting of Malverne

Don't forget to come by our table at Lighting of Malverne tonight! We'll be set up right by the ATM entrance at the Bank of America on Nottingham. Cookies, cider, and friendship for all!


During Pastor's Coffee House this past Sunday, we talked about the passage from Philippians (2:1-11) which we sometimes use as a statement of faith during worship:

Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,

But emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.

But we often leave off the beginning of this passage (not being part of the confessional hymn). Verses 3-5 read:

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus..."

One of the things we are called to do as Christians is to emulate and imitate Jesus. While we can't exactly give up our (non-existent) equality with God, we can live in humility, as Paul instructs.

How would the world change if all who declared themselves Christians lived this way, looking to the interests of others rather than ourselves?

Leave a comment. Be bold. Be daring. Dream big. But live with humility.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Advent/Christmas Schedule

Here is the initial schedule for Advent/Christmas. Some things will change, but this is a start.

First week of Advent
Saturday, December 1
5:00 – 9:00 pm Lighting of Malverne table w/ hot cider & cookies

Sunday, December 2 (First Sunday of Advent)
9:45 – 12:00 Worship & church school
6:00 – 8:00 Family Advent kick-off (Dinner, Family Advent activity & evening worship

Friday, December 7
6:30 – 10;00 pm Fellowship Club Christmas Party, Irene Green’s house

Second week of Advent
Sunday, December 9 (2nd Sunday of Advent)
9:45 – 11:00 Worship w/ Dr. Marilyn Johns preaching
Christmas Tree decorating
11:00 – 12:00 Cookie Walk
Pastor’s Coffee House w/ Dr. Marilyn Johns
Church School
12:15 – 1:30 pm Lunch for SS Teachers (and others) w/ Dr. Marilyn Johns

Friday, December 14
6:00 – 9:00 pm Christmas Caroling (Rain date, Dec. 15)

Third Week of Advent
Sunday, December 16 (3rd Sunday of Advent)
9:45 - 11:00 am Worship, Baptism of James O’Brien
11:00 - 12:00 Coffee Hour, Pastor's Coffee House
12:30 - 3:00 Christmas caroling to Mrs. Burns

Saturday, December 22
9:00 - 12:00 Christmas Pageant Rehearsal

Fourth Week of Advent
Sunday, December 23 (4th Sunday of Advent)
9:45 am Worship, Children's Christmas Pagaent

Monday, December 24 (Christmas Eve)
4:00 pm Family Service w/ Communion
11:00 pm Service of lessons and carols

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Crop Walk 2007

On October 21st members of Community Presbyterian Church joined in the annual South Nassau Crop Walk to help raise money for local, national and international hunger relief through the Long Island Council of Churches and Church World Service. Check out the pictures.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Youth Kayak Trip

The youth group went paddling around Garrets Marsh and the Reynolds Channel on Sunday, having a lot of fun while singing the Jesus Loves Me boat chant and contemplating on how the elements of wind and water shape our faith. Check out the pictures.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Prayer for the big stuff

During Pastor's Coffee House on Sunday we were talking about how it can be sometimes difficult to pray for the intangibles or things that are far away - peace, justice, end to poverty, our national leaders, etc. Because these problems are so entrenched and solutions seem unobtainable, it becomes easy to leave them off of our prayer list. Instead we focus on the little things - a good day at work, personal healing, self improvment, our job, our financial situation, etc. - things that are important but also manageable.

I went to hear Jim Wallis speak tonight at the kick off for a new organiztion called NY Faith & Justice. This group commits itself to "following Christ, uniting the church and ending poverty," goals that are in their very nature prophetic and without faith they are impossible. "Faith is for the big stuff," Rev. Wallis said in his remarks. "Faith the size of a mustard seed (really really small) can move mountains (really, really big)," Jesus said. When government is at an impasse, when everyone is at wit's end, the movement of God thorugh the people of God sets things into balance. The American Revolution was preceeded by a revival. The Civil War was preceeded by a revival. The progressive social reforms of the late 1800's were preceeded by a revival. The civil rights movement was preceeded by a revival. Faith can move mountains. So we're called to pray. And we're called to live out our faith by walking the walk of Jesus.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sunday School Kick-off BBQ Kids Art

Take a stroll down the church walkway and check out these drawings by CPC kids!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday School Kick-off BBQ

As several of us remarked on Saturday afternoon, we always have a wide variety of great dishes without planning who will bring what! Everyone contributes his or her best dish just as we share our other talents. Truly a God sighting as well as a great food tasting.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Summer Sermon Quiz

All summer in worship and on this blog we've been talking about various spiritual gifts. Test your retention and Bible knowledge by matching each Bible character with his or her gift. Warning: some characters may have more than one gift. The "correct" answer is the gift we used each character to highlight over the summer.

Woman at the Well
Congregation of the Israelites
King Ahasuerus’ scribes



Summer Sermon Quiz Answers

Answers: Summer Sermon Quiz
Gideon - Faith; Jesus - Compassion; Rahab - Assistance; Moses - Prophecy; Elijah - Shepherding; Solomon - Wisdom; Woman at the Well - Evangelism; Congregation of the Israelites - Giving; King Ahasuerus’ Scribes - Tongues; Jonathan - Love.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tuesday Thoughts

Pastor Fritz talked about the gift of tongues and speaking in tongues in church this past Sunday. A lot of us in the more, shall we say, staid traditions of Christianity find the modern idea of speaking in tongues a little scary, a little strange, and a little dubious.

But at the same time, maybe we're a little curious, and perhaps even jealous. What would it be like to be so full of the Holy Spirit, to give ourselves over so completely to God's presence?

I remember one Pentecost Sunday at a church in Louisville, when the greeters handed out lengths of red crepe paper streamer to everyone as we all came in that morning. I don't recall if they had a specific purpose, or were just to symbolize the Holy Spirit and to make sure everyone had a bit of red. In any case, I put mine around my neck like a scarf. Have you ever worn crepe paper streamer? It itches! But it occurred to me that maybe being full of the Holy Spirit isn't--and shouldn't be--a particularly comfortable sensation, either. We are so used to being in control of everything about ourselves--how we act, what we say, who we say it to--that allowing God to use us so completely must chafe.

Until we give up our precious control and just go along for the ride.

Maybe you have the gift of speaking in tongues--that is, of reaching out to someone across language and cultural barriers, of interpreting the specialized language of the church for someone who didn't grow up using it, of hearing what's really being said by someone who is angry, hurting, or afraid--and you never knew, until you let God and the Holy Spirit take control.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Come and See

On Sunday, August 12, 2007 the Community Presbyterian Church of Malverne was fortunate to have Rev. Victoria Affram-Boyd lead our worship. She issued an invitation to “Come and See” her home church in Peki, Ghana just as Jesus invited Peter and the other disciples to “come and follow me.” Sometimes it is necessary for us to step out of our comfort zone and take a chance as they did.

Peki is part of a vibrant Christian community in Ghana, and Rev. Affram-Boyd’s home church, the Peki Methodist Church, is in the midst of a building campaign to replace a church and school built in 1893 by Rev. Affram-Boyd’s grandfather. The congregation needs our help in three ways. First, we can support their efforts through our prayers, asking God to help them see their project through. Secondly, we can lend financial support. They need $130,000 to complete their building. Thirdly, we can go to Peki and witness their efforts. In August of 2008, Rev. Affram-Boyd is leading an educational trip to Ghana and especially Peki. If you are interested, let Pastor Fritz know.

Rev. Affram-Boyd’s passion is “to unite God’s people by bringing them to share the love of Christ across cultures.” To this end, she hopes to build sustainable partnerships between churches in the United States and the church in Ghana. It is more than the completion of a building. It is an opportunity to connect with a Christian community.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Ghana Calling

I just spent an amazing three hours with Rev. Victoria Affram-Boyd, our guest pastor for August 12th. If you want to believe in miracles again, if you want to be refreshed by the power of God, if you want to know without a doubt that God is still at work in our community and our world, forget about the beach, forget about sleeping in and be at church August 12.

Rev. Affram-Boyd was born and raised in the Peki Mothodist Church in Peki, Ghana. The congregation founded by her grandfather, who attended a Methodist gathering and was converted. Rev. Affram-Boyd immgrated to the United States in 1971 and worked for many years as a nurse at North Shore hospital. At age 50, God called her into ministry. She attended Drew University Seminary and was ordained, serving the Methodist Church in Amnityville until sickness forced her to step down.

In the midst of all her health problems, she heard God calling her to return to Peki. In late February, against the adivce of almost everyone concerned for her health she returned. That experience has launched a ministry of partnership between congregations on Long Island and churches in Ghana. Since her visit, most of her health problems have ceased.

Rev. Affram-Boyd will be visiting Community Presbyterian with James Winans, who accompanied her to Ghana, and a close friend from Peki who is visiting. A special discussion time will follow the worship and an offering will be taken in support of her ministry.

US State Department Ghana Site
Official Ghana tourism site
PC(USA) Partnerships in Ghana

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Two Views

The omnipresence of God--God's presense in every corner of creation--has long triggered two opposite reactions: great comfort, and great shame and fear. For some, knowing that God is always with them means that they have constant protection and love. For others, it means that God knows all their shameful secrets.

Check out these two Psalms--one ancient and attributed to King David, the other modern and penned by songwriter Greg Brown. How many of us haven't felt something from each of them at one point or another?

Psalm 139
(excerpts; Today's New International Version, copyright 2001, 2005 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.)

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Lord, I Have Made You A Place in my Heart
by Greg Brown; copyright 1997 Hacklebarney Music

Oh Lord, I have made you a place in my heart
Among the rags and the bones and the dirt
There's piles of lies and the love gone from her eyes
And old moving boxes full of hurt.
Pull up a chair by the trouble and care
I got whiskey, you're welcome to some.

Oh Lord, I have made you a place in my heart
But I don't reckon you're gonna come.
Oh Lord, I have made you a place in my heart
So take a good look and then leave.
Lord if you made me, it's easy to see
Y'all make mistakes up above
But if I open the door
You will know that I'm poor
And my secrets are all that I own.

Oh Lord, I have made you a place in my heart
And I hope that you leave it alone.

(Originally recorded by Greg Brown on "The Poet Game" from Red House Records)

Our faith cycles, from rejoicing in God's presence in our lives to rudely asking God to leave us alone, from echoing David to singing along with the narrator of Greg Brown's song.

Here's the thing though: even if our hearts look like the one described in the modern song, God's hand guides us and holds us fast. After all, "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Special Food Offering

Stan Bishop told us in church on Sunday just how much our food donations to the Long Island Council of Churches food prantry are appreciated. During the summers:

  • Demand increases because children aren't in school
  • Day camps come to the food pantry to help stretch their own meager budgets
  • Vacations mean that donations are down

When Stan dropped off our July donations, they had only a single box of cereal left, and were almost completely out of food.

Pastor Fritz has called a Special Food Offering for the next two Sundays: July 29 and August 5.

Please bring what you are able, especially breakfast cereal, baby formula, and other staples. Remember, the food pantry also welcomes grocery store gift cards, so if you don't want to haul shopping bags to church with you, this is a great option.

Every person is made in the image of God. Recognize Christ in every person. Help touch the lives of the people who are living with hunger.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Thank you, Marianela

Yesterday was Marianela's last Sunday as our music director. We're sorry to see her go, but certainly wish her the best as she begins working with the Lutheran church in Farmingdale--only two miles from her home.

While she did a wonderful job playing for us every Sunday, leading the choir, and encouraging our young people in their musical pursuits, if you ever heard her play at one of her recitals, you'll know just what a fabulous musician she is. From premiering new works at Carnegie Hall to going on international tours, her musical career is full of highlights. We were blessed to have her among us for a few years.

Thanks, Marianela. For all your hard work and for sharing your talent with us. God bless you in all that you do.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday Musings

I've been a bit distracted recently, what with various travels, visiting family, and so forth. I apologize for going so long without a Monday Musings (or even Tuesday Thoughts). As always, others are always welcome to post!! If you're not already on the list, just drop Pastor Fritz an e-mail, and someone will get you set up super quick.

Anyway, thanks to Stan, we sang a great old-timey hymn in church yesterday: "Jesus Calls us o'er the Tumult." I grew up with this hymn and have always liked it, but since it's not in the Presbyterian hymnal, it's been a while since I've sung it.

The ultimate message of that hymn is perhaps the essense of living life as a faithful Christian: Let nothing separate us from the love of Christ--not the tumult of our lives, not "the vain world's golden store," not all our cares and pleasures. As distracted as we get (by travels, visiting family, and so forth) we can always hear Jesus calling us to follow and love him. And, by extension, to love all those around us.

Day by day his sweet voice soundeth
Saying, "Christian, follow me."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Virginia - Money

"Money is the largest idol in American culture," said Scott Schantzenbach during a stewardship seminar. When churches talked about money, he continued, "they are looking into the eyes of the beast."

When we worship money instead of God, we become scared, shallow and slow - all traits of our larger culture, which specializes in often doing too little, too late resulting in frugal, timid, sacrifice free solutions to major problems such as Katrina, poverty, the Iraq war, global warming, education, etc.

Our God is a God of courage, of significance and of nimble response to problems and calls us to be the same. Our God could create a world where there was none, because all the molecules of the world are at his finger tips. Our God could create nations from the wombs of barren women because he has life at his abundance. Our God defeated death and sin because he has love beyond measure.

All these God gives to us. "Be strong and courageous," God tells Joshua as he takes over from Moses. Together let us take the bold step and fix our focus from our wallets (which feel empty no matter how much they contain) to our God of abundance and let ministry in God's name flow from our lives and our community of faith.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Virginia - Root memories

What are the snippets of your life that you remember, hold onto and that shape you now? How about those that shape your faith?

As I was challenged today by our speaker to consider this question, I thought of how the local Catholic priest in the town I grew up in always complemented me on how well the lawn of my (Protestant) church looked after I mowed it, and nobody from my own congregation ever said a thing. I thought of hymn sings, ice cream socials and Wednesday night dinners at another congregation when I was even younger. I thought of a semi-retired minister who put me to work within seconds of meeting me, keeping me from leaving the ministry before I ever got in. I remembered my grandmother's bedrock faith, lived out through handiwork such as blankets for premature babies, intricately stitched communion cloths for her church and more.

These root memories, or bedrock stories, provide us strength during times of challenge and remind us of God's presence throughout our lives and the lives of those who have gone before. And through bedrock stories we can project God's presence into the future.

Click on the comments link and add your bedrock stories.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Virginia - Stories

Since June 20, I've been at the Summer Collegium in support of small churches at Virginia Theological Seminary in VA.

Stories - For the past two days we've been talking about stories - our own personal stories of faith and the stories of our congregations. And last night we went to see an incredible presentation of the play Peter Pan - more stories.

Last week at coffee hour we put our stories on a great timeline of our congregation. Stories of confirmations, baptisms, weddings, funerals. Stories of pain and victory as a congregation. Stories of personal moments. Stories of faith regained. Put together these stories are, in part, our congregation's story.

"People become part of the congregation," Carl Dudley, our keynote speaker this week, said, "when they share and become part of our congregational story" - when they can tell some of our shared stories, when they contribute to our ongoing story. "Remember your story of faith," Karl, our collegium co-pastor, said," when you are facing difficult times. Your faith story sustains you."

When we live in faith, whether as individuals or as a congregation, we are living in our story. This does not mean that we live in the past. Rather our story is a wave and we are a surfer. We are on the front, breaking edge, moving with the water; but the wave is made up of the millions of memories, millions of experiences of our history and the history of faith. Just as millions of drops of water power a wave, our experience, our story powers our lives.

As I type this, the small congregation arts festival is continuing here on campus. The Hosanna banner from the sanctuary is on the wall, art from our children and Mary Hallam is on the table, all attracting many admirers.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Virginia - Evening Prayer

Earlier this year our congregation was selected to participate in the Summer Collegium for the Small Church at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA.   This is an intimate gathering of 25 small church pastors and many of their spouses to discuss some of the cultures of small churches and the challenges and opportunities for ministry.  It will also hopefully be a time of spiritual renewal for me.  Periodically I'm going to be posting thoughts and observations.

One quick observation:  Last night during a "get to know you" exercise we were each asked to name an exciting thing happening in our churches.  And a silence filled the room.  We've been so trained that exciting things happen at big churches with tons of cool programs that we forget to seek excitement from how God is working among us.   Elisabeth and I did mention program things - myself, the leadership training we are doing in October and Elisabeth the just completed food drive, but perhaps the most exciting thing is how everyone is lifting Mrs. Burns up in prayer and is supporting Joe with the death of his mother.  God works as we relate to one another.

Finally - an evening prayer:
It is night.

The night is for stillness.
  Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day.
   What has been done has been done;
   what has not been done has not been done.
   Let it be.

The night is dark.
  Let our fears of the darkness of the world
  and of our own lives 
  rest in you.

The night is quiet.
  Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
    all dear to us,
    and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn.
  Let us look expectantly to a new day.
    new joys
   new possibilities.

In your name we pray.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuesday Thoughts

Wasn't it great to walk into church on Sunday morning and see all those groceries we collected during the food drive?

There's a tendency sometimes to be defeatist: oh, we're so small we can't do anything. People don't have time to help. No one will donate anything--no one really cares any more.

But guess what? With just a little bit of effort on our part, we accomplished a heck of a lot in the space of a week. We made contact with hundreds of neighbors through the door hangers, spoke with many more on the street while collecting the food, and touched the lives of everyone who will open one of those cans or boxes to feed their family.

Who'd a thunk it?

Well, Pete, for one, since the food drive was his brain child. Pastor Fritz, who encouraged and embraced that brain child, and everyone in the congregation who hung a hanger, prayed for the harvest, highlighted maps, stuck stickers, table sat, drove around collecting from door steps, and brought a bag of food themselves.

Seems to me that brain child has grown into a mature, generous, loving brain adult. We should be proud.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Door hangers!

Don't forget to wear your walking shoes to church tomorrow!

After church, as many of us as are able will spread out through the streets of Malverne distributing door hangers to our neighbors inviting them to join us in our annual food drive. If everyone pitches in, we'll be able to reach more homes than ever before.

We'll have goodies left over from the picnic this afternoon as motivation and energy boosters, plenty of hangers to go around, and good fellowship.

Let's make this a team effort and really get the word out.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Risky Christianity

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has been touring China and posting a series of columns from his travels. Here are some excerpts from a recent column posted from the North Korea border:

In an archipelago of safe houses [along the China/North Korea border] I met groups of peple who live every moment in sickening fear. These are North Koreans who have escaped to the "free world" - China - and are now at constant risk of being captured by Chinese police who hand these escapees back to North Korea.

Those returned by China are often sentenced to prison for several years, and repeat offenders or Christians can be sent with their entire families to labor camps for life. ne Christian I spoke to had been beaten so badly after his return by China that he tried to commit suicide by swallowing a handful of pins. The prison, not wanting to have to dispose of a corpse, freed him — and he eventually made his way back to China. Christian missionaries in North Korea can face execution.

Read Kristof's entire column. (Must subscribe to Times Select.)

If confessing Jesus Christ meant risking life in a labor camp for you and your entire family would you still confess?

Talent Night Pictures

Below are a handful of pictures from Community Presbyterian's talent night last April. More pictures can be viewed here. Thanks to Alan and Emily Weil for the pictures.

The Gagstetter Family Band

Daniel reading poetry

Kayla and friend dancing

Monday, June 4, 2007

Childhood Lessons are often the Best

A few weeks ago on Heritage Sunday, we sang lots of hymns, and each one was submitted by a congregation member as the first hymn he or she remembers learning.

We've also had several people in our church family, including our extended church family, who have suffered various losses, stresses, worries, or concerns, including the loss of family members; some of our young people preparing to leave home for the larger world (both exciting and stressful!); illnesses; and neighbors, friends, or family members being deployed to various hot spots.

This is the perfect time to remember a song we could easily have sung on Heritage Sunday: "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." It's a simple song, but in case you need a reminder, here's the basic verse:

He's got the whole world in his hands
He's got the whole wide world in his hands
He's got the whole world in his hands
He's got the whole world in his hands

The cool thing is that you can replace "the whole world" with just about anything you want. Some common variations:

  • He's got you and me, Sister [or Brother], in his hands
  • He's got the itty bitty baby in his hands
  • He's got the wind and the rain in his hands

And on and on and on.

Here's another cool thing: The whole world that God has in his hands is way, way bigger than just this little round ball we call Earth. It's the past and the present and the future. It's those who have left us and those yet to come. And yet, even the itty bitty baby isn't too small for God's notice and won't slip through his fingers.

This really simple song has humongous implications, doesn't it? Isn't it amazing that something we learn as children can turn out to be deeply theological?

What verse do you need to sing right now to help you with your losses and stresses? Leave a comment (anonymous or not) with your new words to this old song.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Christ likeness emerges from conflict

I spent the morning with Rev. Joan Gray, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) at a discussion hosted by the Presbytery of Long Island at the beautiful Sweet Hollow Presbyterian Church in Melville, LI.

A response to a question about the considerable conflict in the Presbyterian Church (USA) struck me as especially poignant and useful for all of us in times of conflict and discord.

"God is trying to lay ahold of us and make us into real Christians, teaching us to love each other as Christ loved us; teaching us to be willing to be with each other in all our sinfulness."

She then went on to talk about how Jesus came down to us despite who we were and loved us despite our sinfulness and gave himself for us - not when we changed but because we couldn't

"We must take the time to know each other," she said, "to know each other's hearts and then give ourselves to each other" out of servant love - not because we share an agenda, not because we like each other, not because giving ourselves to another person gains us anything - but because that is the model that Christ showed us; that is what it is to be Christian.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday Musings

Yesterday was Heritage Sunday. Fritz reminded us of CPC's heritage, both the original disciples who had the courage to keep the faith after Jesus' ascension, and those more recent disciples who had the courage to build a new church in the new village of Malverne.

He also reminded us that one day, some Heritage Sunday fifty or a hundred years from now, others will be looking back at us.

Our church is at a crossroads, and it's time to decide which direction we're going to go. Will we still be Community Presbyterian Church, embracing the whole community, no matter how it might be changing or will change in years to come? Or will we become Lingering Presbyterian Church, clinging desperately to how things used to be?

We as individuals won't be around forever. But the Community of Faith and the work of God will be--it's up to us to make sure CPC continues to be a witness in and around Malverne.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Farm Bill and Hunger

This Sunday our annual Bread for the World Offering of Letters will focus on the reauthorization of the Farm Bill. Letter writing will take place immediately following the service during coffee hour.

The following are some excerpts from an article by Leslie Woods of the PC(USA) Washington Office about why the Farm Bill is so important. The complete article can be found here.

The Farm Bill authorizes some of the country’s most important tools for fighting hunger in the U.S. and -- unlike its name implies -- it does not affect only American farmers. In fact, the Farm Bill touches the life of almost every person living in the United States, and many who live in the global community. Perhaps it would be more aptly named the “Comprehensive Food, Land, and Trade Policy Bill.”

Folded into the broad reaches of the Farm Bill are topics that range widely -- from anti-hunger measures like the Food Stamp Program, to government subsidies for farmers and policies that affect international trade agreements, to programs designed to protect the environment. The Farm Bill also governs international food aid policy, as well as plans to promote development in rural communities in the U.S.

Many are concerned that current farm policies are unsustainable and unjust, both in the global economy and environmentally.

The commodities program, for example, was originally intended as a safety net for family farmers. However they increasingly benefit large farms and agribusiness, leaving small and mid-size farmers without that important safety net.

Current Food Stamp benefits average $1 per person per meal and the household monthly minimum benefit is as low as $10.

The 2007 Farm Bill should:
• Increase investments that combat rural poverty and strengthen rural communities;
• Strengthen and expand programs that reduce hunger and improve nutrition in the United States;
• Strengthen and increase investment in policies that promote conservation and good stewardship of the land;
• Provide transitions for farmers to alternative forms of support that are more equitable and do not distort trade in ways that fuel hunger and poverty;
• Protect the health and safety of farmworkers;
• Expand research related to alternative, clean and renewable forms of energy; and
• Improve and expand international food aid in ways that encourage local food security.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A question about last Sunday

Last Sunday we were given the opportunity to come forward for a prayer of healing and forgiveness. It was a very personal moment with Pastor Fritz, God and myself. As I turned around, I noticed only women in line to come forward.

Where were the men? Don't they need this moment of healing or are they just willing to go it alone?

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Blog is Back

Sorry for the long gap between posts. The last couple weeks have been a little hectic. If anyone wants the opportunity to step in at times like this and post anything, send an e-mail to the church e-mail address.

Are you happy? I don't mean content or without sorrow, but truly, deeply happy? Not very many of us are, so if you're one of the few, leave a comment to let the rest of us know how you achieved it. For everyone else: Have you ever sat down and worked out why you're not happy?

Maybe we think it's because of the bills piling up on the table or the repairs that need done around the house or any of the other myriad worries that oppress us. But those are physical things, and I believe happiness is a spiritual state of being. Sometimes those who seem the most joyful are those who have the least. So I don't think our finances or our own particular worries necessarily have anything to do with our happiness.

It's harder than it sounds, but let's all try this: Find happiness in the assurances of God. Everything is in God's hands, and if God is in control, we can release all those things that weigh us down. And allow ourselves to be truly, deeply, spiritually happy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Tuesday Thoughts

Sorry, Everyone--Monday Musings is on vacation this week. :-)

In Pastor's Coffeehouse on Sunday, we talked a little bit about the divisions in the Christian church and contrasted that to the choir John saw in his Revelation that was made up of people of every nation, tribe, and tongue. So often, the things that keep us apart are small, petty things: I don't like how you dress; you don't like the songs I sing; he's too quiet in church; she's too loud.

Sure, sometimes it's theology. We've been learning this year about communion, baptism, and scripture and all the different interpretations of these chuch essentials.

But isn't all that matters Jesus Christ, his taking on our sins, his victory over death?

Why can't we let go of all the other stuff--we'll never really know the answers anyway--and join together in Christ's salvation?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Talent Night!

Come One, Come All
to the
First Ever
Talent Night
Community Presbyterian Church of Malverne

We'll have rock 'n' roll, Cuban music, comedy, classical music, juggling, and who know what else. (The comedy and the juggling will likely overlap--Pastor Fritz hasn't practiced in a while.)

Performers include the CPC youth rock band, acclaimed pianist Marianella Santurio, Pastor Fritz, and many other members and friends of the church.

Feast on chili, hot dogs, finger sandwiches, and tasty baked goods while you cheer on the performers.

Day: Saturday, April 28
Time: 6:00 pm
Place: Lower Church Hall

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Winter Seminar

"The Bible and How It Got That Way"

Are you curious about how the Bible came to be? Some of the questions Pastor Fritz will address:
  • Who wrote it?
  • What makes it different from the Koran and other holy writings?
  • Why do different churches use different Bibles?

For example, did you know that the contents and order of the Catholic Bible is different from the Protestant Bible?

Come to the last of the 2007 Winter Seminars tonight and find out more about the most important book to our faith.

Pizza dinner at 6:30
Seminar at 7:00

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Monday Musings - April 23, 2007

Aftermath of Virginia Tech : What we can do to prevent such senseless killing?

The family of Rachel Scott asked the same question after her death at Columbine High School eight years ago. Rachel was the first victim murdered that day. Her brother was in the library with two of his best friends, both of whom were murdered.

To answer their question, Rachel’s parents read her diary which she carried with her that day. Rachel provided the answer. She said, “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same." In an essay she wrote for an English class titled “My Ethics – My Code of Life,” Rachel stressed that we must look beyond appearances and first impressions. She believed that we know the other person and not just his or her “type,” we have no right to pass judgment. Rachel said, “Look hard enough and you will always find a light, and you can even help it grow, if you don’t walk away from those first impressions.”

As a result of reading Rachel’s journals, her family began Rachel’s Challenge, traveling to schools across the country to ask young people to accept Rachel’s Challenge. The tenets of her challenge are:

Eliminate prejudice by looking for the best in others.
Dare to Dream – set goals – keep a journal
Choose your influences – input determines output
Kind Words – small acts of kindness = huge impact
Start a Chain Reaction with family and friends

Pray that we heed the wisdom of a 16th year old.

Brittney's bulletin cover

Terry's Bulletin Cover

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

CPC Relay for Life Participation

Relay for life information web site

Two ways to participate:
1. Be a walker
Join the Community Presbyterian team and walk in memory or honor of someone you know who had or who is fighting cancer. A $10 registration fee applies.

2. Be a sitter
Community Presbyterian is going to have a booth at the event with information about the church, free give-a-ways and an opportunity for people to write prayers for those fighting cancer. We need people to be a friendly face for Community Presbyterian – listen to stories, tell people about the church and give away water bottles, magnets and church brochures. We also need people willing to help set up and take down our booth and someone with a pick-up truck or a large van/SUV with no seats to help transport stuff. If you can sit, sign up in the back of the church or talk with Roxanne Weil.

Shootings in VA

Jon Stewart summed up my feelings when he started his show last night speechless, laughless and in doubt about the place of comedy and then went on to crack a joke about how he was simply going to repress it all and act like it didn't happen. While eating lunch today - not at the Diner but at the little Greek gyro stand in the parking lot of Trader Joe's on Long Beach Road - some guys at the counter asked to change the channel from MSNBC to the Food Network. They couldn't handle any more of the shooting and Paula Dean was total comfort.

It's hard to doubt the existence of evil when a young English major turns from writing about the darkness inside to acting out that darkness by spreading death around the campus. And that what seems so tragic here is but a daily occurance in the neighborhoods of Iraq. Paula Dean smother me in your southern charm and help me forget.

A note in my email box this afternoon from Linda Valentine, the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly Council reminded me that for Christians repression is not an option. We serve a God who on the cross stood up to evil and defeated it. We hold in our tradition the Gospel of peace, the gospel of light. We are called not to repression but to acknowledgement and action. Elder Valentine informed me that a special response team from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is on its way to Virginia Tech to help console and council. Local ministers and laity are also responding.

Rev. Valentine also called us to prayer - prayer for the families, prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing the evil of that day head on, prayer for our society and our world.

An elder at Community Presbyterian recently mentioned to me that we're not praying enough for Iraq in church. That elder was correct. I'd pulled the covers over my head, I'd been repressing and when we repress we can't pray. So I call myself and all who read this to a ministry of prayer - to acknowledge evil and batter it to a stand still with our prayers.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Keep Questioning

After service Easter Sunday a teenager in our faith community asked me "Who created God?" The ensuing conversation lasted for as long as it could in the post Easter meet & greet and I am sure that he left with more questions than answers. I was glad, however, that he was asking those questions - even if his intent was just to show his rebellion at being in church. Faith does not mean a lack of questions. Following God does not mean turning our brains off. God is way too big, broad, vast, deep and wide to understand but that doesn't mean we shouldn't ask questions and seek answers - of yourself, of the Bible, of pastors and teachers, of God.

Of course we may find answers in short supply. Our faith, our God and our relationship with God is shrouded in mystery. I know God works in this world because I feel God working in my life. How? I don't know. Why? I can give pat answers (love, grace, because that's what God does) but I don't really know. But ultimately I must accept the mystery.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Monday Musings

What do you suppose the day after the Resurrection was like for Jesus' disciples? According to Luke, whose version of the Easter story we used this year, Jesus ended Easter this way:

"Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God."

So many of us these days suffer from post-holiday let down--we've used up all our energy getting ready for The Big Day, and the day after we crash back to earth, fall back into our normal routines with our usual concerns (laundry, getting the taxes done, arranging child-shuttling schedules).

But the disciples seem to have been buoyed up by Easter--they completely forgot about everything except worshipping God. They had seen a miracle: victory over death. (So now only one thing in life is certain: taxes.)

How has Easter buoyed you up? If we truly comprehend the miracle, can we do anything but be "continually...blessing God"?

Find ways this week to join with the disciples in their praise, whether it's a simple prayer of thanks, or a wild celebration of the life that has been given to us. Share your ideas and blessings in the comments to this post.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Holy Week Service Schedule

Maundy Thursday (4/5) - 4:00 pm - service includes foot washing and communion

Good Friday (4/6) - 7:30 pm - a contemplative service focused on reading the story of Jesus' crucifixion.

Easter Sunday (4/8)
Sunrise Service - 7:00 am @ Tanglewood Park (Directions)
Celebration of the Resurrection - 9:45 am - includes Easter monologues, youth band, communion
Easter Egg Hunt - 11:30 (or whenever the Easter morning service concludes)

Easter Blessing

I know its still Thursday but the following will appear in today's Malverne-West Hempstead Herald. As most of the congregation doesn't get the Herald, I thought I'd post it here as well. My gratitude to the editors of the Herald for the invitation to write an Easter column.

Here's the column:

“It’s 6:00 and time for the news,” intones the smooth voice from the clock radio as I roll over and slap the snooze button. There was a time when I let the morning news filter through my brain as I moved from bed to shower, but now I skip the news and wait for the music. “It seems as if the whole city’s on edge,” a friend said to me the other day - no surprise when we start our days with the latest body count from Iraq, more lies from Washington, New York’s finest being shot and our pets being poisoned.

“Because Jesus lives, I can face tomorrow,” penned Bill and Gloria Gaither in 1970 as their child was born into a troubled, war torn world. “Because he lives, all fear is gone. Because I know he holds the future, life is worth the living just because Jesus lives.” The foundational belief of Christianity is that Jesus Christ, a teacher, preacher and prophet who lived in the first century AD, was unjustly executed by the Roman government and then, three days later, came back to life. In Jesus’ resurrection, celebrated by Christians on Easter, God shows that he can defeat all things, even death. He can bring all people, no matter what they hold inside, new life.

I have a friend who found the strength through Jesus Christ to defeat a drug addiction that had left him homeless on the streets of Manhattan. I have another friend who found the strength to recover from sexual abuse. Yet another friend relies on her faith in the resurrection to support her as she nurses her husband through a long illness. As for me, I get out of bed every morning because I know God – working through us – can fix the messes in my life and in my world. God brings me resurrection.

When parishioners and guests enter Community Presbyterian Church this Easter Sunday for our Celebration of the Resurrection, they will find a dead tree in the center of the sanctuary. As the service progresses the tree will “come to life” as those in attendance fill it with leaves celebrating their resurrection experiences. God’s gifts from the past remind us that there is hope for the future. Even death cannot defeat the abundance of life that flows from God.

Where ever you are journeying and whatever burdens you are carrying, may God bless you with resurrection this Easter.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Holy Week

Why is it that the holiest of times is often the busiest? Wouldn't it be great if, instead of running ourselves ragged in preparation for Easter (Easter baskets for the kids, Easter dinner, getting ready for guests, traveling, coloring eggs and so on), we could hold ourselves still for these days to prepare our spirits for the miracle of the Resurrection?

Do you think God worries much about what we have for Easter dinner or whether the Easter Bunny makes a visit to our homes? Probably not.

Take time this week to walk with Christ through Holy Week. And so what if the tablecloth doesn't get ironed?

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Monday Musings for 4/2/07

Monday Musings

Sunday was Palm Sunday and I thought it was really nice that we've brought back the breakfast. The food was delicious and it was great to take a break from our busy lives to catch up with friends. It was a beautiful to see the children celebrating Palm Sunday by waving their palms (the leaf, not the body part) in the air with shouts of Hosanna while parading into the

The parade was a fun way to let the kids in on the action. Lord knows how many times I've had palm fun with Emily or Breionna! To me it seemed like there were more people there on Sunday than average, when it hit me. There *were* more people there than average! Holy weeks, i.e. Palm Sunday, Easter and Christmas get the most attention in the Christian community, as most people only come on these high profile days. The Bible says that we are to take the seventh day off for worship... and yet some people only come a few times a year. On one hand, it is our duty as Christians to find the time on Sunday to come to church. But on the other, can we really apply this to life in 2007? Work dictates our lives and Sunday is 1/7 of our week!

While my family and I try to come every Sunday, sometimes conflicts arise and it is impossible for us to attend. This happens to most people. I end my Monday Musings here, with this question. Does the 'you must take the seventh day off for church' rule still apply in 2007? And can we follow it faithfully if it does?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Easter Bulletin Cover Contest Winner

Congratulations to Kate Polinsky for winning the Easter bulletin cover contest. All other entries will be published on upcoming Sundays. Click on the picture to enlarge.

Palm Sunday Bulletin Cover Winner

Congratulations to Brieonna Ramsey for winning the Palm Sunday bulletin cover contest. Click on the image to enlarge.

Choral God Sighting

I walked into my office this afternoon and stopped - completely mesmerized by the music coming through the heating grate. The CPC choir has been working hard and it showed. They were in tune, on time and had a sound that was musically full and full of the joy of singing. I can't wait for Sunday morning.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A spiritual foundation (Luke 6:20-49)

Click on picture for a larger image.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday Musings

Yesterday's weather seemed strange to me: a lovely sunny spring day, but with the bite of winter in the wind. It should have been warm--the sun was out, it's the right season, all the snow has melted. But it wasn't. A big bowl of chowder was perfect for supper.

Sometimes life is like that. We look around and we see all our blessings, but we still don't feel as warm and content as we should. We want just a little more, or we just can't shake some disappointment, or cabin fever has made us restless.

It's moments like these when working on that foundation Fritz talked about yesterday is the best bet: blessing the poor, loving our enemies, giving expecting nothing in return. "...give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." (Luke 6:38) In other words, the spiritual version of a big bowl of chowder--warming, sustaining, comforting, nourishing. And tasty, too.

Because when we have a strong foundation and the flood arises, or even suburban malaise, the waters will burst against our house and not shake it. (Luke 6:48)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Remembering Fred Camin

Fred Camin passed away early this week and was laid to rest this morning. Barbara and I have been recalling these last few days how when Fred came into the office everything else stopped. Fred has made his living producing carnivals for Catholic parishes throughout Long Island and he was an entertainer to the core. Since he was Community Presbyterian's treasurer he came around a lot - to pick up bills, to deliver checks, to offer his opinions on church management, to tell us there was no money left.

Fred never considered himself spiritual or religious but he was a man of deep faith. Before he'd come to Community Presbyterian he'd been treasurer at Canarsie Reformed Church in Brooklyn and was absolutely committed to keeping small churches alive - or at least present in their neighborhoods. He used to tell me: "We can't let this congregation close because every time a church closes and their steeple comes down the presence of God is no longer visible in the neighborhood."

Fred was deaf as a door post so I would just let him talk - no point in arguing, even when he wanted to slash the mission budget. After he'd left, I would send him an email in response. Fred always checked his email - but he hated to type. So a few days later he'd come back in and give me the response to my email. Then I'd email him again, and we'd go round this way. It was truly a great way to have a conversation.

A little over a year ago Fred and Margaret sold their house in Valley Stream and moved out east to Bayshore. Margaret is still there. Pray for her.

Mission Trip Breakfast

Don't forget: If you're interested in a mission trip this summer, there's a breakfast conversation about it this coming Sunday morning (8:15 am) before church. Bagels, coffee, OJ.

Pastor Fritz is looking for something that our older youth can join in on, so if you're looking for a meaningful way to spend quality time with your kids, please come.

From the testimony of those who went to Mississippi last year, writing a check cannot compare to the experience of helping someone with your own two hands, meeting the people you're helping, and really connecting.

Check the e-bulletin or call the church or Pastor Fritz for the meeting time.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Sacrament of Baptism

Don't forget: Tonight is the Winter Seminar on Baptism.

There will be a chance to practice your sprinkling and dunking techniques... No, not really.

But there will be pizza at 6:30, and starting at 7:00 discussion about what baptism signifies, the different types of baptism, and why different denominations do it differently. There might even be a movie clip.

Baptism is the first sacrament most Christians participate in, but many don't remember it. Come find out about it tonight.

If you'll be there for pizza, try to let Pastor Fritz know ahead of time, so he knows how much to order. See you there!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Monday Musings: Looking to the Future

Because we didn't have adult forum, I can't use Fritz's handout as a cheat sheet for my Monday Musings post (my usual mode of operation). This means that I have to write about whatever I came away with this week. This can be dangerous. I've been known to speak my mind when I should really keep my mouth shut. I'm thinking this might be one of those times. Fortunately, Fritz can come and read what I've written and delete it.

Here's this week's question:

Where do you think God is leading Community Presbyterian Church, and what are you willing to do to get us there?

Maybe having a thousand people show up at our block party is scary. But wouldn't it be amazing? Fritz does tend to exaggerate, of course. But if we keep doing it, keep inviting people, keep making reaching out part of our mission, maybe his ginormous vision can eventually become reality.

Maybe, if we listen for God's direction and are courageous enough to act on it, Community Presbyterian Church will become "a churning cauldron of the Holy Spirit."

Now that's scary.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Resident

I've heard that Pastor Yoggy had a small "wildlife sanctuary" in the back yard of the manse, but as far as I know the only wildlife have been a few squirrels and the church mice. Until a few days ago, that is. A small hawk has moved into the large holly tree in the manse back yard and is feasting off the local pigeons. We'll try to get a picture and put it up.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gift Cards on Food Sunday?

The Long Island Council of Churches (who operates the Freeport Food Pantry where we send the food we collect) has requested that instead of sending non-perishable food we simply send gift cards to major supermarkets. They give the following reasons, all logical:
- Expands and diversifies client food choices.
- Empowers clients to make food choices according to their individual health needs and cultural preferences.
- Enables clients to buy fresh foods, which are usually better nutritional choices.
- Cuts down on wasted nonperishable food held in our pantries.
- Eliminates need to rotate food.
- Increases efficiency of food distribution.
- Eliminates time and effort required to deliver food to homebound clients.
- Reduces storage space needed for food storage.
- Saves donors the cost of gas and vehicle mileage.
- Donors can mail in gift certificate rather than drive food in.

Yet from a worship and stewardship standpoint I don't like the gift card idea. There is something special about going around the grocery store - or helping our children go around the grocery store - and picking out our gift to our neighbor. A very strong statement is made when our wagons come up the aisle. And the food is a physical object that passes from our hands into the hands of our neighbor in need. Its personal. Plus a gift card requires the client to go to both the food pantry and a grocery store and who is to guarentee that the client doesn't buy beer, tobacco, junk food, etc.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

God Sighting

Check out Newsday today, page 13. One of Amanda's childhood (Sunday School and Girl Scouts) friends had a baby at home - her son was not waiting for a ride to the hospital!

Allison Starr-Esposito and her husband, Joe Esposito, welcomed their first child - Donald Joseph Starr-Esposito- named after Allison's dad who passed away a few years ago.

I was Allison's Sunday School teacher and Girl Scout leader. How swiftly time flies!


Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday Musings

Reread Luke 6:27-36--"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you..."

If you were President of the United States, how would you put these commands into practice? Could you? And if you did, do you think you would be reelected?

Our current President has often proclaimed his Christianity. How has he applied Jesus' instructions during his presidency?

Friday, March 9, 2007

Friday Night Worship

It's Friday, and tonight many of our Catholic neighbors will be headed to church for an abbreviated Mass. In a world where Little League, soccer games, and band practice are frequently scheduled for Sunday morning, a Friday evening worship service might be useful, especially for families with school-age children.

What do you think? Does this idea appeal to you? Would you want to include communion (there are a few in our midst who want communion every week)? What time would work best for you?

Leave a comment here or come to the meeting on Tuesday (March 13, 7:30 pm), where ideas and ideals for worship will be presented and discussed.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Monday Musings

Pastor Fritz's sermon yesterday (on Luke 6:24-26, especially v. 24) raised a lot of questions. We ran out of time to address them all in Pastor's Coffee House. Here are two we didn't get to. Leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

1. Some Christians give up their wealth in order to better follow God.
  • Should we do this?
  • Could you do this?
  • What would be the hardest thing to give up?

2. If we don't give it all away, how do we relate to our wealth? What is the difference between a Christian's attitude toward their money and our community's attitude?

Saturday, March 3, 2007

"Tomb of Jesus" Discussion

If you have questions, concerns, or just want to discuss the Discovery Channel program about the supposed discovery of a tomb containing Jesus's remains and the remains of members of his family, please join us at the Malverne Diner on Sunday, March 4, after church school (around 12:30 pm).

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Welcome and Invitation

Welcome to the Community Presbyterian Church of Malverne Congregational Blog.

If you are a member of CPC and would like to join the blogging rotation, talk to Elisabeth or e-mail Pastor Fritz.