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.