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?