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A Heartfelt "Thank You"

Perhaps the most inspiring blessing of the worship community at First Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso is your generosity in "giving" to help the ministry of Jesus Christ grow and flourish. As God's church, your plentiful monetary gifts are exceeded only by your commitment to serve God through the plethora of ministry programs you share inside and outside the church family. While I cannot truly express the magnitude of my gratitude in this blog, I will attempt to offer the appropriate words of thanksgiving for the wonderful monetary and prayerful gifts you have given me which enabled me to graduate with a Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago earlier this month,

Congregational Check Up

I just had a birthday. Many things have changed as I have aged. I now have cheaters. I am starting to get more salt than pepper in my hair coloring. It takes me longer to recover from mowing the lawn and other physical activities. Cheese and ice cream are no longer my friends. Lastly, my doctor's appointments have changed. First of all, I have to visit the guy more often. My wife questions whether I see him for a check up or to socialize with him. Secondly, my prognosis has changed. When I was younger, the doctor would say, "You're healthy. See you next year." Now, I hear, "You're healthy, but let's keep an eye on ....." Although I am healthy, my doctor is aware of health conditions that can

Echo's From Mother's Day

Mother's Day was last Sunday, and thoughts of my own mother have been occupying my mind over the past couple of weeks. Mom has been gone now for more than four years, but this year for some reason, her absence seems to have penetrated my thoughts and emotions more deeply than they did last year. Perhaps I'm aging into a new phase of adulthood and as noted by Alan Webster in an editorial on Jesus and his relationship with his parents: Hardly an adult, who looks back, would not think of ways he could have honored his parents more. Some say, "How much more time I would spend with my parents if only I had them back." But like a large stone dropped into the swirling waters of my stream of conscio

Where is The Church

Once a month Cathy Greenawald and I meet with the Presbyterians of Pines Village to share the Lord's Supper. Cathy often brings an article or a devotion to share with us. Last week, she read to us from Ann Weems' wonderful book of poems called "Reaching for Rainbows" (Westminster Press, 1980, p 77-78). Cathy had chosen a poem titled "Where's the Church?" When she had finished reading everyone who was there thought that the poem should be shared with the whole church. So here it is: "Where Is The Church?" The church of Jesus Christ is where a child of God brings a balloon is where old women come to dance is where young men see visions and old men dream dreams The church of Jesus Christ

Worship

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. ~Psalm 63:3-4 In my last blog entry, I wrote about the way silence opens a door to a deeply experienced relationship with God. I've since been reading a book called Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality. AuthorJ. Brent Bill explains the centrality of silence in Quaker worship. As you may know, most of a Quaker meeting is spent sitting together in silence, each person anticipating and expecting the Holy Spirit to be present. Of course, this expectation is true of any Christian worship service. Scripture says that where two or three gather i

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