1. This Week in Worship: August 25–31, 2017

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    8Here’s what’s happening in worship this week.

    Worship Services

    Journey Prayer | Sunday, at 8:45 am
    All are invited to join us in the Social Hall for a half-hour session with a few songs, an extended time for prayer, a reflection on the day’s bible passage, and Christian fellowship for mutual support and upbuilding. Pastor Heather will lead us.

    Summer Worship | Sunday, at 10 am
    Our Summer worship service provides a time for worshiping, singing, praying, and sermonic teaching for all ages. The service will be held in the Courtyard, weather permitting. Additional seating is available in the Music Room on the Third Floor. Pastor Heather will preach from Judges 13, and her sermon will be titled “Judges’ Wisdom: What Makes us Strong.”

    Taizé Prayer Service | Wednesday, at 7 pm
    Led by the Rev. Mary Lynn Callahan, our hour-long Taizé service includes sung prayers; simple, beautiful music; a time of silence; spoken and silent prayers; and an opportunity for individual prayer and anointing. Stay afterward for Contemplative Prayer. If you’re unable to participate in person, join our live stream on your computer or mobile device.

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  2. This Week in Worship: August 18–24, 2017

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    Here’s what’s happening in worship this week.

    Worship Services

    Journey Prayer | Sunday, at 8:45 am
    All are invited to join us in the Social Hall for a half-hour session with a few songs, an extended time for prayer, a reflection on the day’s bible passage, and Christian fellowship for mutual support and upbuilding. Pastor Randy will lead us, guided by Judges 7:1–9.

    Summer Worship | Sunday, at 10 am
    Our Summer worship service provides a time for worshiping, singing, praying, and sermonic teaching for all ages. The service will be held in the Courtyard, weather permitting. Additional seating is available in the Music Room on the Third Floor. Pastor Randy will preach from Judges 7:1–9, 19–22, and his sermon will be titled “Judges’ Wisdom: A Strength Not in Numbers.”

    Taizé Prayer Service | Wednesday, at 7 pm
    Led by the Rev. Mary Lynn Callahan, our hour-long Taizé service includes sung prayers; simple, beautiful music; a time of silence; spoken and silent prayers; and an opportunity for individual prayer and anointing. Stay afterward for Contemplative Prayer. If you’re unable to participate in person, join our live stream on your computer or mobile device.

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  3. This Week in Worship: August 11–17, 2017

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    Here’s what’s happening in worship this week.

    Worship Services

    Journey Prayer | Sunday, at 8:45 am
    All are invited to join us in the Social Hall for a half-hour session with a few songs, an extended time for prayer, a reflection on the day’s bible passage, and Christian fellowship for mutual support and upbuilding. Pastor Patrice will lead us guided by Judges 6: 36–40.

    Summer Worship | Sunday, at 10 am
    Our Summer worship service provides a time for worshiping, singing, praying, and sermonic teaching for all ages. The service will be held in the Courtyard, weather permitting. Additional seating is available in the Music Room on the Third Floor. Pastor Patrice will preach from Judges 6: 1–10, 11–24 and her sermon will be titled “Judges’ Wisdom: A Questionable Call.”

    Taizé Prayer Service | Wednesday, at 7 pm
    Led by the Rev. Mary Lynn Callahan, our hour-long Taizé service includes sung prayers; simple, beautiful music; a time of silence; spoken and silent prayers; and an opportunity for individual prayer and anointing. Stay afterward for Contemplative Prayer. If you’re unable to participate in person, join our live stream on your computer or mobile device.

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  4. Pastoral Message: August 2017

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    Think for a moment about metronomes. If you’re not a musician or are unsure what this is, a metronome is the little machine that goes “tick, tick, tick” to tell instrumentalists how fast they are supposed to play a piece. Metronomes date back to around 1816, based on an idea first conceived by a man named Dietrik Winkel that was subsequently “borrowed” and patented by another inventor named Johann Maelzel. Metronomes are devices containing a pendulum rod with a small moveable weight mounted on it that allows musicians to hear what slow, medium and fast tempos sound like. Often we picture beginning pianists doing keyboard exercises while trying to play in time with a metronome ticking away nearby. In truth, metronomes were never meant to “tick away” and control the tempo for an entire piece of music; they were only meant to give the musician a starting speed and were to be shut off after that tempo is established.

    As a musician and a pastor, I see similarities between metronomes and scripture. Scripture is important and foundational as we think about God and seek to follow the example of Jesus Christ. As you already know, there are many types of writing found in the books of the bible—from poetry to prophetic teachings to historical summaries to personal letters. Almost every passage can be studied and used as a guide for how to live our lives today, just as a metronome can be set to “tick away” at a certain speed to guide us in playing a particular piece of music. But if we keep the metronome ticking away while we play, the music we create will sound stiff and artificial and lifeless. True music has to bend, stretch and breathe; that is what makes a melody come to life. In the same way, scripture sets us in motion, but it is up to us to apply the wisdom of scripture in our daily lives—creatively putting it to use in the particularities of our daily routines so that the “melody of faith” God has given us can truly come to life.

    When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus tells us to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. That’s a great starting point for a “melody of faith.” It combines aspirational language with an outward-looking focus on the world around us. But we’ll make no progress in heeding this commandment if every moment we are worried that something less than our entire heart or mind or soul is involved in the task at hand. Something more than a strict metronome is needed to evoke a “melody of faith.”

    The same is true with the “thou shalt not” commandments—how we are not to lie or steal or harm others. That is our starting point, our foundational “tempo marking.” Yet we all stumble in our piety; we have bad moments and bad days, at times really hurting others. If the metronome of faith is unyielding within you, the risk is that you’ll come to believe that your sins and shortcomings disqualify you from receiving God’s loving care. Yet once again, the rules of God’s scripture are mostly guides and starting points to which we reorient ourselves (when we stray) and recommit ourselves (aware of God’s forgiving mercy) so that each new day a “melody of faith” can sing forth from our own words and deeds.

    Metronomes are important. They start us off at the right tempo. But metronomes cannot make music. We are the music-makers. That is God’s desire for each of us. Scripture gets us started, but the melody—well, that comes by God’s grace and our spirit creating music together.

    —Randy Bush

  5. This Week in Worship: August 4–10, 2017

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    Here’s what’s happening in worship this week.

    Worship Services

    Journey Prayer | Sunday, at 8:45 am
    All are invited to join us in the Social Hall for a half-hour session with a few songs, an extended time for prayer, a reflection on the day’s bible passage, and Christian fellowship for mutual support and upbuilding. Pastor Randy will lead us, guided by Judges 4:17–22.

    Summer Worship | Sunday, at 10 am
    Our Summer worship service provides a time for worshiping, singing, praying, and sermonic teaching for all ages. The service will be held in the Courtyard, weather permitting. Additional seating is available in the Music Room on the Third Floor. Pastor Randy will preach from Judges 4:1–9; 17–22, and begin a month-long series with his sermon, “Judges’ Wisdom: Women of Might.”

    Taizé Prayer Service | Wednesday, at 7 pm
    Led by the Rev. Mary Lynn Callahan, our hour-long Taizé service includes sung prayers; simple, beautiful music; a time of silence; spoken and silent prayers; and an opportunity for individual prayer and anointing. Stay afterward for Contemplative Prayer. If you’re unable to participate in person, join our live stream on your computer or mobile device.

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  6. This Week in Worship: July 28–August 3, 2017

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    Here’s what’s happening in worship this week.

    Worship Services

    Journey Prayer | Sunday, at 8:45 am
    All are invited to join us in the Social Hall for a half-hour session with a few songs, an extended time for prayer, a reflection on the day’s bible passage, and Christian fellowship for mutual support and upbuilding. Pastor Randy will lead us, guided by Psalm 137.

    Summer Worship | Sunday, at 10 am
    Our Summer worship service provides a time for worshiping, singing, praying, and sermonic teaching for all ages. The service will be held in the Courtyard, weather permitting. Additional seating is available in the Music Room on the Third Floor. Pastor Randy will preach from Psalm 137, and his sermon will be titled “Melancholy Faith.”

    Taizé Prayer Service | Wednesday, at 7 pm
    Led by the Rev. Mary Lynn Callahan, our hour-long Taizé service includes sung prayers; simple, beautiful music; a time of silence; spoken and silent prayers; and an opportunity for individual prayer and anointing. Stay afterward for Contemplative Prayer. If you’re unable to participate in person, join our live stream on your computer or mobile device.

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  7. Just the FAQs: Hope Academy Scholarships 2017-2018

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    We are pleased to be able to offer scholarships and tuition assistance to students who are in good standing, with teacher recommendation; and those who qualify as being low-income and/or who represent a racial, ethnic or cultural minority. Merit-based scholarships are awarded to teens in our HAT Co (Hope Academy Theater Company) program – this includes HAT Co Jr (middle school), HAT Co (high school) and HAT Co Band.

    Read more to find out how to apply for a scholarship; or for details about a scholarship you were awarded.

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  8. Just the FAQs: Background Checks, Clearances and Mandated Reporter Training for Hope Academy Teaching Artists, Staff and Volunteers

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    Hope Academy teaching artists, staff and volunteers are required to submit verification of required clearances and a certificate of completion for the online mandated reporter training prior to the beginning of the fall term.

    Clearances that have been obtained in Pennsylvania within the past 60 months are acceptable and considered “current.”

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  9. Just the FAQs: Applying to Teach Music at Hope Academy

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    Job Title: Private Lesson Teaching Artist (Voice and Instruments)

    Organization Overview

    Hope Academy of Music and the Arts, an arts education outreach program of East Liberty Presbyterian Church, offers a safe place where young people of diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, religious and linguistic backgrounds can further their personal and artistic growth through the study and performance of theater, dance and music. We strive to create a diverse and inclusive artistic community that provides deep arts instruction through a sequential and progressive program; that supports the personal and artistic growth of students and teaching artists, alike; and contributes to our community’s positive growth and cultural vibrancy. Over 350 young people and their families participate in Hope Academy’s programs throughout the year.

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  10. End of July Construction Update

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    You no longer have to travel to the Ground Floor or the second floor to see the construction work in progress. Recently, demolition began in both the Women’s and the Men’s restrooms by the Highland Ave. entrance. The ceilings are gone in there now, and soon work will begin to update them and make them ADA compliant (exchanging locations, too—Women’s will be Men’s and vice versa).

    The Whitfield entrance and new Ground Floor Lobby area continue to progress and carpet is on its way for the second floor offices and classrooms. We are still looking at Rally Day on September 10 to begin using the new and improved children and youth classrooms. The adult classes are likely to be a bit more transient for the first half of the year.

    Please continue to keep everyone involved in “Building Our Future”—architects, construction workers, church employees and church members—in your prayers.