1. This Week in Worship: November 17–23, 2017

    Leave a Comment

    Here’s what’s happening in worship this week. Click on “more” for details about this week’s Church School classes.

    Worship Services

    Journey Worship | Sunday, at 8:45 am
    An interactive, energetic service for those seeking a fresh encounter with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our theme this month is Blessed Community. Pastor Patrice will preach from Galatians 3:23–29.

    Sanctuary Worship | Sunday, at 11 am
    Our largest service, with music from the Chancel Choir and an organ prelude prior to the service. This week we will explore how much of scripture is poetic in nature and theology, as Pastor Randy preaches from Ruth 1:16–17; Song of Solomon 8:6–7; Micah 6:8; and John 1:1–5. His sermon will be titled “The Words of Life.”

    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. If you’re unable to participate in person, join our live stream on your computer or mobile device.

    (more…)

  2. This Week in Worship: November 10–16, 2017

    Leave a Comment

    Here’s what’s happening in worship this week. Click on “more” for details about this week’s Church School classes.

    Worship Services

    Journey Worship | Sunday, at 8:45 am
    An interactive, energetic service for those seeking a fresh encounter with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our theme this month is Blessed Community. Pastor Randy will preach from Matthew 25:1–13.

    Sanctuary Worship | Sunday, at 11 am
    Our largest service, with music from the Chancel Choir and an organ prelude prior to the service. Pastor Randy will preach from Matthew 25:1–13, and his sermon will be titled “Lighting the Way.”

    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. If you’re unable to participate in person, join our live stream on your computer or mobile device.

    (more…)

  3. Pastoral Message: November 2017

    Leave a Comment

    I still subscribe to the newspaper. I like the routine of opening up a morning edition of the paper, of glancing at the headlines, the sports page, and the comics, while I also find something to eat for breakfast. I know that this same information is available in electronic form. I know that I could use my smartphone to scan articles from several newspapers at once. But the regimen of unfolding the paper and the feel of the newsprint in my hands is something that gives me joy.

    Like many paper readers, I look to see what is the contentious issue of the day in the Letters to the Editor. Some people submit only a sentence or two, making their point as concisely as possible. Others need paragraphs to unwind their argument and get their rhetorical arrows launched into the editorial battlefield. While most letters are less than compelling, they are often quite entertaining.
    Many people have noted recently that “civil discourse” has almost become a contradiction in our contemporary society. On any topic in which there is disagreement, people argue in such a way that there is no room for “middle ground” or points of commonality. It is comforting to remember that this is not a new dynamic in the human realm. There have always been points of view that seem diametrically opposed and irreconcilable. This has been true both in the political arena and the religious world.

    “Absolutism” is when one side believes that the opposing position has no merit whatsoever. “Relativism” is when every possible position is deemed feasible, so that in the end, no one viewpoint takes precedence over another. Too often we believe those are our only two options. We hear things with which we disagree, and through the nature of inflammatory rhetoric and social media, it seems our only response is to reject such views categorically and absolutely (“Burn all the heretics” mentality). Or we grow so weary of the arguments that we end up deciding that no right answer will ever be found and everyone is equally mistaken in their opinions (“All are wrong and none can be trusted” cynicism).

    A third option is pluralism, which humbly acknowledges that diverse opinions, experiences and responses exist around us and sometimes the wisest path forward allows for more than one answer to any given problem. The disciples of Jesus were a pluralist bunch, containing fishermen, political zealots, and at least one tax collector. They found common ground in the gospel of Christ, despite their different worldviews and experiences; hence, they remind us of the power of a pluralistic faith. In the same way, there are many Christian denominations active today. Rather than asserting that Presbyterianism is the only way, we can learn a lot from the faith traditions and histories of non-Presbyterians seeking to follow Christ with integrity in today’s troubled world.

    Pluralism simply acknowledges that God is a true “creator,” moving in creative ways shaped by and accommodated to the specific needs of greater humanity – whether in Pittsburgh or Patagonia. The vocabulary of faith, actions of faith, even expressions of faith will never be absolute or uniform, because that would be contrary to God’s generous and pluralistic love. So whether you read the paper or watch cable news or scroll through your social media, trust that God’s foundation of faith can sustain all of us in this diverse and ever-changing world.

    —Randy Bush

  4. This Week in Worship: November 3–9, 2017

    Leave a Comment

    Here’s what’s happening in worship this week. Click on “more” for details about this week’s Church School classes.

    Worship Services

    Journey Worship | Sunday, at 8:45 am
    An interactive, energetic service for those seeking a fresh encounter with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our theme this month is Blessed Community. Pastor Heather will preach from 1 John 3:1–3. We also will celebrate Communion.

    Sanctuary Worship | Sunday, at 11 am
    Our largest service, with music from the Chancel Choir and an organ prelude prior to the service. Pastor Heather will preach from 1 John 3:1–3, and her sermon will be titled “In Good Company.” We also will celebrate Communion.

    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. If you’re unable to participate in person, join our live stream on your computer or mobile device.

    (more…)

  5. Food Drive to Support EECM

    Leave a Comment

    Share the abundance in your life with others this Thanksgiving season. In conjunction with Stewardship Sunday, November 12, the ELPC Neighbors and Christian Education Committees invite you to donate general food items to support East End Cooperative Ministry’s Food Bank. Donation bags will be distributed on Sundays, October 29 and November 5. Requested items include:

    (more…)

  6. This Week in Worship: October 27–November 2, 2017

    Leave a Comment

    Here’s what’s happening in worship this week. Click on “more” for details about this week’s Church School classes.

    Worship Services

    Journey Worship | Sunday, at 8:45 am
    An interactive, energetic service for those seeking a fresh encounter with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our theme this month is Tolerance. Pastor Patrice will preach from Matthew 22:34–46.

    Sanctuary Worship | Sunday, at 11 am
    Our largest service, with music from the Chancel Choir and an organ prelude prior to the service. Pastor Randy will preach from Ephesians 2:1–10 and his sermon will be titled “Semper Reformanda” (Always Reforming).

    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.

    (more…)

  7. This Week in Worship: October 20–26, 2017

    Comments Off on This Week in Worship: October 20–26, 2017

    Here’s what’s happening in worship this week. Click on “more” for details about this week’s Church School classes.

    Worship Services

    Journey Worship | Sunday, at 8:45 am
    An interactive, energetic service for those seeking a fresh encounter with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our theme this month is Tolerance. Pastor Heather will preach from Mark 5:21–24, 35–43.

    Sanctuary Worship | Sunday, at 11 am
    Our largest service, with music from the Chancel Choir and an organ prelude prior to the service. Pastor Patrice will preach from Acts 16:16–24 and her sermon will be titled “Suffer the Children.” We also will celebrate the Children’s Sabbath, with the theme: Moving Forward with Hope: Love and Justice for Every Child.

    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.

    (more…)

  8. This Week in Worship: October 13–19, 2017

    Comments Off on This Week in Worship: October 13–19, 2017

    Here’s what’s happening in worship this week. Click on “more” for details about this week’s Church School classes.

    Worship Services

    Journey Worship | Sunday, at 8:45 am
    An interactive, energetic service for those seeking a fresh encounter with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our theme this month is Tolerance. Pastor Randy will preach from James 3:1–13.

    Sanctuary Worship | Sunday, at 11 am
    Our largest service, with music from the Chancel Choir and an organ prelude prior to the service. Pastor Randy will preach from James 3:13–18, and his sermon will be titled “Living the Good Life.” The Renaissance City Choir will join us as our special musical guests as we celebrate Full Inclusion Sunday.

    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.

    (more…)

  9. Pastoral Message: October 2017

    Comments Off on Pastoral Message: October 2017

    It is worth remembering that most of the things that rule our lives are things we cannot see. Scientists remind us that we are surrounded by magnetic fields, electric currents, radio waves, and the universal force of gravity, which are invisible yet omnipresent in this world. Psychologists point out that interior thoughts, passions, tastes, moods, morals, and decision-making processes also do their work invisibly within our human minds and souls. In so many ways, the invisible world governs the visible world like a shadow government, hidden out of sight within each of us individually and all of us collectively.

    Most unseen forces do their work in the present moment. Gravity causes the apple to fall right now. Electromagnetic waves move through us each moment, just as our minds constantly process ideas, thoughts, and emotions in real time. But it is worth noting that some invisible things are focused on the future. And the most important one in this category is the invisible power of hope.

    Hebrews 11:1 famously defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hope is a key component of faith. It is an assurance and conviction, a power and energy active within us as we look toward the horizon of what is yet to come. Hope energizes us now by allowing us to envision how things ought to be: if not right now, then in the immediate future. It is the invisible image of what we hope for our family and all of God’s creation—which even though unseen, gives us the clear idea of what needs to be done today for the sake of tomorrow.

    Christian hope is a powerful force. It is the spirit behind our upcoming mission-oriented worship services during the month of October. We hope for an end to racism, a spirit of reconciliation and welcome for people exiting the criminal justice system, legal safeguards for children and LGBTQ people of all ages, and a renewed commitment to being an inclusive society able to navigate the needs of citizens and immigrants alike. Our hopes allow us to compare what is against what should be, ever guided by the example of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit. And as scripture reassures us, faith, hope, and love all abide, therefore we trust the Lord as we walk by faith, if not by sight.

    Unseen powers are at work in your life. In your moments of prayer and quiet reflection, open yourself to the invisible, grace-filled activity of God. As you picture what you wish for yourself and those you love, shape your actions today around the mental image Christ has given you of what is to come. Let everything be done in a spirit of hope. For although it may be invisible, it is one of the strongest forces this world has ever seen!

  10. This Week in Worship: September 29–October 5, 2017

    Comments Off on This Week in Worship: September 29–October 5, 2017

    Here’s what’s happening in worship this week. Click on “more” for details about this week’s Church School classes.

    Worship Services

    Journey Worship | Sunday, at 8:45 am
    An interactive, energetic service for those seeking a fresh encounter with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our theme this month is Tolerance. Pastor Heather will preach from Galatians 3:23–29.

    Sanctuary Worship | Sunday, at 11 am
    Our largest service, with music from the Chancel Choir and an organ prelude prior to the service. The Rev. Dr. David Esterline will preach from Genesis 1:27,31; Revelation 7:9–12, and his sermon will be titled “Made in the Image of God.” We also will celebrate Communion on this World Communion Sunday, and the Peace and Global Witness Offering will be received, which supports local, mid-council, and global peacemaking efforts—every dollar is utilized to realize God’s kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven.

    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.

    (more…)