Friday, September 22, 2017

Standing with All Who Wait for News

We here at Lansdowne Baptist Church stand beside all those who anxiously await news of loved ones, family and friends alike, on Puerto Rico and the other islands hit by Hurricane Maria. Our hearts ache with yours. We too wait to hear from loved ones. We pray with you. You are not alone. 

We hope the verses of this Psalm will provide some solace.

Psalm 27:13-14: I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

We do the same for those who have loved ones in Mexico following the terrible earthquakes.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

We American Baptists Keep Praying and Working for Disaster Survivors

We pray for strength and determination to act. We pray for all those who have been impacted by disasters, natural and human-made. As a denomination, we are acting, using One Great Hour of Sharing donations from our ABC USA churches to support the hurricane victims from Harvey and Irma. I'm sure we'll be working to gather funds for the survivors of Hurricane Maria as well. Here's what's being done and how you can help, as reported by ABC USA:

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/19/17)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) continues to provide support to the survivors of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Both recently brought strong winds and flooding that resulted in structural damage, power outages, injuries and fatalities—Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, and Irma in Puerto Rico and Florida.
Hurricane Harvey relief efforts
On behalf of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA), ABHMS released a $10,000 One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Emergency Disaster Relief Grant to Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, Houston, Texas. Wheeler is serving as a hurricane donation and distribution center, providing Houston residents with personal-care items, baby items, household items and cleaning supplies.
ABHMS released a $5,000 OGHS Emergency Disaster Relief Grant, on behalf of ABCUSA, to
American Baptist Men USA (ABMen). Funds will be used to aid ABMen’s cleanup and rebuilding efforts at St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church’s and National Baptist Convention of America International Inc.’s sites in Lake Charles, La., and Port Arthur, Texas.
Hurricane Irma relief efforts
In response to Hurricane Irma, Mount Olive Development Corp. (MODCO) of New Mount Olive Baptist Church, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., created a feeding ministry that prepared and served more than 2,550 meals Sept. 12-17. MODCO is feeding the poorest of the poor, many of whom are seniors, single-parent families and individuals with HIV. While MODCO estimates that an additional 1,000 food-insecure individuals could benefit from the ministry, the organization’s resources have become limited. ABHMS, on behalf of ABCUSA, released a $5,000 OGHS Emergency Disaster Relief Grant to MODCO.
First Baptist Institutional Church, St. Petersburg, Fla., began a feeding ministry to provide meals to St. Petersburg residents affected by the hurricane. On behalf of ABCUSA, ABHMS released a $5,000 OGHS Emergency Disaster Relief Grant to assist with the ministry.
In addition, ABHMS released, on behalf of ABCUSA, a $10,000 OGHS Emergency Disaster Relief Grant to American Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico. Funds will be used to deliver food to families of greatest need. In addition, 200 families will be provided with certificates to grocery stores.
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches.
How you can continue to help
Survivors continue to need your prayers. In addition, donations designated to “OGHS – Hurricane Harvey” or “OGHS – Hurricane Irma” can be made through your church; by visiting and clicking “Give Online” at the top right of the page. In the “Comments” section, type “OGHS – Hurricane Harvey” or “OGHS – Hurricane Irma.” Or, mail to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA, 19482-0851.One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that your church receives credit for your gift, write the church name on your check or, if giving online, in the “comment” box.
For those who wish to donate items, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church’s distribution center requests the following: toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, brushes, soap, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, mouthwash, lotion, disposable razors, incontinence products and new undergarments, in all sizes from children’s to male and female plus sizes; all sizes of diapers, formula, baby wipes, new bottles, new pacifiers, crib sheets, baby blankets, and new or gently used highchairs, car seats and infant swings; new or gently used bed linens, blankets, pillows and bath towels in all sizes; bleach, bleach wipes, sponges, spray bottles, mops, brooms, dish soap, scrub brushes, sanitizer, laundry detergent; pots, dishes, silverware, paper products, plastic cutlery, wet/dry vacuums and dish towels. Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church is at 3810 Ruth St., Houston, Texas, 77004, and can be reached at 713-579-2792.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
 American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.

For a powerful message from our ABC USA General Secretary, see:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

LBC's Third Walking Prayer

A small group of members and friends of Lansdowne Baptist Church returned to the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge in Tinicum, PA, on Sunday, September 17, 2017, to practice the spiritual discipline of the walking prayer. We turned all our attention, all our senses, to the natural world--God's creation. In doing so, we walk in the company of God and are refreshed.

For me, the patterns among the trees first draw me in ...
Bridge spanning the wetlands.
For me, the patterns found in the trees are what draw me in to the natural world around me, opening my senses and calming my mind. The view from the bridge out in the wetlands is a valuable lesson in what happens when we really stop and pay attention to the world around us. At first, we see only the most obvious things: trees, water plants, water, and clouds. That's about it. But, as the mind stills, attention is first drawn to the larger water birds like the snowy egrets and great egrets. Then the smaller water birds, like ducks, are noticed among the water lilies. In time, the fish and the dragon flies and the bees capture our attention. Then we find ourselves standing beside God and taking it all in. For those who have the temperament for it, the walking prayer can be deeply moving.

Amazing what we see when we stop and look. Many egrets out on the water that day.
Consider yourself invited to join us next time ... and there will always be a next time.

When the Lord Drove

Sermon based on Exodus 14:19-31, where God and Moses bring the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery and into freedom, crossing the Red Sea. There are several powerful points for us all in this scripture. Watch and see for yourselves.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Armor of Light

In the sermon of September 10, 2017, we explored what Paul meant when he wrote to the Christians in Rome that they should put on the armor of light. Paul called them, and all Christians, to stand against the darkness, using one powerful, inexhaustible resource. Listen and find out what that resource is and how it is being used today.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sign of the Time

It's fall again from a church worship schedule perspective. It is time to return, on Sunday September 10, 2017, to return to fall hours, with Sunday school at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 11:00 a.m.

Come, learn, and worship with us. Consider yourself invited and welcome.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Don't Remain Silent

Sermon delivered on September 3, 2017, exploring  the scripture Luke 18:1-8. This sermon reminds us we must be as persistent as the widow seeking justice from a corrupt judge. See how prayer play into that persistence and what it has to do with us in this day and age.

As time was limited, we didn't get into some of the other ways Christians are working for justice. We prayed for and provided guidance to all interested in helping the survivors of Hurricane Harvey during our announcements and pastoral prayer time.

For another perspective on persistence, see:

Friday, September 1, 2017

Returning to Our Fall Schedule at LBC

It's alarming how fast summer slipped by!
Please noteSunday, September 10th begins Sunday school @ 9:45 a.m. Christian Diversity will be taught by Pastor Snyder. Also, morning worship will begin at 11:00 a.m.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

1000 Ministers March for Justice

A few images from the 1000 Ministers March for Justice of August 28, 2017, starting at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and ending at the Department of Justice. Ministers, priests, rabbis, and other faith leaders all marched. Over 3000 concerned faith leaders showed up to march for justice for every person oppressed, outcast, and marginalized in our turbulent society today, moving far beyond the expectations of those who organized the march. We came to express our desire to love God and love neighbors. We came to call on our elected leaders to do likewise.

Persistence was required for me as delays began when I arrived. I kept Luke 18:1-8 in mind as I persisted. I started at the Crystal City Underground parking lot in Alexandria, Virginia, took the Metro to the Mall, praying all the while for a person hit by a subway car at L'Enfante Plaza that day (and all persons impacted by that tragedy), headed on over to the MLK memorial down near the Lincoln Memorial (a substantial hike, praying to get there in time and represent my faith well), and joined the growing assembly of marchers there at 11:45 instead of 10:15 or so, as I had hoped. I was in time for the final speech at the memorial and the mile and a half march from the memorial to the Department of Justice. On the way we sang "This little light of mine" with some interesting verse variations, "Sanctuary," and called for justice in a variety of ways, given our various God-given talents. One quote from the event that resonated with those faith leaders present: “It’s time for moral leaders of all religions to get rid of their fear and their political laryngitis and stand up together,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who led the march with Martin Luther King III. “We agree that morality must be above party politics.”

I was gratified to meet some of my friends and colleagues there, and to know that others were present, including denominational leaders of American Baptist Churches USA, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, and fellow seminary graduates of Palmer Theological Seminary.

Disclaimer: The "unique" camera views are due to the fact that it was a sunny day and the screen didn't give me much of a view of what I was recording. Still, this will give you a small sense of what happened from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Persistence Is Key

We are living in challenging times. We are called to be faithful followers of Jesus by being persistent in the face of extraordinary challenges. Persistence is defined as: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus gives us the parable of a very persistent woman seeking justice from a corrupt judge. She called upon him every day until he gave in, fearful that she'd give him a black eye if he didn't give her justice. Jesus calls upon us to pray to God, who is keenly interested in justice for all, and act in faith as we are strengthened by prayer.

On our vacation to Indiana, my wife and I encountered "The Wedge" at Turkey Run State Park, a small area of the state left in a primitive and natural state as the land is far too rocky to cultivate. The Wedge was once part of a cliff face that sheered away and split into three large pieces on impact. In a small crack in one part of The Wedge, the small seed of a tree fell. The seed persisted in this unlikely and unwelcoming location. As it grew, its roots dug into obstinate rock, creating soil, and the tree grew tall and strong in this unlikely location. This tree is a great illustration of the persistent woman's determination. Be like the woman and this tree and persist. Be like the woman and work tirelessly for justice. 

~Rev. Jeff Snyder

The Wedge, in three pieces
Persistent tree growing out of the top of the right hand
section of The Wedge.