Thursday, November 16, 2017

Celebrating Our 130th Anniversary: 1887-2017


This Sunday, November 19, 2017, Lansdowne Baptist Church's congregation celebrates our 130th year of service to God, following the two great commandments to love God and neighbor. It has been an honor to serve our Lansdowne community and to spread the good news far and wide of Jesus, who came to save us and to show us God's profound and abiding love for us all. We will have special memories from some of our members, wonderful hymns accompanied by an equally wonderful pianist, a sermon reflecting on where we have been and looking forward to where we shall go, following obediently where God leads. Through it all, we will enjoy the warm company of our Lansdowne Baptist Church members and friends. Consider yourself invited. See you Sunday morning, at 11 a.m. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Love As God Loves



Sermon for Sunday, November 12, 2017, based on 1 John 4:7-21. The sermon addresses how Christian churches and individuals respond in an age of fear and the senseless violence of terrorism. Please listen and consider.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Who, Me



A sermon in story form: delivered on November 5, 2017, based on Matthew 23:1-12. This Scripture reading, combined with Dr. Seuss's tale Bartholomew and the Oobleck challenges us to consider how we will choose to live our lives and deal with everyone we meet. Will we be more inclined to act like King Derwin or the king's page, Bartholomew Cubbins? Our answers matter.

Praying for the Congregants of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas

We, the congregation of Lansdowne Baptist Church, stand by our brothers and sisters in Christ in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, following the horrendous act of terror that took place there during Sunday morning worship. We pray for you all as you grieve following this staggering loss. We stand by you in this time of trial and call upon God to be with you all, to give your strength and courage as you work to move forward. Here is a message from the American Baptist Churches USA General Secretary, saying much of what we are all thinking. See: https://www.facebook.com/AmericanBaptistChurchesUSA/posts/10155535091571620?pnref=story

To hear the sermon that directly responds to this act of terror, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/11/love-as-god-loves.html

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Lansdowne Baptist Church Celebrates 130th Anniversary: November 19, 2017


Back in 1886, a dedicated group of believers determined that their community was in need of their presence as a Baptist church intent on tending to the community’s moral and spiritual good, the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom through saving souls, and to the education of children through Sunday School. Committed to these goals, Lansdowne Baptist Church was established in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, in 1887. We have been serving this community ever since.

Now, we invite the community to celebrate with us the 130th anniversary of this church on Sunday, November 19th, 2017, at 11 a.m. The sermon and music will focus on the firm foundation we have in Jesus Christ, where we have been, and where we intend to go walking with Jesus. We hope to see you here.

One hundred and thirty years of ministry in Lansdowne is well worth celebrating. Please join us on Sunday, November 19th, and share in our joy. Lansdowne Baptist Church is located at 17 East LaCrosse Avenue in Lansdowne. For any questions or information, please contact the church office at 610-626-0637.

For information contact:
The Reverend Jeffrey B. Snyder
Pastor

610-626-0637

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

LBC Visioning Meeting

Members and friends of Lansdowne Baptist Church, join us Wednesday night, November 1, 2017, in Westphal Hall for a potluck dinner and visioning for our future together. This will be an exciting meeting discerning where God is leading us now. Come and give us your vision for our future together. 

Fair Balance: Stewardship



Sermon from October 29, 2017, based on 2 Corinthians 8:7-15. Paul guides the Corinthian church and us in how to live generous, joyful lives, creating fair balance and having a positive impact. Following Paul's advice for living is character changing. To succeed, however, requires a lot of trust.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Time to Fall Back Approaches

It is almost that time again, time to fall back!

Please remember to set your clocks back on the evening of Saturday, November 4th in order to be in church on time on Sunday, November 5th.  

Friday, October 20, 2017

Second Walking Prayer of Fall, October 22, 2017

This is just a quick reminder that members and friends of Lansdowne Baptist Church are invited to join the pastor on a walking prayer at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, October 22, 2017. We will gather in the church parking lot at 1:30 p.m. and travel together to the refuge. Our walking tour will begin right around 2 p.m. and last for one hour. The walking prayer is a spiritual discipline that allows followers to spend some quiet time with God while taking in God's creation. For those who are inclined toward this form of prayer, it is a beautiful experience. Come and see if this discipline works for you. The John Heinz Wildlife Refuge is located at 8601 Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19153, (215-365-3118 office). 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

LBC, October 28, 2017, Healing Communities Training Opportuntity

On Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 1 to 5 p.m., Rev. Jeff Snyder and Bishop Karen Dixson are coordinating with Healing Communities (Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear spoke to us about them) to offer a workshop in Westphal Hall of Lansdowne Baptist Church, Lansdowne, PA (second floor in wing closest to Lansdowne Avenue) on how we can become a Healing Community for families and individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. All are welcome. No fee charged but a donation will be taken. Light refreshments served at the program’s beginning. 

For an explanation of what Healing Communities do, here is information from their website: 

Healing Communities is a framework for a distinct form of ministry for men and women returning from or at risk of incarceration, their families and the larger community. Healing Communities challenges congregations to become Stations of Hope for those persons affected by the criminal justice system.

We train communities of faith to:

· walk with the returning citizens (connect returning citizens to resources that will help set attainable goals)
· help them connect with their faith (provide spiritual support)
· open their hearts to them (foster positive relationships)
· embrace them (extend open and affirming fellowship)
· provide understanding (collaboration with family and friends to rebuild relationships)
· advocate for political change on a local, state, and federal level
We provide support and technical assistance to faith communities by:
· offering seminars in restorative justice, family reintegration and family support
· identifying resources and building networks for capacity building, service delivery and advocacy
· offering opportunities for peer learning from other congregations and expert learning at local, regional and national conferences
· customized programming for local congregations

To hear Rev. Dr. Trulear speak out about helping the prisoners and their families, see the sermon he delivered at Lansdowne Baptist Church in May of 2017: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/05/living-between-expectation-experience.html 

If you wish to learn more about the Healing Communities organization, see: http://www.healingcommunitiesusa.com/

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Welcome Stan Slade, Sunday, October 15, 2017

The congregation and pastor of Lansdowne Baptist Church welcome Rev. Dr. Stan Slade to speak to us about his work with International Ministries on Sunday, October 15, 2017. Stan, as he prefers to be called, has been active in two primary capacities with mission work under God's guidance: direct missionary training church leaders, and supporting the work of other missionaries and mission partners by helping provide leadership on International Ministries home office staff. For over 34 years, Stan has walked alongside church leaders in Latin America and around the world, supporting their efforts to become more effective servants of Jesus Christ in their local settings. In all of his different roles, Stan's passion has been to see people discover and embrace God's leading in their lives.

Stan will preach during the sermon time in the 11 a.m. worship service. His Scriptures of choice are Matthew 6:9-13 & Colossians 1:28 and his sermon title is On Earth, as in Heaven. All are welcome to join us for this special service, during which we honor the work of our missionaries worldwide.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Weddings at Lansdowne Baptist Church for Couples Who Are Not Members

Have you often driven by Lansdowne Baptist and thought this would be a beautiful place to hold your wedding? You are not alone. It can be done. Go to our page simply titled Weddings at Lansdowne Baptist and you will discover all the details. You can find this page by scrolling down the blog page until you find the title Pages on the left hand column (or follow this link: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/p/weddings-at-lansdowne-baptist-church.html). There you will find the page you are looking for. All the details are present. If the requirements look good to you and your fiancee, give our office a call. We'll be glad to hear from you. God bless you both as you begin the exciting adventure that is your married life together.

Wicked Tenants



Sermon based on Matthew 21:33-46, which reminds us what Jesus expects from us if we choose to be fruitful rather than wicked tenants. It is a message well worth reflection.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Words of Encouragement in Difficult Times

In these turbulent times, it is worth taking a step back and reminding ourselves of who are the blessed by kingdom standards. Jesus said this to the crowds as recorded in Matthew 5:1-12.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: 
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Take heart, all of you who are poor of spirit or mourn. Enjoy your inheritance, you meek people. I hope we may all be filled, receive mercy, be called children of God and see God. Have courage all who are persecuted for Jesus' sake. You stand in good company.

God bless you in your journeys, all who pause a moment here. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Make My Joy Complete



Sermon based on Philippians 2:1-13, given on October 1, 2017, and relating how Paul guided the struggling Christian church in Philippi to survive in the face of rising opposition. Paul's guidance works today as we face opposition as well, especially in an age when many online sources are now dedicated to the dissemination of false information designed to pull people, institutions, and societies apart. Paul's recommendations to his brothers and sisters in the Christian church in Philippi are just as useful to us today in our distress, as you will soon hear. God bless you all.

Standing With, Praying For Victims of Las Vegas Massacre, and More

We here at Lansdowne Baptist Church are grieving right along with the rest of you following the horrific massacre in Las Vegas Sunday night. With 58 dead (as of this writing) and 528 wounded, we are stunned at how much harm one person willingly inflicts on an innocent crowd today. We pray for all those who fell to the gunman, their families, their friends, all who know or knew them. We stand by you in your grief. 

But prayer is a first step. It should always motivate us to action. Jesus called us to go out into all the world and that we must do. We are made for good work by the God who loves and saves us by grace alone. We will endeavor to do what we can to encourage others to work for the ways of love and mutual aid rather than hatred and mutual destruction. We work with our association, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, and our denomination, American Baptist Churches USA, to be peacemakers, as referred to in the Beatitudes.

Matthew 5:1-12: When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Please join us in every way you can to work for peace in our divided, hurting society.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I Choose



Sermon for September 24, 2017, based on Matthew 20:1-16, the challenging parable from Jesus of the landowner and the day laborers working in his vineyard. Discover some of the complexities behind this often vexing passage (intentionally vexing) and the good news to be found there. Also know that it was 90 degrees outside that day, the church has no air conditioning in the sanctuary and one of my congregation who wears Hawaiian shirts challenged me to do the same. I was glad I did, all things considered.

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 http://www.abc-usa.org/ 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: http://www.abc-usa.org/2017/09/20/in-between-hurricanes/

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 plays 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: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/persistence-is-key.html

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.

Christian Diversity Sunday School Class Offered for Adults, Fall 2017

Beginning September 10, 2017, the pastor is going to be offering up an adult Sunday school class studying and looking to implement Christian diversity among us. We begin with seven weeks of engaging exercises covering 1. Answering God’s Call; 2. Prejudices, Perceptions, and Assumptions; 3. Comfort Zones and Going Beyond Them; 4. Leadership in a Time or Place of Transition; 5. Open Heart, Open Hand, Let Go; 6. Walk Like Jesus Walked; and 7. To Be a Good Neighbor. From there, we will plunge into a study of a terrific book, Welcoming Community: Diversity that Works. This is a start to a journey of understanding of all the diverse people God has gifted us with, within our church walls, out in our community, and throughout our American Baptist denomination.

This is a study I hope everyone will take advantage of and add their unique experience and perspective to in the months ahead as this impacts everyone, without exception. Rev. Doug Avilesbernal compares and contrasts society’s understanding of diversity with our understanding of Christian diversity. This is useful in clearing up confusion. As Rev. Avilesbernal observes, our culture understands diversity as being merely tolerant of others, and today that is exactly where most diversity training programs will leave you. This approach allows people of different backgrounds (ethnic, national, regional, however one chooses to divide humanity) to move toward one another without actively disliking each other, but only to the point of tolerating each other. While tolerance is a good thing, as far as it goes, it only allows us to stay out of each other’s way. That’s not what Christ had in mind for us, and certainly not how he approached other people.


Christian diversity, by contrast, is more complicated. Christian diversity welcomes different people because it is instead rooted in Jesus’ command that we love one another as ourselves. This is an approach that allows our church community to welcome and integrate differences into our community and enjoy the riches that such inclusion bring, riches that are blessings flowing from God and through others. It is a wonderful thing to strive for and a challenging thing to achieve. Churches that make the attempt and succeed are far stronger, far more joyful, and far greater blessed. 

Lansdowne Baptist Stands With, Prays For, and Works for Hurricane Harvey Victims

Here is the news from our denomination, American Baptist Churches USA. We are praying for all the hurricane victims and their rescuers, standing by them all in their hours of need, and working to generate relief funds. Here is how to help: 

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/28/17)—American Baptists are urged to lift up those affected in both Texas and Louisiana by Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm that made landfall Friday on the Texas coast. Bringing 130 mph winds and an unprecedented amount of torrential rainfall in some areas, the hurricane has resulted in flooding, power outages, downed trees and signs, major property damage, displaced residents, injuries and fatalities.
“American Baptist Home Mission Societies [ABHMS] grieves with the rest of the nation at the relentless weather pounding the Houston region right now,” says ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray. “Our disaster-recovery office has been in communication with American Baptist Churches of the South since Friday, before the weather hit.
“As soon as we receive damage assessments, we will consider how we can best assist on the long road to rebuilding homes, churches and lives, and then begin distributing relief grants,” Haggray continues. “In the meantime, let us all seek comfort in the words of the age-old hymn penned by Martin Luther: ‘A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.’”
American Baptist Churches USA General Secretary the Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer invites all congregations to donate generously to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) in response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.
“American Baptists across the country are a generous people, and our hearts are grieved by the human suffering we have seen since the storm made landfall,” Spitzer says. “I ask that every church dedicate time this week to pray for the safety and well-being of all affected by the storm, and to express our love for them by giving sacrificially to One Great Hour of Sharing.”
Donations can be made via your church; online through ABHMS’ website at abhms.org > Give Now; or designated to “OGHS-Hurricane Harvey” and mailed 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. For more information, contact Wilkins at 1-800-222-3872, x2413, or kim.wilkins@abhms.org.
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.
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.

For all who struggle, a hymn of assurance: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2014/03/be-still-my-soul.html

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Siblings



Sermon based on Genesis 37:1-4, 18-38, showing us the dysfunctional, grudge poisoned, hateful relationship between Joseph and his brothers. We explore how to equip ourselves against dysfunction and hate in our own day and age, like the hate so prominently on display at the race riot and terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 11-12, 2017. Being so equipped, we must work all our lives against letting hatred consume us.

If you doubt your small efforts or talents can be any use in fighting against human hatred, intolerance, racism, etc., take a look at the following sermon and rethink: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/against-all-expectations.html

For specific reactions from our denomination to the race riot and terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, which I heartily agree with and endorse, see the following posts: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/american-baptist-home-mission-societies.html and https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/abcusa-general-secretary-speaks-to.html

American Baptist Resolution on the Resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan

The fight against the sin of race hatred is ongoing. We stand against the darkness as a denomination and as a church within that denomination. My great grandfather, the Rev. Martin Luther Hall, refused the demands of the Ku Klux Klan when they rode up to his church after Sunday service and demanded he join their hateful forces. He let them and his entire congregation know in no uncertain terms how strongly he refused the hatred this organization stood for. We continue to work against the deep sin of mindless hatred in all its forms today. At the hate demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11-12, 2017, protesters carried a sign reading "Diversity = White Genocide." We contest that belief strongly. As one of the most diverse denominations in the US, we see that diversity as one of our greatest strengths and an affirmation of many bible verses, including Revelation 7:9: After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. That is a vision we heartily endorse and work toward every day. ~Rev. Jeffrey B. Snyder

Below is the resolution adopted unanimously by ABCUSA:

AMERICAN BAPTIST RESOLUTION ON THE RESURGENCE OF THE KU KLUX KLAN
The mood of America is characterized by growing economic unrest, unemployment, rapid social change and a sense of impotency and futility. That mood is contributing to a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, or to a “new Klan,” and to other white-supremist movements in the United States.
Public opinion has encouraged the growth of the Klan and racism in general when it has sympathized with it or indirectly supported it by endorsing the attitude that America’s minorities have “come too far, too fast.” Public tolerance has been demonstrated by voter acceptance of Klan political candidates, widespread distribution of printed material which accepts KKK actions, and by the failure of the criminal justice system to investigate effectively and end Klan-related violence.
THEREFORE: In accordance with the American Baptist Policy Statement on Human Rights which supports the right of all persons to be protected against discrimination and in light of its concern over the current manifestations of racism as evidenced in the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, the General Board of the American Baptist Churches urges local congregations and individuals to:
1. Indicate publicly their opposition to the Klan by statement and action wherever the Klan appears;
2. Encourage politicians and governmental bodies to take active positions against the racism, terrorism and acts of violence fostered by the Klan;
3. Educate members, especially children, about the nature of the Klan and about the myths which it seeks to foster related to racial superiority;
4. Design and implement programs to educate people, especially children, about the biblical imperatives for racial justice;
5. Take every opportunity afforded by the media to affirm our support of racial justice; and
6. Become actively involved in local and national efforts to achieve and assure racial justice.
We call upon the agencies and the leadership of the regional and national units of American Baptist Churches in the USA to:
1. Provide informational materials and other forms of support to individuals and to congregations engaged in efforts to educate their members about the nature of the Klan and about racial justice;
2. Represent American Baptist Churches in ecumenical efforts to combat the Klan;
3. Encourage public media to use their resources to promote racial justice;
4. Commend those media which have carried out investigative reporting about the Klan and its activities; and
5. Express our repugnance for the philosophy and activities of the Klan through appropriate governmental and legal channels.
Adopted by the General Board of the American Baptist Churches – December 1980 130 For, 0 Against, 0 Abstentions

American Baptist Home Mission Societies Speaks Out Against Racism and Violence

Following the awful demonstration of hate and terrorist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August of 2017, the American Baptist Home Mission Society released the following statement that we here at Lansdowne Baptist Church fully support and endorse. American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse denominations in the United States and that diversity is our strength! ~Reverend Jeffrey B. Snyder


American Baptist Home Mission Societies denounces and condemns—in the strongest manner possible—the violent and deadly demonstration led by a host of white supremacist organizations and individuals in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.
The human toll of three lives lost senselessly and more than two dozen individuals injured stains our American stature on the world stage. The racial and religious hatred expressed by the Neo-Nazi, Alt-Right, Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations in opposition to the city’s decision to remove a monument memorializing the American Civil War’s Confederacy and its standard bearers is an affront to democracy and our social order.
We join with people of goodwill across our country who seek to make America’s public squares, government grounds and city streets safe for all citizens.
Furthermore, we commend and pray for all the valiant clergy, students, justice workers and others who gathered in Charlottesville to say “no” to violence, threats and intimidation from the white supremacist demonstrators.
In the wake of yet another terrifying episode of violence in America’s public square, we pray for the families and loved ones of Heather Heyer, whose life was tragically taken during the vehicular assault on dozens of peace workers. We pray, too, for the families and loved ones of Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates—the Virginia state police troopers who died in a helicopter crash related to the situation in Charlottesville—along with those who were victims of assaults and trauma, both physical and emotional, resulting from the violence.
“We call upon people of faith and goodwill to continue to pray and work on behalf of freedom, justice and peace in the United States of America and throughout the world,” says Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, ABHMS executive director. “Never were these prayers and this work needed more.”

For more, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/abcusa-general-secretary-speaks-to.html

Against All Expectations



Sermon based on Matthew 14:13-21, in which we discover just how completely Jesus will defy our limited expectations where we are willing to work with him. There is a challenge here for us all.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

ABCUSA General Secretary Speaks to Violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12-13, 2017

Our denomination takes a dim view of racist violence and white supremacist terror. The General Secretary reminds us all of our denominational stance. In part, he states:

Second, the white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia (see, for example, http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/12/us/charlottesville-white-nationalists-rally/index.html), cannot be ignored. Let us encourage our pastors to remind our membership that ABCUSA stands for the full equality of all Americans and rejects every version of racial prejudice and specifically, the contemporary ugly resurgence of so-called “white nationalism.” I especially appreciated IM missionary Daniel Buttry’s Facebook reposting of an American Baptist Resolution which is still valid today:

To see the entire letter, see: http://www.abc-usa.org/2017/08/13/general-secretarys-update-august-12-13-2017/

This includes the American Baptist Resolution on the Resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. The end of the resolution includes the following instructions to leaders:

We call upon the agencies and the leadership of the regional and national units of American Baptist Churches in the USA to:
1. Provide informational materials and other forms of support to individuals and to congregations engaged in efforts to educate their members about the nature of the Klan and about racial justice;
2. Represent American Baptist Churches in ecumenical efforts to combat the Klan;
3. Encourage public media to use their resources to promote racial justice;
4. Commend those media which have carried out investigative reporting about the Klan and its activities; and
5. Express our repugnance for the philosophy and activities of the Klan through appropriate governmental and legal channels.

Wonder Woman and Mission

 Sermon based on 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, the last of the July 2017 Summer Blockbuster series relating what superheroes can inform us about various aspects of Christianity. In today's sermon, Wonder Woman, ambassador of the Amazons to the US and the UN gives us insights on being faith ambassadors for Christ.

Facing a Troubled Nation

In the wake of the violence and hatred erupting out of Charlottesville, Virginia, it is useful to remember these wise words from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles.Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances.Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it.Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?Expediency ask the question, is it politic?Vanity asks the question, is it popular?But, conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.”

God calls us to love, love God, and love neighbors, all our neighbors. Actually, God commands. We are challenged to fulfill that call to the best of our ability. We stand with all those hate groups single out for harm, for terror, and worse. We call all those who have fallen away from God into the darkness hate creates to repent (turn their lives around and change) and to return to life and light and love and forgiveness. Nothing is impossible with God.
None of it is easy. Not one single writer in the Bible ever promised it would be. Jesus Christ showed us the ways of love and servant leadership come at a great price.
Pray for our divided nation. Work for justice. Labor for peace. Speak for truth. Do it to fulfill those two great commandments. Remember, blessed are the peacemakers. Be courageous.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

National Night Out 2017, LBC Was There

Shortly after 5 p.m., the LBC spot was set up on Tuesday, August 1, for the National Night Out. We had church volunteers to help, church members who stopped by to chat, and interested community members who came by, learned a little about us as we learned a little about them, and took away both information and coloring books. Thanks to everyone who helped and all who showed up. You were a blessing from God to us.



A little pictorial history of LBC's recent events

God gifted us with a beautiful, if mighty warm, evening. The crowd was friendly. The food was terrific. And our Presbyterian neighbors were wonderful, as always. An enjoyable evening was had by all. We also were introduced to the police departments newest recruit, the K-9 unit member, a young and very eager German shepherd. Sorry for the lack of people pictures. My phone failed right after these photos were taken!

Look forward to seeing you at next year's event.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Communicating with Love

We have all heard that for a church to live as a blessed community, we have to live differently from the society around us. We have heard this so often, it feels cliché and therefore worthy of being totally ignored. However, in the toxic climate in our society today, where violent communication is rampant, it is also quite true. Today we citizens of the United States have little trust in our institutions, whether the church, the government, our medical or legal system, or our employers. But it does not stop there. It has gotten so bad that only a third of all Americans trust each other. Why, it has gotten so bad most people won’t even trust others enough to bowl with them! All this mistrust leads to many arguments. Often people have gotten into the bind of thinking that anyone who argues against a favorite position (no matter what the topic) must be an enemy. Violence can and often does follow quickly in this sad scenario. Loving neighbors and enemies alike, as we Christians are called to do, is hard in times like these.
                But, there are things we can do to counter this problem. We can start by thinking of each other differently. We have to work hard, and what better time to practice than the long summer days, to believe that everyone is basically compassionate by nature. We have to believe that all violent strategies, whether verbal or physical, are learned behaviors that are supported by the culture we live in and by whatever culture we were raised in. We are called not to approach every disagreement with our guard up and a deep desire to win, defeating our opponent at any cost. Instead we can enter into all conversations (including disagreements) with the idea that we just might learn something new, and maybe even have our mind changed, from our worthy discussion partner. When we make this peaceful approach, we also allow ourselves to remember that the person facing us is a whole person, with fears, hopes, and anxieties. We remind ourselves that this person just might be communicating out of those fears and anxieties. Instead of responding with fears and anxieties of our own (leading to heated arguments, hurt feelings, resentments, and grudges), we are sympathetic and compassionate to this person, especially if we see they are hurting. We do not view this person as an enemy.
                Henri Nouwen reminds us that when we hold tight to complaints and resentments, we block God from entering our hearts and setting us free. Hang onto negative emotions, as so often happens in society today, and we trade faith, hope, and charity with fear, doubt, and rivalry. That’s certainly no way to live together.
                To communicate well and build solid community, we can make sure that we are clear, that we are not intending to create a winner/loser situation in our conversation, and that we avoid blaming and accusing. We take personal responsibility for our own actions and leave the past in the past, never dredging up past mistakes or hurts. Even better, we spend more time listening to the other person than speaking. Listening well involves setting aside our personal feelings, positions, and preconceived notions so we can clearly hear what the other person says. Effective listening avoids assuming, accusing, and sabotaging the conversation.
                Great aids to effective communication and community building include regularly complimenting people for the positive things they say and do. Doing that well means overlooking faults and weaknesses in other people, since we all have them.
                We all get swept up in the ways of the world from time to time. We all have bad days and sometimes we communicate violently, whether intending to or not. However, as Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear reminded us, God uses a DVD, not a Polaroid, to record our lives and the lives of our beloved community, the whole thing, not just some moment in time when we stumble or grumble. We can always repent, turn around and do things differently, following a better and more loving way. Communicating with love is one of those ways.
Enjoy the summer and may we all bless others every day by communicating with love.

~Rev. J.B. Snyder

Walking Prayer to be Resumed This Fall, 2017

The pastor will be holding two walking prayers after the church service on Sundays September 17 and October 22 at 2 in the afternoon. This spiritual discipline will take place at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge (roughly 15 minutes away from the church in Tinicum, Pennsylvania: John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, 8601 Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19153, 215-365-3118 office). Anyone interested can meet in the church parking lot at 1:30 p.m. to car pool over to the refuge together. 

The walking prayer is an old spiritual discipline in which you slowly walk through the natural landscape and open all of your senses to creation. It is a way to move closer to God, walking with God and reveling in God's handiwork. This is one of my favorite disciplines. I have to warn you though. Practice the walking prayer a few times and you may find yourself much more observant of nature, of the play of light and form across the landscape, than you have ever been before. That is what has happened to me, and I am grateful to God for that. Join us.

We hope on our walk to catch various migratory birds in their travels through our area, which will be an added blessing to the walks. 

Alternate days will be chosen if the weather will not cooperate on the planned dates. The paths through the park are largely level and the main paths have a number of benches regularly located for those who need to pause and rest.