Showing posts with label community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label community. Show all posts

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.

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.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

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. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

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

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.

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

LBC Participating in National Night Out 2017

Lansdowne Baptist Church will be represented again at the Lansdowne, PA, National Night Out on Tuesday evening, August 1, 2017. Come and meet us, get to know who we are, and let us get to know you too. For any congregants interested in participating, the pastor and his wife will be setting up at 5 p.m. in the Highland Avenue parking lot. If you want to join us representing the church, please bring a chair and water. We will have a portable shelter as we have in the past. We'll bring information, invitations, some coloring pages to give away, and a good, old fashioned American Baptist Christian welcome! This year, the police department will be providing a "Critter Connection," allowing the community to meet Officer McGowan and his K-9 partner Chapek. There will be a K-9 demonstration at 7 p.m. As always there will be a community cookout and The Taste of Lansdowne. It is a good time and a great opportunity to meeting more of our community and share our joy in Jesus.
Whenever we gather together as a congregation as ambassadors for Jesus,
we have a good time.

LBC Marched Again on July 4, 2017


Some of us assembled
Parade assembles ...
We had a wonderful morning at the parade in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, on July 4th. We gathered at the church parking lot at 8 a.m., gathered at our starting point at 8:30 a.m., and were on the move at 9:00 a.m. We paraded with a bunch of our neighbors and for many more neighbors. Members of our church handed out nearly 200 invitations to come and worship with us. We blew giant bubbles again this years (always a crowd pleaser). We met a great many of the members of our community, had more congregants march than in previous years, and had a wonderful day. God blessed us in many ways.
On the move ...

Our veterans represented
Classic bus for veterans to parade in
Yep, still making the giant bubbles while we march!
To see photos from previous parades LBC has been involved in, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/06/lbc-pastor-congregants-marching-in-2017.html

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

LBC Pastor & Congregants Marching in the 2017 4th of July Parade



Beginning at 9:00 a.m., members of Lansdowne Baptist Church will once again be marching in the annual Lansdowne, PA, 4th of July parade. Pastor and congregants are looking forward to marching together. If you are a church member or friend looking to march with us, we are meeting in the LBC parking lot at 8:00 a.m. and heading over to E. Greenwood Ave. by 8:20 a.m. to take our place in the parade by 8:30 a.m. That half hour when everyone is forming is a great time to meet and swap stories with fellow marchers. Last year we got to speak with a man who has been riding penny-farthing bikes for the past 30 years. He had some terrific stories to tell.

At 9:00 a.m. we start the parade. We will be waving at those who watch, handing out personal invitations to join us Sunday mornings, and creating the big bubbles once again. We look forward to seeing you there.

Happy 4th of July. By the grace of God may it be a safe and joyful day for everyone.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nothing Too Wonderful for God


Sermon based on Genesis 18:1-15, focusing on hospitality, Abraham, Sarah, and God. Exploring closely how God's insistence on hospitality impacts upon all of us today during incredibly tense, inhospitable times. Includes current crises playing out in our community. Please watch, share, pray, and act.

Monday, June 19, 2017

How Do We Go



Sermon based on Matthew 28:16-20, where Jesus bestows the great commission upon his disciples and all Christian disciples of all ages. The question arises, how in the world to we fill this tall order? Well, we can turn as a congregation to a surprising source for modeling cooperative efforts. What source this that? Watch and see. I hope you'll have some fun with this one.

Special thanks to my wife, who films these sermons, for going above and beyond the call of duty by holding the camera in hand when the tripod failed. That's fantastic dedication. I can't thank her enough. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pastoral Letter from ABC USA's General Secretary Following the Recent Violence

Please take the time to follow the link and read this important message from Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer addressing the tumultuous week just past. Here you will find carefully delineated the stance of American Baptist Churches USA concerning individual liberty and equality.

God bless you all. http://www.abc-usa.org/2017/06/16/a-pastoral-letter-from-abcusa-general-secretary-rev-dr-lee-b-spitzer/ 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Religious In Every Way

Sermon delivered on May 21, 2017, based on Acts 17:22-31, explores Paul's interaction with the philosophers of Athen. Learning how Paul bridge the cultural and religious divide between himself and these philosophers teaches us much how to bridge the gaping divides between ourselves and the peoples of the world all around us. Watch and see.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

LBC Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast 2017

Flags lined the path, honoring
those who gave their all in
service of their country.
On Monday, May 29, 2017, Lansdowne Baptist Church served our community in two ways. 1. Those who ran in the 5k race and attended the parade alike (and any other hungry person looking for great pancakes who showed up) were served a wonderful, tasty pancake breakfast meal. 2. We raised money through this fund-raiser breakfast for our Aaron Royal Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarship money for graduating local high school seniors heading for college. We are blessed with very capable volunteers who give of their time and talents to make this meal happen every year, weather permitting. It is wonderful to have this opportunity both to serve and break bread with our neighbors, strengthening our community and sense of connection, both of which God encourages. 



A friendly greeting at arrival and hearty blessing on the way out.
A rare quiet moment in the kitchen before the action began.
Two cooks are seen in the foreground.
The man on the left has a special talent.
When cracking eggs, he can toss an egg into the air, fist bump it,
catch it, and crack it one-handed into the bowl. 
Serving


Remembering and honoring all those who served in the armed forces
and gave their lives in action. As John 15:13 states: "No one has greater love than
this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." 
It was a personal treat to spend time in conversation with Mayor Anthony Campuzano and his wife. Being a contractor himself and me a former contract archaeologist, we were able to swap some really interesting stories. 

Included are some photos of the event and the parade associated with it. It was a terrific day. 

Marching band
Civil War Reenactors 


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Living Between Expectation & Experience



Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear spoke to Lansdowne Baptist Church about how we may assist individuals who have been incarcerated and their families. It is an important and powerful message. He also has something to say to those who would dismiss prisoners as "bad people" who should be ignored. Please watch.

At the end of the sermon, Rev. Dr. Trulear invited individuals with family members in prison to come forward for a prayer. This was a powerful moment for everyone as ten people came forward. One person was in tears, feeling until that moment that she was suffering alone. That prayer is not recorded here as those people were not asked in advance if they cared to be filmed.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

LBC Beginning Conversations on Diversity

Beginning Thursday evening, May 25, 2017, Lansdowne Baptist Church will be holding a series of conversations exploring diversity in our church and our community to see how better we may bridge the gaps that divide us and our community. All in our church and community are invited to join us. Tonight we will be exploring answering God's call. Consider yourselves called.

For a recent event in Philadelphia that explored this issue courageously, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/05/courageous-conversations-in.html

Courageous Conversations in Philadelphia: Sharing Stories of Race

This event, dealing with racism and sponsored by some pretty influential groups in Philadelphia, attracted 175 people and a fascinating panel. These were courageous folks willing to be uncomfortable together and explore a topic currently attempting to tear humanity apart. Included in the link below is a recorded version of the entire event. I recommend giving it a listen. A powerful early topic of conversation is in believing other people's stories, the stories of people who live lives different from your own. We need to believe the stories of others, especially their challenges and tragedies in the face of racism, and act in ways that help them.

Here are some Bible verses that show how it has always been God's intent to reach out to all people everywhere. Check out: Genesis 12:1-3; 1 Chronicles 16:23-34; Psalm 96:1-3; Isaiah 56:6-7; Matthew 9:35-38; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 4:16-19; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:8; and Revelation 7:9. I recommend reading these passages all together to get the sweep and breadth of God's vision. It will not take long. Ask yourself after reading these passages, how does reaching out to others different from yourself fit into the big picture of what God wants us to be doing?

Here is the link to both several written stories and the recording of the event to listen to: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/education/item/104158-courageous-conversations-sharing-stories-about-race-and-pledging-to-practice-more

Friday, May 12, 2017

310th Annual Philadelphia Baptist Association Meeting

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, the oldest religious association in the United States, celebrated 310 years together. To celebrate we explored various aspects of poverty and how to deal with it in our churches in and around Philadelphia. One member (many being pastors) from each church was asked to sign a historical document before the end of the proceedings, The Baptist Principle of Association. It was a beautiful and meaningful day.

It reads:
...we who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.  --Romans 12:5, NRSV

1. Being led by the Spirit, we create together, that which we cannot achieve alone.
2. Baptist Associational Life is understood as autonomous member congregations building connections for a common mission in Christ Jesus.
3. Being mindful of our diversity, we acknowledge our need for being connected as autonomous congregations and we will create and maintain safe spaces of mutuality, respect, support, and learning.
4. We will make quality relationships among our congregations our highest priority, so that we may experience the aliveness of our kindred spirit in Christ Jesus.
5. Our appreciation of Christian hospitality drives our commitment of being supportive of and fully present with one another.
6. We hold ourselves accountable for listening to member churches not currently active in associational life and for seeking to engage them in our work as their gifts are critical to our well-being.
7. With regularity and through a variety of methodologies, we seek to discern the leading of the Spirit as our congregations strive to make a difference in the world today.
8. We are mindful that people will become invested in and committed to that which they have a hand in creating.
9. We will pay attention to the ways that we gather (settings), and ensure to the best of our ability that members in every sector of the Association feel invited and represented in our life together.
10. We will intentionally focus our conversations on possibility, generosity, and restoration of community.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear Spoke Sunday May 7, 2017

On Sunday morning, May 7, 2017, Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear spoke to congregants, friends, and visitors to Lansdowne Baptist Church. He discussed the plight of prisoners incarcerated in our justice system. Rev. Trulear challenged assumptions we have concerning prisoners, reminding us all of some very prominent individuals in the Bible who spent time jailed, including Jesus, who would go on to be executed by the state. We were called upon to realize that God sees people by their whole lives, not a single moment and single mistake. Redemption is possible. Life moves on beyond some moment in which law is broken and a person jailed.

We are called to help those who are jailed and their families, all who suffer through this process. It was an extremely powerful message. At the end of the sermon Rev. Dr. Trulear made an altar call for anyone who had a family member incarcerated. Roughly ten people came forward and a powerful time of prayer followed.

This was a moving, meaningful message that will soon be made available in DVD form for those who need to hear it. Listen for the message concerning Polaroid Land Camera snapshots and DVD's from God's perspective, which makes us consider the span of someone's entire life. It's powerful indeed. The opportunities for individuals and churches to serve are great. 

To explore what might be done, visit the following organization: Healing Communities: http://www.healingcommunitiesusa.com/

To hear the sermon, see this post: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/05/living-between-expectation-experience.html