17 East LaCrosse Avenue,
Lansdowne, PA 19050, Office Phone-610-626-0637,
Member of American Baptist Churches, USA (one of the most diverse denominations in the US), and the Philadelphia Baptist Association
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General
I am writing to you today on
behalf of the 5,000 congregations and 1.3 million members of the American
Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). As General Secretary, I serve as the national
pastor of the denomination. ABCUSA has a long and distinguished record of service
in welcoming immigrants and refugees to communities throughout the United
The American Baptist family
would like to communicate our deep concern over the unjust immigration policies
of the United States government, and in particular, the unconscionable
separation of children from their parents on our southern border. As a
fellowship of Christ-followers who recall the trials of the child Jesus and his
parents, who fled from persecution in their homeland to another country
(Matthew 2:13-18), we adamantly oppose separating children from their relatives.
A just society can fulfill its fidelity to its own laws and border security
without resorting to such unwise and harmful practices; instead, we urge that
compassion, fairness and family-affirming policies characterize our response to
the plight of families on our borders. We note that destructive practices such
as the separation of children from parents place a serious burden on our law
enforcement agents and officials, who in carrying out such policies find their
own consciences ethically compromised and troubled.
Furthermore, we strongly
disagree with your erroneous appropriation of the New Testament (in particular,
Romans 13) to justify inhumane and unjust governmental actions. No responsible
Christian theologian would assert that Romans 13, or any other passage in the
Bible, supports the horrific separation of children from parents that we are
witnessing at the present time. In fact, both the Old and New Testaments call
those who believe in God to welcome refugees and immigrants with open arms and
friendship, with loving care and concern, and with the willingness to assist
others in enjoying the prospects of a future based on hope and opportunity.
Baptists wish to express our sincere hope that the separation of children and parents
will immediately cease. We urge Congress and the President to approve and
implement without delay more compassionate and just immigration policies and
procedures. As the leading law enforcement official of our government, it is
your privilege and responsibility to lead such an effort. Thank you for
considering our position.
Thank you to all the volunteers (our chefs, our greeters, our servers, our advertisers, those who set up and those who took down and cleaned up) who made our delicious pancake breakfast happen. Thank you to the community who generously showed up, contributing to our Aaron Royal Scholarship Fund. It was an enjoyable time of community fellowship, and a delicious one as well.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports a sharp rise in suicide rates in the United States between 1999 and 2016. The recent tragic losses of public figures, including Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, emphasize the point.
Here are some resources to help anyone struggling with the urge to end their lives. To anyone struggling with the desire to end your life, know that you are loved more than you know, you are a beautiful and unique child of God, and we want you to stay.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is: 1-800-273-8255
You may also speak with someone you trust, a family member, friend, clergy, psychologist, whomever. Delay the urge to end your life. Again, you are a person of value, a beloved child of God. People love you more than you know, especially at this dark and dangerous moment. God bless you.
Also know that not everyone is willing or able to call a hotline number or text someone. We also need to equip ourselves to help, recognizing signs, and offering assistance. It's what Christ's disciples do. If you wish to be ready to help save a life in a moment of crisis, join the Be the One to Save a Life movement. Please visit: http://www.bethe1to.com/?_ga=2.89886299.1303601956.1528416589-796904521.1528416589
We are picking up where we left off ... with a cliff hanger. The king, without seeking advice, has decided to take Haman up on his offer to commit genocide against the diaspora Jews in Persia. See what Queen Esther and Mordecai do to respond to this threat to their people, and themselves. Tune in! If you like what you see here in the recorded copy after the event, consider heading over to the YouTube J.S. Brooks site and subscribing to join in live. We'd love to have you with us as it happens. If you want to learn how to subscribe, see this post: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html
Welcome to June, the beginning of the summer season. Time to relax and enjoy ourselves a bit. So, this month we'll once again be turning to super heroes to see what they have to tell us, along with the Bible of course, about how we may best live our lives. This week we focused on Ephesians 4:25-32 and The Incredible Hulk to study how we might best manage our anger issues. Come along with us and watch. Enjoy your summer and God bless you. If you are in the neighborhood, come and join us on Sunday morning at Lansdowne Baptist Church in Lansdowne, PA, for our worship service.
Our next episode of Beyond Loaves and Fishes Bible study will live stream on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at 8 p.m. If you'd like to join us in our continued exploration of the book of Esther (we left on a real cliffhanger this past Tuesday), hit the Subscribe button at the J.S. Brooks YouTube site.
Sermon based on Luke 6:46-49 answering the question, how do you know you have a firm foundation? Having one allows us to be confident in the face of the storms of life. Having one allows us to live life as confident individuals who are able to fulfill the great commandments, loving God and neighbors. Living life from that firm foundation requires trying, falling flat on our faces, getting up and trying again. Are you in? Come along and learn how it is done.
Our live stream Bible study was a success on its first Tuesday evening, although a thunderstorm threatened to knock out my internet connection at the last minute. The second Tuesday evening we had a problem with the encoder, which I believe is now solved. So, we're going to dive back in Tuesday, May 29, 2018, continuing our study of the book of Esther for another half an hour. Stop on by and join us.
What we had here was a failure of equipment to communicate! We did not have the opportunity to have our Bible study, the second week of the book of Esther last night, Tuesday, May 22, due to a failure of the encoder and YouTube to communicate with each other. It took an hour and twenty minutes to track down the problem, but I believe it is solved now and we'll be able to move forward again next Tuesday, May 29, at 8 p.m. I hope to see you all there. In the video here is an explanation of the issue and an answer to some general questions that came up in our first week.
Any new venture has challenging moments and this one was mine. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it was a real learning opportunity. As the prophet Jeremiah said in chapter 8, verse 4: When people fall, do they not get back up again? He calls his people not to be involved in perpetual backsliding but to get up again. So we will in this case. Proverbs 24:16 gives us a reality check, reminding us this will not be the only time I stumble in the production of this live stream. As the text says, for though the righteous fall seven times, they will rise again. I have fallen once. I hope not to fall again soon, but who knows? I hope you will stay with me for the adventure. Things will get better as we move along, learning together how this all works. We will also learn many valuable life lessons from the Bible as we study together.
Have a blessed day. I hope to meet with you next Tuesday evening from our respective homes. Once again, I apologize for this delay.
Sermon for Sunday, May 20, 2018, based on Acts 2:1-8, in which the Holy Spirit comes upon the gathered disciples, giving them power to speak clearly to all the dispersed children of God, no matter what language speaking and where from throughout the Empire. On that fateful day in Jerusalem, the Christian church was born and began the task Jesus set for all disciples, back then, today, and always. Come and witness the good news presented here. May the Holy Spirit of God light a fire in you today!
Our live stream Bible study was a success on its first Tuesday evening, although a thunderstorm threatened to knock out my internet connection at the last minute. The second Tuesday evening we had a problem with the encoder, which I believe is not solved. So, we're going to dive back in Tuesday, May 29, 2018, continuing our study of the book of Esther for another half an hour. Stop on by and join us.
Tonight we begin our study of the Book of Esther in the Old Testament. Tonight we also begin the entire Beyond Loaves and Fishes series of live stream Bible studies. This is learning experience for us all. Polish will come later, with experience. The material to be covered in this first half hour will be background material setting up our study of Esther. There are certain things that must be clear before we get into the details. Thanks to the early adventurers who signed on for this first night. There was a little excitement at the beginning as the power went off briefly as a storm was passing through. The internet connection was reestablished about 30 seconds before I went live. Thanks for coming. Hope to see you all again soon. If you are seeing this here on the blog for the first time and would like to participate live, follow this link and subscribe at the J.S. Brooks YouTube platform: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html
Sermon based on 1 John 5:1-6, in which the author is trying to quell the very real fears of Christians living through difficult times, where friends are hard to find, and truth seems uncertain, even fluid. Threats appeared everywhere and churches were starting to unravel. Sound familiar? The author takes a very simple, calming approach on how we might all respond ... and where to find the victory that conquers the world. It's uplifting and more than a little surprising. You are invited to watch.
Lansdowne Baptist Church is holding its much-loved pancake breakfast in Lansdowne, PA, on Memorial Day. Breakfast will be served from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 28, 2018.
The cost for the pancake breakfast is $7.00 per person for adults; $5.00 for children (12 & younger); and $20.00 for families of 5 or less (immediate family only). The food is fantastic and the funds raised go to a good cause.
The funds raised support our Aaron Royal Scholarship Fund, which provides two graduating high school students from the William Penn School District (and/or members of Lansdowne Baptist Church) who are heading off to college with scholarship money from LBC. This is one of the many ways we support are community.
Lansdowne Baptist Church is located at 17 East LaCrosse Avenue, Lansdowne, PA 19050.
Come hungry and enjoy the breakfast our terrific cooks create and help our local students.
The sermon for Sunday, April 29, 2018, based on John 10:11-18, explores what it means that Jesus is our good shepherd. We see who we are as the flock and what we are intended to do in that capacity. Finally, we find out who the biblical writers considered "wolves" intent on preying upon and scattering the flock. We sheep are easy to scatter, but we don't have to! Come listen in. It's good news.
We are celebrating the warming days, the beautiful flowers, the budding and flowering trees, the awakening grass ... It reminds us of the Song of Solomon 2:11-12: For now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. Well, since this is a different climate, we'll say hopefully the snow is over and gone. Rain: that's another matter here in southeastern Pennsylvania. Of course, we are right across the street from the Dollar Tree, so some unusual items sometimes end up in our yard. We don't mind nifty ones like these whirligigs. Whimsy and surprise are welcome. And if some child wants them, and it will brighten that child's day, by all means take those little whirligigs!
Sermon for Earth Day 2018 based on Genesis 1:27-31. An exploration is made into what it means for humanity to have been given dominion in creation. Explore our place in creation while listening and discover what microclimates we may care for in daily life.
Below is the first Earth Rise as seen by Apollo 8 while orbiting the moon, courtesy of NASA.
Moon crosses the face of the Earth, courtesy of NASA/NOAA
Sermon based on Luke 24:13-21, in which two disciples of Jesus walk away from Jerusalem, knocking the dust of the town off their heels following Jesus' crucifixion, and heading out for the town of Emmaus. The meet a stranger on the road and life changes forever. Come and see. It's a powerful story. It also has much to say on how we ought to share our stories. Intrigued yet?
On April 15, 2018, at 4 p.m., Lansdowne's First Presbyterian Church (140 N. Lansdowne Ave, Lansdowne, PA) is showing the Philadelphia Folklore Project film, Because of the War. It shares the story of four brilliant singers--mothers, refugees, immigrants, survivors of Liberia's civil wars--who use their music to address violence and injustice at home and in exile.
Suggested donation per person: $10 each. Reception following film. This is an open invitation from the Ministerium of Eastern Delaware County, whose member churches which agreed to contribute toward this film's screening.