Tag Archives: Personal note

Giving Thanks For The Saints 2017

For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confess,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

As has become my tradition, on the First of November, celebrated in many Christian branches as the Feast of All Saints, I pause to remember and share with you those in my life who have inspired me and have joined the Church Triumphant in the past year.

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

I remember and give thanks for:

  • Adam – The son of long-time friends of ours who loved life and joined the Church Triumphant at much too young an age
  • Bill – A member of the Greatest Generation who served his country as part of a WWII bomber crew and one I enjoyed catching up with on Sunday mornings.
  • Lois – Oh where do I begin? She is one of those who lived life on her own terms and one to whom God blessed with a full measure of years, living a restricted but vibrant life much longer than many of us expected. She was a strong Christian, and devoted Presbyterian quietly volunteering in our presbytery office for many years. When visiting her in her later years she always asked me for news of the presbytery.
  • Robert – A respected, faithful, energetic and committed leader in the church. A long-time pastor and later para-church worker who had a sense of call to the disadvantaged and the outcast, and to recruiting others to help in these areas along with him. I did not always agree with him in theological matters, but I respected his views and he respected mine. He was a good friend and kindred spirit in our shared quirky sense of humor.
  • Michael – A faithful and hard worker for the church who I knew from synod work. Another who I frequently disagreed with, but in our disagreement we respected each other.
  • Edward – A faithful church worker, active with me at the synod level. His work and resources benefited many racial ethnic pastors, including some well-respected teaching elders in the PC(USA).
  • Garland – A down to earth member of our men’s group, loving husband and faithful in his religious observance
  • Don – A pastor who had to go on disability due to a degenerative illness, but who was as full of life as he could be to the end.
  • Gordon – A faithful and hard working ruling elder in my presbytery and others before he moved here. Another who I differed with on some theological and polity points, but who I worked closely with, and with great mutual respect, on a couple projects for the presbytery.

O blest communion, fellowship divine,
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

I will conclude with my uncle, Bob. Not a “religious” man and he held some strong opinions on the institutional church and its historic failings, views that were a road block to him for traditional Christianity. But he was deeply spiritual and believed in something bigger – he was just not certain what. We talked and I prayed for him, and with him, over the years, especially during his final days. He had questions about what was next, and we tried to give answers to those questions. So being the Calvinist that I am I commend his soul to God and give thanks for his life and what I have learned from him. I do hope for his salvation and that the human frailness and failings of the church are overcome and he has eternal life in Jesus Christ through the Grace of God.
[The picture below was taken at sunrise on the day he passed away.]
But, lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of Glory passes on His way.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

And so on this day I give grateful thanks to the Lord of All for having each of them in my life at one time or another and the witness and encouragement they have each been to me.

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon, to faithful warriors cometh rest.
Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

A Milestone…

I would like to rise to a point of personal privilege…

If you will indulge me for a couple minutes I would like to take some time to reflect on this blog.

Today marks the tenth anniversary of my starting to write this strange little piece of niche social media. And looking back I am both surprised and comforted to see that my very first post was a list of several General Assemblies and General Synods in 2006.

I had previously done a series of daily web updates as a commissioner to the 209th General Assembly in 1997. I have preserved that web site and on the archived page from the PC(USA) you can see that they were kind enough to include my coverage, although that link is now dead. And while we might consider it a blog in today’s terminology, that is a word that was not coined until two years later, at least according to the OED. But to my knowledge, I was the first GA commissioner to be posting daily updates on the web during the Assembly.

Nine years later I moved on to this crazy social media technology called blogging. In the last ten years I have posted almost 1100 articles on this blog and while it seems to me that there are almost as many unfinished drafts the stats tell me it is actually an order of magnitude less. And looking at the categories, about two fifths of what I have written somehow involve the PC(USA), about one third somehow relate to a general assembly, and the Church of Scotland comes in a clear second in the denominations with almost one fifth of the posts mentioning them. In all, I have discussed 35 different Presbyterian and Reformed branches from around the world and through history.

It should be no surprise that if I have kept it up for this long I have enjoyed doing it. I view it as one of my hobbies, not as a job, and it helps me process the news and polity developments by studying and writing about them. And being only a hobby, I can write about what I want, how I want and as my time permits.

But the real payoff has been getting to know a good number of you, my regular readers, whether it be in person or virtually. In both the scientific as well as the Presbyterian parts of my life review by others, be it peers or higher governing bodies, is not only appreciated but expected. A sense of accountability is part of our system and comment and critique are appreciated forms of feedback.

Looking to the future I have a lot of ideas and a lot of GA’s I would like to attend. However, I still have my day job as well so I will get to all of them as time and finances permit. I am hoping to make it to Portland for the 222nd General Assembly of the PC(USA) and leading up to that I have appreciated the opportunity to branch out a bit and write some polity articles for the Presbyterian Outlook, one of which was published online yesterday.

So in conclusion, a big THANK YOU for joining me on this weird journey through the polity and news of global Presbyterianism. Thank you for not just reading this blog, but your interaction and encouragement. That has made it what it is.

And now I will return to my seat and thank you for allowing me the privilege of the floor for a few minutes.

Back to our usual presby-geek agenda.

A Great Way To Start Off The New Year

I wish to rise to a Point of Personal Privilege.

7389_10153855943714108_956908591976056144_nIt is a pleasure to congratulate my son Philip (yes he is a ruling elder so there is some connection to my usual theme) and his new wife Rachel on their marriage this past Saturday.

The ceremony was a witness to God and made even more so as it was officiated by Pastor Paul, a good friend of our family and one of the best preachers I know. From the “Dearly Beloved” on it was a witness to God’s faithfulness, power and grace.

It is a joy to have our family expand and our best wishes as Rachel and Philip’s long relationship enters a new phase and they are joined together in the covenant of marriage before God.

Thank you for this brief digression. We now return to our regular programming.

A Church Seeking A Pastor…

I rise to a point of personal privilege…

I rarely bring personal items into my blog stream, however on this occasion I would like to pass along the information that my church, La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church, is seeking a pastor. The Ministry Information Form is posted on the Church Leadership Connection system and the Pastor Nominating Committee has begun reading applications. The classified in the Presbyterian Outlook reads

Would you like to pastor a PC(USA) church that is highly missional in practice, committed to spiritual formation, evangelical in spirit, and reformed in theology? Consider La Verne Heights Presbyterian Church near Pasadena, California. Visit lvhpc.org to learn more.

La Verne Presbyterian Church
1040 Baseline Rd
La Verne CA 91750
lvhpc.org

Job Type: Full-time

For background information our long-standing mission statement is:

As a people committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit we nurture and equip each other to be disciples who perceive and carry out God’s call to our mission: to share the Gospel and address community and world needs to the glory of God.

Also from the MIF, how this position will help the church accomplish its mission:

The pastor will:

  • Model the serving, caring heart of this church.
  • Along with the Session, hold the mission and vision out before the congregation and regularly ask the question of all ministries, “How does this support the advancement of our vision?”
  • Lend direction and leadership in the effective interworking of the staff, ministry groups, and administrative committees.
  • Appreciate the advantages of our ministry group model while helping to ensure that the unique and varied ministry of each group effectively contributes to fulfilling the overarching vision of the church.
  • Attend to the administrative integrity of the church’s ministries.
  • Guide us in development of thoughtful, effective leadership training for all leadership positions within the church, helping to uphold the integrity of these positions.

Self-referral information is on the MIF.

An important note: I am not on the PNC and while I can answer general questions about our congregation I have no direct involvement in the hiring process.

It is left as an exercise to the reader whether having me in the congregation is a positive, negative or neutral feature. 😉

And now back to our regularly scheduled polity wonkishness…