Discovery Highlights

This year marks exciting events for our Discovery program with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation! It gives us the opportunity to examine the theme of Change in our curriculum and to plan a service involving the children to help celebrate. To prepare for this, Discovery has been looking at the discomfort of change and the difficulties that go along with it in our activities and exercises. This week kicked off with a game of passing M&M’s down the line with spoons. We saw that when they were together in a single line they took their time and did well, but when split into two lines the race was on, and the pressure of that removed focus from being patient and working together. The youth saw the value of teamwork and helping each other find the solution to achieve the goal. Afterwards, the kids answered questions for themselves about what they would most like to see change and stay the same in the Church, the world, and themselves. From here, we will be working towards bringing self examination of our theme into how we approach the rest of the year in service to those around us and our service for Reformation Sunday.

Wake Up! Day of Action Power Metro Request

Dear GPC Faith Community,

Ginger and I (Julie Sheetz was also there for Villanova), as some of you may know, gathered with over 300 POWER members at the Capitol in Harrisburg on June 21st to declare the existence of education inequity in our state. Our message was simple: Research clearly demonstrates a racial bias in the way Pennsylvania funds its students. Senator John Eichelberger, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, agreed verbally to hold a public hearing regarding this issue. Since his verbal agreement, however, Senator Eichelberger has not made good on his promise. No date has been set.

 

Ginger and I are asking for your assistance; we are writing you, as members of our faith community, not to support any specific action but to simply ask Senator Eichelberger to follow through on his promise to have a public hearing on this issue.  We are inviting you to participate  in the “Wake Up! Day of Action,” to be held on Monday, September 25th. On that day we’re asking members in Power Metro and POWER  congregations across Southeastern Pennsylvania to contact Senator Eichelberger’s offices via phone call, e-mail, mailing, and/or social media posts, urging him to schedule a public hearing regarding the racial bias in state education funding.

 

Our guiding faith symbol for this action comes from our brothers and sisters of the Jewish faith. During this time of year, they celebrate their High Holy Days – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. As a symbol of awakening and repentance, they blow the shofar – a loud instrument intended to grab our attention. Like the blowing of the shofar, our Day of Action is an attention-grabber – Senator Eichelberger and the rest of the state must “Wake up!” and address the systemic racism inherent in our school funding.  Will you participate? Will you be a part of the growing chorus of voices demanding that our government “wake up” to this crisis? If so, there are many ways to take action:

  • Call Senator Eichelberger’s offices early on Monday, September 25th using this script
  • E-mail Senator Eichelberger’s office using the email template using this script
  • Post on Senator Eichelberger’s Facebook page, using templates we’ll be sending closer to the day of the action
  • Send a postcard to his offices, using this template

 

                                                             In appreciation for any support you can give,

                                                             Ginger and Mark Fifer

                                                             Congregation Members of GPC & Power Metro Member

COALESCE Update

COALESCE WEBSITE REPORT FOR 9/20

Our lives are not problems to be solved but journeys to be taken with Jesus as our friend and finest guide.  

                         Henri Nouwen, Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith (2015)  

 

The second Sunday of our kickoff COALESCE program , Listening for the Heart of God in Ourselves and Others focused on answering the question, What are the core elements of our faith and our spiritual journey that we would want to highlight?  Some of the element expressed were the following: forgiveness, loving view—God is love, following the teaching of Jesus,  peacemaking message of Jesus, working on developing a relationship with Jesus and God,  life is a spiritual journey/following a spiritual pathway, God found within everything (panentheism not pantheism), doubt is a part of faith, being in and developing relationships with one another as a community of faith, breaking stereotypes of Christians—not monolithic—connecting belief and actions,  claiming what/who Jesus is individually and collectively.  I was struck how part of the discussion in COALESCE articulated the juxtaposition of being silent or silenced about who we are with the need to be more vocal and claim what is ours as Christians, not hiding or apologizing for what we believe.  This was a wonderful connection to Todd’s sermon to claim what is ours in terms of our belief and faith.

 

We continued to use John Philip Newell’s Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace to open our time together—words that possibly summarize what we are trying to understand upon which to act.  A passage from the Quran – (Daylight 93:1-3) was part of this opening litany, “By the light of day and by dark night your God has not forgotten you.” A prayer called The Prayer for the Life of the World stated, “And may the least among us find greatness, strength in our souls, worth in our words, love in our living.”  Both passages apt to what we are trying to learn, understand, helping to transform us and our actions.

 

Come join us this Sunday as we begin and discuss a Church Next program entitled  Why Is it Hard To Talk About our Faith?  How do You Know What You Know?

 

We need to live the questions of our lives, both alone and in community, as we seek our mission in the world…seeking spiritual direction, for me, means to ask the big questions, the fundamental questions, the universal ones in the context of a supportive community…To live the questions and act rightly, guided by God’s spirit, requires both discipline and courage: discipline to “ask, seek, knock” until the door opens (see Matthew 7:7-8).

                         Henri Nouwen, Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith (2015)        

A Healthcare Update

Toward a Just & Compassionate Health Care System: A Call to Action

 

Pennsylvanians are struggling in a broken health care system — and safety net programs that save lives are under attack. Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians who depend on Medicaid, Medicare and ACA are at risk of losing care. As people of faith and moral conscience, we cannot stand by. Join us to learn more and take action for a just health care system!

 

St Luke United Methodist Church (568 Montgomery Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010)

September 28th, 7pm

Pizza provided.
To RSVP visit: https://goo.gl/FjSTHz

Interfaith Sabbath Service

interfaith sabbath

This Friday at Beth David Reform Synagogue we have the opportunity to celebrate an Interfaith Sabbath Service “Turning Away from Hate, Turning Towards One Another.

The service will begin at 6:30 pm and be followed by a dinner.

Communities from St. John Vianny Roman Catholic Church, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Beth David Reform Synagogue, Gladwyne Presbyterian Church and the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas will gather together to demonstrate our solidarity.

Come and join us!

Calendar and Birthdays

Events:

Tuesday, September 19th:

10 am Bible Study: Gospel of Matthew

7:30 pm Session

Thursday, September 21st:

7:30 pm Men’s Group

Friday, September 22nd:

6:30 pm Interfaith Sabbath Service at Beth David Reform Synagogue

Sunday, September 24th:

9:45 am Christian Education

11 am Worship: Pastor Todd Stavrakos preaching

Sermon Title: It’s not fair!

Texts:

 Jonah 3:10—4:11 God’s mercy angers Jonah; God teaches a lesson through a bush.

Matthew 20:1–16 The parable of laborers in the vineyard; the last will be first.

Birthdays:

September 19th:

Chad Kanzinger

September 23rd:

Bill Kanzinger

Prayers for the Week of 9/17

Prayers for those who are victims of famine and hunger, particularly those in Sudan.

Prayers of hope and comfort to the Rohingya people of Burma, and the genocide.

Prayer of healing to the nephew of Taja, who is in a coma.

Prayers of hope and recovery to all the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Prayers for all those who fall through the cracks of our society and those living on the cusp.

Prayers of safety and health for those college students entering into the Greek system.

The Theology of Busybodies

Sermon from Sunday, September 17, 2017 by Pastor Todd Stavrakos

Title: The Theology of Busybodies

Texts:

Romans 14:1–12 Refrain from judgment; whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
Matthew 18:21–35 A lesson in forgiveness from a parable about debts and debtors.

 

Calendar and Birthdays

Events

Tuesday, September 12th:

10 am Bible Study: The Gospel of Matthew

Thursday, September 14th:

7 pm Women’s Book Club

Sunday, September 17th:

9:45 am Christian Education

11 am Worship: Pastor Todd Stavrakos preaching

Texts:

Romans 14:1–12 Refrain from judgment; whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
Matthew 18:21–35 A lesson in forgiveness from a parable about debts and debtors.

Sermon Title:    The faith of busybodies

 

Birthdays

September 12th

Pete Drayer

September 14th

Lydia Stavrakos

September 17th

Jason Loux

COALESCE Update for 9/10/17

 

“Spiritual life is no litany of pieties, but a call to fearless intellectual honesty and unfettered self expression.”

 

We got off to a grand start last Sunday, kicking off our program Listening for the Heart of God in Ourselves and Others. We revealed a plan for adult education this fall, looking at the ideas of spirituality, meditation, contemplation and prayer and our ability to articulate our faith to ourselves, to each other within our faith community, and then to others outside of GPC.  The theme in COALESCE is connected to what is happening downstairs in Discovery and upstairs in Sunday Worship, and also the Prayer: Life as Action program that begins on September 27 with six consecutive Wednesday evening programs. COALESCE will also be looking at Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation and consider studying Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.

 

Our opening was powerful as we used John Philip Newell’s Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace.  From the thirteen gathered we were able to offer people/situations that needed “to be held in Light”. A passage from the Quran – (The Nightly Visitant 86.4) was part of this opening litany “For every soul there is a guardian watching it.”  I was struck how this passage connected to Todd’s sermon, referencing Ezekiel 33, the watchman calling and how we all are called to be watcher people :). We finished our time together with those present pairing and then sharing responses to the questions—Why are you here today—what has led you to this place? A rich sharing opportunity involving personal stories of faith.  

 

Come next week as we begin to look at the Church Next program; Why is it hard to talk about our faith? How do you know what you know?  We also will begin to look into Marjorie J Thompson’s Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life           

 

“We must look for truth, reality and grace within—-each of us must look within to find our deepest nature, joy and natural concern for others—-that is the key to life.”

                                                                                                                                Henri Nouwen