A Word from the Pastors | 10-13-21

Church Council

Your elected servant-leaders gathered for a Zoom meeting on Monday, October 13. Some notes from that meeting:

  • Minutes from the September 13 Zoom meeting were reviewed and approved.
  • Pastors Gwen and Neil reported (09-13-2021 to 10-10-2021) on some of their activities. They celebrated the wonderful blessing of St. Peter’s 36th Annual Women’s Day on October 9-10. They named the four members of St. Peter’s who have died since last All Saints Sunday who will be remembered in worship on November 7:
    • Justine Ann Patterson (11-06-2020)
    • James Edward Hines, Sr. (11-08-2020)
    • Etther Iona White (04-10-2021)
    • Nicole Najah Draper (08-05-2021)

They also listed current meetings and activities taking place “in person” in our buildings:

    • Senior Food Box distribution ministry, 09/17 and 10/15;
    • Whole Foods distribution ministry, 09/15, 09/29, and 10/13;
    • Senior Ministry Bible Study, 09/15, 9/29, and 10/13;
    • Bible Fellowship Church (local congregation meeting in Rhoda Hall), 09/05, 09/12,
    • 09/19, 09/26, 10/03, and 10/17;
    • Girl Scouts troop, 10/01, 10/08, and 10/15;
    • ELCA Youth Gathering kids, 10/21;

Cliveden Wister Al-Anon Group and Briar Road A.A. Step Group, meet soon?

  • Finances. Ben reported that offerings by members and friends of St. Peter’s – mailed, dropped off, or given online in the report period covering January to September – have exceeded what was anticipated in our 2021 Budget planning by about $11,000! This has covered our loss of income that we anticipated from rentals for events and activities, and it has also helped keep our 2021 Budget balanced. Actual Budget Income for 9 months was $125,511.23 and actual Budget Expenses were $123,516.92. We are so grateful for generous givers, regular givers, and “once in a while” givers who help support the work of God that occurs through and beyond our St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church!
  • Re-opening. Most of our “Video Equipment Project” physical preparation is completed (we are waiting for an audio part). The Council believes that we need to consider searching for and hiring a video person with professional skills to actually operate the equipment on a weekly basis, although we are also interested in the possibility of training volunteers from within the congregation who might be able to assist. This process of job description, budget considerations, advertising, interviewing, selecting, ratifying, and getting ready will take time Because our “Video Equipment Project” preparation isn’t yet completed, and especially because of continued uncertainty and concern about COVID-19 infections in our geographical area, our start date for “hybrid worship” that would include connection and interaction between “in-person” worshipers and “remote” worshipers both local and scattered in other states continues to be fluid. The Pastors hope for November 28, the new Church Year.

Encouragement

Back in the summer, back in Chapter 6 of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus invited his exhausted and hungry disciples, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” They had been out on the road preaching and teaching and healing and anointing and praying and loving. They had no doubt been pressed and stressed, unable to stop and rest and eat. It was almost more than they could handle! Jesus knew what they had faced. Jesus understood their weariness. And the One who regularly drew away to be alone and to pray and to be replenished from above extended that grace to his followers in their fatigue.

And the truth, sisters and brothers, is that discipleship has never been real easy. There’s so much to do sometimes and too little time and energy in which to do it! And aren’t these some challenging and difficult times for Christian folk? The pandemic of COVID-19. The pandemic of gun violence – so many deaths! – right here in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, but also all over the face of this globe. The pandemic of systemic racism. The pandemic of divided and hateful American politics. Job problems. Family problems. Money problems. Supply chain bottlenecks and  related shortages and delays and closures, perhaps all through 2022 and into 2023. Mental health issues. So much to do. So many in need. So many causes to respond to and pray about. Trying to hold on, trying to stand strong and stay sane, seeking to stretch compassion just a little bit more, wanting to bring healing and justice to a weeping world.

Are you worn out?

Jesus knows what you are facing. And he invites you to stop, rest, find quiet, create some room, get away (even if you don’t physically travel far), get refreshed. Let his presence, peace, power, and promises restore you, revive you, and renew you. Jesus invites you to do this. Jesus offers it to you. Sometimes a moment of solitude, a spirit of prayer, a song of faith, a word with a fellow Christian, a rest in God’s written word, and some worship with others who have gathered online or even “in person” can lift up your body and your head and your heart and your soul and your life and your hope and your strength and your grateful joy and these moments right here and now in your journey.

Lord, let me find rest and renewal to continue living faithfully and loving fervently. Amen. 

Gratitude

Today, October 13, is Pastor Neil’s 71st birthday. He likes to tell people that he was born on a Friday the 13th and then hopes that this will help explain why he is the way he is. Maybe.

It’s quite a surprise to live pretty long and to realize that you are actually that old. It is pure blessing to have been in good health for that life’s journey, with only one single night ever spent in the hospital (January 8, 1996 when he went out after that 30+ inch snowfall and came back “funny”, i.e. somewhat confused and unaware… later diagnosed as having an episode of transient global amnesia).

Family was and is so much a blessing! Partner, co-worker, and best friend Pastor Gwen (41 years married on October 18) was and is so much a blessing! All those Christian people of faith, hope, and love over a lifetime – and here with you all at St. Peter’s – were and are so much a blessing!

Humbled. And thankful.

                  Stay in the Spirit! 

                       Pastor Neil & Pastor Gwen

Upcoming Events

Jun
23
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jun
30
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jul
3
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jul 3 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jul
5
Fri
2024
8:30 am Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Jul 5 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Check out the Senior Food Program’s page for more information.
Jul
7
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jul 7 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...