Our Work Begins
Hopefully by now you are all aware of the Leadership Retreat in Moyer Hall on Saturday, September 11. Originally, I had planned that this retreat be for the current Elders and members of the Council. After discussing it with the Council I am inviting all members of our church family. If you have not picked up a copy of The Post Quarantine Church please do so prior to the 11th. They are available in the church office.
The purpose of the retreat is to explore what kind of church we are going to be coming out of the pandemic. There is no doubt that there will be changes in store. As a church, we want to plan proactively as we explore the possibilities. Much of the work that you will be doing will be extremely helpful to our Assessment Team and to the search committee as they seek out a settled pastor.
The start time for the retreat is 9 AM. We will be finished no later than 3 PM. Lunch will be provided.
This retreat is very important. I hope to see you on Saturday, September 11 as we do the work of being a strong and healthy Body of Christ.
After three years of waiting, I will return to Ghana. Many of you have heard stories about my experiences in
Ghana over the past 30 years. On this trip, there are three people who have been to Ghana before. They are
Norman and Mary Southerly, members of Mill Creek Church of The Brethren in Port Republic, Virginia. Mill
Creek is the church of my childhood and youth. This will be their 9th trip. Joining the Southerly’s will be their
pastor, Rev. Glenn Bollinger and his wife Debbie. The Bollinger’s have been on mission trips before, the
latest was Haiti. They have traveled to Israel as well. This is their first trip to Ghana.
Jenn Hoffman from St. Paul’s UCC, Fleetwood has been once before. Jenn is our IT guru having set up a
computer lab in the town of Kpando in 2018. Joining Jenn is her 15-year-old son, Jacob. This will be his first
Clark Fredrick is the third member at St. Paul’s who will be going to Ghana for the first time. Clark is a
seasoned traveler as a result of his job at Deka.
Rev. Ed Rawls is taking his first trip. Ed was my pastor when Sharon and I were still on the farm. Ed was
instrumental in guiding me as I began my journey to ordained ministry. Ed is the senior pastor at First
Congregational UCC in Stratford, CT.
Rounding out our travelers are our own members, Tom Lloyd and Nancy Leneweaver. International travel is
not new to Tom. This will be his first trip to Ghana. Nancy will be traveling to Ghana for the first time.
I share this information with you because the 11 of us will bring with us our own expectations. Mary,
Norman, and Jenn know what to expect. Regardless of past experience all 11 of us will be blessed because of
our visit. There is no way I can give you a clear understanding of Ghana unless you have been there.
I ask you to pray for us daily. I will keep you updated as to our activities on the St. Luke’s Facebook page. I
leave you in the familiar and capable hands of the Rev. Ann Few. We look forward to telling you our stories
upon our return!
With the 4th of July Holiday just around the corner, we are into the throws of summer. Please remember to stay safe and wear your sunscreen.
Our Ghana trip is also around the corner, there are suitcases to be filled for us to take along for the people of Ghana. They are Baby Kits of Hope, School Supplies, Hygiene Kits and Medical Supplies. All of these items are very important to the people of Ghana. Unlike we here in the United States, they are not able to walk to the corner store for things that they need.
After all that excitement there will be the return of the Annual Church Picnic to be held on Sunday September 26th at the Black Rock Pavilion on Black Rock Road in Upper Providence.
It is so wonderful to be able to start up this function of St. Luke’s again after the pandemic. We have missed each other and the picnic will get us back into the swing of things at the church. Come join us for Sunday service at 10:00am and then we can chow down after we have been filled with God’s love.
See you there.
Pastor Pat (via Corie B).
Ghana Presentation Sunday, Sunday, June 13
You have heard by now that a delegation from St. Luke’s will be going on a mission trip to Ghana in August. I, along with Nancy Lenewaver and Tom Lloyd we will be joined by members from St. Paul’s UCC, Fleetwood, Mill Creek Church of The Brethren, Port Republic, VA and First Congregational UCC, Stratford, Connecticut. I have been leading mission trips to Ghana for nearly 30 years supporting the work of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. Historically the United Church of Christ and the EP Church has been connected through our common bond to German Reformed missionaries. The EP Church has many social
service ministries that we support. On May 23 we began collecting specific items that we will take with us to
Ghana to be distributed to various communities. I would like to highlight the gifts and where they will be going.
The Baby Kits of Hope are given to the Women’s Resource Center, a mission to help un-wed
mothers. At the Center these young women are taught how to cook, clean, and most importantly how to care for their children. We also put together hygiene kits for these women as well.
The school supplies will be distributed to several of the schools we will visit. There are schools in rural areas where children do not have a pencil. When they come to school, they are given a pencil to use. When they leave for the day, they return the pencil to their teacher.
A portion of the hygiene kits will be given to a ministry that we support, Nenyo Harborbor, which means “A safe Place for Children.” The children who come to Nenyo are homeless children who live on the streets. At the center they are given a place to stay, a place to bathe, provided with a hot meal every day, given a place to launder their clothing, are offered help with their schooling, and later on they may enroll in the internship
program Nenyo makes possible. Along with the hygiene kits, we give them new clothing and school supplies. Part of what we were able to do over the past five years is to build an 80-bed dormitory for the
The majority of the medical supplies will be given to clinics owned and operated by the EP Church.
Join us on Sunday June 13th after Worship Service, live or on Zoom. Pastor Pat will be doing a presentation on his previous trips to Ghana and the history of the church and Ghana. Refreshments will be served!!!!
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Save the Date!
As your interim pastor part of my responsibility is to prepare you to receive your new pastor as a healthy and vibrant church family. To that end I am very serious about observing how you are functioning as a congregation. It is important that all of your official documents are up to date like your constitution and by-laws and all of your committees and leadership groups are doing what they are supposed to be doing.
Fat Adds Flavor
I am not sure how familiar you are with the story of Cain and Able. They were the sons of Adam and
Eve. Their relationship was a tragic one. When Cain killed Able it was the first recorded murder in the
Bible. But that is not why their story is an important one. Cain killed Able out of a jealous rage because God
accepted Abel’s sacrifice but did not accept his.
Cain was a farmer, a tiller of the soil. It appears that when it came time to make a sacrifice, Cain did so
without much forethought to the quantity and quality of his sacrifice. Able, on the other hand brought “the fat portions from some of the first born of his flock.” Able is a man after my own heart, and God’s too it would appear. Both knew what makes good meat. Fat, plenty of fat.
I love steaks as long as they are marbled with veins of fat. That’s what makes a good steak in my
opinion. When we lived in Blandon a man stopped by our home selling steaks. He said they were great
steaks. I looked at them. They were trimmed so close that there was literally no fat. Against my better judgment I bought some steaks and they were horrible. It was like eating cardboard.
It’s the fat that gives meat flavor and makes meat precious. Able knew that and so did God. God didn’t
want a sacrifice of some runt lamb, skinny and frail, God wanted a sacrifice of the very best, the fat portion. That’s what gives the offering flavor.
The message in the story of Cain and Able is this: there was forethought in Abel's gift. His relationship
with God was primary in his life. So when he thought of ways to honor God, his first choice was to give to God the very best that he had; not a scrub lamb, but a lamb from the best of the best. The same was not true for Cain. Again, it is implied that Cain did not put a lot of energy into the consideration of his offering. Yes, he brought an offering but because of the lackadaisical manor in which it was given, God did not receive it with the same appreciation as God did Abel’s.
God ask us to give serious considerations to our offering and to give the fat portions, the best we
have. In doing so, our faith grows, our spirit is fed and we honor the God with our body, mind and spirit.
“There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under the heaven"
To be perfectly honest, I have had it with this season! It seems that all we get done lately is shovel snow or plow snow and there is a good reason I feel that way, because I get done is shovel snow or plow snow. But mark my word on this very day. This season is quickly coming to an end and soon, very soon, the sun will be warm against our faces. My thoughts will change from “Why didn’t I buy chains for this tractor” to “Honey, where did you put the seed catalogue?” Actually, by the time you read this article it will be way too late to be looking for a seed catalogue. I will be in the shopping mode for potatoes, onions, lettuce, carrots, and radish seeds. I CAN NOT WAIT, but I will have to wait. Why? Because “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:”
We will be in the season of Lent throughout the month of March. By months end, it will be Palm Sunday and my intentions are to be as celebratory and solemn as the pandemic will allow us. No doubt, we will be holding Palm/Passion service in the sanctuary. Until that day, I will journey in sacred hope and promise of a New Day, the day we celebrate an empty cross.
To that end, I have made Lenten Crosses for you if you desire to wear them during and after Lent. They are symbolic of the love of God, a love so strong that God sent his only son into the world for you and for me. You may pick your cross up at church. If you are unable to do so, let Cori know and we will mail you one.
May the peace of Christ sustain you my beloved as we journey together during this sacred time.
I went to the grocery store the end of December and the Christmas candy had been replaced by box after box of sweets for Valentine’s Day. Nothing like being prepared! Looking through the display made me think about the slogan used by a jewelry store that goes something like “Nothing says I love you quite like a diamond”. Hershey probably would not agree.
There is another saying about love that I try to live by; “It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.” These are words that I have tried to make part of my core values. I can tell someone that I love them, but if there are not actions connected to those words then there is the chance, they will mean absolutely nothing. I can tell Sharon “I love you” and she believes it but the words mean so much more when she sees evidence of my love. It is exactly what Jesus was getting at when he asked Peter, “Do you love me?” Each time Peter said yes, and each time Jesus said “Then feed my sheep”
Saying to someone that you love them is extremely important but demonstrating that love means so much more. Because there is a connection between “saying” and “doing” I hope, when people see St. Luke’s (or any church for that matter) they will know we are Christians by our love!
During the month of February our mission focus will be Church World Service’s Tools and Blankets project. Our Missions Committee has chosen this important global ministry as a means of showing our love for those in need. Let us be generous in our support because remember, “It’s not what you say, it’s what you do!”
A New Year
It was Christmas Eve 1967, and I received a gift from Santa, my first wristwatch. It was a Bulova and it was one of those watches that had the date window over the number “3”. I am not sure why I remember this gift, but I do. It was a family tradition that we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve. We would go to church for the Christmas Eve service, come home and open our presents.
I remember going to bed that night excited about my new watch, anticipating when the “24” became a “25” in the window. In my mind’s eye I imagined that the “25” would have decorations, perhaps it would be surrounded by holly or some other form of Christmas adornment. Needless to say, I was very disappointed when “25” was just “25”, nothing special; at all.
That experience has always been in the back of my mind when I hear people talk about the coming of a New Year, words like, “I’ll be glad when 2020 is over and we get into a New Year. The fact of the matter is when December 31 becomes January 1, nothing magic happens, but you already knew
that. What ever we leave behind in 2020 will be waiting for us in 2021.
There is a saying that goes “Time heals all wounds.” Perhaps time does heal all wounds, the problem is it may take more time to heal for some then it does for others. There is another saying that goes, “It isn’t time that heals all wounds it is faith.” I like this saying much better. In this New Year, I will cling to my faith as I have done for most of 2020. I know that the God that I worship is a God of hope and healing. I invite you, my St. Luke’s Church family to walk with me, boldly into the New Year, trusting in God with a faith that cannot be shaken.
Greetings to you, the members and friends of St. Luke’s United Church of Christ. I am the Rev. Patrick Morris, and I will be serving as the bridge pastor at St. Luke’s for the months to come. As a bridge pastor, I will be working half-time and performing all the duties as your pastor. But I also will be walking with you as you seek a new pastor.
I have been in the ministry for 33 years. My wife Sharon and I are from Virginia. Previously, we were farmers in the Shenandoah Valley operating a dairy, turkey, and crop farm. In 1986, we left the farm in order for me to begin the process of becoming and ordained minister. We moved to Pennsylvania in 1990. In 1992, I graduated from Lancaster Theological Seminary and was called as the senior pastor at St. Paul’s UCC, Amityville. I served in Amityville until 2008 when I accepted the call at St. Paul’s UCC in Fleetwood. I retired from full-time ministry in August of this year.
Sharon is also ordained, having served several churches in the PA Southeast Conference. Sharon also retired in August from her position as the associate conference minister of the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference.
I do not have to tell you how our world has changed since March. The pandemic has caused upheaval in the lives of our families, at our places of work, in our schools, and as members of this community of faith. Hopefully vaccines will soon be on their way, ushering in a more “normal” world with the end of the tunnel insight. As your pastor, my intentions are to journey with you as we recover. I look forward to the day when I can look into the faces of people without a mask.
I cannot wait until I can go wherever I want, whenever I want, and do whatever I want to do without the worry of becoming infected with the virus. Until that times comes, I covenant with you to be the body of the living Christ at St. Luke’s. I promise to care for you, to teach you, to encourage you, and to guide you to the next new thing God will be doing in this congregation.
To that end, I wish you a blessed Advent as we prepare ourselves again for the coming if the Savior. May we be a people of Advent, waiting with full confidence that Christ will come and redeem us as the living Son of God.