Pastor's Message


I, your pastor, like Jill Duffield, Editor of The Presbyterian Outlook, our denomination’s national magazine, realize lately (maybe long before!) that ‘Presbyterian’ is an unknown word to many. Really, it is; I remember being at a meeting, a few years back, of prospective new members at a church nearby (yes, Presbyterian) and one of the family members seeking information about the church background, asked, “Why don’t they just say ‘The Community Church’ or ‘The Bible Church’ or something simpler than ‘The First Presbyterian Church’—that is such a hard word to say, and I don’t understand it?” I thought the answer was appropriate in that we are a protestant denomination with a specific form of government from Protestant Reformers with church bodies around the world. Interestingly, in addition to this, one pastor stated they were thinking of taking that ‘long word’ out of their title, because of ‘all the stir’ about their name.

When I am asked what I do, or what church I’m at, after they know I’m a pastor, I try to explain that I am Presbyterian and from a seminary teaching the Christian skills and talents needed for Presbyterian Church ministry—that means our theological beliefs, church polity, and Reformed tradition. Like Jill, I am so proud, and thrilled to have accomplished the educational goals set for becoming an ‘Ordained Presbyterian Minister of the Word and Sacrament’—the title for us as Presbyterian pastors.  I laughed when I read Jill’s comment about being asked what she does; she puts it this way in our July Outlook, “To me, ‘Presbyterian’ means educated, thoughtful and—yes, let me just speak it plain—intellectual and unlikely to hold up signs with ‘John 3:16’ at the ballpark.” (The Presbyterian Outlook, Vol.19,No. 19, July 10th, 2017, p.5). She says the qualifier ‘Presbyterian pastor’ when someone asks, “puts me in a category separate from television evangelists or fundamental literalists.” She goes on to say that the listener probably knows by then that she is connected with the church!

Being Presbyterian isn’t important to anyone else, probably, but ourselves. For me, as a lifer, it meant such things as church Sunday school and worship every Sunday and if necessary, leaving my Saturday over-nights with my friends in order to accomplish this; going to confirmation classes weekly for three (yes 3) years to learn of my faith; not to mention after membership in my church that I went to choir practice, committee meetings, and Session/Deacon meetings, and JKPresbytery meetings. As I got older and wiser in my faith it’s meaning includes networking with many pastors regularly (not just my denomination), daily devotions on God’s Word, preparing bulletins, messages for worship weekly, seeing a spiritual counselor monthly, and noticing where God is active in my life. I have never regretted these accomplishments, ever. I know many of you have very similar backgrounds, and I appreciate your sharing them with me. I only wish our younger generations could have the church experiences we’ve had and continue to have:  love and support for one another, lasting friendships, church-campfire singing and laughs, community project-building together, mission opportunities close-by/far away, and on and on. 

In this summertime when all is astir with unusual weather-patterns, fast-paced life-styles of ‘fitting everything in,’ fear and trepidation of our forms and ‘fittings’ of national government, frustration and floundering amidst health-care change, and frightening violence around us, it is phenomenal how we think of our faith to see us through. Who are we; what do we Presbyterians believe? The mysteries, the unknowns, the conversations, the ups-and-downs and all that goes into our faith journey are recognizable when we think that our faith is confidence in what we hope for, and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1, NIT).


May God Bless, 

Pastor Sandy






  August 2017  
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