Tag Archives: Clergy

Northway Presbyterian Church

Bright Sunday’ adds humor to service at Northway PC

People don’t normally associate humor with the Bible, especially around the Easter season. Pastor Taylor Camerer isn’t one of those people.

Taylor-CamererAn eight-week pulpit supply pastor at Northway Presbyterian Church in Williamsport, PA, Taylor began his two-month stay on the Sunday after Easter with a sermon that was called “Bright Sunday.” Taking ideas from “Holy Humor Sunday” in which some pastors use as an opportunity to dress in costumes for a light-hearted Sunday worship, Taylor didn’t go quite that far in his very first Sunday at Northway PC. Instead, he just preached about how humor is very much a part of the Bible and how it should be embraced.

“There’s an old tradition in the church, rooted in the early church theologians who saw a practical joke played on the devil when Jesus was raised from the dead,” Taylor said. “So Easter was a God-supreme joke played on death. On either Easter Monday — the Monday right after Easter Sunday — or Bright Sunday — the Sunday after Easter – they were kind of days of joy and laughter, parties and picnics, pot lucks to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. There was a tradition of practical jokes. There was a lot of water being thrown back in the day – drenching people with water, baptizing so to speak – singing and dancing. There was a tradition of telling jokes and telling stories with a twist at the end that end unexpectedly with a laugh.”

Taylor included about a half dozen stories or light-hearted tales that had surprise endings in his service on April 12. Because it was his first service, he kept it fairly low key compared to what some churches were doing elsewhere.

The Fellowship of Merry Christians is an organization that highlights different ideas on how to celebrate “Bright Sunday.” One church in North Carolina has a pastor who delivers his sermon dressed as a medieval jester with a sermon on I Corinthians 4:10 titled “Fools For Christ’s Sake.” Another congregation in Missouri put up a sign that read “If you must sleep in on Sunday, sleep in here.” The church then laid out sleeping bags on the back pews and actually allowed for a few minutes for naps during the service.

Adding a humorous element to the service can be a pleasant change for some worshipers.

“God so often uses tragedy and suffering and difficulties,” Taylor said. “There’s a lot in the world that is sobering and sombering but there’s a difference between being serious and solemn and just kind of being sour.”

Among the most recognizable ways the Bible uses tragedy to send a message is around Easter when Jesus dies on the cross only to have the stone rolled away from the tomb and find out he had risen from the dead. Taylor is quick to point out that there definitely was a party-like atmosphere outside the tomb when word quickly spread of the resurrection.

“There was a euphoria, a hilarity, an unspeakable gladness that your sins had been forgiven,” Taylor said. “To be glad and to not be fearful is an imperative in the Bible. There is a victory over death, but the twist is what men meant for evil, God meant for good.”

Ultimately, injecting some laughter into a service now and again, or devoting an entire sermon to Biblical humor once a year the week after Easter, can help people better understand the way in which God works.

“Part of humor and making things unexpected in church at times is part of listening for God because he arrives in unexpected ways and unexpected times,” Taylor said. “If you have everything planned out and thought out and it’s always the same, you’re not really doing a very good job of preparing people to find God.”

by Mike Givler, Synod of the Trinity

2015 Winter Leadership Conference

put_this_on_calendar_clip_art-285x300FEBRUARY 28, 2015 ~ THE 2015 WINTER LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
HELPING CHURCH LEADERS LEAD
 
will be held at the Montoursville Presbyterian Church * 900 Elm Street, Montoursville, PA
8:30 Registration and Refreshments
                                                     Workshops begin at 9:00
                                                     Closing 12:00 pm
Click below to Register or contact the Northumberland Presbytery Office at 570-368-3906 or presbynorth@comcast.net
2015 REGISTRATION FORM FOR NORTHUMBERLAND PRESBYTERY EQUIPPING OF THE SAINTS
 
SNOW DATE: Saturday March 7, 2015
Workshops:
Ruling Elder Training: This class is important for newly ordained Ruling Elders to prepare them for their role as spiritual leaders.  Facilitator will be the Rev. Dr. William Knudsen.  Handbook will be provided.
Deacon Training: {Deacons and other caregivers} How to harness the power of caregivers in your congregation.  This class is very important for all newly ordained deacons to help them understand the biblical concept of providing compassionate care to those in their congregation.  This class is open to anyone in your congregation that is providing care to others.  Facilitator will be Rev. Elizabeth Affsprung.  Handbook will be provided.
Change bags aren’t  just for change anymore: There are a variey of tools that do not require high tech equipment or a brain surgeon to use when teaching others about Jesus Christ.  Change bags, evangecubes, stickers, flaming Bibles, and other items can be used to teach children, youth and Alzheimer patients.  Simple messages about the love of Jesus.  Persons attending the seminar will learn how to use such tools to minister to the needs of others, and how to obtain them.  Facilitator will be the Rev. Dr. James Behrens.
Perspectives: “God has a world-sized role for every Christian in God’s global purpose: Whether people go to distant countries or stay at home is a secondary issue. The primary issue is what most people are hungry to discover vision to live a life of purpose. Discovering that vision makes this course valuable, and perhaps crucial, for any Christian.  This class will introduce you to “Perspectives: a 15 week course that will be offered this year, designed around four vantage points or ‘perspectives’ – Biblical, Historical, Cultural and Strategic.  Each one highlights different aspects of God’s global purpose.”  Facilitator will be Roberta Updegraff
 

 

Human Trafficking Awareness

An important message from
Grace Marable
Social Action Coordinator (Philadelphia Presbyterian Women)

 2f77c80a7cbbc2bcd61dfc5a40526c3fJanuary 11, 2015 was Human Trafficking Awareness Day.  You can find many resources to share with your congregations at http://www.traffickfree.org

The hotline number is 888-3737888

There is a film available at http://www.polarisproject.org

There is literature available on the Presbyterian Mission website (bulletin inserts)

There are organizations around that are working hard to put a stop to this crime

SOAP (start a) Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution campaign www.trafficfree.com

Work with ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking)

www.thecode.org      www.ecpatusa.org

You can support organizations working with-at-risk women and girls to prevent trafficking

Eagles Wings –   Lifeboat Project – Ecumenical Women’s Coalition against Human Trafficking- Restore Hope www.facebook.com/ewcahumantrafficking

www.presbyterianwomen.org/justice

 

Synod of the Trinity Newsletter

Synod_of_the_Trinity_logoThe Synod of the Trinity is trying to make itself known—a new E-News will highlight activities throughout the Synod.
Remember—You are the Synod, We are the Synod, just as You are the Presbytery, We are the Presbytery!

Click on the link below to get the Synod of the Trinity Newsletter

Synod of the Trinity E-Newsletter

Presbyterian World Mission

becca_young_medium250Support our Missionaries from Presbyterian World Mission through prayer and financial support.

Our August Missionary is Rev. Dr. Rebecca Young who serves in Indonesia.  Rebecca teaches at Jakarta Theological Seminary. In the classroom, she strives to help students be faithful and respectful witnesses as they go out to serve in a country of many religious traditions, among which Christianity is a small but strong minority. 

Home Presbytery:  Western North Carolina; E200300, D507529

For more information on the Presbyterian World Mission in Indonesia click on this link: World Mission Indonesia

 

Wee Kirk Northeast (PA) Conference

Wee Kirk Northeast (PA) Conference

2013-NE PA Wee Kirk Conference

Wee Kirk
October 13 -15, 2014
Laurelville Mennonite Church Center

Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania
A Ministry of Presbyterians For Renewal
The purpose of Wee Kirk is “to inspire, equip, motivate and encourage small PC (USA) Churches and to provide rest and refreshment for the Clergy and Lay Leaders of those Churches.”
Online registration is available at www.pfrenewal.org or for questions please contact Helen Kester at (424)980-9565 or helen.kester@gmail.com

Tremendous Bookroom provided by
Hearts and Minds Books
www.heartsandmindbooks.com
Onsite Discount and church billing available

What’s Next What’s Now ~ Young Adults

PCUSA logoWhat’s Next What’s Now’ for young adults ~

When we crafted our young adult directional goal—one of six in the mission work plan that guides the work of the Presbyterian Mission Agency—we intentionally stressed “joining” with young adults in the reformation of the church: not doing ministry on their behalf, but rather joining with them in doing Christ’s mission.

Perhaps no one exemplifies the spirit of joining with young adults more than Rob Fohr—our young adult catalyst—and the members of the agency’s Young Adult Ministries Team. Rob is especially excited to share with you not only our progress in engaging young adults but also the timely launch of a new young adult website, the theme of which will be a highlight at General Assembly next month. Read more about it in Rob’s message below.

Faithfully yours,  Linda Valentine

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In early March, I met with some young adults in Orlando, Florida. We had a great conversation. They spoke with me about their hopes for the church and their frustration that so many of their peers have little or nothing to do with communities of faith. One young woman said: “I know how awesome God is, but it is because I grew up in the church and had a very positive experience. Not everyone my age has had that.”

Their general thinking was that the church, and Christianity more broadly, has fared poorly in public perception these past couple of decades—partly deserved, partly not—which has led many young people to disengage. These particular young adults, however, were very engaged—and also hopeful about the future of the church—though, admittedly, their generation often connects with faith and faith communities in ways different from ours.

Since 2012, agency staff members on the Young Adult Ministries Team have engaged in similar conversations with young adults (18 to early 30s) during an open-ended “season of listening” in order to connect with them and discover how they are living out their faith or would like to do so.

After many conversations, three major themes have emerged. It seems that many young adults
1. seek out authentic intergenerational community;
2. desire opportunities for faith in action through community service and engagement; and
3. wrestle with persistent transitional questions such as “What am I going to do with my life?” and “What’s next for me?”
We wanted one place where young adults and those in ministry with them could find service opportunities, identify welcoming worshiping communities in their area, learn more about issues of interest, and explore what might be next for them in conversation with others from across the country.
After much thought and hard work, that “one place” is finally here—our new young adults website WhatsNextWhatsNow.org!

“What’s next” has become the uniting theme of all Presbyterian Mission Agency ministries related to young adults. We hope this website will serve as a hub for these ministries and continue their connectional work as we focus together on the needs of young adults and those who engage in young adult ministry.

To that end, we want to lift up churchwide opportunities going on now—hence the “what’s now”—such as the Young Adult Volunteer program, where people ages 19–30 give a year of service; and Financial Aid for Service, which assists college and seminary students with educational expenses. We also want to highlight other agency ministries many young adults are already involved in, such as the Presbyterian Hunger Program, Camp and Conference Ministries, Young Women’s Leadership Development, and UKirk (college-aged ministries). We hope to expand these connectional opportunities far beyond just the ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. We are partnering with mid councils, congregations, new worshiping communities, and other PC(USA)-related entities to learn about all the places where young adults can connect their faith to action, their creativity and curiosity to community, and their passions and interests to advocacy.

We’re spreading the word about WhatsNextWhatsNow.org far and wide. We’re even shaping the young adult display for General Assembly around the question “What’s next?” Our hope is that the website will serve as a key tool in our agency-wide effort to “join with young adults in reforming the church for Christ’s mission.”

We ask you to join us in this journey. Check out WhatsNextWhatsNow.org to get a feel for the site, and share the website with young adults, those involved in ministry with young adults, those who want to connect with young adults, and anyone else you can think of who is asking the question “What’s next for me?”

Rob Fohr
Young Adult Catalyst

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

See what PDA is doing by clicking on the video link.

First: Self-care for volunteers

Second: Ministry of Presence ( It underlines that the most important thing we do when go on a work team in response to disaster is become a “presence” to come along side and support the survivors)

Third: Becoming a hosting center (Plenty of good information for getting involved in disaster response)

2015 Presbyterian Women Churchwide Gathering

PW

 Click  below for the call to the 2015 Presbyterian Women Churchwide Gathering:

 

Friends of Hogar Renacer

shapeimage_1A group from our Presbytery leaves for Hogar Renacer in Honduras, Tuesday May 7, 2014.  Please pray for them as they go where God called them to serve.

shapeimage_3

Friends of Renacer is an ecumenical support network for the children’s home and the connected the Christian school, which serves the community.  We are ministry of presence–praying, visiting, listening, encouraging and helping with special projects financially.

Our teams visit and work at Renacer several times a year. See our Team Blog page, Family Chatter, and Friends links for more information on opportunities.

Visit their facebook here:   Friends of Hogar Renacer – facebook

2014 Friends of Renacer Prayer Calendar May 4 – 17

May 4 – Pray a blessed someone will step forward to help drive the team to Dulles.
May 5 – Last minute details. Our luggage to hold all we need to take, and to arrive with us.
May 6 – Health issues for team, family, and friends while we are apart.
May 7 -Travel mercies for the team and our drivers. The Holy Spirit to open hearts prior to our arrival. Travel mercies for Leslie Santee, videographer, flying from Colorado to Houston and staying overnight to fly to Tegucigalpa on the 8th.
May 8 – Open minds to receive all God has planned as we interact with leadership, on-site staff & the children.
May 9 – The videographer to get the film footage necessary to capture the spirit of Hogar Renacer.
May 10 – Insight to recognize stress, culture shock, or illness in each other.
May 11 – It’s Mother‘s Day in Honduras too! Pray for the person who is chosen to deliver the message at church this day.
May 12 – Our visit to the high school where the older children attend. The right message for the older girls to become godly women.
May 13 – The joy of updating the scrapbooks with the pictures from the 2013 team. A special prayer for all those who support the team with donated goods, finances, and prayer.
May 14 – Pray for all the translated conversations to be understood, and patience for the translator.
May 15 – We can inspire in others the need to make a commitment toward spiritual transformation, and a desire to place Christ first in all things.
May 16 – Travel mercies for the team and our drivers on the return trip.
May 17 – Safe arrival in Williamsport. Wisdom to discern all God reveals to us on this journey.
Ongoing – The children & staff of Renacer in their day-to-day decisions, Elisabeth’s health issues, and wisdom for the steering committee as we continue to seek God’s will in our role at Renacer.