Pastor’s Note for October 3

Job and his Family, William Blake, 1828

Dear Church Friends, This Sunday, as we turn the page to October, we will celebrate World Communion Sunday, a time of recalling our connections with the church across the world.  We will be using a communion liturgy from the Uniting Church in Australia, and saying a version of the Lord’s Prayer from a New Zealand Prayerbook. In my time serving in ministry in Australia, there was a wonderful sense of being able to pray for the churches back home and their Sunday worship, as their Sunday services happened some twelve hours after ours.  While there, we sang a hymn that held a reminder of the prayers that go up across the world for the work of Christ’s realm and reign, “while earth rolls onward into light.” 1 The day you gave us, God, is ended; the darkness falls at your [...]

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Pastor’s Note for September 26

The book of Esther doesn’t feature prominently in the Common Lectionary…possibly because God doesn’t really appear there. I suspect it was only included in the Canon due to its central role in the origins of the feast of Purim. While it is an interesting story (one which we’ll explore on Sunday), God remains silent and missing in the telling. This has always intrigued me, but I think serves to remind Christians of something very important. While we live our everyday lives in faith, God is often silent and removed from the day-to-day routine. That does not mean that God is absent. God is always there, just sometimes in the background. I believe that God is just as active in the backgrounds of our lives as God is in the forefront of them. As people of faith we live confidently because [...]

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Pastor’s Note for September 19

This week, Olympic gold-winning Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt has been in the news as he is going for gold again, this time for a newly-released album of his reggae music.  He is celebrated for being the fastest human being in history for setting the world record for the 100m dash, running it in 9.58 seconds, a record that has stood unchallenged for 12 years.  Sports commentators say he is the greatest runner we’ve ever known; some have noted that his last name seems to have foreshadowed his path in life! The world gives acclaim to those it deems the greatest, the writers who are given the Booker or the Pulitzer, the chefs whose restaurants win a rare three Michelin stars, the iconic musicians who have huge followings.  But in our Scripture for this Sunday, Jesus talks with the disciples about [...]

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Columbarium Dedication on September 26th

Please join us for the dedication of the recently completed Memorial Garden and Columbarium on Sunday, September 26th, after worship. The dedication service celebrates the culmination of a three-year project spearheaded by Columbarium Committee Chair, Joyce Evans, and Committee Members Laurna Shively, Ann van Bever and Jon Bates. The installation of the Memorial Garden and Columbarium is a timeless and welcome addition to the church’s Plaza and provides a peaceful place for quiet meditation and remembrance. [...]

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Pastor’s Note for September 12th

This Sunday, September 12, you’re invited to join in worship in person or by streaming as we celebrate the start of fall and the church program year!  Sunday School will begin for children, and adult classes the next week. Our church is beginning to live into a new mission motto, drawn from Jesus’ great commandment:  Love God.  Love our Neighbors.  As we seek to love God with heart, mind, and soul, we gather for worship that draws us to give God praise for the gift of life, all the more precious in this season.  When we think of loving God with our minds, the role of faith formation and Christian education is a crucial part of our deepening our understanding of the Scripture that unfolds God’s love and ways to us.  This fall gives opportunity to deepen our grounding in [...]

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Pastor’s Note for September 5th

The golden light of September has arrived and there are signs of autumn emerging all around us: the mornings are growing cooler, rich blue skies are giving way to a setting sun earlier and earlier each day, and heavy-laden apple and plum trees remind us that summer is coming to a close.  My friend Lindy Vogado says, “There is something terribly optimistic about the smell of early fall.”  My hope is that despite the challenges you are facing, there are threads of optimism running through the tapestry of your lives. The world is not an easy place and life is full of challenge.  We are mindful that suffering exists across the globe and as Christians we feel an urgent pull to bear one another’s burdens, to offer healing and wholeness where we are able, and to experience the goodness of [...]

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Pastor’s Note for August 29th

As we come to the end of August and look ahead to fall, amid the customary hopes and expectations for a new school and church program year, we are feeling the weight of this prolonged season of responding to the virus, and the ways it is changing our lives and upending our usual patterns. It is in just such times of challenge that our faith gives us support and strength, while also calling us to live out our faith with greater dedication. This Sunday’s reading is from the letter of James, a passage that asks us to “be doers of the word and not hearers only.” This is linked to the great commandment of Christ that our church is taking up as a new mission motto: Love God. Love our Neighbors. One of the ways we can be doers of [...]

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Pastor’s Note for August 22nd

This week’s Old Testament scripture comes from the prophet Jeremiah who long ago declared this promise from God; “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (Jeremiah 29:11, The Message) I am not sure about you but in the face of rising COVID cases, the Taliban taking over of Kabul, and natural disasters raging in all four corners of the world, it is hard to believe in the future I hope for. I hope for a world without war, without hunger, where we respect and love all people and care for the world that sustains us. These are big hopes, I know! But I believe in a God that loves creation and wants to see all parts of it cared [...]

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Pastor’s Note for August 8th

Elijah and the Angel by Bernardino Luini

“These are the times that try our souls;” words that were penned more than two hundred years ago by Thomas Paine, and that seem all too resonant in the days through which we are living. With the pandemic still tenaciously refusing to relinquish its grip, and our living through a summer with fires and aberrations in the weather that seem far from usual, we find ourselves in a season that tries our souls. Our reading for Sunday is part of the story of Elijah, at a time in his journey that found him worn down by life, dejected and bordering depression, edging toward what we would now see as burnout.  How God offered him sustenance to sustain his soul, and how we can stay sustained in such times is the theme of our service this Sunday. I hope you will [...]

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Every Sunday at 10:30 am

First Presbyterian Church
1200 SW Alder Street
Portland, Oregon 97205

Tel: (503) 228-7331