~The Wings of the Morning~
“If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits
of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and
your right hand shall hold me fast.”
Dear Members and Friends,
Christ’s peace to you in this beautiful winter season. As I write these words, the snow lies heavy and white, reminding me of all that we missed back in December when it was almost Christmas but 58 degrees! Instead of an inspirational message, I thought I’d use my space in the newsletter this month to share with you a few “newsy” items. There is much happening at the church, and I hope you’re taking part.
First, we do hope that you are worshiping with your Bower Hill congregation by one means or another - either in person, or via live stream on Sunday mornings, or even by watching the weekly recording of our worship service on our YouTube channel later in the day. (We know that 9:30 comes awfully early for some folks!) However, we would encourage you to “Remember the Sabbath,” and watch the video on Sunday if that is at all possible-setting aside one holy day for worship, prayer, rest, and acts of mercy. It’s always best to participate in the entire service, but if you’re on the run, and you’d like to catch just the sermon, here’s how to do that: Go to www.bowerhillchurch.org, and on the home page, scroll down to the area where it says “Recent Sermons.” There you will find audio recordings of sermons by themselves. You can treat these like podcasts; listen on your phone, on the run, anytime and anywhere. Share them with friends.
Second, Ali Michael, Ph.D., is a native of Mt. Lebanon and an educationist who specializes in issues of race and public education. She’s an insightful, entertaining speaker, and you can find some of her TED Talks online. She speaks frequently about the blessings and deficits of growing up in our community. (If you look her up, be sure to type the “Ph.D.” after her name; otherwise you’ll get a fashion model by the same name!) The municipality has invited Dr. Michael back to do a series of workshops about race, racial bias, and how to be white allies without guilt. As a part of that series, our church was asked to host a special interfaith event with Dr. Michael on the weekend of February 19 and 20— exact day and time TBA. We are simply providing the space. The event is free and open to the public, and we would encourage you to take part. Look for an eBlast with the day, time, and an RSVP for childcare.
Third, session is giving me a sabbatical in the summer of 2022! Clergy sabbaticals have become standard practice in the 21st century, usually once every seven years. A sabbatical is not an extended vacation, but a time spent in intentional study, writing, planning, and renewal. I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be retooled as your pastor for the changing years ahead. Our Parish Associate, Rev. Fred Leasure, will be handling the ins-and-outs of church administration and pastoral care during my absence, as well as much (but not all) of the worship leadership. Stay tuned as details emerge.
And what about the “wings of the morning”? Oh, it’s just a verse for you to dwell upon today. May you sense the nearness and the peace of God’s Spirit wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. I’m glad to be journeying along with you.
In Christ’ Peace,