The Parish News provides you with the latest news, information and inspiration about First Presbyterian Church and its ministries.
To read the October 2017 Parish News, please click here: October Parish News
Pastor’s Peace – Rev. Ellen Clark Clémot
We enjoyed our monthly celebration of our 300th Anniversary with a Candlelight Service gathering in the footprint of our original meeting house of 1717 in the Revolutionary War Cemetery across Main Street. We worshipped there with a hymn and a sermon from the year of our founding and walked home by candlelight to enjoy fellowship together and a meal in our new social center. Our church has grown and evolved over the centuries, and we are enjoying a time of renewed growth today.
We welcome new members, baptize new Christians, and celebrate more anniversaries and milestones together. As we grow, you will begin to see more changes around the campus as well. We are improving our signage so that visitors can find their way to the social center from the church, can identify the church as First Presbyterian, and find their meeting rooms in the education building and their classrooms in Community Nursery School. The Facilities team has been busy beautifying the grounds, removing diseased and dying trees, trimming back hedges, painting classrooms, and giving the campus a fresh look.
Come walk around our campus and see what you think of the new Community Garden space, the Education Building updates, and the renovation and relocation of the Food Pantry with its walk-in “store,” shopping carts, and glass refrigeration units, offering clients in need of food the abi-lity to choose the products they enjoy. There’s lots going on in our church!
All that we offer our community and our congregants reflect the giving of our members – their time, their talents and their financial gifts. This month we begin a new stewardship season – a time when we ask for member pledges, and for the commitment of everyone to find new ways to serve and improve their church. Stewardship Sunday is October 15th – and we ask that you prayerfully consider an increase in your giving this year so that we can continue the ministry and mission of our church, as well as its maintenance, so that it might endure for another 300 years and more.
God loves us as the imperfect creatures that we are and challenges us to constantly strive for renewal, redemption and growth. We grow together as a church as best we can, sometimes imperfectly, sometimes in need of tole-rance, apology, and forgiveness as we try new things in old spaces. Anne Lamott writes about the reality of imperfections, and their presence among us in her book, Hallelujah Anyway. She describes the ancient Chinese practice of embellishing the cracked parts of valued possessions with gold leaf, because “We dishonor it if we pretend that it hadn’t gotten broken. We value this enough to repair it. So it is not denial or cover up. It is the opposite, an adornment of the break with gold leaf, which draws the cracks into greater prominence. The gold leaf becomes part of its beauty. Somehow the aesthetic of its having been cracked but still being here, brought back not to baseline but restored, brings increase.”
Finding increase, growing stronger through adversity, Ernest Hemingway put it this way in For Whom the Bell Tolls: “The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” Sometimes the point is not to be healed, but to bear the scars of wounds that are past, because it’s okay to be imperfect. Maybe even better to accept ourselves that way, the way God does.
Trusting in God, we find a home for our imperfect selves in our church. Let’s continue to build up our congregation, our campus and our Christ-centered ministries with all our nicks and scars intact. For together we can build our promised future – a community at the corner of the love of God and the love of neighbor where everyone can thrive.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Ellen Clark Clémot