Paul’s Message: Let’s Go For A Walk!

EmptyTombWhen you come to First Presbyterian Church on April 20, 2014, you will find an empty tomb.

I mean that theologically, as it will be Easter morning and we will be celebrating the story of the first disciples discovering an empty tomb. But I also mean it on a more material level as our sanctuary on that morning will be empty.

We are inviting everyone to take a walk instead! Instead of two services that overfill the space we have, we are celebrating Easter together in one service at the Logan High School Auditorium.

There are two factors behind our decision to celebrate the resurrection this way. First, we have run out of room for our Easter morning celebrations. Last year, people actually came to church and then turned around and went home when there was no room for them. Secondly, we want to worship together as one church family! It’s great having two services. But this has meant that some of us don’t have a chance to connect with those from the other service.

Don’t worry, we will have some folks here to welcome those who come to church that morning to steer them down the block. Don’t worry, the bells will play and the choir will sing. We will all join together in the Hallelujah Chorus. We will hear and experience the blessed story once more. All the wonderful parts of Easter will be there. We will just enjoy and celebrate them together!

If you are a first service type, when the clock strikes 9am on 4/20, sleep in a little longer, color some eggs, go for a run or ride, enjoy some extra family time, or cook yourself a healthy breakfast (one that’s a little decadent is ok too. It’s a holiday!). Because at 11am, we are all going to have church together! The good news of Easter will ring at First Presbyterian transplanted. The church, after all, is not the building, it’s you, and all of us together in the presence of a risen Savior.

After the service, the hospitality deacons will be hosting a special, expanded fellowship time back at FPC in Bruner Hall, complete with Easter egg hunt (you know you want that chocolate kiss). All the details of the morning are still in the works. It will be a special, whole community celebration.

So bring your family and good friends. Invite casual acquaintances, the stranger you run into at the market, the neighbor who has nowhere else to go on Easter, and the one you haven’t talked to in too long. You might even invite the one you had a little disagreement with the last time you saw each other. There’s room for everyone this year (or at least room for many more). Let’s bring a smile to Jesus face.

It’s a time for community, for fellowship, for celebration, for joy. It’s Easter! It’s good news. It’s reconciliation and new life. We’ll discover it together. I look forward to seeing you.

Peace,
Paul

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  • Sabbatical

    Well my friends, this is my last point of contact with you for the next three months, barring unforeseen circumstances. I am taking a sabbatical this summer, granted to me by you (through a congregational meeting some time ago). Clergy sabbaticals are designed for rest, recovery, and restoration. It’s a healthy thing to do, of course, and the Presbytery of Utah recommends that congregations grant their pastors a sabbatical every seven years (serving the same church, that is). It’s hard for me to believe, but I’ve been here in Logan for eight and a half years.

    The end goal for such a time is to provide pastors with opportunity for spiritual and mental rest and restoration, to help re-energize pastors, and to prevent burnout. Pastors have a fairly high rate of burnout, but providing time for spiritual, mental, and physical self-care is one of the best ways to prevent such things.

    It’s not only about rest, however. I’ll be studying and engaging in some healthy spiritual practices too. I will be worshiping at other churches each Sunday to experience the ways that other congregations praise the Lord, so that I might observe and consider new things for the ministry life of FPC Logan. I have a small collection of books I plan to read, including Canoeing the Mountains (a book about Christian leadership in uncharted territory) and One Long River of Song (recommended by someone at FPC), and a few others that I hope will inspire good preaching and pastoral leadership when I return. These readings will go along with daily scripture study. Due to the Covid pandemic I didn’t attend any continuing education conferences last year, but I plan to use part of this sabbatical time to so some individual continuing education. There is always something more for me to learn about my role as your pastor. I look forward to sharing some of this with you upon my return to First Presbyterian Church in September.

    Summer Worship—

    A reminder to you all that during the months of June, July, and August worship will be at 9am and 10:30am. If you show up at 11 you’ll miss half of the sermon!Masks will be required until Session determines otherwise, and worship will be in Bruner Hall for both services (this allows us to space out our seating). I have carefully chosen guest preachers for you on the Sundays that Pastor Meg won’t be preaching. They range from experienced pastors to seminary graduates, but I fell they will all bring a wonderful message to you each Sunday. Please give them the warmest welcome when they help lead worship.

    We have a system in place to live stream worship to YouTube, but there are a few technical challenges with this that I’ve been trying to work out over the last month (with audio and live streaming the video). If you choose to worship from home and the live stream is not available on Sunday mornings (because of some technical difficulty), we will try to post the recording for your viewing on Monday morning when the office is open. Please extend us some grace with this. I think it will all work out, but it’s not always a simple process and complications arise.

    Praying that you all have a wonderful, Spirit-filled summer. I’ll see you soon.

    May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you all, —Derek

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