Summer 2014 Crossroads

A Word from the Interim Search Committee

As I write this article, it’s been almost exactly 8 weeks since our beloved Pastor has retired to the gentle breezes of old Cape Cod. As the date drew near, Mark Vogel and the Worship Committee started making calls to arrange coverage for the Sunday services and a small group of us were asked by Session to form an Interim Search Committee (ISC).

I presume that most of us aren’t familiar with the Presbyterian protocol for finding a new pastor, since I had no idea before I became involved. Like everything else Presbyterians do, there’s a process, and that process starts with the selection an Interim Pastor. The role of Interim Pastor is simply to fulfill the regular pastoral needs of a church, and help prepare the church for the transition to a new permanent pastor. The departure of a Pastor can leave people with feelings of anxiety, apprehension, or a slew of other emotions and Interim Pastor’s role is to provide support and reassurance through the process and assure that the church is ready to welcome a new Pastor. It’s not the Interim Pastor’s role to help decide on a new Permanent Pastor, nor guide the selection process outside of helping communicate with Presbytery and making sure that a Pastoral Nominating Committee has whatever resources they may need, and an Interim Pastor is not supposed to be considered as a candidate for permanent Pastor – the role is, by design, temporary.

For its part, the ISC’s only job is to find an Interim Pastor. On behalf of the church, the committee searches for a candidate and, once identified, refers a candidate and suggested terms of call to Session, who ultimately make the decision to call (or not) the candidate. The Presbyterian Church asks that the search process itself be kept confidential. This is in part to keep the process quick, fluid, and free of outside influence, but also out of respect of potential Interim candidates, whose eligibility for the position might change during the process and force the committee to go back and consider other candidates. If you asked any members of the ISC how long until we have an Interim Pastor and they seemed cagey in their response, that is why.

For our part, the ISC has had wonderful help from the Committee on Ministry in the form of Jill Auger, who has guided us through the process and been our principle contact. The ISC has met weekly to discuss the needs and priorities of the church in considering candidates, to create a job description and terms of call, to collect and review resumes, to conduct interviews, to listen to recorded sermons, to contact references, and to record and report all that needs to be so that the process is conducted prayerfully, fairly, decently, and in order. Once the committee has come to a unanimous decision on the candidate that they choose to refer to session, several other things happen: the candidate is asked if they are still available and if they’d be interested in the role; the Committee on Ministry is contacted and asked to vet/background check the candidate; if the candidate is not a member of Presbytery, they must join the Presbytery and then… then the ISC can formally present the candidate and terms of call to Session for their consideration. I believe that we are all very happy with our progress to date and hopeful that we’ll be able to present an excellent and experienced candidate to the Session expeditiously.
I would like to thank all the members of the ISC that have given up numerous Wednesday nights to the cause: Nilo Hennings, Linda Roscoe, Brad Morrison, and Ken Dewar.
– James McIninch, ISC Chair

Deacon’s Corner
A heartfelt thank you to all who sent birthday cards to George for his special day!
And to those who have been bringing him to church.

Summer Music
Members of the congregation are invited to provide special music during the summer months. Please contact Nancy if you want to be on the schedule.

No Carillon or Chancel Choir practice until September.

Christian Education
We are still in need of teachers and assistants for Summer Celebration. Please help out and give our regulars teachers a summer break. They work very hard throughout the school year. See Marti to sign up. Thank you!

YAV Report from Alex
Pick some Basil! The basil in the church garden is trying to bolt and make flowers, which stops leaf production. Come pick a handful of Basil on your next time at the church. Pick leaves from the top first. It stores several days in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Since my time as your Food Justice YAV is winding down, here is my two months’ notice. August 15 is my last day here. But there’s still plenty of time for a good conversation on food and faith, time to share a meal, and several more events I have planned. I really have enjoyed my experience here and I will leave you with some parting words in the September newsletter, but for now I leave you with some summer thoughts on compost.
We are now Composting at Church!

As of June 9 we have a compost bin at the church. It sits outside the playground fence at the forest’s edge. Feel free to bring your kitchen scraps from home to compost. Just drop the compostables in the black bin and cover it with a handful or two of dead leaves from the ground. That’s all it needs to become compost for the church’s flowers and the Manna Monday garden. We will start collecting food scraps at coffee hours for compost. Signs and instructions will be available at the church, or just ask one of the Farmer Dave’s volunteers for help. (Jane, Kathleen, Mary Lou, Stefanie, or Alex)

Compost is a better way to dispose of vegetable scraps that get left behind from Farmer Dave’s pick up, and also food scraps from church coffee hours and events. Coffee grounds and tea bags are excellent for compost. If we move to compostable napkins and plates, we could really cut down on trash!

Food scraps such as greens and coffee contain high levels of organic matter that generate high levels of methane gas when decomposing in landfills. Landfills are the third largest source of atmospheric methane, and methane has over 10 times the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. Food waste is the single largest category of trash in our nation’s landfills. In a small way we are contributing to a larger environmental problem each time we throw food in the trash can.

Composting can significantly reduce the amount of waste we put in the landfills, reduce the stench of your trash can, and it provides a natural nutritious soil amendment. Consider composting in your own yard, or adding to our bin at the church starting this week! It’s a very simple process.

Theological reflections on Compost by Alex, with thanks to Ashley Goff of Washington, DC:
I’ve been in contact recently with some folks from the Presbyterian Hunger Program known as “Food Justice Fellows”. I’m beginning to understand why God wants us to do these things with food and compost. I’m seeing that we don’t just care about where our food comes from, and protect the Earth and people on it because it’s trendy right now, but because we are told to from the very first stories in the Bible.

So in explaining, “Why Compost?” I want to step just beyond the statistics about landfills. This may be a stretch for some folks as it was for me. One of our partners in the Presbyterian Hunger Program, Ashley Goff of Church of the Pilgrims in Washington DC, has some interesting liturgy on compost.

They started a verma-compost bin (worm bin) where members could bring vegetable scraps that earthworms could turn into valuable potting soil for the church garden—which supplies some food to their weekly meals program. Their trash could feed worms that feed some plants that feed hungry people in their community. The trash deemed for disposal and death was rescued, saved and made into new life. Kind of like how God rescues and saves us from the death of sin, and through Jesus Christ makes for us a new life.

This church dove more into the theology and liturgy. They came up with what they called a “God story for the garden” with three parts: 1. Compost is an act of resurrection. 2. Growing is an act of resistance. 3. Eating is an act of remembrance.

Compost is an act of resurrection? Hmm? “Dying with the old to create the new,” as Ashley Goff from the church in DC said, that’s what compost does to plants. Living things we put in the bin die, rot, and decay to welcome the way for new life. Ashley likened this to Christ dying on the cross so our lives become new. We must die completely from sin, so that God can fill us with new life, His life and his spirit. I see it as a clever Sunday school lesson or even a sermon illustration, but this church did something I never would have thought with the theology of compost and new life. They used the compost pile as a communion table. Yes, you heard me correctly.

Here is the story:
During a special fall sermon series on food and faith, they had a wheelbarrow of veggie scraps at door, midway decomposed compost in the Baptismal font, and in the front of the sanctuary, the bread and cup sitting on top of a pile of fully composted compost. Symbolically this represented the journey of transformation we go through as Christians. In Christ we are transformed from one thing, perhaps a bunch of scraps, into something better. At Baptism we know this and we have started to be transformed, but we are only midway there. Like the partially rotted compost you can still see there is work to be done before our minds and hearts are entirely God’s. And at communion we are completely transformed, like the compost ready to feed someone else.

The church sat on the floor around the compost pile and shared communion recognizing the mortality of our bodies we usually only recall on Ash Wednesday; remembering the adamah, the soil that God made into Adam. They also shared the eternity we have through Christ that we will be transformed through him. God’s love and spirit will become new after death. Likewise this compost is dead, new, and ready to feed next year’s garden.

That is the image I share with you. I learned of this church’s composting liturgy on a PHP webinar June 9, the day we put in the church’s compost bin. I’d encourage you to watch it for yourself to learn about what this church and others are doing with food and faith. Or to learn more without the internet, please also visit the bulletin board in the side hallway at our church.

Link to the Presbyterian Hunger Program webinar recording featuring Church of the Pilgrims in DC along with others: Food Justice Webinar: Churches & Camps-Food Growing and Greening Initiatives (Church of the Pilgrims starts at 48 min.) More info on church bulletin board!

Cooking with Alex
On Sunday July 27 from 5-7 pm, there will be a Food Potluck and Cooking Demo at BPC.
See Alex for details.

Rocket Stoves and Solar Ovens: Cleaner Cooking Technologies Workshop
Thursday July 10 from 6-8 pm.
Location to be determined. See Alex for details.

Join Boston YAVs for Table Gatherings Dinner!
On July 13, 4-7 pm at Church of the Covenant (67 Newbury St, Boston), enjoy an evening feast with the Presbytery’s four Young Adult Volunteers! The YAVs will teach participants to a cook tasty dish learned during their year living and cooking together in intentional community, and then all will come together for dinner to celebrate their ministry among us. Please join us! Tickets are $50 per individual, $80 per couple, and will support living expenses for our 2014-2015 YAVs.

To purchase tickets: Send a check made out to the Presbytery of Boston, with “BFJYAV Dinner” in the memo line, to:
The Boston Food Justice Young Adult Volunteers Program
c/o Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church
155 Powder House Blvd.
Somerville, MA 02144

Questions? Contact Maggie Holmesheoran, Site Coordinator, at You can also learn more about us at

Church Picnic
Our Church picnic is scheduled for July 13, after worship, at Springs Brook Park in Bedford. Meat will be provided, please bring a side dish, a salad, or a dessert to share. Please bring your own beverages…no alcohol allowed! There are grills available, and a snack bar. Activities include swimming and a playground. The park opens at 10:00 a.m. There is a fee of $8.00 per person as long as we have at least 20 people, children 1 and under and over 65 admitted free. If you have folding lawn chairs or beach chairs you may want to bring them. If you have a fun outside game to share, please bring it!

Your Hospitality Committee at work!

Turn left out of church onto Route 62/3A towards Billerica. Turn left onto Francis Wyman/62. Continue to follow 62 into Bedford for about 4 miles at which point 62 is also Page Road. Turn right to continue on Page Road (departing 62) to 4 way stop at Springs Road. Turn right onto Springs Road for 0.1 mile to access road to Springs Brook Park.

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