We are approaching the second anniversary of the first time I came to preach at Burlington Presbyterian, and yet we are also setting out on a new phase in our journey together, as pastor and congregation. I am excited about celebrating my installation as your next called and installed pastor on February 4th! While I feel that I have gotten to know many of you individually, and as a church, I also still have much to learn. In many ways, we have been in a holding pattern over the past two years, as you grieved the loss of Pastor Mike and prepared the search process through the PNC. We have done well at keeping the basic functions of the church going strong – and have even made some changes here and there! – but we have not delved too deeply into what really makes you passionate and energized to serve Jesus Christ beyond these walls.
As a church, you have supported many missions and ministries both here in your local community, such as People Helping People, Camp Wilmot, and Elmbrook Place, and in the wider world, from Heifer Project International to special offerings for disaster relief and in many other ways. We are a small church, but we can make a significant impact on the lives of those in our pews and in the world around us when we work together. I would love to hear from you about where you think we can make a difference, whether on a local, or larger scale issue.
We will be putting together a mission team to determine where we want to focus our efforts as a church for the upcoming year, and determining some ways we can serve God together in our communities. If you know of opportunities or organizations that would benefit from a group service project, we are open to suggestions! And if you are interested in joining the mission team to help guide our focus and narrow things down, please let me know. This is a time for dreaming new dreams and seeing new visions! What new thing is God doing in the life of Burlington Presbyterian Church, even now?
Grace and Peace,
Welcoming Our Neighbors
As we look forward to resuming many of our regular activities in our church life together, and in our communities, it is also a time of new opportunities to be a place of welcome for friends old and new alike. One such opportunity is that our church is opening its doors to the Boston Grace Korean Presbyterian Church, and providing space for them to hold worship services during the month of September.
Pastor Shi-Chang Wooh approached me earlier in the summer about looking for a new place for his congregation to worship, as the church where they were meeting in Lexington had grown and needed to expand its own use of the church building. After an initial conversation with the session, we have agreed to shared use of the church for the month of September, and possibly for a longer-term basis. The Korean Church will worship on Sunday afternoons at 2:00, and hold a Wednesday evening Bible study and Friday evening prayer meeting.
Many of the people who come to the Korean Church are here as students, doctors, or other professionals who are in one- to two-year training programs from Korea. The church has grown in the last three years from 12 adults and one child, to about 45 adults and 30 children! Please make our new friends feel welcome and share your hospitality with them, should you be in the building when they are here!
Looking forward to Sunday, October 1st, World Communion Sunday, I have invited their congregation to join us for worship at 10:30 to celebrate communion together. Friends of mine, Kurt Esslinger-Lee and Hyeyoung Lee, who are mission co-workers in South Korea serving as the site coordinators for the Young Adult Volunteer program in Daejon, will be leading us in worship that day and it seemed an ideal way to bring our two communities together. Please join me in welcoming our siblings in Christ to the Presbyterian Church of Burlington!
It’s been a challenging time of change in the life of our church. As the news has come it, I was grateful to spend time with my friends in the small group.
The purpose of our small group meetings is to gain a realistic picture of our congregation’s place in its life so that we can make a collective decision about our direction for future ministry.
Most of the small groups are about halfway through the New Beginnings curriculum. We’ve talked about who we are now in Session 1. Session 2 covered our reactions to the New Beginnings report. Session 3 was a discussion of our community (along with the hard question of how we define our community). We are still looking ahead to sessions on “Our Church In God’s Mission”, “Discovering Our Options” and “Navigating Change”. In that last session, our small groups will create a recommendation for what direction we think we should use to go in next.
Once these recommendations are made, the small group leaders will come together to hash out the similarities and differences between our recommendations, and then use them to craft an understanding of our shared mission. We use THAT understanding to put together an idea of what kind of pastor we will need to help us accomplish the mission.
It’s a long process, but I love how it is building deeper relationships among us. I also love how the choices in our church aren’t left up to habit, or to some distant “them”, but come from the hearts of the people in our community.
If you haven’t been able to attend a small group meeting, you’re not out of luck. We still have sessions remaining, and we’d love to have you join. Reach out to me, and I’ll help you find the best one.
If you are interested in reading the New Beginnings report, here’s a link.
As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about this process!
Our church is making some huge strides in listening to God’s call for us. We’re using the New Beginnings process to help us think and dream about what that call might be. The first step in that process was to invite in a New Beginnings consultant who talked to us and did in-depth analysis on our situation.
From that process, we’ve gotten an amazing report back. The next step is to go through that report together and use it to inspire our thoughts on what our future looks like. We’ll be doing this in small groups of 8 – 10 people who will meet together for several hours. We’ve set up 6 small group sessions meeting with many different schedules including:
Sunday after church
We’ve taken information from the signup sheets and our participant lists and put together some amazing small groups. The small group leaders will reach out to their groups and confirm the meetings. I think this will be an amazing spiritual time together, as well as an exciting one.
At the end of the small group process, the leaders will bring the ideas and enthusiasm of the different groups together and see what emerges. This will then lead the church to identify what qualities we will want from our next Teaching Elder (pastor). Is it preaching? Young families? Immigrant outreach? Food social justice leadership? I’m excited to find out.
If you have any questions about the small groups or the process, please feel free to ask Brenda at church or to email her at email@example.com .
Legacy Christmas: treasured carols of the Kirk, is a beautiful album of Celtic-influenced carols supporting Living Waters for the World and the Presbyterian Women Birthday Offering fund. Featuring acclaimed musicians and Irish vocalist Alyth McCormack (The Chieftains), the record is receiving rave reviews, with all proceeds benefiting clean water and wellness for children and their families throughout the world. Legacy Christmas makes a wonderful stocking stuffer (complete with a gift card describing the project) and is available at The Presbyterian Church in Burlington at our Sunday coffee hours or by calling the church at 781-272-9190.
Join the Presbyterian Church in Burlington for an evening of dialogue and action!
WHAT: Free film screening of ‘A Place at the Table’
WHEN: Friday, Nov 8 at 6:30 PM
WHERE: The Presbyterian Church, 335 Cambridge St, Burlington
Free Admission: food donations for the Burlington Food Pantry will be accepted
Co-sponsors/Partners: [other names of organizations], Active Voice, Participant Media, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Featuring: Bob Hogan (selectman), Christine Shruhan (Dir. Community Life Center),
Libby Walendziewicz (Vice Chairman of the Board of Health)
Our community is part of a national campaign connecting efforts against obesity and hunger toward building a healthier country. Featuring an exclusive screening of Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush’s acclaimed film A Place at the Table, we’ll examine the state of food access, hunger and obesity in our community and next steps for making healthy food available and affordable for all.
Don’t miss this special screening event!
“A Place at the Table is an engaging and enraging movie that will enlist supporters for its cause.” – Variety
“A Place at the Table doesn’t offer any answers. Instead, it asks you to help find them by getting involved, which is the mark of an excellent documentary.” — Toronto Film Scene
RSVP to 781-272-9190 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook
For information and updates on hunger in America, text “FOOD” to 77177.
The Boston Faith & Justice Network (BFJN) , a community of Christians committed to alleviating poverty and promoting just stewardship partners with Burlington Presbyterian Church, a dynamic congregation located in the Boston metro area, as a YAV host site. The YAV placed at this site will work on a variety of projects including but not limited to development and implementation of food justice educational programming, youth engagement in food systems work, a set of recommendations for shifting food consumption towards more just patterns, and leadership of an economic discipleship curriculum.
Read mroe here!