We have called a pastor!

All,

Today, in a special congregational meeting, the Presbyterian Church in Burlington, by the unanimous decision of all members there assembled, voted to extend a call to Rev. Trina Portillo to be our new pastor. Everyone welcome our Pastor elect, Trina! Special thanks to Rev. Jane Wilson who acted as guest moderator, and a HUGE thank you to the Pastor Nominating Committee.

AF3F02FC-717C-44FD-B62C-946F29E7EEDC

Christmas Eve Service

A Family Tradition with Crèche, Carols and Candlelight
Sunday, December 24 7:00 p.m.

There will be nativity tableaux vivants (or living scenes) featuring young folks in the roles of Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds and wise men. Choir and congregation will join in many carols. The service will end with a spreading of candlelight throughout the sanctuary. Pastor Trina will give a brief message. The Christmas Joy Offering will be received. This service is a wonderful way to introduce friends and neighbors to the church – and maybe to make a difference in their lives.

We have found our new pastor

Brothers, Sisters and Friends of Burlington Presbyterian Church,

It was almost exactly a year ago that your Pastor Nominating Committee was formed. Seven of us were tapped for service: Chuck Anderson, Judy Brunner, Kim Oey-Rosenthal, Brad Morrison, Ferdinand Akombe, Brenda Flynn and Caitlin Rivet. We spent our first few months working diligently on our Mission Information Form (https://burlingtonpres.org/beourpastor/). We carefully crafted our call out to pastors, and in February we were reading our first applications. We read a lot of applications. By my count, the committee has carefully read 131 applications. We’ve met as a committee over 50 times. We interviewed candidates with a video call 23 times. A handful of those candidates, we invited to hour-long conversations. And three times we’ve dedicated a full weekend to really getting to know a pastor – eating with them, interviewing them, driving them from Stoneham to Lowell, and listening to them preach. We’ve talked with candidates from California, Iowa, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. We’ve asked and answered hundreds of questions. We’ve thought deeply about our church, our calling, and what our next steps of the journey would look like.

So it is with great pride and pleasure that I tell you – we have found and invited the pastor we believe God intends to lead us in the next phase of our journey together. That pastor is our own dear Pastor Trina!

We are very excited that this is the case. The PNC didn’t make this decision lightly, nor did Trina. Much prayer and discernment happened on both sides. Over the last year, while we’ve been searching, our congregation has been blossoming in new and exciting ways. Our worship has been growing and evolving, with new sounds and music. Our partnership with the Boston Grace Korean Church has brought vibrancy. Our missions are evolving and enlivening. We’re doing some really neat things together. We are looking forward to even more of that, as we continue to follow God’s calling together in new and unexpected ways. We can already see how well we work together as pastor and congregation, and we think the future is even brighter.

We have asked Trina to take on the role of our pastor, and she has agreed. There are still a few steps to be taken, however.

Candidating Sunday & Congregational Meeting (12 pm), December 17th – In most circumstances, a congregation would not know their new pastor as well as you all know Pastor Trina. Usually the candidating Sunday would be your first chance to meet and hear the new pastor speak. Although hopefully you’ve already had ample opportunity, we are following (and have followed!) the full process for calling a new pastor, including this specific candidating sermon on December 17th. Come and listen with new ears!

After the worship service (and coffee hour) our excellent Committee on Ministry liaison Jane Wilson will lead a congregation meeting, at which we’d like as many voting members as possible to attend. Non-members are welcome to be present, but will not be able to vote. We’ll be taking a counted-ballot vote on approving the Terms of Call for Pastor Trina (which we’ll provide significantly in advance). Mark your calendars!

Presbytery Vote, January 20, 2018 – Once you, the congregation, approve a pastor’s call, the final approval comes from Presbytery. At the Saturday meeting on January 20th, we’re planning to be on the agenda to have our call ratified by the Presbytery. While we are calling a pastor, the Presbytery is affirming a colleague. The Committee on Ministry has already interviewed Pastor Trina and passed on a glowing recommendation, and Pastor Trina is already a member of Presbytery. Hopefully this will be a celebratory vote!

Service of Installation, planned February 4, 2018 3 – 5:30 pm – The very last phase of our journey is a grand party! On this Sunday in early February, we will invite Presbytery to worship and celebrate with us as make official Pastor Trina’s role as our teaching elder. We will mark the end of one phase of our life as a congregation as we move joyously into the future God has ordained for us. If you are at all interested in helping out with this incredibly special day, session is putting a team together for the party planning. We do know this is Superbowl Sunday, but promise that this celebration will make your heart glad.

If you have any questions about the process – what we have done to come to this decision or what needs to yet be done – please do not hesitate to reach out to me or a member of the PNC.

Rejoice with us for this excellent news!

Brenda Flynn
Chair, Pastor Nominating Committee
Presbyterian Church of Burlington
http://burlingtonpres.org

Crossroads November 2017

Food Pantry Needs
We receive donations for the Food Pantry on the 1st Sunday of each month. The donations have been dwindling. Please consider purchasing some 20 oz. dish detergent, individually wrapped bars of soap or bottles of shampoo. The Pantry is in desperate need of these items. Your help is appreciated. Thank you!

Stewardship Report
Thanks to your generous contributions and to those of the Boston Grace church, our combined Peace Offering this year is $1014. Thank you one and all.

November is the month we give thanks for what we have and for giving to those who don’t have with our annual harvest offering for the next year. In November, look for documentation that will explain what we plan for the coming year, along with your pledge card and your time and talent questionnaire. Our annual Harvest of Offerings is on November 19th, when we will receive your pledges for the coming year along with donations for the People Helping People food pantry.

On October 1, World Communion Sunday, the BPC congregation worshipped together with the congregation of Boston Grace Presbyterian Church and we enjoyed having their choir, along with our Claudia Waite, lead the music for the service. We welcomed Rev. Kurt Esslinger and his wife, Hyeyoung Lee, mission co-workers in South Korea, to preach the sermon and give the Word for Children.

Hana Lee, the pianist from Grace Presbyterian, has agreed to play for rehearsals on Thursday nights with our choir. Piano and organ music and accompaniment for Sunday services will continue to be provided by James Myers and Chelsea Whittaker, who have added so much to the music ministry at BPC.

Thank you to The Voices of Ghana for leading the congregation in song on Oct 22.

As the Crossroads goes to print we are already looking at November and beginning to plan for Advent and Christmas worship services and events in December. November begins with celebration of communion on November 5, which is also All-Saints Sunday. Sunday, November 19 is the traditional Harvest of Offerings, when the congregation is asked to bring food donations and pledges for the new year. Stay tuned for more information from Deacons and Stewardship.

Advent begins on Sunday, December 3 with communion and the lighting of the first candle on the Advent Wreath. Christmas Eve is on Sunday, December 24. There will be a regular worship service in the morning and our traditional Christmas Eve service with Tableaux, carols and candle lighting in the evening. Brenda Flynn has graciously agreed to direct the Tableaux again this year and Claudia Waite will work with Brenda and be in charge of costumes. Stay tuned for the many details that will follow and how you can help Brenda and Claudia.

Worship Committee meets on October 29, so watch for updates in the Bulletin and in November Crossroads.

~ Jennifer Dewar, Worship Chair

Worship Committee:
Cathy DiCenzo, James McIninch (Session Rep.), Annette Chapman-Adisho (Deacon Rep.) Claudia Waite, Rev. Trina Portillo

Trustees
Our fall church cleanup day was held on a beautiful sunny October Saturday with a very large attendance of our members and an even larger attendance by the Boston Grace congregation that share our church. We washed windows, cleaned up the atrium, mowed and raked the grass, fixed gutters and downspouts and did a lot of other fixup stuff. Thanks to all who attended.

Pumpkin Patch Update
Our church supported St. Mark’s Pumpkin Patch by volunteering on October 6th and 20th. Thanks to Ken Dewar, Chuck Anderson, Cheryl Wells, Claudia Waite, Jen Dewar, Kathleen Stegall and Linda Roscoe, we collected over $300 to be added to money collected during October to support People Helping People.

Burlington Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Monday, November 20, 7 pm

The Burlington Interfaith Community will be gathering in thanksgiving at UCC this year on Monday, November 20. This longstanding tradition will include leaders and worshipers from Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Mormon and Muslim faith communities. This joining of religious traditions in Burlington is itself an occasion for gratitude in our broken world – added to the seasonal American holiday which recognizes our Creator’s goodness to us. The offering collected at the service will be dedicated to hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

BURLINGTON FOOD PANTRY
2017 THANKSGIVING FOOD BASKETS

The Burlington Pantry will be giving all the food for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to over 200 families, including elderly shut-ins and veterans, on Sunday, November 19th. We hope you will participate in the food collection for this project. Again this year, the collection and distribution will be at the United Church of Christ, Congregational at 6 Lexington Street, on the corner of Bedford and Lexington Streets. Please bring the food you have collected to the UCC church between 12:00 and 1:00 on Sunday, Nov 19th. If you have any questions about the collection or the delivery, please call Bobbie Killilea (UCC Administrator) at 781-272-4547.
We are requesting the following specific list of foods for a Thanksgiving dinner. PLEASE ONLY NEW PURCHASES, NO EXPIRED DATES!!!
Stuffing (bags or boxes) Canned corn
Cranberry Sauce Cornbread Mix
Gravy Mayonnaise
Chicken Broth

This is a relatively short list – but we need many of each item. Fresh vegetables (potatoes, carrots, green beans, squash, etc.) will be purchased, so if any of your members would like to contribute money instead of food items, such donations would be welcome. Checks should be made payable to People Helping People. The Greater Boston Food Bank will be providing the turkeys this year. Cub Scout families will be providing pies.

“Wish Tree” Volunteers Needed
Our church has been asked to provide volunteers for the Wish Tree table at the Burlington Mall on 2 days: Sat. Nov 25, 10 am – 8 pm and Thurs. Dec 7, 12 pm – 8 pm. There will be a sign-up sheet in Fellowship Hall soon.

Please sign up!!

The “Wish Tree” gives shoppers the opportunity to provide gifts for children in need in Burlington. For more information, see Jay Araujo.

Friday, December 1
11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Get in the holiday spirit with us! Join the Deacons on the first Friday of December for the Hanging of the Greens! We will decorate the church for Advent and Christmas. Advent begins on Sunday, December 3!

~ Annette Chapman-Adisho, Deacon Moderator

Zentangle® class

The Zentangle method is an easy to learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. If you can write the letters “i c s and o” you can complete a Zentangle tile. Come and learn all about it at this class taught by Certified Zentangle Teacher Marylou Lynn The class will be Friday, November 17 at 7:00PM.
Everyone is welcome to attend. If you need a Zentangle kit, the cost will be $15.00. If you already have a kit, the cost is $5.00. Ask Marylou Lynn if you have any questions.
Class size is limited to 12 so sign up soon in Fellowship Hall or call the church at 781-272-9190.

PRESBYTERIAN GIVING CATALOG

What would you do with three extra hours every day?

The bigger question is, what could those who are forced to walk miles for water each day do? Help give this time back through water-related gifts found in the Presbyterian Giving Catalog. Items like the sand dam, which is an effective method of water conservation in dryland communities, provide a sustainable source of clean water for entire communities. Together, we can help change the lives of countless people by giving them a reliable and convenient source of water.

With your support, gifts from the Presbyterian Giving Catalog can lessen the burden for those in need of help. Start flipping through the catalog, or give online at http://www.presbyteriangifts.org. There are catalogs on the table at the front of the church.

Interfaith Coffeehouse for Conscience
Saturday, November 4 7 – 11 pm
Join us for an evening of song, socializing and social justice.
Listen to fantastic live music featuring songs of protest, hope and peace.
Enjoy delicious desserts, fun raffles baskets and meeting new friends.
All proceeds will support the following local organizations assisting immigrants in our local communities:
* The Sanctuary Program at First Parish Bedford Unitarian Universalist Church, working to protect immigrants facing deportation;
* The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts, defending and preserving the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, Bill of Rights and laws of the United States;
* The family of Francisco Rodriquez Guadardo, a hardworking Massachusetts resident with no criminal history who is currently being detained due to his lack of documentation.

Admission: $15 (includes dessert buffet)

Questions? Please contact Ellen at esfink29@gmail.com.

Location: Temple Shalom Emeth, 16 Lexington St., Burlington, MA

Reformation 500: More than a celebration

October 26, 2017 by Presbyterian News Service
As Presbyterians prepare to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this Sunday two prominent Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) theologians say it is an opportunity for the church to reconsider history — and how it tells the story of the past 500 years.
The Rev. Dr. David Gambrell and the Rev. Dr. Charles Wiley of the Presbyterian Mission Agency believe that while the Reformation divided us, we are now witnessing a convergence of the traditions that were separated. They say this presents an opportunity to focus on the gifts we have received from each other and to celebrate what we share.

For past five years, Gambrell participated in the eighth round of Roman Catholic-Reformed dialogue in the United States (2012–2017). This dialogue builds on the work of previous rounds — especially the 2013 Mutual Recognition of Baptism that came out of the seventh round.
“We were seeking consensus around historically divisive issues,” says Gambrell, “asking questions like ‘Who can be ordained? Can we recognize each other’s ordination? Who oversees ministry? What is the relationship between bishops and presbyteries?’”

Gambrell points out the acknowledgment of each other’s ordination already happens, informally. When there is a crisis in the community, Reformed and Catholic leaders get together and figure out to best serve their communities — which participants believe is something to celebrate and build on, as the dialogue continues.

“Instead of continuing to fight the battles of the 16th century, we have a chance to change our way of thinking,” says Gambrell, “to reconsider the gifts we’ve received from one another.”

The gifts of Protestants and Catholics will be on display at an upcoming “Commemorations of the Reformations” service at the University of Notre Dame. Wiley, along with Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Episcopal and Roman Catholicbishops, will be one of the co-presiders at the November 5 service.
“It’s an incredibly generous act by a Roman Catholic bishop to invite us to commemorate the Reformation at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart,” says Wiley. “This event would have been unthinkable decades ago, let alone centuries ago.”

According to Wiley, the service will celebrate the gifts of the Reformation and acknowledge its sin on behalf of all the participants.
In the Rite of Repentance, these are the words he will share:

As this commemoration brings joy and gratitude to expression, so must it also allow room for all Christians to experience the pain over failures and trespasses, guilt and sin in the persons and events that are being remembered. The Gospel was mixed with the political and economic interests of those in power. Failures resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Families were torn apart, people imprisoned and tortured, wars fought and faith misused. Human beings suffered and the credibility of the Gospel was undermined with consequences that still impact us today. And so, let us ask God for mercy and forgiveness.

Wiley sees Luther as a valuable and important reformer of the whole Western Church, not just the reformers. But he believes it’s also true that during the protest Protestants left behind gifts.

“We are the poorer for doing so,” he says. “Reformation 500 gives us an opportunity to treasure the good that we bring to each other.”
After the scripture reading and homily (sermon), each co-presider in the service will pray and thank God for the diverse traditions in all of the churches. One thing Wiley will give thanks for is, “Roman Catholics’ celebration of Mary as the first of Jesus’ disciples.”

“One of the most powerful parts of the service reflects a poignant irony,” says Wiley. “This thanksgiving is a prayer service because we cannot celebrate communion together. “

“Even in our thanks, this service demonstrates both hope and a reminder of a fractured church.”

Gambrell has a lasting image from his time spent with other participants in the latest round of Roman Catholic–Reformed dialogue. At their final service of worship together they were surrounded by scaffolding at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which has been under construction for 100 years.

“Being surrounded by construction materials, and yellow tape marking off the dangerous places, reminded me of the long term, painstaking process of reformation,” says Gambrell. “Still, we worship together to glorify the one God we share. One day we will enjoy full and visible unity with one another in Christ.”

by Paul Seebeck, Presbyterian News Service

Abundant Gifts

As we move into the cooler days of fall weather, I find myself thinking about the abundance of good gifts with which we are surrounded here in New England. From the colors of the trees to fresh picked apples and the bounty of local farms, we are truly blessed with many precious gifts from God’s creation. We have many activities coming up in the next weeks and months which you can read more about in the newsletter, including the Pumpkin Patch, a YAV Harvest Fundraiser, and the Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration.

At the same time, there are many places in the world that are not experiencing the abundant blessings of creation right now. People and places that are suffering as a result of natural disasters like the recent round of strong hurricanes that impacted much of the Caribbean and the U.S. mainland, particularly in Puerto Rico, causing devastating damage to infrastructure and leaving our siblings there facing months of uncertainty without power or access to clean water. Crises of human creation are impacting huge numbers of people around the globe as well. The Rohingya people fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar; refugees left in limbo in refugee camps around the world; the Venezuelan people who cannot afford the exorbitant prices for food in their own country; and the escalating war of words between the United States and North Korea, just to name a few of the looming crises our world faces.

We look around at all that is happening and wonder, “What can I do?” “I’m just one person.” “I can’t possibly change all this.” And while it is true that one person cannot take on all the problems of the world, there is certainly plenty that each of us can do to respond to the needs of the world, in whatever ways we are able. There are lots of opportunities to give, through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and other relief organizations. We have also taken up a collection for new packages of underwear for men, women, and children that we will send to a relief organization working in hurricane-impacted areas. Bring your donations to church by October 8th!

One other way we can make a difference is by coming together as a community. This fall, we will be asking ourselves the question, “Who is my neighbor?” I invite everyone to join us for a kick-off dinner and discussion on October 14th, from 4 – 7 PM at the church. We will be using the new book “A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community” by John Pavlovitz as a framework and as an opportunity for further small group discussion. I have pre-ordered some copies of the book; if you are interested in getting one, please let me know.

Here is an excerpt from the book description: “Pastor John Pavlovitz invites readers to join him on the journey to find or build a church that is big enough for everyone… He invites us to build the bigger table Jesus imagined, practicing radical hospitality, total authenticity, messy diversity, and agenda-free community.” I hope you will join us as we seek to live into a hopeful, welcoming, and authentic vision of the community Christ calls us to be.

Peace,
Pastor Trina