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PRAYER LIST
Please keep members of our
Church Family in your prayers:


Bob Cross
Lucy Diener
Philip & Roseanne Frye
Bev Grant

Olga Kehoe
Natalie Klohck


And any prayers
you may have in your heart

FlowersBobBarr

Consider this—
God our Shelter, be a strong presence in the lives of neighbors who, having survived the winds and rains of Harvey, now face grief, uncertainty and weary days. May our generosity in prayer and in tangible signs of support overflow more than floodwaters, to sustain your work of healing and rebuilding and bring comfort and strength to those who suffer.
AMEN



InstallationCharge
Rev. Leonard Sponaugle receives the charge during his installation

 

Sermons & Prayers

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PASTOR'S PONDERINGS

Christianity is a lifestyle - a way of being in the world that is simple, non-violent, shared, and loving. However, we made it into an established "religion" (and all that goes with that) and avoided the life-style change itself. One could be warlike, greedy, racist, selfish, and vain in most of Christian history, and still believe that Jesus is one's "personal Lord and Savior" . . . The world has no time for such sil-liness anymore. The suffering on Earth is too great. —Richard Rohr

How They See Us


A recent article in the Clergy Corner section of our local paper got me thinking. My colleague wrote about the decline in participation in church, and then struck an optimistic tone by arguing if we just offer the authentic gospel of Jesus Christ, then all will be well. As much as I want to agree with that assessment and prescription, I think there is more at play in our faith's decline than less than stellar preaching.

I have been monitoring the Progressive Secular Humanist Examiner website lately, because I wanted to get a clear look at what people who disdain Christianity are thinking. They are disgusted with us!

Besides my general curiosity, I am trying to learn about their view to sort out how much of it is based in reality, and how much it of relies on prejudice and misinformation. Sadly, it is based on all three. From looking at us fairly they have concluded we are too often navel gazing and dangerous.

Specifically, so many of the comments on the site describe how Christians are so worried about how viewpoints are no longer the prevailing view in society. They also complain about our behavior. Every time a religious leader is exposed taking advantage of people physically or financially it helps them to see religion as corrupt and self-serving.

Oh, how I wish they could see what I see almost all of the time. The countless acts of kindness, the self-examination we put ourselves through. Still there are times when the followers of Jesus break through— Pope Francis has had some very good moments.

It is useful to know how we are seen by so many of our neighbors. The way to push back against their somewhat correct view is not to get into an adversarial show and tell contest with them. Instead we should own up to our faults and go forward.

It is hard to live in a place and time where people easily assume negative things about us. The quote at the top of the page offers us a way forward. Rohr acknowledges, and lists our historical and contemporary errors, but then reminds us how we are called to be.

This summer, as we are out and about, let us demonstrate a Christian way of being by living simply, loving people at every opportunity, and sharing whatever it is we can.

Faithfully yours,
Pastor Leonard

Email for Pastor Leonard: pastor@johnstownpresbyterian.org

 

 

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
37 S. Market St., Johnstown, NY 12095
Ph: 518.762.8263 Fax: 518.762.2981
Email: office@johnstownpresbyterian.org