Standing Up for Systematic Theology!
Having a bit of fun on Sunday during Children’s Moments, I invited Pastor Jeremy up to join the kids and me on the platform to highlight his graduation last weekend from Northeastern Seminary (NES). I brought along, from my personal library, a few thick books to emphasize the type of reading Pastor Jeremy has been doing for the past few years. I opened one book, the second volume of Thomas Oden’s Systematic Theology, read a rather abstruse sentence, and then pronounced, “Pastor Jeremy will no longer need to read any systematic theology!”
Following the service, I was approached by Dr. Paul Livermore. (You know what’s coming, don’t you?) Dr. Livermore is a retired NES professor of biblical and systematic theology. And, he is the author of the first of a two-volume systematic theology. (He is diligently working on the second volume, I imagine, as I write this Dangling!)
“What’s this,” Dr. Livermore asked, “about not reading any more systematic theology?” I stammered something in reply about my appreciation for all things systematic theology. “I was in the balcony this morning; but if I had been on the main floor of the sanctuary, I would have stood up in protest!” (There was a smile on his face as he said all of this!)
I’d like to write more about this encounter, but I have to get back to my own reading of systematic theology. Did I mention that it’s one of my favorite topics?
(And a special note of congratulations to Pastor Jeremy upon completion of his Master of Divinity degree!)
This week, members of our pastoral team enjoyed the opportunity to become better acquainted with Nat Harrington, Pearce’s new Interim Director of Youth Ministry. Over lunch, Nat shared his spiritual journey and I was once again reminded of the powerful ways in which God’s Story touches down in our lives and intersects with our own stories. Welcome, Nat! It’s great to have you on the team!
(Also, a note of congratulations to Nat upon his graduation this month from Roberts with a degree in business administration.)
The Journey of Faith Symbolized on a Cross
Last Sunday, the fifth and sixth grade Sunday school class decorated a four-foot cross. Jim Muehlbaur and Abby Monroe, the students’ teachers, challenged the youth to creatively express their perception of the cross and its impact on their own faith journeys.
Jim highlighted the symbolism in the decorations that resulted from the students’ cooperative project:
The blue beads at the base of the cross represent overflowing water springing up for all who are thirsty. The rocks illustrate the solid foundation on which the church is built. The green symbolizes the fruitful growth of the church and the tiles the diverse members of the church.
A boat is represented, from which a net filled with fish is hanging. This represents God’s call for us to spread the Good News and become fishers of men. The purple beads below the arm of the cross symbolize Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension as King of All Kings! The lights at the top and sides are to remind us that Jesus is the light of hope in our dark world. There is even an origami dove at the top, reminding us that the Holy Spirit is present at all times.
Thanks to these students for visually reminding us of the power of the cross!
This Coming Weekend
Pastor Jeremy, with his newly received Master of Divinity in hand, will step into Pearce’s pulpit this weekend and continue our series “Shaped by God’s Story.” He’ll examine the story told in the Old Testament books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Mary and I will be out of town this weekend on a few days of vacation. We are traveling to Cincinnati, where I will have the privilege of officiating at the wedding of my niece, Amanda.
(Amanda sits with her brother and Aunt Mary on a family vacation in the 1990s. Where have the years gone that she is soon to be a bride? Her brother, Patrick, is now married and has two children. Mary, of course, remains unchanged. Only the glasses are different!)
A couple of weeks ago, I posed for this photo with some of the baristas of Pearce’s Common Grounds Café. As you can see, we were quite sad at the end of the semester’s closing of the weekday operations of the café. (You all know how much I love my morning coffee!) Due to the reality that Roberts will no longer rent classroom space in our educational wing next September, I wondered if weekday hours would ever return to the café. (A very painful thought, I must confess!)
I am pleased to report that we have decided to continue weekday hours next semester. Common Grounds will be open Monday through Friday of each week from 9am-1pm. I am appreciative of the leadership team of the café, co-managers Sheryl Hunt and Barb Sipes, and Food Service Director Jim Heeks for their support of this ministry. See you there next fall! (I’ll even buy you a cup of joe!)
Nominating Committee Organizes
Each May, Pearce’s Nominating Committee meets to organize themselves in preparation for their work. This group is responsible to nominate gifted, godly leaders to service on Pearce’s Official Board. They will begin their work of preparing a slate of nominees for next year’s Annual Meeting when they gather again in September.
The nine members of the committee met this past Monday and elected the following individuals as officers: Jamie Chalmers (Chair), John Monroe (Vice-Chair) and Mary Lou Bates (Secretary). I deeply appreciate the work of this committee and am especially grateful for the willingness of Jamie, John, and Mary Lou to serve as officers.
Thanks to those of you who have already contributed to our first SWAG (Stewardship with a Goal) project for 2017. We have received $5,375 toward a $10,000 payment on our loan’s principal. (Pearce took out a loan to finance the 2001 addition to our facility.) This means we are more than halfway there! Wouldn’t it be great to get this first project completed by June! I think it is possible!