Sunday, June 28, 2015

Taking it on the road ... worship at Smith

Thanks to the wonderful team for another great time of worship and fellowship at Smith!

Thursday, June 25, 2015


The Michele Millington studio closed the school year with a recital at Christ Church on 5 June.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Vacation Bible School 2015 (1)

Much more to come!

Commanding Wind and Wave

Sunday, 21 June, Mark Dodson preaching. His last Sunday with us before beginning to serve as pastor of the New Hope Wapwallopen charge.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Call to Prayer for Charleston

June 19, 2015

“O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, 
bring to an end the violence of the wicked 
and make the righteous secure.” (Psalm 7:9)

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Susquehanna Conference,

Grace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Healer of our Brokenness, and Hope of the World!

My United Methodist Episcopal colleague from South Carolina, Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, spoke about the recent tragedy at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.: “The reality is that no one is unaffected. We are all impacted by the horror that occurred in this place of worship.” Indeed, we are. We have seen the evidence of evil and felt its extreme pain. We wonder how many more horrendous acts of hatred and racism will happen before they are stopped in our country. We know that such acts are a deliberate violation of the teachings of Jesus and bring deep grief to the heart of God.

We are partners in the gospel with Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church within our larger Methodist connection. They too, like us, trace their history to the Methodist movement and John Wesley. Regrettably, it was because of racial attitudes and tensions in the past that many early African-Americans felt led to establish their own denominations and churches. Despite the years of progress that our nation has made in regards to racial relations, we still have a long journey to make. I would ask that we all take a time to be in prayer and silence in our worship services this Sunday to invite God’s comforting and caring presence to surround the families directly affected by the senseless act, their congregation, and their communities.

We have seen once again the evidence of evil in the tragedy at this historic church. Yet we are called to be a church in witness that demonstrates to the world that there is another force that is greater than evil. Now is the time for prayer and healing. This is also the time to seek what we can do to overcome the evil of racism and hatred. We must continue to preach in words and acts a gospel of love and forgiveness, justice and reconciliation, and the vision of the beloved community that can bring hope and peace to this broken world.

I know that you want to be the best that you can be as a child of God. So I know that I can count on you to be that witness that enhances God’s intention for the world where everyone is embraced as God’s beloved of one family. Let our commitment to be instruments of God’s future grow stronger for such a time as this.

Grace and Peace,
† Jeremiah J. Park

UMCOR in Iraq

A beneficiary in Iraq carries an UMCOR bag full of the hygiene supplies that will meet the needs of every member in his family.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is supporting partner GlobalMedic in providing hygiene materials to internally displaced Iraqis in Sulaymaniyah, a Kurdistan region of Iraq, due to ongoing conflict. 

The crisis, which has caused 2.5 million people to be displaced from their homes, is severely hindering access to basic necessities. Some 159,800 internally displaced persons are sheltering in Sulaymaniyah, and a total of nearly 800,000 displaced people are settling in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. 

With UMCOR funding, GlobalMedic is distributing hygiene relief-supply kits to 920 displaced families and 92 newborn kits to families with newborn children. The hygiene kits, which will be delivered over a three-month period, also contain products that will serve the needs of all the individuals in a family. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Prayer for World Refugee Day

God, we pray for your children all over the world who have been displaced by human disaster. Lord, we hear the cries of the suffering; we see the violence in our midst. We pray for our brothers and sisters in sub-Saharan Africa—Mali, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We grieve the unrest, the millions displaced; we mourn the murders, disappearances, mass rape, and torture; we mourn the millions of refugees forced to live in overcrowded camps and urban slums with no opportunities for work or recreation.

We pray for your children in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iran, Tibet, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan. We pray for all those displaced by violence and unrest, for those forced to leave their homes with no hope of return, for those without appropriate documentation; may we accept them as our equals.

We pray for all the Nepalese suffering after severe earthquakes.

We lift up Syria, which is experiencing the largest displacement of people in the world, and pray our decision makers find a way to resettle Syrian refugees here in the U.S.

God, we pray for all your people and for your church; we pray that your Spirit, your mercy, and your grace give us strength to heed your call to welcome the stranger in our midst, to love our neighbor, and to act for justice with open hearts and open minds.


By Church World Service, a partner of UMCOR


More of our high school graduates, recognized 7 June.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


2015/06/14 Christ Church, Mountain Top; recognize college/other grads
Call to Worship, Psalm 113
Children, Mark 10.13-16
Message, Mark 10.17-52

Jesus’ vision of leadership in this string of stories, one pearl to another:
      Jesus welcomes children that the disciples reject (10.13-16)
      Jesus speaks of the impossible path to eternal life (10.17-31)
      Jesus speaks of the inconceivable path to his own death (10.32-34)
      James and John request greatness and glory (10.35-45)
      Bartimaeus the blind beggar requests healing (10.46-52)

      “Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first” (10.31)
      “Whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all” (10.44)
            Same Greek word for “first”

      “What is it you want me to do for you?” (10.36)
      “What do you want me to do for you?” (10.51)
            Same Greek phrase (except for singular/plural forms)

      “Speaking sternly” (same Greek verb for “rebuke”, “warn”)
      Denial of access/service, of children by the disciples, “spoke sternly” (10.13)
      Denial of access/service, of the beggar by the crowd, “sternly ordered to be quiet” (10.48)

The heart of the matter: Mark 10:42-45
You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Confirmation Learning Tree

The Confirmation class shows off their learning tree, and their sense of humor.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Three Letter Word


A single three letter word can completely alter the identity and actions of your church.

It has more power than an excellent service. It brings more focus than a great mission statement. It’s more inspiring than a powerful preacher.
It could drive people away and wreck your church’s programs. It could create space for people who are looking for Jesus, and haven’t seen him anywhere else.
The word?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Confirmation - Church History

Rob shares the story of Christ Church with the Confirmation class retreat, and they find the cornerstone the next weekend.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Before and After ... Confirmation Edition


A very talented group of young people and their teachers, from our Confirmation Sunday celebration on May 31.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


2015/06/07 Christ Church, Mountain Top, recognize high school grads
      Holy Communion
Call to Worship, Psalm 87
Children, Acts 10.1-23
Message, Acts 10.24 – 11.1

You young people who have graduated from high school are stepping out on a wonderful new adventure. We hope you do so as disciples of Jesus. You may still be figuring out what that means – join the club. You may be awkward about being public about your faith, expressing who you are with integrity and with respect for the person who levels a charge against you or the faith. You don’t have all the answers, so you have no need to act like you do. Just be yourself, stumble through it, express your faith as best you can. And, if you want to chat about it with someone, feel free to give me a call.
      You may be thinking, on the other hand, that now you’ve got the opportunity to stretch your wings, think a little more independently, come up with your own conclusions on matters of ultimate importance without having mom and dad, or the preacher, looking over your shoulder. That independence is a gift. Take advantage of the opportunity without destroying the opportunity itself. Keep exploring your faith – and your doubts, pray, start to read the Bible for yourself. Please, PLEASE, don’t assume you know what the Bible has to say just because you have been in church and Sunday School for years. Unless you have read the whole thing a couple times, you don’t know it half as well as you know Harry Potter or Anakin Skywalker or Katniss Everdeen. It has wonderful treasures, but they take some work, some time, some digging, to discover. Don’t quit on it.

One of the biggest objections to Christian faith that I hear these days is developed mainly by backward reasoning: Some Christians I know behave or think this way, therefore that is an accurate reflection of what following Jesus is all about. And, for those who explore it further, it’s easy enough to cherry pick evidence in the Scriptures – a book that is full of wonderful, delightful, terrifying, and even contradictory stories. And isn’t that what life is like? Wonderful, delightful, sometimes terrifying, and often contradictory? No surprise that a God who comes to us in human flesh also comes to us in human stories.
      But here’s the objection: Christian people, the Christian faith, the Christian Scriptures, and the Christian God are narrow-minded. Of course it is a sweeping generalization. But there are plenty of folks who fit the expression of Richard Lischer (Open Secrets, 16): “so narrow-minded they could look through a keyhole with both eyes”. Just not me. I’m better than all that. I am only so narrow minded that I can look through a keyhole with one eye. And you young people, you may have never looked through a keyhole. They don’t make keyholes like that anymore. So, you can’t be narrow minded at all.
      This accusation of a close-minded God seems, to me, to be focused on two basic ideas. One is the assumption that God is closed off to people to whom I am open, that God rejects people who are important to me. The other is the characterization of biblical commandments as limitations to a full and open life. To both of these questions today, I make my apology (to use an old meaning of the word), my defense.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

Mine Removal in Syria

A view taken of the city of Kobane, in Syrian Kurdistan, during the bombardment of IS targets by US-led forces. When the Islamic State (IS) assaulted Kobane, Syria, last fall, nearly the entire population of the town fled for safety to neighboring Turkey. Then, when IS was routed in January, some 60,000 refugees immediately returned home. 

More refugees—including families with children—are returning each day. But Kobane remains insecure. About 70 percent of the town was destroyed during the siege, and returnees face possible injury and death due to an abundance of unexploded mines and other ordnance left in the area. Sixty-six people already have been hurt. 

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is helping to rid Kobane of these explosives. Working with a partner, UMCOR’s support will both allow for the rapid removal and destruction of deadly explosive items and also provide risk education to men, women and children residing in and returning to the city. 

Your gift to UMCOR International Disaster Response, Advance #982450, supports UMCOR’s work in Syria, including this vital program, and elsewhere in the world where communities are overwhelmed by disaster or crisis.

Confirmation - Lancaster trip

From the Confirmation class field trip to Lancaster and Sight & Sound.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Invited to Dance

2015/05/31 Christ Church, Mountain Top, Trinity, Confirmation
Children, Isaiah 6.1-8
Message, John 3.1-17

      Confirmation, making vows … like a wedding
      Trinity Sunday – a great mystery at the heart of Christian faith
      John 3, with famous verse John 3.16 (but that is not where I focus)
            With Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, who is seeking
            If a romance
                  NOT a corny, “We love Jesus, yes we do” chant
                  Late night rendezvous, Jesus “hard to get”
                  But everything depends on this for Nicodemus

Romance (story)
      Initiation by someone
      In connection with God, God takes the initiative (not Nicodemus, or us)
      “For God so LOVED” (John 3.16)

Prior sending of the Son and the Spirit:
·         God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (3.17)
·         The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes (3.8)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mujila Falls Agricultural Center

Mujila Falls Agriculture Center
Before 2000, the Lunda tribe was still a hunter-gatherer tribe who subsisted on severely diminished reserves of wild game and plants in their tribal area. Agriculture was mostly non-existent or very primitive and unproductive. The Lunda Tribe had the highest infant mortality rates of all tribes in Zambia and the average life expectancy of the Lunda people was about 32 years. In 2000 many of the children between the ages of two and six were suffering from severe protein, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and severely underweight for their ages; they had classic potbellies, swollen feet, and reddish hair, common with those deficiencies. Villages were still semi-permanent with dirt floors, thatch roofs, and only mud brick walls. There was little access to green vegetables, or high protein foods. Milk was not available. Eggs when available were permitted to be eaten only by the adult men. With nothing to sell, most people existed in a cashless society where rats, mice, and insects were the only locally available protein foods.

In the year 2000, the Kanyama Chiefdom had the lowest maize production in the entire district. By 2010, it was number one in maize production. The increase in family income has permitted more children to attend school and to have access to medical services.

Read the full story of our mission!
Read the profile of the missionary.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Confirmation - the Faith Walk

The Confirmation class November field trip. Thanks to Tim & Kim for another fabulous year.