Monday, October 30, 2017


Pastie making from the end of September! Thanks to the Friendship Circle for the wonderful food. (Apple dumplings were in the oven this past weekend.)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Soccer Season

The fall soccer season is over and, as in past years, we have welcomed Mountain Top Youth Soccer to practice on our fields. Pastor JP coached the "Green Dragons" in the U-8 age level.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Invited to the Feast

In today’s Gospel reading we see that Jesus, fulfilling the prophecies of Psalm 78 Psa 78:2. and Isaiah 6 Isa :6:9., uses parables to connect with the people of his time. These were, after all, a storytelling people.
He provides the event of a wedding feast to give YET ANOTHER example of what is in store for humanity in the Kingdom of God. And Jesus provided lots and lots of examples!                                                                                         
Much to MY relief, I learned that the parables although intended to be memorable, are not necessarily transparent. I spent some time with this one.
. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -                                                                                                                            

Mission Central - Hurricane Relief

Mission Central H.U.B. team (Sept 24). Thanks to Cheryl for coordinating and to Kim and the youth. We delivered clean up buckets for flood and hurricane relief and put together school kits too!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New bulletin boards

Thanks to Ken and his crew for putting up new bulletin boards in renovated classroom #4. New paint (thanks to Chris and Curtis), new bulletin boards and a brand new look!

Wedding Bells!

Congrats to Jonathan and Audra (Sept 23)!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Speak Up (2017-1008)

07-08 Oct 2017, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 119.97-104 (inserted)
Children, Luke 10.1-11
Message, Amos 3.1-8
Creed, NONE
Mission Moment: Rachel on photography camp/church camp

As a teenager, I read Amos and was blown away by those lines in chapter 3, verses 7 and 8.  I memorized them out of the translation I was reading at the time:
      The lion has roared:
            Who will not fear?
      The Sovereign LORD has spoken:
            Who can but prophesy?

A few years later, Robin and I were married and we moved to York to intern at a small city church in a small Pentecostal denomination.  The money for the position ran out, we were having a baby, and I was looking for “real work”.  I put in an application at 84 Lumber on route 30.  The manager accepted my application, looked down at my name on the form, and asked, “James, what do you want to be doing in five years?”  The words almost jumped out of my mouth: “A pastor or missionary.”  But, no, I managed to stifle them and say something less than convincing.  I went home, Robin and I talked about this undeniable calling, and that very night we received an invitation to look into ministry in The United Methodist Church.
      The lion has roared:
            Who will not fear?
      The Sovereign LORD has spoken:
            Who can but prophesy?
It is foundational Scripture in my own spiritual journey, in the story of my life, in “the gospel according to JP”.  There’s a spiritual retreat community, in which I’ve had the privilege of serving a couple times, called “The Walk to Emmaus”.  In the Maryland group, their tradition is to create a shirt for each new team member that features a Scripture that has driven their life.  For me, at least in terms of my calling, it’s been this text from Amos.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Church Camp Story

So glad that we as a congregation support our young people and their families in this way!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

From a Family Friend who was in Las Vegas

Ben is the age of our Caleb, and I remember playing soccer with him at a family picnic. His father was at the time Robin's boss and colleague in family medicine and HIV/AIDS care in a city clinic. Ben was at the music festival. Please take the time to read his reflections.

October 6, 2017

Five days ago I was at the Las Vegas festival where a sick man moved by hatred did something incomprehensible. This man cut the lives of 58 innocent people short…. Fifty-eight…. he deprived people of their sons and daughters, moms and dads, friends and loved ones. He also changed the lives of thousands of others who escaped the atrocities of that night, people who will carry the physical and emotional scars from this nightmare with them the rest of their lives.

I was at the festival, about 30ft from the main stage when the shooting began. My experience that night will always be there to haunt me. But my loved ones and I all survived, we were blessed. The love and support from my family, friends, and people I barely even knew was unparalleled and moving. Even when I feel like there are so many people who need the thoughts, prayers and support more than me, I appreciate it, and am grateful for every hug, phone call, and text.

There is a lot of discussion on what can be changed to save lives in the future. I don’t know the answer, but I know the answer cannot be “nothing”. I also know that the society we live in is one of increasingly polarized views, but we need to remember that love and life are not partisan values, but human values. We live in a world where it is too easy to simply click a “block button” or an “unfriend button” to silence opposing views. When we ignore the counter argument, we isolate with people who are “like us,” and when we isolate, polarization occurs, change gets deadlocked, and the more we see those with different views as fundamentally different from us when they aren't. Hatred and fear thrive on division, one doesn't have to take a long walk through history to see that.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tobacco Chaplain in Honduras

Most of the employees at the Tabacos de Oriente cigar factory in Danlí, Honduras, are women. After the tobacco leaves are cured, they are sorted by color and size. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS.
Story and photos by Kathy L. Gilbert
Sept. 13, 2017 | DANLÍ, Honduras (UMNS)
Peña said the work is especially difficult for new employees. “When they are new, the first two weeks they experience nausea and headaches. It is so hard to begin,” he said.
In the front of the warehouse, stretched out as far as the eye can see, are people of all ages sitting side by side in what looks like a cross between a school desk and a sewing machine. Heads bowed, their stained fingers never stop moving.
The majority of the 3,600 employees are women.
The factory is divided into three sections: pre-production, production and packaging. It takes two to three years for the tobacco leaves to ferment.
“It is very hard work. They usually work more than 12 hours a day and during high production time they work longer hours,” Peña said.
He has been preaching and counseling at the factory for three years. He is pastor of two congregations and in charge of the board of ministry for the Honduras mission. He came to Honduras as a missionary from Puerto Rico.
“My job is to come here every Friday and preach through the intercom,” he said. “I have established relationships with the people and they ask me to come to their houses when they are experiencing bad moments.”

Friday, October 13, 2017

Marks of the Church (4): Apostolic (2017-1001)

30 Sept-01 Oct 2017, Christ Mountain Top, Lord’s Table
Call to Worship,
      8:30/10:45, Setting the Table: Invitation, Confession
      6:00 Open Table only, Psalm 104.24-35
Children, Genesis 12.1-9
Message, John 17.1-26, John 20.19-23
Creed, Nicene # 880 (after Scripture, prior to message)
Mission Moment: Kirbyjohn Caldwell on Hurricane Harvey

Nicene Creed
      4 marks of the church
1.     ONE
2.     HOLY
First three are aspirational, to be realized in the great and final day of the Lord in ways that they are never realized now. The last one is realized now in ways that it cannot be in God’s future.
      Being the apostolic church
1.     Continuity of tradition, apostles & prophets, Scripture, gospel
2.     Missionary, apostle = one sent

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Chalet breakfast

Lots of laughter and rich fellowship as these folks gather each Thursday morning at the Chalet at 8:00 am. All are welcome!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Flood Recovery continues in West Virginia

Layne Miller leads a volunteer team from Aldersgate United Methodist Church in York, Pa., that was repairing a home in Clendenin, W. Va., that was damaged by flooding. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.
Layne Miller (one of Pastor JP's friends) leads a volunteer team from Aldersgate United Methodist Church in York, Pa., that was repairing a home in Clendenin, W. Va., that was damaged by flooding.

Story by Joey Butler, photos by Mike DuBose
September 21, 2017 | RICHWOOD, W.Va. (UMNS)

Tropical storms and hurricanes have names. They’re easy to remember. Unless it’s a birthday or wedding anniversary, it’s unlikely June 23 has any significance to you. But to anyone in West Virginia that date means deadly flash floods.
On June 23, 2016, 8 to 10 inches of rain fell in a 12-hour period. In the region’s mountainous topography, the water had only one way to go: downhill, and fast. The resulting flash flood led to 23 deaths and destroyed 5,000 homes.

Just over a year later, the flood has long faded from the headlines, but The United Methodist Church is still helping those trying to rebuild homes and lives.
The Rev. J.F. Lacaria, executive director of recovery for the West Virginia Conference, said his team now has 80 cases open and has closed 35.
“But the capacity for our two case managers is 30 open cases apiece, so we’re a little oversubscribed now,” Lacaria said.
Miranda Neighbors, one of the conference’s case managers, said that can be tough.
“People have low resources and you have to get creative about how to help them,” she said.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Cartwheel Challenge

Thanks to Sally for recording this crazy event at the Blood Drive and Pastie Sale.

Monday, October 9, 2017

THANK YOU - Hurricane response

UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) has announced that thanks to the overwhelming response from local churches, Texas and Florida have been fully supplied with cleaning buckets and hygiene kits, at this time.  They have asked for a temporary “pause” for shipments to their warehouse.  UMCOR also has 28,000 cleaning kits waiting in their warehouse for delivery to Puerto Rico as soon as a delivery becomes possible.
What does this mean?  YOU all deserve a huge round of applause for all of your donations of time and resources.  Everyone banding together played a tremendous role in the recovery efforts of these catastrophic hurricanes.  That being said, this announcement DOES NOT mean that the work is done.
As United Methodists, we do a tremendous job of always being prepared and we need to follow through on that, now, more than ever.  Mission Central needs to replenish our inventory of cleaning buckets and hygiene kits, because, unfortunately, there will be more disasters.  In fact, there is still another month remaining in 2017’s hurricane season and we need to be ready for 2018!
As you may or may not know, Mission Central is much more than UMCOR.  While our UMCOR work remains important and is sometimes at the forefront, it is not all that we do.  Of the $7.5 million worth of resources that went through our warehouse in 2016, UMCOR represented less than $1 million of that.  Mission Central works on countless projects with many other organizations.

Reflections on Hurricane Harvey

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Refugees revitalize country church

Ye Win (played by Nelson Lee) and the Rev. Michael Spurlock (played by John Corbett) talk about the work of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in the new movie “All Saints.” Photo courtesy of Sony.
Photo courtesy of Sony.
Ye Win (played by Nelson Lee) and the Rev. Michael Spurlock (played by John Corbett) talk about the work of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in the new movie “All Saints.”
By Heather Hahn
Aug. 25, 2017 | UMNS
The aging members of Rhems United Methodist Church prayed that they would once again have children bustling into their sanctuary.
God answered their prayers — but not the way they expected.
Today, the country church in New Bern, North Carolina, buzzes with the energy of young families. Its choir can fill the front of the church, and its youth group of about 20 teens can fill multiple pews.
Most of these new United Methodists are Karen (pronounced Kah-REN) refugees or the children of Karen refugees. They came to the U.S., by way of Thailand, after being driven from their native Burma by one of the world’s longest civil wars.
In a small town about two hours southeast of Raleigh, they are building a new life and reviving a church.
“Every Sunday, I look out and think, ‘This is a miracle,’” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Connie Stutts. “I can’t believe I get to be part of this.”
This story might sound familiar to anyone who has seen a trailer for the movie “All Saints,” opening Aug. 25 across the U.S. The movie, starring John Corbett, is based on the experiences of the real-life All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Smyrna, Tennessee, about a half hour south of Nashville.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Shoe Drive: Friends Can Make It Happen

We are collecting shoes for the homeless through Angela McNally's Friends Can Make It Happen. Your generosity makes a difference!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Demolition Team

Thanks to everyone who has helped out with this project! We're making great progress.

Bishop Park responds to the Las Vegas shooting

October 4, 2017

"Cure thy children's warring madness, bend our pride to thy control, shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul, Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, lest we miss thy kingdom's goal, lest we miss thy kingdom's goal." 

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

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

Evil demonstrated its killing force in the most dreadful way yet again, only in a larger and unprecedented scale this time. A place of fun and enjoyment instantly turned into a zone of the most horrific carnage. The mass killing in Las Vegas is one of the largest recorded in US history. Lamentably, gun violence is the prime candidate that proves that the record is made only to be broken. It's only a matter of time.

Our broken hearts, thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of the victims and to their communities for comfort, strength, and healing. I invite and encourage you individually and collectively as a church to pray for the people who have been traumatized by this event. Pray for the victims who are still hospitalized and the doctors and medical personnel who treat them. Even though I am half-way around the world, as I am traveling in Mongolia and Korea now, the news of this event immediately became the lead story here. Whether it is Paris or Orlando, Istanbul or Sandy Hook, Brussels or Las Vegas, we are immediately connected with the pain and heartache of those whose lives have been interrupted and changed forever by violence.

I know that we find God present in this moment. We have heard the stories of the police officers, emergency medical personnel, and the concert goers who put the needs and safety of others above their own. Hundreds of people stood in line almost immediately and remained for hours waiting to donate blood. These acts of caring people bring me much hope and are a sign of the ultimate goodness of humanity.

The words listed at the beginning are from one of the most cherished, long honored hymns of our church. The well-respected pastor of Riverside Church, New York, the Rev. Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, wrote those words in 1930. However, he could have easily written them today. The phrase, "cure thy children's warring madness," reverberates through my mind and becomes my fervent prayer and hope following these horrendous acts of violence. Yes, God, "cure thy children's warring madness."

Rev. Fosdick, in his fourth stanza wrote, "Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore." God's people, let's pray that we as a nation might recognize that enough is enough and that we demand actions that call for no more. We must as a people begin to do the courageous things that will be required to reduce hatred, increase the tolerance capacity of others whose views are different, and learn to see one another as children of the Holy God we worship and love. Ever more determined, we join in the chorus of Dr. Fosdick's prayer; "Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour ... lest we miss thy kingdom's goal." May it be so.

Prayerfully in Christ,

Jeremiah J. Park

Marks of the Church (3): Catholic (2017-0924)

23-24 Sept 2017, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 12
Children, Matthew 25.31-46
Message, John 17.1-26, Luke 4.14-21
Creed, Nicene # 880 (after Scripture, prior to message)
Mission Moment: Hurricane/disaster recovery

As much as you have done it to the least of these …

Nicene Creed
      4 marks of the church
1.     ONE
2.     HOLY
Each of these marks of the church are not properties of the church, per se, but of our God.
They are not for us ourselves, but are gifts for the world as well (review)

      Universal, in all times and places
      And, the universe
      John’s gospel, “world” = kosmos
      Whole church, for whole world
      Theme word: wholeness

Trapped in a room, no door or window, walls, ceiling, floor solid. In the room you have a table and a saw. How do you get out?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Demolition Hammer

Thanks to Beautiful Jerry for the stirring narration: "If you come to his church, this is what he'll do to you!"

Monday, October 2, 2017

Church Picnic

Sunday Sept 17 - a great time, and good food!

Puerto Rico and hurricane recovery

By Linda Bloom and Michelle Maldonado
Sept. 21, 2017 | UMNS
“We do not know yet the damage that our churches suffered,” the bishop wrote. “I live in a sector that is isolated and blocked right now. I am working together with my neighbors in removing debris from the blocked roads and I trust some time it will be open.
“But we are alive and we are standing in the fight. With the strength of God's hope, we will rebuild Puerto Rico again.”
Reached on Sept. 20 through a Facebook message, Paloma Rodriguez Rivera, a youth leader in the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, said she believed there were many homes that had been flooded or “completely destroyed” by the hurricane-force winds but didn’t know what areas had been affected most by Maria.
“It is a miracle that I have internet because most people don’t,” wrote the San Juan resident. “I see that a lot of people don’t know anything about their family and they are desperate in the diaspora.”
This is the second of a tropical storm one-two punch for Puerto Rico. Hurricane Irma brushed by Puerto Rico on Sept. 6, leaving more than a million people without power but not the widespread damage that has resulted from Hurricane Maria.