Sunday, June 12, 2011

Circles are eternal

West-Park Presbyterian Church (86th and Amsterdam) celebrated its 100th birthday today - on Pentecost.

A group from Medina Presbyterian Church in Ohio is visiting New York this week. They have a number of activities scheduled, including a visit to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, work at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, Covenant House, and Old Bergen Church.

They requested suggestions for places to worship today - I provided several from the amazing diversity that is the Presbytery of New York City - among them West-Park.

I arrived at West-Park around 10:30. I was talking with Andre Solomon-Glover (he's doing a concert next Sunday - do you have your tickets yet?) when a group came in.

"Excuse me," I said to Andre.

Walking up the aisle, I said, "I'll bet you folks are from Cleveland. Well, actually I bet you folks are from Medina."

Smiles and laughter followed as did a wonderful worship service - celebrating the congregation - celebrating Pentecost - celebrating the different gifts that God gives to each of us - a diversity that may challenge us at times, but certainly blesses us and enriches us.

Pastor Bob Brashear reminded the congregation of its rich history - all the people who had been through the building, whose spirits remain present nurturing the congregation into the future. He reminded us of the congregation's multi-faceted witness to social justice in the name of Jesus in the past - a witness that continues in the present - a witness that will continue into the future.

The lectionary reading from Numbers told of Eldad and Medad. Bob told us that this story teaches that all of us - with all of our gifts - are needed for ministry. We cannot engage in ministry alone - we need each other. It brought to mind a poem (of sorts) from almost ten years ago - not my best, but not my worst.

We gathered around the communion table in a circle with the reminder that circles are eternal - and that those people with whom we go into a circle remain with us always - so now, in that mystery we know as the Communion of Saints, we who gathered for worship today, from New York and Medina and points between and beyond, are a part of the West-Park Presbyterian family and story - and West-Park is forever a part of us.

Thanks be to God!

See you along the Trail.

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