The Tidings G ood news from January 2011in this i ssue Pastor’s r eflections By r ev. a ndrew fosTer c onnorsPasTor’s r eflecTions ..1 firstname.lastname@example.org T he candlelight service is over, the Christmas presents have been opened,ask The PasTor ...........2 and some Christmas tree owners are almost ready to take down their trees. Still, the Christmas season has just begun. That’s a strange thing to sayMusical e choes ofchrisTMas PasT ........... 3 when the big box stores have returned to regular store hours, the sales have ended, and the malls have emptied. It’s a strangeJanuary BirThdays .....3 thing to say when the lists have been checked off, and we look toward a return to normalcy. It’s a strange thing to say whena TrusTed careTaker. .4 the Pageant is over, the candles from Christmas Eve have been extinguished, and the Christmas dinner won’t come around again forchrisTian educaTion another year.news. .........................4 Yet for those of us in the church, the birth of Jesus does not mark an ending but a beginning. It marks the inauguration of God’s choice to comeJanuary r esPonsiBiliTy and live beside us, to intrude upon our world and our lives withschedule ..................... 5 surprising grace and challenging call: grace that is persistently transforming our world, like that great moral arc of the universe that bendsJanuary 2011 toward justice. The challenge for us all is to let the Christian seasonaT BMPa .....................6 reawaken our perception, so that we might recognize the many ways that God continues to break into our world. It happens all the time if, as Jesus said, “We have eyes to see.” It happened to me last week when Kate and I ran into a perfect stranger whose name we recognized from the church’s prayer list. We made the connection, and suddenly complete strangers became friends. It happened to me when a diverse group of Baltimoreans gathered together in BUILD to worship together and we could see a glimpse of the future together. It happened to me when I heard about some choir members going to sing to one of our homebound members, the youth group sharing themselves with families transitioning out of homelessness, the Bible study taking a field trip to a member who is no longer able to get to church. God breaks into our world with surprising regularity if we are paying attention. So let the several weeks of Christmas stay with you for awhile, long enough to lift the veil that descends on people who become weary with the chatter of the news. Let the season have its way with us so that we might have our vision expanded wide enough to notice God in our midst. Let Christmas last at least as long as the liturgical season prescribes, so that the joy of life and love and community might be noticed and shared by all.
a sk the PastorBy r ev. e Mily rose P rocTor baptize both infants and adults speaks to email@example.com inseparable truths about what it means to be a Christian. As our Directory for Worship states, the Q: “Can someone not believe that Jesus was the only son “baptism of children witnesses to the truth thatof God, or not believe in the immaculate conception and God’s love claims people before they are able tostill be a Christian? Can someone not believe that Jesus respond in faith;” while the “baptism of those whowas raised from the dead and still be a Christian?” enter the covenant upon their own profession of faith witnesses to the truth that God’s gift of grace calls A: It sounds like the heart of your question is this: for fulfillment in a response of faithfulness.” While“Are there ‘essential tenets’ of the Christian faith, I don’t want to de-value the importance of wrestling and if so, what are they?” This is a with scripture and theology, the life and words of ? question that many Christians have Jesus lead me to believe that trusting in God’s love wrestled with over the centuries, revealed to us in Christ and seeking to love God and including Presbyterians. For example, one another in that same way is more important than in 1910, the United Presbyterian Church assenting to particular doctrines.of the USA (also known as “the Northern Church” I have to admit that I’m not sure what you mean byafter the Presbyterian Church split over the issue Christ not being the “only” Son of God. If you don’tof slavery), adopted five essential doctrines of the think Christians are the only ones who areReformed faith for those seeking ordination. These promised eternal life, I’m right there with you. If youincluded belief in the inerrancy of scripture, the see divine truth and light in the prophets and leadersvirgin birth, sacrificial atonement, bodily of other faiths, I am with you. If God revealed to allresurrection, and Christ’s miracles. After years of of us tomorrow that the immaculate conception wascontroversy, the church finally recanted, declaring in based on a mistranslation or an editorial, it would1927 that “The General Assembly does not have the not shake my faith one bit. But the resurrection…. itconstitutional power to give binding definition to the is how I understand that Christ was revealed to bechurch’s essential faith.” While we seek unity on the God incarnate to the first believers, and I see it asessentials of the Christian faith, all attempts to list essential to God’s demonstration of love’s ultimateor define those have so far been unsuccessful. triumph over violence and death. Do I understand it, Of particular help to me is our belief that Christ logically? No way. But for me, it’s at the heart of myalone is the head of the Church, meaning that faith. Now, does that mean that I will callultimately Christ alone has the authority to decide anyone who doubts the resurrection a heretic andwho is or is not a Christian or whether that is a non-Christian? No. My prayer is often that of thecategory that even matters. The Presbyterian Book man in Mark 9:24: “I believe – help my unbelief!”of Order doesn’t attempt to define what makes a Part of joining the community of faith is that“Christian;” it limits itself to defining active sometimes, the community believes on your behalf –membership in the church. If pressed for my and that’s okay. Faith, too, is a gift. Doubt, especiallydefinition, I would say a Christian is someone who when it is in the midst of faithful living in commu-places her trust in the God revealed to us in Jesus nity, is its own kind of faithfulness.Christ and desires to follow Christ in all that he * “Ask the Pastor” is a new feature of Thedoes as part of a community of faith. Baptism for the Tidings. You may submit a liturgical or scripturalChurch remains the visible sign of that trust and question to be answered by one of the Pastors todesire and of one’s becoming part of the Body of Ellen Carter Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.Christ; it is also a way for us to know God’s grace The deadline for questions is the 15th ofand claim on our lives more deeply. The fact that we every month. §PaGe 2 t he t idinGs January 2011
musical e choes of christmas PastBy John walker, M inisTer of Music program on its archives, where it continues to email@example.com available to everyone with internet access. Listeners More than any other season, the Christmas around the world may thereby continue to hear musiccelebration is deeply connected with music in most from Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church.countries throughout the world. Here at Brown Please invite your family and friends to go to Memorial Church, our Chancel, Children www.sacredclassics.com and then to click on Archives, and Handbell Choirs all participated in where they will be able to hear this program which was leading the service of Lessons and recorded last May in our sanctuary. Many thanks to Carols on Christmas Eve. Members of Jim Howes, producer of Sacred Classics and a frequent these choirs spent many weeks of member of our choir!rehearsal in preparation to offer this service for the Among many reasons for gratitude when I recall theworshippers who attended that evening. Each choir past year, I am grateful for God’s gift of music.member dedicated time and energy as their gift to God Frequently I ponder Friedrich Nietzsche’s statement thatand to the congregation. In this ongoing joyful act, “without music, life would be a mistake.” Through theeveryone experienced once again the reality that “it is gift of music we are able to sense a deeper truth beyondmore blessed to give than to receive.” What a simple perceived reality. When we participate together inand direct route to happiness: the gift of being able making music, we forge a strong and unique commonto give! bond; and our sung prayer to God brings us closely into On behalf of the entire congregation I express the beauty of God’s holiness. The noted author Kurtgratitude to the countless persons who have offered Vonnegut once wrote: “If I should ever die, God forbid,their gifts to worship throughout the past year: let this be my epitaph: THE ONLY PROOF HEliturgists, members of the Worship Committee, NEEDED FOR THE EXISTANCE OF GOD WASdancers, singers, instrumentalists, greeters, ushers, MUSIC.” As we enter this new year, let us respond toacolytes, communion stewards, banner makers and all Eric Routley’s poetic invitation, “New songs ofthose I have failed to mention! I know that they all join celebration render to God who has great wondersme in gratitude for the opportunity to share their gifts done….Trumpets and organs, set in motion suchto enhance the worship of the entire church family. sounds as make the heavens ring; all things that Sacred Classics, which featured our choir and organ live in earth and ocean, sound forth the song, yourin a special broadcast last autumn, has now placed that praises bring.” January Birthdays 01/01 Fred Lazarus 01/17 Elena Kirkpatrick 01/02 Pauline Piper 01/19 Elizabeth Wagner Cavallon 01/03 John Warmath 01/20 Michael Hughes 01/04 Emily Burton 01/21 Kristi Satterlee01/05 Elden Schneider 01/22 Chrystie Adams01/09 Yari Armand 01/22 Jane Swope01/09 Rebecca Thomson 01/24 Charles McManus01/10 Brad Bradford 01/25 Shayna Blinkoff01/12 Elizabeth “Lizzie” Mills 01/26 Sean Artes01/12 Meredith “Nellie” Mills 01/27 Rebecca Adams01/13 Emily Bishai 01/28 Charles Joseph Reichelt, II01/13 Richard Cook01/13 Hadicha Murat-bekova Note: If you wish to have your birthday listed in The Tidings, please contact Sharon Holley, church01/14 Taylor Branch secretary, at 410-523-1542, or via e-mail at01/16 Kathy Smith Sharon@browndowntown.org.January 2011 t he t idinGs PaGe 3
a t rusted caretakerBy e llen carTer c ooPer Bill was hired by the Daily Record newspaper in Baltimore. Do you know who is well acquainted with the slates on the Meanwhile, he was involved in another interest, “rehabbing” oldroofs of the church house and the church? Have you heard who houses. While “rehabbing” a house in South Baltimore, Bill metis the “go-to guy” for problems with the church’s heating and air his future wife, Laura. After their marriage, they chose to liveconditioning? Have you wondered who negotiates the leases with where there are numerous old houses, Bolton Hill.the church’s tenants? There has to be someone who takes the lead Once they were ensconced in the neighborhood, thein such matters. For the past few years, that someone has been McConnell’s narrowed their church selection down to threethe chairperson of the Trustee Board, William (Bill) McConnell. churches. One of those churches was Brown Memorial. Bill said Bill’s soft-spoken persistence developed early in life. He was that they felt so “at home” when they attended BMPA that theyborn in Oak Ridge, Tennessee where his father was a physicist at never attended the other two churches. He was drawn to thethe nuclear center. The family moved several times during Bill’s church because of the theology and the commitment to the city.early years. In fact, he attended five schools before second In typical Brown Memorial fashion, Bill was directedgrade because the family moved from Oak Ridge to Knoxville, immediately to an interest area. Roger Gench asked him to beand then, when his father became an air traffic controller, the liaison to BUILD. Later on, he served as an Elder onto Memphis. Session, for one term only because commuting from From the ages of seven to eleven, Bill lived in Memphis, but at Washington, D.C. presented challenges for him. He thenthe age of eleven, he had to make another adjustment. His father expressed an interest in becoming a trustee, and was selected to elected to switch serve in that capacity. job locations and As the chairperson of the Trustee Board, he applauds the moved the family trustees for assuming the primary responsibility for to Hawaii, where overseeing Brown Memorial’s physical plant. Bill views the they resided for position as often being a “balancing act between whether to Bill’s middle spend money on the building or on the church’s missions and school years. His programs.” He credits the board members with: father’s work took • overhauling the sanctuary’s furnace Bill back to • roof repairs Memphis • addressing accessibility issues where this Bill still commutes from his job as Washington Bureau Chief peripatetic young for The Deal, but he is taking a sabbatical from the Trustee man enrolled Board (no longer the chairperson but is available if the trustees or in high school. anyone else wants his advice on projects). He plans to take guitar During this time, lessons with his son, Liam and to go on camping trips with the another job family. This BMPA leader believes, “Leadership requires a opportunity significant time commitment, but one should step back after a presented itself for term to refresh, renew, and then come back to assist.” the elder McConnell to christian e ducation move to St. Louis, but Bill and his news younger brother Vacation Bible School (VBS) is not just for kids! This yearBill tearing out old carpet in his Bolton rebelled and we’re inviting everyone, young and old, to join us at a new dateHill home in 2009. refused to go. and time to explore the topics of book, bath, table & time.* We Bill’s rebellion will gather each Wednesday evening in July foragainst living in another city did not extend to his field of study dinner at 5:30 p.m. followed by fellowship andwhen he entered the University of Tennessee. He was inspired by learning from 6-7 p.m.his father’s interest in public affairs and government to major in We’ll conclude the evening with songs aroundjournalism. After graduation he was hired for the summer by the the “campfire” from 7-7:30 p.m. More information andNew York Times Washington Bureau. This move enabled him to registration forms will be coming soon. Save the dates –be closer to his mother’s relatives who lived in Arlington, July 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th – 5:30-7:30 p.m.Virginia. When this job ended, Bill enrolled in AmericanUniversity where he merged his interest in economics with his *Book, Bath, Table & Time is a book written by Fred P. Edieold love, journalism. that explores the concept of Christian worship as an Soon another move was in the works. It was a significant one. alternative model for Christian nurture.PaGe 4 t he t idinGs January 2011
January r esPonsiBility s chedule 11 a. m. worshiP service If you have a conflict with this schedule – please call others on the list to make a swap. Then inform the church office of thesechanges at 410-523-1542 or firstname.lastname@example.org. acolytes communion servers 2nd evan cunninGham & 2nd carol Graves charlie mcmanus andy imParato 9th sam enGlish & andy Johnston ruskin nohe-moren carol newill 16th Blythe Petit & ella may 23rd warner Brockman & Greeters Peter lulJak 2nd t.B.d. 30th katie eGan & Julia lulJak 9th t.B.d. 16th t.B.d. audio enGineer 23rd t.B.d. 2nd t.B.d. 30th t.B.d. 9th t.B.d. 16th t.B.d. liturGist 23rd t.B.d. 2nd Graham richardson 30th t.B.d. 9th karen nelson 16th susan schindler children’s church volunteer 23rd BarBara christen 2nd ken mills & elena kirkPatrick 30th tom stewart 9th Grace PenG & mehran armand 16th elizaBeth & charles reichelt offertory acolytes 23rd linnea cheseldine & 2nd James cunninGham & marya howell Jack mcmanus 30th Jim & Joanne eGan 9th elizaBeth cavallon & JosePhine finney coffee hour hosts 16th samuel todd & Jihar williams 2nd court & sally roBinson 23rd James cavallon & eva mcnaBney 9th t.B.d. 30th olivia lianG & emily reed 16th Jenny williams & Jonathan Barnes offertory counters 23rd BarBara francis ken mills & andy ross 30th t.B.d. communion PreParation ushers 2nd BarBara christen & charlie oBrecht, PeGGy oBrecht, sandra fink Jenny williams & John warmath The Tidings Published monthly for members and friends of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church by the Membership Committee. Andrew Foster Connors, Pastor. Emily Rose Proctor, Associate Pastor. 1316 Park Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217. 410.523.1542. G ood news from www.browndowntown.org. Send contributions by the 15th of each month to Ellen Carter Cooper, editor (email@example.com) or to Sharon Holley, church secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org).January 2011 t he t idinGs PaGe 5
January 2011 at BmPa January 2011 S unday M onday TueSday WedneSday ThurSday Friday S aTurday26 d eceMber 27 28 29 30 31 1 JanuaryNo Education Hour or Church Office Closed Church Office Closed Church Office Closed Church Office Closed Church Office Closed 2011Choir Warm-UpService of Worship 11 a.m. h appy n eW year !2 Education Hour 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m. 3 4 5 Midweek Bible Study 10:30 a.m-11:30 a.m. 6 7 8Service of Worship 11 a.m. Chancel Choir Rehearsal 7 p.m.-8:45 p.m.9 Education Hour, Choir Warm-Up 10 11 12 Midweek Bible Study 10:30 a.m-11:30 a.m. 13 14 15 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m.Service of Worship 11 a.m. Session Meeting WN@B Chancel Choir Rehearsal Youth Night Out on the Town 6:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m-7:30 p.m. 7 p.m.-8:45 p.m.Youth Mission Sunday- Marion House 3 p.m.Handbell Choir Rehearsal12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m.16 Education Hour, Choir Warm-Up 17 18 19 Midweek Bible Study 20 21 22 10:30 a.m-11:30 a.m. 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m. WN@B Chancel Choir RehearsalService of Worship 11 a.m. 7 p.m.-8:45 p.m. 5:30 p.m-7:30 p.m.Handbell Choir Rehearsal12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Midweek Bible Study23 Education Hour, Choir Warm-Up 24 25 26 10:30 a.m-11:30 a.m. 27 28 29 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Chancel Choir Rehearsal WN@B High School Youth Ski Trip High School Youth Ski TripService of Worship 11 a.m. 7 p.m.-8:45 p.m. 5:30 p.m-7:30 p.m. t he t idinGsHandbell Choir Rehearsal12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m.Sunday School Bowling atStoneleigh Lanes30 Education Hour, Choir Warm-Up 31 1 February 2 Midweek Bible Study 10:30 a.m-11:30 a.m. 3 4 59:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Chancel Choir RehearsalService of Worship 11 a.m. WN@B 5:30 p.m-7:30 p.m. 7 p.m.-8:45 p.m.High School Youth Ski Trip PaGe 6Annual Congregational Meeting12:15 p.m-1:30 p.m.