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Faith & Worship
“Just being here, being here together is what I’m most looking forward to,” said Eric Wall.
It’s Tom Trenney’s job to deliver the Routley Lecture each day this week during the Presbyterian Association of Musicians’ Worship and Music Conference. Rather than lecture students meeting both in person at Montreat Conference Center and online during his opening talk on Monday, Trenney told them a story from a few years back about a college student of his named Summer.
Preaching on John the Baptist, whose ministry centered on preparing people for one more powerful than he and who would baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit, the Rev. CeCe Armstrong began her sermon on Luke 3:15-17, 21-22, with these words: “You belong to God.”
When he portrayed Private Gomer Pyle during the mid-1960s, actor Jim Nabors employed a number of catch phrases, including “gall-lee” and “Shazam.” But Pyle, who hailed from fictional Mayberry, North Carolina, which is in the same state as the very real Montreat Conference Center, the setting the Presbyterian Association of Musicians’ Worship and Music Conference, was best known for recounting mixed-up stories punctuated by this phrase: “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”
The first-ever hybrid version of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians’ Worship and Music Conference began in person Sunday from Montreat Conference Center and includes an entirely online offering June 27 through July 2. View the conference livestream schedule here. Register for the online conference here.
New resources from the Office of Theology and Worship will help those engaged in the work of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Matthew 25 invitation make a stronger connection between the three foci of the vision and the biblical passage — particularly in Matthew 25:31–46, which is known as the “Judgment of the Nations” passage.
On Sunday at 10:15 a.m., we gathered for worship in the Sanctuary of LoveJoy United Presbyterian Church. It was one of the first beautiful spring weekends of the year. The church service was entirely ordinary, save that I asked the congregation to refrain from shaking hands during the passing of the peace. It was March 8, 2020, and it was the last time that we would worship together in the sanctuary for more than a year.
A mostly white group of more than 40 preachers tuned in Wednesday to hear the Rev. Dr. Chip Hardwick — who in turn did his share of listening during an informative 90-minute online session he hosted — lead a webinar with this provocative title: “Preaching about Racial Justice without Losing your Conviction or your Job.” View the webinar here.
Had he been told in advance about the death and heartache wreaked by the pandemic, the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and the killings of people of color over the past 15 months, “I’d be tempted to run away, to cower in anxiety and fear,” the Rev. Eugene Cho, president and chief executive officer of Bread for the World, said during a sermon featured in last month’s Festival of Homiletics. “I’m grateful that God, out of God’s goodness and grace, has invited all of us to be leaders in a church that serves through humble servant leadership.”
The Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry opened a Festival of Homiletics worship service last week by singing a hymn she’s returned to often during the pandemic, “We’ll Understand It Better By and By”:
“When the morning comes/All the saints of God are gathered home/We’ll tell the story how we’ve overcome/For we’ll understand it better by and by.”