Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Weekday Devotional With Pastor Chris

March 31, 2020

     In one of his many books, pastor and author John Ortberg shares that when his grandmother died, his grandfather called Ortberg’s mother and offered her an old box of dishes that he had found up in the attic.  He was going to get rid of them, but then noticed they were blue.  He knew that was his daughter-in-law’s favorite color so he gave her a call.  “If you want them, they are yours,” he said, “Otherwise, I’ll give them to the Salvation Army.”

     Ortberg’s mother was expecting some run-of-the-mill dinnerware.  What she found instead was the most exquisite china she had ever seen.  Each plate had been individually painted.  The cups were inlaid mother-of-pearl.  The dishes and cups were rimmed with gold.  The china had been handcrafted in a Bavarian factory that was destroyed during the Second World War so they were literally irreplaceable.

     How come no one had ever seen this china before?  Gradually, the story came out.  When Ortberg’s grandmother had been very young, she had been given the china over a period of years.  The family wasn’t wealthy and the china was quite valuable, so she only got one piece at a time and only for special occasions – a birthday, or confirmation, or graduation.

     What do you do with something so valuable?  As each piece was received, it was carefully wrapped in tissue, placed in a box, and stored in the attic for a very special occasion.  But apparently no occasion that special ever came along.  As a result, in Ortberg’s words, “my grandmother went to her grave with the greatest gift of her life unopened and unused.”

     I can’t imagine that young woman’s family gave her the china with the hope that it might sit in a dusty attic and never be touched.  It was given to be used, given to be a blessing, given to bring beauty and wonder into that woman’s life.  They gave it with the thought that every time she brought it out she would be reminded of how much she was loved and of the very special place she held in their hearts.  But none of that happened because she was too afraid that it might get broken.

     Is there a gift that God has given you that remains unopened?  Maybe it is a heart for prayer, or an artistic bent.  Or perhaps it is a gift for teaching, or great wealth, or the quality of compassion.  The possibilities are endless.  Whatever the gift, though, it is meant to be used; meant to be a blessing to you and to others.  So if you haven't done so already, find the box up in the attic.  Dust it off and open it up.  Risk sharing it with others.  You might just find that doing so brings some unexpected joy into your life.  One thing for sure: it will bring joy to that One who first shared it with you.

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”(Mt. 7:11)

- Pastor Chris

Monday, March 30, 2020

God's Got This Mix : )

Another video shared from our God's Got This Mix on YouTube:

Weekday Devotion With Pastor Chris

I love the sight of a beautiful grass lawn, but I’m not a fan of taking care of them.  I can understand the desire to create something beautiful, but for me at least, pushing a lawn mower around has always been one of my least favorite things to do.

     Approximately 80% of all homes in the United States have grass lawns.  A $40 billion industry has grown up around caring for them.  They consume more water each year (about 1/3 of all public water) than is used to grow all the wheat and corn in the United States.

     It has been estimated that around 3 billion person-hours each year are spent just to mow the lawn.  Consider this: at its peak, about 400,000 people were working on the Apollo program.  If you took that 400,000, multiplied it by 40 hours per week from 1961 to the moment Neal Armstrong stepped on the moon, you would come to about 6.7 billion person-hours.  Factor in that much of that time there were far fewer than that peak number (when the program started in ’61, for example, there were only 10,000) and it is not too much of a stretch to say that in a given year people spend as much time mowing their lawns as it took to put a man on the moon.

     Do you think it is possible that there might be a better way, a more constructive way, to spend so much time and money?  How did this whole “lawn” thing get started?

     Blame the Europeans.  To give guards a clear view of the surrounding area, castle grounds were kept clear of trees and brush.  Take away the trees, and grass naturally sprouted up.  Our word “lawn” has its roots in the Middle English “launde” which means “a glade or opening in the woods.”  Four hundred years ago nothing said you were someone special like having a “launde” around your home.  The idea took hold.

     There is an aesthetic component to a well-landscaped lawn.  They can make ordinary homes look warm, inviting and beautiful.  The National Association of Realtors reports that a beautiful lawn can add 11% to the value of a home.  I would suggest, however, that what really makes a house a home isn’t the lawn at all.  It is the love, compassion and investment of self day after day, year after year that makes the difference.  That’s the home where people want to be.  Maybe those lawns aren’t quite so important after all.  Just ask someone living in a condo…

"If I speak n the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and al knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (I Cor. 13:1-2).

Friday, March 27, 2020

A Little Inspiration

God's Got This : )

Weekday Devotion With Pastor Chris

I first heard the name “Harry Emerson Fosdick” some fifty years ago.  The mother of a close friend was recovering from surgery, and told me about a wonderful book she was reading.  I can’t remember which book it was, but I remember the author.  It was Fosdick.

     Fosdick was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, and graduated from Colgate University in 1900.  He went on to Union Theological Seminary in New York City, graduating from there four years later.  His first call was to the First Baptist Church in Montclair, New Jersey, where he served for the next eleven years.  He went on to volunteer as an Army chaplain in France during World War I, then became pastor of a Presbyterian church before being called to the Park Avenue Baptist Church in New York City.  There he collaborated with John D. Rockefeller Jr., to create the massive, ecumenical Riverside Church next to Columbia University.  Fosdick became its founding pastor.  Martin Luther King, Jr., later called Fosdick the greatest preacher of the twentieth century.

     When the doors of Riverside Church opened in October, 1930, Time magazine put Fosdick on its cover, and wrote that Fosdick:  "...proposes to give this educated community a place of greatest beauty for worship. He also proposes to serve the social needs of the somewhat lonely metropolite. Hence on a vast scale he has built all the accessories of a community church—gymnasium, assembly room for theatricals, dining rooms, etc. … In ten stories of the 22-story belltower are classrooms for the religious and social training of the young…"

     One of the qualities that I have found most winsome in Fosdick was his willingness to share his own struggles.  In the preface to his book, The Meaning of Prayer, he wrote, “This book was first published forty-seven years ago.  I was then a young minister in my first parish, still bearing the scars of a nervous breakdown which I had suffered in seminary days.  In fighting my way through that devastating experience prayer had become an indispensable resource.”

     Born out of that crucible of suffering, Fosdick’s understanding of prayer is deep and meaningful.  It is what he says about it later on that I want to share with you this morning:

"Prayer here is not a burden to be borne, an obligation to be fulfilled, something that is due to God and must  be paid.  Prayer is a privilege; like friendship and family love and laughter, great books, great music, and great art, it is one of life’s opportunities to be grasped thankfully and used gladly.  The [person] who misses the deep meanings of prayer has not so much refused an obligation; he has robbed himself of life’s supreme privilege – friendship with God."

“O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water… Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you… My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.  My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”  (Ps. 63:1,3,5-8).

- Pastor Chris

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Join Our Online Bible Study With Pastor Ellen!

God's Got This : )

Weekday Devotion With Pastor Chris

Sometime between 1732 and 1735 Johann Sebastian Bach, who was serving as cantor of St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, composed his “Coffee Cantata”.  In it, a young woman pleads with her disapproving father to accept her devotion to drinking this newfangled concoction.  At one point she pleads (translated),
Oh! How sweet coffee does taste,
Better than a thousand kisses,
Milder than muscat wine.
Coffee, coffee, I've got to have it,
And if someone wants to perk me up,
Oh, just give me a cup of coffee!
     Coffee lovers understand her yearning.  For them, there is nothing quite like that first cup of freshly brewed coffee in the morning.  I can almost smell it.

     Many believe that coffee traces its origins back to coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau.  One legend has it that it was discovered by a goat herder named Kaldi who noticed that his goats became unusually energetic after eating the berries.  The story goes that he shared his observations with the abbot of a local monastery who then proceeded to make a drink from the berries and found it kept him alert through the long hours of evening prayer.

     Whatever its origins, it was on the Arabian Peninsula during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that coffee began to be cultivated and traded.  By the seventeenth century it had made its way to Europe where some greeted it (big surprise) with suspicion and fear.  They called it the “bitter invention of Satan.”  After tasting it, however, Pope Clement VIII is said to have declared, "This Satan's drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it."

     It was the Dutch who acquired seedlings and went on to successfully cultivate plants in Batavia, Indonesia, Sumatra and Celebes.  The French acquired a coffee plant in 1714 (a gift to the King from the Mayor of Amsterdam), and nine years later a young naval officer took a seedling from that plant and transported it to Martinique where it thrived.  That one seedling is credited with not only leading to over 18 million coffee trees on Martinique, but also becoming the parent of all coffee trees throughout the Caribbean, South and Central America.  According to politifact.com, coffee is second only to crude oil as the most popular commodity in the world.

     Thomas Jefferson once called coffee “the favorite drink of the civilized world.”  The truth, however, is that many still prefer their tea or even some other caffeine-saturated drink like Coca-Cola.

     The one drink that truly refreshes?  Ultimately, nothing can compare with that which is offered by our living Lord: “Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty.  The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (Jn. 4:14).   What better way to start your day than to spend some time with him (maybe with a cup of coffee nearby)?

 “O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him” (Ps. 34:8).

- Pastor Chris

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

God's Got This : )

Weekday Devotion With Pastor Chris

In the book of Exodus, we find two references to a cleft rock.  The first comes in the seventeenth chapter.  The people of Israel have run out of water in the wilderness.  They cry out to Moses, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?”  Moses turns to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people?  They are almost ready to stone me.”

     God guides Moses to a rock and tells him to strike it with his staff (presumably breaking it open).  As promised, water gushes from it. Some thirteen hundred years later the Apostle Paul wrote of this moment, “For they [the Israelites] drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10:4).

     The second reference to a cleft rock comes in Exodus 33:17-23.  The people have created and worshiped a golden calf in Moses' absence, a plague has descended upon them and God has announced that he will no longer go up among them.  Moses pleads with God , “Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight.”  The Lord responds: "See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back…"

     In 1776, an Anglican clergyman named Augustus Toplady drew on these accounts to create one of the great hymns of the Church, “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me.”  It opens and closes with the same beautiful plea: “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.”  Toplady, drawing from the Apostle's interpretation, makes it clear that it is Christ who is that rock, Christ alone in whom we find God’s saving grace: “Not the labors of my hands can fulfill thy law’s demands.  Could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone.  Thou must save, and thou alone.”

     Toplady died two years later at thirty eight, but his end was jubilant and triumphant.  “I enjoy heaven already in my soul,” he said as he lay dying, “My prayers are all converted into praises.”

     Where do we find that ever-flowing stream that cleanses and renews?   We find it in turning towards the one, true rock: Jesus Christ, the Lord.

“O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods” (Ps. 95:1-3).

- Pastor Chris

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Weekday Devotion With Pastor Chris

     The wine app “Vivino” has some 35 million subscribers worldwide.  Drawing from some 40 million reviews and 120 million ratings from its members, Vivino declared Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 the best wine in the world last year.  So I did a bit of research.

     Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave the wine a 99 rating.  They wrote, “the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon leaps from the glass with gorgeous floral notes of red roses and lilacs over a core of black and red cherries, crushed black currants and baking spices plus hints of iron ore and dusty earth.”  I love some of the adjectives that follow: voluptuous, rounded, soft and sexy, full-bodied, decadently powerful, layered and boldly perfumed.  I think that qualifies as effusive.  Actually, they kind of lost me with the hints of iron ore and dusty earth…

     Wine Spectator was not quite so lavish in its praise.  They gave the wine a 96 and wrote that it is “Broad, expansive and layered, with dark berry, currant, anise, cedar and sage notes, supported by firm, chewy tannins and an impressive aftertaste where the flavors glide along rather effortlessly.”  Let’s see, both reviews both mention dark berries and currants, but apart from that it is hard to believe they are describing the same wine.

     You might be wondering how much the top rated bottle costs: I found prices ranging from $589 to $1,349.99.  The trick, not surprisingly, is finding a place that actually carries it.  The price might strike you as a bit much, but it looks almost modest when you compare it to the second ranked wine (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tache 2000, which averages $4,810 a bottle on Wine-searcher.com), and the fourth ranked one (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, 2011 Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru which averages about $2,100).

     I was once at a party where someone was tasting a $400 bottle, but that’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to that kind of wine.  While I’m sure it would be wasted on me, I imagine for the connoisseur, tasting an extraordinary bottle of wine must be an exquisite experience.  Still, I don’t think spending a fortune on something consumed in a single sitting was exactly what Jesus had in mind when he said, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own” (Mt. 6:34).

     This is an anxious time.  One response is to throw our hands up and live wholly for the moment, giving up on any hope for tomorrow.  But that’s not what Jesus had in mind either.  In fact, just the opposite.  Jesus invites us to let go our fears of what tomorrow might bring, trusting instead in the sure promise that our lives abide in the hands of a faithful, loving God.  Don’t let your fears of what tomorrow might bring ruin the blessings to be found today.  There is just no doubt: our lives couldn’t be in a better place.

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”  (Mt. 6:26)

- Pastor Chris

Monday, March 23, 2020

Weekday Devotion With Pastor Chris

Quick: who discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill and started the California gold rush?  If you said James W. Marshall you would be right.  Now you would think that being the first he must have made a fortune in the years that followed, but he didn’t.  Thirty seven years later, after a number of failed ventures, Marshall died penniless in a small cabin in Kelsey, California.  What happened?
James Marshall was born in Hopewell Township, New Jersey in 1810.  He left New Jersey in 1834, and ten years later ended up in Missouri where he fell in love.  Unfortunately, his beloved did not reciprocate his feelings.  When he contracted malaria she, along with his doctor, suggested it might be best if he moved to Oregon (ouch!).  He arrived in Oregon in 1845 but continued on down to California where he was hired by a man named John Sutter to perform odd jobs around his trading post.

Marshall had just begun to establish a farm and cattle ranch when war broke out with Mexico.  When he returned a year later he found that his cattle had either strayed or been stolen.  Without a source of income, he lost his property.  That’s when Sutter hired him to build a saw-mill on the middle fork of the American River, forty miles above Sutter’s fort.

As the mill progressed, Marshall began using the power of the river to help excavate a ditch.  He was examining the ditch on the morning of January 24, 1848, when he saw an unusual glimmer in the sunlight.  He picked up a couple of pieces, and then smashed one between two rocks.  Instead of shattering (which sulphuret of iron would have done), the piece bent and flattened.  Marshall had discovered gold.  Not long after, the great gold rush began.

Marshall was in a perfect position to make a fortune.  Why didn’t he?  It is hard to say.  One venture after another ended in failure.  Even John Sutter did not fare well.  Both men were capable enough.  They just couldn’t seem to capitalize on this extraordinary opportunity that had come their way.

People dream about finding gold, but finding it is no guarantee that it will take us where we hope to go.  In fact, the most valuable things in life tend to be the things we can’t buy: friendship; love; compassion; a sense of purpose; a grateful heart; a relationship with God.  King David knew all about the pursuit of wealth and power, but ultimately he found something far more precious – the guidance of God which brings us life.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart… More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.” Ps. 19:7-10)

-Pastor Chris

Friday, March 20, 2020

Weekday Devotion with Pastor Chris

In his book Soul Salsa, author and professor Leonard Sweet talks about a unique practice among some Native Americans.  It is an initiation to mark a boy’s transition into manhood.  Growing up, the boy would have been taught to hunt and scout and fish, and then on the night of his thirteenth birthday he would be taken deep into a forest and left there to face the night alone.

     Until this moment, the boy would never have been separated from the security of his family and tribe.  On this night, however, he would be taken blindfolded far from his home and then left.  When he would remove the blindfold he would find himself in the middle of a dense wood, all by himself.  As Sweet describes it, “Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce.  Every time an animal howled, he imagined a wolf leaping out of the darkness.  Every time the wind blew, he wondered what more sinister sound it masked.  It was a terrifying night.”

     After what must have seemed like an eternity, the dawn would finally break.  As light filtered through the trees, the boy would find himself surrounded by the safe, familiar sight of flowers and trees.  He would hear the reassuring sound of morning birds.  He would see the outline of a path, and then, to his utter astonishment, the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow.  It would be his father who had spent the entire night watching over his much-loved son.

     There are times when we feel alone in this life; times when we wonder where God is or whether God has abandoned us.  But God is always there, much like that Native American father – unseen, unfelt perhaps, but watching over us through those dark nights that sometimes come our way. Scripture is not the story of humanity’s search for God.  It is the story of all the ways in which God has reached out to us.  This is the God who called Abraham, who called Isaac, who called Jacob.  This is the God who sees our struggles, who takes notice and does something about them – raising up the prophets, the judges, the leaders like Moses and David.  This is the God who came to us in the person of Jesus not because we had earned God’s favor, but because God knew our desperate need.  God’s promise is sure:

“Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.  When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.  With long life I will satisfy them and show them my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)

Thursday, March 19, 2020


Daily Devotion From Pastor Chris

Some four hundred and seventy years ago, in 1554 an ambassador to the Sultan of Turkey brought the first tulip bulbs and seeds to Vienna as a gift from the Ottoman Empire.  From Vienna they spread to Augsburg, Antwerp and Amsterdam, and when a botanist discovered the flowers could tolerate the harsher conditions of areas like the Netherlands and Belgium, the tulip began to grow in popularity.

     With its intense petal color, the tulip was unlike any other flower in Europe at that time.  It became a coveted luxury item, and growers began developing different varieties from single-hued flowers (red, yellow or white) to flowers with white or yellow streaks on a red, pink or purple background.  The effect could be spectacular. 

     It takes 7-12 years for a tulip seed to form a flowering bulb.  When the flower appears the original bulb disappears.  In its place, a clone bulb forms along with several buds.  It is those buds that hold the key to passing on the distinctive effects from one generation to the next, but they have to be carefully cultivated to actually become bulbs of their own.  For those growers four hundred years ago, then, cultivating the most appealing varieties took years of focused effort.

     By 1636, the tulip bulb became the fourth leading export product of the Netherlands, after gin, herrings, and cheese, and speculation in tulip futures skyrocketed.  At the height, a single bulb could go for ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsperson.  Fortunes were made and lost, and ultimately the whole market collapsed in February of 1637 ending an era that in retrospect was called “tulip mania.”

     We love variety.  There is something about it that pleases the eye.  People don’t go to Colorado to see the fall colors.  Aspen turning gold is pretty, but it doesn’t compare with the kind of rich, varied color one finds in New England.

     So think about this: when God was bringing creation into being God could easily have settled on just one color or one kind of flower.  Instead, there are an estimated 300,000 known species of flower in the world today with maybe as many as six times that figure that have not yet been identified.  What a God!  And what love God must have for us to gift us with such riches!
“God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”
(Gen. 1:31)

Pastor Chris

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


Sometimes it is hard to be around Christians who don’t think the same way we do. The issue might be
politics and the candidates we support. Or maybe it is a social issue – abortion, for example, continues to be a polarizing issue within the Christian community. Or maybe it is the very nature of our beliefs. My ancestors were driven from the Pyrenees hundreds of years ago because their beliefs and practices weren’t quite the same as the majority of that era. But what if those very differences that threaten to divide us are, in fact, a part of how God designed the Church to be?

Almost two hundred years ago, back in 1824, a man named Henderson William Brand was serving as chef to King George IV of the United Kingdom. Brand created a sauce that could be used for fish, meat or fowl. The story goes that the king was so pleased with the sauce that he immediately proclaimed it, “A number 1.” And so A1 Sauce was born.

Back in the glorious days of my youth when calories meant nothing, I used to employ vast amounts of A1 on just about everything. Today, a bottle can last for quite a while in our refrigerator, but it remains a special treat.
So how many ingredients do you think there are in A1? Both the number and the variety are surprising. They include: tomato puree, raisin paste, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, crushed orange puree, dried garlic, onions and celery seed among others. What an extraordinary palette Chef Brand must have possessed to combine so many different ingredients in the creation of such an exquisite sauce.
Our God has done nothing less in the creation of the Church. Our differences aren’t a weakness. They are the very things that make the Church the glorious community that it is.

“For just as the body is one and has many [different!] members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)

- Pastor Chris

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Daily devotion from Pastor Chris

They said it couldn’t be done. Ten people had died trying to make the 2400 mile journey from Hawaii to California by air. On January 11, 1935, Amelia Earhart settled into the cockpit of her plane to attempt what no man or woman had been able to accomplish. In Honolulu, where she was going to begin her journey, the weather was poor.

Amelia was born thirty eight years before in Atchison, Kansas in the home of her maternal grandfather; a former federal judge who had become the president of the Atchison Savings Bank and a leading citizen in the community. Her life was marked by a sense of adventure early on. As a seven year old, and with the help of her uncle, she built a ramp modeled on a roller-coaster she had seen, and then fastened it to the roof of the family’s toolshed. Moments later, she emerged from the broken box that had served as her sled with a bruised lip, torn dress and a sense of exhilaration. “Oh Pidge,” she said to her sister, “it’s just like flying!”
It took another thirteen years, however, until Earhart had her first flight. On December 28, 1920, she visited an airfield in Long Beach, California, and her dad shelled out $10 for a ten minute flight with a man named Frank Hawks. The experience changed her life. "By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground," she later said, "I knew I had to fly."
And so began the journey that fifteen years later would lead Amelia Earhart to an airfield in Honolulu, preparing for a flight that no one had ever successfully completed. An open letter begged her not to try. Others had died trying. Many believed it couldn’t be done. Amelia was undeterred, and eighteen hours later she landed in Oakland where thousands swarmed her plane in celebration of the extraordinary feat. Eighty-three years later my grand-daughter would be named after her.
“It can’t be done.” Sometimes we are tempted to listen to the naysayers. Sometimes the challenges before us seem insurmountable – a diagnosis of cancer, a difficult exam, a relationship that has deteriorated to the point of appearing irreconcilable. People told Amelia Earhart she couldn't fly from Honolulu to California, but she believed she had the resources to accomplish it. We have something even better. We serve a God for whom the word “impossible” simply doesn’t exist.
“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21)

Happy St Patty's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2020

A Message From The Session and Pastors Chris, Ellen & Tara

Dear Members and Friends,

Closing the church was an extraordinarily difficult decision, but we believe it was and is the most caring and responsible course both for our church family and for the larger community.  It would be inconsistent with our call to create a pocket of vulnerability at the very time the larger community is trying to isolate and contain the spread of the Coronavirus.  As a result,
  • We are shifting our Sunday worship to an on-line format; the service will be streamed at 10:00 a.m. each week; a link is available on our website, www.fcpc.us 
  • We are closing our offices, and staff will be working as much as possible from their homes
  • We are reducing pastoral visitation to crisis-only; click on the pastor's name to contact them via email:
  • And we are suspending all programs, board and committee meetings -- the one exception will be AA and Al-Anon which will continue to have access to our facility

At the same time we will also be offering:

Daily Devotions delivered by e-mail every morning, Monday through Friday.  If you did not receive the e-mail on Monday (the 16th) and would like to be included, please click here to add your e-mail address, or email Toni at borrellit@fcpc.us

Grocery Delivery:  Betsy Hawley is coordinating a ministry of purchasing and delivering groceries for those who are at risk or unable to get out.  If you need groceries, or if you would like to volunteer to help out with this ministry please contact Betsy: betsy_hawley@comcast.net

You are part of a great church family.  Our Elders, Deacons, Stephen Ministers, staff and so many others are ready to help in any way.  The church facility is closed, but our ministry continues.  Please reach out to us if we can be of support, even if it is just to offer a listening ear at a point when you are feeling anxious or alone.  We wish you all God’s blessings and protection.


The Session and Pastors Chris, Ellen & Tara

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Getting To Know You!

In our "Getting To Know You" series we are getting to know a FCPC staffer each month!
In March we are getting to know...

Name: Chet Karas
Nickname: none
Family members: Brenda, Chris/Darcy, Andrew/Katie
Pets: none
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite flavor: Peanut Butter
Hire date: October of 2016
Title: Welcome Monitor
What your job entails: Greeting families for the Preschool and welcoming visitors to the Church. Teaching the kids how to give high fives!

µ  What energizes you outside of work?
The smiles of the Preschool kids and interacting with them.
µ  What’s a trip that changed you, and why?
2 mission trips to New Orleans. The first because of the fun and moving experiences. The second one because that’s how I met Brenda!!
µ  What’s one of your favorite memories from the past year?
Being on Omaha Beach in Normandy where my Uncle Stanley landed on D-Day.

Me and my family at Omaha Beach.

µ  What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I grew up in Newark, NJ and attended Seton Hall Prep for two years, before my family moved to Pennsylvania.
µ  What’s something you’ve done, but will never do again?
Parasailing in Cancun, Mexico.
µ  What’s one item you can’t leave your home without?
My cell phone (unfortunately)

µ  What’s one song you have completely memorized?
I’ve Got You Under My Skin 

µ  What’s your favorite place to eat around here?
The Original Hot Dog Shop in Oakland!