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Blog Posts (12)

  • Jewish/Christian Time Management”(Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Ephesians 5:15-20)

    Back in 1996 the musical “Rent” opened on Broadway. It turned out to be a monster hit that stayed on Broadway for 12 years. It opens with what became the biggest hit song to come out of that musical called “Seasons of Love”, where the composer of that song finds out how many minutes there are in a year and incorporates that into the song, and then asks the question “How do you measure a year?”, which translates into my mind as “How do you know when you have lived those minutes well?” The song proposes various ideas and then the playwright and composer, Jonathan Larson, who grew up in a Jewish home, lands on the very Jewish idea that the best use of those minutes is to love. As you know, it’s also a very Christian idea. I bet you know the song. It starts like this: Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear. five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure, Measure a year? The great tragedy of the musical “Rent” was that Jonathan Larson died before he could see his own play open on Broadway. He saw the dress rehearsal the night before and then died shortly thereafter of a ruptured aorta. His premature death illustrates the point he was making in the song, which is that we have limited time on earth and that we would do well to spend that time in love before its too late and we don’t have another chance. I remember hearing the song sung for the first time, and what struck me was that there, in the public square, at the heart of Broadway, the center of the American art world, they were dealing publicly with what I regard as a deeply religious issue and a deeply human issue: the stewardship of time, how best to manage the limited time we have been given. Psalm 90 teaches us to count our days, while Jonathan Larson helps us count the minutes Today we look at God’s gift of time: the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years we receive from God. The amount of time we receive varies greatly between us. God never says how much time each of us will receive, and the challenge for us as Christian stewards of our time is to be the best stewards of our time, not knowing exactly how much time we have. There are two scriptures that give us major guidance about the stewardship of time. The most important one is from the Hebrew law, “Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy” and one from the apostle Paul, where he says in Ephesians “make the most of the time.” First, the Sabbath. Sabbath is the English translation of the Hebrew word “Shabbat”, meaning stop or cease or desist. In my active imagination I like to think of Sabbath as God once a week lowering down from heaven a stop sign in front of each of our faces. The fourth commandment is God saying to the Israelites, and now to us by the Spirit: one day a week stop, stop working, stop what you usually do the other six days a week, and make sure that not just you but your whole family has a Sabbath, and all of your animals, and all your employees, and even the non-Israelites among you, the immigrants and the refugees. Make sure everyone has a Sabbath, not just you. Sabbath is God’s gift for everyone in the world. The reason given for the Sabbath in the first presentation of the ten commandments in Exodus 20 is the Genesis creation story that tells us God created all that there is over six days and rested the seventh day. If God, our creator, takes a Sabbath, so should we, since we are all made in the image of God. In the second presentation of the ten commandments in Deuteronomy 5, the reason given for the Sabbath was the Exodus story that says the Israelites spent 400 years in Egyptian slavery without a day off, and that was no kind of life. Taking a Sabbath reminds us that we are not slaves to anyone or anything on earth, but people who have been liberated by God for a new kind of life. Devout Jews have been remarkably committed to keeping the Sabbath ever since Moses presented the ten commandments to the Israelites during their interim/transitional time in the Sinai, and right up to the present day. Keeping the sabbath is for a Jew a practical expression of one’s love for God. Sabbath-keeping is an integral part of Jewish identity. When you talk to devout Jewish people or read books or articles on Jewish practice of the Sabbath, you learn that Jewish families often mark the start of Sabbath with a Sabbath prayer and by lighting a candle in their home at sunset on Friday night and keeping it burning until sunset on Saturday, when it is extinguished with a Sabbath-ending prayer. During that 24 hours of Sabbath, devout Jews often attend worship together at the synagogue or temple, invite friends and family over to their homes to enjoy a pre-prepared meal, adults talk, children play games, older people take naps, couples make love, families go out into nature. Their weeks are divided into three parts: three days looking forward to Sabbath, one day keeping the Sabbath and three days reflecting back on how wonderful it was. For Jews who believe in an afterlife, sabbath is a weekly preview of the Paradise to come. Christians over the years have had divided opinions over what to do about Sabbath. Some say we need to take it as seriously as our Jewish neighbors. It is, after all, one of the ten commandments. It is given by the same God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Others see it as an ancient relic of our Jewish heritage that is no longer applicable under the new covenant of Christ, a law usurped by the gospel, except as a day for coming to church and worshiping. And yet we live in a time when so many of us complain about how busy we are, and complain about how little time we have to do the things we think are most important. Could it be that Sabbath in our day is God’s answer to our modern-day complaints about the scarcity of time? Jesus once said to religious leaders of his time who accused him of breaking the Sabbath, “The Sabbath was made for humankind, not humankind for the Sabbath.” Which is to say that Sabbath is God’s gift to us, not another institution we serve and become enslaved to. Why would we turn down a divine gift? As Presbyterians, you might be interested to know that the great church reformer, John Calvin, our spiritual forefather as Presbyterians, believed in keeping Sabbath. Once his preaching and pastoring duties had concluded on Sunday, he was known to go out in the streets of Geneva, Switzerland in the afternoon and sit down in the streets with the kids and play a game with them that was called at the time “Skittles.” I must confess that I did not take Sabbath seriously until my last year in seminary. My early religious education didn’t have much to say about it. When I got into seminary, I had so much work to do in seminary that I couldn’t get it done in 7 days, let alone six days. But one day I went to church and heard a really good sermon on keeping the Sabbath, and came home resolved to keep it, whatever the cost. And I found out through practical experience that I could do it. One day of rest and renewal, I found, made me a lot more efficient with my time on the other six days of the week. Sabbath is not primarily about making us more efficient in the world; I am just telling you that it had that practical benefit for me As your interim pastor, I would encourage you to take a weekly Sabbath. One day a week stop doing what you do five or six days a week, and do the things you don’t get to do the other six days. On your Sabbath, do those things that renew your relationship with God and with others, and rest and renew and restore yourself. Consider turning off all your electronics for a day. Sunday is an obvious potential Sabbath for many of us, but it doesn’t have to be—it’s a work day for me. Sabbath, in my view, can be any day, really, and it need not be a continuous 24 hour period, but could be broken up into six or 12-hour segments. The culture in which we live, and the work schedule imposed on some of us, I think, demands a certain flexibility when it comes to keeping Sabbath. And since Jesus reminds us that Sabbath is a gift, not a burdensome and unhappy religious obligation, we are free, as he was free in his time, to determine how best to receive and enjoy that divine gift. Sometimes retired people have asked me how best to keep a sabbath when every day of retirement seems like a Sabbath to them. My advice is figure out what you do six days a week, and one day a week don’t do any of those things. Do something different, something that will renew your relationship with God and with others, and will restore and renew yourself. To you who still have children at home, I will tell you from personal experience that keeping the sabbath will be different for you compared to what it is when you are an empty nester. I remember that when we had children at home, we called our Friday sabbath, “our special day”, and gave our children our full attention for the day, and took them out to do mostly fun free things that would be of interest to them. All grown up and married and living apart from us now, they both still fondly remember those special days. Ultimately, a willingness to keep Sabbath comes from a deep faith in God, a faith that knows that God runs the world, not us, which frees us up to let go one day a week and know beyond doubt that the world will be just fine without us. Now let’s switch over to the apostle Paul, and his guidance about our stewardship of time. Paul writes, “make the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but know what the will of God is. Do not” I take this as guidance from pastor Paul on what to do with your time the other six days a week. The message from Paul is that there is work to do in the world. There is evil to be overcome, and the will of God to carry out. We learn from Jesus Christ that it is the work of love that overcomes evil in the world, and we learn from Christ that the will of God is to love God with all one’s being and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. “Making the most of the time” means, then, being busy about the work of love. As I understand the sabbath, one day a week it is perfectly OK with God if we want to waste or squander that day. It’s perfectly OK if we want to day dream all day. It’s perfectly OK to lay in bed all day if you want to. It’s perfectly OK on the sabbath not to be productive, to not accomplish anything. On the Sabbath, you don’t owe anyone anything. Like Jesus, you may choose on the Sabbath to be engaged in the feeding or healing of people, but you’re not obligated to do so. Sabbath is mostly a day for stopping, resting, renewing, refreshing. But the other six days a week is another story. There is the work of love to be carried out in the world, and we are called by God, as Jesus was in his earthly life in the flesh, to pursue that work. Wasting those days is unthinkable for people of faith. Don’t get drunk with wine, Paul says. Drinking to the point of drunkenness, and sitting around all day in a drunken stupor, is unacceptable stewardship of your time in the Lord’s eyes. It is a waste of your God-given time, and it is living in denial of the great amount of human need that the work of evil has left behind. Rather, six days a week, go to work to love God, worshiping God, thanking God, praising God, serving God. Go to work to love and support and provide for your spouse and family and yourself. Go to work to love your church and your church family in the particular ways they need. Go to work to love those in your community, meeting them at their point of need. Go to work to love the poor by making sure they have the essentials of life. Go to work to love your neighbors and friends, putting their needs on par with your own. Go to work to love your enemies like Jesus did and taught, doing good to those who hate you, blessing those who curse you, praying for those who abuse you. How can we be good stewards, faithful managers of God’s gift of time? According to the scriptures, take one day a week to stop, rest, renew, restore. On the other six days a week make the most of the time, by going out to do the work of love, which puts us right back at the beginning: Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes How do you measure, measure a year? (and then the song asks) How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love. (Share love, give love, spread love) Measure in love, (Measure, measure your life in love)

  • “The Interdependent Church Family” (I Corinthians 12:1-31)

    I once took a church youth group on an activity called a “ropes course.” A ropes course, for those of you who don’t know, is a series of group challenges, usually out in the woods, where individuals in a group have to work together to get the whole group from point A to point B, while overcoming obstacles along the way. It’s a mental and physical challenge for a group that is really about team building. It helps bond the members of a group into a cohesive unit as they think and work together. Ropes course is something of a misnomer, in that not all the challenges involve ropes. The group I was with went through a series of warm-up challenges, none of which lasted more than 15 minutes, and they accomplished each of them without too much trouble. The last challenge was very different. This time they had to get the entire group of 15 to walk the length of a two-inch wide, 50-foot long balance beam. The balance beam began two feet off the ground, angled up and then to the right and then to the right again, plateaued at 4 feet off the ground and then angled back down again toward the ground. The rule was that the whole group had to stay connected the whole time, and the whole group had to walk the entire balance beam without anyone falling off. If someone did fall off, the entire group had to get off the beam, go back to the beginning and start all over again. The guide that day told us chaperones in a nice way to shut up and to stay out of it and not intervene or try to rescue in any way, no matter how frustrated the group might become. The guide assured us that in time they would figure it out without us, and they needed to figure it out apart from us. So I sat and watched the group struggle for an hour to get everyone the length of the balance beam without falling off. So picture, if you will, 15 youth all up on the balance beam, all lined up in a row, all holding hands, all trying to keep their own balance while helping others to keep theirs. I watched them for an hour try and fall off and try again and fall off again and get frustrated and try again and get tired and fall off again and try again. And as I watched I got a vision of what the church was meant to be, with all of its particular people and talents, and the vision was much like Paul’s vision that we read about in I Corinthians 12, where Paul sees the church as a human body, with each member being a unique part of the body, each playing their part, and each contributing to the health of the whole. I noticed immediately that in the youth group, natural leaders rose up. Certain members of the youth group just naturally took the lead, commanded attention, tried particular ideas, organized the group in certain ways. And there were others who were naturally content to be led and be more of a support people for the group. I noticed that some in the youth group were natural encouragers of others. They gave the group new energy and spurred them on. They wouldn’t let the group stop trying, but when the group got discouraged, mad, tired, and wanted to sit down, the encouragers would say, “OK, let’s go guys. Don’t quit. Keep trying. Let’s go back and try it all again.” And I could see the group responds to their encouragement. I noticed that some in the youth group were idea generators. When the group would try a particular strategy and fail, the idea generators were quick to suggest other approaches. They would say, “Let’s try alternating boy/girl/boy/girl.” And when that didn’t work, they’d say, “Let’s try alternating bigger people and smaller people.” And when that didn’t work they’d say, “Let’s alternate people facing one direction and others the opposite direction.” Or “let’s try putting our arms around each other’s waist or shoulders.” Or “let’s try this order of people.” The idea generators were always offering new options and possibilities. Then there were those in the group who were really good at being first in line, or at the end, or in the middle. When the group tried to put them in another place, they fell off. Some just naturally knew where their best place was, while others needed to be told where their place was. There were those youth who were particularly skilled at using their bodies. They were athletic, well balanced, and provided good anchors for the more wobbly. Others were better with their minds, thinking thoroughly through problems and challenges.

  • Giving Ourselves First to the Lord (Malachi 3:6-12; II Corinthians 8:1-15)

    You are about to become the recipient of my 34th annual stewardship of money sermon. I talk forthrightly about money to all the churches I pastor once a year because I believe that what we do or don’t do with our money is such a tell-tale sign of where we are in our relationship with God and with one another. Our money habits tell us if we are living by our faith in God or living out of fear or whether we are somewhere in-between, or whether we are living in a way that acknowledges God’s grace toward us or are oblivious to it, or whether God is our God or money is our god. If you want to know what you really believe in life, look at your checkbook and your daytimer. Those two things tell the story and do not lie to us. What you and I do with our money and our time says more about what we really believe and consider important than anything else. I am glad to have the apostle Paul with us this morning as we talk about money. As a pastor myself, I find it so interesting to see how Pastor Paul talked to the church at Corinth about money, which gives us a framework for talking about it ourselves. As far as we can piece together, Paul was taking up a collection from all of his churches to aid the poor Jewish Christians at the church in Jerusalem, who were going through some kind of crisis, probably one of the periodic famines that would hit the area. The church at Corinth had apparently made a pledge to participate in the collection, but they hadn’t fulfilled their pledge completely. So II Corinthians 8 is Paul trying to give them good reasons to fulfill that pledge. He’s inspiring and motivating them to actually give what they have pledged. Reminds me of the story of the pastor who said one Sunday to his congregation, “I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that the Lord has come through for this church in a big way and provided everything we need for next year’s budget.” This brought people to their feet clapping and yelling and high-fiving each other and slapping each other on the back. When they all settled down and everything got quiet again, the pastor said, “Now the bad news. All that money the Lord provided for next year’s budget, which was on its way to the church, for some reason or another got stuck in all of your pockets. This morning we’ve got to work together to try to jostle it loose!” Paul is trying to jostle loose the money the Corinthian church had pledged. Paul begins by telling them about the churches to the north of them in Macedonia, which would include the church at Philippi, to whom Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians. Those churches had come through for the collection in a spectacular way, even though they were economically in much worse shape than the Corinthians. The Macedonian Christians, Paul says, in spite of their poverty, had come through with a wealth of generosity, giving according to their means and even beyond their means, even begging Paul for the opportunity to share in the collection. Paul explains that they were able to do this because they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to Paul and his fellow church workers and the collection. It seemed almost like they had something akin to Jesus’ Garden of Gethsemene experience where they submitted themselves and their money and things first to the will of God, even if it conflicted with their own will. Once they gave themselves first to the Lord, they felt like the Lord was directing them to participate generously in Paul’s collection. So how we should we read this? Is this Paul’s idea of peer pressure? Is he using one group of churches to inspire another, or to shame another into action? Paul is no doubt setting up a comparison of some kind. Years ago I was with a group of 600 Presbyterian pastors at a national Presbyterian clergy retreat at the well known Snowbird Ski area and conference center near Salt Lake City Utah, where one of the speakers was Baptist preacher and college professor, Tony Campolo, who is entertaining and funny and serious, and something of a loose cannon. The planners of the retreat had come up with a particular theme for the retreat, but Tony decided we needed to be challenged more in the area of stewardship. He told us he had just received the previous week some statistics that showed that Presbyterians had the highest income per capita of all the Christian denominations in the United States, but they were among the lowest in giving to their churches when you look at giving as a percentage of income. Presbyterians, he reported to us, give to their churches an average of just 2 and ½% of their annual income. That information inspired him, he told us, to take the old time hymn “I Surrender All” and rewrite the lyrics to update it and make it more relevant to modern-day Presbyterians for this retreat. Then he said, “Now I am going to sing for you that rewritten hymn.” So picture if you will this huge auditorium, where 600 Presbyterian pastors are sitting listening to a Baptist preacher sing to them. Here is what I heard Tony sing that day: 2 and ½ percent to Jesus I surrender, 2 and ½ percent I freely give. I surrender 2 and ½ percent. I surrender 2 and ½ percent. 2 and ½ percent to Jesus I surrender. I surrender 2 and ½% Then he said, “Now help me here. Where are you Presbyterians getting this 2 and ½% business? Baptists and Presbyterians disagree on some things, but I think we all still read the same Bible, and the Bible I’ve read says nothing about 2 and ½%. It mentions 10% a number of times. It even talks about people who went above and beyond 10%, giving extravagantly. Zacchaeus gave 50%. Barnabas sold a property and gave 100% of the proceeds to the church. Mary gave up a whole year’s salary to anoint the feet of Jesus. All the disciples gave up 100% to follow Jesus. Tony was so serious and funny at the same time that I wasn’t sure at the time exactly how to take him. He might have been inspiring us and shaming us at the same time. But he did make us think that day about our own giving and whether our level of giving was something consistent with the Lord who is at the center of our faith, who though he was rich became poor for our sakes. He made us wonder whether our level of giving was consistent with the giving of the great cloud of witnesses who have lived the Christian life before us. He made us wonder whether our level of giving was consistent with people who had given themselves first to the Lord, like the churches in Macedonia. He made us wonder if we were being Biblical in our approach to giving, or just sort of making it up as we go. 2 and ½ percent. In those churches where I have had access to the full data, giving has been in that same range. And my observation is that level of giving has become comfortable for Presbyterians around the country. But that level of giving, I’ve also noticed, keeps Presbyterian churches chronically underfunded. I’ve worked with too many Finance Committees over the years who have to figure out what to cut from the church budget each year because their own members' giving leave them so strapped for cash. It gets discouraging and depressing. The churches I am in these days often want to know where they fall in comparison. In case you are wondering, Holy Cow Consulting said last year that the average giving in this church is 1 3/4% of income, which could be skewed by the fact that 300 people on the active church roll have given nothing to this church in at least the last two years. We Presbyterian Christians see our giving as a private decision we make apart from others, but be reminded that your private giving decisions have very public consequences for the church. I’d love to have at least one church sometime where all the programs the church feels called to provide are fully funded. I’d love to have a church that I could take on the road with me and brag about its generosity, just liked the apostle Paul bragged about the churches of Macedonia. The churches of Macedonia, Paul says, gave so generously in spite of their poverty because they gave themselves first to the Lord. Have you ever gone to the Lord in prayer and said, “Lord, my life, my money, my things, my talents, my time—they’re not really mine, all of these you gave to me, they belong to you, and now I give back to you what has been yours from the beginning. Now Lord, I’ve got my own ideas about what I want to do with them, but show me what you want me to do with all of them because I know that those things would be better.” That's what it means to give yourself first to the Lord. Then Paul gives a second reason to give. He writes, “I want you to excel at everything. You already excel at so much. Add generosity to all the things you already excel at.” I feel that way about Central Pres. You do so many things well. But unless all those things are undergirded by a spirit of generosity among all the members, unless everyone is fully invested in this church, including financially, you risk not doing all those other things so well in the years ahead. Churches, in order to thrive, need to be hitting on all cylinders, including generous giving. As Paul says, as you excel at other things, excel also in giving. Paul’s third reason for wanting them to give is that he is testing the genuineness of their love, and Paul wants them to pass the love test. Love was defined by Jesus Christ, Paul reminds us, who though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty we might become rich. In other words, love, as defined by Jesus Christ, is about divesting yourself of what you have, giving yourself and your things away for others, sharing your abundance with others. Paul called it Christ’s generous act. In our scripture this morning, the apostle Paul uses the Greek word “Charis” five different times. Charis means grace or the free gift, something we do not work for or earn or compete for. It is just given to us. I love the story of the businessman from New York who drives south on business for the first time. He sees a billboard for a restaurant advertising authentic southern cooking. He wants to immerse himself in the culture so he pulls off and goes in and orders several items off an ala carte menu. When he gets his plate, he identifies everything he's ordered except one thing, and so he asks the waitress, "What's this white grainy gloppy stuff on my plate?" And she says, "That's grits." And he says, "Grits? I didn't order any grits." And she says, "Oh, well, you don't order it, it just comes." Well, there's a great definition for God's grace: you don't order it, it just comes. Paul uses the Greek word Charis to refer both to the grace we have received in Christ, and the grace we give to others as a faithful response to the grace we have received from Christ. The grace, or free gift, that was given to us was Jesus Christ, and when we finally realize how great the grace that was given to us in Christ, we become grace to others, we give ourselves and our things away to others because Christ gave himself away for us. We give generously when we catch the vision of a world imbued with God’s grace in Christ. I have a feeling that the churches of Macedonia were able to give so generously because they had caught the vision of the grace-filled world Christ had introduced and had become in faithful response the embodiment of God’s grace to the church in Jerusalem. So when Paul says that he is testing the genuineness of their faith, he is trying to find out if they have yet learned to love like Christ, which means divesting oneself and one’s things for the benefit of others. The fourth and final reason Paul offers as to why they should give has to do with his understanding of what the new life in Christ teaches us to do whenever we end up with an abundance of money. When we experience abundance Paul understands through Christ that it is meant for sharing. In our American experience whenever we enjoy an abundance of money, we feel a cultural pressure to expand our lifestyle. Paul sees abundance through the lens of Christ as an opportunity to share. With the churches of Macedonia, we ask you to give yourself first to the Lord and then to the church. With Paul we want you to catch the vision of the grace-filled world introduced by Christ. We ask you to excel at generosity as much as you excel at so many things as a church. We ask that you give at a level that expresses the genuineness of your love for Christ and the church. We ask that you give at a level worthy of your high calling in Jesus Christ, who showed us how to live this earthly life when he who was rich became poor so that all of us might be rich. We ask that you share your abundance with your church this year. You have all kinds of causes you can give to and you do. I do, too. At this time in my life, I, too, am accumulating churches and others worthy causes to give to. I ask that you favor Central Pres church in your giving this year, not because other causes are less worthy, but because you as a church will be starting a new chapter together with a new installed senior pastor new church staff. The Lord is doing a new thing among you. Now undergird that newness with a new generosity in your giving. Fully fund the new thing that is happening so that all this newness has a chance to really take root and remake this church according to what the Lord intends for it. I am asking those of you who have gotten in the habit of giving little or nothing to the church to start giving to the church according to your means, as Paul puts it. And I am asking those of you who have been so faithful in your giving all along to consider stepping up your giving this year. If you are invested in the stock market, remember that you are having yet another big banner year. How much should you give to the church this year? The answer will be different for every one of you. But I think the apostle Paul has just the right approach: give yourselves first to the Lord, just like the churches of Macedonia, and then give to Central Pres what you sense the Lord is calling you to give. And as Presbyterian Christians let us remember especially the challenging words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

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  • Children's Ministries | Central Presbyterian

    Children's Ministries CPC Kids Calendar Welcome to CPC Kids! We are excited to have you as a part of our program. The 2022-2023 school year is filled with service opportunities, Bible study opportunities, and fellowship opportunities. We hope that you will join us! You can find our calendar by clicking HERE ! Sunday School & Worship Nursery and childcare is provided for infants up to 3 years old during Sunday School Classes and Worship. (9:15 - 11:45 AM) ​ Sunday mornings at Central are full of great opportunities for children! We offer two Sunday School classes each Sunday for children beginning at 9:15.​ Both classes begin in the kids' room for fellowship time (Second Floor of the Education Building). Then, we break off into small groups for Bible study time. Join Mrs. Jennifer down front each Sunday for a special moment for children in the worship service!​ Three, four, and five year olds are then invited to go to Children's Church, their own special worship serve! Here they are invited to listen to a Bible story, sing, take offering, enjoy a snack, and finish with an activity or craft. Children return to the Sanctuary during the last hymn. ​ Check out our weekly Sunday School lessons! This is a great resource for those who may be traveling, or are not comfortable with in person worship. If you have any questions or need any resources please reach out to Jennifer Poag (jenniferpoag@centralpresby.com ). Click here for this week's lesson! Wednesday Afternoons on the Bridge Our fall semester is going on now! It is not too late to be a part of all the fun. Contact Jennifer Poag if you are interested in participating! All the fun begins at CPC at 2:45 each week. ​ Children will arrive and have time for fellowship, games, homework, and snack. Then, they will rotate through their faith formation classes and choir. Click HERE to see the full schedule! Please pick up your child at 5:25 each week. ​ For more information about our Wednesday Programs for Kids, contact our Children's Director - Jennifer Poag . ​ For more information specifically regarding Children's Choirs, contact our Music Director - Mandy Keathley . Children's Choirs Gloria Choir (Ages 3 - 4) ​ The Gloria Choir is for children ages 3 and 4. This choir focuses on introducing the joy of music to our youngest members as they learn the basics of music. This choir participates in worship several times throughout the year. ​ The Gloria Choir rehearsals are led by Mary Nickles, and take place on Wednesday afternoons from 4:45-5:25 PM beginning in September and concluding in May of each year. ​ Alleluia Choir (Kindergarten - 2nd grade) ​ The Alleluia Choir is for children in Kindergarten through the 2nd grade, and teaches children more advanced concepts of music, including the basics of rhythm and reading music. In addition, the children begin to learn preparation required to lead worship. This choir participates in worship several times throughout the year. ​ The Alleluia Choir rehearsals are led by Mary Nickles, and take place on Wednesday afternoons beginning in September and concluding in May of each year. ​ ​ Jubilee Choir (3rd grade - 5th grade) ​ The Jubilee Choir is for children in the 3rd through the 5th grade. This choir builds on foundations learned in the Gloria and Alleluia Choirs as the children focus on skills involving reading music, singing in unison, and singing two-part music. This choir also learns to provide worship leadership for several worship services throughout the year. ​ The Jubilee Choir, along with the Acolytes, provide the leadership for the Children's Worship Service held each fall at Central. ​ The Jubilee Choir rehearsals are led by our Director of Music, Mandy Keathley , and take place on Wednesday afternoons beginning in September and concluding in May of each year. ​ We can't wait for this wonderful event! If you are willing to help by decorating your car and passing out candy please click HERE to sign up! Sign up here: https://onrealm.org/centralpresby/PublicRegistrations/Event?linkString=YmE2NTY4MTgtNjA2Zi00MzRlLWJiNzMtYWVmMzAxMmM3NWI5

  • Adult Ministries | Central Presbyterian

    Adult Ministries Sunday School Classes Adult Education and Formation “Reach, Nurture, Serve” August thru Sept 4th is a conversation on I Thessalonians and Christian Community. All are invited to come learn and reflect. 9:15 – Gather in the Fellowship Hall for coffee and refreshments 9:30 – The lesson begins Individual Classes resume meeting September 11th at 9:15am & 9:30am Click here for more information. Save the Date! Those interested in joining a small group or learning more about them are invited to an event on Sunday, August 28th at 6PM in the Fellowship Hall. Come enjoy dinner, music and conversation. Childcare provided. Click here to Register! Reach. Nurture. Serve Men & Women's Groups Groups Meeting Monthly: Presbyterian Women Esther Circle **NEW** Joanna Circl e Mary Circle ​ Groups Meeting Weekly: Central Sisters Men's Bible Study Men's Bible Study Yard Crew ​ Other Groups: Grief Support Group When: ​ 2nd Monday 2nd Monday 1st Monday ( unless holiday, then 2nd) ​ ​ Wednesday Afternoons Wednesday Mornings Thursday Evenings Thursdays Mornings ​ 1st & 3rd Mondays of the month at 6:30PM Time: ​ 6:30 pm 2:00 pm 1:30 pm ​ ​ 4:30 PM 6:30 AM 8:00 PM ​ ​ Parlor Place: Meeting Room Meeting Room Meeting Room ​ ​ Parlor Bagel Shop TBA Centralities The Centralities are our group of 60+ older adults. They meet for lunch and a program several times a year, as well as making periodic trips to plays, musicals, and places of interest. ​ For more information, please contact Reverend Noelle Read . ​ Centralite Event All are invited to the Centralites’s Fall luncheon on October 11th at 12 PM in the Fellowship Hall. In addition to the great ‘Reveal” of the new name for Centralites, our guest speaker will be Meteorologist Sydney Sullivan from WYFF 4. She will bring useful information regarding the changing weather and share her faith journey. You don’t want to miss it! Lunch is $10. Please Click here to Register or call the Church Office at 864-226-3468. Prayer Shawl Our Prayer Shawl Ministry is an extension of the same ministry established in 1998 by Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo, graduates of the Women's Leadership Institute at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. Much like these knitted and crocheted mantles grow one stitch at a time, this spiritual practice has organically grown and spread throughout the community. As the yarn passes through our hands, we pray for the recipient of each piece, whether the person is known to us or not. Our spiritual lives deepen from our meditations as we create the shawls, and we continue to forge new connections in our prayer and process of giving prayer shawls. Prayer shawls are given for comfort or celebration; to mark life changes; and in love and friendship. They symbolize loving hugs, being surrounded by prayer, and the shelter of God's care. Patterns and colors are not chosen just for beauty, but often because of their particular symbolic meanings. To learn more, explore the official website of this outreach. ​ Prayer shawl meets twice a month on the first Thursday at 10 AM, and the third Thursday at 5:30 PM. ​ All ages are welcome! Grief Group Grief Group is a ministry outreach of Central Presbyterian Church in Anderson, SC. It is group dedicated to welcoming those who are grieving a loss and maintaining a safe space to share with and support others who grieve. The group is open to the public and seeks to meet members where ever they are in their grief. The group meets on the first and third Mondays of the month at 6:30 in the Church Parlor at Central Presbyterian Church. Please contact Reverend Noelle H. Read at noelleread@centralpresbyterian.com or via phone at 864-226-3468 for more information or directions to the Parlor. You are not alone

  • About Us | Central Presbyterian Church in Anderson, SC

    About Central Presbyterian Church Central Presbyterian Church is a vibrant community of Christian faith in Anderson South Carolina. We are a PC(USA) denomination and a member of the Foothills Presbytery. Our History Central Presbyterian Church of Anderson, SC was organized as a congregation on September 23, 1900 by what was then known as the South Carolina Presbytery. Two years later, the church had completed a beautiful facility on the corner of North Main and West Orr Street, which held the first service on December 28, 1902. This building served the church for 55 years, at which time church growth and space constraints in the downtown area led the congregation to purchase property and build a new church on North Boulevard in its current location. On September 8, 1957, the church began holding services in its new facilities. Another major addition and renovation was completed in 2000, as the church completed its first century. Our Programs Central began sponsoring Boy Scout Troop 84 in 1928 and has been doing so for 93 years now. In 2014, the church added sponsorship of Cub Scout Pack 15. A Weekday Kindergarten and Preschool began in 1960 and is still going strong 61 years later. A Mother's Morning Out program has been added to serve infants and toddlers, and a very successful summer children's program known as "Summer Fun". Vacation Bible School is also a highlight of each summer. A group for older adults, known as the Centralities, was started in the early 1970's and continues to be active. Central Presbyterian Church is blessed with strong youth and children's programs. A fine music program includes choirs for children, youth, and adults, as well as handbell choirs. The church is very involved in local and international mission projects and has an annual "Over and Above" mission drive to assist in the funding of such projects. A number of church members through the years have been called into the ministry, the mission field, and the field of Christian education. Faith Statement We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve. ​ God comes to us in free and undeserved favor in the person of Jesus Christ who lived, died, and rose for us that we might belong to God and serve Christ in the world. Following Jesus, Presbyterians are engaged in the world and in seeking thoughtful solutions to the challenges of our time. Presbyterians affirm that God comes to us with grace and love in the person of Jesus Christ, who lived, died, and rose for us so that we might have eternal and abundant life in him. As Christ's disciples, called to ministry in his name, we seek to continue his mission of teaching the truth, feeding the hungry, healing the broken, and welcoming strangers. God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, giving us the energy, intelligence, imagination, and love to be Christ's faithful disciples in the world. More than two million people call the Presbyterian Church (USA) their spiritual home. Worshiping in 10,000 Presbyterian congregations throughout the United States, they engage the communities in which they live and serve with God's love. Our Staff Dr. Michael York Senior Pastor Mail icon Rev. Noelle Read Associate Pastor Mail icon Jackie Lollis Office Administrator Mail icon Get in touch with us. We'd love to hear from you! Mandy Keathley Music Director mail icon Annette Martin Organist Jennifer Poag Director of Children's Ministries mail icon Stephen Price Director of Youth and Young Adults Mail Icon Lisa Moorhead Co-Director Preschool/Kindergarten Mail Icon Shirley Stayanoff Co-Director Preschool/Kindergarten mail icon Gray Watson Facilities, Grounds, & Recreation Manager Icon of an envelope Our Leaders Deacons ​ Class of 2022 Sue Caswell Chris Corley David Poag Blythe Smith ​Class of 2023 Vicki Anderson Mary Ann Epting Jeanette McCord Libby Middleton ​Class of 2024 April Cameron Jan Hinchman Metra Lehmann Laurie Stroup Elders ​ Class of 2022 Rick Anderson Dan Buchanan Bucky Cole Rebecca Parker Bill Reno Lian Rines Leigh Watson Class of 2023 Carl Epting Ansley Chambers Harold Gilbert Dave McCord Marion Middleton Mary Nickles Josh Pannell Class of 2024 Jimmy Anderson Kyle Anderson Amy Cianciolo Randy Fischer Karen Hancock Trey Thomas John Waters Church Directory Central has a wonderful family, and this password-protected directory can help keep you in touch with our growing congregation! Church members are welcome to call the church office to request the easy to remember password. Click below to download your copy. Download the App

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