Blog Archives

Pastor’s July Column

Summer is here and with it, changes in schedules at work, school and church. But there is also a lot going on at HPC.

By early July, you will begin to see construction trucks around the church as the renovation of the Pleune-Mobley Center begins! Months of planning with architects and our general
contractor have come to an end, and the Session has authorized the Property Committee to sign contracts for this project. Once they begin, the total renovation will take approximately 13 months. KRM has re-located a few staff members (mostly the immigration attorneys) off-site because of their need for privacy, but the rest will
remain in place and working while their new offices are completed. We have already moved our two programs (STITCH and Women of the World or WOW) to the downstairs dining room.

Here is an update from Property Committee Chair, Bill Wade.

The Property Committee is pleased to announce the next phase in our construction projects.

This exciting work will include:

  • Renovation of the First and Second Floor for our mission partners, Ky Refugee Ministries
  • Renovation of space on the First Floor to create additional classroom/seminar rooms for HPC and other use on the Highland Ave end of the building close to the existing Session Room.
  • Removal of the exiting metal fire escape on the exterior.
  • Creating a new ramp into the building from the Highland Ave. side.
  • Creation of new space for the STITCH group on the 3rd floor.
  • Extending the exiting elevator to the 3rd floor.
  • Expanding the geo-thermal field to complete the HVAC system and provide air conditioning through the entire building and remove the archaic boiler system for heating the building.
  • Gym refresh with new floor, paint and lighting.

What can you do to help? This 16-month construction period will cause some inconveniences and messy situations that will require patience, but by keeping our “eye’s on the prize” we will finally have the facility that was envisioned so many years ago when we bought the building.  Making your Capital Campaign pledge payment early will allow us to continue to pay for this without the use of borrowed money, keeping our overall costs down.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me. You can reach me at bill.wade@gmail.com.

 

Cynthia Campbell, Pastor

 

June Pastor’s Column

Pentecost Sunday is June 4. It is a literally “red letter day” for the church, and we encourage everyone to wear something red to worship that day in honor of the celebration. Pentecost is so named because it is fifty days after Easter and the day when we remember the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the gathered disciples. We sometimes call it “the birthday of the church,” because according to Acts, this is what launched the Christian movement. Pentecost was already a Jewish pilgrimage festival (which is why Jerusalem was full of people). It was also called the “Feast of Weeks,” or Shavuot. It celebrated the spring wheat harvest but by the first century, it also commemorated the giving of the Law to Israel on Mt. Sinai.
The color red is associated with the tongues of fire that the disciples said rested on each of them (Acts 2:3). Fire also figured prominently in God’s appearance on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 24:17). The presence of God is also described as being like a rushing or mighty wind. This is not surprising, because the Hebrew word for Spirit also means “breath” and “wind.” Both of these images can be comforting: a fire warms a room on a chilly night and a cool breeze moderates the summer sun. But both fire and wind can be extremely destructive. Both can do great damage to life and property. Both, in fact, can kill.
Most of us think about God more in terms of comfort than destruction. We generally pray for consolation rather than devastation. But Pentecost is the day when it is surely right for us to consider God’s presence in our lives as disruptive. There is so much in our lives and in this world that needs to be shaken up and changed. Around the world, across town and not ever very far away, people do not have enough to eat or safe places to call home. Racism and prejudice keep people from treating one another with respect and compassion. We do not adequately protect the planet entrusted to our care.
Perhaps this is the year when we pray that God will come to us as Holy Spirit, we will be open to God’s disruptive presence, opening our eyes where we are blind to the needs of the vulnerable and changing our lives so that we might become part of God’s transforming justice and deep peace.

Wind of God, blow far from us

all dark despair and deep distress,

all false values and selfish wishes

all groundless fears and sinful desires.

Blow into us

your holy presence and living love,

your splendid courage and mighty strength,

you perfect peace and boundless joy.

Wind of God, blow strong, blow fresh, blow new. Amen.

(adapted from The Worship Sourcebook)

Cynthia M. Campbell

 

May Pastor’s Column

Just before Holy Week, I was invited to participate in a consultation on the future of Sunday or Sabbath observance. During the consultation, I was reminded of one of the most important     religious books written in the 20th century. It is “The Sabbath,” by Abraham Joshua Heschel. Heschel was an Orthodox rabbi who escaped the Nazis and made his home in New York City. He became a prolific teacher and author who opened traditional Jewish teaching to an English-speaking and Christian world. One of his main points in this short book is that Sabbath observance (the immensely counter-cultural notion that we take one day out of every seven to refrain from labor – what we must do to live – in order to rest, renew,  refocus and celebrate) was what kept the Jewish people alive when they had no homeland and nowhere to     locate their national identity.

 

When the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70CE, the Jewish people lost the center, the focal point of their worship and their identity. No building ever replaced the Temple. What took its place, Heschel argued, was what he called “the architecture of time.” When the Jews no longer had a shared sacred space, they built a shared sacred time – a time that was described as a remembrance of both the completion of creation (God     rested on the 7th day of creation) and the liberation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt (because only free people can decide not to work).

 

The consultation reminded me that we do not talk about this ancient and venerable practice as much as we should. Sabbath practice is not just taking time off or a vacation or shutting out the world. Sabbath is fundamentally a community practice – whether we do it together or alone. It is marking a day as “holy to God” and then deciding how we will cultivate a recognition of God’s presence in our lives. The Sabbath is our opportunity to stop being busy so that we may: worship God (take time to experience God’s presence and respond to God with thanks and praise); experience the blessing of “beloved community” and of family; and rest from the       incessant demands of work and media. Without insisting on imposing Sabbath observance on others, we might choose to spend our time in such a way that does not require others to labor on our behalf.

 

The traditional Sabbath greeting is, “Shabbat shalom.” The peace of the Sabbath be with you. May it be for us.

 

Cynthia M. Campbell, pastor

 

April Pastor’s Column

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. These words are called the “Memorial Acclamation” and we say (or sing) them as part of the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. When we use them, we affirm the core of Christian faith and we sum up our understanding of time. We remember the past. We live in the present. We look forward to the future. We believe that Jesus is Immanuel – God with us and God for us. His death is, as Paul says in Romans 5:8, the “proof” of God’s love for us and for the world. Christ has died: we remember Jesus’ death for us each time we come to the Lord’s Supper.

Christian faith is not just about something that happened long ago and far away. Christ is risen. Jesus is available to us now because, by the power of God, he is alive. We come to the Lord’s Table not to re-enact the Upper Room but to meet our Risen Lord as did his disciples on the Emmaus Road (see Luke 24:13f). When we break bread and share the cup, the Risen Christ is really present to us and among us, as we are invited into deeper relationship with one another and with him.

Christian faith is also about the future. This world and our own lives are not yet how we hope they will be. We live in a broken and fearful world. The signs of this are all around: poverty, hunger, disease, war, isolation, fear. But we know that this is not what God wants for us or for any of God’s beloved children. Thus, we confess that the day is coming when God will bind up the broken and the broken-hearted, when justice will roll down like mighty waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Because we trust God’s vision for the future, we say that Christ will come again.

Holy Week (April 9-16) is the time when this affirmation comes alive. We are invited to walk through this story. We remember Jesus’ last night with his closest followers on Maundy Thursday, and we are reminded of his command that we should love one another as he has loved us. We experience the tragedy of his death and encounter again the depth of God’s love for us on Good Friday. At the Easter Vigil (on Saturday evening), we remember the whole story of God and how the promises made long ago are fulfilled in Jesus and bring us the gift of new life. On Easter Sunday, we gather to proclaim that Christ is risen indeed!

Once again, Highland will mark this journey of faith during Holy Week. This is your opportunity to deepen your relationship with God and experience Christ alive in our midst. Please join us.

Maundy Thursday 7pm: the service will include foot-washing (for those who wish) and the Lord’s Supper. Music by the Chancel Choir and Matt Nickel preaching.

Good Friday – 7pm: the reading of the Passion of our Lord according to John and prayers for the whole world. Music by the Alpha and Omega Choirs and Doodle Harris preaching.

The Easter Vigil – 6:30pm: a re-telling of the story of God and God’s people, renewal of our baptismal   covenant, celebration of the Lord’s Supper and a feast following. Special music led by a variety of musicians and David Gambrell preaching.

A blessed Holy Week to you all. Cynthia Campbell

 

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