Lent / Easter Messenger 2021

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Lent / Easter | 2021

Photo by Dave Tavani

Letter from the Pastor

Looking Back and Hoping Forward During a preaching conference many years ago, I remember the wise New Testament scholar, Fred Craddock, reminding a group of seasoned pastors, “You do not fully experience something until you remember it.” The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is not really communion until we remember Jesus took bread and blessed it saying, This is my body broken for you. A wedding anniversary means little without recollection of vows made and kept. A vacation is not fully experienced until the pictures are shared or the stories told when it’s over. We anticipate things happening, we live through them, and yet they are not fully experienced until they are remembered. The common expression, “hindsight is 20/20” seems a cruel irony following our last year, but we would be remiss not to remember it and reflect on some of what we have learned about ourselves, our community, country and church. The pandemic’s tragic death toll, the isolation and loneliness, and the worry and sadness also gave way to moments of self-discovery. We have a new perspective on how vital being in incarnate community is for our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. The terror we have witnessed in the killings of black and brown people and the raid on the U.S. Capitol has raised our consciousness anew about systemic racism and the rising number of white supremacists ready to wage domestic war. We have been challenged anew to repent of our complicity and engage in the hard work of anti-racism. I hope we will emerge from the pandemic with greater appreciation for the company of others, with new skills for creating community, and with a renewed sense of calling for how we can claim our faith and be engaged in God’s work of peace and justice. For all the past year’s complications of closings, changes in daily rhythms and having to depend on virtual forms of communication and connection, some good things will be carried forward. Our Sanctuary is equipped for livestreaming so that you can be anywhere and tune into worship. We will continue to have some online presence for participants near and far. And I imagine no one will take for granted hearing the organ swell and singing hymns together to the glory of God. These are just a few things that come to mind as I remember, reflect and ponder both the hardships and good things that will accompany our coming out of a challenging, complicated, tragically sad and yet amazingly resourceful year. I look forward to brighter days ahead and being together again to hear what you have experienced and remembered, and what you hope to carry with you from 2020 into the future. Grace and Peace,

2 Lent Easter Messenger 2021

One Great Hour of Sharing


Jesus says in Matthew 25, the Church belongs with those in need — with those suffering from natural and human-caused disasters; with those lacking access to food, water and healthcare; and with those struggling for justice, righteousness and peace. Through our gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing, one of the four annual Special Offerings of the Presbyterian Church (USA), we are there because we are the Church, together. Received during the season of Lent, each gift to One Great Hour of Sharing helps improve the lives of the suffering and the vulnerable through three lifesaving programs: Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program and Self-Development of People. You can give to OGHS by sending a check directly to the church with OGHS in the memo line, or by giving through our online giving page: https://onrealm.org/bmpc/give/OGHS

New Members

Alexandra Lastowski Philadelphia

Nick and Sara Spuhler Haverford

Want to know more about BMPC? We invite you to get to know our community better by becoming a part of our Discover BMPC classes. These classes will give you the opportunity to learn about our denomination,

Joe VanderVeer Newtown Square

Dorothy “Dee” Welge Haverford

our Reformed tradition, and our sense of Christian Ministry. For more information or to register, contact FrankPottorff@bmpc.org. 3

2021 Lenten Devotional –


the Writings of the Apostle Paul

struggles of the early Christian communities were just as often interpersonal questions as they were theological questions. Christianity as a faith was coming into its own, but these new Christians also were trying to figure out what it actually meant to be a Christian community. The letters the Apostle Paul wrote to the earliest churches give us some insight into their questions, their conflicts, and their daily practices.

This Lenten season, members of our congregation, staff, youth, artists, and this year for the first time, children of our church, have offered their own reflections on the writings of Paul to these early churches, gleaning faith and wisdom for us today. Reflecting on portions of his letters to the churches in Rome, Corinth, Colossi and Philippi, we can hear echoes of the same questions that we have as a church and as people today: What does it mean to practice forgiveness? How can we value the diversity of our community and the diverse gifts that each person brings? How do we do all things with love in the face of the evil we encounter? How do we trust in the 4 Lent Easter Messenger 2021

unbreakable love of God, and how do we orient all that we do to the glory of Christ Jesus? We are especially delighted that members of our Third Grade Sunday School class have contributed to the devotions this year. While we were unable to offer the usual celebration this past fall when they received their Bibles, these students have spent the past several months in Zoom Sunday School classes becoming budding biblical scholars, and their insights into these epistles reflect the hard work they have been doing. You can receive the 2021 Lenten Devotional in a few different ways. Hard copies of the Devotional will be available in the pick-up bins outside the main entrance to the Chapel. You also can download a PDF of the devotional from the “Season of Lent” page on our website, or you can email CherylJu@bmpc.org to sign up to receive a daily email during Lent that includes that day’s devotion.

THE RICHARD SHAULL GRANT FOR MISSION 2021 Recipient: Forman Christian College, Lahore, Pakistan


orman Christian College was founded in 1864 by Presbyterian missionary Dr. Charles Forman. Today, FCCU is a Chartered University, setting its curriculum and modeled on a western-style liberal arts university with an enrollment of approximately 8,300 men and women, Christians, Muslims and other minorities. It is a unique model of interfaith harmony in a country where little of this is common. The mission of Forman Christian College is to impart, create and disseminate knowledge and to develop informed, ethical and responsible citizens who are prepared and committed to learn, lead, serve and exemplify the FCCU motto, “By love serve one another.” The Richard Shaull funding primarily will renovate a building adjacent to the campus which will become a hostel accommodating at least 88 Forman female students. Other elements of the project include launching a community counseling program in the form of a psychological services center managed by faculty and staff from the Forman Psychology Department; and continuation of a modest school for special needs children, including those with Down syndrome.

The Richard Shaull Mission grant was established in 2004 as a celebration of the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Richard Shaull. He lived a life of service to the global church as an educator, theologian, mission worker and author. Shaull had a deep belief in the possibility of radical change on both social and personal levels and spent his life working with others toward the realization of this dream.

All three elements of the program are complementary in that the school benefits local children; the psychological services center will be available to the families of special needs children attending the school who often need it; and the female students living in the hostel will have opportunities for volunteer service at both the school and counseling center. Taken together, all three of these activities will support the longstanding Forman motto: “By love serve one another.” It is often said that education is one of the best paths to empowerment in any country. This is especially the case in Pakistan where women and girls face discrimination and attend school in disproportionately lower numbers. This project directly addresses that concern, providing immediate opportunities for women to attend Forman while also affording a lifetime of opportunities afterward; Forman’s female graduates use their education to shape and improve not only their own lives but also the lives of their families, communities and country. The psychological services center being developed is especially innovative because it will be available to support the urgent needs of the Christian community, a disadvantaged group within the context of Pakistan. Indeed, this center will be especially innovative and unique, providing a space for traumatized Christians who face discrimination in all walks of life while also helping to build a network for training, research and practical assistance, thereby strengthening and empowering the Christian community in a variety of ways.


A very heartfelt thank you is extended to the supporters of the 2020 Advent Gift Market. As a result of the many donations made in honor of loved ones and friends, $43,075 was distributed to the organizations listed below. Due to the COVID situation this year, we had no in-person AGM activities; all giving was conducted remotely. Despite the restrictions, supporters were enthusiastic and generous, and this year’s total represents an increase of $14,741 from the 2019 AGM totals! These donations enabled BMPC to continue to aid those in need locally, nationally, and throughout the world.




West Philadelphia Alliance for Children Sponsored by Adult Education Council

BMPC Hunger Ministries Sponsored by Hunger Committee

Gemma Services Sponsored by Presbyterian Women

Middleton Counseling Center Sponsored by Board of Deacons


Heeding God’s Call $1,325 Sponsored by Peacemaking Committee

The Welcome Church Sponsored by Children & Family Ministries Council


Jane Addams Place $1,860 Sponsored by Peacemaking Committee

Urban Tree Connection Sponsored by Environmental Justice Committee


Trees of Life Sponsored by Environmental Justice Committee

West Kensington $1,910 Ministry Immigrant Support Sponsored by Refugee Support Committee

ElderNet $2,355 Sponsored by Senior Adult Council


Beyond Borders Sponsored by Worldwide Ministries Committee


National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon Sponsored by Worldwide Ministries Committee


Philadelphia Musicians Relief Fund Sponsored by Music and Fine Arts


Broad Street Ministry Sponsored by Outreach Committee


West Kensington $2,850 Bethel AME Church of Ardmore $3,530 Ministry Food Support Sponsored by BMPC Youth Ministries Sponsored by Outreach Committee 6 Lent Easter Messenger 2021

Youth Ministry Weekly Programming

On Sunday mornings our Confirmation class meets via Zoom at 9:00, led by Pastor Leigh and four incredible small group leaders. At 10:30 middle school and high school students also meet via Zoom separately, with their own leaders. Middle schoolers are going through a survey of the New Testament, and high schoolers are continuing their series on “How to Read the Bible.”

Rainbow Reindeer Games This past holiday season youth members gathered in person for the firstever Rainbow Reindeer Games! Youth and adult volunteers donned painter suits, gloves, masks and goggles and then (in two different groups at two different times!) took part in an afternoon of games, silliness and an epic color powder fight. It was a fantastic way for our youth to get together safely and just have some fun... and there is talk of this becoming an annual event.

Summer Programming The Youth Ministry is hopeful the BMPC youth group can return to Camp Kirkwood this coming summer — possibily at the end of July and early August! Stay tuned to the Youth eNews and social media to make sure you hear about potential Kirkwood options!

On Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m., middle schoolers are invited to participate in Middle School Mid-Week Meet-Up via Zoom. After a game, youth share their highs and lows with one another. Then they dive into imaginative prayer or gratitude practice together and conclude by praying together. High schoolers are invited to Student Serve, where youth delve into topics such as love and relationships, grace and gratitude, and prejudice and discrimination, particularly how we as Christians are called to work for justice. Depending on the COVID-19 infection rate, youth meet either via Zoom or in person, masked and socially distanced, in Pastor Leigh’s backyard. Youth also have been invited to participate in BMPC food drives, toiletry drives, and more. On Youth Sunday in February, our youth led the worship service and took a pivotal role in supporting the Souper Bowl of Caring, where they collected food for local food banks in conjunction with the BMPC Hunger Committee. For more information about Youth Ministry Happenings, email Pastor Leigh at Leigh DeVries@bmpc.org.


Even in the midst of the pandemic our teenagers are finding ways to build relationships, learn about Christ, and serve in our communities!




Renovations in the Ministries Center are progressing smoothly. Congregational Hall renovations are almost finished, the roof between the Ministries Center and Sanctuary has been completely removed, and several rooms in the Ministries Center are in the process of being transformed.

Exterior between Ministries Center and Sanctuary

Witherspoon Parlor


Exterior between Ministries Center and Sanctuary

Congregational Hall


Ramp in Ministries Center 8 Lent Easter Messenger 2021

Ministries Center Court

Conference Room and Hallway

Congregational Hall

Exterior of Ministries Center

Sanctuary Entrance Door

Fine Arts Offices

Exterior between Ministries Center and Sanctuary

Conference Room 9



ome base. That is how Peter Odiorne describes what Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church means to him since becoming a member in 1986. Home base is a fitting phrase because it also relates to Peter’s passion for sports. His video production and filmmaking career has taken him to well-known sports venues such as Fenway Park in Boston, Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia and the Superdome in New Orleans. He also has had the opportunity to work with many athletes from the NFL, NBA, NASCAR and the PGA. “I’ve really been blessed with getting inside places and getting to work with a lot of interesting people in the sports world, so that’s been pretty neat.” Peter also has crossed paths with celebrities such as Jeff Bridges, Aidan Quinn, David Bowie and Kris Kristofferson. But for Peter with celebrities and pro athletes pales in comparison to the opportunities to talk with the pastors at BMPC. “I’ve met celebrities, but I mean this truly, none of them wow me as much as the pastors at my church,” he said. “They are the rock stars in my book. I would pick their brains and hang out with them to the point where they would want to run away from me. I would enjoy hanging out with them more than any celebrities or athletes I’ve worked with. It’s true. This is where I am in my life.” Peter helped create the recent Christmas Eve worship service video, and he produced the This Time, This Place capital campaign video in 2019, a project that he is particularly proud of because it helped raise the funds that BMPC needed to 10 Lent Easter Messenger 2021

renovate the Education Building and Ministries Center. “It was really great to see all the people who were putting so much work into (the campaign), the various boards and the staff, and outside contractors they brought in,” Peter said. “To see the whole community come together to make such an extraordinary effort was really, really humbling.” Although the renovations are still in progress, it has been satisfying for Peter to see the results of the capital campaign. “To drive by the church and see the Education Building the way it is, and see the Chapel Garden done, and see the way they are connecting the Sanctuary to the Ministries Center, it’s amazing,” he said. “To see the things that were talked about almost three years ago coming to life is really cool. I had a small part in facilitating what a lot of people had worked on before I got involved.” Peter’s involvement in the church began when he joined the BMPC youth group in the mid-1980s. “I made a lot of great friends in the youth group, and it was the best way to meet new people” from different schools, said Peter, who has fond

memories of attending summer camp at Camp Susquehannock in the Poconos and going on ski trips. “The faith side of it definitely caught my interest early, although it didn’t really manifest itself until I was much older.” After graduating from The Haverford School, Peter aspired to be an artist so he studied painting and photography at the Corcoran School of Art & Design, which is now part of George Washington University. He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1993. “My parents were very supportive of me pursuing creative endeavors, so it was either go study communications at Syracuse University or go to art school,” he said. A few weeks after his college graduation, Peter headed to California where he worked in television and film editing and production for five years, and he also has spent time working in New York. As an independent contractor, Peter was able to return to the Philadelphia area to raise his family. He and his wife Liz have four daughters, Ashton

and Sydney, 18-year-old twins, Bliss, 13, and Whitney, 11. Peter has many memorable moments as a member of BMPC, including his wedding day and the baptisms of his daughters. “There’s been a lot of good memories of the church, even funerals because of the nature of it being a place where there’s support and sustenance for your mind and your spirit,” he said. His fondest memory is connected with his wedding at BMPC on June 21, 1997. “The night of our rehearsal at the church, we had a picture taken with Liz and my family in front of the stained glass window that my grandmother had donated to the church,” Peter said. “That was a really special moment.” While many young people may not

remain connected to a church, Peter was drawn back to BMPC because of the pastors and their approach to preaching and teaching the faith. “They’re breaking down scripture in ways that are in small bites, that are digestible, while presenting really big ideas that stick with you and make you think,” he said. “I wouldn’t have come back to the church if it weren’t for the attitude and the posture that it has now, as led by Agnes and this current pastoral staff.” As a child of the church, Peter is grateful that

BMPC has played an important role in his life. “The most important takeaway for me is that BMPC is home base,” he said. “No matter how many times I go out on the slack on the line, I always come back, and I think that’s one thing that’s definitely kept me sane.”

“I’ve met celebrities, but I mean this truly, none of them wow me as much as the pastors at my church.”

Facebook Live Concert Series Continues The Music and Fine Arts program is pleased to announce the continuation of our 2020-2021 program year with another series of virtual concerts. While circumstances still prevent us from safely presenting concerts with live audiences, we hope these virtual offerings will enhance your observance of the Lenten season. All concerts begin at noon on Tuesdays and can be viewed via the BMPC Facebook page. A full schedule of performers can be found on our website: http://bit.ly/BMPC-Concerts On the concert webpage you also will find a link where you may choose to support our series by contributing a free-will offering through our secure donation page. Featured performers during the season of Lent: February 23 Edward Landin Senn, organ March 2 Nelly Berman School of Music pianists Emma Lo and Alyssa Gabrilovich March 9 Anna Kislitsyna, harpsichord

March 16 Jonathan Schubert, trombone, and Edward Landin Senn, organ March 23 Laura Ward and Jeffrey Brillhart, two pianos March 30 Jeffrey Brillhart, organ 11


THE REV. DR. JONATHAN LEE WALTON as our 2021 David and Ruth Watermulder Theologian-in-Residence



ach year, in honor of the leadership of David and Ruth Watermulder, our Adult Education Committee invites a scholar of excellence to share their work and passion with our greater community. This year we are honored to welcome the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Walton, dean of the Divinity School at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Jonathan L. Walton is a social ethicist whose scholarship focuses on evangelical Christianity and its relationship to mass media and political culture. His first book, Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism, examines the theological and political traditions of AfricanAmerican religious broadcasters. His latest book, A Lens of Love: Reading the Bible in Its World for Our World blends his work from

the pulpit and classroom. A Lens of Love explores the Bible from the perspective of the most vulnerable and violated characters toward developing a Christian social ethic of radical inclusion and human affirmation. The book argues that people of faith can engage the Bible faithfully, approach it responsibly, and thus reject it literally. “I try to put on the lenses of love to look for those with whom God most aligns, the marginalized and victimized. I aim to step inside of a text and search for the lonely, the left out, and those who have been left behind. Here we will find the Spirit of God and God’s radical love for us.” (A Lens of Love) Dean Walton is an outspoken advocate for social justice and civil rights. His work and

insights have been featured in several national and international news outlets including The New York Times, CNN, Time Magazine, and the BBC. Prior to coming to Wake Forest he served as the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church of Harvard University. As with all other educational opportunities this year, our Theologian-in-Residence programs will be held online. On Saturday morning (May 1), we will present a more informal lecture and conversation with Dean Walton through a Zoom conference call that is open to BMPC members. On Sunday morning (May 2), Dean Walton will preach as part of our online worship service. Later that afternoon we are hosting an online webinar that is open to the public. During this webinar Dean Walton will give a presentation, talk with local scholars, and host a Q&A with participants. In addition to these opportunities to learn from Dean Walton, you are invited to participate with the Rev. Rebecca Kirkpatrick in a discussion of A Lens of Love on either Sunday morning, April 25 or May 16. Look for more details in the weekly eNews and Sunday announcements about how you may participate in what will be an outstanding opportunity.

Caring Ministries Medical Equipment Lending Program


MPC keeps a limited number of medical equipment pieces that can be lent to those who need them. Items we often have available include wheelchairs, walkers, bedside commodes, shower chairs, canes and knee scooters. If you borrow equipment, we ask that you clean and sanitize it before you return it. Unfortunately, we do not have large, specialized items like electric wheelchairs and hospital beds. The medical equipment available through the lending program is now stored in an office in the Ministries Center, making them easier to access.

Regarding donations, we occasionally can accept other smaller items; please reach out to a Care Team member to discuss what you want to donate. Please DO NOT drop off any items without first contacting a Care Team member. Any items that are donated must be cleaned and sanitized before we can accept them.

Please contact a Care Team Member if you need any equipment; team members are able to deliver items to your home and pick them up, if needed.

We appreciate the good intentions of donating used items, but there are many items we cannot accept. However, there are several groups that have larger spaces and a greater variety of equipment pieces. If BMPC does not have the items you need or cannot use what you want to donate, here are three places to contact:

Our staff keeps track of what equipment has been borrowed and returned, so please don’t take any items without first contacting someone from the Care Team.

1. Caring Hearts Lending Closet, affiliated with the Blue Church in Springfield (Delaware County), 484-463-7603 chlendingcloset@gmail.com

2. The Avon Grove Lions Hospital Equipment Program, 600 N. Baker Station Road, West Grove, PA 19380. Contact Lion Bob at 484-883-0515 or email Bob@aglions.com for an appointment. 3. Goodwill Home Medical Equipment, 300 Benigno Blvd, Bellmawr, NJ 08031, 609-812-2210 https://www.goodwillhomemedical.org/

Care Team Members: Carol Cherry, Parish Nurse 610-520-8832 CarolCherry@bmpc.org Renee Malnak, Social Worker 610-520-8833 ReneeMalnak@bmpc.org Brian Ballard Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care & Senior Adults, 610-525-2821 BrianBallard@bmpc.org


Building Caring Corner Through our Core Values Six key interactions where we seek to live life (w)holy in 2021 Throughout 2021, the weekly virtual “Caring Corner” will reference and explore the six core values the Caring Ministries team and our congregation seek to embody. As we travel throughout the year we hope to bring the different paradigms of mind-body-spirit to each area of intention. What does it mean to live a compassionate life? What does selfcare look like and how can it also be a spiritual practice? Journey with us as we dig deeper into these core beliefs and look for ways to bring them into our lives and the life of our congregation.






Spiritual Growth




Practicing Presence


Intentional Living


Spiritual Growth





Each month we will highlight one of the core values, approaching each with a mind-body-spirit intention:




Intentional Living

“Beloved, I pray all may go well with you that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” ~ John 1:2


Practicing Presence

14 Lent Easter Messenger 2021

Happy Hearts

at the BMPC Weekday School

Each day at the Weekday School before snack time the children say the “Happy Hearts” prayer: Thank you, God for happy hearts; for rain and sunny weather; thank you, God for this our food; and that we are together. This year more than ever, we are so grateful to be “together.” This year was an unprecedented “back-to-school” season. Despite COVID restrictions that caused construction work on the Education Building to be shut down for seven weeks, we moved into the building the week the school year was scheduled to begin, and classes began the following Monday. We also had to develop a comprehensive COVID reopening plan to open school safely. The happy children we welcomed back made it all worthwhile. With the exception of wearing masks, all the other changes are transparent to the children, making their days the same fun-filled adventure that they have always been. Among a few of the changes, we’ve added a Pre-K class to limit class size, and we created schedules to keep each class cohort separate from the others, including staggered arrival and dismissal times, separate playground times, and eliminating “all-school” events. Having these and other safety measures in place enables us to provide the children with the experience of being with their peers, playing, learning and growing together as a community. These are critical activities for young developing minds, and we are grateful to be able to offer our Weekday School families the opportunity to have their children attend school in person. We have “reimagined” many of our events to make them COVID-friendly. Moving into the spring we are looking forward to our new formats for our Growing Up event at the end of the year, and our school camp. Our students and staff have “Happy Hearts” as we enjoy gathering together each day in the beautiful and welcoming environment in the newly-renovated Education Building.


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Join us virtually during Lent for Wednesday Evening Vespers at 7:00 p.m. Go to www.bmpc.org/livestream

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