Summer 2021 Messenger

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Summer | 2021

Photo by Dave Tavani 1

The Messenger | Summer 2021

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WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT BMPC? We invite you to get to know our community better by becoming a part of our virtual Discover BMPC classes on Mondays, June 7 and 14 at 7:00 p.m. These classes will give you the opportunity to learn about our denomination, our Reformed tradition, and our sense of Christian Ministry. For more information or to register, contact




hen the pandemic forced the church to close, it happened quickly. Following just a few weeks of news about a virus beginning to circulate the globe, the governor announced the shut down and we had to stop gathering with little notice. We closed our church campus and the staff and congregation had to adapt rapidly as we became a virtual church community. We got better at it along the way by slowly enhancing the number of ways folks could connect, but the beginning closure came fast. We closed in a matter of hours and then had to figure out how to be church together while we were apart. Now, as we emerge from more than a year of largely being a virtual church, the reopening feels more complicated. I’m not just thinking about our need to continue wearing masks and maintain physical distance from one another until we are advised that we can “return to normal.” What I mean to suggest is that the postpandemic church will be and should be evolving in new ways. Much of what we have missed will come back to us with greater appreciation. I hope we will never take for granted the value of incarnate community and the social and spiritual capital it engenders. Jesus said that whenever two or more were gathered in his name we could count on the presence of

the Risen Christ in our midst. We are meant to be together for authentic community across all manner of difference, for moral formation, for meaningful relationships and service. Together we grow in love for God and one another, and grow in courage to be faithful disciples in an often dangerous and risky world. I imagine we will emerge more profoundly moved by the experience of being together in our sacred spaces. We also will find ourselves evolving in some new ways. A lot of our members who rarely showed up for a church school class found genuine community in various offerings through Zoom. People have become accustomed to having access to worship and concerts at long distances from Bryn Mawr. We have shown that we can offer meaningful worship, connection and outreach apart from gathering inside our campus buildings. Just as we found ourselves nimble at the beginning of the pandemic to change how we do ministry together, so we will also need to continue to evolve across in-person gatherings and virtual platforms. I trust these summer months will be a season of transition. Many of our congregation will be traveling again for vacations and reunions, and we will delight in seeing one another as we come and go from the church campus again. I also believe this season of transition will be generative as we imagine how we are a congregation evolving in new and creative ways. I look forward to seeing how we will both emerge and evolve and look forward to sharing in the excitement of this transition with all of you. Grace and Peace,


The Messenger | Summer 2021

VOICES OF OUR The pandemic that began in March 2020 prompted BMPC to become a virtual church community almost overnight. Now that BMPC is resuming in-person worship services and gatherings this summer, we invited a few church members to reflect on their experiences during this season of separation and share what they are looking forward to in the future.

Chris Beck | BMPC member since 1981 Q. Can you talk about the programs you've been participating in this past year?

Q. What has helped you remain connected to the church community?

Over the past year, the most important and meaningful thing to me has been the Thursday morning book discussion groups with Brian (Ballard). Although I haven’t been involved directly in the church for some time, it's been wonderful getting to know, via Zoom, some church members. It's so interesting about Zoom because, you think, oh, not another Zoom, right? But it does have a lot of benefits. As somebody in the book discussion group said about a week ago you see people in passing at church and you say, “Hi, how are you doing?” And here we’re really discussing interesting and challenging topics to our beliefs, to our faith, which has been absolutely wonderful, getting to know these other people.

Well, I guess the history of wanting to practice my faith and, BMPC is a piece of my adult history, and it's just a comfortable place to be. That may sound simplistic, but it’s comfortable. It's inspirational. I connect to the music very strongly.

The books we've read are wonderful. Right now we’re reading a book of sermons by Barbara Brown Taylor. Each time we read the sermon, the discussions that come out of these sermons have been meaningful and thoughtFrom: Christine S Beck Subject: Photo provoking. And Brian is so wonderful because he asks Date: April 21, 2021 at 12:48 PM To: Beck Chris questions in a way that gets you thinking about your faith and your beliefs.


My husband Leif and I have been watching the prerecorded worship videos every Sunday. If we can't watch Sunday morning, we watch the service later in the day. I must say the Easter service was beautiful. The prerecorded services are fascinating because we get to see Jeff Brillhart’s hands (playing the organ), and you can imagine what his hands and feet are doing from way up above (in the choir loft). But seeing that close up has been remarkable. I mean, he’s such a talent. Q. During the Thursday discussion group, have you reconnected with members you knew or connected with people you hadn't met before? Most of the people I had not met before. I have reconnected with a couple of acquaintances from before, which has been wonderful, but I’ve mainly been meeting new people. At the beginning, you introduce yourself, and you see the name under a person's face, and it doesn't mean a whole lot. I personally can't wait to meet some of these people in person, just because it's been fun getting to know them on Zoom, which wouldn't have happened otherwise. You get to know people differently (via Zoom).

CONGREGATION Q. What have you missed most since in-person gatherings were suspended last March? I really miss fellowship before Ashley Kuntz | Ninth Grader and after church. I miss being able to catch up with people I only see on Sundays. Q. What has been most challenging about not being able to worship/gather in person?

Q. What has helped you remain connected to the church community? I have been going to the Confirmation Zoom on Sunday mornings and Middle School Mid-Week Meetup on Tuesdays. I really like staying close to a small group each week. Q. What are you looking forward to when we can attend worship services and other in-person activities again? I am really looking forward to getting back to in-person church so that I can be in small groups with and talk with people I haven’t seen in a long time.

I think it is most challenging to be distant from people who I haven’t seen in over a year.

Kathy Kullen | Sunday School teacher Q. What have you missed most since in-person gatherings were suspended last March?

volunteers!) to the Lent program - every bit of it was like a hug from our pastors. I taught the third-grade Sunday School class in a prior in-person year and am presently team-teaching the third-grade class via Zoom, and Pastor Rachel reconfigured huge sections of the curriculum to work beautifully online. We had stop-motion movies and virtual scavenger hunts and mysteries to solve. Impressive and innovative!

I miss worshipping together and being surrounded by our faith community in the pews on Sunday. I miss singing on Sundays and hearing everyone else’s voices with mine. I miss seeing the children share the Children’s Moment and their excitement at each point in the church calendar. As a Sunday School teacher, I miss connecting with the children in person. I miss hugs and smiles and chatting Q. What are you looking forward to when we can attend worship services and other in-person with friends in the hallways. activities again? Q. What has been most challenging about not being I can’t wait to safely see everyone again! But I do hope to able to worship/gather in person? bring the best parts of this year of distance into our inSince we aren’t gathering together in the same physical person time. space, you have to be very intentional about joining church Zoom meetings and overcoming overall Zoom burnout to stay connected. Q. What has helped you remain connected to the church community? I can’t say enough about all the planning and work that our church leaders have done to create engaging content that works in a home and Zoom environment. From the Vacation Bible Camp in a box to the Advent at Home program (dropped off by friendly, socially-distant

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The Messenger | Summer 2021

Joseph O’Connor | New Member Q. Can you share your experience of joining BMPC in the midst of the pandemic? Joining BMPC during the pandemic has filled me with a much-needed sense of hope for the future. My experience of this time has been one of uncertainty and anxiety, but also hope and grace. The pandemic disrupted my sense of control over my life, giving me the opportunity to trust more fully in Christ’s plan. I’ve come to the belief that the “small” things in life are often life’s great gifts. Brief moments of connection, kindness and love can be truly transformative. I am grateful for the outpouring of welcoming I’ve received. As a new member and stranger to a large community, I have been consistently surprised by the space that has been made for me by the BMPC community. Thank you for inviting this clumsy stumbling follower of Christ to travel with you in search of him. Q. What have you missed about not being able to participate in in-person gatherings? What I have missed most about in-person gatherings is the presence of the wider community. While a wonderful tool for connection, Zoom does not allow all people to participate equally. Church offers us a rare invitation of intergenerational connection. The presence of the congregation’s newest babies to most experienced seniors is necessary to fully experience the body of Christ. Q. What has been most challenging about not being able to worship/ gather in person? The most challenging part for me of not being able to worship and gather in person has been the pause on many 6

church traditions. Traditions connect us to those who came before us and those who will come after. They provide me with a sense of structure and meaning, but also act as a gateway for me to feel grounded within the Biblical metanarrative. Q. What has helped you stay connected to the church community? There have been many things that have helped me to feel connected with the church community since joining. I have listened to BMPC podcasts, participated in book clubs, and learned from Rebecca’s Gospels from Scratch course. I’ve started spiritual direction and had many opportunities to email with pastors and members. The book clubs have been especially meaningful to me and a highlight of my week. I treasure the new friendships I have been able to make, and look forward to making many more over the coming years! Q. What are you looking forward to when we can attend worship services and other in-person activities again? I am most looking forward to being able to welcome others and more widely share Christ’s message as in-person activities restart. Many of my family members and friends have been excited to hear about my experiences and are looking forward to visiting BMPC themselves. I am grateful for the modifications made to the church which will allow my friends and new visitors who rely on mobility devices to come and participate in person. I hope to be able to pay forward the tremendous hospitality shown to me.


BMPC Hunger Committee Works with Partners to Ease Food Insecurity

BMPC Hunger Committee has worked consistently this past year to support more than 20 of our partners on the frontlines of food insecurity in our region. They have been incredibly encouraged by the ways that our partners have expanded, pivoted and deepened the work they are doing. But they also have been encouraged by the growing generosity of BMPC members to the Hunger Fund, which supports all the work they do. The intensity of the Hunger Committee’s work has led them to spend time this winter reflecting on their mission and priorities moving into what will continue to be a time of great need for families in our region. Below is their updated mission statement.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink.” ~ Matthew 25:35

If you would like to be a part of this ongoing and growing ministry of the church, contact Nancy Taylor: And as always, please remember to give regularly to the BMPC Hunger Fund (either online or by sending donations directly to the church) so that they can continue this good work.

The BMPC Hunger Committee provides our congregation with a reliable, trustworthy, and effective way to follow our Savior’s guidance to nourish those who are in need. Acting as faithful stewards of our congregation’s hunger donations (of money, canned food and services), our committee curates and works with a network of partners who have demonstrated success in the fight against food insecurity. Through a diverse range of partner-operated hunger services, together with the committee’s own hunger-related activities, the BMPC Hunger Committee strives to deliver on its mission, stated as follows... The BMPC Hunger Committee fights food insecurity in the Philadelphia metro area by...

The BMPC Hunger Committee also extends the care of our congregation beyond the Philadelphia region by...

• Providing support for both faith-based and secular partner organizations that: serve meals; operate food pantries; and build and maintain community food gardens

• Providing relief funding to established organizations, upon request, and

• Identifying strong partner organizations that know the needs of their communities • Collaborating with, and learning from, our partner organizations through committee liaisons and events

• Supporting emergency needs, such as for foodrelated capital expenses, upon request The BMPC Hunger Committee is an active and inclusive group of BMPC congregants and pastor(s) that meets regularly, fosters a welcoming environment, and is supportive of its members.

• Researching and raising awareness of food insecurity • Providing congregational engagement opportunities to fight food insecurity • Preparing and delivering casseroles • Collecting and delivering food donations, and • Managing disbursements of our congregation’s financial “hunger” donations 7

The Messenger | Summer 2021

Singing in the Choir

By Jeffrey Brillhart, Director of Music and Fine Arts

During this pandemic year, the Sanctuary Choir has continued to meet weekly via Zoom. In the early weeks of these Zoom “rehearsals,” I focused primarily on exercises that singers could do on their own to strengthen their breath and maintain their singing voices. With the arrival of September and the realization that this pandemic “break” from in-person rehearsals wasn’t ending any time soon, we began to have our eight staff singers gather at the church, socially distanced and in speciallydesigned masks for singers. With their help, the Zoom rehearsals improved immensely. Singers at home could actually hear other people singing and have at least a small sense that they were singing in a choir. After several weeks of this schedule, we realized that we had the space to safely add four to six additional singers to the staff singers. Thus began a cycling through the choir opportunities to actually sing in person. Here are a few reflections from some of those volunteers who participated.

Singing with the staff singers has been a joy in many ways; singing live with people instead of on Zoom, singing in the Sanctuary, being a part of worship. Of course, we have to wear a mask and be socially distant, but that doesn’t take away from the experience. Because we follow the safety guidelines set down by the powers that be, we have never felt unsafe. Paula and I are looking forward to the time when we can be together as a choir again. Bill Adelhelm, bass

Singing together, along with hugs and the clasp of hands, are the things we most dearly miss and cannot possibly be replaced by Zoom meetings. Whether we sing “If ye love me” or “Verleih uns Frieden,” I can hear that divine voice, immeasurably comforting and loving. Singing with Heewon and you all, my dear friends at BMPC, has to be one of the greatest joys of my life. Klaus Volpert, tenor


Preparing and recording music for this year's Easter service was much easier than last year when we recorded our voices individually for Jeff to merge with the rest of the singers’ recordings. I’ve participated in many of the weekly Zoom rehearsals, but it was a real pleasure to practice with the staff singers in the Fine Arts Center several times. It was great to be back in the same room to hear the ensemble, even if I was double-masked and sitting at a distance from other singers. When more singers joined us in the Sanctuary to record the hymns and the Hallelujah Chorus, it almost felt like old times! I also enjoyed singing the hymns outside in the tent on Easter morning. I look forward to returning to in-person services soon. Linda Gamble, President of the Sanctuary Choir

There was an energy and excitement about being a part of the inperson choir rehearsals! We’d virtually been devoid of any live performances or community gatherings so each of these events gave me hope that the pandemic would be behind us soon. The closeness of friends and fellow musicians built me up each week as we made music together even though it was hard work to breathe and project sound through textile masks. At times it felt like we were meeting in secret as we filed into rehearsal, only a few of us on site. Social distancing measures meant that the listening required to get the harmonies locked in was mentally taxing, yet as the sounds swelled and the organ accompanied, it was exhilarating to feel our choir come together in praise, a reminder that our God was with us in spite of the viral threat. All of this was possible because of Jeff and Edward’s commitment to keeping us together; moving mountains to navigate new technology, shifting rehearsal schedules so as many as possible could attend rehearsals both online and in person, taking appropriate precautions so we could feel safe and continue to feel a part of our community that goes deep and is dedicated to worship through music. Praise the Lord for song, music, voice, and a Bryn Mawr community that supports us. May we come together again soon with a full Sanctuary and choir loft! Gretchen Steck, soprano 9

The Messenger | Summer 2021


strength through the pandemic and beyond

Carol Cherry, Parish Nurse “Being part of the community” has evolved beyond being primarily BMPC memberfocused to include how we link with other faith communities, government and healthcare agencies for decision-making regarding COVID-19 safety practices. I’ve appreciated helping connect the church staff with the Montgomery County Health Department and working with our Re-Gathering Task Force to intentionally balance concern for spiritual care with physical distance safety requirements.




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one C a lls • D e a c o ns


Learning that members of our church couldn’t be present when their family members were hospitalized was hard to hear. I reached out to already-overwhelmed staff at our hospitals and rehabilitation centers, reminding them of how important those connections were, especially now. I was grateful to help facilitate Zoom and phone calls that connected families with medical staff, and in one instance helping the staff of a rehabilitation center celebrate a church member’s 100th birthday! As we navigate our way back together, I invite you to join me for an outdoor visit, a walk or a call. I am grateful for the opportunity to be with you. 10




“We are here for you” is what I often said when calling members during the first few months of the pandemic. Those five words transformed a simple check-in call to much more. Conversations lasted longer and often ended with a prayer. Sometimes help was provided, for example, food shopping or dropping off medication. Those errands became short but meaningful outdoor visits. I was grateful to find new ways to connect and be present in those moments.




While the usual way of visiting had to change, walking outside with members has been a joy. I’m grateful for the chance to walk, talk and pray together, exploring green spaces and soaking up the healing power of nature. Please let me know how I can support you: through a medical question or journey, a wellness visit or walk, or prayerful presence. Renee Malnak, Parish Social Worker



Pray er n C o t o unse le ling • Midd Ce nt e

in n e t Lis


How we care for one another has changed during the pandemic. Virtual visits and maintaining social distance have shifted the familiar rhythms of support. The links that held us together before COVID-19 are different than the links that now bind us. Yet the call to love our neighbor as ourselves has not changed. As we all grew to care for one another over the past year, we embraced what it was to “Live Life (W)holy” amidst new circumstances. Below, the Caring Ministries team reflects on the opportunities of connection and care throughout the past year.




• C o u n se l i ng P a s t o rs







ng Life

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h aw l s yer S Pra • urse hN ris Pa


The Middleton Counseling Center began 2020 celebrating 20 years of sustained and intentional counseling, spiritual direction, and care for the congregation and community. Within weeks of our anniversary celebration, the pandemic suspended in-person counseling. In a matter of days, the counselors, spiritual directors and the group facilitators pivoted their services online. Maintaining support during unpredictable and highly anxious times became paramount. As people were working, studying and going to school, families and individuals were stretched and stressed. One client wrote to us: “All of [my] improvements are thanks to many things, including the talented and caring therapists I’ve worked with and my own willingness to do the work, but also to BMPC and Middleton Counseling Center for helping me with the financial burden that would have otherwise presented a prohibitive impediment. I have often felt a surge of appreciation during my visits to BMPC, and I thought it was only fitting that I let all of you know that I hold a place in my heart for all those who contribute - be it financially or with their time - to make this work possible for me.” Please reach out for support if you or someone you know would benefit from counseling. Give us a call at 610-525-0766 or download our Welcome Packet.

We Are All Caring Ministers

While we’ve missed “practicing presence” in person, it is clear that prayer shawls, flowers, soup, handwritten notes and phone calls connect people in tender and meaningful ways. Deacons, the Senior Adult Council and other congregants have likewise compassionately reached out with visits, phone calls and notes. We are so grateful to the many people who contacted us to let us know of members who needed a check-in. Those who were contacted expressed great appreciation and felt strongly connected to our church during this time of isolation. We are here to be caring companions for your personal challenges of mind, body and spirit. We welcome the chance to pray with you, answer questions and provide resources. As we consider intentional living beyond a pandemic, won’t you join us in caring ministry?


Kiki McKendrick, Middleton Counseling Center Administrator


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The Messenger | Summer 2021



a congregation we have continued to provide creative and relational opportunities to move forward on our journey to become more anti-racist as individuals and as a church community. In June 2020, the BMPC Session made a commitment to this work as our whole denomination seeks to grow and become more compassionate and courageous people. Some of the hallmarks of this important work are the conversations we have with one another as well as the numerous resources that are being created every day to help all people navigate those conversations.

This summer we are launching an online platform for you to share resources with one another, engage in challenging conversations, and to respond to some shared resources that we will all view and read together. Using video resources from Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing and Training, we will explore both basic and deeper topics from What is Systemic Racism and What is White Supremacy, to How to Talk to Children and Youth About Anti-Racism. All our reflections and conversations will be asynchronous, meaning that you are invited to participate when you can throughout the summer via a private online forum.

The number of people who have been engaged in these conversation at BMPC continues to grow, and we hope that if you have not found a place to step into this work, that this Anti-Racism Summer School project will be a safe and invitational place for you to join us. To “enroll” in our AntiRacism Summer School, please visit: or contact directly.

BUILDING KNOWLEDGE AND BREAKING BARRIERS: An archives-based learning project of the Presbyterian Historical Society and the Community College of Philadelphia This spring and summer you are invited to explore a new outdoor (and eventually indoor) exhibit at the Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS) campus in the Old City section of Philadelphia. The exhibit includes the stories of the Black Presbyterian Church, an exploration around abolition and revolution, and the history of Christian mission in Japan. From 2019 into 2021, eight current and former CCP students worked collaboratively with two professional exhibitors, a project videographer, and three PHS staff members to reveal parts of the PHS archive that meant the most to them. Starting this summer the outdoor installations are open at the Presbyterian Historical Society, 425 Lombard St., Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. View all installations online: Check the weekly eNews and worship bulletin for opportunities this summer to explore the exhibit together with other BMPC members. 12

DIALOGUE & DRINKS Sundays, June 20 and 27; July 11 and 18 at 4:30 p.m. Outside on the patio next to Foerderer House. Rabbi Geri Newburge

The Rev. Carolyn C. Cavaness

The Rev. Sean Lanigan

Join us on four Sunday afternoons this summer as we engage in conversation and fellowship with local interfaith leaders. The BMPC pastors will lead informal conversations with four neighboring clergy members as we explore one another’s traditions, our community life, and the ways that we are partnering together. Guest clergy will include Rabbi Geri Newburge who will become the new Senior Rabbi at Main Line Reform Temple this summer; the Rev. Sean Lanigan, Rector at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Ardmore who has helped to spearhead the anti-racial violence vigils in Lower Merion; and the Rev. Carolyn C. Cavaness, Pastor of Bethel AME Church in Ardmore, a congregation that has been a faithful partner in many of our local ministries. Space will be limited to 30 attendees, so pre-registration is required. You will be able to find the registration links on our website this summer. We will make decisions on the availability of refreshments for these gatherings based on our current COVID protocols. All are welcome to bring their own drinks – alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

BMPC Summer Podcast: Season Two Premiering June 1 This summer we again will offer a limited podcast series featuring conversations among the pastors, mission partners and members of our congregation. Last summer when we were in some of the hardest days of the pandemic, the BMPC Podcast Series provided a way to stay connected with one another during quarantines and social distancing. During many of those episodes we chatted about how we were navigating life and work in the midst of the pandemic. As we emerge from our isolation this summer, the podcasts this season will help us reflect on the lessons we learned from the past year and also look ahead to who God is calling us to be as a church and as individuals in a post-COVID world. If you previously subscribed to the BMPC summer podcast, you will be able to access the new episodes which begin on June 1. If you didn’t get a chance to listen to last summer’s podcasts, all 20 conversations are available online. To subscribe and listen for the first time – search “Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church” in your Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or Spotify apps, or listen to them online: 13

The Messenger | Summer 2021

The Foundation, because of the generosity of past, present and future members, helps BMPC provide… worship, programing, education and outreach opportunities and support our partners locally, nationally and around the world.” 14


Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church Foundation started in 1983 to provide financial stability for our church now and into the future. Each year the Foundation provides the church with financial support for the operating budget and also a wide range of mission activities. The Foundation is comprised of 44 funds and is governed by a board of 13 church members. Some of the gifts given to the Foundation are restricted to ensure the gift is used according to the donor’s intent. Other gifts are unrestricted and at the Board’s discretion may be spent on current needs. Most recently, our This Time, This Place Capital Campaign received a $750,000 grant from the Foundation. This article highlights four of the restricted funds that support the Sunday School and Children’s Ministry and Youth Ministry. The Catherine Miller Fund pays for the Bibles given to our children in third grade. Each year these students read through the entire Bible as part of their Sunday School curriculum and discuss the reading with their teachers and classmates. A wonderful example of the meaningful impact of their studies was the thoughtful reflections of seven of the third graders in the 2021 Lenten Devotional booklet. The Middleton Church School Fund helps cover the budget for curriculum and program materials for the Sunday School and the Children’s Ministry activities. In addition, the children’s library used by teachers and families, the new furniture for the renovated nursery and classrooms, and training for teachers and families are just a few of the things covered by this fund. One example of the wonderful and creative benefit of this fund was having Ernie the donkey lead the Palm Sunday procession around the campus for the Sunday School this year. The Lola M. Tryon Fund for Youth supports general programing for middle school and high school students. This includes confirmation class for eighth graders, Sunday youth gatherings for middle and high school students, MidWeek Meet-Up for middle schoolers and Student Serve for high schoolers during the week. It also provides for training to support Youth Ministry leaders, volunteers and students. The Whiteman Peacemaking Scholarship supports peacemaking, cross culture and overseas opportunities for the Youth Program. Last year during the pandemic the youth participated in anti-racism education and a monthly drop-off of food, toiletries and Christmas gifts to those in need. In non-pandemic times, this fund provides scholarships for youth who would otherwise be unable to attend summer camp and participate in mission trips in the United States and abroad. The Foundation, because of the generosity of past, present and future members, helps BMPC provide for our vibrant Christian community’s worship, programing, education and outreach opportunities and support our partners locally, nationally and around the world. If you are interested in donating to or learning more about the Foundation, please contact Sarah Miciek, BMPC finance manager, at 610-525-2821.

Vacation Bible Camp 2021 Are you interested in helping? We are looking for volunteers who can help with: • Pre-camp preparations • Check-in and pickup • Leading a craft or activity • Encouraging and supporting our youth leaders • Helping with a small group in the morning or the afternoon • Actors to help tell the story


lijah ran into the wilderness and God met him there. This summer, BMPC families will have the opportunity to experience Elijah’s great adventure as part of a special 2021 Vacation Bible Camp from June 21 to 30. Reflecting the continued need for social distancing and COVIDrelated safety precautions, camp will look a little different! We will spend our time outside on the front lawn experiencing God’s good creation alongside Elijah. Instead of going off site to help mission partners around Philadelphia, our rising fourth, fifth and sixth graders will lead VBC activities for the younger students. Instead of our normal week, we will concentrate on three days with younger students (rising Pre K and Kindergartners), meeting in the morning from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Elementary students (rising first to third graders) will meet from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Working in small cohorts, we’ll create, learn, play and worship together. 15

Reflection on

Camp Kirkwood By Meggin R. Capers, Leader and Camper since the eighth grade Camp is a wonderful and transformative experience for camper and leader alike. For many campers it’s the first time away from home; for others it’s time away from their hairdryer and daily Caramel Macchiato. The camp experience has been part of the lifeblood of BMPC Youth Ministry since the 1970s when the Shaffer family offered us a week at their beautiful Camp Susquehannock near Tripp Lake in northern Pennsylvania. Since then, several locations have been our wooded home away from home, but the spirit of what camps mean to each participant has been felt at every location.

This year we say goodbye to our beloved Kirkwood, located at the base of the rolling hills of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Kirkwood, nestled among the odd combination of bamboo and pine trees, provided a nurturing place for us to play, create, learn, grow, pray, discover who we are, and find God together. For me it is the one week each year where I can tell the world my cell service will not be great, so unless it is a true emergency, it can wait. I get to

disconnect and spend time having amazing conversations about the mundane to the extraordinary with the youth and fellow leaders. We have scheduled “quiet time” where I usually spend time under a tree thinking deep thoughts, wrestling with issues, reading the Bible, and dreaming big dreams. We play gaga ball and other games, sing, dance, make stained glass, wooden boxes and crosses, friendship bracelets and tie-dye T-shirts. We also walk the labyrinth, climb the ropes course and hike the ridge. We support one another, using all our given and acquired talents to make gifts for one another, and affirm what we have come to love about one

another over the course of the week at our affirmation gathering on Friday evening.

Kirkwood 2019

Like any rustic camp, Kirkwood was not perfect, with its sulfur water, huge hill to the boys’ cabins, and questionable lake. But Kirkwood has been our wooden sanctuary for many years, and it has been a place where countless youth and leaders experience the best week of their year. We are grateful for the land which once was inhabited by the Lenape people and has served us well in our pursuit to grow as a community of faith together!

Kirkwood 2014

We are grateful to the Kirkwood teams who made us feel so welcome, played, and shared with us in the midst of their busy summer season! We are grateful to the board members and donors who worked so hard for so long to maintain this special place, and we understand the hard choice they had to make. We also are grateful to the BMPC Session and leadership who have made camp a part of our programing year after year. Though we say goodbye to our beloved Kirkwood, we know that our next wooded home will come alive with laughter and joy as we “Rise and Shine” with full hearts to the Lord every morning in our new camp home. Kirkwood 2011

Plans are in process for offering camp programs for youth at a new camp this summer. Look for details in the BMPC eNews and worship bulletin.

Kirkwood 2018 17

The Messenger | Summer 2021

Renovations Continue in Ministries Center

Bathroom near Congregational Hall

Fullerton Room

Hallway near meeting rooms in Ministries Center

View of the atrium from the back parking lot


Foundation for new atrium

New single-person bathrooms

Entrance to Ministries Center

Entrance to Ministries Center

Overhead view of foundation for new atrium

Arial view of new atrium

Outside view of Ministries Center entrance

The Court

New elevator shaft

New hallway

The Messenger Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church 625 Montgomery Avenue Bryn Mawr, PA 19010 610-525-2821

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Starting on Sunday, June 6, we will no longer offer pre-recorded videos. Instead, BMPC will begin to livestream the 10:00 a.m. worship service from the Sanctuary. You may watch the service via our Facebook page (, our YouTube page ( com/user/brynmawrpres) or on the livestream page on our website ( A recording of the service will be available the following day on our Worship Video webpage.