2022 Summer Messenger

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Summer | 2022

Photo by Dave Tavani


Message from the Pastor


ince the last two years have been compromised

by pandemic, I hope and pray this summer will be a season of adventure for everyone. When the church year slows down a bit in the months ahead, I welcome the opportunity to catch up on reading some of the books that gather in piles during the year. I use vacation time to catch up on some good mysteries and novels. In my study and planning time for church work, however, I comb through newer explorations in bible, theology, and analyses of what is going on in the world and culture. 02


A number of books that analyze the last two pandemic years currently are being published, but I believe they are coming out too soon. I think it will be quite a while before we really understand how COVID-19 changed things: how we live, work and travel; social interactions among friends and in the public square; how the church continues as a community of the gathered faithful. Does watching worship via livestream count as being gathered? Will we always have some version of a hybrid in-person and online reality? What does being an incarnate community mean anymore? Writers in all kinds of religious disciplines are musing about these kinds of questions now, but I think it’s premature to think we yet understand the impact of these recent years on the church. I am reminded of noted church historian and religious author Phyllis Tickle who once remarked on cultural descriptions saying, “postmodern, post-Christian, post-Protestant, and post-denominational. What do all those posts mean? That we know where we have been but that we have no idea where we are going!”

Summer Messenger 2022

A shift is occurring in the religious ecology of North America and the role of congregations in our society. Some cynics propose the times proclaim that our post-Christendom era is bringing a near end to religious institutions. And yet others anticipate exciting possibilities about what our time requires. Anthony Robinson writes, “As we engage in conversation about what’s changed, and as we do our grief work, however, we are also seeking to discern what God is up to in our new time and to respond with as much wit and courage as we can manage. As we do, we may notice that we not only grieve some aspects of Christendom’s demise, we are also liberated by that death. We are free to embrace the wonderful, liberating oddity of being Christians, of following Jesus in a life more challenging and adventuresome than Christendom imagined.”

our recent resilience and creative engagement of community while we were physically apart have strengthened our resolve to move into the future with bold discipleship. I’ll wait to read what the pundits say about how the church may have changed during these last two years, and spend this summer immersed in more edifying reading of moral courage, emerging theologies, and of course, some great fiction. I hope that your reading and summertime adventures will be a blessed Sabbath rest from the anxiety and trauma we have lived through recently, and that you will join me in prayer for a brighter future. Grace and Peace,

I, for one, stand in that camp of excited anticipation and forward momentum. I think 03

Youth Ministry BMPC Youth Ministry has a great lineup for this summer to help youth grow in relationships, faithfulness and joy!

In June we’re holding our first-ever Hershey Park Fun Day on the afternoon of June 12! Members, friends and guests are welcome. Cost is $35 with scholarships available. Also in June, we’re hosting the firstever Johnsonburg Plunge on June 24-26! This weekend is designed specifically for our rising fifth through rising eighth graders and their parents. On this trip folks will get to know what camp is like and to build relationships with one another! It’s a great way for anyone who hasn’t attended our camps to get a quick understanding of what they are all about. During July 10-15, we’ll spend time at The Common Place, a local non-profit that serves children and their families in Southwest Philadelphia through educational programs, social service, collaboration, and faith formation. 04


Summer Messenger 2022

We’ll work with their ministries while learning about life in Philly and what it means to follow Jesus. For more information about The Common Place, visit www.thecommonplacephilly.org. Cost for the trip is $500 with scholarships available. Lastly, from July 31-Aug. 5, we’ll enjoy our annual BMPC Youth Camp at Johnsonburg! This summer camp experience is for anyone in grades 6-12, and there will be fun, fellowship and faith formation. The cost for the trip is also $500, with scholarships available. For more information, contact Jack Liskey at JLiskey@bmpc.org. Registration links for all Youth Ministry activities are available on this webpage: www.bmpc.org/ministries/ youth-and-families/retreats-trips.

Vacation Bible Camp What did it feel like to walk on water? How did Jesus’ voice sound when he called out your name? This year our children will be traveling to the city of Bethany – just outside Jerusalem – to stay with Mary and Martha and to learn all about Jesus and those who follow him. Join us for a fun-filled week as we discover more about life in the first century and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Each day students will have the opportunity to create, explore and serve! Here are ways you can help: 1. Help us get ready! You can prep supplies, create registration packs, and even decorate the Ministries Center as we get ready for VBC.

2. Help during the week of June 20-25! Explore with a small group, get snacks ready, lead a station, help with a mission project! We need loving adults who can help one, two, three, four or five days! 3. Be an encourager! Will you pray for a volunteer? Send a note of encouragement the week of? Drop off donuts for our youth volunteers? We need a team of people to help encourage and support our volunteers. If you are interested in helping with Camp this year, email Pastor Rachel RachelPedersen@bmpc.org and indicate where you would like to serve!

Prayer Partners for 2022-2023 Perspective Making new friends, facing a difficult test, finding out parents are sick, living through a divorce. We don’t know what 20222023 might bring for the children of our

you like to be part of that team? Our prayer partner ministry asks caring adults in our congregation to pray for six to eight students throughout the school year. We

congregation. We do know that as a church we have promised to love, nurture and support them, no matter what!

need more than 70 dedicated adults to take on this task every year. If you are interested in participating, email Mary Richards at MaryRichards@bmpc.org. More information will be shared in the weekly bulletin and eNews in August. 05

Every child needs to have a community of people who are rooting for them. Would

Gemma Backpack Project

Although it’s summer, we’re starting to collect supplies for the annual Gemma Services Backpack Drive. We hope to collect more than 75 backpacks filled with supplies and a lot of love to help children have a great start to a new school year. Gemma Services helps thousands of children in our region through residential care, foster care, family services, and outpatient supports. 06


Summer Messenger 2022

In June, supply lists will be made available to the congregation along with an Amazon Wish List. You may pack your own backpack and deliver it to the church, or order individual supplies that will be packed by children in our congregation in August. Backpacks and supplies may be dropped off at BMPC between July 15-August 1.

Call for the Fall! Have you been wondering how to get connected at BMPC, but you aren’t sure where to start? Are you looking to build new friendships with people in our congregation? Do you want to further your Christian discipleship alongside others in community? Then you are invited and encouraged to join one of our Connection Groups this fall. Connection

read Lutheran pastor Benjamin J. Dueholm’s work, Sacred Signposts: Words, Water, and Other Acts of Resistance. In our increasingly secular world, what good are the church’s sacred practices, and why do they even matter

Groups are our growing small group ministry where six to 10 people meet on a regular basis to engage one another and study topics on Christian faith, spiritual practices, the Scriptures, and cultural engagement between church and society. These groups are designed for connection!

anymore? With insight, wit, and unsparing honesty, Dueholm explores the crucial place and power of Christian practices in ordinary, everyday life. Drawing on modern-day realities and ancient roots, firsthand experience and centuries of history, pop culture, and theology, Dueholm offers a visionary account of the critical, radical, life-affirming role that

This fall, participants in our Connection Groups will

seven “sacred signposts” play in today’s post-Christian world. Come and join us as we connect further with one another and deepen our Christian discipleship. If you want more information on how to join a Connection Group, contact the Rev. Frank Pottorff, FrankPottorff@bmpc.org, or Dottie Bowen, dabowen25@gmail.com.

Save the Date - Rally Day 2022 Sunday, September 11


Knit Together in Love and Caring “May you be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced with peace, and wrapped in love.” So ends the prayer accompanying each hand-crafted shawl gifted by the BMPC Prayer Shawl Ministry. Given to sustain persons facing life’s challenges or to celebrate a joyous occasion, shawls bring warmth, comfort, and a tangible sign that one isn’t alone and that our church family is by their side. The original Prayer Shawl Ministry was initiated in 1998 by two women at Hartford Seminary who were completing a Women’s Leadership Institute project, and it has spread widely across many faith traditions throughout the world. Shawl makers at Bryn Mawr have been at work for at least 10 years, engaging in the spiritual practice of praying for and extending compassion to the recipients, as they stitch. Volunteers knit or crochet shawls, lap blankets and small hand-sized pocket squares, and when completed, they are blessed by the Caring Ministries team and Deacons. In addition to being distributed by the Care Team, pastoral staff and Deacons, any church member is welcome to share a shawl with someone in need. If you are interested in being part of this ministry, please send an email to Parish Nurse Carol Cherry, CarolCherry@bmpc.org. 08


Summer Messenger 2022

Since 2017, 65 shawls have been shared with members and friends or family as far away as California. More than 100 prayer pocket squares were knitted during the pandemic. Confirmands, Sunday School students and Deacons regularly receive them, then pass them along to others.

“I cannot thank you enough for the pretty prayer shawl… it helps me to remember to look up, to remember all my church community does for me and others… for all their loving and caring prayers.” Diana recently told us she passed along her shawl to her granddaughter at college who was ill with COVID-19. - Diana Hallock


In 2019, the Confirmands blessed a shawl for Claire Swarr, and the Care Team presented it to her. She is pictured wearing the shawl as she awaits her surgery. “I can’t tell you how surprised and moved I was when you presented me with the beautiful prayer shawl! The love and care associated with this is so special, and I will cherish it always.” - Claire Swarr



Judy Ehrman knits one of the many prayer shawls she has created for BMPC’s prayer shawl ministry.


“I am so pleased with the beautiful turquoise prayer shawl that I put in the mail today for my friend undergoing cancer treatments. Thank you so much for giving me another loving way to care for my friend.” Clare’s friend Mary Ann in South Carolina sent her own note of thanks upon receiving the shawl: “I was speechless. I plan to bring it with me to all my chemo sessions.… It will be nice to be accompanied by prayers from Bryn Mawr. It’s amazing how people whom you don’t know can make such an impact. Please thank your group for their caring actions on my behalf and others.” - Clare Mackie



Summer Messenger 2022

“I have enjoyed knitting my entire life. My mother introduced me to the craft during the war, and we made six-inch squares to make blankets for the soldiers! I never tire of knitting, knowing that finished projects bring delight and comfort to those who receive the gifts.” - Didi Rieger



“I enjoy knitting for others and praying while knitting; it is not only calming for me but almost a meditative practice. I hope the calm and peace are conveyed to the recipient while the individual is wearing the shawl.” - Linda Griska

Volunteers knit or crochet shawls, lap blankets and small hand-sized pocket squares, and when completed, they are blessed by the Caring Ministries team and Deacons.

Community Forum Trudy Rubin, Worldview columnist of The Philadelphia Inquirer Putin, Russia and the War in Ukraine Sunday, June 5, 11:15 a.m., Sanctuary and Livestream Rubin’s presentation will include a question and answer session. No pregistration is required for this event.


We invite your daily prayers for the 45 BMPC members and community friends who will travel to Israel and Jordan on what promises to be a life-changing musical tour. The choir departs Sunday, June 26 and returns Saturday, July 9, with visits to Tel Aviv, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Petra, Amman and other historic sites. Follow the itinerary: https://bit.ly/middle-east-itinerary



Summer Messenger 2022

Photos from the installation of the carillon bells in 2005.

Choir Tour to Middle East

Celebrate Summer with the Carillon With the completion of the new Atrium and prior renovations to the bell tower, our BMPC carillon has never sounded better! The addition of the Atrium allows you to hear the 49 bells of the carillon soar without the intrusion of bustling Montgomery Avenue traffic.

July 7 - Paul Stelban (Yale University)

With these changes, we are excited to announce the return of the summer carillon concert series. Spearheaded by Wade FitzGerald, one of our BMPC carilloneurs, we have a stellar lineup of players from the United States and Europe.

Concerts start at 7:00 p.m., and attendees may listen to the performances in their car or bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on. Plans are underway for various BMPC ministries to host each concert, and we are arranging for food trucks to offer refreshments each night. To top it all off, the BMPC Gallery will have extended hours for you to enjoy music, food and art!

July 14 - Geert D’hollander (Belgium) July 21 - Wade FitzGerald (Bryn Mawr) July 28 - Anna Kasprzycka (Poland) Aug. 4 - Lisa Lonie (Philadelphia)

Happy summer, everyone!


The car and transportation teams assisted Fardeen, the father, with getting his driver’s license and purchasing a car, thanks to generous donations by church members.

Volunteers spend time babysitting the younger children.

The clothing team solicited and sorted clothing donations this winter for the four children.

I Was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me: Refugee Ministry at BMPC For several years

Center to welcome and

welcome here in the

here in a positive way.

the Refugee Support

host a family of six who

United States and on

Broken into several

Committee at Bryn Mawr

live on the first floor of

the Main Line, their

subcommittees, the

Presbyterian Church

Foerderer House.

hearts and minds are

committee wanted to

often focused on the

not only help the Sepah

family and friends they

family in the short

have left behind.

term but also empower

has been learning

The Sepah family,

about immigration

like many who fled

issues locally and

Afghanistan, could not

around the world. So when the U.S. military began airlifting Afghan families and individuals out of Kabul, we were able to quickly respond in partnership with Nationalities Service



remain in the country

The family moved into

after the departure of

Foerderer House last

U.S. forces because of

December, and over

their connections to and

the past five months,

support of U.S. military

the Refugee Committee

efforts during the past

has worked tirelessly

20 years. Although they

to help them settle in

have found safety and

and start their lives

Summer Messenger 2022

them to make a life for themselves for the future. The following is a sampling of the work BMPC members have been doing over the past months:

Volunteers have been working

helped them open a bank

and to fully immerse ourselves

with Mitra, the mother,

account as well as consider

in caring for this family has been

to improve her English

what the long-term budget

exactly the antidote to months of

through conversations as

goals should be for the family


well as English as a Second

and how we can ensure they

Language lessons, while

are equipped to manage that

additional volunteers spend

budget in the future.

time babysitting the younger •

and sorted clothing

adults in our local community,

The medical team has

donations this winter for the

but the work of the Refugee

helped the family navigate

four children.

Committee will be ongoing. If

appointments, connecting them with local medical resources and managing their day-to-day health needs.

A dedicated team of volunteers worked with Fardeen to develop his resume and complete more than 11 interviews with potential employers, and

teams assisted Fardeen,

ultimately helped him secure

the father, with getting

full-time work locally that will

his driver’s license and

allow the family take the next

purchasing a car with

step of seeking permanent

generous donations from

housing. undertaken is matched equally

team helped with enrolling

by the work that Fardeen and

the two older children at

Mitra have done alongside them

Gladwyne Elementary School

to create a life here in the United

and the BMPC Weekday


supplies, and navigating all the details of supporting young children in school. That same group is in the process of signing the children up for extracurricular activities and summer camps over the next few months. Finance committee volunteers

you are interested in joining their work, please reach out to committee leaders, Mary French, maryfrench60@gmail.com, or Mary Bond, bondongrouse@gmail.com, who can connect your skills with the needs of the family.

The work these volunteers have

Volunteers with the education

School, gathering school

The car and transportation

church members. •

that space will return to its original use of supporting senior

numerous doctor and dental

Foerderer House this summer,

The clothing team solicited


When the Sepahs move out of

A couple of months into this work, a member of the Refugee Committee commented on how meaningful it has been to walk alongside the Sepah family during the past several months. The pandemic has made so many of us feel isolated and useless for a long time. Being able to come back together as a church

A dedicated team of volunteers worked with Fardeen to develop his resume and complete more than 11 interviews with potential employers, and ultimately helped him secure full-time work locally.


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

The Messenger (USPS #341840) Volume #124, Issue 2, is published quarterly by the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Periodical postage paid at Southeastern, Pennsylvania and additional offices. Postmaster: Send Address Changes To The Messenger Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church 625 Montgomery Avenue Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Summer Sunday Schedule Worship at 10:00 a.m. Childcare for infants – age 4, 9:30 – 11:15 a.m. Summer Sunday School for Pre-K – rising 3rd graders, 10:15 a.m. (beginning June 5 after the Children’s Moment in worship) Grades 4-12 worship with their families

Calling All Singers Come to our choir loft at 9:00 a.m. on any summer Sunday from June 17 through Labor Day for a short rehearsal and then sing for the 10:00 a.m. service. Summer choir is simple (one anthem and hymns), and informal (no robes). Questions? Contact Patrick Howley at PatrickHowley@bmpc.org or call 610-525-2821.








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