A More Light Congregation

Bethany Presbyterian Church

July 8, 2017

Getting to the 'other side' in life can be challenging. Moving from one life situation, one frame of mind, or one point of view can be a terrifying undertaking. This week in worship we witness such fear as Jesus' followers find themselves in a boat with a huge storm brewing around them. Much to their dismay, they discover Jesus asleep in the helm of the boat seemly unaware or disinterested in their situation.  

Join with the community of faith as we explore God's presence with us in the midst of the worst storms life can throw at us. In addition to our wonderful Summer musicians' offerings, we will sing together hymns #267 “Come, Christians, Join to Sing”, #450 “Be Thou My Vision”, and #853 “We Are Marching in the Light of God”. Come celebrate with us as we joyfully sing our praises to God who promises to be with us always.

June 25, 2017

This Sunday, Bethany Presbyterian Church, a More Light Congregation, re-affirms and celebrates its commitment to being the kind of open doors and arms into which persons of any variety or persuasion may be warmly received regardless of circumstance or human condition; and, reaching out to the community so it may be known: Every person is invited to “come as one is,” raising hearts, hands and voices in thanksgiving and praise to God, maker of each of us, every one: a unique expression of unspeakable love!

Recently, The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada articulated its purpose in these words: We believe that the holy act of singing together shapes faith, heals brokenness, transforms lives, and renews peace. For nearly 100 years, the organization has promoted the creation of new hymns responding to contemporary issues. A recent call for submissions concerning refugees and immigrants elicited over 200 entries from which forty- six were selected, including three in use today: "In Every Place Where God is Praised," "Community of Christ" and "From Wisdom Emerging." From the collection called "Singing Welcome," these beautiful poems speak directly to the heart of a reality that we are all, in some fashion in the world today, 'cultural refugees.' The Singing Welcome Working Group prays that this resource will "encourage and deepen your congregation's commitment to love neighbor as self, and to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God."

Wear your rainbows!

June 18, 2017

What a difference a day makes. What a difference it makes in our living when we say “Yes” to following this Jesus. Have you ever stopped to consider how your life might be different had you taken a different path ­ had you not begun this journey with Jesus? Or perhaps you are still wondering what this “following Jesus” is all about? How will following this Jesus make a difference in my living? How will it change me? How will it change my relationships? All good questions. The journey begins in the midst of community.

A certain highlight each week is our song together; this Sunday ‘grace’ is a theme among selected hymns which include No.s 307 “God of Grace and God of Glory”, 649 “Amazing Grace”, and 296 “Go in Grace and Make Disciples.”

Wherever you are on this journey of life, you are invited to join the Bethany community, a progressive, inclusive, diverse group. We gather Sundays at 10:00 AM.

June 11, 2017

This quote from Mother Teresa wonderfully sums up what we know as the Great Commission from Matthew 28. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...” This Sunday we will share our thoughts about doing just that - ‘Going out into the world sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.” Is it easy? NO! Is it scary? Can be. Can we do it? YES! The question I am always left with after hearing Jesus call us to “Go out,” is “Why wouldn’t we want to share with others what Jesus Christ has done for us and for our lives?” Come join in the conversation. 

Come Sing, O Church in Joy! Each hymn selection today points to God’s graces bestowed on each of us, every special one, and a call to use these gifts for the work of ministry; especially No. 298, “Lord, You Give the Great Commission,” the globally-revered poem by Jeffery W. Rowthorn (1978), sung to the monumental tune Abbot's Leigh. For communion, No. 510, “We Gather Here in Jesus’ Name” and in closing, No. 716 “God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending.”

June 4, 2017

When the Spirit of God blew through the room where the disciples were hiding out, everything changed: their lives and the entire world; those early followers of Jesus were literally blown from a safe place into the streets of the world with all its diversity and needs.

Pentecost (50th day) is that day the Spirit of God brought the breath of new life into the early Church. Today, we, who are the Church, call upon this same Spirit of God to come, to stir us, moving us out of complacency. I often wonder if we realize what we are asking. Who likes change? By its nature change is disturbing. Can we truly be prepared for getting what we ask?

June 4, 2017 is “Faith in Action” Sunday. We will move out of our comfortableness, putting our faith in action as we work on the Tiny House, prepare lunch for guests at Hospitality House, and put together health kits.

May 28, 2017

Transformation or conversion, not words we use everyday when we think of our lives. Saul probably was not thinking of such words or possibilities either as he walked along the road to Damascus, on yet another journey to wreak havoc on the lives of those known as The Way. We know them as Christians today. The Risen Jesus shows up on that same road, and life is never the same for Saul, who becomes the apostle Paul. Join us this Sunday as we share stories of transformation, and see and hear where and how God shows up when we least expect it.

All having gone according to plan and schedule, the new organ will be available to us in worship this Sunday, May 28. [Editor's note: the new organ is here, and ready for worship! Hallelujah!] The service is book-ended by two “pillar” hymns, perfect for its inaugural use: No. 268, “Crown Him with Many Crowns” and No. 363, “Rejoice, the Lord is King!” And, in the middle, No. 250, a delightful poem and tune by the prolific Natalie Sleeth: the hymn of promise called “In the Bulb There is a Flower.”  Please bring a friend and join us in worship.

May 21, 2017

We are called to witness. Yes, that is exactly what Jesus calls us to do: witness to our faith. We call it sharing the good news of what Jesus Christ has done, or is doing, right now in the world and in our lives. It does not mean standing on street corners or knocking on doors to share our faith. Not that this is a bad idea.

Join us this Sunday as we celebrate our faith, and share with others where we see God working in the world today.

Throughout Easter season we’ve concluded worship with a piano work by Scott Joplin. This Sunday, May 21, at 10:00 am, we’ll begin that way instead, hearing “Palm Leaf Rag,” from 1903. Our opening hymn, No. 410, “God is Calling through the Whisper” offers “lift of joy and gift of singing” and saying, “God is calling through the voices of our neighbor’s urgent prayers - can you hear?” Next, a favorite, No.462,“I Love to Tell the Story” and in closing, No. 231 “Christ Has Risen While Earth Slumbers.”

Let the world confirm the rumor: Christ is risen, God is here!

May 14, 2014

If you like surprises, then you will love the story of Phillip, an early follower of Jesus, and the Ethiopian man he meets unexpectedly in the middle of nowhere! What a witness to a God who often shows up unexpectedly in places, situations, and people. We never know what God might be up to.

Together we’ll sing from The Presbyterian Hymnal No. 645 “Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above,” 630, “Fairest Lord Jesus,” and 315, “In the Midst of New Dimensions,” a compelling hymn poem by Julian Rush which asks “in the face of changing ways, who will lead the pilgrim peoples wandering in their separate ways?” And, as usual, spirited musical surprises and gifts are in store for the regularly scheduled 10:00 am service.  

Join us Sunday as we reflect on our own faith journeys, and examine the unexpected things God is up to in our lives.  You are not only welcome: you are invited!  

May 7, 2017

Who doesn’t want abundant life?  It's the promise Jesus offers his followers, but likely not the kind of abundance many of us think about:  a better paying job, a fancy car, or any of the ‘toys’ we work so hard to acquire.  Jesus offers us a treasury that comes from relationship with God and one another.  It is a kind of wealth that offers forgiveness, grace and love unlimited.  It is the pristine self-existing nature of abundance to be already more than enough, and it calls forth justice and peace for all people.  

Be with us: a community seeking to be one of peace, love, justice and inclusivity.  At Bethany Presbyterian Church, There is a Place at the Table for You!

Together we will sing this testimony with hymns No. 506 "Look Who Gathers at the Table," No. 507, "Come to the Table of Grace," and No. 320, "The Church of Christ in Every Age":  "...we have no mission but to serve in full obedience to our Lord: to care for all, without reserve, and spread Christ's liberating word."

All are welcome!

April 30, 2017

"Make a joyful noise to the Lord", says the psalmist.  "Serve the Lord with gladness”. Singing, rejoicing and yes, even laughter, are all a part of giving thanks to God who blesses us each day.

This Sunday offers us a myriad of ways to sing and rejoice, and perhaps even laugh, (with the usual Bethany vigor) favorite hymns including "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing", "O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee", and "Crown Him with Many Crowns".  It will be our pleasure also, along with hymns and service music raised up for God's glory, to be blessed by several gifts of song by The Bethany Quartet, who this year celebrate many, many years in friendship, faith journey, and remarkably, thirty (30) illustrious years singing together in ensemble. We are grateful for these four, faithful women.

April 23, 2017

“The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty,” says Presbyterian author Anne Lamott.  “Certainty is missing the point. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. Faith also means reaching deeply within, for the sense one was born with…”

April 23, The first Sunday after Easter,we open in song with No. 234, "Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain."  We will hear proclaimed again through scripture the story of Jesus' follower known as “Doubting Thomas,” who has received a bad rap over the course of time.  We'll sing No. 418, "Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling," and continue on to explore Thomas' fear, his questioning, and his deep faith following this one who calls us: Jesus our Lord.  Indeed: "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee!"  (Hymn No. 611).  In addition to enthusiastic congregational singing, many and varied are the musical gifts offered each Sunday.  All are Welcome!  

April 16, 2017 - Easter Sunday

Referred to as "The Main Event" by the title character in John Irving's book, "A Prayer for Owen Meany," it's Easter again, and celebrations ensue!  Join us on the hill above the church for Easter Sunrise service at 6:30 a.m. to await, observe and welcome the dawn of a new day, new life and new creation. Following the service we will share an Easter Brunch. 

The 10:00 a.m. service is filled with celebratory choruses for all those gathered, including from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal, No. 245, "Christ the Lord is Risen Today," No. 250 "In the Bulb There is a Flower" and No. 233 "The Day of Resurrection!"   With music offered throughout by the Chancel Choir and Prayz Band, the stage is set for a joyful celebration!  

After the service, everyone is invited to stay for coffee and children of all ages are invited to an Easter egg hunt outside in the Healing Garden. Happy Easter to All!

April 14, 2017 - Good Friday

See our page here for worship info.

April 9, 2017

Join us this Sunday, Palm Sunday, as we join the parade crowd following Jesus into the City of Jerusalem. We will join the chorus of joyful shouts, “Hosanna, Hosanna. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” We will ask the question, "Who is this King of Glory? Who is he for our lives?

For our 10:00 am Palm Sunday service, we will gather in the Healing Garden at 9:50 am.  At 10:00 am, singing hosannas, we will process together, led by Choir into the sanctuary, placing palms into vases upon the Communion Table.

Music in worship will include vocal and instrumental offerings such as "Lift up Your Heads, O Ye Gates" (Mathias), "My Song is Love Unknown," (Childs).  

For singing together faithfully, selected congregational songs will include from Glory to God:  The Presbyterian Hymnal No. 197, "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna," No. 223 "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" and No. 263, "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name!" 

April 2, 2017

Verbs are the driving force of any story.  This Sunday, the 5th Sunday of Lent, we will enter the story of Jesus calling his friend Lazarus out of his tomb to new life. It will be the verbs in this story that will allow us to experience the fullness of this journey from death to life.  We will hear voices from the congregation share what these same verbs mean to their own spiritual journey. 

Along with various sung and instrumental musical offerings from talented members of the congregation, favorite hymns for all will include "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," "Breathe on Me, Breath of God," and "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light."  

Join us…

March 26, 2017

Our Lenten Journey continues this Sunday as we join a crowd that gathers around Jesus, including a man who is now able to see for the first time in his life. This crowd, comprised of the man’s parents and neighbors, Jesus’ disciples, and even some teachers of the Jewish Law, will all have opinions on why and how this man receives his vision. Join us in worship, as we encounter this unnamed man and hear his story of receiving new sight and new life. 

Our response together in song will include from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal No. 187, "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us," No. 36, "For the Fruit of All Creation" and No. 749 "Come! Live in the Light!"

"We are called to act with justice; we are called to love tenderly; we are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God...." 

Invite a friend!

March 19, 2017

This Sunday, our Lenten Journey continues.

In scripture we meet an outsider: a woman, alone, drawing water at the community well in the heat of the desert day. She carries with her many burdens and sorrows. It is Jesus who shows up unexpectedly and invites her to share in the Living Water only he can provide. This invitation is open to us as well. Join us as we drink deeply of this spiritual gift of life.

Among other musical offerings, our responses as a community in song will include, from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal, No. 182, "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say," No. 48, "Rain Down," and No. 321, "The Church's One Foundation." A choral offering will be "Come to the Water" by Foley/Ratcliff, followed by Presentation of Offering, at which time all may come forward, placing any offering or prayer request in the basket on the Communion Table.

For so many blessings we are grateful, especially for another opportunity being together to pray and celebrate . This is sanctuary.

March 12, 2017

This Sunday, our journey of Lent continues as we follow our ancestor Abram as he responds to a call by God to “Go,” from his home and all that is familiar. Abram’s journey marks the beginning of our journey with God. We will celebrate this covenant relationship as we gather as a community around the communion table, remembering God’s promise to be with us always. 

In sanctuary worship we continue to pause and reflect.  Amid brief periods of silence, we have as many opportunities to hear scripture and sing joyfully a faith that calls us together again and again.  From Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal, No. 49 "The God of Abraham Praise," No. 829 "My Faith Looks Up to Thee" and No. 722 "Lord, Speak to Me".  Among other musical offerings: a choral work entitled "In This Very Room," by Ron and Carol Harris.  

Our service is scheduled regularly for 10:00 am.  There is ample parking and the church is accessible to all.  Please join us.  Everyone is Welcome!

March 5, 2017

On March 5th, we begin our Lenten Journey, following Jesus to Jerusalem, and ultimately to his death and resurrection. Our journey will begin in the garden where it all started. We will examine this mythological story of how the first human beings walked and talked intimately with our God. We know that living in the 21st century, with all of its busyness and demands on our time, it is often difficult to even imagine such a personal relationship with our God. Worship offers us such moments with God, through the music, the liturgy, and in the silence. Come join us!

Sunday, March 5, 2017 is Communion Sunday.  We will sing Hymn No. 515 "I Come with Joy," No. 724, "O Jesus, I Have Promised," and from The Presbyterian Hymnal No. 80, "Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley."  Choir will offer "In Bread and Wine," a setting by John Carter based upon the Southern Folk Hymn, "Prospect".  Every Sunday at Bethany we have varied musical offerings brought forth lovingly by faithful members of the congregation.  Please come!

March 1, 2017

An Ash Wednesday worship experience will occur March 1st at 7pm at Bethany Presbyterian Church.  Imposition of ashes and Communion for all is set amidst a sequence of words, prayers, hymns and brief periods of reflective silence.  Musical selections include from Glory to God:  The Presbyterian Hymnal No. 414 "Be Still and Know That I am God," a beautiful Taize-style setting which will be used prayerfully throughout the season of Lent; members of Choir will offer "Create in Me a Clean Heart" by Emily Crocker.  Everyone is welcome!