Posts with the category “from-the-pastor”
The two shall be one…
by Pastor Anita on October 3rd, 2023
I witnessed a miracle on Saturday… a miracle I have dreamed about for years. I have witnessed this miracle again and again, for the last 40 years. Yet, to stand in the chancel of All Saints Church as both mother and pastor, I was overwhelmed with God’s gift. Many marvel at Jesus’ first miracle in turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana, but that miracle pales in comparison to the union of h...
Gospel According to Disney
by Pastor Anita on September 26th, 2023
Greetings from sunny southern California! I have spent the last two days enjoying all things Disney… well, maybe not the roller coasters… but so much more... The Bells know how to make the most of a Disney adventure! I know you thought I was in California for our daughter’s wedding. But first we plan to experience some of what our daughter loves about her new home. We will hike the mountains, expl...
by Pastor Anita on September 19th, 2023
Weddings…I have been paying attention to weddings these days… Granted, I have always been intrigued. I will stop to watch a wedding party as they pose for pictures, staying quietly on the fringe, hoping they won’t notice as I take in the styles and colors and flowers… and the joy. Seeing the beginning is captivating, so I have always been a sucker for a good wedding. But recently, planning our dau...
9/11 by the Numbers
by Pastor Anita on September 12th, 2023
We all know the story…On the morning of September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked commercial passenger planes, turning those planes into weapons of war against the United States. That story… our story… often is reduced to a study in numbers. 4 planes involved in the attack 2 planes flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center 1 plane flown into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. 1 pla...
Protestant Work Ethic vs. Grace
by Pastor Anita on September 5th, 2023
Make a joyful noise…Psalm 100 opens with this iconic phrase that has excused many a poor rendition of Christian music, celebrating heart over excellence of presentation. Noise… ‘Noise’ is the call of the people of God, yet Webster defines ‘noise’ as a sound that lacks an agreeable quality or is noticeably loud or unpleasant. It is hard to reconcile ‘noise’ with a joyful celebration of the people o...
by Pastor Anita on August 29th, 2023
On Sunday, the dreams of 14 boys came true as the El Segundo Little League team won the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. They won in dramatic fashion with Louis Lappe hitting a walk-off home run in the bottom of the final 6th inning to beat Curaco 6-5. Monday, the town of El Segundo, CA turned out to cheer their young champions- 1000s lining the streets of their quiet little borough...
Finger Pointing and Name Calling
by Pastor Anita on August 22nd, 2023
When I was growing up my mom taught me that finger pointing and name calling was not polite. Such behavior would result in time in my room to think about my rude and thoughtless actions. I would imagine that you learned the same lesson as a child. But in today’s world, finger pointing and name calling have become the practice of the day. Please excuse me while I call a few names to make my point. ...
Lahaina Church Finds Sanctuary in a Café
by Pastor Anita on August 15th, 2023
On Sunday, as congregations across the nation gathered in the comfort of their sanctuaries, the faith community of Grace Baptist Church met upstairs at the Maui Coffee Attic. Their Robin’s Egg Blue church, that sat beneath mango trees, is now gone; the trees scarred by the fire that raged across Lahaina last Tuesday. In times of crisis- tsunami warnings, hurricanes, fires- Grace Baptist Church has...
Everyone Loves a Winner
by Pastor Anita on August 8th, 2023
Certainly, this line can be said of Philadelphia. We love our teams when they win and are famous for ‘booing’ our teams when they lose. Case in point, Trea Truner, our new shortstop and star hitter- or at least that is why we signed Turner to a 11-year, $300 million deal! Turner is a two-time All-Star with impressive stats that helped to take the Nationals to a World Series win in 2019. He won the...
Can we talk about it?
by Pastor Anita on August 1st, 2023
How’s the weather?...That question has been the start of many a friendly conversation. Back in the day, talk about the weather was considered simple, polite, safe, even entertaining. How many of us have made jokes about our local meteorologist’s missed predictions about the weather? Now that they have tools like Doppler radar making their predictions more accurate, we find amusement in how dramati...
by Pastor Anita on July 25th, 2023
Tony Bennet died last week…Born Anthony Dominick Benedetto on August 3, 1926, in Astoria, New York, Tony began his career as a singing waiter in Queens. From those humble beginnings, he developed a career that spanned six decades, earning 41 Grammy nominations, and winning 19 Grammy Awards. He will forever be known for: “Rags to Riches”, “Stranger in Paradise”, “Fly Me to the Moon”, “Put on a Happ...
Let the little children come…
by Pastor Anita on July 18th, 2023
And they did!... Sunday night, the sounds of children echoed through the halls of Lenape Valley. Vacation Bible School blasted off with a family event, complete with face painting, bubbles, games, crafts, snacks and just some good oldfashioned fun! What a delight to see families enjoying an evening together. Those moments are hard to find in our busy world. The craft ladies helped our children tra...
Do you see the Whole Picture?
by Pastor Anita on July 11th, 2023
What do you see in this famous optical illusion- an old woman’s profile or a young woman looking away? Many of us have played this game and know the fun of experiencing what psychologists call the ‘gestalt switch’ when your eyes suddenly see a second image emerging from the first. The young woman’s chin becomes the older woman’s nose, the older woman’s chin becomes the young woman’s neckline, the ...
Declaration of (In)Dependence
by Pastor Anita on July 5th, 2023
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of t...
by Pastor Anita on June 27th, 2023
Confession time…I don’t know how to slow down. My family would tell you that I can’t ‘just sit.’ I must be doing something… always something. There is always something to do… there is always something that I ‘need’ to do. Or at least that’s how it feels. I have been moving at a fast pace through life as long as I can remember. I am not complaining mind you, just confessing. Most of the time, I lik...
Can AI Preach?
by Pastor Anita on June 20th, 2023
Can AI preach? The question was asked and answered at a church conference held in Bavaria, Germany this month- (Deutscher Evangelischer Krichentag- German Evangelical Church Congress). This conference meets once every two years to discuss current world affairs. This year the topics ranged from global warming and the war in Ukraine, to the growing presence of AI (artificial intelligence) in our dai...
What a small world…
by Pastor Anita on June 13th, 2023
I barely paid attention to the news reports last week about wildfires in Canada, until I emerged from my windowless office on Wednesday to discover our world had changed. The sky held an eerie yellow haze, the wind smelled of smoke, the sun shone with a stunning orange hue. Like many of you, when I stepped outside my throat stung, my eyes itched, my chest ached. News reports warned of unsafe air c...
The Celebrity who hated attention…
by Pastor Anita on June 6th, 2023
I want to tell you a story about a super-hero, disguised as a mild-mannered, glasses-wearing, soft-spoken, thoughtful reporter, working in Metropolis… No… this is not a story about Super Man, but about Tim Keller, the founder and pastor of Redeemer Church in New York City. In 1989, a professor from Westminster Seminary in Glenside, PA answered an audacious call from God, to go to the biggest metro...
by Pastor Anita on May 30th, 2023
Breathe a sigh of relief…The headline on the Inquirer’s Monday front page declared: “We have a debt ceiling deal.” With just days to spare, the powers-that-be have negotiated a settlement they believe will pass the House and Senate, allowing the government to continue to meet its obligations. In simple terms, this deal, if passed by our lawmakers, will prevent a U.S. default on our debt. For the l...
When Heaven Can’t Wait
by Pastor Anita on May 23rd, 2023
Lenape Valley is once again preparing for the unthinkable… another Celebration of Life service (what the world would call a funeral). You might challenge the use of the word “unthinkable” when referring to death. Isn’t death just a natural part of life, and don’t Christians face death armed with the promises of God? Christians ought to embrace death as the next great adventure. But even with the p...
by Pastor Anita on May 16th, 2023
Do you remember the politics of the playground at school? When the bell rang for recess, kids would pour out of the school eager to have a few minutes of fun. Time was limited, so quick organization was essential. Captains claimed their position- usually the popular kids… and the selection process commenced- first the big kid… the athletic kid… then came the selection of friends- because games are...
A Taste from across the Pond
by Pastor Anita on May 9th, 2023
Were you up before the crack of dawn on Saturday, hat on, a pot of steaming hot tea at the ready? Thirty-two million Americans positioned themselves in front of their streaming devices (we used to say TVs) to watch the royal procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey that began at 5:15am (Eastern). Thirty-eight coronations have taken place in Westminster Abbey with the Archbishop of Ca...
by Pastor Anita on May 2nd, 2023
A 16-year-old boy, living outside Kansas City, was sent by his mother to pick up his younger brothers from a friend’s house. He had the wrong address… went to the wrong house… rang the wrong doorbell… and was shot through the door for his mistake.A 20-year-old cheerleader was dropped off in a parking lot after practice. She opened what she thought was her car, planning to drive herself home. When ...
Next Gen- NOW!
by Pastor Anita on April 25th, 2023
This past weekend, I discovered muscles I never knew I had, compliments of a tree adventure with our Lenape Valley teens. Stepping from one swinging board to the next, flying through the air on ziplines, trying to balance on a tight-rope line (and failing)… from one challenge to the next I realized that the wisdom of years is no match to the spry flexibility and courage of youth! This was just one...
by Pastor Anita on April 18th, 2023
April 15, 2023- The bells of Old South Church echoed across Copley Square in Boston at 2:49pm- the same time two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line 10-years ago. The blast of those bombs injured hundreds of participants and spectators and killed Martin Richard, 8; Lingzi Lu, 23; and Krystle Campbell, 29. Two police officers- Sean Collier, 27 and Dennis Simmonds, 28- also lost their ...
by Pastor Anita on April 11th, 2023
A blank page…For a preacher, a blank page is either an opportunity or a nightmare. I come to the blank page each week after time in prayer and hours of study, ready for God to shape a message that will teach and inspire, challenge and comfort. When I come to Holy Week, I know that there will be five blank pages… five messages that will need to be written (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday,...
Beauty from Ashes… Life from Death
by Pastor Anita on March 28th, 2023
Another tornado… a monster storm… EF-4 in strength... three-quarters of a mile wide, traveling 59 miles, devastating everything in its path. Houses and buildings of Rolling Fork, Mississippi were flattened. The tornado that touched down for over an hour, drew debris 30,000 feet up in the air and then flung it back to earth with devastating force. A tractor trailer crushed a small church in the cen...
This is the day…
by Pastor Anita on March 21st, 2023
Today, as I write this letter, Greg is at his doctor’s office… another 3-month check to be sure that the cancer is not back. Each check makes us hold our breath. Each completed check allows us to breathe again. Some people survive this cancer for years, but we know that these early months are when the cancer is most likely to rear its ugly head again. Thus, another trip to Philly, braving the t...
Three Years Ago...
by Pastor Anita on March 14th, 2023
Three years ago today… on March 14, 2020… the world closed its doors. At noon, the Elders of Lenape Valley Church voted to ‘cancel’ in-person Sunday worship for the next day. The office, the preschool, the weekday ministries- all of Lenape Valley Church closed. It was the only decision that we could make to protect the welfare of our people, but it felt counter intuitive. When the people of God fa...
Touch of Grace
by Pastor Anita on March 7th, 2023
Every week I write a message… now that we are in Lent I am writing two messages a week… and each time I leave cuttings on the floor at the end of the project. In the entertainment business, those cuttings are called “outtakes”- those scenes and sequences that do not make the final production. Yet often those outtakes contain gems that writers hate to leave behind. How many of us have seen the ‘ext...
by Pastor Anita on February 28th, 2023
On Wednesday, February 8, students gathered for a regular chapel service on the campus of Asbury University in Wilmore, KY. Students at Asbury are required to attend at least three chapel services per week, so on that day about 100 students gathered to hear the Assistant Soccer coach, Zach Meerkreebs speak on Romans chapter 12. At the end of chapel, Meerkreebs texted his wife that he had “totally ...
by Pastor Anita on January 17th, 2023
In 1929… The Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming was established. Popeye the Sailor made his debut. The first Oscars were given out at the Academy Awards. The world’s population was 2,059 million people. Herbert Hoover was President. The average income in the US was $1,582.00 per year. Sunglasses were invented. ...
by Pastor Anita on January 10th, 2023
I know that some of you saw the title of the Tuesday Letter this week and just shook your head. How could we still be talking about Christmas? Most of you took your tree down a week ago. All your neighbors, with the exception of a few diehards, already put their Christmas lights away. Last week the stores started adding Valentine’s merchandise to their shelves. And we are just a few short weeks fr...
No Room in the Inn
by JR Wolff on January 3rd, 2023
We all know the story…Mary and Joseph travelled for days from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem to pay their taxes. Mary was well along in her pregnancy, so riding on a donkey was difficult. Joseph walked by her side the whole way, arriving in Bethlehem exhausted. Both needed shelter for the night, but there was “no room in the inn.” Actually, in a small town like Bethlehem, there probably w...
The 12 Days of Christmas
by Pastor Anita on December 27th, 2022
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…How many of us have sung this Christmas carol over the years? Every year I have to review the gifts in the song to remember: How many French Hens? Is it 10 Lords-a-Leaping or 10 Ladies Dancing? What is a Calling Bird? And I always wonder why anyone would give Geese as a gift. They are nasty birds that bite and hiss and leave less than pleasant ...
by Pastor Anita on December 20th, 2022
The wait is almost over. Every Who down in Whoville, the small and the tall… and every boy and girl in Chalfont, New Britain, Lansdale, Perkasie and beyond… has been waiting for ‘you know who’ to slide down their chimney with all sorts of delights. For those of us who are tasked with making sure that wait is not met with disappointment, the ‘wait’ is really a race to get everything done. I always ...
The Grace Alternative
by Pastor Anita on December 13th, 2022
You know the list… Santa’s list… the Naughty and Nice list.He sees you when you’re sleeping… he knows when you’re awake… he knows when you’ve been bad or good… so be good for goodness’ sake.How many of us have used this song as a motivation/threat with our children when the excited anticipation of Christmas stirs up the ‘naughty’ in them? Yet, while this song and the story behind it encourages us ...
Joy in the House!
by Pastor Anita on December 6th, 2022
Sunday, December 4, 2023, the 2nd Sunday of Advent was Joy Sunday at Lenape Valley in name and reality. Joy filled the house that day! Before the sun rose… before many of us opened our eyes to the day… joy began to fill the house of the Lord located on the corner of Ute and Butler. Nestled in the kitchen of the church, a dedicated team of chefs began preparing a feast for the people of God. These...
Can’t Get There from Here!
by Pastor Anita on November 29th, 2022
On Sunday, December 4th, as you make your way to Lenape Valley to celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent, you may feel like you ‘can’t get there from here.’ SEPTA has planned to replace the railroad tracks that cross Butler Ave. just north of Bristol Rd. The commuters in our area will appreciate SEPTA’s attention to track safety. But for those of us using four-wheel transportation, the road clos...
I thank my God…
by Pastor Anita on November 22nd, 2022
Thanksgiving is two days away and I have yet to buy my turkey. In fact: the only ingredient I currently have in the house, for the feast that is expected by my hungry crew, is crispy French Fried Onions to top the delicacy we all know and love as green bean casserole. Unfortunately, I have yet to purchase the green beans… or the makings for stuffing… or potatoes… or cranberry sauce… I know, the ...