Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

I’m realizing just how much I needed spring! And thanks to a Zyrtec/Flonase combination, I’m really enjoying the season this year. I hope you are as well.

You know, it’s not uncommon for folks to grow up in the church and forget why the church exists. It’s also easy these days to become disillusioned with the church and want to back away from being so involved. Also, we live very busy lives. In fact, it’s never been so challenging to prioritize the church over other things that vie for our attention. So, what is the purpose of the local church? Do we really need to regularly gather and engage in a local congregation? And what’s the point when I can just listen to a sermon podcast and give to non-profits?

I addressed these questions and concerns this past Sunday, in a messaged entitled, Why You Need the Local Church to Follow Jesus. I also invited us to celebrate what God has been doing at Grantham, to consider where we can go together in the future, and then I challenged us to have a sense of urgency about meeting some of the needs we have as a congregation. Remember, if you sense God is calling you to engage in a new way and to help Grantham continue to grow, please contact the church office and let us know. We’d love to talk to you and help you discern how God is leading you.

I hope you can join us for worship this Sunday as we sing, recognize our graduates, hear God’s word, and receive communion together. We will begin again in Ephesians this Sunday, as we look further at how the work of Christ has impacted the church and her mission. I look forward to sharing how God’s grace has been extended to us so that we would be participants and carriers of that grace to others.

May God continue to bless Grantham Church as we hunger and thirst for more of Christ in ourselves and in the lives of our neighbors.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S.  As you all know, Gabi Bonifant is finishing up her time as the Worship Arts Intern at Grantham Church, which also means she’s about to graduate from Messiah College. As part of a final class project with Doug Curry, Gabi has requested our help by completing a survey. This survey is designed to help you reflect on your physical expression of worship. The purpose of the survey is to gain information on how comfortable congregants at Grantham Church are with different forms of physical expression in worship and why that is the case. Click on the following link to take the survey: https://forms.gle/D7B3wSyFGZc4Bo7CA. Your responses will remain anonymous and confidential. Thank you for taking 5-10 minutes to help!

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly Email From the Pastor and the Body Life, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

I hope your experience of Holy Week and Easter Sunday was as edifying for you as it was for our church staff. As we reflected on the previous week in our staff meeting yesterday, we were particularly encouraged by your participation this year in our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. Not only has Jesus risen, but our attendance has risen in these two services! More of you are finding these services to be deeply meaningful and formative in our (re)telling of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I suspect that our appreciation for these services will only grow.

I heard a few people say, “Easter was far more meaningful because of the Good Friday service!” And to that I say, “Amen!” I personally didn’t grow up in a tradition that recognized holy days, beyond Christmas and Easter, of course. But now that I have been exploring more of the church calendar over the last several years, I can say that it has genuinely impacted my understanding of the gospel and deepened my faith in Christ. And I know that I’m not alone in this experience. Many of you have been on a similar journey.

As I recently read in the book, Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Allure of Liturgy for a New Generation (2019), there appears to be a move of the Spirit toward the sacramental and liturgical among the church in North America. I’m very interested in that and would like to see our congregation continue to explore the power of the church calendar and liturgical practices that can best shape our faith in a post-Christian world. For us at Grantham, that means being a convergent congregation that sees the value in life-giving traditions and our connection to historic Christianity, while also embracing modern forms of worship and ministry in an effort to recontextualize the gospel for today. In this way we honor the past but also stay in step with the Spirit, as we move through time—closer and closer to Christ’s return.

Finally, remember that Easter isn’t one day, it’s a season! Lent was 40 days, but Easter is 50 days. In Eastertide, we learn and reflect on what it means to live into the reality that Christ has risen from the dead. Join us this Sunday for worship as we continue to celebrate Easter and consider what it means for our church to be a resurrection community on mission to make disciples and further new creation.

Until we gather again, may the Spirit fill you with the hope and joy that comes from the good news that God has raised Jesus from the dead.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S.  Don’t forget that our Peacemakers Workshop “Talking It Through: Staying Connected When We Disagree” is this Saturday from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm in C8-12. The workshop will be co-facilitated by Jim and Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz. Lunch will be provided by Messiah College and SEATING IS LIMITED. Time is running out! Please register ASAP for this FREE workshop by emailing the church office (office@granthamchurch.org).

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

I hope that you benefited in some way from our Lent 2019 series. I concluded the series this past Sunday with a message entitled, Fickle Faith… Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That! (6 of 6). I shared about the meaning of Palm Sunday and how Jesus is calling us to let go of what we want and cultivate convictions, particularly his own convictions. If we’re going to follow Jesus, staying with him wherever he goes and surrendering to his will for our lives, we must be prepared for him to do the unexpected. And remember, no matter how dark things get, Jesus reveals that there is reward on the other side of sacrifice.

This is Holy Week in the life of the church. It is also called Passion Week. Why? Because this is what everything in the life and ministry of Jesus was leading up to. It’s in his last hours upon the earth that Jesus most notably reveals the loving heart of God for fallen humanity, as he, the sinless Son of God, takes away our sin and nails it to the cross (Col 2:13-15). God help us if we ever forget the significance of this event. Therefore, we turn our gaze upon Christ and the cross, as well as our desperate need for his salvation, and we allow the Spirit to transform us through our reflection and experience of God’s love.

Our first Holy Week event is our Maundy Thursday Service, commemorating the Last Supper. We begin by eating a simple meal together at 5:30 pm. If you’d like to bring something to the table and help out, please let us know ASAP. Beginning at 6:30 pm, men and women will separately wash each other’s feet, as Jesus did for his own disciples. It’s at this time that we remember the love and service that Jesus calls us to as his followers. And then at 7:00 pm we will move into the sanctuary for a brief time of worship, sharing of the word, and communion by intinction. I hope to see you at this unique Holy Week event.

The next night at 7:30 pm, we will have our Good Friday Service. It’s at this service that we meditate and reflect on the meaning of the cross of Christ. This year we will sing songs, read Scripture, extinguish candles, and I’ll share a short sermon called, My Heart is Ready. Following the message, we will observe silence before the hammer rings out and the final candle extinguished.

And finally, you’re invited to celebrate Easter this Sunday at Grantham Church! As always, we have a very robust service planned for this special event. I want to encourage you to invite your family, your friends, and your neighbors to come worship the risen Lord with us. We’re expecting a full house in worship. So, I’d like to ask you to be intentional in welcoming our visitors. You can do this in several ways: (1) park as far away in the lot as you’re able (you can also use the BIC offices parking lot next door); (2) sit as close to the front of the sanctuary as you’re able, and move toward the center; (3) greet those who you don’t recognize and welcome them to Grantham Church. Let’s be extra vigilant in offering hospitality to each other this Sunday.

I’m very excited about the next few days as we open ourselves up and give Christ and the church our full attention. Let’s do all that we can to enter into the season for our own sake, but also for the sake of the church and those who are lost, so that the world may know the hope that is in Christ. May the Holy Spirit move among us in a powerful way this weekend. Be blessed, church.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S. Please remember that this is the final Sunday to sign-up for our Season of Service projects on April 27. At this point, we can still use up to 16 volunteers for the Serve Our Neighbors projects in the morning, and as many as 41 for the Serve Our Congregation projects that afternoon. If you have not signed up for that day yet, please stop by the sign-up station in the lobby this coming Sunday. Sign-ups for the following weeks are also available now and will continue through the Sunday preceding each weekend. Thanks again for giving of your time to serve!

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly Email From the Pastor and the Body Life, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

I hope that you have enjoyed our Lenten series, Cultivating & Letting Go. Pastor Kelly delivered the fifth installment in the series this past Sunday, in a message entitled, Cultivating Kinship. I thought her sermon over the Parable of Prodigal Son and the Older Brother was an excellent reminder of just how powerful Jesus’ stories were in the first century, and in our own day as well. Kelly shared how Jesus wants us to move beyond tolerance and acceptance to a radical new posture of kinship. I encourage you to continue giving that some thought. How can we reflect the good Father from Jesus’ parable?

Our Lent series comes to a close this weekend with Palm Sunday. As is our usual custom, we will begin our worship service with the help of our children and palm branches, as we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Many folks know that Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the final week of Christ’s life, but what is the significance of this scene where Jesus rides into the holy city on a donkey to the waving of palm branches and the praises of a large crowd? Furthermore, what might our Gospel lectionary reading (Luke 19:28-40) encourage us to cultivate and let go? I look forward to sharing that with you.

Again, I want invite you to enter into this special liturgical season in the life of the church. I have found that intentionally placing your thoughts on Christ and experiencing the events of Holy Week through Scripture, prayer, Jesus films, Christian art, etc., and by attending our Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter services, puts us in a better position to receive a blessing from above. The more we give to this week and see it as holy, the more we will receive from it. So, let’s enter in and allow the Spirit to deepen our love for Christ and shape our hearts and minds for the sake of the good news.

Finally, I want to remind you to be sure to visit the sign-up station for our Season of Service at Grantham Church. I’m excited that we’re stretching our annual service day over multiple weekends this year, which begins on April 27. This gives us several chances to serve and meet needs in our church and in our community. If you’ve not done so already, please sign up at the Season of Service table in the church lobby this Sunday. Let’s make sure that our presence is felt all around us through our active service to our neighbors.

Until we’re all together again, may the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you his peace.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S. Please see the special announcement in the Body Life below about summer missions trips. Note that this is the last week to sign-up for donations to help supply our missionaries who will be serving this summer. There is a particular need for Sally A. Young as she prepares to serve with Veritas in Sighisoara, Romania.

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor and the Body Life, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

It was a blessing to have Bruxy Cavey with us this past Sunday. Bruxy shared a message entitled, Being a Third Way Family: Cultivating the Radical Love of Jesus in the Church. If you missed the message, please take some time to listen/watch at our website or at our podcast via iTunes. Bruxy described the sort of culture we have been working to create and celebrate at Grantham Church.

Here are several critical points that Bruxy made in his message that I’d like for us to continue thinking about:

  • Generally speaking, first way is conservative and judgmental (e.g. Pharisees); second way is liberal and accepting (i.e. anything goes/whatever makes you happy); third way says that whether you lean to the left or the right, we strive to make welcoming space for Christians who hold a different opinion/position on a significant issue.

  • Our unity as brothers and sisters in Christ is not only a spiritual reality given to us by Jesus, but also a relational discipline that we practice as a gift to give back to Jesus. Our unity is both a spiritual fact and a spiritual fight (Eph 2:14-16; 4:3; Rom 12:5). Jesus prayed for our unity (John 17:20-23). Therefore, to disrupt the unity of the church is a sin.

  • Acceptance does not equal agreement. When we confuse acceptance and agreement, we will tend to withhold acceptance in order to communicate our disagreement.

  • Let us reject the world’s “call out” culture in favor of God’s “call in” culture. How do we do that? (1) Don’t pretend to agree (that’s false unity); (2) Don’t avoid the issue (that’s weak unity); (3) Do speak well of others, to their face and behind their backs; (4) Do take a learning posture in the relationship. This applies to everyone.

I’m grateful for how Bruxy helped us to take a few more steps forward into being a third way church family, and for how he challenged us to lead out in being a uniquely Christ-centered church, for such a time as this. Let’s press on in our calling to be the difference the world needs to see in the church today.

This Sunday we will be returning to the Gospel of Luke in our Lenten series, and Pastor Kelly will be preaching on the parable of the prodigal son. We will be sharing in communion together at the end of the service. Also, you will receive a bulletin insert that lists our Holy Week services, including times and other important information. I want to encourage you to make every effort to participate in these upcoming events. And remember, if you’d like to sign up to bring food, or to help with set-up and clean-up for our Maundy Thursday meal, please contact the church office (office@granthamchurch.org).

Finally, I’m writing this letter from Christian Retreat Center, where I was asked to be a part of a strategic planning retreat for Susquehanna Conference. Please pray for Bishop Bob and our team over the next couple of days, as we reflect on the 20 year history of our conference and prayerfully discern how the Spirit is leading us into a new season of conference life. We’re living in some challenging times, but I am hopeful about the future of our church, our conference, and our denomination. I want to invite you to join me in believing that our best years are ahead.

For the sake of the gospel, may God continue to bless Grantham Church, the Susquehanna Conference, and the entire BIC family.

See you on Sunday!

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor and the Body Life, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

It’s been a challenging month for me, but I think things are looking up. For the most part, I’ve completely recovered from the flu. Thank you for all your prayers and for the meals that some of you provided while my whole family was sick. I’m getting back into the swing of things this week, and I’m looking forward to seeing you this Sunday.

I want to thank Pastor John Yeatts for preaching this past Sunday. John shared an excellent message, God, Have Mercy On Me, which examined Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying at the Temple. This is an appropriate word for the Lenten season. How should we approach God in prayer? Why is repentance necessary? And what does it look like to repent and change? If we’re going to be faithful followers of Jesus, John reminded us that we should be more like the sinner in Jesus’ parable, instead of the prideful, self-centered religious leader.

As Pastor John mentioned at the beginning of his sermon, Bruxy Cavey will be with us this Sunday. We are fortunate to be able to partner with Messiah College in bringing Bruxy to share his gifts with us. Bruxy is the teaching pastor at The Meeting House, Canada. He is also an author and gifted speaker. Bruxy will be sharing about his newest book, (re)union: the Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints, and Sinners (2017) in a combined Learning Community at 9:00 am. I hope you can come and hear him share some of his story and about his book. Books will be available for purchase, but CASH ONLY.

Also, I’ve asked Bruxy to share a message in the 10:30 am service entitled, Being a Third Way Family: Cultivating the Radical Love of Jesus in the Church. As you know, we’re all about being “third way” at Grantham. So far, I’ve talked about third way as it pertains to us not letting partisan politics separate us as a church. But there is more to being third way than us not being divided by partisan politics. And so, I’ve asked Bruxy to broaden what it means to be a third way church. I’m really excited that Bruxy will come and share a bit about how his congregation is living into what it means to be third way, and how we can be a congregation that loves everyone and worships alongside those with whom we may disagree. So, invite your friends and family, and join us this Sunday for a special service.

Finally, please pray for me, Dan, and Kelly. We will be at the Missio Alliance conference in Alexandria, VA from Thursday through Saturday. We expect that the time will be rejuvenating, encouraging, and inspiring. May the rest of your week be a blessing as well, as we continue allowing the Spirit to guide our lives and our church into God’s good future.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor David

P.S. Stay tuned for upcoming information regarding Holy Week 2019! You don’t want to miss this special time of year at Grantham Church.

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor and the Body Life, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org