WHY MY CHURCH ROCKS

On Sunday, February 4, 2018. Worshipers at St. Paul Lutheran Church were asked to write a brief “elevator speech” on their experience of our church community, with three caveats:

  1. Try not to use church jargon or inside language.
  2. Try not to name specific names or programs (this is about an impression of the experience.)
  3.  Try to imagine sharing a sentence or two with someone not connected to any church currently.

(As expected – not everyone followed directions!)

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Here were the responses:

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A place to feel welcomed and share the Word of God.

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St. Paul provides a warm and welcoming space to meet new friends who come together to share their love of God and grow as a community and as an individual.

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St. Paul community and teachings give me a foundation to build my moral values on.

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St. Paul’s has a Good Pastor, Good Music and a Friendly Congregation

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A welcome congregation – inclusive to all. A congregation with wonderful music, pastor & friends.

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A caring friendly group of people trying to do God’s will for them.

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I chose St Paul because of all the wonderful outreach like Soup Kitchen.

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I go to this church because the people make it feel like home. They are kind and warm!

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St Paul is a “Go To” church. The members are always available for anything at anytime.

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Friendly, positive, welcoming, open, optimistic, energetic.

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Friendly

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We are welcoming, concerned with our community & inclusive. Many ways to become involved.

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Church is very welcoming and friendly. Welcoming to Community as well.

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FRIENDLY

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The music is very uplifting!

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Progressive, church, vibrant, very active, great intergenerational and community involvement.

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1.Friendliest group of people in town.

2. When I leave here, I am in the best mood.

3. Best youth education and growing outreach.

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The fact that I have so many good friends here and they share my beliefs. The wonderful worshipful atmosphere of our church.

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A group of people who come together to be together and to share life together.

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Our church is a place where people can reflect on themselves with the help of others.

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St. Paul is a warm and friendly environment that reaches well beyond the walls of Great Hammock Road.

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St. Paul is great. We are very welcoming. We have great programs for kids. St. Paul is also working to help people in the community and around the world.

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Fun & Welcoming

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I love where it is – it gives me a reason to go to the WATER…  I love who goes – they/we “get it”. We don’t get in the way. We let God lead.

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It is fun. I like ukulele club.

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St. Paul’s is very welcoming and down to earth. It’s a lot of fun and I like that it is casual and flexible.

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Welcoming, Caring, Kind.

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This church is a very caring church, people are always ready to help when needed.

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A friendly, accepting place to learn about God’s plan and life in Jesus Christ.

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St. Paul is my place to encounter my friends, family and best of all my Savior Jesus Christ.

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St. Paul is a welcoming community for all ages and stages, sharing their faith openly.

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Community of beautiful beings, sharing in faith, friendship, family, love.

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Warm. Welcoming. Serving. Christ-Centered.

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Like a family gathering or reunion of friends.

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St Paul is a welcoming, vibrant, energetic and loving community.

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We are here to love each other (in church, outside of church, in the world) because we love Jesus and he loves us.

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We are a happy bunch; Looking to do some good in the world!

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Caring. Love. Friendship.

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Casual. Laid-back. Fun.

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A friendly place to go.

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Overall, this church is fun.

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This church is a good moral foundation for us all and is important for the character of our children.

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A warm, welcoming gathering of imperfect people who seek to learn about God’s love.

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This church is welcoming and inclusive – Sermons are timely, heartfelt and relatable to the world today.  Thank you.

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We are visitors. Very friendly and welcoming.

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I experienced a warm sense of community. People talked to me even though we are strangers.

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You are Friendly and Family.

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I experience the joy of community and the Gospel – community in Christ Caring.

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A community to be open, trusting, unguarded about exploring the presence and being part of the activity of God!

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It’s like coming home.

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This church is welcoming, uplifting, does amazing outreach. Pastor Geoff – the person, the sermons/message/delivery.

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The friendly, welcoming people.

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God is Here. We are Here. All’s right with the world when we leave Here.

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Always so welcoming to visitors like myself.

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This church is Humble and Welcoming.

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The church is fun with great people.

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Warm and welcoming place where we share, fellowship and love.

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Open – welcoming to all people and the music is fun and inspiring. It often makes me want to dance.

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Inspiring. A blessing to all. Intimate and powerful.

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St. Paul is Cool.

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Welcoming, non-judging, friendly people. Service Oriented. Wonderful Staff.

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The many friends I have met and enjoy seeing them in Bible Study on Thursdays.

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People coming together to search for God.

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Friendly. Welcoming. Outreach in Community.

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Christ Focused. Warm & Friendly.

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A caring, involved congregation of believers of Jesus Christ proclaiming His love in Word and Action.

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COMMUNITY

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Warm, welcoming community of faithful people –  These are not empty words.  Kindness Abounds!

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Family. Love. Warmth/Kindness.

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The fellowship & feels like family. Community. I can be myself with no judgement.  Recharges my soul.

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1 A time to reflect on my life. 2. The sermon is always thought provoking.

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It’s a fun church to be a part of. I really enjoy it.

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Friendly. Always helpful when needed.

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Friendly, welcome (warm), uplifting music, Good messages and sermons.

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St Paul:

A caring community of Jesus that reaches out to others and each other; then holds on.

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Thanks for reading.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMMUNITY OF FAITH?

Or

IF YOU STARTED PARTICIPATING IN ONE, WHAT WOULD YOU LOOK FOR?

-PGS

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“Why Pray?” a sermon on Matt 6:5-13

2/18/2018
Lent 1

WHY LENT? Moving toward the cross; reclaiming faithful practice

Sermon on Matt 6:5-13
“Why Pray?”

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Old Saybrook, CT

Posted in Lent/Easter, Lent/Easter Sermons, on Gospel of Matthew, Sermons | Leave a comment

A lament after our latest national tragedy in Florida

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. Between the three services I led (two at St. Paul in Old Saybrook and one at Gladeview Health Center) I bet I marked close to a hundred people with ashes in the form of the cross. It is a physical reminder of our mortality and brokenness as we begin the season of Lent, but it is also a visible sign of the love that claims us beyond anything we could ever do to make things right in the world.

I cherish the conversations I had yesterday before and after worship with toddlers, middle-schoolers, peers, parents and seniors; all who were filled with the two-fold reminder of our sin and brokenness on the one hand and an outside love and acceptance on the other. There was joy and purpose alongside conviction in those conversations. I am thankful for them.

Prior to our evening worship service at church last night I saw the news of yet another school shooting in our country in Parkland, Florida. I watched more lives, more families and one more community have its heart ripped out in agony over senseless violence. I keep asking myself why this keeps happening while I join so many others in praying “How long, O Lord?” There have been eighteen school incidents involving fire-arms in the U.S. thus far in 2018 (The Telegraph). It is only February 15.

What next?

By the time I got home from church last night, the typical polarized responses were already entrenched on both TV and social media. I heard the usual talking heads discuss how we cannot do anything to stop this from happening. I expect nothing to change in the short-term because it seems painfully obvious that we are unwilling to protect each other or our children from harm. Our issues penetrate far deeper within us than the presenting symptoms of gun violence or mental health. Our whole society is sick. We are afraid and many are armed. It is a wonder any of us can sleep at night.

I fully realize even bringing it up today is going to leave half the people I know angry because they’re going to think this reflection is a personal attack on their own gun ownership and is politically motivated. But to me that is exactly the problem — we cannot even have conversations anymore about the things that affect us all without half the people just getting angry and walking out. That is the reason I am putting pen to paper (or in this case pixels to screen). I gave up long ago believing that one party or the other can fix or even address all of our many problems (or the deeper problems underneath the presenting symptoms); especially as the modus operandi of both parties over the last several decades is to blame and demonize each other. I find the blatant hypocrisy and inability to lead by both sides to be embarrassing if not outrageous and I am unsure quite what to do about it. Meanwhile, people die.

Which is why this post is one of lament.

I love our country, hurt for all the pain I see happening all too often on too many fronts, and I hate my inability to be able fix it.

Which brings me back to yesterday.

Just like those toddlers, middle schoolers, peers, parents, and seniors who I love so dearly – I too had a cross of ashes drawn upon my head. I accept its declaration – that I am dust and to dust I will return. But I also cling to its promise – that I have been claimed by a love so powerful and true, so complete and overwhelming, so undeserved yet offered so freely that nothing in this world can change that; even when all I see before me is my own sense of despair and ineptitude.

So today I both repent and give thanks as I get back to work and try to make the world a better place for the people I encounter. I pray knowing that if things are going to change I am going to need to help wherever I can; especially in those moments when I feel broken and unsure what to do.

How about you?

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“Why Lent? (with a little help from Peter Rollins, David Lose and Rob Bell)” an ash wed sermon

2/14/2018
Ash Wednesday

Matt 6:1-4
“Why Lent?
(With a little help from Peter Rollins, David Lose and Rob Bell)”

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Old Saybrook, CT

Posted in Lent/Easter, Lent/Easter Sermons, on Gospel of Matthew, Sermons | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

“It is good for us to be here, but…” a sermon on Mark 9:2-8

2/11/2018
Transfiguration Sunday
Mark 9:2-8

“It is good for us to be here, but…”

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Old Saybrook, CT

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Sunday is coming! Transfiguration, Year B, “Breaking into our fear”

He did not know what to say, for they were terrified.” (Mark 9:6)

http://2baldpastors.com/sunday-is-coming-transfiguration-year-b-breaking-into-our-fear/

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LISTEN TO JESUS (min msg on the Transfiguration)

Mark 9:2-8

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