First Presbyterian Ridgewood, NJ Newsletter November, 2020
I doubt that St. Paul realized that his letters to various first-century churches would one day become part of the Christian New Testament. Just as I doubt that he realized how often his words would inspire pastors in the centuries to follow. As he often does when writing to churches, Paul begins his Letter to the Philippians with words of gratitude: I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you.
These words by Paul inspire me as I write to you, the members and friends of First Presbyterian Church of Ridgewood New Jersey. For like Paul, I thank God for each of you, for the privilege of knowing you, for the opportunity to serve in your midst, and for the many contributions you make to the Body of Christ in this place.
I am grateful for those serving on Staff, those serving as Elders and Deacons, as well as those serving on the Re-Entry Task Force and our many committees. During the last seven months as we have faced unforeseen challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, you have provided steady leadership, given generously of your time, and approached challenges with equal doses of faith, pragmatism and creativity.
Furthermore, I am grateful for those who show up in the sanctuary at 10:00 a.m. each Sunday and for those who join the service online, as well as those who tune in each week for MaryEllen’s Sunday School lesson. I give thanks for those who prepare meals for Caring Cooks or St. Paul’s Shelter, those who volunteer in the Produce Mission, those who send care packages to college students, those who make phone calls or send emails to check on members, those who food shop for others, and those who show up for porch visits with the homebound. Your every act of kindness is making a positive difference in someone’s life.
I’m grateful for those who pray for the church and its ministries, those who contribute financially and those whose greatest contributions are the gifts of their time and talents. I give thanks for those who bring the energy and enthusiasm of youth and those who offer the wisdom that comes from a long lifetime of experience, those who help others and those who need to be helped.
We are the Body of Christ, one body with many parts. And without each part making its unique contribution, the body would not function effectively. So, my friends, be assured that I don’t take you for granted. In fact, I thank God for each of you everyday!
Yours in Christ’s service together, Bruce