Page 1 - 2021 April-May Newsletter
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Southern Pennsylvania District

                                             Church of the Brethren

                                                     A Message from our District Executive

                                       Been thinking lately that it is easy to feel like the disciples on Easter Saturday! The
                                       pandemic has taken its toll on many of our pastors and congregations. Everyday
                                       activities that we took for granted in 2019 fell by the wayside during 2020. I have to
                                       admit that meeting with congregations who have chosen to withdraw from our
               “Give thanks            denomination and hearing over and over again what is wrong with the Church of
                to the Lord            the Brethren gets old quickly!
              for he is good...
                                       Imagine the emotions the disciples were experiencing. I think that they must have
              Psalm 118 (NIV)          been wondering  “What now?” They had hitched their lives to an itinerant preacher,
                                       heard his teachings, witnessed his miracles and now he was dead. Talk about a
                                       bleak future.

                                       The Bible doesn’t say anything about what happened that Sabbath day. Maybe they
                                       were gathered together in a house in Jerusalem wondering if they would be next to
                                       lose their lives. We know that the next day that is how the women who had been to
                                       the tomb found them.
          Volume 39, Issue 2
          Apr / May 2021               From our 2021 perspective we know the rest of the story that there was a
                                       resurrection that transformed their lives and changed forever our world. But they
                                       were in the midst of feelings of loss and despair. In spite of our knowledge of what
                 I N S I D E           transpired, I wonder how many of us are feeling a little bit of that despair. Maybe
                  T H I S
                 I S S U E :           you.

                                       In the Coptic, Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches, this day is known as Joyous
           New & Events     2-21       Saturday. Quite a curious moniker to give this “in between” day.   The first part of
           Throughout the
           District                    the service consists of chanting Psalm 118, as usual at both Saturday matins and at
                                       funerals, but interspersed with hymns (enkomia or lamentations) between the
           Giving Report     10        verses. The predominant theme of the service is not so much one of mourning, but
                                       of watchful expectation. (Wilipedia) Remember that Psalm 118 begins and ends
           Annual Conference   23-22   with the phrase “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.”
           Registration Info           (NIV)

           Training        24-28       I like that term “watchful expectation” because it reminds me of hope. Or as the
                                       title of one of Tony Campolo’s most famous sermons says, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s
                                       Comin’”. When things seem the most bleak, there can be a reminder of what God
           Meeting & Event   30        has done, is doing, and will do in the future.

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