The Rev. Dr. William Hess

The Rev. Dr. William Hess

PASTOR’S NOTE:

Eastertide Greetings,
It is such fun to travel to distant places, and it also feels great to return home. One must never take for granted the privilege extended to us in carrying a USA passport. Our spring trip to Scotland and Northern Ireland was a wonderful blessing. Returning to the “land of the free and the home of the brave” never gets old.

We celebrated the Fourth Sunday of Easter with our sisters and brothers of the Church of Ireland in Drumbeg – St. Patrick’s Parish. The gospel lesson from the lectionary was the same passage used here in Bethlehem for Laity Sunday – John 10:1-10. Jesus warned about thieves who steal and destroy. He then boldly declared, “I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.” At St. Patrick’s we asked ourselves, “Are we living the abundant life?” The sermon first explored the peace that comes from knowing that we have the gift of everlasting life through the death of Jesus on the cross. The dramatic change in the disciples remains our best evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. We also discussed the abundant life that follows the transformation, which occurs in the believer through the power of the Holy Spirit.

There were two services. The first was held in the new parish hall, which was designed for an alternative service experience. The worship team led a spirited service with guitars and keyboard and youthful singers. Fellowship Hall was filled with young families. Pastor Willie Nixon shared that the church is growing rapidly with many new families because of this informal, interactive service. The second service was held in the beautiful historic sanctuary in high Anglican style with the full liturgy. There were an equal number of folks in this service but noticeably an older group of saints.

A church officer shared a report from the recent Synod meeting in Limerick. The major issue was the controversy in the church over human sexuality. This is all to say that the joys and sorrows of our fellow Christians in the Anglican Church in Northern Ireland are not all that different than our experience here. Pastor Willie and I shared the same perspective that the church is not a Hall of Fame for saints but a hospital for sinners – and there is one who is our hope, the Great Physician Jesus Christ.

Peace,

Pastor Bill Hess

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