Transformation in Transitions

Dear Glen Mar friends,

As the parent of a graduating senior, I’m contemplating those points of transition in life. It occurs to me that our God is a God of transition. From chaos to order, from shade to light, from bondage to freedom, from wilderness to promised land, from exile to return. And in Christ, from water to wine, from cross to crown, from death to eternal life, our God is about transformation out of times of transition.

Where in your life are you “in transition?” Are you moving from masked quarantine to careful community? Perhaps people you love are on that jumping off place from one season to another, from one part of life to another. Know that God is with you, where you are now, and where you are going, and in that space in between.

Join us for worship this weekend! If you enjoy contemporary praise music (like the former 11 am praise service), join us on Saturdays at 6 pm in the Spirit Center to lift your hands in praise to God for this dynamic worship service featuring Glen Mar’s amazing praise bands and musicians. For “Spirited Traditional” worship, join us in person or online on Sunday at 9:30. This week we’ll be starting a sermon series called “I Still Have Joy!” You won’t want to miss it!

See you in Church,
Pastor Mandy


Read more

Some Glen Mar Saints

Dear Glen Mar friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the passing of our beloved member Peggy Fisher. Her family will have a service for family only at a local funeral home and a more public Celebration of Life later in the summer to which the church will be invited. Peggy was such a longtime, faithful member of our church, and I had the privilege to visit her just a few days before her passing. We talked about recent sermons, empty nest advice, the importance of racial equality, and her love of Glen Mar church. Her obituary is here, and you may recognize the picture from a Glen Mar church directory. You will note that the family requests donations, in lieu of flowers, to some great causes that Peggy loved—one of which is Glen Mar Church. https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/baltimoresun/obituary.aspx?n=peggy-fisher&pid=198872749&fhid=6006 . If you’d like to send a card to Peggy’s family, send it to our church and we will make sure it gets to them.

I also spent some time this evening with Chris and Kim Wiley and Chris’ brothers, Steve and Tim. You may recall that their parents, also beloved saints of Glen Mar, Mary and Tom Wiley, passed in 2020. Because of the pandemic, they couldn’t have a gathering to honor their parents’ lives and mourn their passing, so they are planning a Celebration of Life for them both. It will be at 1 pm on June 19 right here at Glen Mar Church. I hope you will come to the service (with your mask) to honor these saints also, members of our church since at least 1965. The family will greet folks at 12:30 at Glen Mar, and a reception will follow the service at a local fire hall. If you knew Mary and Tom, I hope you can join us for the service and the reception also. If you’d like to send a card to the Wiley’s, and don’t have their address, send it to our church and we will make sure it gets to them.

There are other beloved saints of Glen Mar that have gone recently to be with the Lord, and whose families we continue to lift in prayer and love (the Joneses, the Kermisches, and others).

I know I haven’t been your pastor very long, but I was a Glen Mar member well before I was anyone’s pastor, and these are the people who I met early on (Paul, Howdy, Mary, Tom, Peggy and so many others) who welcomed me into our fellowship, and who modeled, in their faith, hope and love, what being a Christian looks like. I know that they inspire me to grow in my faith, generosity and commitment to Glen Mar and to Christ. They have moved from labor to reward, from this life to life eternal. We carry on their legacy of love and faithfulness. May we be worthy of who they taught us to be. May we come to know the God that they knew, and take our faith as seriously as they did. I shall always be grateful for the gift of knowing them.

Come to worship this weekend…we will celebrate Pastor Anna’s ministry with us and send her to her new appointment in Lexington Park with prayer and song. We will share in Holy Communion. We’ll study God’s word and get equipped to serve. It’s how saints are made, as it turns out.

See you in Church,
Pastor Mandy


Read more

Cicadas

Dear Glen Mar friends,

I had my first experience with a massive cicada emergence 17 years ago, as a young mother with a two year old and a little baby, in that stretch of life where they days are long and exhausting and revolve around children’s naps and library storytimes. I was a full time stay at home mom, and so as the cicadas sang on our umpteenth family walk down a Columbia walking path, my brain turned to creative endeavors. As I walked, my feet made a rhythm that became the song “Candida” by Tony Orlando and Dawn in my head. And instantly it occurred to me I should write a song parody and call it Cicada (We Could Bake It Together) by Tony Orlando and Prawn. This is what happens when I can’t preach enough, apparently. I wrote it up quickly and sent it to a now defunct Oldies radio morning team, who recorded it with studio singers and played it on the radio. My 15 minutes of fame.

Now, 17 years later, our children are leaving the nest, and I have a new appreciation for the speed at which life moves, and the changing of the seasons, literally and figuratively. I can see God’s presence and provision and grace all over all that time, in that mysterious place where days are long but years are short. My prayer is that I would learn to “number the days,” and pursue the things that matter—love of God, love of neighbor, gratitude and service, learning, growth and faithfulness.

In worship this weekend, we’ll look at Nicodemus, a seeker searching for meaning and for how to live, and his encounter with Jesus. We’ll also honor those who have given their lives in service to our country and pray for their families, and for the coming of the day when swords shall be beaten into ploughshares and we shall not learn war anymore (See Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3).

See you in person or online on Sunday at 9:30! Bring your mask so we can sit closer together and protect our most vulnerable folks as we transition to “normalcy.” Come ready to sing!

See you in Church,
Pastor Mandy


Read more

No reservation required

Dear Glen Mar friends,

Our Task Force for Reentry met and we are pleased to let you know that we will NOT require signups for worship, starting this weekend. We will have space for all who would like to come. You may sit a little closer together than the vast space we have been using, if you have been vaccinated. We WILL be asking all people in the congregation to remain masked because of the presence of folks who haven’t or can’t be vaccinated (like our kids under 12). If you would like to have more/plenty of “elbow room,” for any reason, our ushers will easily accommodate you. You will be able to sing with gusto, while masked. Everyone leading worship up front who has been fully vaccinated will have the option to speak or sing without masks from the stage area and/or the front. No more plexiglass boxes for your fully vaccinated preacher/pastors while they are preaching. : ). Unvaccinated people up front will remain masked or behind plexiglass.

The 9:30 service will continue to be livestreamed. If the 9:30 service fills up “in person”, we will launch an identical later service at 11 am to accommodate everyone who wants to worship in person on Sunday mornings.

We’ll be launching a Saturday evening contemporary praise service on June 5 at 6 pm. We’re starting inside the Spirit Center at first, with the congregation masked indoors (because we have cool outdoor equipment on order that’s not here yet) but then we will move outdoors in future weeks.

Going forward, we will be able to have Holy Communion using individually wrapped/sealed elements (as we have been doing), but we will be allowed to partake of those elements in worship together, by lowering our masks, eating the wafer and drinking the little cup of juice, and putting our mask back on.

Groups of adults will be allowed to meet at the church. Masking will be the default rule indoors. However, if you are meeting with someone that you know has been fully vaccinated plus 2 weeks or you have a group (like a committee or a Bible study) where you know that everyone is in that category, you can meet without masks. Groups of children or indoor groups with children in them will be masked at all times. (Our ELC follows slightly different guidelines because they are in classroom “pods”).

We will not be having indoor eating/coffee or receptions yet as a general rule, but we will be allowed to gather in the gathering place while masked for conversation and to visit ministry tables, etc.

All this is subject to adjustment, and hopefully further expansion as things continue to improve and we get used to being together again, but I give thanks that we are on this road toward health and gathering!

See you in Church,
Pastor Mandy


Read more

Keep Church Weird

I’ve never been to Austin, Texas before, but I hear one of their slogans is “Keep Austin Weird.” I assume this means, don’t let the presence of tourists take away the thing that attracted us in the first place—the cool music, the general acceptance of quirky unusual people, the fear that once something wonderful is discovered it will get all domesticated and made like every other place in the world. Colorful quickly fades to khaki and tie dye individuality becomes a blue oxford shirt. Not that there’s anything wrong with a good blue oxford shirt. I have a soft spot in my heart though for the quirky place, the place for the refugee from normal life, the place where 80 year old retirees and tattooed teens and businessmen and stay at home moms sort of hang out and accept each other, and have music and fellowship.

Church can look on the outside like the opposite of “weird.” People who are not in the church tend to think that the church is super-civilized and domesticated. A place where we all wear our best clothes and where we’re all on our best behavior. A quiet place. A calm place. Not at all a weird place.

However, when you look at the Savior, the one we purport to all be following, the one who brings us all to a building or to a livestream each Sunday morning, he looks a little like he might be from Austin, or Key West, or some other Certified Weird Location. And I don’t just mean the facial hair and the toga and the sandals. I mean the crazy way he tended to proclaim life in the midst of death. The way he ushered in a brand new weird way of thinking. In a world where the rich seemed to be the ones who owned everything, Jesus came and said, Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. The whole Kingdom. Weird. And the part about loving enemies and praying for those who persecute you. Weird.

And all the going places and healing people and upsetting religious and secular authorities..all the eating with tax collectors and sinners, all that feeding the hungry, all that hanging out with ne’er do wells. He was so weird and so threatening that they crucified him...and on Easter, proved singularly hard to keep in the grave.

That’s not just weird, that’s David Blaine weird.

Finally, he ascends into heaven, after being seen in the garden, on the road to Emmaus, in the breaking of the bread and then, just when they thought it was over, and they could get back to the business of whatever it was they were doing before Jesus said, “Follow me,” here comes the sound of the rush of a mighty wind. And it filled the place where they were sitting. And flames rested on them and they spoke in different languages....hardly church as usual.

Glen Mar is a “weird” name, and what we’re about is hope and healing and rooting people in the life-giving message of Jesus. We’re a place where we care for one another and everybody is welcome. We welcome sinners and saints and we are all some of each. We want to do more than worship and learn about Christ, we want to follow him.

That may seem strange to the world, but I say…when it comes to the strange, world-changing call to follow Christ, and sharing his radical love and service…Let’s “Keep Church Weird.”

See you in Church,
Pastor Mandy


Read more
1 2 3 4 5 6 23