The Pastor's Ponderings is a weekly note from one of the pastors that is sent to the congregation. If you would like to be included in the list of email subscribers to the Ponderings, you can subscribe here. Current subscribers wishing to unsubscribe can do that here as well.

Confirmation and Celebration

Dear Glen Mar friends,

I'm so grateful for the amazing love and care that went into the confirmation service on Saturday! A highlight of my time at Glen Mar for sure. How amazing to see 20 of our youth stand up to say "Here I am, Lord, send me!" The service will be shared on Saturday at 10 am here: https://glenmarumc.org/live-stream/, and you'll be able to see it then!

This Saturday, we'll have our first Vespers service at 7 pm in the Glen Mar parking lot. Folks can set up lawn chairs in every other space in the lower lot or sit in their cars and listen to the service on FM radio (station 101.5). The catch is we will not have it if it rains. I'll reach out to the folks who have RSVP'd if it looks like we need to cancel. I'll try to make the call as early as possible but I might need your patience and grace given the presence of summer thunderstorms. RSVP here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090b4caaac2aa31-saturday. Masks will be required and we'll need to maintain 6 feet of distance between households. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, we love you, but please stay at home. And...while we are doing all we can to keep folks safe, we understand if you don't feel ready to gather in this way. No matter where you are, you are part of our church!

Sunday, we'll start our August Family Worship Series - Playdate with Jesus! We'll have Holy Communion virtually, so you'll want to have bread and/or drink on hand so that we can all share in the party at the Lord's table. There'll be something for everyone - including wonderful music, meaningful preaching, and fun for the whole family! You do not want to miss it!

See you in person and/or online,
Mandy


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Growth, Confirmed

Dear Glen Mar friends,

I had the pleasure of signing confirmation certificates yesterday for some beloved Glen Mar 8th graders. We'll be confirming them this weekend, outdoors, at the church. To keep numbers low enough for safety, we're keeping attendance to confirmands, their families, and friends in faith. When the video is ready, we'll be able to share it with the larger church like we do our worship services so that the larger church family can participate too, albeit a little "after the fact."

As I prayed for each confirmand and signed my name, I remembered when some of these confirmands were born, because we were Glen Mar members then. For at least one of them, I had an excellent view of their baptism, because I got to stand up front by the font as their parents, and our church, promised to "surround them with a community of love and forgiveness" and to "help them grow in their love of God and be found faithful in their service to others."

I'm so grateful for the amazing young people they have become and are becoming, and for all the folks who came alongside them on the journey to help in their formation. As they become full members of our Church, they will help all of us grow too, and help other new disciples grow. What a gift of God they are!

I hope you'll join us this weekend online as we continue to look at some parables of the kingdom, where Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to small things - like mustard seeds and yeast. Small, like the babies these confirmands once were, and look what God can work up from such "small" things as these!

See you online, and see you in person soon,
Pastor Mandy


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Big News!

Dear Glen Mar friends,

Big news! We have had a few outdoor events and learned some things about how to be together and be safe, so we are starting a weekly vespers service we're calling "Saturday Night Live" at 7 pm on Saturday August 1. It will be on the Glen Mar property, outdoors, probably in the lower parking lot. Bring camp/lawn chairs, and we'll be together, while keeping our social distance. There will be prayers, scripture, a little homily from yours truly, and music (probably no singing yet). It will last about 30-40 min or so. This is different from the worship service we have on Sundays. For your safety, masks will be required if you come into the building, and will be required outside if social distancing can't be maintained, so bring your mask! More info to come, including a way to RSVP.

Also, on Sundays, you can continue expect meaningful online worship you can participate in wherever you are, at 10 a.m. And it's our custom to have a special family-oriented worship series in August, so, whatever your age or family composition, you are invited to A Playdate with Jesus! This participatory, energetic, and interactive worship series for the month of August invites people of all ages to have fun as we worship our Lord together! In addition to Bible stories, prayer, and preaching we'll have family-friendly crafts, games, songs, and more as we worship our God, who invites all of us to the party. Send the gift of pictures of you and your family playing and/or play date fun to melaina.trice@glenmarumc.org by July 31st to be included in the first service. Join in the fun!

Finally, we'll have our outdoor confirmation service coming up soon. To keep our numbers at a manageable level, we're keeping the "live" audience to confirmands, their families, and friends in faith but you'll be able to see it online soon after the event and in that way, share in this time of celebration for 22 of God's beloved children.

See you online this weekend and next, and see you online AND in person, starting in August,
Pastor Mandy


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Praying with Eyes Open

Dear Glen Mar friends,

I'm taking a few vacation days this week for much-needed rest and renewal. I'm spending a lot of quality time with Eric and the kids, and staring at big bodies of water and lots of time in prayer.

There are many ways to pray to God, and God is always more ready to hear us pray than we are to pray. But I wanted to lift up to you a couple different ways to think about prayer. Ignatian spirituality talks about prayer as apophatic or kataphatic. Apophatic prayer is prayer without words, an emptying (like centering prayer) and kataphatic is prayer with words, images, metaphors.

Eugene Peterson, quoting Annie Dillard, takes things a step further. He says apophatic prayer is "prayer with the eyes closed" - approaching a God who is "Immortal, Invisible, God only wise" as the hymn suggests. This is the way of praying most of us know. Kataphatic prayer, he says, is prayer with the eyes open, in a way, where what we see in the world can be a sort of window to God. I'm not talking about idolatry or worshipping created things. I'm talking about when we see a beautiful sunset and in it, we know we are not alone. There is a Creator and it is not "me." Time away in nature is a chance for kataphatic prayer - with eyes open - as dolphins play, and pelicans dive, or as we spend time in the ancient cathedrals of mountain ranges or even telling family stories around the family table. We can see that "God is love," and that the "heavens are telling the glory of God." (Psalm 19).

This week, why not try a little "kataphatic" prayer - prayer with the eyes open. Where do you see God's presence? Share it on Glen Mar's Facebook page-maybe with a picture!

This Sunday, I'll be preaching on the parable of the sower - and the ways our extravagant sower flings seed, like grace, and the lessons we can learn - as soil, and seed - from our sower.

See you online,
Pastor Mandy


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4th of July!

Dear Glen Mar friends,

As I write this, the July 4th weekend is upon us. I pray that you can take some time to give thanks for the blessings we share from God, and for the ways that our country lives up to the best of who we are, and are called to be. "May God shed his grace on thee...and crown thy good, with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea!"

This weekend, we will gather online for worship with Holy Communion, so be sure and have a bread and a juice of your choice ready to share in the Spirit with your church family. We'll also welcome Pastor Melaina, who is already beginning to have meetings with individuals and small groups via Zoom to get into the swing of things.

I'll be preaching on a favorite and beloved passage from Matthew, where Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me... for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." It may seem like we've done nothing but "rest" in this COVID time - why are we so tired? How can we claim the freedom we are offered in Christ to give him our burdens, and if we take his "yoke" upon us, what does that mean? And what do we gain?

You won't want to miss it. I hope you will share the link with friends so that we can all worship together.

Also, just a reminder that in the summer, our schedules get more flexible so you might not "tune in" as regularly to church. I find that hard to believe because worshipping our amazing God is a joy, and our online worship is so meaningful to me. But just a reminder that we are grateful for your presence and your giving year-round, to cover year-round expenses and do year-round ministry. Thank you for your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness!

We are currently accepting requests for outdoor gatherings, with social distancing, at the church. All requests have to be approved by our task force, so if you want to gather, email me the info and I'll take it to the team and get back to you. Our youth have had some socially distant "game time" and we are in the process of planning more small events.

See you online,
Pastor Mandy


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Glen Mar Church is still closed to the public. However, Glen Mar ELC has reopened. Online worship will continue on Sundays at 10 AM. Click for more information