In January I will have a full month of guest preaching, with commitments made for each of the five Sundays.
January 2, 2011, 11 AM at the Presbyterian Church of Goheenville, Templeton, PA.
January 9, 2011, 9:30 AM at the NuValley Presbyterian Church, Rural Valley, PA.
January 16, 2011, 8:15 and 10:45 AM at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Greensburg, PA.
January 23. 2011, 10:45 AM at the Worthington Presbyterian Church, Worthington, PA.
January 30, 2011, 10:45 at the Apollo United Presbyterian Church, Apollo, PA.
Some of these are churches where I have preached before, but there is always something new. This will be my first time at the Presbyterian Church of Goheenville, but I have been past it a number of times. This church is along the route I normally follow when I make the long drive from Lower Burrell to visit my parents and siblings in Cooperstown, New York. I pass it during the first hour of my journey up, and it is one of the landmarks that tells me I am getting close to home on the return trip. I am probably not the only preacher whose attention is drawn to houses of worship when on long trips. I usually find myself wondering about how the congregations that use those buildings reach out to their communities. I am looking forward to the first time that I actually will stop in Goheenville.
When I saw that I was going to preach at NuValley Presbyterian Church, I did a double-take. My printed 2009 directory for Kiskiminetas Presbytery does not list that church. Then I learned that this is a new congregation formed from the merger of two congregations that had done many things together over the years. In fact, just last January I preached for both of the congregations that went into the merger. At each church I had conversations with leaders of the two congregations in which they told me about their upcoming decision on merger. They felt trepidation about whether they could get the merger to happen, but it was clear to the leaders on both sides that the merger was something that had arisen out of the shared lives and ministries of the two congregations. I am looking forward to January 9 when I will guest preach for the first time at the NuValley Church, barely five months into its existence and service as one congregation.
I have not preached at the Westminster Presbyterian Church before, but that was where I met with a team from the Committee on Ministry of Redstone Presbytery about being put on their pulpit supply list. This will be an interesting and full morning of two services, with an informal service with Communion early, and then a traditional service later.
I believe this will be my second time at the Worthington Presbyterian Church. I preached there at the beginning of this month for a service of Communion. They have many friendly people and a lovely, intimate worship space with the Table in the center.
I have preached a few times at the Apollo church, and look forward to being back with their friendly people and fascinating architecture.