West-Park Presbyterian Church (86th and Amsterdam) celebrated its 100th birthday today – on Pentecost.
A group from Medina Presbyterian Church in Ohio is visiting New York this week. They have a number of activities scheduled, including a visit to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, work at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, Covenant House, and Old Bergen Church.
They requested suggestions for places to worship today – I provided several from the amazing diversity that is the Presbytery of New York City – among them West-Park.
I arrived at West-Park around 10:30. I was talking with Andre Solomon-Glover (he’s doing a concert next Sunday – do you have your tickets yet?) when a group came in.
“Excuse me,” I said to Andre.
Walking up the aisle, I said, “I’ll bet you folks are from Cleveland. Well, actually I bet you folks are from Medina.”
Smiles and laughter followed as did a wonderful worship service – celebrating the congregation – celebrating Pentecost – celebrating the different gifts that God gives to each of us – a diversity that may challenge us at times, but certainly blesses us and enriches us.
Pastor Bob Brashear reminded the congregation of its rich history – all the people who had been through the building, whose spirits remain present nurturing the congregation into the future. He reminded us of the congregation’s multi-faceted witness to social justice in the name of Jesus in the past – a witness that continues in the present – a witness that will continue into the future.
The lectionary reading from Numbers told of Eldad and Medad. Bob told us that this story teaches that all of us – with all of our gifts – are needed for ministry. We cannot engage in ministry alone – we need each other. It brought to mind a poem (of sorts) from almost ten years ago – not my best, but not my worst.
We gathered around the communion table in a circle with the reminder that circles are eternal – and that those people with whom we go into a circle remain with us always – so now, in that mystery we know as the Communion of Saints, we who gathered for worship today, from New York and Medina and points between and beyond, are a part of the West-Park Presbyterian family and story – and West-Park is forever a part of us.
Thanks be to God!
See you along the Trail.