Tag Archives: Bob Brashear

On the steps, in the streets, with the people

Ministry comes in a variety of forms.
Followers of Jesus do not all look alike nor do we all do identical work.
Pillars of the Church come in many different shapes.

On December 12, 2012, Cynthia Bolbach died. A former moderator of our General Assembly, Cindy was well-known and loved by many across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Teddy MapesOn December 17, 2012, Teddy Mapes died. The sexton at West-Park Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, Teddy was known and well-loved by the West-Park community and by many in the neighborhood of Amsterdam and W. 86th Street.

A gentle bear of a man with a heart overflowing with compassion, Teddy came to West-Park a little over a year ago as the congregation connected with the Occupy movement. He quickly fit into the community. He took part in Bible study and worship and became a member.

Teddy cared for the physical building of the church. More importantly, he cared for the spiritual building – the community – the Body of Christ. He helped negotiate the creative chaos that the Spirit so often stirs at West-Park. Teddy became one of the public faces of the church.

I had only met Teddy a couple of times – but in those brief encounters, I could tell the significant role he played in the community. So today, I walked to West-Park to talk to my friend Bob Brashear, pastor of the church, about Teddy. Teddy’s biggest contribution, his most profound ministry, Bob noted took place “on the steps, in the streets, with the people.”

On the steps. In the streets. With the people. What a ministry, what a legacy.

Teddy’s death has ripped a hole in the West-Park Presbyterian Church community. I cannot imagine how painful the tear is – nor how challenging their ride through the ragged reality of grief will be – nor how long the rebuilding process will take.

But this I know: God who loved Teddy Mapes in this life continues to love Teddy Mapes and has welcomed him home. I give thanks for Teddy’s life and love and witness and faith.

And this I know: it will take time, it will be challenging, there will be tears, there will be fits and starts – but somehow, some way, some day, “every little thing gonna be all right” for the people of West-Park Presbyterian Church. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Friends, New York, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

A Pirates fan’s perspective

I visited my friend Bob Brashear, pastor of West-Park Presbyterian Church, today.

We share Pittsburgh roots. We bleed black and gold.

We have bled a lot for our Pirates the past twenty years.

This year appeared that it might bring a different result. Early in the year, they found themselves struggling for the division lead. And then they stayed in the wild card race. Late August and September brought a collapse. Now they stand at 77-82, destined for yet another losing season.

Bob told me that he went out to Shea Stadium last week a chance remained that they might break .500. But it did not happen.

Still … when was the last time that Pirate fans could conceive of going to a game late in September with a chance at a winning season. Our time will come.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Baseball, Friends