mailing address:  Balmoral Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 17309, Memphis, TN 38187

  • WORSHIP for SUNDAY April 18

  • PASTOR on CALL thru APRIL 19


  • INTO the WOODS: Musical at the Drive-In with the Gurlens on screen

  • FIFTY DAYS of EASTER: aaaaaaaaaaa Faith and Understanding

  • EARTH DAY 2021

  • PCUSA THOUGHTS: Declining Church Membership


  • Birthdays
  • Calendar of Events

  • BPC Photos
  • Worship last Sunday


ONLINE on YouTube at 11:00 am 
Worship with us on our YouTube Channel Sunday morning at 11:00am
 and check our website at 
Our Session is committed to providing worship during the pandemic that reaches everyone. Those of you who do not have computer access or SmartPhone access, Idlewild will continue to broadcast  all of the worship services on the radio 96.1 FM.
Stay at home! Stay Safe!
REMINDER: Everyone who comes onto the BPC property MUST WEAR A MASK, including those who are only in the parking lot. NO ONE is allowed in the building without authorization.
We must help to keep our Worship team and the SEED children safe!

Requests for use of the property (including the parking lot) MUST prepare a proposal to the BPC COVID-19 Task Force (Scott Hill and Mary Schmitz, co-chairs) for review; the task force will review the proposal, then make a recommendation to the Session for consideration.


Balmoral Presbyterian Church
Sunday, April 18, 2021

BALMORAL WORSHIP at 11:00am on YouTube

Scriptures: Psalm 4 & 1 John 3:1-7

Sermon: "Who Are We"

SUNDAY STUDIES at 10:00am on Zoom
Join with members & friends of BPC and Circle of Faith
for either one of our two classes available:
> On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity & Getting Old by Parker Palmer
> Almost Everything: Notes on Hope
by Anne LaMott
(see more information about these classes below)
on YouTube

Everyone is also invited to join the Circle of Faith service led by Rev. Cliff Stockton. The link will be listed each week in the ONLINE EVENTS calendar in this Newsletter!

You will receive emails on FRIDAY & again on SUNDAY with a link to the YouTube site for Worship & a downloadable Sunday Worship Guide. 

The Idlewild service will also still be available at 11:00 am on the radio at 96.1 FM or you can go online to the Idlewild Livestream broadcast at

Previous Worship Services at Balmoral are still available on the 
will be taking time off through Monday, April 19, for Worship Planning & a couple of vacation days.
Rev. Anne Hagler will be filling the pulpit April 18 and will be the Pastor on Call while Carla is out. You can reach Anne by phone or text at (901) 628-2104 or by email

Spring Studies begin Sunday,
April 11, 10:00am.
The classes will run through May 23.
Two classes will be offered:
On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old
by Parker Palmer

A beautiful book of reflections on what we can learn as we move closer to "the brink of everything." Drawing on eight decades of life -- and his career as a writer, teacher, and activist --
Parker Palmer explores the questions
age raises and the promises it holds.
Leaders: Jan Kaplan and Ted Pearson
Almost Everything:
Notes on Hope
by Anne LaMott

When life is at its bleakest--when we are, as she puts it, "doomed, stunned, exhausted, and over-caffeinated"--the seeds of rejuvenation are at hand. "All truth is paradox," Anne Lamott writes, "and this turns out to be a reason for hope."
Leaders: Beverly Hooker and Mary Schmitz
Both books are available from Amazon and
There are also multiple copies at several branches of the Memphis Public Library

at the Drive-In
Come see one of your favorite Gurlens on the big screen at the Summer Avenue Drive-In!  
One showing only on May 20th! Tickets will go fast, so get your ticket now using this link. And while you're online, check out other ways you can support this fabulous children's community theater group!  
See you at the Drive-In!  
The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. —John 3:8
Faith and Understanding
SCOTT GUNN APRIL 13, 2021 Photo by seth schwiet on Unsplash
Jesus and Nicodemus are having a somewhat testy conversation. Jesus says, “You must be born from above,” and Nicodemus says he doesn’t quite get it. In fairness, if you heard a phrase like “you must be born from above” for the first time, you might be like Nicodemus, asking for a bit of clarification.
This is when Jesus says, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” Now this is a good point. He’s saying we don’t need to understand every aspect of every single thing we encounter in order to believe it or to act.
To this day, even with some basic science education, I would be hard-pressed to explain wind beyond vague mutters about barometric pressure and wild gestures pointing to my weather app. I don’t fully understand how my car’s engine works. While I do know a bit of computer programming, I’m typing this on a laptop whose internal engineering is a bit of a mystery, if I’m honest.
Sometimes we let real or imagined questions get in the way. We ask “what if” or “what about” to create diversions from the matter at hand.
I meet a person on the street who asks me for food. “What if he spends the money foolishly?” “What if she really doesn’t need this?” These questions get in the way of me doing what is clearly expected in the gospels: sharing of what I have with those who have less.
We talk ourselves out of proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ because we tell ourselves we don’t fully understand some aspect or other of our faith. “If only I could fully explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity…” And while we make our excuses, people are deprived of hearing the liberating, life-changing news of salvation of Jesus Christ.
It’s funny though. I find myself packing an umbrella when it might rain even though I don’t fully understand the meteorological phenomena that cause me to get wet. Why is it mostly on matters of faith we become inert because we tell ourselves we don’t know enough?
Take Easter, for example. Can I “explain” the empty tomb? No. But I can hear the testimony of the apostles, and I can see its fruits in the lives of countless generations of Christians. That ought to be more than good enough for me and for you.

From the 50 Days of Easter Blog on
Thursday, April 22, is EARTH DAY this year.
One person can make a big difference. Every piece of litter removed from the environment counts.

With coronavirus forcing shutdowns and bans, much of our attention has turned inward. We’re learning a lot about ourselves, as well as our habits. That includes how much waste we create.

As we have quarantined at home for months, you suddenly realize how fast we’re filling our trash container. Sure, more waste is expected — each of us eat every meal at home, and we’re trying our best to responsibly stock up on food and supplies to limit grocery trips. 

But aside from these changed habits is a bigger problem: Almost everything we consume comes in plastic wrapping and containers. And determining what can or cannot be recycled is a labyrinth of confusing rules and regulations. In the end, we contribute more to the problem than to the solution.  

As we near the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, EARTHDAY.ORG invites you to join me for a zero-waste challenge.

The first step is to commit yourself to logging each and every item of food for a whole day. Start with breakfast and include everything, even the bowl of cereal you eat at 2am because time doesn’t seem to exist anymore. 

Compile all of your packaging and food waste, and then take a hard look at what you have: Is there a lot of plastic? Are any of your food scraps compostable? Are your leftovers stored in plastic or glass containers? 

Once you know your food habits and the waste you produce, you can start making some adjustments. For one example, swap out daily yogurt cups for one larger container to reduce the total plastic used. 

But don’t stop there — keep going! Check out some recommendations to support your waste transformation. 

If it helps, think of this challenge in the contexts of cleanups. More often than not, the most common items in shared public spaces and waterways are not the car mufflers or fishing nets, but rather small food wrappers that wedge themselves between rocks (talk about being between a rock and a hard place). So get in the habit of picking up every scrap of trash you see, while walking, jogging, visiting the park, etc. (Try carrying a small wastebasket bag and a disposable glove in your pocket!)

The same applies to our choices at home: Small choices, amplified enough times, have big impacts.

Church Membership in US Now Less Than Half the Population
Presbytery leader in spiritual but not religious Northwest: ‘Membership model must change’ because it’s ‘going the way of the phone booth’
by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service | April 12, 2021
LOUISVILLE — After seeing the Gallup Poll study, which came out during Holy Week, that for the first time church membership in the U.S. has declined to less than half the population, Presbyterian News Service reached out to the Rev. Brian Heron for some insight. As Presbyter for Vision and Mission in the Presbytery of the Cascades, located in Portland, Oregon, Heron lives and works in one of the least religious cities in the nation.

Presbyterian News Service: So, what are you seeing and learning in what many refer to as the unofficial capital in the U.S. for the spiritual, but not religious?
Heron: I say this with some humility, but I have heard it enough to believe that there might be some truth to it. What is happening in Cascades and in the Pacific Northwest may be a foreshadowing of things to come for the rest of the nation. In 2020, we experienced a full 6% loss in membership in the presbytery and 60 of our 95 congregations are now under 100 members. At the same time, we are in the middle of a strategic planning process and one of the statistics that is driving our decisions is that our mission giving from churches (apart from per capita) has dropped 68% over the last 17 years, adjusted for inflation.

But while all of that is sobering news, we also know that membership statistics and mission giving don’t capture the whole story. Most of our churches now have a significant percentage of non-member participants and local mission initiatives are growing at a stunning rate. If we in Cascades have a message for the wider church, it is this: Our membership model must change. Christian communities and mission continue to be important and attractive, but membership appears to be going the way of the phone booth.
PNS: How has your experience of great loss in your personal life prepared you to lead and minister to others experiencing loss in our churches?
Heron: I can only say this in hindsight, but the early losses that I experienced have been God’s greatest gift to me. I spent most of my early adulthood trying to outrun my losses. When they finally caught up with me, I discovered that my redemption could only happen by facing my losses directly, acknowledging them, owning them and then moving through them. Because of this, I am very comfortable sitting with churches that are experiencing loss and decline. My own life has revealed that new life and resurrection comes not from outrunning our losses, but by embracing them. So, I help churches get comfortable with being on the metaphorical cross knowing that once they allow their hopes and dreams to be crucified that God has a way of initiating the work of resurrection.

We are death and resurrection people. I help us live into that narrative.

PNS: You’ve written a book, “Alone: A 4,000 Mile Search For Belonging,” about a bicycling sabbatical you took to decide whether you should continue in church ministry. How did this inform the work you are now doing?
HERON: My pilgrimage in 2011 really became the catalyst that led to my current position as the Presbyter for Vision and Mission. It was the start of a six-year period of shedding my expectations around professional ministry. I came out of the pilgrimage convinced that God was saying that my call was not to spend the rest of my career serving churches that wanted to be “saved.” I didn’t have the emotional patience for such work.
In 2012, I attended the CREDO conference and the one theme that kept emerging was, “Brian, it is time for you to work with churches rather than just a church.” I spent the next five years trying to build a consulting, writing and speaking business. During that time, I ended up on food stamps for a short period, housesat in order to save money, gave away 90% of my possessions and bought a travel camper expecting to spend the rest of my career on the road working with churches discerning their final legacy.

Ironically, just three weeks after buying the camper trailer I was offered this position. It felt like a clear call and fulfilled the message from CREDO that it was time to work with “churches, not just a church.” I also think it was God’s way of playing a joke on me!

PNS: How do you see the pastor’s role changing for churches in the future — and how does that relate to those church leaders feeling great anxiety and also to those who are incredibly excited about potential changes in the church?
HERON: This is the most difficult question to answer as anyone who is honest with themselves doesn’t really know what is around the ecclesiastical corner. This is truly pilgrimage time when God lays out only enough of the picture to keep us moving forward, but not enough to truly project and plan. I believe that whatever is happening is actually happening at the molecular level. In other words, the anxiety and wondering by some — and the near giddy anticipation of others — is telling us something.

Some are intuitively feeling that a world is ending along with their place in it; others are feeling that a new world is opening up, giving them new opportunities.

This is a time of deep discernment and radical trust. My message to pastors and churches is largely this: “Trust what God is doing in you personally. The institution will adapt to what God wants, not the other way around.”

PNS: You’ve made the observation that church leaders often minister in ways to avoid people leaving the church — and that ironically this drives away those who are ready to have deeper conversations about their faith and the church. What do you think is at the source of this dynamic? 
HERON: I think the spiritual needs of our communities have become so diverse that pastors are in the position where to preach to one group almost excludes another group, by definition. We choose churches that reinforce our religious and spiritual worldview. Where it gets tricky is when a church says it wants to grow and the pastor finds herself in the impossible situation of reinforcing the beliefs of the faithful in the pew while trying to reach the “unchurched, spiritual, but not religious, ethnically diverse” community around the church.

It is a near-impossible task, and while the pastor attempts to hold onto one group, another group quietly slips away. I personally made peace with this impossibility years ago as I adopted a chaplain’s approach to my work. When I work with churches, I adopt the language and assumptions at the core of who they are. When I meet with the “spiritual, but not religious” groups in our community, people know me as that “agnostic Christian mystic biker-guy.” The latter is closer to my authentic identity and represents my evolution as a “person of the cloth.”

PNS: How can you be “agnostic” and still be a church leader?                                     
HERON: When I get this question in the church I remind them that we have an agnostic thread in our hymns: “Just as I am, though tossed about; With many a conflict, many a doubt; Fightings and fears, within, without; O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”

That is very much my stance: Despite my doubts, my fears, my conflicts, and the journey of loss that I have experienced, I still come, I still come. My agnostic Christian mystic identity allows me to invite people both in the church and out of the church under the same tent. Interestingly enough, I find that my language is an equal opportunity offender. In the church I have to explain my agnostic element. Out of the church I have to explain my Christian element.

For my own mental, spiritual and physical health, I have learned how to provide a religious and spiritual presence to both communities, much like a chaplain moving from one hospital room to another. But I grieve that I have not been able to bring these two worlds together.

PNS: How might this chaplaincy approach help church leaders navigate this grief or tension as they minister into what is an unknow future?
 HERON: This may be a reflection of being in the Pacific Northwest, but I believe the gap between the articulated faith of our churches and the emerging spiritualities of our neighbors is so wide that navigating without disruption is a near impossibility. Most of our churches are experiencing annual declines, which puts pressure on church leadership and clergy. I largely encourage our pastors to take a chaplain approach by saying to congregations discerning their future, “I can comfort you and take care of you for as long as you are here (a hospice-like approach) or I can walk with you on a journey of transformation. But it is important that the decision is yours. One road will lead to your eventual closure: the other to disruption and a radical re-orientation. Both can be faithful decisions.”

What I don’t want is our pastors to internalize that tension because it leads to depression, anxiety, burnout, health problems and spiritual suffering. And the church remains paralyzed.
The Presbytery of the Cascades is a Matthew 25 presbytery — working on building congregational vitalitydismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty, which are the three focuses of the PC(USA)’S Matthew 25 invitation.

1 The Rev. Brian Heron, the Presbytery of the Cascades’ Presbyter for Vision and Mission, on the Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved highway in the world. This photo was taken at 12,183 feet above sea level at the summit in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. (Contributed provided)
2 The Rev. Brian Heron biked through Yellowstone National Park during his pilgrimage. (Contributed photo)
3 The Rev. Brian Heron is Presbyter for Vison and Mission for the Presbytery of the Cascades (Contributed photo)

After five days of more than 150 new coronavirus cases, the Shelby County Health Department reported 111 new cases on Tuesday, April 13.

The agency reported no new coronavirus-related deaths.

The 111 new cases come from 971 tests, giving the day a positivity rate of 11.4%

even if you are fully vaccinated!
The Shelby County Health Department will issue a new health directive this week, opening up buffet lines and likely adding dancing and live music back to clubs and bars.

The new directive of rules for what is acceptable for public conduct in a pandemic will address upcoming evictions and rules landlords must follow in notifying tenants. 
“As you know, our numbers overall are still declining, although there’s some indication that in the last few days, there’s been some leveling off or a slight increase,” Health Department health officer Dr. Bruce Randolph said Tuesday, April 13. “We’re monitoring that.”

It’s possible the health directive will be relaxed again in about a month if the numbers do not surge. Those changes could include opening up festivals and large gatherings as other states have done.
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Today is Wide Open Wednesday at the Pipkin Building,
NO APPOINTMENTS NEEDED for vaccinations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
EVERYONE 16 or OVER is now eligible for VACCINES. With the new FEMA Vaccination site now open, Pipkin has capacity to give more than 3,000 shots a day at this site only at 940 Early Maxwell Blvd.

The city also changed the operating hours to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Several hundred people rolled through before heading to work on Monday morning, said Darrell Habisch, a Minnesotan, who has served FEMA in countless disasters over 11 years.

From 2-7pm daily at Pipkin, no appointment is necessary for first or second dose Pfizer. First come, first served.

“We’re trying to make it as convenient as possible. There may be other clinics or pop-up sites that may be more convenient for them, and they can always check that at” 

“Why wait? It’s here, right now. And this is our major push, meaning our community — Memphis, Shelby County, your church and your neighbors. This is our push together to get to community immunity, that herd immunity,” he said.

When the city decided to test run no-appointment evening hours last week, the results were more than gratifying, Habisch said. “The numbers went up.”

Those without internet access can also call 901-222-7468 (SHOT) or 615-552-1998 between the hours of 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. seven days a week.
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NOTE: The Daily Memphian provides all COVID-19 related information free of charge at these links as a service to the community.
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For COVID-19 testing information, go to this link:
NOTE: Several CVS and Walgreen's locations are now currently on the updated list at the link above.
Family & friends visiting? Going to visit a gathering? How safe will you be? Click the link here:

Doreen Lutey (20), Sean Orians (27)

Every Monday
2:00pm Writer's Group via Zoom

1st Wednesday of the Month
Bible Study with Presbyterian Women 10:30 am

1st & 3rd Thursday of the Month
Ellis Small Group 10:15 am

2nd Tuesday of the Month
(but will NOT meet in April)
BOOK CLUB meets via Zoom

2nd Thursday Evening of the Month
7:00 pm Trouble I've Seen Small Group

1st & 3rd Thursday of the Month
Thru Monday, April 19, 2021
Rev. Carla Meisterman will be taking time off
for worship planning and vacation days.
Rev. Anne Hagler will provide Pastoral Care during this time.
Anne can be reached by phone/text at (901) 628-2104
or by email

Sunday, April 18, 2021
9:00 AM Circle of Faith Worship on Zoom
10:00 - 11:00 AM Spring Sunday Studies on Zoom
11:00 AM BPC Worship Service via YouTube

Sunday, April 25, 2021
9:00 AM Circle of Faith Worship on Zoom
10:00 - 11:00 AM Spring Sunday Studies on Zoom
11:00 AM BPC Worship Service via YouTube

Sunday, May 2, 2021
9:00 AM Circle of Faith Worship on Zoom
10:00 - 11:00 AM Spring Sunday Studies on Zoom
11:00 AM BPC Worship & Communion Service via YouTube

We work every 1st and 3rd Thursday. 
Colonial Park UMC
5330 Park Ave


Pastoral Care will be supplied by Rev. Carla Meisterman
       and by Rev. Anne Hagler as a backup.
Rev. Carla Meisterman 901.235.1014 
       or email
Rev. Anne Hagler 901.628.2104 or
The current Session members have been re-aligned to be your primary contact for ongoing communication. Here's the new contact list:
Lori Blackwelder .... (901) 262-8282 ...............
Cathy Bailey ........... (901) 481-6395 ..............
Frank Carney ...........(901) 337-4917 .............
Leiza Collins ........... (901) 246-5031 ..................... 
Becky DeLoach ...... (901) 489-3369 .............
Barry Dotson .......... (901) 277-1596 ...............
Don Lamb ............... (901) 754-5530 ............................
Ted Pearson home: (901) 754-9796 ................... 
...........................cell: (901) 486-6117
John Van Nortwick (901) 605-2907 ............ jvnortwick@cornerstone-

(NOTE: Many of these Session members are working during the day, so you may want to text them or email them.)

Keep in mind that ANY Balmoral member who is healthy will most likely be happy to help you in case of need as well!

To contact other members, the most-current contact information is available by requesting a copy of the BPC PHONE DIRECTORY from Kathy Singleton by email or by phone or text to (901) 734-7193. 
BPC Worship 
Sunday, April 11, 2021
Prelude "Now Thank We All Our God"
Frank Carney, organ
Hymn 236 "The Strife is O'er" and
Hymn 233 "The Day of Resurrection"
Musical Offering "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light"

Charge and Blessing
Rev. Anne Hagler
We have been keeping reference articles in the Newsletter each week throughout the summer. It's time to take them out, BUT some of these may still be helpful, so we will store them and give you links to them, but eliminate them from the body of the newsletter itself.
  • Newsletter Articles & Photos should be emailed to Kathy Singleton at no later than Monday at noon for the week you want the article in the news.
  • Bulletin Information should be emailed to Rev. Carla Meisterman, with a copy to Kathy Singleton, no later than Monday noon the week before the Sunday you want the information to appear.
  • Prayer Concerns should continue to be submitted via email to Rev. Carla Meisterman (
 APRIL 2021
online church calendar
The calendar will take a few seconds to load and, once it opens, you will see the month that we are currently in. To see the next month's calendar, click on the arrow pointing down - it is just to the right of the name of the month. Once you click on that arrow, an icon will appear with all the months of the year listed. Click on the month that you want to see. To see a specific date, click on the number of the day you would like to see. The entire 2021 calendar is available to you.