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


  • FIFTY DAYS of EASTER: aaaaaaaaaaa ABOUT the FEAST of ASCENSION Thursday, May 13

  • WORSHIP for SUNDAY MAY 16, 2021

  • "SPUTNIK" BREAKS ORBIT: aa Repairs to be made by Balton Sign Co.




  • MEMPHIS SHOT-FOR-SHOT SWEEPSTAKES - win a car with your vaccination card! Enter until May 31.
  • Tickets Available for INTO the WOODS: Musical at the Drive-In with a Gurlen on screen May 20

  • Birthdays
  • Calendar of Events
  • Building Information

  • BPC Photos
  • Worship last Sunday


Each year in May, Balmoral has traditionally "wound down" activities; Sunday Studies and some Small Groups take a break for the summer, all leading toward our Summer Sabbath time.

Though this will be true this year as well, May also feels very different than previous we anxiously look forward to once again Worship together in person beginning in June.

But there are several events still coming in May before we get there!

  • At the May 16 Session Meeting, the BPC COVID-19 Task Force will present the Policies & Procedures recommendations for re-opening on June 6 for Session approval.
  • May 23 is Pentecost Sunday, ending our 50 days of Easter. During the Worship service, the newly elected Elder class of 2024 will be Installed/Ordained.
  • Rev. Anne Hagler will lead us in Worship & Communion on May 30, and we will celebrate her retirement as our Parish Associate. It will also be the final YouTube pre-recorded production of our Worship service!
  • PW Bible Study will finish their current study for the year on Wednesday, June 2. Rev. Anne Hagler will lead the final session - and all are welcome to give her a final thank you!
  • If approved by the Session:
  • Sunday, June 6, we will gather together in Balmoral's sanctuary at 11:00 am for Worship.
  • Sunday, June 6 at 9:00am, Circle of Faith will also be worshipping in BPC's Fellowship area.
Before Pentecost Comes
the Ascension of the Lord
Not every event celebrated in the church year occurs on Sunday. On the 40th day of Easter, a Feast day offers a lesson in patience and prayer.
By Scott Szabo | Presbyterians Today
I love when the Scriptures recount an event multiple times, but in different ways. When two, three or all four of the Gospel writers detail the same episode, I like to explore the ways that their interpretations differ. What’s even more interesting is when a single voice tells the same story twice, as the author of Luke and Acts does when describing the Ascension of the Lord, the occasion when the risen Christ triumphantly returns to heaven.

I like to think that the Ascension elicited such varied reactions that Luke could not adequately express them in one telling of the story. That perhaps he decided to conclude his Gospel on a high note, reflecting the joy the disciples felt in knowing that Christ was Lord of all Creation. Accordingly, that Acts became the means by which he conveyed the disciples’ anxiety, uncertainty and absolute bewilderment at what was unfolding. Perhaps this is why in Acts it takes the intercession of two people robed in white to get the followers of Jesus to stop staring at the sky!

Such an emotionally charged scene certainly deserves a liturgical tradition that gives expression to its depth and richness. Thankfully, the Feast of the Ascension does not disappoint.

As early as the fourth century, the Western Church began commemorating the Ascension on the 40th day of Easter, mirroring the post-resurrection chronology as provided by Luke.

Over time, observances have featured the staging of elaborate plays, candlelit processions in which a banner of a lion (Christ) was carried ahead of one depicting a dragon (the devil), as well as the extinguishing of the Paschal candle in worship after the reading of the Gospel for the day. As a “feast” of the Church, Ascension Day has also long been associated with food-based rituals, including the blessing of first fruits and the hosting of meals enjoyed outside. Psalm 47, one of the lectionary readings for Ascension Day — which is May 13 this year — underscores the joyful nature of the day, with its commands to clap, shout and sing.

While Luke’s account of the ascension may be joy-filled and Acts may be anxiety-ridden, both underscore the necessity of waiting. Acts 1:4 has Jesus telling the disciples to “wait for the promise of the Father,” while Luke 24:49 states to them to “stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” They must wait for the outpouring of the Pentecost Spirit. And so, the Feast of the Ascension is not a time for strategic planning. Rather, it is a time to consider what has transpired and to anticipate what is to come.

Waiting is not something I do well. Living near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I have come to appreciate the Amish markets where I can buy groceries. Once, at the end of a hectic day, I was trying to get to such a market before it closed. Arriving with a few minutes to spare, I found the shop locked with a hand-scrawled note on the door reading, “Closed for Ascension Day.” While I was frustrated by the inconvenience, the store’s closure made me much more aware of the countless Amish I saw on my drive home. They were visiting friends, playing softball and appreciating the warmth of an evening in late spring. They were waiting, and to an outsider at least, they seemed to be fully present in that act.

Perhaps the greatest gift the Feast of the Ascension can offer a chronically busy world is the reminder — and opportunity — to patiently and prayerfully wait together.

Ways to observe the Feast of the Ascension
The Feast of the Ascension is Thursday, May 13.
  • Wait in “Jerusalem” — Support your community by patronizing local businesses or engaging in local service opportunities.
  • Go on a meditative walk — Appreciate God’s presence in nature by listening to birdsong or watching a sunset.
  • Commit to prayer Participate in a nine-day cycle of prayer that bridges the Feast of the Ascension and Pentecost and echoes the time the disciples spent together in the upper room waiting for the gift of the Pentecost Spirit. You can either pray alone or, ideally, join with others virtually or safely distanced.

Scott Szabo is the pastor of Oxford Presbyterian Church in Oxford, Pennsylvania.


Balmoral Presbyterian Church
Sunday, May 16, 2021

BALMORAL WORSHIP at 11:00am on YouTube

Scriptures: Psalm 1 (selected verses)
& 1 John 5: 9-13

Sermon: "The Testimony of God"

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 Zoom

Everyone is also invited to join the Circle of Faith service. 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 
‘Sputnik’ Breaks Orbit for Repairs
MEMPHIS LANDMARK to be REPAIRED by the Balton Sign Co.
BPC members
Terry & Jeff Balton's company, the Balton Sign Co., is working to restore the iconic automated sign at POPLAR & BELVEDERE
The “Sputnik,” arguably the Mid-South’s most compelling neon business sign, is away for repairs.

“It is coming back,” Ross Larson, manager of Joe’s Wines & Liquor at 1681 Poplar Ave., said Tuesday, May 11.
Balton Sign Co. on May 5 removed the colorful ball with a dozen, antenna-like spikes from atop the pole at the southwest corner of Poplar and Belvedere.

“It’s got a load bearing at the bottom that has gone bad,” Jeff Balton said. “Only way to replace it is to take all the mechanics apart inside of it.”

The sign’s other components remain in good shape, he said, adding, “The neon is still working, the motor is still running.”

Nicknamed “Sputnik” because it looks something like the early satellite launched by the Soviets in 1957, such signs are part of American culture.

“We were able to link up with the only company in town that works on it,” Ross Larson said of Balton Sign Co. Brad Larson had Balton refurbish the sign in summer 2016, the first time in 18 years the sign had been renovated.

The sign should be back in place in a few weeks.

‘Forest Bathing’ Renews the Spirit
"Soul Bathing" Might Be a Better Term:
How a Japanese antidote for stress relief can engage our senses
by Nancy Hall-Berens
When the unit next door to ours was being renovated, we could hear all sorts of pounding, drilling and demolition. One day when it felt like a giant dentist drill inside my head, I headed out to a public garden for a little peace and quiet. On the drive there, I heard a piece on public radio about forest bathing or, as it is sometimes called, forest therapy.

Forest bathing began in Japan in the 1980s as a response to a spike in stress-related illnesses due to overwork. Nature trails were created for respite. But forest bathing isn’t just a walk in the park. Forest bathing often relies on trained guides, who set a deliberately slow pace and invite people to experience the pleasures of nature through all of their senses. The practice has been growing globally, especially as the pandemic has made being outdoors more enticing. In the United States, the number of forest bathing clubs has also been on the rise.

When I finally arrived at the garden, I decided to explore the forest bathing I had just learned about on the radio. With the idea of being there to “soak” in nature, I found a secluded bench under a tree. I could hear all sorts of sounds, so I decided to decipher exactly what I was hearing. I divided the sounds into human and nature — from babies to bumblebees and from cars to crickets. I was beginning to experience the outdoor space with all of my senses. I was enjoying the sight of the trees. I was hearing a myriad of human and natural sounds mingling together. I was smelling the flowers that were so sweet I could taste them. I could feel the warmth of the sun touching my skin. Eventually, I could feel the wooden bench slats I sat upon getting harder!

I began thinking a better term for forest bathing might be “soul bathing” — a cleansing of the mind and spirit by being immersed in the natural world. Naturalist John Muir once wrote, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” I’ve known this quotation since high school and only now realize that I have been practicing forest bathing without knowing it was a thing.

While I was seeking quiet that day, I instead began intentionally listening to the sounds around me rather than trying to block them out. I began wondering, “How well do we really hear everything going on around us?”

Sometimes in life we need to stop what we are doing, what we are thinking and what we are saying, and listen. I imagine that this world would be a better place if we paid more attention to what others were saying. We can practice by slowing down, listening to the natural world and doing a little forest bathing, forest therapy or, what I like to call this spiritual practice, soul bathing. For when we do, maybe, just maybe, we will learn to listen better to one another as well.

Put into practice
  • Forest bathing is not restricted to being in a forest. It can be in your own backyard, at the beach, watching the sun set over a lake or even sitting atop a mesa as Nancy Hall-Berens experienced while at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Find a spot outside where you can sit without interruptions and listen to what’s around you.
  • Make time in your week to walk in nature. Stop along the way for a “bath” to steep yourself in nature. This is something Hall-Berens and her husband started doing during the pandemic.
  • Empty yourself of what is weighing on you and soak in the beauty of God’s Creation with all five senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? What do you taste?
  • Breathe deeply. Say a prayer. Give thanks to God for this beautiful world.
  • The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy is a great place to learn more. Log on and start learning at

Nancy Hall-Berens is the director of Congregational Life, Singles and Women’s Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Virginia
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!  

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


During the area’s coronavirus task force briefing yesterday, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said the county’s upcoming health directive would shift “from a mandatory approach to a recommendation approach.” beginning Saturday, May 15. People will be asked to use their best judgment about when masks are required and follow the CDC guidelines, which include masking when indoors with people who have not been vaccinated and in large groups outdoors.

It was almost exactly a year ago that the Shelby County Commission passed a resolution asking the Health Department to require face coverings. All signs point to the Health Directive suggesting and recommending people continue to wear masks but not requiring them to do so.

The last directive, issued in April, stated that if cases remained stable for 30 days, the posture would shift.

“The good news is that we did not experience a surge over the last 30 days. In fact, our case count over the last 30 days is relatively consistent with our case count over the previous 30 days,” Harris said.

The vaccine count is also going up with more than 330,000 people vaccinated.

Business owners will have the right to require masks on their property.

Masks will still be required on public transportation and in workplaces that must abide by OSHA standards.

But that doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily be seeing smiles. For one local expert, the lifting of the mask mandate doesn’t mean cases of the virus might tick up; it means cases of the virus most certainly will tick up — especially in specific ZIP codes. “There will be absolutely no question,” said Dr. Scott Strome. 

Business owners will still have the right to require masks, but that’s also setting them up for arguments with potential customers. And what restaurants would really like to see, instead of the mask mandate lifted, is the removal of the so-called 6-foot rule.
Only 79 new cases Tuesday.
Vaccination progress is slowly inching up -
but it would be better if we were above 75%!
If you're not vaccinated, please consider getting your vaccination as soon as possible!
Children ages 12-16 are now also eligible for the vaccine.

Click the link below to get current locations for VACCINES:
NOTE: The Daily Memphian provides all COVID-19 related information free of charge at these links as a service to the community.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Getting your vaccination shot isn't just your best chance at staying safe and healthy, you'll also get a shot at winning a brand new vehicle of your choice! There's a Chevy Camaro, Chevy Colorado, Nissan Rogue, Nissan Altima or any similar vehicle of equal or lesser value up for grabs!
This giveaway is open to any Shelby County residents age 18 or older at the time of entry.

We'll confirm eligibility with your immunization record card,
so make sure you hold onto it!
In an effort to increase vaccinations in Shelby County, the city is offering everyone who is vaccinated a chance in their sweepstakes for a car!

To enter the Sweepstakes, complete and submit the online entry form online at
or by calling 901-222-SHOT.
All entries must be received by 11:59pm on 5/31/2021.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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:
Jessica Orians (12), Clinton Bailey (23), Casey Gurlen (26),
Janet Smith (26), Tom Kernan (28), Shirley Vosburg (29), Phil Shannon (30), Noah Mercer (31)

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
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
Sunday, May 16, 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 23, 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
Installation & Ordination of Elders, Class of 2024

Sunday, May 30, 2021
9:00 AM Circle of Faith Worship on Zoom
11:00 AM BPC Worship & Communion Service via YouTube

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, chairperson) for review; the task force will review the proposal, then make a recommendation to the Session for consideration.

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, May 9, 2021
Prelude "Minuet in D Major"
John Gilmer and Fran Addicott, cellists
Choir Linda Warren, John Gilmer, Pete Addicott, William Warren, Clinton Bailey and Fran Addicott
Musical Offering "Seek Ye First"
Bells of Balmoral Beverly Hooker, Frank Carney, Janice Hill, Linda Warren, John Gilmer, Kristen Gurlen, Lorie Blackwelder, Lisa Koffman

Rev. Carla Meisterman
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 (
 MAY 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.