November 4, 2022
The Church Irreplaceable
Why God’s People Must Gather
by Matt Smethurst

Remember way back in the day, in an era long since passed, when going to church was routine and expected and easy to take for granted? Are you struggling to remember? Well, I can’t fault you; 2019 does seem like forever ago. In case your memory is fuzzy, a global pandemic turned up — which is why most of us spent months of Sundays in sweatpants, attempting to sing melodies in tune and praying the sermon would stop buffering. And some of us are still there.

It’s not uncommon to hear the reminder that the church is a people, not a place. And that’s true as far as it goes. Certainly, it’s a needed corrective for those inclined to equate church with a building. But the handy motto is not quite complete. The local church is not less than a people, true, but it is more: it is a people who gather together in a place. A church without any gathering place — that is, one that never assembles — is not a church. At least not according to Jesus.

 No doubt, Matthew 18:20 is one of our Lord’s sweetest promises: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” But notice, first, that the believers he’s talking about are physically together. They share, at least for this significant moment, a place. This gathering is not incidental, either; it shapes the identity of the gatherers. The gathering of the people, you could say, gives definition to the people of the gathering.

Moreover, in light of the preceding verses, Jesus is not discussing two or three believers swapping prayer requests at Starbucks. He’s envisioning a whole congregation, assembled to put someone out of their fellowship as the culminating act of church and he promises those believers — the ones gathered to exercise the keys of the kingdom— that he will be with them.

Showing up to the church is serving others; to gather is to encourage. Much has been written about the Bible’s “one another” commands, and for good reason: there are nearly sixty of them permeating the pages of the New Testament.

Consider these:
Love one another (John 13:35)
Welcome one another (Romans 15:7)
Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
Agree with one another (2 Corinthians 13:11)
Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32)
Teach one another (Colossians 3:16)
Do good to one another (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
Confess to one another (James 5:16)
Show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)

Despite the blessings of a digital age, the Christian life — which is to say, the churched life — is undeniably diminished when we are apart. Obeying the “one another” commands from a distance is like writing letters in wartime. It may have to do for a while, but it is no substitute for the real thing.

Hope to see you in worship. Blessings.
Submitted by Jaylee Ferreri, Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministry
Our Forum series with Jennifer Koosed, Ph.D.,
Professor of Religious Studies at Albright College
continues for the next two Sundays, November 6 and November 13.
The topic being discussed is “The Family of Abraham”. 
The world’s three major monotheistic traditions all trace themselves back to one man, Abraham, who may have lived almost 4000 years ago. In this three session class, we will explore Abraham and the traditions that descend from him. The first session will explore the texts—the Bible and the Quran—to see how each tradition (especially Judaism and Islam) understands Abraham and his family; the second session will compare some Jewish and Muslim beliefs and practices; the third session will examine the Temple Mount area, also called al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), one of the most contested holy sites in the world. Family relationships are sometimes the most fraught; not only will we discuss the past and present of Judaism and Islam, but we will also explore some future possibilities for these sibling religions.
Thank you to the following volunteers
who helped our Garden Committee this summer:
Mary Ellen Urquhart, Amy Shutt, Tom and Judy Babbony, Sharon Trevoy,
Penny McClimon, Dave and Doreen Duncan, DeeAnne Orzechowski,
Andy and Judy Lane, Kathleen O’Hara,Adele Klein, Donna Force, Chuck Krueger, David Sutton, Sally Stetler, Susan Moyer,Dedra Phillips, Debra Mohollen,
Cindy Foust, Julie Kovach, and Rob and Diane Land
At its meeting on October 19 the Session:
  • Welcomed Rev. Brenton Thompson as moderator.
  • Shared joys and concerns.
  • Received the Treasurer’s Report (see below).
  • Approved an allocation to Mission.
  • Approved Ginny Bleyer taking the lead on First Presbyterian’s 175th Anniversary Celebration in May 2023
  • Fellowship Time will be held throughout the Stewardship season; hosted by various committees
  • Received updates from committees.
  • Shared the passing of the peace with each other in closing.
 
Financial Report (through September 30):
YTD Budget Income:   $460,529              YTD Budget Expenses: $478,998
Actual Income:        $436,659              YTD Actual Expenses: $413,339
This time last year:     $419,897              This time last year:  $419,187
Being the Church This Week

Sunday, November 6 
Sunday School – 9:15 AM
Service of the Lord’s Day 10:30 AM
All Saints’ Sunday, Rev. Ashly Rossi, preaching 
The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated during worship
Fellowship Time after worship
Hosted by the Mission Committee in the Community Room

Monday, November 7 
HENS – 9AM-1PM
Music & Rec – 4:30-6:00PM
Cubs/Troop – 7PM
Mark 12:31 Book Discussion – 7:30PM
                                                                
Tuesday, November 8
General Election Day
Yoga - 8AM  
Staff Meeting – 10:30AM
                                     
Wednesday, November 9 
Yoga - 8AM – Community Room
HENS – 9AM-1PM
Girl Scouts – 5:30-7:30PM
Deacons – 7:30PM
                                                                                                
Thursday, November 10 
Sisters of Way Bible Study – 9:30AM
Health Ministry Meeting – 1:30PM
Community Meals – 5PM – Fellowship Hall
Chancel Handbells Rehearsal – 6:30PM 
Chancel Choir Rehearsal – 7:30PM
                                                       
Friday, November 11 
Yoga – 8AM – Community Room
HENS – 9AM-1PM

Saturday, November 12 
Men’s Breakfast - 8AM - Grumpy’s
Mission Partner
Community Meals  
Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights, in whose character there is no change at all.  (James 1:17 CEB) 
 
At FPC Pottstown, we believe that our time, our talents, our earthly treasures are not our own; they are gracious gifts from God. God entrusts them to us, and calls us to use our gifts and our lives to make God's love known in the world.
 
We continue to clothe, feed, educate and uplift one another, and our neighbors in need.  This work requires offerings of time, talent and treasure.
Your giving makes that work possible. Thank you!