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October 8 during coffee hour (after worship); led by Pastor Martin This will be similar to the last two presentations/discussions we had in June and August. For the last one, our pastor presented various views on the Millennium in Revelation 20 and end-times chronology. Then we had a far-ranging and lively conversation after.

Right after worship folks can grab their coffee hour snacks and sit down for another meeting in the same format, this time on God's Creation. We all agree that God created everything, including us, but how exactly? Just six to twenty thousand years ago? Often known as Young Earth Creationism. Or is the earth older than that, though still rejecting the theory of evolution? Often known as Old Earth Creationism. Or did God use evolution? Often known as Evolutionary Creationism. And where does the idea of Intelligent Design fit into all this?

There will be about a 10-15 minute slideshow on these various opinions and theories, and then we'll circle the chairs for anyone who wants to stay further for discussion and questions. With such a wide-ranging array of views among Bible-believing Christians on this topic (part of the point of the whole presentation!), please be prepared to listen and discuss respectfully.

Sports Club celebrated a fantastic fall kick-off with a picnic, lawn games, minute to win it challenges, and contests (hot dog eating, bubble gum blowing & pie eating). Sports Club also generously donated a projector to First Pres. Thanks to all who were able to join us on this fun evening!

The next Sports Club is scheduled for Friday, October 20 from 6-8pm. Get ready for BINGO! Our annual Christmas Party will be held on December 16th. Mark your calendars!

To the First Presbyterian Church family,

I have been a part of the church my whole life, and I still remember a ditty that we sang in Sunday School: “The church is not the building, the church is not the steeple, the church is the people.” Of course, ten-year-old me would have never known that I would one day pastor a church with an impressive steeple. This steeple points to more than just our individual church but to Jesus the son of God and His church universal.

Back in the spring you might remember the Literacy Council of Norristown, longtime tenants here, hosted a work group from Deloitte accounting firm who came in here to spruce up. (If you haven't yet, please thank Cindy Serratore for her work in coordinating all of this with Literacy!) It was my job as pastor to give them a tour of such an impressive facility, and I even took a few of their braver ones up into that steeple (after they signed all the legal waivers!). I heard some version of the compliment "what a beautiful church!" many times that day, and I reflected on how true that statement is, and in ways beyond their probable meaning.

Some subsequent events this last summer did put the proper community aspect of "church" into focus for me. First, the Greater Norristown Area Ministerium hosted a community Vacation Bible School for the third straight summer, and I have participated in it each time as a teacher and helping hand. When we gathered in the library's community room, it was not about the individual churches represented there by their pastors and members (Norristown Baptist, Mt Zion AME, Grace Tabernacle 7th Day Adventist, to name a few) but rather about the one true church of Jesus Christ, ministering to our community's young people. When we host the ministerium's Maundy Thursday service again in the spring, it won't be a service of and for First Presbyterian but simply of the Church of Jesus Christ, meeting in our beautiful sanctuary.

More recently, Central Presbyterian Church celebrated twenty years of Spanish ministry, twelve of them in this building. They are not just another community church but one also blessed by this building AND bound to us by denomination. I wrote extensively about this last summer when I was coming off my time as commissioner to the PC(USA)'s General Assembly, but suffice it to say here, the denomination's function is to be a connectional community for the church, bound together by mutual creed and care for one another. Our Presbytery's Executive leader, Rev. Ruth Santana-Grace, herself a child of Puerto Rican immigrants, was present at their anniversary banquet and gave a blessing. She served at the same General Assembly with me and was actually elected to Co-Moderator. I won't belabor us here with an explanation of what all these denominational offices and institutions are, but once again the function is service to the community of Christ. Of course, anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected IS a member of the Church. But to be a member of this church means to be a part of the network of mutual care. I hope we can have a members/inquirer's discussion soon, and please keep checking your regular emails and bulletins.

And most recently, we had our annual church picnic, hosted for the seventh straight summer by Judy & Bob Meeker. You'll see a recap in this week's bulletin (at the time of this sending) but we truly were a church the afternoon of August 27. We just happened to be gathered in a beautiful backyard by a pool. Our downtown building may have been seven miles away, but that was irrelevant. The community of Christ was there, in that place and in that time, and thanks to the hospitality of some long-time members!

For the building and steeple, what did Deloitte do for it but help us be a better host for the Maundy service and for tenants like Literacy Council, Central Pres, and others. That too is part of our task as a community - to be stewards of this incredible facility. We are a church and we are partners in taking care of this building, the wider church of believers in Norristown, and of course . . . each other.

I Corinthians 12:12

~Pastor Peter Martin

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