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A Letter from the Associate Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery

Energy, Intelligence, Imagination & Love
May 11, 2017

It has been a great gift to me in the past year to assist in teaching students at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. I have also had the pleasure of meeting with a group of our newly ordained pastors in Pittsburgh Presbytery.

Although the seminary class is coming to a close this month, I am hopeful I can continue to gather our “fresher” friends in ministry to discuss all manner of issues pressing in on those of us striving to be faithful pastors in the “living of these days.”

It’s the “living of these days” that is on my mind. It seems that we Christians, we mainliners in particular, are on a slow-moving train from Mild Depression to Consternation when it comes to picturing the future of the Church of Jesus Christ and our own denomination.

This self-preoccupied hand wringing has been going on now for years. And yet, we faithfully promise at the time of taking our Ordination vows, still so fresh for our newer pastors or pastors in newly started calls, to “serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.”

Our energy often gets expended in fruitless fracases and tangential tasks. We do not pool our considerable intelligence nearly enough. Our imaginations are made stagnant by fear of change. Our loves wear thin abraded by irritating fears. There is more than enough fear to go around. But there are also these words:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.   (1 John 4:18)

None of us can picture the future.  But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we unleash our energy, intelligence, imagination, and love with the power that only comes from God. Christ is risen! Pentecost is almost upon us!

Words of another great hymn exhort us: “Come labor on! Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear! No arm so weak but may do service here….” Right here! Right here in our congregations, our ministries, our presbytery!

Let us pray to find ways to WORK TOGETHER to accomplish far more than we can dream or even imagine.


The Rev. Dr. Beverly W. James, Associate Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery

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