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Patriotic Service

Greetings to You in Our Lord’s Name

From Pastor Christopher Kurien

Dr Chris Kurien
Rev. Dr. Chris Kurien

Our nation’s Independence Day, on July 4, is a time to rejoice in the political and personal liberties granted to us as Americans. For 246 years the United States has been the beacon and champion of freedom around the world. Independence Day is a great opportunity to give thanks to God for the gifts He’s given us as citizens of this great country.

We’ve especially been blessed with the freedom to worship our Lord. We’re free to pray in our homes and in public. While we take our liberties for granted, others in this world live under oppression and must worship in secret. Let us be grateful.

Friends, as I write the words above, I’m concerned about the many lives lost recently due to gun violence. Many of you signed a petition we recently sent to our Pennsylvania Senators, supporting a bill coming before the US Senate to deal with this serious crisis. There is no other country where, daily, so many are killed due to gun violence. This needs to end and we all have a small part to play besides praying for the victims.

A worldwide pandemic has changed the way we live. Wearing masks and living indoors has created a serious challenge to everyone. Church services have become livestreamed, sometimes with pre-recorded messages. Keeping social distances and not having opportunities for fellowship has affected many worshipping communities. We never imagined that we’d experience these kinds of challenges during our lifetime.

On the other hand, there have been blessings:

  • On Sunday June 12, we had a wonderful Music Sunday. I want to thank our choir members, Praise Band,  Music Director Irina Shmeleva and Worship Leader Mark Villecco for their leadership.
  • Our Missions Team and Carol Bashore have been active with projects, including the Hannah’s Hope and the Ukrainian projects.
  • Our Care Ministry has been very active. I want to thank our master chef, Alan Koeble, Jim Gehman, and his helpers for their commitment to the Care Ministry, as well as Jenn Born and all Opportunity House volunteers.
  • It’s also been fun to walk around our Lincoln Park neighborhood, not only to benefit our health, but also to greet neighbors whenever we get an opportunity.
  • Geoff Whiteley pulled together our Church Council recently for some wonderful dreaming and planning.
  • Let me also show my deep appreciation to Cheri Fallon who does a great job with our News-Linc, so beautifully done, one issue after another!

Remember that Vacation Bible School this year is July 11-13. I hope all our children can participate. Please invite your friends, family, and neighbors. I want to thank Barb Leas and a committed team of volunteers for their hard work to make the VBS an enjoyable and memorable experience for our children.

We’re glad that this summer looks like it will be a little bit more “normal summer.” There will be more people traveling and taking vacations, including my own family. We’re looking forward to visiting family in India after four years. I’d like to thank in advance all those who are covering for me in my absence. Please pray for our family and all those who will be traveling in the coming weeks.

I pray that all of you have an enjoyable and restful summer!


Pastor Chris Kurien

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