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Session Retreat: Leadership Transition

By Ward Shope At the Session (elder) Retreat this last weekend, our facilitators referred to the leadership transition that occurred from Moses to Joshua. Imagine traveling for 40 years under a leader who regularly works miracles, resolves conflict, leads through difficulties, makes hard decisions and is patient beyond belief. And then, just as you are...

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Session Update: Relational Resiliency

By Ward Shope We are now about a year and a few months from Ron’s departure from New Life. The Search Committee is working hard to identify possible candidates for the lead pastor position. And we as a Session (the elders) are moving forward in thinking about what ways we need to adapt as we...

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Session Winter Retreat

By Ward Shope Several weeks ago, I replaced a light bulb in my dining room. I just screwed out the old bulb and screwed another bulb in its place. Predictably, I flipped the switch and haven’t thought about it since. If only it were that easy replacing lead pastors… But THAT is more like roping...

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Resolutions

By Ward Shope Recently, I ran across a Peanuts comic where Lucy was distributing New Year’s resolutions she felt would be good for each member of the gang. How freeing it would be to have everyone else adjust their lives this New Year in such a way that my life would be easier! I’m sure...

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An Invitation to a Seasonal Poem

By Ward Shope There once was a poet from Dresher Who felt under significant pressure To write a short diddy Deep and yet witty About Christmas as a de-stresser So he took up scratch paper and ink And pounded his noggin to think Very little was there (Including his hair) But from the delicate task...

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The Color of Fall

By Ward Shope I love fall: cooler temperatures, the growing layers of dress, the taste of apple cider and spice cookies, and the smell of healthy leaf decay… I grew up on a farm with somewhere around 10 acres of yard and dozens of 100-150-year-old maple and oak trees. Several weekends each fall, the seven...

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We’re in It for the Long Run

By Ward Shope You may have heard the oft-repeated saying, “The church is the only institution in this world that will continue into the Kingdom of God.” Perhaps not everything in the church will translate directly into the new age, thank the Lord! But the service we contribute as the community of Christ has eternal...

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Remembering for the Future

By Ward Shope Remembering is what makes us human. We tend to think of it as a nostalgic activity, either prompting tears or promoting sentimentality. Those who live in the past have lost a sense of relevance. It can be seen as a sign of neurosis, the preoccupation of an unhealthy emotional state. The movers...

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A Praying Life

By Ward Shope Few, if any of us, are satisfied with our private prayer lives. And if we are, the satisfaction is short-lived. The vital prayer warranty suddenly runs out and we find ourselves struggling again, looking for some sort of technical expertise for the productive prayer life. Going into a private prayer closet and...

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Budget Building: A Tension of Faith and Realism

Session Report By Ward Shope There are few elders who scrutinize their own personal finances as closely as they scrutinize the budget of the church. Part of that is simply the nature of group budget-building. But we also realize we are accountable to God and to the whole congregation to steward the resources we have...

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Connections: Key to Pastoral Care – A Session Update

By Ward Shope While some of us have well over a thousand “friends” on Facebook, researchers tell us that each of us – even if we’re good at them – can handle only 150 meaningful relationships at one time. Most of us have far less. Since New Life has about 575 members and regular attenders,...

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"Session" Update – August 2014

By Ward Shope So what is “the Session” at New Life anyway? If you didn’t grow up Presbyterian, the word “session” is often modified by the previous word – as in “training” session or “counseling” session. Well, counsel is taken at “session meetings.” But simply put, the Session is the group of men called “elders”...