United Church of Christ

2628 Fillmore Street, Philadelphia, PA  19137
"A Warm, Welcoming Church in the Heart of Bridesburg"

Pastor's Page

Dear Friends -

"‘“‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.” When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’” Matthew 20:1-16

The passage above is the lectionary’s Gospel reading for September 24, which is also the day on which we will celebrate 156 years of ministry in Bridesburg. We hope for a joyous day, with a catered luncheon (provided by the generous donation of a lifelong member) and a showing of the beautiful video that was prepared for our 150th anniversary, back in 2011, showing photos from Emanuel Church over the decades – confirmation classes, church socials, special worship services - all accompanied by recorded organ music from our longtime organist, the late Florence Werner. This lovely video truly reveals the heart and soul of Emanuel Church as experienced through the eyes and ears of our longtime members. It was a revelation to me when I saw it for the first time at our 150th anniversary, and I’m sure that on seeing it a second time, I’ll appreciate much that I missed on my first viewing. I strongly urge as many as can to be with us on this special milestone in our congregation’s history.

Our congregation is a bit like the workers in Jesus’ parable. We have our longtime, lifelong members, who have truly “borne the heat and burden of the day”. Over many decades, our longtime members have worked so hard, invested so many hours, tithed and prayed and planned and labored to preserve Emanuel Church on as a legacy for the future. Every member of Emanuel Church owes these longtime members a profound debt of gratitude. And we have our newer members, who haven’t been here for quite so many decades, but who are starting to take on some of the responsibilities of leadership, to move beyond weekly attendance to involvement in events of the present and plans for the future. All of us likewise owe these newer members a profound debt of gratitude for their willingness to help carry on the legacy of Emanuel Church. I pray that, years from now, they will in turn be the wise elders sharing the benefit of their experience with a new generation of Emanuel Church members. We are indeed profoundly grateful and indebted to both longtime and newer members and friends.

See you in church!

Pastor Dave

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