Emanuel United Church of Christ
An Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ

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

Pastor's Page

Dear Friends -

I[Paul] planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. I Corinthians 3:6-8

Jesus said to [Mary Magdalene], ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her. John 20:15-18

This will be my final message to Emanuel Church. After 16 years of service, my final Sunday worship service at Emanuel Church will be on April 14. After 16 years of walking together in faith and Christian service, your journey as Emanuel United Church of Christ will continue, as will mine as an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, but after April 14, our paths will diverge.

In April, you will be blessed by visits from not one, but two Conference Ministers. The Rev. Bill Worley, Conference Minister, will be present for my farewell service on April 14. The Rev. Kevin McLemore, Associate Conference Minister for Search and Call, will preach at Emanuel the following Sunday, April 21. At the April 14 farewell service, we will employ the United Church of Christ “Liturgy of Farewell.” The Liturgy of Farewell represents a mutual offering of gratitude and forgiveness, and a mutual release of the pastor’s and congregation’s commitments to one another. For as many as can readily attend, it will be an opportunity for closure.

Remember that, following the resurrection, the disciples had to learn to experience the Risen Christ in a new way. Yes, Christ had risen, had risen indeed, but he wasn’t walking with them in bodily form on a daily basis, as Jesus had done during his earthly ministry. In the garden, Mary Magdalene wanted things to go back to how they were before the crucifixion. But the Risen Christ said, “Don’t keep clinging to me….but go to my brothers…..” Following that moment, there were just brief, sporadic appearances, and these sometimes had an ethereal quality. And then, Christ ascended into heaven, and would appear to them no more. For a brief period the disciples basically just marked time, doing some organizational housekeeping by selecting Matthias as a successor to Judas, until the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. So the disciples had to adjust to Jesus’ physical absence, so that they could be open to the Holy Spirit’s presence. On a much more modest scale, you will be adjusting to my absence and I to yours, but this will prepare the way for what I fervently pray will be a Spirit-filled season of renewed worship and ministry for Emanuel Church.

Thank you for the privilege of serving Emanuel United Church of Christ for the past 16 years. Abide in Christ’s love. Give thanks for God’s guidance and blessings in the past, and may God continue to guide and bless and prosper Emanuel Church for many years to come.

In Christ's Service - Pastor Dave

Contact Info                 Email Us                 Home Page                 Conference Website                 UCC Website