New Things

From Rev. Eric H. Carswell
September 23, 2013

    Over the last few months as I’ve been getting ready to step into the role of pastor for the Bryn Athyn Church I’ve learned many new things about this congregation. There have been new relationships to build or develop and I’ve learned more about aspects of this congregation that I was only distantly aware of. Although Donna and I have lived here for the last eleven years and valued being part of the congregation, I see it differently now.

    This week we celebrate the birth of the United States of America. The colonists many of whom had spent their lives as a British citizens found that becoming an independent nation also brought them many new things. They had to take on responsibilities that they had not had before. They had to do their part to find the balance of standing strong and making necessary compromises required when a nation of people need to wisely work together. The Declaration of Independence was just the first step in a long journey that we continue to walk.

    Another part of that journey took place about 130 miles west of Bryn Athyn at the Battle of Gettysburg, now celebrating its 150th anniversary If we as a country were going to live up to the principles and values we established with the Declaration of Independence that tremendous conflict became inevitable. Abraham Lincoln in an 1860 speech although not desiring conflict stated “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” Many of us have been inspired by the commitment to duty shown by so many both in the establishment of our country and the Civil War.

    The Bishop who helped found the Bryn Athyn congregation, W.F. Pendleton, fought in the Civil War on the side of the south. He worked with men who had fought for the North and that past conflict did not stand in the way of their friendship and mutual dedication to the uses of this church. The health and welfare of the Bryn Athyn Church continues to depend on people’s commitment to duty and also their love of what they know this congregation can do.

    As we work to keep this congregation as healthy and strong as it can be it will be important that we hold fast to some principles and values and also be willing to consider new ways of effectively serving the people. New generations can benefit from new forms &emdash; especially ones they are part of developing. People new to the New Church can appreciate many things about who we are and can also want to bring some of their insights and applications to the life of this congregation. New things can sometimes be welcomed broadly and sometimes lead to conflict. I look forward to working with so many of you as we continue the life of this Church and the people and uses it is dedicated to serving.


Read more messages from the Pastors