A Word From…


I hope this newsletter finds you well and filled with the grace of God. 

As we navigate this season of transition without a lead shepherd, I want to share how I have seen God at work as I have had the responsibility of making sure we have a speaker each Sunday. When our former pastor Jonathan told our church staff he thought filling the pulpit should be my job as Director of Worship Arts, I thought he was joking. And once I realized he was not joking, I felt a lot of weight and anxiety about keeping that slot filled. 

I think some of the pressure comes from growing up in a denomination where the sermon was usually time-wise half of the entire service, and felt like the entire point of attending church that Sunday. We would often evaluate and rate the service based on the sermon and what we had “gotten out of it.” I know many of us grew up in denominations or service styles similar to that and it can be hard to let go of that emphasis! I have reminded myself often that while the sermon is important to our reenactment of the Gospel each week through our liturgy, it is not “the point” of attending worship. The point is that we show up and participate, responding to God’s call in obedience, and honor him with our offering of worship. 

We are now in month 10 of filling the pulpit. And it has been miraculously easier than I could have imagined. I actually have somewhat of a waitlist and am already starting to plan the summer months. And my favorite part, and what I want to emphasize here, is the opportunity we have had to hear from one another. We are an educated and talented bunch and it has been such a joy to have so many of our own share their gifts, years of education and study, and speaking abilities. It has also been a gift to allow students of the Word a platform to hone their craft. 

One of our church values is “The life of the mind as an integral part of the life of faith” and we often see that value enacted as we read books together, discuss theology in Sunday School, and catechize our kids in the faith. In general, we value education. So it’s no wonder that we’ve had three seminary students preach, including one of our own, Laura Klenda, who is attending Gordon Conwell. For most seminary students, finding a platform to preach other than a seminary classroom is very challenging, so for us to offer that place for students as they learn is one way we can continue to help raise up the next generation of church leadership. 

I want to encourage us in this season of waiting by reminding us that God is not surprised by this timeline. As we wait, let us give thanks to God for the unique opportunity we have had Sunday after Sunday to hear from many of our own community which allows us to know each other more deeply. God is using this season of waiting for his glory and our edification so while we pray “Lord, send us our pastor quickly!” we also pray, “Thank you for this time and the ways you are using it in the life of our congregation.”

In closing, as we continue to journey together in faith through this season of Lent, I am excited to share some opportunities for service within our church community. I have already reached out to individuals who are highly matched for these roles using our volunteer tool, but if you are interested in any of these opportunities, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Volunteer Opportunities:

      • Ushering: We are looking for individuals who are willing to serve as ushers during our worship services. Ushers play a vital role in welcoming congregants and new families. If you have a heart for hospitality and would like to serve in this capacity, please let me know.
      • Liturgist: The role of a liturgist is essential in leading our congregation in worship through scripture readings, prayers, and other elements of the service. If you feel called to share your gifts in leading worship, we invite you to consider serving as a liturgist. Training will be provided for those who are interested.
      • Sound Tech: We need volunteers to assist with sound technology during our worship services. This includes operating audio equipment (from your seat with an iPad!) and ensuring that sound levels are appropriate for a meaningful worship experience. No prior experience is necessary.


Grace and peace, 

Hannah Bradford
Director of Worship Arts
First Presbyterian Church