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Pastor’s Message – 5-31-19

A MESSAGE FROM PASTOR J.C. AUSTIN: Living our #CoreValues

For the month of June, I am going to be preaching a four-part sermon series called “#CoreValues,” based on the four Core Values of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem that the Session has codified.

If you were at the Annual Congregational Meeting in February, you heard me report on the Session’s work around new statements of our congregation’s mission and core values. For close to a year, the Session prayed, discussed, discerned, and articulated those new statements as a means of declaring to ourselves and to the world a summary of who we believe God has called us to be, and what we believe God has called us to do as a congregation. We presented a draft of those statements at the Annual Congregational Meeting and solicited input and feedback, then finalized them in March 2019. You can find them here.

The title of the sermon series is “#CoreValues” as a way of highlighting that we intend both the Values Statement and the Mission Statement to be “living documents.” By that I mean that they are not simply produced and then filed away, but are a constant presence and influence in our congregational life, ministry, and decision-making.

And part of how we are doing that is highlighting them in our social media feeds. In social media, a “#” sign (“hashtag”) is a way of tracking and linking posts that are related to a particular topic, event, or theme. You can tag your post with a phrase preceded by a “#,” and then people can search that phrase and your post will come up. On the other hand, it’s a way of visually linking a particular post to a larger theme: in this case, our Core Values. So if you have not already liked the church Facebook page (@FirstPresBethlehem), please do so, and you will notice that posts will have phrases like “#ChristCentered,” “#WelcomingToAll,” and so on as a way of emphasizing how we are living out those Core Values.

So, I look forward to journeying with you in worship through our #CoreValues over the next few weeks, and to hearing what insights you have in your own reflections on how we can continue to live into those values and live them out as a congregation!

Grace and Peace,
J.C.

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