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Pastor’s Message: May 14, 2021

A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: An Inquiring Faith

One of the Core Values that we have identified for our congregation is having an “Inquiring Faith.” We believe that asking good questions is one of the ways in which we honor God in our journey of faith.

That’s because the simple act of inquiry, of asking questions about something important, is an acknowledgement that neither our faith nor our understanding of it can ever be a finished act. That is why we talk about faith as a journey rather than a destination, after all; it is something that we practice and pursue throughout our lives.

And, in fact, one of the most important ways in which we grow in faith is to ask better and better questions, which leads us into greater and greater understanding of who God is, what God wants for us and from us, and how we can follow Christ more fully and faithfully in our individual lives and together as a congregation.

That’s why we periodically offer “Inquirers’ Seminars” rather than “New Members’ Classes” as part of our ministries of engagement and faith formation here at First Presbyterian.

While these seminars are a necessary step towards formal membership in the congregation, member-ship itself is not the goal or expected outcome of the seminar. Rather, we offer these seminars to give people an intentional space and time in which to ask and consider good questions about the Christian faith, the Presbyterian Church, and this congregation.

Inquirers gather for an interactive experience that explores the intersection of our own stories with the story of Jesus, the church, and our story as the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem. Some people are inquiring specifically about membership here; some just want to learn more about the Presbyterian tradition; and some are just trying to get a better understanding of who Jesus is and how Christians think about him and relate to him.

Each person brings their own questions as well as their own story, and the Inquirers Seminar is a place to bring those and let them take root and bear fruit; the word “seminar,” after all, comes from a Latin word for a plant nursery where seeds are planted and nurtured as they grow.

The next Inquirers’ Seminar will be in two parts: Sunday, June 6, from 1-4 p.m; and Tuesday, June 15, from 6:30 –
8 p.m. Weather permitting, the Sunday session will be outdoors at the picnic pavilions at Monocacy Park; the Wednesday session will convene via Zoom.

So, if you are interested in participating or in learning more, please email us at info@fpc-bethlehem.org or call the Church Office at 610-867-5865 with your contact information, and we will be in touch with you. Hope to see you there!

Grace and Peace,
JC

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