- Acts 2:1-4 (NRSV)
What a day! Yesterday turned out to be a terrific Pentecost for Jefferson United Methodist Church!
The Rev. Dr. Donald Scandrol, Pittsburgh District Superintendent, joined us with his wife Barbara, and it was a real treat to worship with them. Don preached an inspiring message about allowing God's Spirit to inspire us and work through us as we try to speak the other languages of our culture and reach a lost and hurting world. Good stuff.
We then moved on to our United Methodist rite of Confirmation, which was a joy. We had a tremendous group of young people this year, all of whom are committed to Jesus and to their faith journeys. They are, in fact, each among the more active folks in our congregation. I have learned far more from them during this process than I will likely ever teach them as their pastor. It has been a fine experience.
As each confirmand knelt at the altar, Don and I lay hands on them, joined by the Rev. Robert Slack (a retired pastor whom we're glad to have with us at JUMC) and the Rev. Dawn Lynn Check (of Janes UMC in Creighton, PA), whose twin nephews were among our confirmands.
Don prayed for each young person by name, calling upon the power of the Holy Spirit, the blessing of the Father, and the presence of Jesus. This was a great moment for me as a pastor who loves these young people, but also as a father, as my daughter Kate was among those confirmed. What a blessing it has been (and continues to be) to watch her grow in her faith and in her service to the Kingdom of God. Most recently, she has become our new Children's Choir Director.
After the confirmation rite was concluded, I invited anyone who wished to join with JUMC to come forward and join the church. To my delight, we had fifteen people respond to the call. Only one of these, it turns out, is a "transfer" - the rest all joined JUMC by profession of faith. God is moving in and through JUMC, and I feel so blessed to be a part of it!
Don then led the liturgy for the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and our confirmands offered the bread and the cup to those present (we had multiple stations to accomodate the full house). Dawn then closed our worship with a blessing.
It was a day filled with joy and a real experience of the Holy Spirit. God is so very, very good. I pray that the Spirit continues to move in and through JUMC, with our newest members, but especially in the lives of the young people who took a bold step yesterday. May they always walk "near to the heart of God".