“Above all, maintain constant love for one another… Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” (1 Peter 4:8-10)
One of the things I love about the church is that it is governed by people working together in community. In important decisions, everyone has a voice. And, even when it comes to more mundane decisions, the church has always been careful about how choices are made… and who should make those choices. The later epistles of the New Testament show just how seriously the early church took the task of choosing leaders with steady faith, level heads, and upright character.
Although I have only been with you for a month, I have already met with many of LAC’s committees and working groups, including all three of your governing boards: the session, the board of trustees, and the diaconate. Even at this stage, I am joyfully confident of one critical truth: LAC is represented by men and women who not only meet but surpass the high standards for leadership established by scripture and Presbyterian tradition. These people are “persons of strong faith, dedicated discipleship, and love of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.” Their goals are to serve others with care and thoughtfulness, to discern and guide the church with scriptural fidelity, and to strengthen and nurture the spiritual life of this faith community. Perhaps most importantly, they pursue these ends with joy, light, and love for one another.
This past Monday night, as I closed with prayer my first meeting as moderator of your session, I looked around at the faces of the gathered elders. In that instant, one overwhelming sentiment blew through my spirit like a refreshing breeze. It was gratitude – gratitude that God has called me here… gratitude that I would be so richly blessed to share leadership with such lovely, faithful, and genuine people… gratitude that we get to be the church together.
I am excited about the next chapter God is writing in the life of Larchmont Avenue Church, and I pray that our whole community will continue to embrace the faith, hope, and love of your elected officers.
“… pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word…”
As the world continues to discuss the reopening of all kinds of doors that have been closed and shuttered over the past year, two hopeful signs emerged at LAC this past week. First, the diligent work of a number of our members to have LAC’s longtime community presence recognized on a broader scale finally came to fruition, as the church was officially approved for listing on both the National and State Register of Historic Places. To read more about this important designation, follow this link to https://www.parks.ny.gov/shpo/national-register/. Thanks to all of you who had a hand in getting LAC on the map – literally!
And, just yesterday, we opened these historic doors in a new way in our community. Hundreds of Larchmont residents came to Russell Hall to cast their votes in the 2021 School Budget Election. Once again, this congregation offered a warm and supportive welcome as a true “community church.”
The gospel of Jesus Christ is about opening doors – doors to grace, forgiveness, growth, and love. It is a beautiful thing to see those blessings being shared through our open doors here at LAC. May we continue to look for opportunities like these, as doors around our village and beyond start to open again.
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Psalm 122:1)
There was a great spirit in the sanctuary this past Sunday, as LAC opened the doors of the sanctuary for the first time in a while. As your new pastor, it was a wonderful blessing to experience the warmth and faith of this community’s worship, and I am grateful for the welcome that many of you extended to me after the service. In our time with God and one another, we were able to celebrate the gifts of mothering and parental love, and also the amazing musical gifts that Douglas Kostner has brought to this congregation.
Along with many others, I am grateful to those of you who worked so thoughtfully and cautiously — but also hopefully and joyfully — to attend to the safety protocols that are required. Rest assured that we will continue to prioritize health and discretion however and whenever we gather in person. We will also work to maintain varied options for engagement and connection as each person determines his or her own level of comfort with social interaction.
For those who are ready and willing, I hope you will join us this coming Sunday as the organ sings, the Larchmont Symphonia performs, and the Word of God is read and proclaimed. In person, online, or in spirit, all of God’s children are welcome to connect with us in worship at Larchmont Avenue Church!
This Sunday, as we welcomed Rev. Bynum, we also celebrated our Director of Music Ministry Douglas Kostner’s 15-year Workiversary!
“I’m flattered, honored, appreciative, and really moved by your words, pictures, and the memories you have shared! And even more, I’m inspired to continue to work towards creating something beautiful with you for the joy of worship and the glory of God. Thank you!”
Congratulations, Douglas, and blessings as you continue to share your ministry of creating music, nurturing community, and inspiring wonder!
You have already “met” our candidate during this morning’s worship, but it is my honor now to formally introduce Rev. Dr. Peter Bynum. Rev. Bynum is the Pastor and head of staff at Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church in South Carolina. That church has 2800 members! Something for us to strive for?He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Davidson College and later attended the University of Virginia law school where he earned his JD. His career took a turn when he entered Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond Virginia. He received his Master of Divinity in 2009. In 2017, he earned his Doctor of Divinity at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.Reverend Bynum has inspired the PNC with his energy, spiritual maturity, and leadership ability. Having already considered over 100 candidates when we first met Reverend Bynum via Zoom, our committee was immediately impressed. As we continued our conversations with him, our confidence grew.In early March, he visited Larchmont with his wife, Stephanie, and his daughter Molly who is currently attending Columbia University. His younger daughter, Kate who is 15, was unable to make the trip, but registered her excitement on the Zoom call when Jim & I told Peter that he was our nominee.When the Bynums were leaving Larchmont after the in-person interview with our committee, I told Molly that her father “blew me away.” Immediately, this 18-year old smiled knowingly and said to me, “He blows me away every single day.”