Pastor's Ponderings

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One Pastor's Take on Halloween

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It is thought that Halloween started out as a pagan, Celtic holiday. The Celts of Ireland celebrated October 31 as the official end of summer. This pagan holiday got tied to a Christian holy day (All Saints’ Day – November 1). All Saint’s Day (or, All Hallow’s Day) is November 1. It is a day to remember those good souls who died in the faith. Halloween (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Eve”) is the evening before All Saint’s Day.

Some of our Christian brothers and sisters have forgotten this bit of history. They’ve forgotten that the original intent of the day’s traditions was to scare away evil spirits. They think that, because children (and adults!) dress up like witches and ghosts and demons, the holiday is really paying homage to witchcraft and sorcery and Satan.

I don’t think anybody is seriously trying to honor Satan and evil by dressing up and going to a party or door-to-door to get some candy. Just as God isn’t honored by empty worship, neither is Satan supported by impish appearances. I think Halloween is harmless. I don’t think Satan gains many disciples through costume parties and trick-or-treat.

 Put your fears behind you this Halloween. Carve a jack o’ lantern, wear a mask, bob for apples. Give out some candy and have some yourself. Then take time on November 1 to recall some of the believers and saints that have enlarged our faith across the years. They are all around us if we but stop to look.

 See you in church.

 Rev Steve

Sermon Searching

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I am starting to plan for the sermons I will be preaching in 2017.  I like to have a variety of sermons that inspire and uplift, teach and deepen our commitment to Christ as well as those that equip the community for service and provide a welcome place to connect with those who are open to learning more about what it means to be a disciple.

As I am planning, I invite you to offer your suggestions. What might you think would be helpful to you? Here are some of the kinds of sermon series I am planning to do:

I like to offer some sermons of general interest just after Christmas and another in September. This would be topics that might be attractive to someone who doesn’t typically go to church. Some examples would be a series on the intersection of science and religion, marriage and dating or how to have less clutter in your personal life.

I also like to go through a section of scripture, typically by preaching through a book of the Bible. I’ve just done the Philippians. Some other examples are one of the Gospels, selected Psalms, or sections of Genesis.

And a third category are those sermon series that are focused around a theological or ethical teaching, such as what can say about suffering, the Trinity or our United Methodist heritage.  I am thinking about offering a series on forgiveness and how God makes forgiveness a possibility in our lives.

If you have any suggestions, I would be glad to hear them. You can send them to me at or write me a note to the church office at 131 West 2nd Street, Frederick, MD 21701.

See you in church!

Rev Steve

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