Spoiler Alert – Scripture Readings

Over and over Paul warns 1st century Christians that religion ruins the gospel. Paul wrote to warn the Galatian church of the poison caused by believing that “behaving right” makes a person right before God. Specifically, works – righteousness creates self-righteousness – one of the most destructive mindsets that exist. It creates pride and a judgmental, condescending attitude towards others.

Follow along each week as we learn about Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia.

April 18 - Galatians 1:1-5

April 25 - Galatians 1:6-10

No Other Gospel

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant[a] of Christ.

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Footnotes

  1. Galatians 1:10 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface

May 2 - Galatians 1:11-24

May 9 - Galatians 2:1-10

May 16 - Galatians 2:11-16

May 23 - Galatians 2:15-21

May 30 - Galatians 3:1-9

June 6 - Galatians 3:10-14

June 13 - Galatians 3:15-22

June 20 - Galatians 3:23-29

June 27 - Galatians 4:1-11

July 4 - Galatians 4:12-20

July 11 - Galatians 4:21-31

Galatians 4:21-31

English Standard Version (ESV)

Example of Hagar and Sarah

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia;[a] she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,

“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
    break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
    than those of the one who has a husband.”

28 Now you,[b] brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

Read full chapter

Footnotes

  1. Galatians 4:25 Some manuscripts For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia
  2. Galatians 4:28 Some manuscripts we

July 18 - Galatians 5:1-15

Galatians 5:1-15

English Standard Version (ESV)

Christ Has Set Us Free

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified[a] by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers,[b] still preach[c] circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

Read full chapter

Footnotes

  1. Galatians 5:4 Or counted righteous
  2. Galatians 5:11 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 13
  3. Galatians 5:11 Greek proclaim

July 25 - Galatians 5:16-25

August 1 - Galatians 5:26-6:10

August 8 - Galatians 6:11-18

Assessment Summary

Congregational Assessment Summary

Despite the challenges of COVID, distance, and online worship, with the new calendar year we are moving into a new and important phase of our transition. Central’s nominating committee is working through the names suggested by the members of the congregation to put forward a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). After their election by the congregation, the PNC will be responsible for conducting the search for our next senior pastor.

As we move into this phase, we’d like to share the key points of the CAT survey (Congregational Assessment Tool) that the congregation took last year. This data will help guide the PNC in their search, just as the data guide the transition team.

As those who took the survey may recall, the CAT asked members and regular attenders at Central to identify their priorities and preferences, to characterize their experience at Central, to reflect upon the type of church we are, to evaluate how well we do things, and to identify those characteristics we thought were important for the next senior pastor. Hundreds participated.

When asked where you would like to see more energy invested at Central, the top three priorities expressed by the congregation were:

  • Outreach

    Developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church. This was the top priority for people in all three age groups we compared, i.e. those under 35, between 35 and 64, and 65+ years of age. It was also the top priority for those who attend frequently and those who attend less frequently. 

  • Care

    Developing ministries that work toward healing those broken by life circumstances. This was the second-highest priority for both age groups above 35.

  • Leadership

    Strengthening the process by which members are called and equipped for ministry and leadership. (third priority for both age groups above 35, fourth-highest priority for those under 35)

Our youngest cohort (under 35) placed a particularly high emphasis on expanding outreach ministries to those on the margins of society and creating more opportunities for people to form meaningful relationships, which they named as their second and third priorities.

Compared to other churches across the country that have worked with the consultants who administered the CAT survey for us, Central was in the 90th percentile for churches in terms of how spiritual experience impacts the way we look at life and our approach to life. As a whole, our congregation tends to fall largely on the more conservative side of the theological spectrum, emphasizing the guiding role of scripture and the historical Christian faith. However, there is theological diversity and nuance within the congregation. Despite the theological diversity that exists, the CAT identified relatively little conflict and showed a congregation that emphasized resolving conflict through mutual effort. One highlight of the survey that has served us well during the COVID pandemic has been the high level of flexibility and openness to changes in worship. The congregation reported a high level of adaptability. Taken together, these characteristics point to a congregation that values tradition in faith but is open to innovation in form.

An area where the data raised an interesting priority and opportunity arose in the area of discipleship.

We were in the 90th percentile nation-wide for understanding that our members have a spiritual responsibility for life-long learning and formation, but we expressed a lower sense that the church provides opportunities for that ongoing education in a variety of ways that fit our lifestyles. This is something that has probably been felt more acutely during these months of the pandemic.

A final area that stood out in the survey relates directly to worship.  One goal of the survey was to identify “drivers of satisfaction,” i.e. the factors that seem to shape individuals’ assessments of whether they were satisfied or not satisfied at Central.  It’s another way of identifying what people really care about. Of dozens of options, those that emerged at the top of the list focused on worship and the pastor:

  • Worship

    Having worship ceremonies at our church that are exceptional in both quality and spiritual content.

  • Pastor

    Having a pastor who helps us accomplish our mission by bringing out the best in everyone.

  • Preaching

    Having a pastor whose preaching encourages people with a message that enriches their lives and the world.

These areas were highly important to the Congregation, so they will be important for both the PNC and the new senior pastor to consider.

Like most churches around the country, our congregation identified preaching and strategic leadership as the top critical abilities for a new pastor. However, the congregation also placed an unusually high emphasis on teaching and training, i.e. the capacity to deepen understanding, form character, and equip members with new skills.

Clearly COVID and the changes that we’ve experienced over the last nine months shape the way the session, the PNC, and the new senior pastor will interpret these data collected in the CAT. Specific comments about in-person worship services before we went online might not seem directly relevant at the moment, but the very heavy emphasis our members and regular attenders placed on worship is critically important. The culture of the church, the balance of theological views, the desire to see outreach, and the recognition that we need discipleship (and opportunities that fit our schedules) are critical elements regardless of when the data were collected.

The Transition Team

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Debbie Dininno

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Kevin Hula

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Kristin Monopolis

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Jack Weber

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Easter 2021

APRIL 4, 2021 | 9:30 AM

Easter on the lawn! Sit on the grass by the pavilion, tune in from your parked car or at home as we gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus!

Registration will open on March 28th.

  • Bring Your Own Chair
  • Weather Permitting
  • Registration Required
  • Space is Limited
  • Masks are Required

Good Friday 2021

April 2| 5-8 PM

On Good Friday, Sacred Spaces will move to the Worship Center with experiential prayer stations available to help deepen our connection to Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the space. The word sacred also means dedicated and that is exactly what Sacred Spaces are designed to be… a dedicated, quiet space for you to PRAY, READ, and LISTEN. This is an opportunity for us to be still and KNOW Jesus…

For those who would prefer to participate in this experience at home, stop by the concourse during Holy Week to pick up a prayer station home kit.

Holy Thursday 2021

April 1, 2021 | 7:00 PM

This on-line service will take us back to the night Jesus gathered his disciples for a final meal together, communion, and a time of teaching about a new commandment. This was a life-changing night for the disciples and can be for you too! Plan to experience this special time of worship.

Central Updates 2-19-21







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Small Group Calendar Test (Amy)

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Central Updates 2-12-21







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We are pleased to announce that Ann Hutson has accepted the position of Associate Director of Finance. Ann and her family have attended Central for over 20 years and she has been on staff as the Associate Director of Worship and Communications for the last year. Please congratulate Ann on her new opportunity (ann@centralpc.org). 


REWATCH THE DISCUSSION

This video was recorded live on Tuesday, February 9th at 6:30 pm.
 


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Central Updates 2-5-21 – was not able to schedule so made new one







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