Welcoming all into the community of Christ.

As the new program year begins, it seems an appropriate time to examine and celebrate our mission together as Christ’s church.

We at First Presbyterian Church of Hollidaysburg have been blessed with a long and storied history of generations of those who faithfully followed Christ. Our church has seen the signing of the US Constitution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, two great World Wars, and all of the other struggles of the 20th-century. Through all of these things and even more, our family of faith has stood the test of time.

As we continue on further into the 21st-century, it is time to look to the future. We honor who we have been, but we do not rest upon our laurels. There are new challenges facing us now, as well as some struggles that have never disappeared. There is much work to do for God’s Kingdom in our midst.

The question still remains, who are we going to be?

I believe that our mission statement can give us our rallying cry: welcoming all.

Not only are we First Church, who desires to welcome all who would come into our doors. But we also are a part of the body of Christ that will be focusing our vision around the principle that first, we welcome all.

Why? Because, as our children’s theme for the year will teach us, God welcomes all. In fact, God is always more inclusive than we can even fathom. Christ was always making the religious folk of his day uncomfortable with how well he embraced the displaced in his midst. And even now the Holy Spirit pushes us to live fully into our mission at this time and in this place.

Welcome looks like many things. We will explore them as this year progresses. However, my encouragement as we begin is to seek to add “welcome” to your daily vocabulary. Ponder what it was about First that made you feel welcome. And pray that God will open your eyes and ears to all those who are looking for God’s gracious welcome in our community.

Blessings, Pastor Janie

Photo Credit: Tom McLaughlin

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