Rev. Dr. William Hess

In September I attended the “Alternative Service” at First Presbyterian Church, Allentown. The music was superb, and the joyful spirit of worship was inspiring. The Rev. Dr. Michael Drake was preaching in his final service before retirement. When he finished, there was a long and loving standing ovation as the congregation expressed gratitude for his faithful service. It is wonderful to have such a healthy, vibrant PCUSA congregation here in the Lehigh Valley!

In his sermon Mike talked about our fast paced life styles and how busy we all are. He explained that the church should be a place where we slow down and develop deep relationships with God and with one another. He even invented a word to describe the problem that confronts us – “abide-a-phobia.”

Every congregation has those members who arrive at church at the last minute and then depart after the service as quickly as possible. If that is your practice, no one will force you to change. We will passionately encourage you, however, to consider taking the time to meet new friends and develop deeper relationships. Join us in Fellowship Hall for refreshments after the service. Find your way to Room 400 and enjoy the stimulating discussion in the Hearts and Minds class. Consider joining a Koinonia group. Volunteer to help with one of our mission activities.

Our Lord said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Beware of “abide-a-phobia!” Come to church, slow down, abide with Christ, and with your sisters and brothers in Christ. This past Sunday I quoted a bulletin announcement from a church in Scotland that makes the point very well:

If after kirk ye bide a wee
There’s some wad like to speak to ye.
If after kirk ye rise and flee
We’ll all seem cold and stiff to ye.
There’s one that’s in the seat with ye
Is stranger here than ye, may be.
All here hae got their fears and cares;
So, add your soul unto our prayers,
And be our angel unawares.


Pastor Bill Hess

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If you need transportation to or from our early service, please send an email to info@fpcb-pcusa.org.  Please realize that someone will arrive fairly early to pick you up, but we are happy to provide this service. Include your name, address and phone number on the email and someone will happily be in touch.