San Pedro is foregoing the typical summer "slow down" for church life. We've decided to go full throttle into a super summer fun spectacular celebration of really awesome stuff. In short form: it's our San Pedro Super Summer.
Lots of activities means lots of coordination. To assist your June planning, consider the following events. Each is hyperlinked for more information and RSVP options.
- June 6th - July 18th Backpack Drive for Christian Assistance Ministry! INFO
- June 19th Adult 80's Music Concert outing. It's a local band called the Spazmatics; according to church members they put on a great show. Kerry and I will be there... INFO
- June 20th Senior Pastor Installation service. My father is preaching, there will be food and bagpipes. It's the official process of confirming my call to San Pedro, and it will be my honor to have you attend. Bring an empty stomach (for the food), and earplugs (for the bagpipes). INFO
- June 21st - 25th - VBS is back! This is a major outreach to our local community - sign up your kids to attend; your older students to help; adult servant leaders always needed. INFO
- June 20th - 25th - Student Mission Trip. Jr Hi and Sr Hi students will help with VBS in the morning, then serve local nonprofits in the afternoon. INFO
- June 26th - Christian Adult Night Out (CANO) is going to be at our house with fajitas and fellowship - come check out our new home and enjoy a relaxing evening of fellowship, food and fun. INFO
- July 7th - August 11th Summer Movie Nights and Sunday Discussions. INFO
These are only a few of the highlights for summer - there's more to come.
On behalf of our Elders, Deacons and staff, thank you to the faithful members of our COVID Task Force team. They worked tirelessly over this pandemic season to ensure best practices were followed at San Pedro Presbyterian. Countless hours of meetings, ongoing research and consistent monitoring ensured our faith family was safe during these uncertain months.
Please join us in offering a prayer of gratitude on their behalf:
- Eric Mapes – Ruling Elder, Chair
- Libby Fleming – Ruling Elder
- Becky Hooper
- Will Redin
- Harvey Juarez
- Alex Fenton
The team will remain in place for the coming months, communicating every month with our Elders. Read their latest recommendations HERE. And please say "thank you" when you see them in person. This was a largely thankless job that required hard decisions and sometimes unpopular choices.
June 9th COVID Task Force UPDATE
At the June 8th Session meeting Elders were updated with the following recommendations and items of interest moving forward with in person activities. The Task Forces recommended, and by consensus the Session approved:
- Continue public notices re: masks for non-vaccinated guests and members while on campus
- Continue with individual packets on Communion Sundays
- Continue not passing the Offering Plate or passing out bulletins in worship
- Target August 22nd as a possible relaunch of loosening final restrictions (depending on emerging data over the summer)
- Keep the Covid Task Force team in place to provide monthly updates to Session
The Elders appreciate the members of the Task Force who continue to monitor data and best practices to maintain our reputation as a safe and welcoming place for faith-based and community activities.
Each year San Pedro Presbyterian collects backpacks and fills them with school supplies for folks in need. San Pedro has traditionally donated more backpacks for Christian Assistance Ministry than any other congregation in San Antonio. Let's keep the streak going! Sign up to provide a backpack on Sunday mornings in the narthex or contact Patrick Maio @210-923-9267 for more information.
June 13th ORDER OF WORSHIP
†Congregation Standing, as able
MUSIC (starts at 10:45 Videos)
PRELUDE “Prayer” John Leavitt
†INTROIT “Creation Song”
Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord! Let everything that has breath,
shout and sing. For God created the heavens and earth by speaking only a word,
Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord!
†CALL TO WORSHIP
Pastor: God invites people into a relationship.
People: Our God is good!
Pastor: God’s commitment to His people never ends.
People: Our God’s glory endures forever!
Unison: Let us worship our God together.
†HYMN OF PRAISE #154 “We Bow Down”
You are Lord of creation and Lord of my life,
Lord of the land and the sea.
You were Lord of the heavens before there was time,
And Lord of all Lords you will be!
We bow down, and we worship You, Lord.
We bow down, and we worship You, Lord.
We bow down, and we worship You, Lord.
Lord of all Lords You will be!
You are King of creation and King of my life,
King of the land and the sea
You were King of the heavens before there was time,
And King of all Kings you will be!
We bow down, and we crown You the King.
We bow down, and we crown You the King.
We bow down, and we crown You the King.
King of all kings You will be!
PRAYER OF CONFESSION (First in Silence, then in Unison):
O Lord our God, we confess our lives do not reflect your glory.
You deliver us from evil, but we choose sin over the freedom you give us in Christ.
You offer us new life, but we continue in what is familiar out of fear.
Forgive us; restore and reorder our choices by the grace of your son, Jesus Christ.
THE CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE “Lamb of God”
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us. Lamb of God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world. Grant us peace; grant us peace.
ASSURANCE OF GOD'S FAITHFULNESS
Let us give thanks for the standard of forgiveness revealed in Jesus Christ.
For Jesus is the hope of the world, the light of God’s love, and the revelation of truth.
So let us rest in the promises O God, whose mercy endures for eternity.
In Christ, we are forgiven. Amen.
†GLORIA PATRI "Glory Be to the Father”
Glory Be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
ANTHEM “Down to the River to Pray” Mary McDonald
As I went down to the river to pray, studyin’ about that good ole way and who shall wear the starry crown, good Lord, show me the way. O brother, let’s go down, let’s go down, come on down. O brother, let’s go down, down to the river to pray.
O Lord, listen to your children prayin’. O Lord, send your Spirit in this place. O Lord, listen to your children prayin’, send us love, send us power, send us grace.
Something’s gonna happen like the world has never known, when the people of the Lord get down to pray. A door’s gonna swing open and the walls come a tumblin’ down, when the people of the Lord get down to pray.
O children, let’s go down, let’s go down, come on down. O children, let’s go down, down to the river to pray.
O Lord, listen to your children prayin’. O Lord, send your Spirit in this place. O Lord, listen to your children prayin’, send us love, send us power, send us grace.
I went down to the river to pray.
SERMON SCRIPTURE READING Numbers 22:21-35
Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat it to get it back on the road.
Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again.
Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.
Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”
Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”
The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s officials.
SERMON “Balaam and his donkey” Rev. Paul Gaedke
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE AND THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER
Lord hear our prayer, hear our prayer have mercy on us. Lord hear our prayer, hear our prayer have mercy on us.
SENDING HYMN #634 “More Love to Thee”
More love to Thee, O Christ, More love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make On bended knee.
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee, More love to Thee!
Once earthly joy I craved, Sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek; Give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee, More love to Thee!
Then shall my latest breath Whisper Thy praise;
This be the parting cry My heart shall raise.
This still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee, More love to Thee!
THE CHARGE AND THE BENEDICTION
†THE CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE “Go Now in Peace”
Go now in peace, never be afraid. God will go with you each hour of ev’ry day. Go now in faith, steadfast, strong and true. Know He will guide you in all you do. Go now in love and show you believe. Reach out to others so all the world can see. God will be there watching from above. Go now in peace, in faith, and in love.
POSTLUDE “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship” arr. Mark Hayes
Summer Movie Nights are back!
This summer our Summer Movie Nights will return. In years past we enjoyed meeting together on Wednesday nights to watch some fun films, then we would gather on Sunday mornings to discuss spiritual themes found in the film. Although we had to take a break because of the COVID pandemic, we are excited to start this tradition back up. This year we will be screening five films in July and August. Here are a list of the moves we will be watching.
Big Fish - July 7
PG-13, 2h 5m, 2003
This picture follows the incredible life of Edward Bloom, through a series of flashbacks that begin when his son Will visits him for the last time. As Edward's story unfolds once again, Will tries to finally understand the truth about who his father really was.
The Help - July 14
PG-13, 2h 26m, 2011
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Life is Beautiful - July 21
PG-13, 1h 56m, 1997
When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.
Italian language with English Subtitles
Won’t You Be My Neighbor - July 28
PG-13, 1hr 23m, 2018
This documentary paints a portrait of the philosophy and work of cardigan-wearing children's entertainer Fred Rogers, star of the popular show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." A former minister, Mister Rogers creatively communicated themes of empathy and acceptance using a colorful cast of puppets and friends for more than 30 years.
Star Wars: A New Hope (original theatrical version) - August 11
PG, 2h 1m, 1997
The Imperial Forces, under orders from cruel Darth Vader, hold Princess Leia hostage in their efforts to quell the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Luke Skywalker and Han Solo work together to rescue the beautiful princess, help the Rebel Alliance and restore freedom and justice to the Galaxy.
I am excited to announce our 2021 Summer Mission Trip, June 20-25. This year we are having our mission trip right here in San Antonio. We will be spending the night at our church and serving around our community. As always, our mission trips are a great way to know Jesus, grow in community, and show the love of Christ in our city.
Even though we are staying local we are going to have a great time! Plus, we won’t have to spend hour in a van. On our mission trip we will help lead our Vacation Bible School and serve at other local ministries such at Christian Assistance Ministries, SAMMinistries, Daily Bread Ministries, and Presbyterian Children’s Home. We will also have plenty if fun, with possibilities of going to Top Golf, Splashtown, ZDT’s and more!
While this is a local mission trip, we want to create an authentic experience. This means that you will commit to being a part of the group for the entire event. Please fully invested in your time with the group and not plan to attend alternate activities that may conflict with our mission trip.
One of the great things about staying local is that we can significantly reduce cost. Coupled with our past fundraising, we are able to offer this year’s mission trip for only $50 per participant. Scholarships are available to those in need, we do not want anyone not to attend because of cost. Of course, participants will want to have some spending money for meals out and other expenses.
Finally, we are also looking for adults to be a part of the mission trip experience. Mission trips are not just for teenagers. Our adults have had a great time and built quality relationships on previous trips, and this year will be no exception. While I would love to have adults attend the entire trip, I understand that may not be possible. Talk with me about your availability.
To register for this trip please complete the registration form, either online or on paper. I would love to have people most registered by June 2nd. This will help with making plans and working out all the various details that lead to a successful mission trip experience!
Here is to a great trip!
Dave Reiss, Director of Faith Formation.
The following is Kaela Williamson's Senior Testimony presented to the congreagation on Sunday, May 23, 2021.
Good morning, I am Kaela Williamson. I will be graduating from Reagan High School as a Summa Cum Laude in a few weeks and will be attending the University of Alabama to study Hospitality and Management.
I have been attending San Pedro since I was 14, so only about 4 years. I have however been attending church my whole life. My parents raised my sister and I on going to church every Sunday and attending the preschool that was located in our church in Georgia. We celebrate Easter and Christmas, and did VBS almost every year. Christ has been a part of my life since I was a baby. Now how did I end up here you may be asking, or not and that’s cool too. We moved to San Antonio right before I got to middle school in 2014. We had scoured the city of San Antonio to find a church just right for us. Not too modern, not too big, something just right. It took us years, when finally a friend of mine Maggie Joyce who attended this church started to go through confirmation. Her mother had asked me to join her as she was not the closest with anyone here. I reluctantly accepted as it was nerve racking. I was going to commit myself to a year long church activity to a church I had never been to. Even after the first meeting I was still a bit unsure as the first impressions were extremely intimidating. But I still went through with it, and I am so glad I did. This church has such an accepting environment and the youth program is amazing.
One of the fondest memories I have through my years of attending San Pedro is my first Youth Sunday. The Theme, Make An Impression. Which is kinda funny considering how much of an impression it made on me. I volunteered to act in the play we produced. I am not and have no plans on becoming an actress so, so sorry for all the mediocre performances I have done. This was an experience that was so different from anything I had ever done for church. It is such a creative way to get the youth involved in spreading the word of God. It makes the youth listen to the message as well as the audience. This is such an impactful memory as I saw for the first time, how much everyone truly cared to make the event work. No one slacked on their parts and made sure they were not the one to ‘mess it up’. Because of the amazing experience I had the first time I was compelled to keep doing it. Sure Dave’s pressure did have an impact on my decision, but it was not a burden. I would have volunteered anyways. It's my favorite week of the year and I am sad I will not be a part of it next year. This event always helps me to strengthen my trust in God by understanding his messages in a new enlightening way.
Mrs. Cindy and Dave have had the most impact on me through my years in the youth program. They have always pushed me out of my comfort zone in order to be more involved. Without them I would have never attended my first lock-in. Which was so much fun. They teach everyone in the youth program how valuable they are as people and how they can have an impact on everyone’s lives. I also want to thank my parents for raising Landry and I in such a caring environment. Attending church from such a young age has taught me valuable life lessons and shaped my personality. I do not know who I would be without Christ in my life. I hope to find a church as homey in Tuscaloosa as it is here at San Pedro.
San Pedro has been able to teach me more about the Bible and life lessons that I can use. It has most importantly taught me that God is there for me. He cares about me and knows what's best for me. San Pedro has one of the best youth programs and I am glad I got to grow up here if only for a short while. I encourage any youth on the fence about participating in youth activities that you should definitely include yourself. It may seem intimidating at first but everyone here is so nice and Dave will make you feel included. Thank you so much for making me feel welcome here and I will miss coming to church here every Sunday, well most Sundays.
The following is the senior testimony of Parker Mapes presented to the congregation on May 23, 2021.
Hi good morning everyone , most of yall already know me but if not my name is parker mapes , i'm a graduating senior from johnson high school and will be attending the university of north texas in the fall. I will be studying speech pathology and hope to be a speech therapist one day to kids. I've been here at san pedro my whole life, yep, all 18 years. So many of y’all have seen me grow up here and share memories with me from when I was a kid, that I usually don't remember, but hey it is always amazing to hear about. This church is my 2nd family and growing here gave me nothing but great memories and lifelong friends.
I came to know about Jesus at a very young age, and have always been surrounded by the church growing up. I felt the love of not only Jesus but by everyone here in this church who constantly helped me grow. Mrs carol shelfer for being the best confirmation sponsor, Mrs pj and Mrs dawn for including me on wednesday nights with the kids and treating me so well, dave for always encouraging me with my faith and every individual here that i've met whos always only wanting the best for me. I truly love each and every one of yall.
Here at San Pedro I've been given endless opportunities to put myself out there with Jesus by my side, and do what I can for him. All the mission trips i've been on (which will never be enough) have let me learn so many things and helped me get to know myself as well as grow with those around me. Several years ago i gave a youth sunday speech and briefly brought up heifer ranch (one of the most “unique” trips i've been on) this trip has stuck with me and always will. We were put in poverty scenarios for 3 days and had to live without air conditioning, proper food, showers, electricity, and worst of all, We couldn't even...have… our phones. I know it's unbelievable. 3 days living like this and you'd never think you could. But in reality there are people, families, and children who live like that everyday and yet all we continue to do is still complain about the things we don’t have. Yet they continue to be thankful to have each other and a roof over their heads. It has shown me how absolutely blessed I am to have everything I do and I thank the lord everyday for it. I don't need a whole bunch of fancy food or the best technology they have to offer, or the new clothes everyone's buying, all I need is those around me who continue to love me and care for me for who I am.
I'll always try to stay involved in church as much as I can, yes even in college I know I know, because the church has endlessly shown me the best version of who I am and who I can be and it will always be here for me, I've loved my time here at San Pedro, and the memories and photos are there to prove it, and my connection with you guys, God and Jesus will be here to keep growing with me every single day and i will be forever grateful for that.
What a special raffle prize?! Our very own Nancy Brown hand painted the magical dragon, Sisu from the Walt Disney Animation Studios' Raya and the Last Dragon! Ms. Nancy you have a true gift! Thank you for sharing those gifts with our church family!
Over the past week the CDC updated recommendations for mask wearing protocols. In light of the latest news, at San Pedro Presbyterian Church we are asking people of all ages who are not fully vaccinated to please wear masks and practice social distancing while on campus or at SPPC sponsored events. However, for the safety of our children, our nursery and children's ministry workers will continue to wear masks.
And more good news! We opened up a majority of seating in the sanctuary (picture above is all the tape after peeling it from the pews). But for those who prefer social distancing, we are maintaining a designated section in the sanctuary with tape and assigned seating. We want all our family members and guests to have good choices as we gather for worship and church activities.
We will continue to monitor COVID case numbers and best practices as we discern more options for programming and functions on campus. And again, thank you for faithfully supporting the mission and vision of San Pedro Presbyterian through the past year.
The Lit n' Lattes Book Club meets in the Fireside Room on the 3rd Monday of each month at 7pm. Betty Hayes is the facilitator of this group. If you have an interest in learning more about this group please give Betty a call at 210-497-3433.
San Pedro Presbyterian Church is partnering with University of Texas Health Science Center to provide the Pfizer vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people 12 years of age and up. If you have a friend or a student still in need of the vaccine, sign up today! [ RSVP HERE ]
Presbyterian governance (the fancy term is “polity”) consists of a group of elected women and men who rule/govern the local church. Every neighborhood church is shepherded by a group of elected Elders called the Session (often referred to as a “church board” in other denominations). At San Pedro, we have six elders who serve three year terms. This means every year a class of two elders is rolling off the Session while two new Elders roll onto the Session.
Elders have authority over almost every aspect of our church life together, including how our church is organized (committees, ministries, missions), and how our church is managed by staff. However, much of the management of the church is delegated to our pastors and staff because it would be impossible for Elders (who are volunteers) to keep up with the ongoing operations from day to day. At each Session meeting staff and committees provide information to the Session as monthly updates.
Pastors have exclusive authority over what is preached and only ordained pastors can baptize and officiate at the Lord’s Supper, but otherwise elders and deacons have a significant influence over our church health. Our polity is designed to be a system of checks and balances between pastors, officers (Deacons and Elders), and our local presbytery (Mission Presbytery) to ensure accountability and authority is rightly balanced.
Every church has leeway in determining details about the number of officers, committee structures, and details within daily operations according to church by-laws. Who Presbyterian churches elect as officers is extremely important.
Current Elders at San Pedro:
Class of 2021 Libby Fleming, Eric Mapes
Class of 2022 Shelly Buschfort, Ed Olson
Class of 2023 Patrick Maio, Jonette Simpson
Deacons are the "hands and feet of Christ," serving in ministries of compassion and complementary roles to the elders. At San Pedro Presbyterians the deacons are organized into organizational committees that cover a broad variety of service. Each deacon, as with elders, commits to a three year term. So with each calendar year, four deacons are rolling off their active service to make room for four new deacons to roll into active service.
Current Deacons and their ministry leadership positions
- Doug Boom (chair)
- Mark Tapley (adult education)
- Brown King (children)
- Rose Solis (fellowship)
- Bob Gibson (financial development)
- Tom Workman (financial management)
- Marcia Blankenhorn (member care)
- Diane Redin (missions)
- Lori Hockley (marketing and outreach)
- Harvey Juarez (property)
- Geoff Morgan (worship)
- Cindy Mapes (youth)
San Antonio is a family friendly town, and San Pedro Presbyterian is a family friendly church. Mothers Day was a return to kids and youth programming on Sunday morning - and our rooms were full of life, laughter and fellowship.
We also hosted fun photo opportunities for families and friends who wanted to capture the holiday with a beautiful keepsake. The snapshots will be edited and emailed to everyone who participated (the montage above only shows a small portion of the people who sat for portraits). We especially thank Rose Solis and Tom Workman; they spent a lot of time preparing their camera equipment in leading up to Mothers Day.
And from now on, children's programming for kids up to 5th grade will happen during worship. Families are invited to start worship together, then before the sermon the children and elementary students will be shepherded to age appropriate activities. Our kids, families and students are back!
We know that having squirmy kids in the sanctuary can be a handful for parent. While we love having kids in the sanctuary, we understand the struggle to keep a kid quiet and engaged. We are happy to announce that our Nursery Care and the Children's Church programs have been resurrected (Hallelujah) for our families with children.
Before the pandemic kids we offered cloth bags with various activities for children. While these bags are still unavailable, we want to provide kids with a coloring kit that they can use during the service. These kits contain coloring pages and crayons for the child to keep. These kits are to help our squirmy kiddos until the Moment for Fellowship and dismissal of children which will happen just before the pastor's message. They will be available in the Narthex, just ask an usher for a coloring kit when you check in.
I know that our adults are excited and would love to spend the service coloring fun pictures, but we ask that these kits be only kids. You’ll have to bring your own supplies.
May 5th UPDATE:
"To date I've met with 64 people for coffees and conversation. My hope remains the same: to listen and learn in an effort to build a relationship of trust. Our faith family is sharing hopes, dreams and concerns and I'm taking notes.
A few consistent threads have come up.:
- When can we return to pre-COVID non restricted gatherings?
- When will we start up the early service?
- I'm worried about the number of young families in our church.
I'm still taking notes. Schedule a time at your convenience."
Share your thoughts, dreams, hopes and fears with Dr Stamper over coffee (or tea if you prefer). This is a time for listening and learning while working towards a simple vision: building a place of trust. Call the church office to set up a meeting (calls and zooms are fine, too).
Inviting people to church is vital for church growth. In a recent survey it was discovered that 71% of people would attend church if someone invited them. The Williamsons are one such family. Several years ago, Kaela, the oldest daughter, was invited by a friend in her Irish Dance troupe, Maggie Joyce to a youth event. Kaela and her family slowly started attending church services and youth events.
When the Joyce family moved away, I wondered if the Williamsons would begin to look elsewhere. Thankfully, that was not the case. Kaela and Landry have been active members of our youth program, attending small groups, going through confirmation, and performing in Youth Sundays. Their mother, Gina has been a youth leader and adult small group leader. She currently leading one of our Good Life small groups!
You never know what will happen when you invite someone to church, but you do know what will happen if you don’t. Inviting people to church can seem intimidating, here are a few suggestions. Invite them to an age-appropriate event. Share with people why you love San Pedro. Ask them what they are looking for in a church.
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” - Romans 10:14-15 (NLT)
Gene Treviño is a man who wears many hats! This photo is a recent picture of Gene at handbell practice, demonstrating the new LED lights with rechargeable batteries that he researched and purchased for the handbell choir. In addition to playing in the handbell choir as one of the founding members, he is also the handbell equipment manager and inventor of several pieces of equipment, such as: extendable legs for the handbell tables, sticks we use to make the handbells “sing,” and a handbell “tree,” used to hang bells from (for handbell soloists). Gene even fixed the oven of one of our ringers, Diane Redin!
If Gene looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen him at all of the Habitat house builds, or helping out with the courtyard cleanups, or volunteering with mission outreach, on the Session, and, most recently, on our Pastor nominating committee.
I am so thankful that Gene wears so many different hats, aren’t you? Be sure to ask him about one more...his Indiana Jones hat!
“Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
– Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize 1986
San Pedro is joining with believers around our city to raise awareness about the silent suffering of children through child abuse. While the subject is awkward and difficult to discuss, we nevertheless respond to Christ’s call to pray for “the least of these” among us.
Cardboard Kids are two-foot-tall cardboard figures that represent the thousands of children who are abused and neglected at the hands of adults in our community each year. The movement began with 5,800 cardboard cut-outs in 2014 to over 120,000 pieces that are displayed throughout our community schools, businesses, organizations, homes, and community locations.
We began distribution in April, they were decorated, returned and now on display in the Arnold building hallway for “Reveal Day,” Sunday, April 25th.
Our participation raises awareness of the problem of child abuse and invites God’s hope through our prayers to those who suffer. Let us all be a champion for those who have spoken up as well as for those who need a voice.
Diane Redin, Deacon of Missions
Harvey Juarez is somebody you see around church who carries a smile and a friendly demeanor. What folks in the behind-the-scenes workings of our church know is that Harvey plays an integral role in keeping our facilities running smoothly and our maintenance up to date. He is also a great example of somebody who has found their fit in our faith family (the theme of our current message series).
Harvey is the volunteer component of our facilities team. He works closely with staff, elders and key volunteers to maintain a balanced property budget and discern what funds remain in various accounts related to facilities. If you'll recall, our Neal Building was damaged from the February ice storm. While folks think of it as a distant memory, Harvey is the one dealing with the aftermath (insurance company, finances, contractors, etc).
On a personal note, he made me feel welcome when I first arrived. For one of our first meetings Harvey said, "Pastor, I want you to have an office you feel good about for the next twenty years." As my office comes together I am reminded that a beautiful property helps us feel good about our church, but the people make San Pedro feel like family. People like Harvey are a blessing, say "thank you" when you see him.
Last week we began a new small group series called The Good Life. In this series we are learning to discover God’s true happiness for our lives through the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12). We have thirty people coming together both online and in person to share their stories and learn from each other. These small group are a great way to build community and faith.
It is not too late to join a small group. We have two virtual groups, Monday night and Tuesday afternoon, and one in person group on Tuesday nights. Reach out to one of our amazing small group leaders and let them know that you want to discover The Good Life!
On April 14th members of our choir gathered for the fist time in over a year! Socially distanced, they began working on music for worship.
We can't wait until these folks can once again raise their voices in song to the glory of God!
The above photo of Pastor Paul playing the guitar was taken by San Pedro member Tom Workman. It serves as a visual reminder of the powerful truth conveyed by the Apostle Paul.
"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues." 1 Corinthians 12:27-28
We are called to serve the Lord, and there are many ways to serve.
We find no references in Scripture to the notion of "retirement" from service unto the Lord. What God calls each of us to do may change, but commitment to stewarding our resources of time, talents, and treasures continues throughout our lifetime. The challenge for our faith family is to make space for Holy Spirit to reveal each of our callings in Christ. Every church of every size has a divine purpose from God, and we clarify how each of us plays a part in what we read as the "body of Christ."
So how will we do this? As we celebrate how our church organically affirms the talents of others (like Tom's pictures and Pastor Paul's preaching and musicianship), let us consider the intentional ways we might nurture the calling of others. Who are the teachers, helpers, care givers and leaders of the future? Let us commit to the journey of discovering the talents and treasures God has put within each of our members of every age.
Who's ready for lunch? Pictured are members of San Pedro Presbyterian's Missions team delivering 45 sack lunches to SAMMinistries of San Antonio. Our prayer to accompany the lunches was simple: "God use these meals to nourish and bring hope. In Jesus' name, Amen."
Let us remember, with gratitude, the privileges and blessings bestowed upon us as a church family. And in light of the grace gifted to us, let us continue to answer the call to serve those in need in our San Antonio community. Coming out of COVID many people continue to show up to food banks and area non-profits in record numbers. They are hungry and scared and in need of assistance.
When you give to San Pedro Presbyterian you make it possible for our Missions Team and volunteers to deliver desperately needed items to our immediate neighborhood and community. We give thanks for those who serve, and for those who give generously to our San Pedro missions and ministries.
Many of you know that I am passionate about small groups. I think that everyone should be in a group because group life is where we take Christian learning and apply it to our real-life experiences. Small groups cultivate community that keeps us connected to God and each other. In small groups we grow in faith and friendship, together.
Being a part of a small group is important, but even more essential is having wonderful small group leaders. A small group leader is not the person with the biggest Bible, but the biggest heart. They are not spiritual scholars but facilitators of conversations. A small group leader’s primary responsibility is not to ensure that the group completes the lesson, but to create a welcoming environment where community is built.
This Spring we are going through a small group series called The Good Life. While I think this series will be great, what I really love are the four amazing small group leaders. Four women from San Pedro are leading two of our small group leaders. Shelly Buschfort and Bobbie Kelner are leading our Monday Night Group. Jann Rouille and Gina Williamson are leading our Tuesday Afternoon Group. Perhaps you have received an e-mail, postcard, or phone call from one of them. They would love to have you be a part of their group. They are working to create a caring environment where you can grow in your faith and strengthen friendships with others from our church.
Small group are important, but small group leaders are essential. Next time you see Shelly, Bobbie, Jann, or Gina, thank them for their willingness to serve God and others. These women are amazing, and you are too. I hope you will consider being a small group leader in the future.
One of the questions I keep getting asked is, "Will there be a 2021 Mission Trip?"
Now, I love mission trips and was in the midst of planning our 2020 trip to New Orleans when the pandemic hit. I was excited for our chance to serve in that community because I have never been to New Orleans, except their Greyhound station, which in another story. I would love to say that we are are without a shadow of a doubt having a 2021 Mission Trip, but there are many factors that must be considered.
Because many places are slowly opening up and capacities are questionable, it is difficult to know what is available. Also, I typcially start planning the mission trip in the fall and kick into high gear in the winter. Because of the uncertainty of the pandemic I am way behind the ball on planning one. That does not mean it is not possible, but it may not be as elaborate or intense as previous years. Plus, we still need to take into consideration issues surrounding COVID and the precautions we need to keep ourselves and those we serve safe.
As I look toward this summer I am considering various options about our mission trip, but I could really use people's input. I have created a simple survey to help me know what families think, so that I can plan the best possible experience for all involved.
Please take a few minutes and complete our 2021 Mission Trip Survey.
It has been almost nine years since I started here at San Pedro. I remember hosting myt first Riser Sunday here and only recognizing some of our high school grads and none of our college grads. It is exciting being here so long that I have the pleasure of knowing both of these groups, high school and college grads. I even know our rising elementary students and am excited to welcome them into youth program.
This year's college graduates were about to enter their 8th grade year back in 2012 and now they are setting their sights on this great big exciting world. Our high school graduates were still in elementary school and now they are about to open up the next chapter of their lives. It has been such a joy watching both of these groups grow into men and women of God. I am blessed to know that God has used me, in some part, in these students' lives and I am excited to see how God will use them in the years to come.
I am working with our High school graduates to help share their story with the congregation. It is always a beautiful thing to hear how God works through our faith family to nurture students in the faith. I hope you will join us on Riser Sunday as we hear these powerful testimonies. I want to take a moment to thank all of our youth leaders, past and present, for how they have poured their heart, time, and energy into our students. You are a vital role in souls of this rising generation.
As we start planning our 2021 Riser Sunday, one of the thing we look for is a list of people from our congregation who have graduated from college. If you know someone from our faith family that is graduating from college or acquiring a post-graduate degree, please let me know. Send their name, Institution, degree, a way to contact them (email or phone) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Riser Sunday will be on May 23. It is also Pentecost Sunday so we are encouraging everyone to wear red!
Are you happy? Are you content with your life or are you always desiring something more? As a Christian, we know that God calls us to be people who are filled with joy, but often our reality feels anything but joyful. Life can be difficult, but there must be a way for us to experience happiness beyond our circumstances.
The Good Life is a book by Pastor Derwin Gray, in which he outlines how to experience true, godly happiness. One might think that Derwin Gray was living the dream, he grew up on the west side of San Antonio looking for an escape from poverty. He turned to football and made it all the way to the NFL. Yet, even with all his success, there was something missing. He writes, “Trying to find lasting happiness is like chasing your shadow; what starts as childish fun erodes into adult frustration, failure, and disappointment.” Eventually discovers that happiness does not come from worldly achievements, but from Jesus Christ. “Jesus of Nazareth was the happiest person who ever lives. He is the ultimate portrait of the good life. He is the prototype of what humanity was meant to be.” By following the example of Jesus, we discover a happiness, a joy, a blessedness that the world can never offer.
So how do we discover this happiness? Derwin Gray suggests that we follow Jesus’ Happiness Manifesto, the Beatitudes, bullet points of blessedness that start the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12). Maybe you’ve heard them before, “Blessed are the poor in spirit… Blessed are those who morn… Blessed are the humble…” In true Jesus fashion, he flips our understanding of what happiness is upside down.
This April we will have three adult small groups based on The Good Life, an eight-week series with video and discussion.
- Monday Nights at with Shelly Buschfort & Bobbie Kelner on Zoom.
- Tuesday Afternoon with Jann Rouille and Gina Williamson on Zoom.
- Tuesday Night with Dave Reiss at the church (Fireside Room)
If you are interested in being in a small group, please let me, Dave Reiss, know at email@example.com
When I first arrived at San Pedro Presbyterian, almost 12 years ago, one of the first people I met was Ed Olson. At the time, I think he was our Worship Deacon. There is a reason I'm not 100% sure.
Over the years I have witnessed Ed serving on multiple committees, serving on the Session, running the soundboard, repairs on our computers, working to compile our Congregational Report, working alongside our treasurer and Finance Committee . . . the list goes on.
Several years ago, I spoke with Ed about the possibility of improving our internet and online capabilities. Ed jumped in with both feet. He looked into setting up more wireless connectivity throughout our campus and made it happen.
When we began broadcasting online last year, it became clear that we needed a better internet connection. In the midst of the pandemic, Ed again stepped up and got a high-speed, dedicated fiber optic line for our church.
When you join us for worship online, when you see videos in the Narthex, when you get online at the church, you have Ed Olson to thank.
Ed has found so many ways to minister to God's people using his various gifts and talents. When you see Ed again, offer him thanks for all he's done, and continues to do for God's church.
As we begin our new sermon series, Find Your Fit, I was reminded of one of our members, Tom Workman. Tom serves as Finance Deacon. He keeps an eye on our finances working with Mabrie and all of our deacons.
But there's more!
In addition Tom serves as the unofficial/official photographer of San Pedro Presbyterian Church.
Over the last year I have shared hundreds of photos with the people of San Pedro before online worship. People have asked where this photos come from. They come from Tom Workman's camera. Tom has done great work putting a photographic history of San Pedro over the last 10 years.
Tom has discovered a way to minister to God's people using his gifts and talents in numerous ways. So, the next time you see Tom, offer him a word of thanks for all he does for San Pedro.
The Easter Bunny showed up again this year at our Easter Egg Hunt! Member Becky Hooper has been a regular participant since the Easter Egg Hunt started several years ago. From Becky's Facebook page:
"I had the best time at the San Pedro Presbyterian Church egg hunt today! This outfit has served me well since I had it made in Itaewon, South Korea in 1982! The mask is new this year..."
Thanks for being there for our families and kids Becky!
It was great to have folks from every generation join us for worship on Easter Sunday. Family is folks of all ages. Children, Grandchildren, Great-Grandchildren, Parents, Grandparents . . . that's what family is.
As we return to in person events, let us be mindful of making space for new family members. Somebody may be sitting in your seat when you show up, be gracious and kind and mindful of what it is like to look for a new church home. They want to be family, too. Hospitality takes all of us, of every generation, to make folks feel like they've come home.
We're in a unique time in history. People are thinking about routines again, and that includes looking for a church. We've had several new guests and folks tell us they're ready to join our church. Let's do our part to make everybody, of every age, feel welcome - even if they're sitting in your seat.
Thank you everyone who donated shoes to the Soles 4 Souls Shoe Drive benefiting CAM. Through your generosity, SPPC was able to deliver a truckload of shoes to help the San Antonio homeless population.
Have you ever wondered what the sanctuary looks like from the top? I have.
We had some electricians come by the church today to change out the lights over the chancel. In order to get up that high, they brought in a 40' lift. I asked if I could take it all the way up to get a picture.
They said no.
I asked if they would take a picture for me, and they took this shot.
So, that's the view from above!
Founded in 1903, PCHAS provides Christ-centered care for children and families in need. The agency has two core goals of (1) permanent homes for children and (2) self-sufficiency for their families. The San Antonio programs include Transitional Living for young adults aging out of foster care; Single Parent Family provides housing and services to give struggling single parents a chance to raise their children in a safe, nurturing environment where they can all succeed; and Child & Family to stabilize families in crisis.
The San Antonio campus expansion which began in 2020 is finalizing the first homes to be occupied soon. The caring congregation of San Pedro Presbyterian Church has helped to secure many home essentials for the new units which will be occupied by families and young adults in the near future. To learn more, feel free to visit pchas.org.
Suppose you get a small, quiet, inspiration. Some whispering voice or insight tickles the back of your mind, a tiny light bulb goes on or a spiderweb thread connects two ideas. Maybe a question trips up the otherwise smooth flow of your ideas, and you think to your self there might be a spiritual idea there that you could explore to your benefit.
If you are like me, what might happen is you think, “I should dig into that someday” and that is pretty much the end of it. The followup gets procrastinated into oblivion.
But, suppose instead, there were a schedule! You considered the inspiration just enough to subdivide your exploration of it into a handful of themes, and decided to look at one theme per week. Then each week, you pick up that theme, hunt through the Bible or research in other sources to get more insight on that theme, and put together a few central points on that theme. Even better, you then get to present the few central points, and a whole panel of thoughtful, attentive people give you their feedback, share their ideas, connect and weave the theme into their experience of the world, and amplify it.
How rewarding that is! I say so with complete confidence, having been privileged to lead a few classes at San Pedro. Most recently, the Les Miserables class this winter was a truly wonderful experience. There was the weekly panic, “do I have enough to make it worth-while for people to attend”, then the digging into the source material (Victor Hugo’s monumental novel, in this case), the research to find connections throughout the Bible and references in later works, finding alternate interpretations relevant to my themes (turns out, there’s a pretty good musical in this case…) and finally, getting to sit down and bounce my ideas back and forth with interested, engaged people from the San Pedro family. Afterwards, each week, there’s sitting back and digesting their suggestions and just feeling warm and happy for days (until next week’s panic).
Christianity is all about relationships. Shared exploration of inspirations turns out to be a great way to build and strengthen relationships. Leading a class discussion is a fantastic experience, and I commend that experience to every one of you.
The next time a little, quiet voice tickles the back of your mind, be aware what it’s inviting you to - you will get a lot out of it if you accept the invitation. Note it down, drop an email to me or Dave, and get a schedule. The rest will exceed your expectations.
Habitat for Humanity has built over 1,000 new homes in our area. Habitat families invest hundreds of "sweat equity" hours working alongside volunteers to help build their homes. San Pedro PC is joining up with other Presbyterian churches in 2021 to sponsor and help build our 26th Habitat home. The build began on Saturday, January 30, 2021 and continues every Saturday through March 30, 2021. Our church provided lunch to the build volunteers on February 6th.
Special thanks to Leslie Anderson who made the lunches, and Cindy Mapes and Gene Trevino who delivered the lunches to the build site!!
As we begin to see the real possibility of returning to a time that our lives together feel more normal, lots of folks are working hard to be sure we are ready. As I came out of the church today, I ran into Susie Guerrero and Jonette Simpson with an armful of choir robes. They are just a part of a group of folks who are working to get the robes for our choir cleaned and ready for use. In addition to Susie and Jonette, Rachael Trevino, Charlotte Noll, Nancy Lowry, Charlotte Randolph, and Bobbie Kelner have been working on this project.
It's easy to forget all of the pieces that have to come together for worship, and for a healthy church to function. At first glance, these small tasks can seem inconsequential. But the reality is that these tasks are vital. Ecclesiastes 9:10 reminds us, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might . . ."
Never let yourself think that your contribution to God's kingdom is small, regardless of what it is. It's important. It's significant. So, do it with your might for the glory of the Lord.