Sunday, September 14, 2008

Church Is Not A Summer Sport...Getting Back to Hilltop Presbyterian Church in Mendham, New Jersey

Some days I'm just not role model material for my two girls, London and Maddie. I was raised as a good Baptist and even won a Bible passage memorization contest to attend summer sleepaway church camp for a week during my middle school years (I was almost sent home from camp for using too many naughty words, regrettably not for fulfilling my fantasies of sneaking off with PeeJay, the swim instructor). However, since reaching adulthood, I don't make it to church as often as I'd like. Up until last year, Rex and I were pretty much "Christmas and Easter" members of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian in New York City, and later began attending the children's Christmas pageant at Hilltop Church after moving to the Roxiticus Valley, but we felt it was important that London and Maddie grow up with church as part of their lives. The girls started Sunday School at Hilltop Presbyterian Church in Mendham, New Jersey in September 2007, and Rex and I joined the church in January 2008. We made it to church pretty consistently from November through April, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and I'm afraid I may have let it slip to my impressionable daughters that "church is not a summer sport." While I know there's a Religious Right that would insist that I need to follow their rules of worship, I do believe that we find God within us and wherever we go, and I feel His presence often when I'm spending time with my family on the beach in Bay Head, New Jersey.

Last Sunday, September 7th, marked our family's triumphant return to Hilltop Presbyterian Church after a summer of neglect. We had stayed in Mendham last weekend to attend an awesome Saturday night 40th birthday party ("it could lead to dancing") for a good friend, but still managed to get up in time for church and Sunday School at 9:30 the next morning. Turns out it was Rally Day at Hilltop Church... a celebratory way of launching the new "Sunday School Year" with brunch, fun and games after the church service. Our Director of Music Ministries, Tom Berdos, led the choir and congregation in raising a joyful noise unto the Lord with opening singing that included "Shine, Jesus, Shine" and "The Name of the Lord" and "Days of Elijah" and finally "Crown Him with Many Crowns."

"Behold He comes! Riding on the clouds! Shining like the sun! At the trumpet call. Lift your voice! It's the year of jubilee! And out of Zion's hill salvation comes!"

We were back again today, and Pastor Diane delivered an inspirational sermon "The First and the Last" that started with the concept of "Backwards Day," an event that London and Maddie enjoy when it comes to Mendham Township Elementary School. Today, London sang during youth choir practice after Sunday School (Maddie only went along "to watch"), so maybe she'll get to sing in church later in the year.

We'll be more consistent church members from November through April, so please join us at Hilltop Presbyterian Church, 14 Hilltop Road, Mendham, NJ. Phone: (908) 543-4012. Sunday 9:30am service in the Sanctuary, 11:00am informal service in Fellowship Hall at Hilltop House. Children can attend the 9:30am service and disperse to their Sunday School classes after Pastor Diane's "Time with the Children."


lesson plans for sunday school said...

church is not a place of time pass or spend holiday. one should know that we are praising and worshiping living and true God the creator of everything. when parents walk in correct path, will lead their children to the path of God with true prayers -Pauli