Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kids' Praise - Easter

The kids got us kick-started for Easter with "Celebrate Jesus". You're great! (Performing on Palm Sunday during the Celebrations service - next performance on Apr 7 in Traditions worship.)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

SonRise Service

Easter Sunday - tomorrow! - at 6:30 am in Mount Rose Cemetery. Join us to welcome the resurrection of the Son of God! (Pics from 2012.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Egg Hunt - Saturday at 10:00 AM

At the Holtzapple estate, 1643 Mount Rose Avenue opposite Green Hill Road and to the rear of 1645 Mount Rose. Rain location is the church building. Bring all your friends! (These pics are from 2012.)

Into Your Hands: 7 Last Words on Life (7)

Listen online or download Sunday messages, and here!

"It is finished" and #7, "into thy hands" (Luke)
too often read as simply the end of life
each one interprets the moment theologically
Jesus chooses the cross

the "voluntary character of Jesus’ death", Augustine (Fitzmyer, 1519)

quoting a psalm
word #4 (my God, my God) – Psalm 22
#7 (into your hands) – Psalm 31.6
Used as bedtime prayer in later rabbinic tradition (Fitzmyer, 1519)

"The Lord needs it" (Luke 19.31, 34)
the experience of having something taken from us
or of having "stuff happen" to us
little explanation, at least that makes sense

Sunday School

 Children's class, discussion class (Social Hall), lecture class (Chapel), ladies (the Cove).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Our New Pastor

This Sunday, our Church Council announced that Pastor Dennis McCleary ("PD") will be the next pastor of Bethany United Methodist Church! It was a quick process. Last Sunday, it was announced that the Bohanans were being moved. On Tuesday evening, the Council met to process the news and discuss the kind of leadership we need going forward. On Thursday night, they met with our District Superintendent. On Friday morning, the DS, Bishop, and Cabinet consulted via conference call, and on Saturday morning our new pastor was introduced to the Council.

The Council is grateful for the prayerful consideration of Bethany's mission and needs and excited to partner with our new pastoral leader. Pastor JP, the Council, and staff, will be working with PD during the transition period.

Stay tuned for more details and be in prayer for Bethany, the Bohanans, Pastor Dennis and Jean McCleary, and all our churches through this time of change!

Sunday, March 24, 2013


It’s been more than a month since our plunge on February 09, 2013, and I think I am finally thawed out. We had a great time and raised a lot of money for Special Olympics.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, with an air temperature in the 30’s and a wind chill in the 20’s. The water temperature was around 35 degrees and it took my breath away when I went under.  It was still worth every second of it for those we are there to help.
Special Olympics said that they had approx. 1500 plungers and raised about $140,000.

Our team, The Blue Line Plungers, had about 40 plungers and raised over $12,000. We were the highest fund raising team in the event.
Thanks to your help, I was able crush my goal of raising $600 and ended up with a total of $1440 in donations.

I am in awe and truly grateful for the generous response I got from my donation request.
Thanks again to each and every one of you. 
Bob Lehman

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I Thirst

Listen online or download Sunday messages, and here!

Thanks to Gary and Blanca for preaching on March 10 from the 5th word of Jesus from the cross: "I thirst."

Blanca's notes are below.  Both messages are available in audio form.

John 19:28-29 and Revelation 21:6-7 
As a child, the story of Jesus was told to me year after year during Holy Week by my grandmother. I was always fascinated and at the same time heart broken to hear about the descriptions of our Lord Jesus’ spiritual, physical and emotional suffering on the cross of Calvary and was for the redemption of our sins. As a child this experience was very traumatic for me to listen to but this was the beginning of our Christian tradition.

Today we come to the 5th saying in the 7 last words of Jesus while he was on the cross. It is two simple words: “I thirst.” We have discovered that each of these words is a word for life, a word for our lives. And, from Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman in John 4 to this saying in John 19, John’s gospel – and the book of Revelation, also written by John – is full of “thirst” as a metaphor for life.

Methodists and Abolition

An article for the UM News Service by Robert J. Williams:

The Abolitionists” has recently been a part of the American Experience on public television. One has to search hard, though, to find Methodists involved in the recent presentation despite the church’s initial opposition to slavery.

John Wesley opposed slavery after reading the work of Anthony Benezet. Wesley’s Thoughts Upon Slavery, published in 1774, provided a wide-ranging attack, and, in his final letter written on Feb. 24, 1791, he encouraged William Wilberforce to continue his efforts to abolish the slave trade. The original letter is housed in the Methodist Archives Center and Library on the campus of Drew University.

Such opposition to slavery was maintained in the founding years of the Methodist Episcopal Church by Thomas Coke and was confirmed in the early statement of the new church. The Christmas Conference in 1784 resolved, “We view it as contrary to the Golden Law of God.” However, by the 1830s, strong anti-slavery sentiments had given way to grudging acceptance and silence on the part of much of the church.

Check out the full story!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bohanans on the Move

Just over a week ago, I was informed that the cabinet and Bishop of the Susquehanna Conference of the UM Church had prayed and unanimously concluded that my family and I are to leave Bethany United Methodist Church, effective July 1, 2013, to serve another church in a suburb of Wilkes Barre – Christ UM Church in Mountain Top, PA.

When Robin and I signed up to serve God through the UM Church, we agreed to an itinerant form of ministry – to go wherever and whenever God called us. By far, this move is the MOST difficult one we have ever been asked to make. Robin and I are missionaries. We serve the mission even when the move is a difficult one. We trust with our whole hearts that God goes before us and prepares the way for all of us – the Bohanan family, Bethany, and Christ Church in Mountain Top. We trust the bishop and cabinet to care for us and our churches with prayer and love.

This was not expected. Neither we nor the church council requested this move. Our superintendent did not suggest me for moving. The superintendent where we are going did not request for us to come, though he is quite thrilled. My name arose in the larger conversation and the conclusion was unanimous. This move is all about the mission, in this case the mission of our whole region and connection. And it is all about obedience to the call of Jesus Christ and our covenant to serve the church.

We LOVE Bethany with our whole heart. We love your mission – to make MORE disciples for Jesus Christ. Bethany has embraced this mission wholeheartedly and God has blessed you because of this.  It has been an amazing and beautiful journey.

What does this mean for Bethany? As of July 1, a new pastor will be serving Bethany UM church. Our church council will meet with the DS this Thursday night in a closed meeting to determine the gifts that Bethany needs most in a pastor at this important moment in Bethany’s mission. Our district superintendent along with the cabinet and Bishop will meet and pray together about who God will appoint to serve Bethany Church. Once that appointment is made, I will begin to work together with your new pastor to help the transition go as smoothly as possible. I believe in my heart that God has GREAT things for Bethany.  You have great leadership already in place in your church council and your staff. The Spirit of God is fresh and alive among you. It is a privilege to have partnered with you in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please know that God goes before you and will continue to bless you as you continue to serve Jesus and his mission in the world.

What does this mean for the Bohanan family? We leave you, wonderful friends, an extended family, and partners in the gospel. The effectiveness and fruitfulness that we are experiencing in our partnership here are the greatest I have ever experienced. We’ll be 2 hours away from Robin’s parents, who are such a big part of our lives. Please keep Jess and Joyce in your prayers. Robin’s career is now up in the air. I know exactly where I will be serving, but she has no idea. Pray for the perfect opportunity for her calling and gifts in HIV care and serving underserved people. And, pray for her boss, her patients, and her colleagues.

Our boys have grown from teenagers to men during our time here. This has become home to them. Jesse will be able to complete his associate’s degree course work before the move, and we hope to find his internship in the Wilkes-Barre area, where there is also a Penn State Campus. Jesse would like to learn to drive before we go, so if you would be interested in teaching, let us know. As you know, Jesse does not like change. Pray for him. Caleb will remain a student in State College and hopes to work in a fine arts and music summer camp in Michigan this summer. He’s hoping to miss the move entirely and he knows he will miss the many wonderful friends he made here.

For Oliver, our orphan cat, this will mean a new home with new places to hide, pounce, and attack.

We will be packing. Yes, we will take volunteers help in this process. The parsonage has been a wonderful home for us. It’s in great shape, and this provides you the opportunity to get a few things done to make the home "just right" for the new pastor and family.

For our entire family, it will mean leaving a church we love, leaving you. We cannot begin to tell you the blessing you have been to us during some of the most difficult times we have faced as a family, and the blessing that you were as you embraced the CrossWalk Community congregation with open arms. We are so thankful to God for you. This time, the cost of following Jesus seems almost too great to bear. We grieve. We love you. We believe that God loves Bethany, and will pour out blessing on you.

Friday afternoon, the three of us drove up to Mountain Top to meet our new superintendent, see the parsonage, and be introduced to the personnel committee of Christ Church. Our new superintendent brought Caleb from State College so that our entire family could be there. You will be glad to know that those nine folks from Christ Church who met us on Friday love Jesus and desire to reach their community with that love. They are excited to welcome us as their partners in ministry. They fell in love with our boys. And, they’ve got two youth soccer fields out back that are used by the local soccer program.

Now, I am going to ask a favor of you. Please pray and stay. I know we thought we would have more time to serve Jesus together but you are ready for a new adventure with Jesus.  I can only have peace in leaving, knowing that you are all here. You share one mission. You love Jesus. The word is getting out. There is something special about Bethany.  It is not me – it is YOU. Thank you for allowing me to partner with you in this for five beautiful years.

One more favor. As difficult as this news is to share, I want to be the one to share it with our 11:15 service families as well. Please refrain from discussing it around them until after I have that opportunity.

For our prayer, I want to invite you back one week to Sunday March 10. Robin, Caleb and I met with our new superintendent on our way to our anniversary trip and taking Caleb back to State College. We talked for three hours. That night, Robin and I prayed together. The day’s prayers included words of Teresa of Avila, followed by a prayer and the Lord’s Prayer. I want to invite you to stand with us and make a circle as we pray together.

Teresa of Avila:
Let nothing disturb you,
nothing dismay you.
All things are passing,
God never changes.
Patient endurance attains all things.
God alone suffices.
Instill in us . . . the assurance that you are enough for us, God. Your love, your call, your work, is enough.

Our Father . . .

Common Prayer, March 10

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cutting In and Cutting Up

Thanks to David for these incriminating pics of his teammates in the recent painting project!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Fresh Coat

Thanks to Dick and his team for continuing the work on our entries. And, thanks to Linda and Dee for their work on our new color schemes! Next work day is April 6 - all hands, skilled and unskilled, needed ... and Pastor JP's famous pancakes on the menu!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fun Dinners

Fun at our Lenten dinners. Come out on Thursday evenings at 6:00 pm for laughs, friends, food, and learning together.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bishops speak up on Medicaid expansion

HARRISBURG, March 11, 2013 – Pennsylvania’s United Methodist bishops today urged Governor Corbett and members of the General Assembly to say yes to expanding Medicaid service to vulnerable individuals and families under the federal government’s new health care law.

The bishops – Thomas Bickerton of the Western Pennsylvania (regional) Conference, Peggy Johnson of Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, and Jeremiah Park of the Susquehanna Conference – met with the governor and a series of legislators on Monday, March 11. Among the legislators were House Speaker Sam Smith and House Republican Policy Chair Rep. David Reed. Both are active United Methodists.

As they met with the governor in his Capitol office, they presented him with a letter urging him to “take the necessary steps to enact Medicaid expansion within our Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” They also sent a similar letter to each member of the General Assembly.

Citing Scripture, the bishops said a requirement for faithful living is “to do what is just… As members of our 2,300 congregations across Pennsylvania experience anxiety and despair because they cannot afford health care, we believe if one suffers, all suffer.”

Bowling Church

A great story of a church in mission, finding a new way to reach out in its own community!

Financial Peace University - 2

FPU is coming back to Bethany, beginning Monday April 1. Do the foolish thing and get out of debt! Live like no one else!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Church started in Memphis prison

By Lane Gardner Camp, director of communications, The Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church:

“Have you ever been pursued?” It’s a question that drew some laughter when posed by Bishop Bill McAlilly during a Feb. 16 worship service at Grace Place UMC in Memphis. Grace Place UMC, realize, is located inside a female prison – the Mark H. Luttrell Correctional Center (MLCC), part of the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC). Only McAlilly wasn’t referring to being pursued by law enforcement. He was talking about being pursued by God.
McAlilly illuminated his question with a sermon based on what he called the “familiar and friendly words” of the Psalm 23 that comfort men and women throughout the entirety of their lives by providing hope.
“Even when we’re not good, God’s goodness and kindness pursue us,” said McAlilly, who described the God of Psalm 23 as the One who “pursues us so we might not walk alone.”

Check out the full story!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Global Church

Insight on our global church, from Gere Reist, Secretary of General Conference, the every-four-years gathering of The United Methodist Church.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Kids Praise

Singing this past Sunday. They performed the "world debut" of a piece written by Gregg and Marsha. Kids Praise practices each week at the beginning of the Sunday School hour and performs monthly in each worship service (on separate weeks).

Friday, March 8, 2013

Alexamenos graffito

Check out this piece of 2nd century "graffiti", an image of Jesus crucified ... but with the head of a donkey! Crucifixion was designed to completely humiliate and destroy a person and their reputation. So, this "cartoon" is a joke on Christian faith, bearing the words, "Alexamenos worships his god". (This particular story was also told this past Sunday in the message.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lenten Dinners

Thanks to the fine work of the Kitchen Crew! We've had some wonderful dinners this Lent. Come out each Thursday evening at 6:00 pm for great food, wonderful fellowship, and the opportunity to learn together. Our video series this year is Who Is This Man?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Catching Fire, Becoming Flame

One of my favorite stories from the "Desert Fathers"! The Desert Fathers are the ancestors of monasticism in the Christian tradition.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Why Have You Forsaken Me?: 7 Last Words on Life (4)

Listen online or download Sunday messages, and here!
Mark 15.22-41 (also Matthew 27.33-56), Psalm 22, Joshua 1.1-9

Last Words - for life
1. Father, forgive
2. Today in Paradise
3. Your son, your mother
4. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

The only word presented by Mark and Matthew
3 each, no overlap, in Lk/Jn
center of the death story

Mark - "historic present" (Vincent Taylor, 588)

The crucifixion account
forsaken by ... - but no complaint
family (Mother Mary a no show in Mt/Mk; aunt (?) Salome there)
even the light of the sun
only women present, at a distance
instead: "my God, my God ..."

Financial Peace University

So excited to have FPU coming back to Bethany, beginning the day after Easter! Make Financial Peace part of your very own RESURRECTION STORY! Contact Ray or Danna for more info.

Fun at the Learning Center

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Least of These

Some global stats from our Lenten dinner discussion resources, Who Is This Man?, an examination of Jesus and his impact on history.

How do you respond?
  • In developing countries, the poor are disproportionately impacted by illegal imprisonment and overloaded legal systems. India has 11 judges for every 1 million people. Judges in the Philippines have an average backlog of 1,479 cases. Kenya has only 63 prosecutors for a population of 30 million.
  • In the USA, 20.5 million Americans live in extreme poverty, an annual cash income half of the official poverty line – about $10,000 for a family of four. And, 49.9 million people (16.35 of the US population) do not have medical insurance.
  • Eighty percent of human trafficking victims are women and girls. There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today – more than any other time in history.
  • Worldwide, an estimated 16 million children under 18 have lost one or both parents to AIDS, 14.8 million of which live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hands-On Development

From our Learning Center!

Your Son, Your Mother: 7 Last Words on Life (3)

Listen online or download Sunday messages, and here!
John 19.25-27, with Exodus 20.12 and Psalm 87

Dad, speaking of mom’s needs, when facing serious cancer surgery
Jesus, care for mom from the cross

Last words for LIFE, for living
1. Father, forgive
2. Today, in Paradise
3. Behold your son, Behold your mother

John’s story telling:
plain, straightforward reporting of events
richly layered, intricately woven with metaphor and imagery
this story is about becoming family – part of Jesus’ family