Joy Comes in the Morning


My trip to back to First Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas where I served as pastor for 22 years filled my heart with joy. I witnessed God’s continued work there and shared hugs and laughs with old friends before travelling to Bartlesville, Oklahoma to see my father.

I told him that I loved him and prayed with him. Wednesday morning, my father went to be with our Heavenly Father. He was 94-years-old. My father founded Good Shepherd Presbyterian in Bartlesville where he served from 1955 to 1990. He also served in World War II, never firing a weapon because of his strong belief in the Lord’s Commandment “Thou shalt not kill.” He taught my son, David, how to fish and was always an example of how to faithfully serve your family, country and community. Jane and I will go back to Oklahoma for my father’s memorial service Tuesday afternoon at Good Shepherd Presbyterian. Please keep Jane, David, Jeremy and me in your prayers.

I feel sorrow for the loss of my father. But as the Bible verse above says, “joy comes in the morning.” This weekend, we celebrate the 47th Annual Religious Arts Festival beginning with a lecture from master teacher Kay Mutert entitled, “Walking an Ancient Path: Chartres Cathedral and its Medieval Labyrinth” on Sunday at 3:30 pm in Highland Hall. Instead of our usual 5 pm worship service, we’ll have a Taize service, which includes the chanting of prayers and a period of silence. This was one of the most popular weekday services at Pittsburgh Seminary during my time there as president.

The festival continues through next week with French food, music and art all centered around the theme of “Vive la France!” Our own member, Virginia Jones, will lead a photo talk Monday night on “Sacred Spaces.” We’ll also welcome one of the titular organists from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris--Vincent Dubois. All of the events except for the Religious Arts Festival Banquet are free. You won’t want to miss out on this gift to the community
The Religious Arts Festival also seemed to be the perfect time to unveil the new church logo. Why? The new design created by IPC member Michael Bell and his firm, Modern Brand, brings together architecture, faith and nature. It’s also highly influenced by part of IPC’s campus that is on display this week. Have you guessed what it is yet? Find out if your hunch is correct on Sunday. A special video created by member Sonny Williams will unveil it.

Finally, as most of you know, Catherine Goudreau is now serving as our director of the Children’s Fresh Air Farm and Gann Wright is now the youth director at St. Mary’s-on-the-Highlands. Three members will be temporarily helping us through the spring during this period of transition in Youth Ministries. Susan Dukes will handle day-to-day operations. Sally Speaker will assist her, and Helen Walker will run our Sunday evening programming. We will start our search for a new director soon. Thank them for using their gifts to serve our youth!

See you Sunday,