Pentecost Sunday – May 19, 2013
Dear Friends and Family in Christ,
An incredible history of 124 years has been cherished by the congregation of The First Presbyterian Church of Bessemer.
Since 1962, our church family has gathered together each Sunday for worship at our downtown Bessemer facility. Additionally, we have joined as one for a number of other occasions – both joyous and heavyhearted – for baptisms, confirmations, weddings, funerals, concerts and anniversary celebrations.
One of our most special occasions for over 50 years has been our beautiful Candlelight Christmas Eve Service. What a joy it has been for each of us as we joined in song to celebrate the Birth of the Christ Child each December 24. So many of us have years of treasured memories of our beautiful Chrismon Trees, bathed in the warm glow of candlelight softly illuminating our worship.
As many know, the Session and congregation of Bessemer First Presbyterian have accepted a call to establish and build a new church home at Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church in McCalla.
With anticipation of building in McCalla, the coming year will likely bring both sadness and excitement as we transition from First Presbyterian Bessemer to fulfill our calling to establish Shepherd of the Valley.
This Christmas Eve, we joyously invite all who have worshiped at The First Presbyterian Church of Bessemer to join us again as we celebrate the Birth of Our Savior at our Candlelight Christmas Eve Service. In addition to our organ and piano music, our Handbell Choir will also guide us through this special service of remembrance and celebration. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the handbell choir will begin a prelude of Christmas favorites at 5:15, prior to the start of our service at 6 p.m.
Please share this invitation with friends and family members who may also have a desire to experience this beautiful service performed in honor to and in glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Reverend Randolph Kesler
Loving Father, may all that lives praise your holy name. We thank You for hearing us when we pray and we praise You for allowing us entrance into the majesty of your light, into the peace of your presence.
Some of us are heartbroken by the tornadoes of our personal lives- crushed by disappointments and squeezed by the mold of the culture around us which threatens us with certain destruction. Forgive us, O Lord, for we live as practical atheists who lope along in life hoping for the best and making things worse because we refuse to cry out to You in our lost ness. Rather, we look to friends or self help ideas through which we find neither grace nor peace. Yet, when our hearts are broken, you cradle us in your comforting arms.
When we are puzzled by the mysteries of life, You gently nudge us toward the truth.
When we zombie around from day to day – like the walking dead- You continue to seek us and lead us toward life and freedom from sin. We thank You for meeting our needs and answering our petitions.
We extol You for enabling us to dance with joy and feast with thanksgiving before your throne.
How can we lose heart, O Wondrous God, our Majestic Glory? When we remember past years, your grace, your provision, your providence, your power, your presence in our lives, we dare not doubt that You will care for us in the future as You have the past.
Help us to look toward You this week as You see us through all our struggles. Increase our faith when we are weak, stiffen our backbones when storms beset us and teach us always to live- not by our power sure to fail – but in the strength of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.