Latest News

Holy Week Schedule

Maundy Thursday -March 28th at 7:00 pm:  This is the day when Christians remember the Last Supper.  At the close of the service the altar and the sanctuary will be stripped in preparation for Good Friday

Good Friday-March 29th at 7:00 pm: This is the day when Christians around the world commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Easter Sunday –March 31st at 9:30 am:  This is the day that we as Christians celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

From the Pastor- Feb. 2024

What if I told you that I have a clinically proven way to improve the quality of your life, and you will be given those tools for free over the next 8 weeks? Already, I can feel those wheels turning.  “It sounds too good to be true.”  “Surely, if it works, it must cost something.”

And I wouldn’t blame you for having those thoughts. Every aspect of our well-being has been commodified, convincing us that we must put our well-being into someone else’s hands as though it’s a problem to be diagnosed and solved.

Our bodies and minds hold great wisdom. In this season of Lent, you are invited to tap into that great wisdom. In Sunday worship, you will be called into this practice, and notice that worship will have a slightly different pace. We will deepen this practice on Wednesday evenings as we gather around the cross. On Thursdays at 11:00, we will engage in holy conversations around encountering God, and you will be given practices to enhance your internal wisdom. These sessions will be available on our YouTube page as a live stream.

So, what is this clinically proven method for improving our lives?

Prayer

There are many benefits of prayer. Ancient prayer and meditation practices offer spiritual benefits and profound effects on mental and physical well-being.

Mindfulness, meditation, or prayer, when practiced for as little as 13 minutes every day over eight weeks, has shown a difference in several brain regions that control learning, emotions, memory, and the fear response. These regions include the amygdala and the hippocampus, which control the fight/flight/freeze/fawn response.

Stress Reduction: One of the most well-documented benefits of prayer and meditation is reducing stress. Chronic stress has been linked to various health issues, including cardiovascular problems, compromised immune function, and mental health disorders. Engaging in prayer and meditation activates the body’s relaxation response, leading to a decrease in stress hormones like cortisol.

Improved Mental Health: Prayer and meditation have been associated with improved mental health outcomes. Regular practice has been shown to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. These practices’ focused, mindful nature encourages self-awareness and self-compassion, fostering a positive mindset and emotional resilience.

Enhanced Cognitive Function: Research suggests prayer and meditation can positively impact cognitive function. These practices have been linked to attention, memory, and executive function improvements.

Neuroplasticity and Brain Structure: Recent studies utilizing neuroimaging techniques have provided insights into the structural changes that occur in the brain due to regular prayer and meditation. These practices have been associated with increased gray matter density in self-awareness, compassion, and introspection areas. Neuroplasticity suggests that the brain can adapt and reorganize itself, and prayer and meditation play a role in this process.

Lower Blood Pressure and Improved Cardiovascular Health: The relaxation response triggered by prayer and meditation reduces stress and positively affects cardiovascular health.  Studies have indicated that regular practice can lead to lower blood pressure, improved heart rate variability, and a decreased risk of heart disease. These physiological changes contribute to overall heart health and longevity.

This is just scratching the surface of the benefits of prayer and meditation. What is remarkable now is that we have science to back up what we have always known to be true in our spiritual practices. So, will you join me over the following weeks and try this? Who knows, you might just change your life for the better.

Sources:

Benson, H., Wilcher, M., Greenberg, B., Huggins, E., Ennis, M., Zuttermeister, P. C., … & Friedman, R. (2000). Academic performance among middle school students after exposure to a relaxation response curriculum. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 33(3), 156-165.

Davidson, R. J., & McEwen, B. S. (2012). Social influences on neuroplasticity: Stress and interventions to promote well-being. Nature Neuroscience, 15(5), 689-695.

Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., … & Ranasinghe, P. D. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(3), 357-368.

Masters, K. S., & Spielmans, G. I. (2007). Prayer and health: Review, meta-analysis, and research agenda. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 30(4), 329-338.

Tang, Y. Y., Hölzel, B. K., & Posner, M. I. (2015). The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 16(4), 213-225.

2024 FASNACHT SALE

Feb. 12 * 2pm – 7pm

Feb. 13 * 6am – Noon

Glazed, Powdered, Plain

Mark your Calendars for Monday and Tuesday, February 12th and 13th and look for the signup sheets in the narthex to see what time-frames you can help.  We need people on Monday morning to help bag and prepare the Fasnacht’s to sell, as well as Monday afternoon and early evening and Tuesday to sell to drive-thru customers. This is the first of two fundraisers to support our youth ministries. This event qualifies as a released time religious instruction under Pennsylvania state law so any middle or high school student is allowed to help out during school hours. Many hands make light work so if you can assist us on either of those two days, please sign up.

Thank you,

Bob Slade