This Week at John McMillan Presbyterian Church

In the movie Caddyshack, Bill Murray plays Carl Spackler, a groundskeeper at the country club Bushwood. Spackler is a ne’er-do-well fellow who claims to have caddied for the Dalai Lama on one occasion. This is the story:

So I jump ship in Hong Kong and I make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a [caddy] at a course over in the Himalayas. … I tell them I’m a pro [caddy], and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking. … So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

I’m not sure why, but this came to mind when I was writing the sermon for Sunday. Jesus tells a parable about a landowner who purportedly overpays workers who do little (and impliedly underpays those who worked much harder and who expect more). Spackler is given the honor of spending the day with the Dalai Lama. But he wants more. The Dalai Lama tells Spackler that he has been given total consciousness for the time spent with the Dalai Lama, because that is all the Dalai Lama has to give. There is no more. There is no less.

Really, Jeff? That is the same message as is taught in the parable. Maybe not quite, but it is something like that. Come and hear about it Sunday at 8:30 and 11 when Pastor Jeff preaches “Are We Entitled?” based on Matthew 20: 1-16. Come and hear.

This week at John McMillan Presbyterian Church

Love means never having to say you’re sorry? I don’t think so! I never read the book or saw the movie “Love Story”, but I do remember the most famous line: “Love means you never have to say you’re sorry.” Um … that is simply ridiculous. Love means having to say you’re sorry often. Really often. All the time! But we don’t like to do it. We need to be willing to admit fault. We need to ask for forgiveness. But it’s not human nature. And even if we do ask for forgiveness, there is the other side. The one we seek forgiveness from must forgive. And for most of us, that is harder than saying we are sorry. “I forgive you” are difficult words to say. Sometimes seemingly impossible. In these circumstances, how can there ever be peace? How can there ever be reconciliation? Redemption? Jesus has much to say on these points. We will explore them this Sunday at 8:30 and 11 when Pastor Jeff preaches “Forgiveness” based on Matthew 5: 21-26.

But there will be more. The world seems to be descending into hateful chaos. We appear to be more polarized in our opinions and biases and prejudices than any of us can remember. How can we ever reach out to those with whom we disagree, those we might consider enemies, and live in peace? We need God’s help! So, at 7pm Sunday evening, John McMillan Presbyterian Church will sponsor a Service of Prayer for Peace where we will gather and pray for peace in our community, country and world and light candles to bring light into a seemingly darkening world. Come and pray with us as Pastor Jeff preaches “Blessed are the Peacemakers” based on Matthew 5: 1-12.

This Week at John McMillan Presbyterian Church

Kick-Off Sunday!

Every morning I take my dogs to a cemetery near my house where I can let them run off leash. As I walk along the paved road that circumvents the cemetery, Lucy the vizsla and Roxy the dachshund run around the headstones. Over the years I have come to know, in a way, the people whose names are on the headstones. I stop from time to time and read the information on the headstones and wonder about the person memorialized there. What was that person’s life like? What was going on in the world when they lived?  What does that symbol carved into the headstone mean? Who is it that comes every so often and plants flowers or cleans up around the grave? Sometimes I see people there standing by a particular grave and I want to go over and ask them about the person they came to visit. That is what headstones are for. They are memorials to the lives of those buried beneath them. They remind us that there are stories there that need to be passed on to the next generation. Stories that remind us where we came from and who we are.

If you read the Old Testament, you will see many instances of the Israelites building alters, piling up stones, and naming wells (among other things) that commemorate events the people want to remember. These icons are supposed to be obvious, public and a bit mysterious. The purpose is to get people to ask about them so that the story can be told and passed on to the next generation and to history.

What does this have to do with this Sunday? It is Kick Off Sunday when we start the new program year, and more importantly, we kick off Sunday School. It is the beginning of a new season where we tell our stories of faith and fellowship while we answer the questions of those who come. So, come! Hear Pastor Jeff’s sermon “What Do These Stones Mean?” based on Joshua 4: 1-8. We are back to our regular hours of worship at 8:30 and 11 with Christian Education at 9:30. Come and join us. We will be looking forward to it.

 “Do this in Remembrance of Me” Sunday 17

Communion will be severed on Sunday Sept 17 at both services.  All are welcome at his table, come taste eternity.  “Do this in Remembrance of Me”.

Meals for Bond of Love

Bond of Love is a partnership between John McMillan Presbyterian Church and the First Presbyterian Church of Duquesne Family Support Centers.  Prenatal and Postnatal support meetings are provide to new mothers and mothers-to-be every other Thursday from 4:30-6:30 starting Sept 28.    To encourage participation (and, of course, support a healthy pregnancy!)  John McMillan has been asked to provide a full meal to the people who attend the meetings on the 4th Thursday of the month.  We are looking for healthy meals with veggies and fruit for approximately 4 people every month?  Will you help create a healthy beginning for a new member of God’s family?  Call the church office for details.

Prayer for Peace Service Sept 17, 7:00 PM

Service of Prayer for Peace: The world seems to be descending into chaotic conflict and intolerance that too often ends in violence. We at John McMillan Presbyterian Church are committed to standing against hate and proclaiming Jesus’ call to peace and reconciliation. Any effort to stand for peace must begin with confession and prayer. On September 17 at 7pm, John McMillan Presbyterian Church will hold a worship service focused on peace in our community, our country and our world. We will unite our voices in liturgy and pray for peace. We will ask God to intervene and to tell us how our community as a whole and we as individuals can make a difference in our broken world. The service, like all services at JMPC is open to the public and we encourage people of all faiths to come and join together as we bring light into a dark time.

Peace Service
September 17th , Sunday
7:00 pm

Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief-US Hurricane Response

John McMillan will be collecting a special hurricane offering for the people of Houston this Sunday September 3, 2017.  All funds collected will go directly to disaster relief.

If you would prefer to donate on-line the Presbyterian Mission (PCUSA) has site set up for the victims of Hurricane Harvey click here.

Thank you

The OPEN TABLE Mission

What happens when a society, failing to transform poverty millions at a time, begins to transform poverty one at a time?

Would you like to take an active part in transforming the lives of people in poverty? “Igniting the human potential is simple: Relationship.”

The mission of the OPEN TABLE is to provide a model that empowers faith communities to move from transactional to transformational relationships with the poor – one life and one family at a time.  The OPEN TABLE model provides support groups for people living in poverty, who want to move forward in their lives. “Rather than investing their old clothes, Table members invest what they have learned on their life journeys and connect to their personal networks in their congregations and community to bring skill building, services and door opening to the plan.”

The First Presbyterian Church of Duquesne sponsors Tables in order to help young adults living in poverty to move forward in life. John McMillan members provide  life specialists, support, and advocates. Over the course of a year, the Table works together to set goals, foster accountability, and implement a plan to create change.

If you are interested in learning more about serving on this Table please contact Dan Zearley here at John McMillan or Rev. Judi Slater from Duquesne at or 412-370-4601.

Sojourner House

John McMillan Church has a mission that donates to Sojourner House in Pittsburgh which as provided safe, independent housing and supportive services for homeless, single, dual-diagnosed women in recovery and their dependent children.

The MOMS (Motivation Opportunities Mentoring Spirituality) program focuses on strengthening family relationships, promoting self-sufficiency, long term sobriety, and mental health.

We are doing an on going collection for diapers, twin sheets, and kitchen supplies.  Please bring these items to church and place them in the box in the Narthex.

Vacation Bible School June 26-30

June 26-30, 2017 from 9:00am – 12:00Noon. This year we will be traveling to Camp Kilimanjaro, where the kids will join us on an epic expedition through the Proverbs, where they will hear, see, touch, feel, and even smell the wisdom from God. Hands on service projects and many other activities will help kids experience a Vacation Bible School (VBS) adventure like no other! All children age 3 (with one year preschool experience) through completed 6th grade are welcome to register. Cost is $15.00 May 22-June 15 and $25.00 after June 15. Volunteers are also needed. If you have completed 7th grade, you can help in the classroom or work with crafts, music or recreation. Forms are located in the Narthex. Contact the church office at 412-833-4704 with questions.