Boiling Springs Christian Outreach Newsletter
CONGREGATIONAL MEETING ON SUNDAYS, APRIL 25 and MAY 16
A meeting of the Congregation/Corporation of the Boiling Springs Presbyterian Church, Spring Church, Pennsylvania, will be held on Sunday, 25 April 2021 AND on Sunday, 16 May 2021, at 12 noon in the Pavilion for the following purpose
An update of our session’s conversations with the session of the Apollo United
Presbyterian Church about considering either partnership or merger with the
Apollo U. P. Church (we need every member’s questions and comments).
–Patti Townsend, Clerk of Session
WELCOME to our New Members
Gabriel Ryan Kavulic
Favorite school subject: math and gym
Recent book read: Alicia: My Story by Alicia Appleman-Jurman
Hobbies: baseball, basketball, unicycle, harmonica, trombone
Current career goal: 3-D design
Some special people include: Mom, Dad, brother Nathan, grandparents
Dreams/Hopes include: traveling the world
Plans to give to the church, help with setting up church events, and continue participating in youth group.
Lacey Nicole Ray
Favorite school subject: art
Recent book read: The Outisders by S. E. Hinton
Hobbies: running (cross country and track), diving, trampoline, painting, swimming, trumpet
Current career goal: interior designer
Some special people include: Mom, Dad, brother Brandon, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles
Dreams/Hopes include traveling anywhere
Plans to give to the church by providing joy and music and donations
Peter Bower via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 621 - 0367.
CALLED TO THE LIFE OF UNLIKENESS (April 2021)
"Gun violence” (homicides, suicides, and accidents) kills about 40,000 Americans each year which approximates the annual death toll of flu season (35,000), vehicle accidents (39,000), breast cancer (42,000), liver disease (43,000), and pancreatic cancer (45,000). Though people seem unified on reducing if not eliminating all of these causes of death, the many moving parts of public opinion complicate matters when it comes to gun safety measures.
First, overwhelming evidence says our country has a one-of-a-kind problem in the world with gun violence, mostly attributed to our one-of-a-kind gun availability in the world. Not only are there more civilian-owned guns per resident in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world, but our per resident rate is at least 500% more than anywhere else in the world (we have LOTS and LOTS of guns!).
Second, 2017 statistics illustrate that the huge variance in gun-related deaths per million residents in high-income countries is not just sickening, but the U.S. rate is appallingly 500% more than the 2nd highest in the world:
124 - United States
26 - France
25 - Canada
23 - Russia
22 - Italy
Where is the outrage? The disgust?
Third, yes, “mass shootings” (a minimum of 4 deaths) horrify us but such gruesome acts account for only ¼ of 1% of gun deaths. In contrast, nearly 60% of gun-related deaths are not even homicides but suicides which receive far less attention than homicides (recognizing that many acts of mass-homicide are also suicides). Suicides, however, seem to be an unmentionable subject, a hush-hush topic about which nobody talks but everybody knows.
Remember this though: whatever your medium of news information – tv, radio, internet, or newspaper – you will encounter reports on homicidal and accidental deaths resulting from gun violence. Maybe a drive-by shooting of some people, or a child unwittingly discharging an unsecured gun into a younger sibling. Whatever the situation and total aggregate of homicides, remember to double it as that is the relative number of gun-related suicides that did not make the headlines on the same day (on average, 130+ suicides–more than half by gun–every day of the year in the U.S.)
Fourth, mental health disorders and substance use maladies are the most significant risk factors for suicidal behaviors. And access to lethal means like firearms increases that risk of suicide. Public health researchers cite studies that indicate suicide attempts often occur shortly after people decide to kill themselves, so when the impulse strikes, people with a gun nearby are more likely to use it than those who have to wait or plan. They are not going to go shopping for a gun or build one with materials from the local hardware store to finish the job.
Suicide by gun is easy, quick, and almost always fatal. That single fact alone draws a straight line from gun ownership to self-inflicted gun deaths: the precious yet fragile gift of life instantly blown away by a bullet. Guns in the home can make self-harm both easy and deadly (check out the ghastly statistics on domestic violence that reaches for the extreme solution of a gun).
Any reasonable person recognizes that any strategy that makes gun suicides more inconvenient or difficult can save lives. Hence, any plan to reduce suicidal behaviors must include making it hard to obtain the means to successfully kill oneself. And, since guns are by far the easiest, quickest, and most reliable means, it logically follows that making it problematic to obtain a gun will reduce suicides and homicides. In Israel, for example, a high suicide rate proliferated among members of the military. But, in 2006, the army started prohibiting soldiers from taking their service weapons home on weekends. The suicide rate fell by 40%.
However, many gun safety measures that politicians propose to reduce the number of homicides and mass shootings would have a limited effect on gun suicides. For example, efforts to ban assault weapons or to reduce the number of bullets that could be loaded into a gun probably will not make suicide any less likely.
But other measures meant to prevent gun homicides might have an effect on gun suicides, particularly protocols designed to identify and help people with mental health needs. We so desperately need some common sense solutions today, starting with prevention which is the first step to dialing down accidents as well as impulsive acts to harm oneself:
* alcoholics need to stay far from alcohol
* gamblers need to stay far from casinos
* people suffering from mental health issues need to stay far from guns
It is easy to say to “keep guns out of the hands of mentally or emotionally ‘unstable’ people.”
* But what is the commonly agreed upon objective criteria that defines “unstable”?
* Who decides who meets that definition of “unstable”?
* If someone is deemed unstable, then what? Any other courses of action other than keeping firearms out of the hands of such people?
* Do we have viable mental health systems to treat such issues?
* And what systems we do have, are they sufficiently funded and staffed?
* How even to identify “unstable” people because most do not seek professional help.
Conversely, some people offer the argument that only unstable people want to have guns in their homes. In fact, what does it say about our society that so many people feel they need to have a gun (not intended for hunting). If so, then why settle for merely a gun when you could legally obtain a shotgun or submachine gun or an assault rifle.
Unless and until we expose the bogus assertion that guns in homes, schools, and workplaces somehow make people safer, there is little chance of any real reduction in gun suicides. In 1896, Charles Sheldon published what soon became his widely read book “In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do,” often abbreviated to WWJD. The main character, the Rev. Henry Maxwell, challenges his congregation to refrain from doing anything until first asking: “What Would Jesus Do?” A challenging life principle to follow but, since we are unable to ask Jesus what he would do given our current dilemma, we do not ultimately know what Jesus would do. No biblical text, however, supports or suggests or even hints that Jesus would holster a gun or lock one in a tool chest in his carpenter’s shop.
On the contrary, during the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus commanded the person in his group who drew his sword to defend Jesus, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52) which condemns a culture of violence and vilifies packing iron–concealed or open carry.
Our reality is that gun safety is a political wedge issue that instantly sets off alarm bells when talk shifts to regulations about firearm ownership, much less physically taking away guns (such as via red flag laws). As a political strategy, such proposals are doomed to fail. Likewise, trying to scare people about murder and suicide rates. Maybe we need to ramp up our unlikely actions of showing and telling others about the (gun-less) peaceable kingdom of abundant life in the name of Christ!
–Peter C. Bower
“2021 Summer Outing: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis”
When: Saturday, 28 August 2021, @ 4:30 p.m.
Supper at the Bower’s home in the Burgh
cost: $25.00 per person
(includes Brunch AND game ticket)
(make checks payable to “Boiling Springs Presbyterian Church”)
(+ indicate at bottom: “Pirates Game”)
Preference to first 37 individuals to sign up AND pay.
NOTE: At the moment, the Pirates are limiting their seating capacity to only 25%, but have guaranteed that we will be part of that 25% for this game. So, you now may sign up on the sheet in the hallway, but we shall continue to monitor this situation. And, whatever the outcome, please SAVE THIS DATE as we shall substitute another churchwide activity if necessary.
5 Bob Felgar
12 Bill R. North
21 Lois Rupert
Brooke Lyn Kuntz
22 Florence Benninger
24 Joshua Dunmire
Lacey Nicole Ray
28 Kayla Stewart
29 C.K. Lui
30 Maurisa Sloan
27 Sherry and Joe Klonowski
UNDERSTANDING CORPORATE WORSHIP: Threefold Nature of Our Confession
We know how difficult is it to live faithfully as God’s people. Therefore the opening words and actions of adoration in our corporate worship lead us to make our Confession in the sequence and manner established more than 450 years ago by our sisters and brothers in Christ in the Reformed tradition.
1. Call to Confession manifests the time-honored principle that mercy precedes repentance, that God’s grace is prior to our confession. The “call to confession” offers us the very “ground of confessing” because this announcement of God’s mercy invites us to confess the brokenness in our lives.
2. Corporate Prayer of Confession (of Sin) is a confession of the community of faith. John Calvin is credited with the introduction of “corporate confession of sin” into Christian worship for he changed the pronoun from the first person singular (“I”) to the first person plural (“we”), and asked that pastors lead their people in such prayer as the first act of worship each Lord’s Day. (See John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volume III, iv, 11).
3. Declaration of Pardon proclaims God’s faithfulness. This extremely Protestant act verges on being a mini-sermon for it announces the Gospel in miniature. Our lives are redeemed by the saving grace of God. God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. An important principle to remember about the declaration of pardon: The leader may declare it, but God gives it.
Please take the opportunity to pass along this understanding of corporate worship to the children of this congregation.
The gift that keeps on giving to God’s ceaseless quest to
reconcile all people in the name of Christ (Ephesians 1:10)
Consider a gift to our BSPC Endowment Fund
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The Christian Outreach Newsletter
Boiling Springs Presbyterian Church
P. O. Box 154
Corner of Route 56 and Ridge Road
Spring Church, PA 15686
Telephone number: 724-478-1523