From the Pastor…


On Sunday, January 7, 2024…wow, I can’t believe that we are entering a new year…we will celebrate the Baptism of the Lord.  Typically, on this Sunday, we recognize the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry.  We remember that Jesus presents himself to John to be baptized in the Jordan. The heavens open, the Holy Spirit descends as a dove and we hear the voice of God: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (see Psalm 2:7). As we begin a new calendar year, it is my hope that you will not only remember Jesus’ baptism, but also celebrate your own: the baptism we share with Christ.   As we begin a new calendar year, it is also my hope that you will remember God’s proclamation that Jesus is God’s Beloved Son, but also give thanks that you also are God’s Beloved child.

God’s Beloved Children!  Those who have been baptized into the family of God.  This is a wonderful gift.  A gift of grace.  It is also a responsibility!  Professor John Burgess of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary argues that “For too long baptism has been understood simply as a precondition to full, active membership in the church.  If, however, baptism is a commissioning to ministry in the church and the world, it requires full and active entry into a community that exercises encouragement and accountability for this ministry.”  If we are to take our baptism seriously then we need to need to be actively involved in the life of a local congregation.  Our baptism isn’t a get out of “hell card – FREE,” but a reminder that we are called to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In baptism, we are called to a new way of life as Christ’s disciples, sharing the good news of the gospel with all the world.  It is my prayer that you will remember you baptism, daily in 2024, share the good news of Jesus Christ and fully participate in the life of Christ’s family – the church!


In Christ,


Rev. Dr. Philip W. Oehler, Sr.