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United Church of Christ
National Site

285 West National Drive
Newark, Ohio 43055
(740) 323-2407


April Pastor's message

Dear members and friends of St. John’s:

By now, many of you know that I don’t eat chocolate. Not as many of you know that I don’t drink coffee. I’ve never even tasted it.

But I’ve always loved the smell of it. When I went to the grocery store with my parents, you would never guess that my favorite aisle was not where they sold the candy, but where they ground the coffee beans.

“The best part of waking up,” was the smell and sound of coffee percolating in the kitchen. It meant that mom was making breakfast and available for a chat, dad was getting home from the night shift, and Uncle Ray would soon be stopping by with his latest flea market treasures.

The best part of our Christian Faith can be found in the fellowship. In Ministry Matters, Donna Schaper writes: “At coffee hour, we share the hospitality we proclaim. We feel the grace we have acknowledged.”

Many people judge a congregation by its coffee hour - especially newcomers. They can tell by the feel in the room, whether they are welcome or not. Coffee hour embodies the welcome Jesus gives us to his realm. Its goal is ordinary intimacy - kitchen talk. It is our weekly chance to demonstrate the love of God incarnate to one another, and to all who walk through our doors.

In this new normal of not being able to worship inside of our own churches, there are certain things that cannot be replicated with drive-in services and live-streaming - like the smells and sounds of coffee percolating.

My most fervent prayer is that sometime during this month of April, there will be a return to the old normal. That means, Charlie will be making the coffee for in-between services, and committees will be bringing in cookies. Most importantly, people will be made to feel welcome, because St. John’s is the kind of place that shares the hospitality it proclaims.

And my greatest hope is that the new normal will find our church pews filled once more, as members and friends demonstrate the love of God incarnate to all who walk through the doors. One of the most important lessons we can learn from the Coronavirus Pandemic, is that we need God and each other more than ever. It is so much better when we are together!

My brothers and sisters in Christ, it’s time to come home to St. John’s where amazing and awesome things happen. You may even find your pastor having his first cup of coffee with a chocolate chip cookie. With God, all things are possible!

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Mark

P.S. - While you and I are waiting for things to get back to normal, don’t forget that Jesus is always available for a chat and to share a cup of coffee!

Rev. Mark Katrick