Cathedral grounds are now open. Please do not visit if you feel sick or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the past 14 days. Practice social distancing and avoid gathering in groups. Masks and face coverings are encouraged.

Past Messages

Previous Messages from the Pastors

A Thousand Times Better

A Thousand Times Better

Written by on June 30, 2020

One of the hardest things about being a good person is that being bad feels so fun. We are faced with a very strong desire to do something that is immediately pleasurable, and we oppose that with a quieter inner sense that this act would be harmful or against the commandments. The strength of feeling […]

A World of Consequences

A World of Consequences

Written by on June 23, 2020

We live in a world in which our choices carry consequences. The infectious nature of Covid-19 has brought this reality to many people’s attention and yet for others they discount the importance of acting differently from what seems intuitive to them. Even apart from infectious diseases, the Lord wants us to see that our choices […]

250th Anniversary!

250th Anniversary!

Written by on June 15, 2020

This Friday, as noted elsewhere in this issue, we celebrate the 250th anniversary of the beginning of the New Church, remembering that sweetest of all days in June 1770. Even though this event is almost completely unrecognized in this world, its magnitude and importance can’t be overstated. It is literally the solution to every problem […]

When the Going Gets Tough…

When the Going Gets Tough…

Written by on June 8, 2020

When life seems crazy and many of the natural norms that guide our thinking gets shaken up, one norm never changes.  Our minds, at their core, are spiritual organs created by the Lord to constantly receive life-giving force from Him. The thoughts and feelings we experience are a direct effect of spiritual associations and influx […]

Violence and Peace

Violence and Peace

Written by on June 2, 2020

We cringe in horror and cry with grief when we see violence break out in our streets or homes. Our natural reaction is, Make it stop! When people steal, injure, and kill, they should be locked up. They should be made to suffer so much that they will never want to hurt people again. Is […]

A Taste of Heaven

A Taste of Heaven

Written by on May 29, 2020

Today I am thinking about the sincerity that comes in hard times. In my daily reading this morning, I came across a passage that describes people from another planet who speak with very expressive faces. We read, “The reason the speech of the spirits there was as described is that they are incapable of presence, […]

The Paradox of Thrift

The Paradox of Thrift

Written by on May 18, 2020

The Paradox of Thrift is the theory that increased savings in the short term can reduce savings, or rather the ability to save, in the long term. The theory originated with the famous economist John Maynard Keynes, who noted that saving money would reduce the amount of money that people spend and invest. The resulting […]

What Makes the Church Really Be a Church?

What Makes the Church Really Be a Church?

Written by on May 11, 2020

We know that a building and attractive grounds don’t fundamentally define the quality of a church. They’re useful, but by themselves they accomplish little. Having a knowledgeable and energetic staff also doesn’t make the church. Even having an energetic congregation doesn’t make a church truly be what a church should be. Doing lots isn’t enough. […]

Spring

Spring

Written by on May 5, 2020

I’ve been enjoying spending time outside recently in the beautiful spring weather. It is nice to feel the warmth of the sun after the cold of winter. I’ve been thinking lately about how wonderful the springtime feels, and why that is. The Writings say that Heaven is in a perpetual state of spring: “The sun […]

Smells

Smells

Written by on April 28, 2020

I’ve been taking advantage of the nicer weather and getting out into my garden a lot. I have tried to plant as many fragrant plants as possible because I love having beautiful smells around me. I spent some time smelling my viburnum, apple blossoms, and lilacs. But I also happened on a plant that was […]

Being Served and Serving

Being Served and Serving

Written by on April 21, 2020

Jesus made a powerful observation to His disciples when He stated that He “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). A traditional view of a congregation is that the members of the congregation are served by the pastor or the pastoral staff, and this is appropriate and useful. It is however […]

Easter Miracle

Easter Miracle

Written by on April 14, 2020

As we do our social distancing, we are getting a steady stream of news, facts and reflections about our situation. Whether these are comparisons with the epidemic of 1918, or thoughts on why certain items are now so hard to buy, they are often useful and interesting. What would a New Church perspective add to […]

They Did Not Believe

They Did Not Believe

Written by on April 7, 2020

On Easter morning when the Lord appeared to the women who came to the tomb, they went and told the disciples that they had seen the Lord, alive. In the Gospel of Mark we read, “[Mary Magdalene] went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard […]

Healing Disease with Disease

Healing Disease with Disease

Written by on March 30, 2020

It is never the Lord’s will that people suffer from disease. The Lord’s only goal is our eternal happiness, and everything that comes from Him is good—all the time, to all people. “The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm 145:9) The literal sense of the Word […]

The Lord’s Presence During This Crisis

The Lord’s Presence During This Crisis

Written by on March 23, 2020

I’m sure all of you have been spending a lot of time making sure that you are keeping yourself and your family safe, and that you are keeping others safe as well. Safety and surviving is such an all-consuming focus that it’s kind of inevitable that our minds are drawn into material concerns. How do […]

The Hand of Providence

The Hand of Providence

Written by on March 17, 2020

In 1918 Philadelphia was the epicenter of the greatest epidemic in world history in terms of the number of lives lost, with 16,000 dying in the city that year, and something like 50 million worldwide. It was the Spanish flu and it had a significant impact on Bryn Athyn, with many coming down with it, […]

The Water Works

The Water Works

Written by on March 2, 2020

Last weekend I got the chance to visit the Fairmount Water Works, which is behind the Philadelphia Art Museum, on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. It’s a wonderful place to visit, with beautiful parks and walkways by the river. And it also houses a museum in the spot where the Water Works used to supply […]

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

Written by on February 25, 2020

This Wednesday, February 26, is Ash Wednesday the beginning of Lent, the six-week period leading up to Easter. People all over will have a smudge of ash on their forehead, symbolizing the beginning of Lent with a day of prayer and fasting. In the General Church, we do not usually observe Ash Wednesday or Lent, […]

Cooperating with the Lord

Cooperating with the Lord

Written by on February 18, 2020

When things aren’t going as well as we would like, sometimes we say to ourselves, “I’ll just try harder!” This can be exactly what we need to do, but in other situations, it is a recipe for failure. When things aren’t going well in some area of our life, it can be an indicator that […]

Love One Another as I have Loved You

Love One Another as I have Loved You

Written by on February 11, 2020

This Friday is Valentine’s Day when we celebrate love, and romantic love in particular. Although many of the traditions surrounding this celebration can feel commercialized, the fact is it wouldn’t work if there wasn’t something in us wanting to belong and connect at a deep level. We read about married love: “There is no love […]

Angels Teaching and Leading to Heaven

Angels Teaching and Leading to Heaven

Written by on February 4, 2020

Last weekend I officiated the memorial service of my grandfather Jack Rose. In thinking about his love for teaching people about the New Church, I was reminded of this passage: “Angels really do love everyone. They want nothing more than to help people, to teach them, to lead them into heaven. This is their highest […]

Swedenborg and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Swedenborg and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Written by on January 28, 2020

Last week, we celebrated Swedenborg’s and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthdays only one week apart, due to quirks of the calendar. I like this because it is an opportunity to highlight one of the similarities in their messages. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a celebration of civil rights, of the equality of all people, […]

MARCH 18, 2020 SOCIETY MEETING ON  OUR POTENTIAL FACILITIES PROJECT

MARCH 18, 2020 SOCIETY MEETING ON OUR POTENTIAL FACILITIES PROJECT

Written by on January 21, 2020

As some of you are aware, the Bryn Athyn Church School, pastoral staff office and Society Building have been developed over many years. The first building was the primary classroom building completed in 1954. Since then five significant phases of construction have occurred averaging less than eight years apart, the most recent being the upper […]

All In

All In

Written by on January 13, 2020

We have been visiting family up in Toronto this weekend and I have been struck and touched yet again by how full-hearted children are. When we walk into the house, our grandchildren come running at us and throw themselves at us. We grow out of that whole-heartedness, and we know we need to. We have […]

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

Written by on January 6, 2020

Happy New Year! The story of the Lord’s birth at Christmas time brings a wonderful hope for better things to come. When Jesus began His public ministry, He began to teach people how to reach for those better things. And it begins with the process of repentance: “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of […]

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Written by on December 31, 2019

Bryn Athyn has not usually made much of New Year celebrations in recent times. There are private parties but few community events. That wasn’t always the case. In the past there were community balls, dinners, church services at midnight and/or dawn, and even those who counted the New Year at June 19th. New Church Life […]

The Lord Drawing Near

The Lord Drawing Near

Written by on December 17, 2019

The Lord was born that He might draw near to all human beings. He was born that we might know Him as a Human God. He was born that He might give us the strength and the understanding to better follow Him. He was born into this world so that He might lead us freely […]

The Joy of Tableaux

The Joy of Tableaux

Written by on December 10, 2019

This is tableaux week, one of the best weeks of my year, even if it is very busy. It is such a joy to see 120+ people give up a lot of time to be part of depicting the Lord’s birth on earth. The wonderful thing is that many people who participate say this is […]

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

Written by on December 3, 2019

As the Christmas season begins, I’m looking forward to putting up Christmas lights. Christmas lights, almost without fail, can bring a smile to my face, and warmth to my heart, even as my fingers are freezing. I love the tradition of Christmas lights during the Christmas season. The Lord’s coming in the world is so […]

For He is Good

For He is Good

Written by on November 26, 2019

If we pay attention, we all have a lot of things to be thankful for. The people that we love and who love us would be at the top of our lists, but there are many other things on the list: the powerful and healing truths of the Word; the basic safety of food, shelter […]

The Charter Day Video 2019

The Charter Day Video 2019

Written by on November 19, 2019

Last week the Academy put up a new video on the Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools YouTube channel titled “Charter Day 2019.” The four-minute film shows scenes from this year’s Charter Day celebrations, accompanied by a voice-over of Rev. Mark Pendleton giving the Charter Day address at the Cathedral. Rev. Pendleton did an […]

Peace

Peace

Written by on November 12, 2019

As I write this, it is Monday morning, approaching the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the hour the Armistice was signed ending the Great War 101 years ago. This moment is a time for gratitude that war can come to an end, and a time to remember both those who […]

What Does the Lord Require of Us?

What Does the Lord Require of Us?

Written by on November 6, 2019

The answer to the above question given through the prophet Micah is, “To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) Is this a heavy burden? Sometimes it certainly seems to be one. When we are strongly inclined to do something that is unjust, lacking in mercy, or arrogant […]

HALLOWE’EN

HALLOWE’EN

Written by on October 29, 2019

On Thursday this week, we celebrate Hallowe’en, loved by children because of its costumes and candy. Its origins are Catholic, celebrating the eve of All Saints Day. Here is something from Wikipedia about it: Hallowe’en (a contraction of Hallows’ Even or Hallows’ Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is […]

Finding Innocence

Finding Innocence

Written by on October 22, 2019

When we look at children, we can marvel at their unselfconscious innocence. There is so much charm in their willingness to trust and to see the good in things. The spontaneous affection they can show pierces my heart, as I’m sure it does yours. Children’s innocence is beautiful but brittle because children are helpless to […]

I Will Fear No Evil (Psalm 23:4)

I Will Fear No Evil (Psalm 23:4)

Written by on October 15, 2019

What will tomorrow bring? None of us knows for sure. But each of us has patterns of expectation that color our perspective. These patterns of expectation are fostered by communities of spirits in the next life and can tend to be either healthy and hopeful or destructive and negative in outlook. Our view of the […]

Angels

Angels

Written by on October 7, 2019

This past weekend many visitors came to Bryn Athyn to enjoy Charter Day celebrations. Someone I had not seen in 45 years greeted me with a warm smile and a bear hug. There is something wonderful about reuniting with people with whom we have shared values and faith. It was particularly heartwarming to see the […]

Society Semi-Annual Meeting Reflections

Society Semi-Annual Meeting Reflections

Written by on October 1, 2019

We had a very interesting semi-annual meeting last week and I thought I would highlight a couple of things that came up because they have implications for the congregation going forward. Rev. Eric Carswell raised the issue of quorums at our meetings. Our bylaws state that we need to have at least 150 people present […]

Swedenborg Foundation News

Swedenborg Foundation News

Written by on September 24, 2019

As we officially begin the fall season this week, the Swedenborg Foundation just had its fall Board meeting this past weekend, held at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern. There are 16 board members, plus assorted associate board members and staff. This week we celebrated the fact that Lisa Hyatt Cooper has just completed the translation […]

Led by the Light and Shade of the Lord’s Providence

Led by the Light and Shade of the Lord’s Providence

Written by on September 10, 2019

I’ve enjoyed the warm weather this summer, but as the summer begins its slow change into autumn, I’m looking forward to the cooler weather. My fair skin is easily burned, and during the blistering heat of summer, I often seek out the refuge and comfort of the shade, away from the sun. Bryn Athyn Church […]

Hurricanes

Hurricanes

Written by on September 3, 2019

High winds and flooding have destroyed or damaged 13,000 homes in the most powerful hurricane to hit the Bahamas since records were kept. Along with the 185 mph winds are political storms—debates over whether people have made the weather worse. Some passages from the Word that seem to attribute the storms to the Lord: Thus […]

Free Books

Free Books

Written by on August 27, 2019

At last Sunday evening’s organ vespers, attended by over 350 people most of whom were not members of the congregation, we gave away plenty of books. We have a good supply of books of the Writings in Russian, but we almost never sell any of them. Quite a few people were at the vespers who […]

The Spiritual Needs and Natural Needs

The Spiritual Needs and Natural Needs

Written by on August 20, 2019

The Lord guided Swedenborg to inscribe the beginning of the first volume of the Arcana Caelestia with the quotation: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) Some might think that these words are a call to attend only to spiritual ideas and […]

Celebrating the Sun

Celebrating the Sun

Written by on August 13, 2019

On this very pleasant summer day, I hear the distant drone of a lawnmower and the quiet swish of my dishwasher, but the dominant sounds in my ears are the cicadas, crickets and birds. Crickets make fairly good thermometers. Dolbear’s Law says that you can count the number of chirps a cricket makes in 14 […]

Just Right

Just Right

Written by on August 5, 2019

We all know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Papa bear’s porridge was too hot, and mama bear’s porridge was too cold, but baby bear’s was just right. I doubt many of you would say the weather recently has been just right. It’s been a very hot summer, with records being set all […]

News from the Swedenborg Foundation

News from the Swedenborg Foundation

Written by on July 30, 2019

I don’t know how many readers of the Post are also regular viewers of the “Swedenborg and Life” YouTube series, with Curtis Childs and Rev. Dr. Jonathan Rose. I was excited to see that their YouTube channel now has over 77,000 subscribers, and that a video posted on June 24 has 106,645 views as of […]

Finding Joy

Finding Joy

Written by on July 8, 2019

The theme for Laurel Camp this year is “Finding Joy.” The Lord wants all of us to get to experience joy, because that is who He is: “As God is love itself, He is also blessedness itself… and happiness itself.” (True Christianity 43.4) The Lord wants to share His joy with us forever, which is […]

Independence Day

Independence Day

Written by on July 2, 2019

The Lord said to Israel through Moses, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) Moses said these words when the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness to the edge of the promised land of Canaan. They had been freed […]

Bryn Athyn Regional Clergy Meetings

Bryn Athyn Regional Clergy Meetings

Written by on June 25, 2019

This past week, after the wonderful indoor pageant celebrating June 19th on a day that was too rainy for a picnic, Bryn Athyn Church hosted the regional clergy meetings. About 25 ministers attended, and there were eleven presentations. The following were the topics discussed: • New Bishop’s Session (Rt. Rev. Peter Buss, Jr.): Pete discussed […]

What Comes First?

What Comes First?

Written by on June 18, 2019

Often in life, we are faced with putting one thing ahead of another and what we choose to put first has a huge effect on all the other things. Is work the priority at this point or is it my family? Is being assertive or accommodating what needs to take the lead in this situation? […]

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