FirstPres Anderson

Occasional Musings from the Pastors of a Presbyterian Congregation

Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”

Jeremiah 3:15

may 2022

Pastor Dennis Tedder

 

 

As much as any Christ follower and more than so many of us, the apostle Paul devoted his entire daily living, energy and efforts to serving the mission of Jesus the Christ, through whom God brings salvation to the world.
Often and openly, Paul recalls with the Body of Christ his “credentials” for serving the young Church, as we hear in two of his epistles:

 

 

You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church… and was trying to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same sage, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. (Galatians 1:13-14, NRSV)

You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, presented for the Hebrew rite at eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the Church; blameless under the law. (Philippians 3:4-6)

As we shared in worship this past Confirmation Sunday, the risen Christ confronts Saul (not yet renamed Paul) even as he is “breathing threats and murders” against the Christian Way. Despite his dubious resume’ for serving as an “ambassador for Christ Jesus,” Saul, of all people, is God’s “chosen instrument” for sharing Christ more widely. Saul is the LAST person we’d EVER choose.

God sure makes some strange, startling choices.

On Confirmation Sunday, May 1, nine First Pres young people confirmed their baptisms by professing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Their confirmation in the Christian Way may not be as dramatic as Saul’s conversion long ago. However, just like Saul and all disciples, our Confirmands walk the Way by God’s choice and “with God’s help.”

All are baptized and may grow into our baptismal faith day by day, “chosen instruments” of Jesus Christ – not because of our achievements, pedigree, or status in society, but solely by God’s strange, startling GRACE.

God sure makes some strange, startling choices. But here we are. By the grace of God.

 

december 2021

Pastor Dennis Tedder

 

 

august 2021

Pastor Dennis Tedder

 

 

Blessed Late Summer, People of God!

Did anybody get new shoes for the new school year?  Even our most comfortable, dependable shoes begin to wear.  As we grow older, whether young or old, our feet change from growth or the wear and tear of age.

Even the most comfortable shoes do not suffice for every terrain or situation.  I am fortunate and have shoes for exercise, hiking, dressing up, or even hot days at the beach.  If we are growing, living, moving, we constantly need new shoes, which are sometimes less comfortable at first and need to be broken in.

One commentator points out that churches can function as “old shoe congregations,” where we find comfortable, predictable, unchanging circumstances.  Familiar faces and words in worship, even in the same pew every Sunday.

However, to cope with life’s complexity and the inevitable changes and challenges, especially these days, we need strong, adaptive faith.  

MAKING FAITH FORMATION A FIRST PRES PRIORITY ASKS:

 Are we growing in relationship to God through participation in our church?

Are we growing in knowledge of Scripture and the traditions of our church?

Are we giving signs of increased Christian commitment by the way we live?

Are we seen as a church radiating enthusiasm, love & joy?

Trying to broaden and deepen our faith may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, like a pair of new shoes.  

Making Faith Formation a First Pres and family priority helps us live into the scriptural call of Ephesians 4, “… building up the body of Christ”… cultivating “maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ… promoting the body’s growth in building itself up in love…”

June 2021

Pastor Dennis Tedder

 

 

Blessings, people of God!

Teilhard de Chardin wrote:

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. 
We would like to skip the intermediate stages.  We are impatient of being on the way to do something unknown, something new.
Yet it is the law of progress, that it is made by passing through some stages of instability, and that may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.

Only God could say what this new Spirit gradually in you will be…
 
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

Pressing problems give rise to the cry, “I just want this over!”  All of us can get caught up in desperate desires and hurried efforts to see some dramatic and instant resolution to life’s more formidable problems.  In the body of Christ, we remind each other that patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, but still, we get caught up and are impatient… “quite naturally impatient.”

A truth that I have held close for some time now comes from the book Resilience (Rick Hanson):

“It’s usually the small, undramatic, sustained efforts over time that make the difference.”

A Scripture to sustain us in trusting the slow work of God in and through us is Philippians 1:6:

“We are confident of this, that God, who began the good work within you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

That day is coming, good folks, in God’s time.  But we know it is coming because it is God’s time.

Blessed Late Summer, People of God!

Did anybody get new shoes for the new school year?  Even our most comfortable, dependable shoes begin to wear.  As we grow older, whether young or old, our feet change from growth or the wear and tear of age.

Even the most comfortable shoes do not suffice for every terrain or situation.  I am fortunate and have shoes for exercise, hiking, dressing up, or even hot days at the beach.  If we are growing, living, moving, we constantly need new shoes, which are sometimes less comfortable at first and need to be broken in.

One commentator points out that churches can function as “old shoe congregations,” where we find comfortable, predictable, unchanging circumstances.  Familiar faces and words in worship, even in the same pew every Sunday.

However, to cope with life’s complexity and the inevitable changes and challenges, especially these days, we need strong, adaptive faith.  

MAKING FAITH FORMATION A FIRST PRES PRIORITY ASKS:

 Are we growing in relationship to God through participation in our church?

Are we growing in knowledge of Scripture and the traditions of our church?

Are we giving signs of increased Christian commitment by the way we live?

Are we seen as a church radiating enthusiasm, love & joy?

Trying broaden and deepen our faith may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, like a pair of new shoes.  

Making Faith Formation a First Pres and family priority helps us live into the scriptural call of Ephesians 4, “… building up the body of Christ”… cultivating “maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ… promoting the body’s growth in building itself up in love…”

 

 

Dr. Dennis Tedder

Pastor
dennist@fpcandersonsc.com

Dennis holds a Master’s of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, and a Doctorate of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.

Encouraging First Pres disciples to share Jesus’ love with anyone, anywhere, anytime, any way possible is Dennis’ focus as your pastor. Called to serve as senior pastor at First Pres in 2006, he is in his 16th year preaching, teaching, and praying with the good folks of this church and the Anderson community. During these years, our church has grown in its understanding of local mission and service to the community. Now, with the addition of our new Welcome Center and renovation of our sanctuary, we look forward in faith to lively worship and fellowship together.

His primary pastoral goal going forward is to help our church re-imagine and refresh our ministries of faith formation, both on the personal and communal level.

Dennis and his wife, Anne, have two grown sons. He enjoys working out at the Y, Enduro cycling, and sharing meals with family and friends. He loves reading all genres of literature and has a difficult time naming his favorite movie.

Chad
Wright-Pittman

Associate Pastor
chadwp@fpcandersonsc.com

Chad was called to serve as Associate Pastor of Care and Outreach at First Presbyterian Church of Anderson in March of 2019. He holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education from Middle Tennessee State, a Master’s of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary, and two years of mission service with the Young Adult Volunteer Program of the PC(USA).

Chad is a pastor, thinker, teacher, musician, and general enthusiast for life. He is a lover of people, scripture, iced coffee, action, and reflection. Chad has previously served as the director of DOOR Atlanta where he encouraged young folks to “See the Face of God in the City” and to reflect on God’s call to love and serve each other by doing justly,

acting mercifully, and growing in humble relationship with our Creator. He hopes to see First Pres continue to grow in faith, authenticity, diversity, and connection to the wider Anderson community through gratitude for all that God has done for us in Christ.

He and his wife, Lauren, are building a home and community here in Anderson, SC with their dog, Rumi, and are enjoying kayaking, hiking, disc golfing, and brewery hopping all over the beautiful upstate.