Archive for the ‘from the pastor’s desk’ Category

Happy Holidays!

Hi All!
Many of you know of my struggles with eating too much and weight gain. In going through my files, I found this gem that I want to share with you. ritten by Sharon Sward, president of Eating Disorder Professionals of Colorado, author of You Are More Than What You Weigh and radio talk show host on self-esteem, weight, and eating disorders.

What if:
Hunger means you eat when physically hungry instead
of emotionally hungry.
Attitudes about your size has to do with the size of your
heart instead of the size of your body.
Parents accept and value you for who you are, not
according to how you look.
Problems are resolved in ways other than stuffing your
feelings with food.
You spend as much time and energy helping others, as
you do on how you look.

Happiness comes from within rather than from
expectations of others.
Occasions for the holidays emphasize relating to others
instead of emphasizing food.
Love of self means you deserve to treat yourself in the
best humanly possible way.
Identity of self involves more than how you look.
Disapproval of self is changed to approval of who you
Acceptance of what one can not change includes your
body features.
You treat yourself as you treat your best friend.
Society values you for being you without emphasis to
your weight or size.

Enjoy this new year ahead of us all as we work to make changes together.

Lori Esslinger
Part-time pastor

Linda and I recently embarked on a mission of mercy.  A friend of mine posted a player piano on Facebook and said that it was for sale.  It was at the home of her brother.  I love player pianos and believed that if I could find a great home for it, it would be loved and enjoyed by many.  I asked Linda if she thought that the South Mountain Memory Care facility in Emmaus, where Linda is a key volunteer, would be willing to provide a place for this unique instrument.  I was planning to offer a donation to the family to whom it belonged and then donate it to the facility.  They said Yes!  So we embarked on getting it moved to the facility from its home in Wescosville.  The player piano was built in 1890 and is very heavy.  After consulting with John Kahle of Emmaus to have him move the piano, he decided he needed more help to move it from a split level home that had plenty of stairs to get to the location of the piano.  With financial assistance from the family who owned it, Linda and her mother, Jane, we were able to have it moved to South Mountain Memory Care and it even sounded in tune when someone at the home played it without the mechanism for the player piano part.  We were all thrilled.  Right before the piano was moved, the owner, Ken (Butch), died of cancer.  Ken treasured his piano and he was delighted to know that it was going to a place where the sounds of music will live on.

Upon attempts to get it to play with the player mechanism, Linda discovered that it needed quite a bit of repair. After many phone calls, Linda was able to get in touch with a man who still did repairs on player pianos (a rare art).  His name is Les Beebe from Medford, NJ.  The piano had to be moved to his shop in New Jersey!  After only a short while, Les did some miracles and it has been restored!  Les is 81 years young!  Soon the piano will be transported back to South Mountain Memory Care in Emmaus.  A celebration and dedication of the piano are being planned and we would like to invite you all to be present.

As you can imagine, all of this work and moving the piano several times, has cost lots of money.  We are planning to take a Joyful Noise offering sometime in October to help defray the expenses.  If you feel so compelled to help with this offering, we would appreciate your generosity.  If you wish further details, please speak with me or Linda.  I am amazed at the level of commitment Linda showed to this worthy instrument and the wonderful people she has met along the way.  When you embark on a mission of mercy, you just never know what you might be called upon to do.

Peace to all,
Pastor Lori

For the New Year

As we begin the new year, it might be helpful to find a mantra or a prayer to hold close to your heart this year on your journey through life. I have found that the Prayer of St. Francis is a helpful stabilizing set of words that bring gentleness and comfort to the forefront. “In most of the published versions of the prayer, the text is abridged, paraphrased, and/or copyrighted. Below is the complete original text from its earliest known publication (1912, in French, copyright expired), alongside a line-by-line English translation.” (source Wikipedia) I have only provided the English version for you. May this bring a focus for us all as we move into 2019.

English translation

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

Peace to all,

Pastor Lori


Someone said that money can buy a bed, but it can’t buy you sleep. It can buy you books, but not brains. It can buy you food, but not an appetite. It can buy a house, but not a home. It can buy medicine, but it can’t buy health. It can buy all kinds of amusements, but it can’t buy happiness. Money can buy a fine dog, but only love will make the dog wag its tail.

What kind of wealth do you want? We celebrate the wealth of God’s love in Jesus Christ. The wealth of God’s love brings us what the wealth of the world cannot touch: Peace, understanding, fulfillment, life. These things are eternal.

In Milan, Italy, there is a great cathedral with three doors. On the door to the right is written: “All that pleases lasts only for a moment.” The door on the left proclaims: “All that troubles lasts only for a moment.” And the large center door reminds all that approach: “Nothing is important except that which is eternal.” In this life you will experience pleasures and troubles. What lasts forever is the wealth of God in Jesus. (author unknown)

Take this time this Advent and Christmas season to ponder the wealth of God in Jesus that you have. It will change your life.

Blessings to all for a Peace-filled holiday,

Pastor Lori

Do you know somebody?

Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. That seems to be a good thought for all of us. Think with me about how much we need somebody in this church family. There is no importance placed upon the manner or the list in which I write about somebody.

  • Let’s address somebody who unlocked the church so we could enter.
  • How about somebody who was a greeter or an usher?
  • Do not forget somebody who made the lists for those jobs.
  • Somebody on the worship committee had a hand in our church service.
  • The hymnals were provided by somebody.
  • Oh, that bulletin was done by somebody.
  • The contents of the bulletin were supplied by somebody.
  • The altar flowers were supplied by somebody.
  • The right altar cloths had to be placed by somebody.
  • The sermon had to be prepared and delivered by somebody.
  • The scriptures had to be read by somebody and the list prepared by somebody.
  • The hymns had to be selected by somebody.
  • The choir had to be directed by somebody.
  • And somebody had to be willing to sing in the choir.
  • Somebody had to play the organ.
  • Most important, somebody had to show up for this service.
  • Somebody had to make an offering to the church.
  • We certainly have somebody who cleans our church facility.
  • Somebody gets to count the offering. Somebody takes the funds collected to the bank.

Thank God for somebody or this church would be closed. Sunday after Sunday somebody performs all these tasks and more, some for financial reward but most for spiritual reward.

I hope that you might be somebody we can count on at Old Zionsville UCC.

Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.

Be Thankful in all things.

Peace, Lori

(This column originally appeared in a Bethany UCC, Bethlehem, 2009 newsletter and was written by Dan Sabetti. I altered it slightly. Thanks to Dan for his original thoughts and for being somebody!)

Emergency Phone Numbers

When in sorrow……………… John 16
When people fail you……………… Psalm 27
If you want to be fruitful……………… John 15
If you have sinned……………… Psalm 51
When you worry……………… Matthew 6:19-34
When you are in danger……………… Psalm 91
When God seems far away……………… Psalm 139
When your faith needs stirring……………… Hebrews 11
When you are lonely and fearful……………… Psalm23
When you grow bitter……………… 1 Corinthians 13
Paul’s secret of happiness……………… Colossians 3:12-17
What is Christianity?……………call 2 Corinthians 5:15-19
When feeling down and out……………… Romans 8:31
When you want peace and rest……………… Matthew 11:25-30
When the world seems bigger than God……………… Psalm 90
Wanting Christian assurance?…………call Romans 8:1-30
Leaving home for work or travel……………… Psalm 121
When prayer becomes selfish……………………………… Psalm 67
For a great invention/opportunity……………………………… Isaiah 55
When you want courage for a task………………..….call Joshua 1
How to get along with people……………… Romans 12
Thinking of investments returns?…………… Mark 10
If you are depressed……………………………… Psalm 27
If your pocketbook is empty……………… Psalm 37
Losing confidence in people……………… 1 Corinthians 13
If people seem unkind……………… John 15
If discouraged about your work……………… Psalm 126

Alternate Numbers
For dealing with fear……………… Psalm 34:7
For security…………………call Psalm 121:3
For assurance…………………call Mark 8:35
For reassurance……………… Psalm 145:18

All numbers may be dialed direct. No operator assistance is necessary. All lines to Heaven are open 24 hours a day!

Peace, Pastor Lori


I remember going through the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program in the 4th grade. Even at the age of 9, most of my peers realized that it was a bunch of propaganda, and we’d sarcastically say “hugs not drugs” to each other. Fast forward 20 years and science has some research to back up the idea that hugs are better than drugs. It turns out, the simple hug can have profound psychological effects like:

  1. Reducing your fear of mortality. Which is pretty interesting! Research published in the journal Psychological Science shows that hugging and simply touching someone reduces their fear of mortality by soothing existential fears. “Interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that simulate touch by another person may help to instill in people a sense of existential significance,” lead researcher Sander Koole wrote in the study.
  2. Hugging lowers your heart rate. An experiment conducted at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill found that participants who didn’t have any contact with their partners developed a heart rate that was 10 beats per minute faster. Comparatively, the heart beats of those who made contact with their partners were not as fast.
  3. Babies who are hugged experience less stress as adults. If you want to help the future, hug a baby! An Emory University study found that in rats, touch and stress relief were connected, especially early in life. The study found that the same goes for humans too, noting that babies coped better with stress as adults if they were hugged and held more.
  4. Improved immune function. New research show that hug hormones are what they call immunoregulatory. Basically, these hormones have a profound impact on how our immune systems work. This ties in with the relaxing nature of hugs as well. If you want a stronger immune system, hug it out?

Pretty interesting, isn’t it? Maybe it’s time to open up a hugging booth!

Peace, Pastor Lori

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Our Mission Statement

The mission of our church is to be a congregation devoted to our community where we experience and share the loving presence of God by teaching the Good News of Jesus Christ, by celebrating God’s Word in the Bible, and through loving service to all people.