117 East Burke Street, Martinsburg WV
+13042678678
crcmartinsburg@gmail.com

Blog

One church joining faith and action

2020 Annual Report

Normally in January, the church makes it Annual Report available in print form to the congregation, and it is approved in a meeting by voice vote. The pandemic has closed our church and made in-person meetings too risky, so the Consistory has decided to publish the Annual Report online. This link will take you to…
Read more

Welcome new Consistory members!

The new year brings a new Consistory. The group met for the first time on Sunday, Jan. 10 in the sanctuary. As you can see from this photo, masks and social distancing are enforced during the meetings. After many years of service, Harvey Reisenweber completed his term on the Consistory and stepped down as president.…
Read more

Sunday sermon, Jan. 10, 2020

Today’s sermon marks the first Sunday in Epiphany. Pastor Tom Hartshorn reads from the 43rd chapter of the book of Isaiah and talks about baptism, which is one of the celebrations during the Epiphany season. Baptism, he reminds us, is the washing away of our sins in anticipation of the coming of the kingdom of…
Read more

Sunday sermon, Dec. 27, 2020

Reading the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, Pastor Tom Hartshorn tells us that Christmas is a “Christ event.” These events are still happening today — in the nurses who hold the hands of the dying in COVID wards, in the front-line workers who continue to do their jobs and in the…
Read more

The last Advent candle, a Christmas eve story and some music

The last candle of Advent is the Christ candle. Watch the video below as Pastor Tom Hartshorn lights the candle and talks about its meaning. Next, Sylvia Kesecker reads a Christmas Eve story, “The Crippled Lamb” by Max Lucado, to remind us that God has a place for all of us. Click on the arrow…
Read more

The Chrismon Tree

In this short video, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about the traditions behind the church’s Chrismon Tree. Click on the arrow in the image below to watch, then go to the next image to see the lighting of the fourth Advent candle. The fourth Advent candle is for love. Click on the arrow in the image…
Read more

Sunday sermon, Dec. 13, 2020

Today’s scripture reading is from the book of Isaiah, 12:2. The passage is one of thanksgiving to God, and Pastor Tom Hartshorn reminds us there is joy in gratitude. In these challenging times, we may not feel joyous, but we can all find things to be thankful for that give us joy. After the sermon,…
Read more

The second candle of Advent: Peace

On this second Sunday of Advent, join Pastor Tom Hartshorn as he lights the Advent candle signifying peace. Click on the arrow in the image below to watch the candle lighting.

Light One Candle for CCAP during Advent

Our church tradition is to sing the song “Light One Candle” each Sunday during the Advent season while presenting either non-perishable foods or monetary gifts for CCAP. Although we can’t gather for services right now, we can still take part in this giving tradition. Every Thursday during the Advent season, you can bring your non-perishable…
Read more

Sunday sermon, Nov. 29, 2020, and the first Advent candle

Emily Dickinson called it “the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.” Today’s sermon, like the first candle of the Advent season, is about hope. Reading from the book of Jeremiah, chapter 33, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about how, in these difficult times, we should remember that our hope comes from God. In God,…
Read more

Sunday sermon, Nov. 1, 2020

In today’s sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn reviews the Beatitudes, given during the Sermon on the Mount. Although no one wants to be meek or poor in spirit or persecuted, these are hard times, and many of us have become passive, hurtful and worn out. He reminds us that the good we do lives on, and…
Read more

Sunday sermon, Oct. 18, 2020

In Luke 17:5, the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith, and he replies that all they need is faith the size of a grain of mustard seed. In today’s online sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn says this passage is a reminder of what it takes to be faithful. “Mustard seed faith,” he says, is all…
Read more

Sunday sermon, Oct. 4, 2020

There is a lot of talk about the economy these days, but the one that matters to people of faith is Christ’s economy — which is an economy of generosity. In today’s sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn revisits the parable from Luke chapter 16 about the dishonest steward and urges us all to be good stewards…
Read more

Sunday sermon, Sept. 20, 2020

Pandemic, protests, wildfires, hurricanes … as we hunker down in our homes waiting for all of the bad things to be over, it’s easy to feel hopeless. In today’s mini-sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn reminds us that we are still a church and encourages us to embrace life. To view this week’s sermon, click on the…
Read more

So you want to be a “pew sitter”

The church has been putting out the call for people to join us as “pew sitters,” and you may be wondering what that is. Good question! When we started taping sermons earlier this summer for airing online, we realized it is not easy for Tom to preach to an empty church. There were two of…
Read more

Sunday sermon, Sept. 6, 2020

“That they may all be one.” It is the motto of the United Church of Christ, and it is Jesus’ wish for us as He left the world. In this mini-sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about what unity means, especially in our divided society. And he reminds us that “oneness” is not “sameness.” To use…
Read more

Sunday sermon, Aug. 23, 2020

We can’t worship together yet, but we can be together in spirit. In this mini-sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about how we can benefit our neighbors and ourselves by speaking up and, in the words of the late Rep. John Lewis, getting into some “good trouble.” Click on the arrow in the image of Tom…
Read more

Sunday Sermon, Aug. 9, 2020

We can’t worship together yet, but we can be together in spirit. In this mini-sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about the importance of hope during these trying times. Click on the arrow in the image of Tom at the pulpit to start the video.

End times…or just the beginning?

Recently, I finished reading the book of Revelation. That’s no easy feat, and I will not pretend that I understood a lot of it. I recall a sermon in the not-so-distant past in which Tom remarked that Revelation was written using imagery that would have meaning for the people of the author’s time; we aren’t…
Read more

Sunday Sermon, July 26, 2020

Our church remains closed, but we can all be together in spirit. In this mini-sermon, Pastor Tom Hartshorn talks about how we can be the church out in our daily lives. Click on the arrow in the image below to start the sermon.

Dreaming of a solution to the COVID-19 crisis

I don’t put much stock in the meaning of dreams, but last night I had a very vivid one I feel compelled to share. My dream was an algorithm. I don’t remember all the details, but essentially the goal of the algorithm was to escape a puzzle. The puzzle was the algorithm itself. As in…
Read more

Sunday Sermon, July 12, 2020

We can’t worship together just yet, but we can bring the Sunday service into your homes virtually. Enjoy this short sermon put together by Pastor Tom Hartshorn.

To open or not to open: That is the question

This coming Sunday, the Consistory is going to talk again about whether to reopen the church. I will be honest — I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I miss it so much. I miss the fellowship. I miss the music. I miss Tom’s sermons, even the ones in which the science goes way over…
Read more

Though I call for help, there is no justice

Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this. Maybe I shouldn’t be giving an opinion about the violent deaths of black men and women at the hands of police. I’m not black. I’m not a police officer. I enjoy the tranquility of knowing that my family and friends, my home and things, are safe due to the…
Read more

Who do you trust?

Here’s a trivia question: What game show did Johnny Carson host before taking on “The Tonight Show”?  It was a very popular show called “Who Do You Trust?” which ran from 1957-1963. The question remains relevant, even if today it is not funny and certainly not a game. Who do you trust?  Who can you…
Read more

Overcoming fear through community

We live in dangerous times and not just from the risk of becoming ill, but also from the feelings we may be harboring about our neighbors locally, nationally and globally. In times of prolonged crisis and stress, annoyance can quickly boil over into anger. And without a visible presence to attack, our frustrations with COVID-19…
Read more

No life is lived in vain

Paul reminds us in Corinthians that in Christ, no life is lived in vain. There should be comfort in that message regardless of our age or how fairly life has treated us. Certainly for families and friends of people who have succumbed to COVID-19, these are powerful words. I think of families forced to grieve…
Read more

False prophets

Once upon a time there was a prophet in the Hebrew court named Hananiah. He was very well liked and enjoyed the riches of his position. Hananiah was well-known for his position that God lived in Jerusalem. Therefore, no army could prevail against the city. When the mighty Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem, Hananiah told…
Read more

Church events cancelled through April 30

Christ Reformed United Church of Christ Consistory President Harvey Reisenweber has announced that, in order to adhere to federal guidelines about social gatherings, church services and other church meetings and practices will continue to be cancelled through at least April 30. The Thursday night Community Dinner has been converted to carry out. Stay home and…
Read more

Christ is risen!

For many people, the main symbol of Christianity is the cross. We see crosses everywhere, even worn as jewelry by people who have never been in a church. However, the true symbol of our faith should be the empty tomb. It is in the mystery of the resurrection that we find our hope. If we…
Read more

Thoughts on Palm Sunday morning during the pandemic

When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-9), the people laid palm branches in his path shouting “Hosanna!”  I learned just this past year from our Pastor, Tom Hartshorn, that rather than being an exclamation of joy or adoration, “Hosanna” is a plea for help. “Save us!” is what the people of Jerusalem were shouting…
Read more

Finding the bright spot in these scary times

As I write this, the world looks very different than it did a week ago, when I was gathering information for a totally different blog post. Coronavirus has come to West Virginia, and it’s very close to home: the first recorded case is in Shepherdstown. The panic shopping that my friends in the Washington, D.C.…
Read more

Services cancelled through Easter

West Virginia’s first case of coronavirus has been identified in the Eastern Panhandle. In order to follow medical and governmental regulations restricting gatherings for public safety, Christ Reformed United Church of Christ has cancelled religious services through Easter. This includes all Sunday worship services, all special services and Sunday school. Choir practices are also cancelled.…
Read more

Lessons Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can still teach us today

Black History Month is coming to a close, and writers much more knowledgeable than me have written countless articles about the black leaders who have shaped our nation, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first among them. I will not presume to add to the literature here. Instead, I want to share the article that…
Read more