117 East Burke Street, Martinsburg WV
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One church joining faith and action

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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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.…
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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.…
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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…
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In-person congregational meeting cancelled

Due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases in our region, the in-person congregational meeting scheduled for Nov. 8 has been cancelled. Consistory President Harvey Reisenweber has sent a letter to every member of the congregation, outlining the proposed budget and the slate of candidates for the Consistory for 2021. The letter also has instructions on…
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Cereal for CCAP 2020

In the past, we have collected boxes of cereal to donate to CCAP to feed the hungry in our community during the month of September. This year has presented challenges, not the least of which is that our church is closed because of the pandemic. But creative minds will not be stopped, and James Rinker,…
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