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  • July 24 - Recommendations Sought for 2021 Elders and Deacons

    The Church Nominating Committee (CNC) is ready to begin the process of preparing a slate of officers to serve Palma Sola Presbyterian Church into our future. As part of this process, we seek input from the congregation by August 15. 

    As you prepare your recommendations, we ask that you prayerfully consider who should help lead this church. We need leaders who have the flexibility, vision, and vitality to lead us forward in God’s good will for this congregation!

    Church members may recommend more than one person, but the person that you recommend must be a member of Palma Sola Presbyterian Church. Let us all embrace the diversity in our congregation as we consider our next class of leaders. To help you with your recommendation, we have included a brief description of the character, responsibilities, and time commitment for each office.

    Deacon – a person who exhibits spiritual character and sound judgment while participating in a ministry of compassion, witness and service. A Deacon will be a spiritual shepherd to those in need, sick, friendless, and in distress. Deacons meet every other month and are responsible for contacting the members on their shepherding list to make sure they are aware of events happening at PSPC. They are to recognize birthdays, anniversaries and to relay any individual concerns back to the Church. They will require a minimum of 3 hours a month in shepherding plus 1 hour every other month in a Deacon’s meeting.

    Elder – a person of wisdom, maturity of faith, and compassion, who will serve on session and exercise leadership in governing and leadership by example. Together, with the teaching elder (pastor), they are responsible for the life of our congregation as well as the whole church.  Elders will participate in a monthly session meeting, be a member of a standing committee, and will periodically serve communion.

    Congregational Nominating Committee Member – a person of wisdom, maturity of faith, and sound judgment. The committee will meet in late Summer and Fall to solicit recommendations for church leaders (Deacons, Elders, CNC). They will contact prospective nominees to discuss the office for which they are being nominated to serve. They will then prepare a nomination recommendation list (slate) to be presented to the congregation.

    Please contact Andrea Harmon by August 15th with any recommendations you may have at 941-761-9847 or The Congregational Nominating Committee thanks you for your assistance in providing us with this information. Please pray for this committee as we also pray for God’s guidance in recommending those who will lead our church.

  • July and August Outreach Offering: The Food Bank of Manatee

    Food Security is one of Palma Sola Church’s focus areas for community outreach and support. The need in our community is great – now more than ever. Our Outreach Offering for July and August will go to one of our main mission partners in this cause, The Food Bank of Manatee. We are also holding a 'Drive Away Hunger' drive-through food collection for The Food Bank of Manatee on July 11.

    The Food Bank is operated by Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee and is the largest hunger-relief organization based in Manatee County. The Food Bank provides nutritional assistance and supportive services to individuals in need by distributing food through over 65 local non-profit partner agencies and food pantries. The Food Bank has provided over 30 million pounds of food since 1985 for local children, families, and seniors. 

    With the unprecedented circumstances related to COVID-19, the need for food has grown exponentially. Families that have never needed help in the past now find themselves struggling to find nourishment and care. In response to this greater need The Food Bank of Manatee is providing Food4Families—COVID-19 relief kits that contain 6 meals that will feed a family of five breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 4-5 days. These relief kits are distributed every Friday at multiple locations. 

    Additionally, The Food Bank of Manatee operates these ongoing programs:

    • Emergency Family Program: Food boxes for families in crisis with immediate needs.  Each box provides food for a family of five for one week.
    • Baby Basket Program: Critical care items such as formula, baby food, diapers, wipes and toys for infants up to 2 years old in critical need.
    • Sack Summer Hunger Program: According to the Manatee County School District, over 60% of students in Manatee County rely on Free and Reduced breakfast and lunch programs during the school year. When school is not in session, there is limited access to nutrition. The Sack Summer Hunger Weekend Food program helps bridge this gap. In 2019, more than 126,000 meals were directly distributed to food-insecure students in Manatee County.
    • Mobile Produce Pantry: A mobile produce pantry on wheels goes into food desert communities and distributes fresh produce to children and families to promote improved health, lower obesity rates and reduced medical costs.

    To support The Food Bank through Palma Sola, please mail your check with memo “Food Bank” to the church office. Thank you for helping to feed the hungry in Manatee County!

  • July 19 - Successful 'Drive Away Hunger' Food Drive

    Thanks to all who participated in our July 11 'Drive Away Hunger' food collection for The Food Bank of Manatee. About fifteen cars drove through the East Parking Lot to have food items removed from their trunks by volunteers Don Azbell, Myrna Felix, Andrea Harmon, Janice Saylor, and Al Zimmer--who sported face masks and gloves. Three of our large rectangular tables in the fellowship hall were filled with items from The Food Bank of Manatee wish list, donated by WPC and PSPC members. The donations, totaling 520 lbs, were later packed up in boxes and delivered.

  • July 8 - Midweek Bible Study: Sarai aka Sarah

    What’s in a name?  A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  I think William Shakespeare wrote those words in Romeo and Juliet.
    God said to the Chosen People, “I have called you by name. You are mine.”
    In the second version of the Creation Story in Genesis, where God creates Man first, God parades all the animals before him, and the Man gives them names.
    In ancient society, naming was the same as owning, or belonging.  Don’t we “belong” to the family whose name we bear?  
    Some farmers and ranchers won’t name a cow or calf that they intend to send to auction or slaughter. 
    A dog breeder I knew would not give names to the puppies she was going to sell.  Once she named them, they were hers.  And didn’t the family that came to know and love the puppy have the right to give it a name?
    Some horse owners consider it bad luck to change a horse’s name, particularly a race horse. 
    I’ve owned one horse that was called three or four different things in his lifetime, and he didn’t seem confused by it at all.  He did answer to the name that I called him.   
    The best bull we ever had on our little ranch didn’t come when you called his name, and he was called Rio, Red Rover, and Simon by different folks.  And his last daughter goes by either “Clonie” or “Cannoli”.
    But they came to the sound of feed rattling in a bucket.
    John Wayne was born Marion Morrison.  Mohammed Ali, of course, was Cassius Clay when he rose to prominence.  Somehow Roy Rogers sounds more like the King of the Cowboys than Leonard Slye.
    Our Dangerous Woman of the Bible for this week changed her name.  Rather, God changed her name.  From Sarai to Sarah.  The name means “princess”.  Her husband’s name was Abraham, originally Abram.
    Why was she dangerous?  Watch the Bible lesson video and learn!

    Your Transitional Pastor, 
    Ted Land

  • June 14 - Sunday Morning Message and Worship - Pastor Ted Land

    Greetings in Christ Jesus!

    Two very talented journalists who are my friends participated in a parade and a march recently.

    Doug Blackmon lives in Atlanta, where he used to be the politics and government writer for the local newspaper, and once headed the Atlanta Bureau of the Wall Street Journal. He won a Pulitzer Prize a few years ago for his book Slavery by Another Name.

    I was Doug’s pastor more than forty years ago in Mississippi, and when he and Michelle got married 27 years ago, he wanted me to officiate at their wedding.  I did, in the University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where Michelle was a member.

    Sunday afternoon, Doug and Michelle were part of about a thousand people who marched in their neighborhood wearing masks, carrying signs, pushing strollers, holding hands. They demonstrated peacefully and publically. The event had been billed as “a kid’s march.”

    They were escorted by what Doug describes as “good-natured Atlanta Police officers, white and black, who were there clearly to look out for and support their fellow citizens.”

    I watched the video of the parade. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Happy? Maybe not happy. Joyful? Maybe. Celebrating that Black Lives Matter, that Blue Lives Matter, that All Lives Matter. And most folks had on masks. Not to hide their identities. For protection of others.   

    Beach Vickers was on the staff of the newspaper in Montgomery, West Virginia, when I went there 40 years ago to be pastor of the Presbyterian Church there. Beach presently resides in his family home on the bank of the Kanawha River, with a beautiful lawn where I officiated at his sister’s wedding more than 35 years ago. Most of the years in between, he has worked as an actor. The last time I saw him, he was on the stage at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater in Fort Myers, playing Daddy Warbucks in Annie.

    Beach participated in a parade on Monday of this week. It was really a motorcade. More than a hundred vehicles decorated with balloons, signs, all manner of things, drove by the Montgomery Rehab and Nursing Home to cheer up the patients who have been in lock-down there for three months due to the coronavirus. The patients sat at appropriate social distance on the sidewalk, and waved and cheered as family, friends, neighbors drove by. Around the corner, the sidewalk was lined with patients from the actual Montgomery General Hospital, who also waved and cheered.

    Both of these events were captured on video and posted on Facebook, and they brought back memories of days gone by, of two men I knew when we were young, one now balding, the other white-haired, who are still doing things to shine the light of love and faith in a world that needs a little light now more than ever.

    Whether it is a march against racism and police brutality or a parade to encourage folks who have been isolated and quarantined for months, I saw hope and caring and courage.

    May you have hope, caring, and courage in your life, too.

    View today's worship service, with a sermon entitled 'Laborers Needed.'  The Scripture reading for today is Matthew 9:35-38.

    Today there's an Online Service Bulletin, with the Order of the Worship and the lyrics for the songs, so you can easily follow along!  We hope you enjoy this addition.

    Your Transitional Pastor,
    Ted Land

  • June 7 - Trinity Sunday Message and Worship - Pastor Ted Land

    The Sunday after Pentecost is known as Trinity Sunday, when we emphasize the Triune nature of God, who is revealed to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  This is an important doctrine for Christians, and sets us apart from Unitarians and Deists and Theists, who believe in one God, and could never sing the Doxology or the Gloria Patri, or even Holy, Holy, Holy.

    This Sunday, we are expanding beyond a scripture reading and sermon, and adding a little liturgy and some excellent music to our Sunday morning service.

    We have an excellent worship/music team.  Billy Burke on guitar and vocals, John Tarpey on drums, Elenita Musgrove on cello, and Mark Allebach on piano are all featured in our recorded worship service for June 7.  We gathered in the Sanctuary on a Wednesday evening about the time the choir would normally be practicing, and what you will see this morning is a preview of what Sunday morning worship service may be when we are able to open the doors of the church for corporate worship.

    It will be different.  Note in the video that social distancing is observed, masks are worn, no congregational singing or choral anthems or responses.  Indeed, no congregational responses to prayers.  For the next couple of Sundays, until the Session approves a date for Sunday service to resume, we will be recording on Wednesday and modeling what our post-quarantine order of worship may be.

    It is different.  It is shorter.  In some ways it is less Reformed and Presbyterian than what we are accustomed to.  But the word of God will be read and proclaimed, and glory and honor and praise will be given to God, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    Special thanks to the team that works together on the technical side to make this happen:  Chris Felix, Faraja Keyes, Liz Brackmann, and Billy Burke. 

    The Apostle Paul wrote that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him.  I believe it is Jesus Christ who has called our worship/music team and our technical team into being to serve in the present time in the present place.

    I am blessed and honored to be able to work with such a fine and cooperative group of people. 

    Your Transitional Pastor,

    Ted Land

    View the worship service, with the sermon entitled 'Commissioned.'  The Scripture reading for today is Matthew 28:16-20.

  • June 3 - Midweek Bible Study: Moses

    Greetings in Christ Jesus!

    The focus of our Bible Study this week is Moses: From Exile to Exodus.

    In the midst of that story, God sent plagues upon Egypt.  We seem to be living in plague times.  The plague of the coronavirus.  The plague of racism.  The plague of violence.  If you are not saddened, if you are not frightened, if you are not disheartened, then perhaps you are angry, frustrated, disappointed. 

    I tend to jump back and forth from one feeling to another. 

    For those extremists who point to the events of the day as signs of the end of time, as signs of the Second Coming, I would point out that we are experiencing nothing new.   Pandemics, police brutality, rioting in our cities, is a part of our history as well as our present news.

    As a pastor, I have prayed, and preached, and witnessed against racism, against violence, against evil.

    I believe in God.  I believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  But I also believe in evil.  I have seen evil. I have smelled evil.  I have been touched by evil.  But I have not succumbed to the temptation to engage in evil.

    A young man (26) from the area where I was born and raised in East Tennessee was arrested for arson in Nashville this week.  He is seen on video as fire breaks out in the historic City Hall and Court House that is one of the beautiful buildings of that Capitol City.  He is being held on charges that have caused his bail to be set at more than $750,000.  His wife and mother have both started GOFUNDME pages to raise money for his bail and for the household expenses of his young family.  He is a son, a husband, and a father.  He is also one who rioted instead of peacefully demonstrating, who if he did not start the fire, fanned the flames.  His picture is out there on the internet.  He is shirtless, but masked, in the photo.  He appears to be if not red-haired at least sandy headed.  He is obviously white, and not African American.  

    His mother has been quoted as saying “he just got caught up in the moment.”     

    I am saddened, frightened, disheartened, angry, frustrated, disappointed.  Not just by this young man.  By our nation.  By our elected leaders.  By our failure to learn the lessons of history, and become a better nation, a better people, than we were.  Than we are.

    The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, and the legend is that all those who yearned for Egypt had to die before they could enter the Promised Land.  On some Bible maps, that wilderness is called the Wilderness of Sin.

    How long will we have to wander in our wilderness of sin, until we find the land of the promise?

    God have mercy upon us.  Christ have mercy upon us.

    Your transitional pastor, Ted Land

  • June 1 - June Outreach Offering: Meals On Wheels Plus

    Our Outreach Offering for June goes to Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee.  In the midst of these unprecedented circumstances, Meals on Wheels is working to meet a great and rising need for essential nutrition for home-bound seniors, children and families. Meals on Wheels also operates the Food Bank of Manatee and Mobile Produce Pantry; the Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in Manatee County.

    To make a donation to Meals on Wheels Plus, please send your check made out to "PSPC" with “MOW” on the memo line  to the church office.

    The mailing address for Palma Sola Church is: 6510 Third Avenue West Bradenton, Florida 34209

  • May 31 - Sunday Morning Message

    If my son, Kris, had taken advantage of the opportunity to play basketball at South Florida Community College in Avon Park back in 1992, he would have had a team mate named George Floyd. 

    Yes, that same George Floyd who died under a policeman’s knee on a street in Minneapolis.

    George Floyd was the same age as my son, 46.  He had been actively involved in his church in Houston for several years, before moving to Minnesota in 2018 for what was described as a discipleship program with a job placement.  He worked with teenage boys and young men, organizing activities like 3on3 basketball tournaments.  At 6’6”, they called him Big Floyd.  He was known on a social media account was BigFloyd4God. One picture I’ve seen of him shows him towering over a group of young men, raising his Bible high in his hand.

    Amidst all the news reports and opinion pieces I’ve read about George Floyd’s death, I still don’t know what his alleged crime was that led to his apprehension by the police.

    Somehow, that doesn’t matter.  No crime warrants death in the street under the knee of a uniformed officer of the law.  No one has the right to be judge, jury, and executioner.   Each person has the right to a trial in a court of law. 

    Seeing televised reports of the rioting, looting, and burning that followed George Floyd’s death, I flashed back to the Watts Riots of 1965, to the rioting in Memphis in Louisville after the murder/assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.  I remembered Rodney King being brutally beaten by Los Angeles law enforcement officers in 1991, and his tearful response to the rioting that followed, “Can’t we all just get along?”

    My father was a commissioned law enforcement officer from 1952 until his death in 1969.  Sometimes a reserve officer, sometimes a sheriff’s deputy, he was on the payroll of the City of Knoxville when he died, with the title of inspector.  My mother received a small monthly pension check from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Officers Association until her death in 2008.

    My father could not stand officers who were bullies, who misused their authority, who mistreated people in custody.  He carried a slapjack, a weighted sap, and a nightstick at various times, and he knew how to use them to subdue a suspect who became violent or combative.  But once a suspect was in custody, handcuffed, there was to be no abuse, no punishment.  A crooked cop, a dirty cop, a cop who engaged in brutality, was anathema to my father, as such behavior should be condemned by all people in law enforcement and indeed all people.

    When will we ever learn?  When will we learn to treat all people the way we would want to be treated?  When will we learn to mourn without anger, rage, retaliation? 

    We are better as a nation, as a people, than we were in 1965, 1968, 1991.  But we still slip back into old ways, into learned behaviors that diminish who we are as a nation, as a people.  The sins of racism, of violence, of fear, are still parts of our human condition.

    Create in us clean hearts, O God, and renew right spirits within us.

    Pray this week for those who mourn, that they may be comforted, for victims or racism, violence, crime, that they may find justice, for the sick that they might find healing, and for our broken world, that it may find Jesus.  Without Him, all is lost.  All are lost.

    Your transitional pastor,

    Ted Land

    The Scripture reading today is Acts 2:1-21. Click here to view the sermon “Tongues of Fire” for today, Pentecost Sunday.

  • May 27 - Midweek Bible Study: Jonah

    This week’s Bible Study is a favorite and familiar one: Jonah.

    It is a little book, three short chapters.  Perhaps those who watch the video might even want to read the book before watching.

    I’ve got a friend named Jonas, the French or Latin version of the name Jonah.  He’s six feet six inches tall, from Haiti, and like me, a retired Presbyterian minister.  He spends his retirement years traveling from Cape Coral, Florida, where he and his lovely wife, Gelinta, live to their native Haiti, doing relief work.  Between earthquakes and hurricanes, Haiti has suffered much over the last few years. So has Puerto Rico. 

    Back in the mid-1970’s, when I was serving a church in the Mississippi Delta, one of the young men from our church went on a mission trip to Haiti with the youth group from a neighboring Presbyterian church.

    I think he made a couple of other trips while he was in high school and college, always working at one of our Presbyterian Mission Hospitals.

    Greg finished out as tall as Jonas, 6’6”.  He graduated from the University of Colorado and Baylor Medical School.  He was part of the mechanical artificial heart project in Louisville.  He did a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and opened a practice in Oxford, Mississippi, where he is an elder in the First Presbyterian Church.  Greg still goes back to Haiti, as a volunteer at the hospital where he once painted walls as a teenager.

    People like Jonas George and Greg Patton stand tall in my sight, not because they are six and a half feet high, but because they go where they don’t have to, to do what they can, to help people whose needs are great. 

    Jesus said. “Even as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me.”  Mother, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta is reported to have said that she saw Jesus in the face of every one of the poor and suffering that she ministered to in that big city in India. 

    I struggle sometimes to see Jesus in the faces of the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the wretched.  But I always can see Jesus in the Christ-like things that people like Jonas and Greg do.

    We’re Presbyterians.  In life and in death we belong to God.  Thanks be to God for the saints among us.

    Your transitional pastor, Ted Land

  • May 24 - Memorial Day Sunday Morning Message

    Ever since we moved to Florida in 1985, most Memorial Days have not been holidays for me.

    Arcadia is known for the British Memorial Day service in the City Cemetery, where nearly two dozen British aviation cadets lie buried.  The British Sports Car Club usually has a line of Jaguars, MG’s, Mini-Coopers, Triumphs, and once in a while a Rolls Royce or a Bentley. A bagpiper plays Amazing Grace, and maybe Highland Cathedral.  A trumpeter sounds Last Call.  The assembled dozens sing “God Save the Queen” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” back to back.  Pastors begin the service with an invocation and end it with a Benediction, and more times than I can count I was the pastor doing one or both.  The one year I thought I didn’t have to, the year I was retired, I went to sit in the crowd, and the pastor of the day was a no-show, so I got “drafted” out of the crowd.

    This year’s Memorial Day Weekend will be equally memorable.

    On Saturday, May 23, 2020, I gathered with Gregg Pead and his family to inter the ashes of his mother, Shirley Pead, and his sister, Pamela Lunde, in a cemetery in Ellenton.  We all wore masks, and those chairs that were under the green canopy were six feet apart.  And there were only ten of them.

    It was the first time I have presided over a service for a mother and her daughter.  But it was the masks, the social distancing, that I will remember.

    Will we wear masks when we return to worship in the near future?  Probably. Will we sit six feet apart? More than likely. Will we be able to sing?  Probably not.  Will we honor and worship God?  Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    The Scots Confession teaches us that the church is the place where the Word of God is preached and the sacraments are rightly administered.  Even while wearing masks and sitting six feet apart!

    This Sunday is also the Sunday closest to Ascension Day, forty days after Easter. Our scripture lessons for the week are from Luke’s Gospel (24:44-53) and the Book of Acts (1:6-14), the end and the beginning of the two books of the Bible that the Beloved Physician wrote. The sermon title is "Ups and Downs.

    On Memorial Day, remember and pray for those who have lost loved ones in the service of our nation, which is the true “last full measure of devotion.”

    Your transitional pastor, Ted Land

  • May 20 - Midweek Bible Study: The Prophet and the Widow

    The focus of our Bible Study this week is the prophet Elijah.  The Old Testament People considered Elijah to be the foremost of the prophets, because of the mighty works he did in the name of the Lord God.  Most folks can remember that Elijah was the one who went up to heaven in a chariot of fire.  

    One of my favorite Old Testament passages is I Kings 17, the story of the Prophet and the Widow.

    I hope you enjoy, learn, and are inspired by my interpretation and commentary this week.

    The Session of Palma Sola Presbyterian Church met on ZOOM yesterday evening, and spent a great deal of time considering when and how we should return to public gatherings for worship and fellowship.  

    The time is not right for corporate worship yet.  Some small group fellowship activities based on our LIFE Groups are in the planning stages.  Next week in the June newsletter there will be details.

    Plans for welcoming Westminster Presbyterian Church to nest with us are still being made.  The Nesting Transition Team will have a ZOOM meeting tomorrow, May 21 at 10 AM. 

    The Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) is still meeting via ZOOM at least once a week, and have received a great many referrals and matches. Pray for them in their work as they seek the next installed pastor for Palma Sola Church.

    For all who are lonely, isolated, alienated, bored, polarized, neglected, as well as the infected, be in prayer constantly and earnestly.

    Keep safe, wash your hands, and do keep praying!

    Your transitional pastor, Ted Land   

  • May 17 - Paul in Athens Sunday Morning Message

    For the next few Sundays, I am departing from the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and preaching from the Book of Acts. The Acts of the Apostles is unique in all the Bible, for it is a historical account written at the time the history was happening by one of the people who was involved in the events. Luke, the Beloved Physician, is its author, and he was a witness to much of what is written in the Book of Acts, and was able to interview first-hand the witnesses to the rest. 

    The story of this week is the Apostle Paul’s great address to the people of Athens. Athens was the center of learning in the ancient world.  The Greek philosophers and poets gathered there. It is no accident that the University of Georgia is in Athens, Georgia. Ohio University is in Athens, Ohio, and Athens, West Virginia and Athens, Tennessee are home to outstanding small colleges. I’m not sure what is at Athens, Texas, but I’ll bet those named it intended it to be a center of learning.

    The outstanding surviving building in Athens, Greece, is the Parthenon. There is a replica of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, where Vanderbilt University, and a dozen or so other colleges and universities are located. Thus Nashville became known as the Athens of the South.

    Paul takes advantage of the free speech that existed in the marketplace in Athens to proclaim a message that is different, and that becomes a model for later missionaries.

    I hope you will enjoy and learn from this message, entitled An Unknown God. The Scripture lesson is Acts 17:22-31.

    As more and more businesses and facilities re-open and return to “normal”, keep your Session in your prayers.  They will be meeting this week to plot the course of re-opening our church facilities for worship, fellowship, and community groups.

    Meanwhile, keep safe. Wash your hands.  Keep praying.

    Your transitional pastor, Ted Land

  • May 13 - MidWeek Bible Study: Job and Joseph

    Palm Sunday is past, along with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, Mother’s Day.  It’s been two months since we celebrated the Lord’s Supper.  Two months since we entered “the twilight zone” of safer at home/shelter in place/quarantine dictated by the coronavirus.

    But the church is still alive.  We may not be able to gather together for worship, but I am still preaching from the word of God on Sundays. We can still pray together. We can still make our offerings in support of the mission of our church, and the ministries we support at home and abroad.

    This week we continue our Bible Study that began last week with a look at the Story of Joseph from Genesis. That study is online if you missed it.

    Today’s topic is The Book of Job. I grew up hearing folks say that someone had “the patience of Job.”

    Yet when I read the book, patience is not what I find. I find faithfulness. Trust. Job was faithful to God. Job trusted God. My favorite verse from the Book of Job is “though He may slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15).

    I find that verse to be congruent with our Brief Statement of Faith of the Presbyterian Church (USA) which begins with the words, “In life and in death we belong to God…”  

    That kind of trust, that kind of faithfulness, reminds me of something I learned from my colleague in ministry, Valerie Bell. Val now serves the Presbyterian Church in Bentonville, Arkansas, home church of the Walton family. Not the television Walton family, the Wal-Mart Walton family. Valerie has served about half the churches of Peace River Presbytery in some capacity, as a Christian Educator, an interim pastor, an associate pastor. In her pastoral ministry, when she visits patients in hospitals or other health care facilities, she gives them a little rubber or ceramic frog. Her motto is: fully rely on God, F.R.O.G.

    It’s what we are called to do. Fully rely on God, because in life and in death, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. In these strange times, we must fully rely on God.

    A reminder that Outreach Offerings for May and June are going to Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee. In the midst of these unprecedented circumstances, Meals on Wheels is working to meet a great and rising need for essential nutrition for home-bound seniors, children and families. Meals on Wheels also operates the Food Bank of Manatee, the largest hunger-relief organization in Manatee County, and the Mobile Produce Pantry.

    To make a donation to Meals on Wheels Plus, please send your check to the church office with “MOW” on the memo line. And this month we conclude our donation period for One Great Hour of Sharing. To donate, please send your check to the church office with “OGHS” on the memo line.

    The mailing address for Palma Sola Church is: 6510 Third Avenue West, Bradenton, Florida 34209.

    Your transitional pastor, Ted Land

  • April 29 - Volunteer Profiles, a Message from Pastor Ted

    Greetings in Christ Jesus!

    Who was that masked man?

    Remember those words? If you are my age or older, you may remember them from voices on the radio. A younger generation heard them towards the end of the television program, when the man on the white horse was riding away, after leaving a silver bullet as a souvenir.

    Well, I won’t keep you in suspense: that masked man was the Lone Ranger.

    There is a masked man often seen around Palma Sola Presbyterian Church these days. He doesn’t wear a white hat, but a ball cap. He doesn’t ride a big white horse; he drives a little green car. He’s there almost every day, checking the mail. Even when the pastor and the church secretary/administrative assistant are working from home.

    I’m writing these words on Wednesday morning. The masked man won’t be at Palma Sola Presbyterian Church this morning. On Wednesday morning, he volunteers at Turning Points, our local center for ministry to the homeless. He does the laundry every Wednesday, so that people living on the streets have clean clothes to wear. While they are there, they take showers, wash hair, shave, so they have a clean body to put their clean clothes on.

    In a way, his ministry there reminds me of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet on Maundy Thursday. It certainly reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 25 about doing for “the least of these.”    

    If “meals on wheels” was still using volunteers for home meal delivery, he’d be doing that, too.  

    Do you know who Palma Sola Presbyterian Church’s masked man is?  

    I won’t keep you in suspense: it is Gregg Pead.

    There is another masked man down at Misión Peniel in Immokalee on Friday afternoons. His red hair is getting long and bushy after two months without a haircut. Our Peace River Presbytery Farm Worker Ministry is short-handed these days. Church groups which have always provided the work force to distribute food, clothing, essential supplies, to the farm workers and their families are prohibited from coming due to the safer-at-home precautions. But every Friday, this one volunteer comes, wearing his mask, with his bushy red hair, and gives out treats, toys, clothing, to the children of the farm workers.

    Who is that masked man?

    I won’t keep you in suspense. It is Jeff DeYoe, pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers, whose wife. Ruth, is the Misión Peniel Coordinator.  

    Keep them in your prayers. And thank God for them.

    Your transitional pastor, Ted Land

  • April 12 - An Easter Greeting from Transitional Pastor Ted Land

    Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!

    For fifty years and more, I’ve spoken that greeting while leading a worship service. 

    Sometimes those words were in the Call to Worship.  Sometimes they were in the Passing of the Peace.  Sometimes they were in the ascription at the end of the sermon.  Sometimes they were in the Benediction. Sometimes I greeted people at the door after church with those words.

    This Sunday will be different.  It will still be the Day of Resurrection, but we will not be worshipping together.

    Some folks are going to stand on the front porch and sing “Amazing Grace” at 10 on Sunday morning.  I may do that.

    I may just walk outside and say, Christ is risen!  Wonder if anyone will respond.

    The message that I would have delivered at our Sunrise Service at Palma Sola Botanical Garden has become Our Message for Easter.

    There are a number of other on-line services available. 

    A special Easter Worship Service has been recorded at the Presbyterian Center, our Presbyterian Church USA headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, by some of our national leaders.

    At 8 AM on Sunday, Kathleen Weller will be leading a “live” service on Facebook at Peace River Spirituality Center, also available on her YouTube Channel.

    Easter isn’t cancelled.  We will just celebrate it in a different way in 2020.

    Many churches are planning a Day of Resurrection Service when we are able to worship corporately again.  Resurrection hymns will be sung, and Resurrection message preached.

    I’ve said many times that each Sunday is a little Easter, for the reason we worship on the first day of the week is because that is when Jesus rose from the dead.  Our funerals and memorial services are called Witness to the Resurrection.  And that is what we all are.

    Pray for those who work in medical services and food services, who risk their health to cure us and feed us.

    And don’t forget: The Lord is risen!  He is risen indeed!

    Your transitional pastor, Ted Land

  • April 5 - A Palm Sunday Message from Transitional Pastor Ted Land

    Greetings in Christ Jesus!

    Sometime about two weeks ago, I had a hope, a wish, a dream, a vision, of a choir processing down the aisle of our sanctuary (on the new carpet) waving palm branches, while we sang, “Hosanna, loud hosanna…”

    I had a hope, a wish, a dream, a vision, of a Maundy Thursday Communion Service.

    I had a hope, a wish, a dream, a vision, of an Easter Sunrise Service in the Botanical Garden.

    I had a hope, a wish, a dream, a vision, of a packed sanctuary, with voices lifted in singing, “Jesus Christ is Risen today, alleluia.”

    Now we know none of those hopes, wishes, dreams, visions, will become a reality.

    Twice this week, I have participated in Zoom meetings on line with my colleagues in ministry in Peace River Presbytery.  Twice we have seen any plans we might have made altered by efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19.

    We will not be worshipping together in our churches in April. 

    But the work of the church goes on.  Your Deacons are checking on their flocks.  Your Teams and Session are meeting using Zoom technology. Even the Palma Sola Book Club will meet this month, using the Zoom video-conference app.

    With the able assistance of Faraja Keyes, our Temporary Office Administrator, Elder Elizabeth Brackmann, our Communications Team Chair, and Billy Burke, Praise Band Leader and Tech Wizard, we are able to bring you messages from the sanctuary of Palma Sola Church to your home.

    Palm Sunday’s sermon goes up on April 5 at Resources > Worship Online.  Maundy Thursday’s message will be posted there by April 9.  This week's final lesson of the Lenten Bible Study on the "I Am' Sayings of Jesus will also be posted at Connect/Grow > Wednesday Bible Study.

    And next week, there will be an Easter message.

    But the message is still the same where ever we may be:  Christ is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed.

    And in His rising is our hope and salvation.

    To him be the glory, the honor, and the praise, In the church and in the world, now and forever more.

    Your transitional pastor, Ted Land

  • March 21 - Sermons and Lessons Online - A Message from Pastor Ted

    Greetings in Christ Jesus!

    During this time when public gatherings of more than ten people are considered a health hazard, we at Palma Sola Presbyterian Church hope to continue to proclaim the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    One of the ways we will do this is to record videos of sermons on YouTube and post them on the church’s website and Facebook page.

    Two sermons have been recorded. Both are part of the series for Lent entitled Where is Jesus? The first, which was actually preached on March 15, is entitled At the Well. The second, which would normally have been preached on March 22, is entitled In the World. A third sermon, At a Tomb, will be posted on Sunday, March 29.

    On this website, you can access sermon videos through Resources > Worship Online and the Calendar found in the menu at the top of the website.

    The Mid-Week Lenten Bible Study Series is being videoed as well, and posted Wednesday of each week. These lessons may be accessed through Connect/Grow > Wednesday Bible Study and the Calendar.

    Billy Burke, Faraja Keyes, and Liz Brackmann are working diligently to make this happen. 

    Know that you are prayed for each day, until we can worship together again. God bless and keep you safe.

    Your transitional pastor, Ted Land

  • March 15 - Campus Activities Suspended Due to COVID-19

    We have temporarily suspended on-campus worship services, meetings, and outreach events In support of community and nation-wide efforts to limit the spread and diminish the impact of COVID-19 through social distancing. Organizations and groups who share our campus have been invited to continue to use the campus and nearly all have opted not to do so.

    Video recordings of Transitional Pastor Ted's sermons and Wednesday Bible Study lessons will be made available through this website's calendar, and Resources > Worship Online and Connect/Grow > Wednesday Bible Study. For updates, and the latest PSPC events schedule, please check this website's Calendar and PSPC News.

  • February 26 - Ash Wednesday Service 4pm

    Join in this special service of repentance and prayer through personal and communal confession. With focus on our mortality and sinfulness, we enter Lent with solemn reflection, seeking to use it to correct our faults and purify our hearts. We are reminded that we are not here forever and are challenged to live the very best every day! There will be a special offering during the worship service for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, to meet needs in Puerto Rico following the earthquakes they have suffered.

  • February 23 - Manatee County CROP Walk

    On Sunday Feb 23, PSPC participated in the 2020 Manatee County CROP Walk to help raise awareness and funds to end hunger locally and around the world. A PSPC team walked two miles from First United Methodist Church in Palmetto across the Green Bridge and back, and their efforts were supported by special donations from the congregation.

    CROP Walks are community events throughout the United States sponsored by the Church World Service (CWS) and organized by local churches and other groups. 75% of the money raised goes to CWS to help fight hunger around the world and 25% goes to local hunger relief efforts (such as here in Manatee County). Money is raised by two means, sponsoring walkers and direct donations.

    CROP stands for the Christian Rural Overseas Program, which was active in the late 1940's and involved American Midwest farmers who donated food and seed to help feed the hungry in post WWII Europe and Asia. The historic name (CROP) was kept when the first CROP Walk was organized in the U.S. in 1969.

  • February 9 - Scouts BSA Sunday

    On February 9th we were blessed to welcome our Scouts BSA for a special Scout Sunday worship. It was wonderful to see so many young people, their parents, and Palma Sola members gathered together to renew their commitment to Scouting on our campus. Prior to the worship service, many people enjoyed a pancake breakfast fundraiser hosted by Pack 22 in the Fellowship Hall. A great day was had by all!

  • February 7 - Movie Night: 'Harriet'

    Friday, February 7 at 7:00 pm, we show the movie 'Harriet', which tells the story of Harriet Tubman's escape from slavery and transformation into the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad. With tenacity, ingenuity and courage, Harriet freed 70 slaves on multiple trips before retiring to Auburn NY. Bring a friend, grab some popcorn and a drink, and enjoy the movie. The event is free and open to the community. The movie will be shown in Palma Sola's Fellowship Hall at 3rd Ave and 67th St, one block north of Manatee Ave.

  • January 23 - Free Seminar: Financial Freedom for Seniors

    David Kennon, gives a presentation on achieving financial peace of mind in retirement in the Fellowship Hall from 10-11 am on Thursday, January 23. The presentation will include basic principles for investing, spending, and giving in retirement. David’s goal is for all seniors to fully participate in the “retirement revolution.” David is an Accredited National Social Security Advisor (NSSA) and Certified Wealth Strategist (CWS). The presentation is free and open to the community. The Fellowship Hall entrance is through the door on the circle driveway off 3rd Ave.

  • January 11 - Habitat for Humanity Work Day

    Our first work day for Manatee County Habitat for Humanity’s 25th Interfaith Build was Saturday, January 11, 7:30 am-noon. We participated in landscape prep, painting, and hammering. A small tree and shrubs were removed and dirt was graded and leveled in preparation for sod. It was a beautiful day and all volunteers felt a wonderful sense of accomplishment in helping to provide a forever home for the Harris family. We look forward to attending the dedication sometime later in the Spring. Before then, we expect another work day and opportunities to get this house move-in ready! For more information about the Habitat for Humanity program, see the February Newsletter (posted soon).

  • December 5 - Thanks from the Dominican Republic

    The team that traveled to Agape Flight's hangar in Venice FL on October 24 packed 210 Thanksgiving-meal care packages. Each package included a hand written message of gratitude and encouragement written by the congregation. The packages were then flown to missionaries in the Caribbean in time for Thanksgiving. We received thank you letters, including this one from the Dominican Republic.

  • October 12 - RISE Against Hunger Meal Packing

    Palma Sola hosts a community Rise Against Hunger meal-packing event Saturday, October 12, 9:30 -11:30 am, to lend a hand to people in critical need of food across the globe. In two hours, in a fun and educational assembly-line process, we'll pack thousands of life-giving soy and rice meals. Adults have both sitting and standing jobs. Children accompanied by an adult(s) age 5 and up are welcome, with special run-around jobs available! Packing will be in Palma Sola's fellowship hall at the corner of 67th St and 3rd Ave W. Please reserve a space by calling the church office at 792-3141, or signing up after Sunday services.

  • September 22 - Rev. Miguel Estrada's Visit

    On Sunday September 22, we had the pleasure of hosting Rev. Miguel Estrada and his family from Misión Peniel in Immokolee FL. Rev. Estrada preached on Mark 6:30-44, how Jesus taught generosity through a shortage of loaves and fishes, and described the desperate housing situation of the Immokolee farm workers. Unlike other farm workers whose housing is provided by growers, Immokolee workers pay 60% of their income to landlords for housing in trailers that not only lacks AC, but is so substandard it's considered condemnable by county authorities. The ~20,000 Immokolee workers provide 85% of tomatoes in the United States. Palma Sola has donated $5,000 towards the purchase of land for future housing for the workers, through the Immokolee Fair Housing Alliance, an amount that will be matched by another organization. To listen to Rev. Estrada's sermon, go to Resources > Worship Online and click on the September 22nd soundtrack.

  • September 14 - ABC of Dementia Program

    Our ABC of Dementia program was well attended by Palma Sola Presbyterian and community members. Presenter Debbie Selsavage, founder of Coping with Dementia, shared many insights, stories, and techniques helpful to those suffering from dementia and their caregivers--drawing from her personal experience as caregiver to her husband Albert and expertise as a trainer of the Positive Approach to Care. As a result of our participation, Palma Sola Presbyterian is now a certified Dementia Friendly Congregation, allowing us to better serve those affected by dementia. To listen to the 1.5-hour presentation, beginning with its introduction by Roger Tyrrell, go to Resources > Worship Online and click on the September 14th soundtrack. 

  • September 12 - Habitat for Humanity┬áInterfaith Build Groundbreaking

    On September 12, representatives from local Catholic, Islamic, Jewish, and Protestant faith communities, including Pastor Ted, turned shovels of soil at home site for the 25th Anniversary Interfaith Build. Future homeowner, Markisha Harris, shared her excitement about the project and experience working on past Manatee County Habitat for Humanity projects. Markisha, born and raised in Florida, is a single mother of three, works as an LPN at an assisted living facility, and dreams of going back to school to complete her RN degree. We also learned about Habitat’s advanced construction techniques that dramatically reduce maintenance and energy costs for homeowners, while keeping construction cost low. Look for volunteer opportunities in the coming months on ways you can participate.

  • September 8 - Rally Day Ministries Fair

    Fall season at Palma Sola was kicked off with the Rally Day Ministries Fair on Sunday, September 8. The event included potluck breakfast, live instrumental music, and booths with information about Palma Sola ministries. Participants learned about ways to volunteer, and had their questions answered by representatives from our mission-partner organizations and other organizations who share our campus.

  • May 31 - Creative Arts Academy

    Join the talented youth of one of our campus partners, Creative Arts Academy, on Friday, May 31 at 6 pm in the Fellowship Hall for original poetry and live entertainment by the Creative Percussion Ensemble. Plus food, raffle items, and art by a local artist!