Our Pastor - Reverend Alan Darby
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AlanDarby

Pastor Alan S. Darby

Alan S. Darby is a South Jersey native, born in Ocean City and raised in Haddon Heights. He is a graduate of Westminster College (New Wilmington, Pa) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. After seminary Alan served as campus ministries staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and has served UM churches in Sharptown, Collingswood, Elmer, and Sicklerville. He and his wife, Beverly, have 3 grown children: Chris, Andy, and Bethany. Chris (and Jill) have 1 daughter, Andi Jane (4 1/2). Personal interests include music, sports, reading and spending time with grandkids. Alan's passions for the church include dynamic worship, nurturing Bible Studies in small groups, developing leadership (especially with youth and young adults), effective evangelism, world missions, and vital service of Christ and His church through Spirit-gifted ministry.

 
Pastors Pen - September 2017
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Pastor's Pen
September 2017
by Pastor Alan Darby

Dear Friends,

 

Though something may have small and humble beginnings, by God’s grace, it can grow to have a huge and significant impact for Christ and His Kingdom.  This is the point of Jesus’ parable about the mustard seed.  In Matthew 13:31 we hear Jesus say, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”  This verse gives us the inspiration for the name of our newly proposed St. Paul’s United Methodist pre-school.

 

          Monday evening our Administrative board approved a proposal to begin to pursue starting up a new ministry to the children of our church and community.  The new name for our proposed pre-school is “The Mustard Seed Preschool: a Ministry of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church”.  We are excited about the initiative and leadership of several of our Christian school teachers launching this, particularly Donna Ferguson, our new school lead teacher and director.  This will give us an opportunity to build on the legacy of our former St. Paul’s Christian School to reach children of our community for the Lord.  Children are special and beloved by our Savior and this is a great way to share the love of Christ with them and their families.

 

          I am thrilled by the way people have rallied around this new endeavor and have lent their support to the launching of our pre-school.  I would encourage all of you to undergird this ministry with strong prayer power as we move forward to get it off the ground.  Please feel free to talk to me or to Donna Ferguson if you have any questions or suggestions.  Let us walk by faith in the power of His Holy Spirit to accomplish great things together for the establishment of God’s Kingdom to make an eternal difference in the lives of these little ones.  Thank you in advance for your prayers.

 

 

In His Regard,

 

Pastor Al

 

 

 
Pastors Pen - June 2017
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Pastor's Pen
June 2017
by Pastor Alan Darby

Dear Friends,

By now, I’m sure many or most of you have heard the news that we have to close St. Paul’s Christian School at the end of this school term. It is with deep sadness and sincere regret, after a great deal of prayer and deliberation, that our school board concluded that we no longer have the enrollment or the resources to remain open. We have done a considerable amount of inquiry and investigation into keeping our preschool classes open but, according to New Jersey’s state codes and regulations, without the elementary school, we cannot operate a preschool without proper licensing. Unfortunately, we would need to make some significant changes to our building to meet these codes before applying for a license, and we cannot announce and advertise a preschool without this license. 

We certainly and wholeheartedly celebrate St. Paul’s Christian School’s wonderful history and impact on students and families over the years. We are proud and blessed to have been able to provide such a great ministry to our church and community as long as we have. We are grateful for the wonderful and dedicated teachers and staff that have served Christ and our students so well during their time with the school. It is unfortunate that we are unable to sustain this great work going forward. In order to give our teachers and remaining families time to look elsewhere for God’s purposes for their work and study, we determined that it was time to make this decision.

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Pastors Pen - April 2017
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Pastor's Pen
April 2017
by Pastor Alan Darby

Dear Friends,

As I write this we are in the middle of our Lenten Study entitled, “A Journey through Lent: Reflecting on Christ’s Sacrifice for Us”. I trust you have found the devotional readings and Bible studies to be as powerful as I have. Each week, our study guide reminds us that “Lent is a season of joyful repentance.” We are reminded that repentance is joyful because the goal is to bring renewal to our lives.” This is striking to me because I usually associate repentance with being grieved over my own sin to the point of confession and turning away from sinful practices…not exactly joyful. Yet, I am reminded that the Bible says that, “its God’s kindness that leads us to repentance” not His judgment or wrath. (Rom. 2:4) Later in Paul’s letter to the Romans (12:1) he urges, “in view of God’s mercy, to offer (our) bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to the Lord”. If we could only be so captivated by God’s kindness, mercy and grace we would be drawn to submit to His purposes in our lives. Then we would be completely converted and transformed by His love instead of guilt and fear. O what glorious freedom that grace provides for motivation in righteousness and holiness!

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Pastors Pen - February 2017
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Pastor's Pen
February 2017
by Pastor Alan Darby

Dear Friends,

February is a month full of love. With folks giving flowers and chocolates, cards and candy to their loves on Valentine’s Day, there are red hearts popping up all over. The Bible has a lot to say about love. In fact, it has been called “God’s love letter” to His children. It says that “God is love” and that “God demonstrated His love toward us in that while were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Certainly God and His love is the perfect pattern or paradigm for us to love one another as He commanded us. The message translation of God’s word puts it like this, 1 Corinthians 13,

“But now I want to lay out a far better wat for you. If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

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Pastors Pen - September 2016
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Pastor's Pen
September 2016
by Pastor Alan Darby

Dear Friends,

Coming up quickly upon is our annual “Blessing of the Animals”. There is a lot of excitement about all that is being planned for Saturday, September 10th here at St Paul’s. This was relatively new to me when I came to Brick three years ago but I have come to really appreciate this ministry of our church to families in our church and community. I’ve seen that it is an effective way for us to reach out to our community and share God’s love and grace with friends who love their pets. I have also spent some time studying the history and theology behind this festival that originated with Francis of Assisi. Francis left a life of wealth and power to seek a life of humbly serving Christ with a passion for all of God’s Creatures, humans and animals included. The application of blessings for our pets is a natural (some pun intended) expression of our love for the Lord and all of the fullness of His created handiwork.

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Pastors Pen - June 2016
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Pastor's Pen
June 2016
by Pastor Alan Darby

Dear Friends,

A couple weeks ago I was watching the TV reporting of the classic, annual “Penn Relays” results. I was inspired by the story of 100 year old Ida Keeling, who set a world record for running the fastest 100 meters by a woman in her age category! Her amazing story overshadowed another part of the report which told of a 99 year old, retired United Methodist pastor from South Jersey, who also competed and finished the race. I recognized the name, Champion Goldy, who was a colleague of mine going back to when I started in ministry. Then District Superintendent, “Champ” Goldy, sat on one of the sub-committees for the Board of Ordained Ministries for one of my elders’ ordination examinations. I remember well the question he asked me in that interview. He asked what my practice was to keep myself physically fit and healthy for a lifetime in ministry! (Those where the days when I was “in shape” and constantly playing sports with my kids and friends…) Champ continues to be a challenge and inspiration to me, in faith, life, and ministry!

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Pastors Pen - July Aug 2017
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Pastor's Pen
July / Aug 2017
by Pastor Alan Darby

 

Dear Friends,

“The church needs you!  Not because it needs people to fill positions within the organization, but because YOU are an important part of the body of Christ.  You have a significant contribution to make.  You have a God-given ministry in the church and a mission in the world.  I know this is true because the Bible says so.  According to Ephesians chapter 4, as pastor, I am called to prepare and  “equip God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants….but instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, which is Christ.  From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (4: 12-16)

              It is an awesome thing for every Christian to discover how the Lord has uniquely designed each of us to serve Him in a way that is most fruitful and fulfilling.  It’s a great thing to find where each one of us fits into His overall plan to reach the world with the Gospel of Christ.  For these reasons I would like to invite you to join me in a summer study beginning July 16th entitled “The Network Seminar”.  This is a six week study designed to help participants identify each individual spiritual gifts, personal passions, aptitudes and personality types for “networking in ministry”.  This study was very well received when we did it three years ago and I am confident it will be again this summer.  You will be hearing more about this on Sunday mornings coming up. 

 God Bless you,

Pastor Al 

 

 
Pastors Pen - May 2017
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Pastor's Pen
May 2017
by Pastor Alan Darby

Dear Friends,

“He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!” Hallelujah!! Yesterday was our grand and glorious Easter Sunday celebration. I am still basking in the after-glow of the hope and joy of Christ’s resurrection remembered. I realize that by the time this newsletter reaches you we will be a good ways past Holy Week and Easter. Never the less, still fresh in my heart and mind, it is my theme for today. The truth is, as the children’s song says it: “Every morning is Easter morning form now on! Every day is Resurrection Day, the past is over and gone! Goodbye guilt, good bye fear, good riddance. Hello Lord, hello Sun! I am one of the Easter people! My new life has begun!” Indeed, as Christians worship our living Lord on the 1st day of every week, “the Lord’s Day”, every Sunday is a celebration of His resurrection. Therefore I want to share a poem with you written by one of our members, which I feel is worthy of sharing:

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Pastors Pen - March 2017
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Pastor's Pen
March 2017
by Pastor Alan Darby

Dear Friends,

I would like to take a moment to introduce our upcoming Lenten Church Wide Study, as an invitation for everyone to be involved. Ash Wednesday traditionally begins the church season of Lent, and this year it falls on March 1st.

What is Lent? The word Lent comes from the old English Word “Lengten”, which simply means “Spring”- when the days lengthen and new life springs forward. It is a time in which we anticipate the victory of the light and life of Christ over the darkness of sin and death. It is, to borrow a phrase form C.S. Lewis, a season of a kind of “happiness and wonder that makes you serious.” Just as we carefully prepare for big events in our personal lives, such as a wedding or commencement, so too the season of Lent invites us to make our hearts ready for remembering and embracing Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is our prayer that as you make the Lenten journey towards Easter, you would be reminded of the reality of our broken humanity, but even as the days begin to lengthen, you also would experience a deepening reality of God’s redeeming grace.

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Pastors Pen - January 2017
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Pastor's Pen
January 2017
by Pastor Alan Darby

Dear Friends,

As we approach a new year I am thinking of “first things”. We sometimes say, “first things first” with regard to starting off “on the right foot”. Generally, we are thinking of chronology, or time sequence, rather than priority. In this case, I’m thinking of both. As we have “a new beginning”, a “fresh start” on a new year, I’m thinking of “first things”. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” I think He is to be the primacy of our pursuits to follow after the righteous ways of the Lord as well as the first step to discipleship. As we evaluate our priorities, looking back to last year with evaluation, looking forward to this year with resolution, we can reexamine what we actually put first in our lives. This includes our time commitments, our energies spent and the stewardship of our finances. When we say “Jesus is Lord”, we are essentially confessing that He is first, primary, preeminent, and has supremacy over all things and all areas of life.

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Pastors Pen - July/August 2016
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Pastor's Pen
July/August 2016
by Pastor Alan Darby

Dear Friends,

I recently pulled out a gift passed down from my father, who had inherited it from his older cousin. He told me that, back in the day, she had gone to see a baseball game in Florida, during Spring training, that featured the 1934 Yankees. Somehow she got hold of a ball and had it signed by a number of the players on the team. There are signatures by such notable players as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing, Floyd Newkirk, Danny MacFayden Jimmy Deshong, Ben Chapman, and Earle Combs. I recently took it to show to a friend, my eye doctor, who is a collector of Yankees memorabilia. He confirmed that it is a precious gift indeed. I’m thinking that it could be one of the most valuable things I own which I someday hope to pass down to my kids and grandkids. Even more precious to me, however, is my faith in Jesus Christ. I truly hope, more than anything else, that I might be able to pass Him on the generations following me. I’m reminded of Jesus’ parable of the “Pearl of Great Price” in Matthew 13:45-46. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all he had, and bought it.” What is it that you possess in your life that you cherish the most? What is it that you prize most? I hope that, above all else, you love and hold dear your love and relationship with the Savior and His great inheritance of eternal life which he graciously has passed on to all of His children. An old Swedish hymn says:

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Pastors Pen - May 2016
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Pastor's Pen
May 2016
by Pastor Alan Darby

Dear Friends,

Just as Jesus was about to ascend to Heaven after His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples, “You will receive the power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witness…” This command was true and relevant for His followers in the first century up through now in the 21st century. Unfortunately, many of His disciples today are not comfortable and confident in their capability to personally share their faith with others. For this reason, I am about to begin a new series of sermons on how to be effective in evangelism, and witness as individuals, and as a congregation. During the Sunday mornings in May, I hope to be following this theme of “Models, Methods, and Essential Elements for being Effective Ambassadors of Christ.” God has blessed believers with a wonderful opportunity to have a vital relationship with Him and has given us the privileged calling to lead others into the same, by God’s grace.

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